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Sep 16, 2006
Hello, I have a Vista computer with 2GB of memory. I dont do any memory intensive tasks and barely use 700MB at max. Now some say that if you have the memory you should disable the page file for increased performance but others advide against it saying that it could cause problems and wouldnt increase performace at all. What are your thoughts????
Disabling the page file will have a negligible effect if any at all... and a lot of programs simply won't function without a pagefile in place. You're better off setting it to a static size so that it doesn't get fragmented. Another way to improve performance is to move the pagefile to a separate hard drive (NOT a separate partition on the same drive).


Sep 8, 2006

What Zoron said, however I would go further and say that anyone who told you to remove the page file completely should no longer be considered a good source of information concerning Windows. That is absolutely one of the worst things you can do to the stability of the OS. Your performance and stability will definitely get worse not better.


Oct 18, 2004

I think Zoron goes too far with that. Someone mentioned years agothat Windows XP platform would be radically unstable if you killed the pagefile. So I turned mine off and set max size to zero to see how long it would last. Until I read Zoron's/pkellmey statement(s) I had forgotten I never turned it back on. XP has run rock solid with heavy gaming, video encoding, and 3d max goofery. In retrospect the machine is going on (at least) 4 years and I can't remember the last time I've had a problem with it.

Vista without a page file will work just fine IF (and that's a big IF) you have enough installed memory. Vista won't go unstable because of that (it has 1000 other reasons to go unstable). In fact if it really needs it, it will recreate the pagefile and just ignore your settings so its kinda pointless.

And depending on how you use Vista 2GB may or maynot be enough, so I wouldn't disable it. For me I watch movies and game a bit on vista (stop laughing) 2GB is not enough my system now idles at 1.5 GB after a reboot because Vista is anticipating what I will want to load. Vista will eat up as much memory as you give it and come back for more, so I'd leave the pagefile in place. If it is the source of slowing your system up then I'd recommend getting a raptor as a system drive then you won't notice.

Zoron is right in that disabling the pagefile will have a negligible effect on a good system.
I didn't mention anything about instability... but here's something from XP Myths about disabling the pagefile:

Myth - "Disabling the Paging File improves performance."

Reality - "You gain no performance improvement by turning off the Paging File. When certain applications start, they allocate a huge amount of memory (hundreds of megabytes typically set aside in virtual memory) even though they might not use it. If no paging file (pagefile.sys) is present, a memory-hogging application can quickly use a large chunk of RAM. Even worse, just a few such programs can bring a machine loaded with memory to a halt. Some applications (e.g., Adobe Photoshop) will display warnings on startup if no paging file is present."

"In modern operating systems, including Windows, application programs and many system processes always reference memory using virtual memory addresses which are automatically translated to real (RAM) addresses by the hardware. Only core parts of the operating system kernel bypass this address translation and use real memory addresses directly. All processes (e.g. application executables) running under 32 bit Windows gets virtual memory addresses (a Virtual Address Space) going from 0 to 4,294,967,295 (2*32-1 = 4 GB), no matter how much RAM is actually installed on the computer. In the default Windows OS configuration, 2 GB of this virtual address space are designated for each process' private use and the other 2 GB are shared between all processes and the operating system. RAM is a limited resource, whereas virtual memory is, for most practical purposes, unlimited. There can be a large number of processes each with its own 2 GB of private virtual address space. When the memory in use by all the existing processes exceeds the amount of RAM available, the operating system will move pages (4 KB pieces) of one or more virtual address spaces to the computer's hard disk, thus freeing that RAM frame for other uses. In Windows systems, these "paged out" pages are stored in one or more files called pagefile.sys in the root of a partition. Virtual Memory is always in use, even when the memory required by all running processes does not exceed the amount of RAM installed on the system."

Now, you were lucky in the sense that none of the programs you used required a pagefile and/or required more memory than you had available. Disabling the pagefile can cause more headaches than it saves, so why not just set it to a static size and leave it? Then Windows will never nag you about it.


Jun 23, 2009
I want to point out my own experiences here.

I am running a fully up to date (as of 6/22/09) Windows Vista Ultimate 32-bit with 4GB of memory. As always with my XP systems before it I disabled the page file. I know this part is going to be controversial but what I have experienced is programs load much faster than before. I do not have glitches or hangs or crashes. I don't have any issues while running very large games like LOTRO, WOW or anything else on my system. I have never had a system message on this or any of my XP machines about low memory.

There is a reason for this lack of memory errors. I have more physical memory than what I need for what I'm doing. I do not run a lot of junk processes in the background. I do not have adwares or spywares. I pretty well control what will run and won't run on my system.I don't let anything run in the background I don't REALLY need.

I frequently have up to 15 different web pages in Firefox (which can frequently consume 200MB or more of my memory) open in the background while I am doing research for school or for fun. When I need a break I do not close anything out I just load up LOTRO (which gobbles up 2gb on it's own). I run dual monitors and sometimes I am browsing web pages for quest info while I'm playing. Even with iTunes open I don't have any problems.

Everything loads faster with page files off especially when a lot of apps are open at once. You know that annoying hang that happens from time to time while page file swapping? I don't have that at all on my system once paging is off.

The page file really slows LOTRO down on it's load times. It slows start up time for the first startup after disabling the page file. (I can only assume it's clearing the page file or something) Once you reboot again you will see the difference. It slows loading up ATI Catylist Control Center.

There's a good test! With page file on open Catylist Control Center. For me it hangs on splash screen for a few seconds. THEN disable page file and reboot. Open the same program. For me the splash screen passes so fast I can't read it.

All of the things I have heard about page file doesn't slow performance is false in my case but your mileage may vary. Turn off at your own risk and just see what happens. If everything doesn't work out you can always turn it back on. I've never had to. When I had 2GB of memory I could not run with page file off. The key here is have more than enough physical memory to do the job and for most people you should be OK. If your system suddenly becomes unstable maybe you have too little memory. If you run with paging off you must have a controlled software environment.

Just wanted to offer some practical experience. Regards!
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