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In-depth

How to remove a huge pagefile.sys or resize it

A huge pagefile.sys files can take up a serious amount of space. Here’s how to remove it or control its size

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No matter how big your hard disk is, sooner or later you’ll find yourself running out of space, but not all of the clutter is yours and Microsoft fills up your hard disk with lots of things that can get out of control. One of the biggest culprits is the pagefile.sys file, which can soon get out of hand. 

This file is where your virtual memory resides. This is disk space that subs in for main system RAM when you run out of that: real memory is temporarily backed up to your hard disk. If your computer is struggling, it’s usually good to have a good chunk of HDD space reserved for virtual memory, but if your PC is running fine, you can reclaim the space for other stuff. Here’s how to delete a huge pagefile.sys page in just a few quick steps.

Step 1: Locate the pagefile.sys file

Although pagefile.sys is a pretty obvious file, you won’t find it by taking a scroll in Windows Explorer. That’s because pagefile.sys plays an often useful role in your system, so it’s hidden and protected by Windows. To find it go to Control Panel, and then search for Advanced System Settings. Go to the Performance section and go to Settings, Advanced tab. At the bottom of the next window, you should see a Virtual memory section, complete with the amount of virtual memory that your OS has allocated for your pagefile.sys file.

Step 2: Remove the file

To fix things, select the Change button, and then take a look at the options in the next window. To remove your pagefile.sys altogether, just make sure the ‘No paging file’ box is ticked. Accept the changes and this will free up disk space.

Step 3: Force the pagefile to remain one size

You may find that you need virtual memory, but you can stop things from getting out of hand. To reduce the amount of space your PC will allocate for virtual memory, just deselect 'automatically manage paging file size of each drive' and, instead, select the custom size option. After that, you’ll be able to input just how much of your HDD will be reserved for virtual memory.

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