Windows XP / Beginners

Fine-Tuning the Windows Paging File

The Windows paging file, also known as the swap file and virtual memory, is very important to the operation of the operating system. Providing a critical memory feature by allowing the operating system to use more random access memory (RAM) than the computer actually has allows users to use more robust programs without having to upgrade their memory.

The paging file can be thought of as a large file on the hard disk that is a collection of system memory used by open applications and operating system components. As more and more applications are started, the amount of free space in the system memory, the RAM, decreases and can eventually be completely used up.When a user starts a program and the RAM used is full, the operating system still loads an application into memory. Before it can do that, it must first make room, and so it pushes a page of low-priority memory out of the RAM and into the paging file.

The exact method that the system uses to decide what programs will stay in the physical RAM and what programs will go is unknown. However, there are several paging file hacks that will help you optimize your computer's use of the paging file.With the help of hacks to the System Registry, you can prevent certain files from being pushed into the paging as well as completely disabling the paging file.

This next section will guide you through the steps of optimizing the paging file for your computer.

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