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07 Jul 2009  
usasma
Microsoft MVP

 
 

The pagefile is where the Windows Memory Manager stores data that isn't currently in RAM. It does this under several conditions - the most common being when there isn't enough RAM to work the system.

Some programs (particularly video games) will require a pagefile. If you attempt to run them without a pagefile they'll complain about it and refuse to run. I ran an XP system a while back without a pagefile and it worked well until I ran into one of those games referred to above.

Any "average" system with at least 4gB of RAM shouldn't have issues with the pagefile unless there's a lot of stuff open and working. Corrupted programs can cause excessive pagefile usage - and monkeying with the pagefile may help out, but that's just treating the symptoms without fixing the problem.

You can easily create a pagefile if one is needed. Go to Start and type in "sysdm.cpl" (without the quotes) and press Enter
Click on the Advanced tab
Click on the Performance Settings button
Click on the Advanced tab
Click on the Virtual Memory Change button
That will get you into the dialog to create, edit, or delete the pagefile.

A final caveat is that, if you don't have a pagefile, you won't be able to create memory dump files in the event of a crash.
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