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How to Maximize and Fix the Size of Your Windows Swapfile


Whenever Windows needs more memory than the RAM that you have installed, it uses some of your hard drive space as memory. This memory is referred to as virtual memory, and the space it uses on the hard drive is called the Swapfile.
At the time Microsoft incorporated the Swapfile concept into Windows, hard drive space was at a premium. We were referring to hard drive sizes in megabytes, not in terrabybes as we do today.
According, Microsoft allowed windows to dynamially change the size of the Swapfile (between pre-determined minimum and maximum values) proportional to real-time system memory requirements. This method insured that the "premium" hard drive space would be not be used by the system when there were minimal or no virtual memory requirements.
However, there is some overhead involved with this method of determining Swapfile size as Windows has to continuously allocate and de-allocate hard drive space for use by the Swapfile. Considering the size of today's hard drives, we frequently find 30 or more Gigabytes of hard drive space available (especially on today's home computers). And Swapfile requirements are usually between 1 Mb. And 1 Gb. (1 Gb. = 1,000 Mb.).
Considering the above, if you have an extra 10 or 20 Gb. of available hard drive space, why not set the minimum and maximum values of your Swapfile size to be equal, and relieve Windows of the task of managing your Swapfile size?
To do this, perform the following procedure in Windows XP:
NOTE: This procedure will be somewhat different for other operating systems.
Click on START, and then CONTROL PANEL.
Set contol panel to the "classic mode"
Double click on SYSTEM. And in the Systems Properties box, click on ADVANCED
In the Performance Box click on SETTINGS and then click on ADVANCED
In the virtual memory box click on CHANGE
NOTE: If you have more that 1 drive (volume), all will be listed. Only change the swapfile setting for the volume that presently contains the swapfile.
In the virtual memory dialog box, click on the SWAPFILE DRIVE and click on CUSTOM SIZE.
The initial and maximum sizes of the Swapfile will now be highlighted.
The maximum size should be less than 20% of the available space (listed above the swapfile sizes). If it is not, you may not want to apply this procedure as your hard drive free space is somewhat limited.
To continue, click on the INITIAL SIZE box and change the size to be the same as the size contained in the MAXIMUM SIZE box. Then click on SET and then OK.
Close all dialog boxes and re-boot your computer.
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