How to Manage Virtual Memory Paging File in Windows 10 – Windows Blog by Brink

How to Manage Virtual Memory Paging File in Windows 10

Paging is a memory management scheme by which a PC stores and retrieves data from secondary storage for use in main memory. In this scheme, the operating system retrieves data from secondary storage in same-size blocks called pages. Paging is an important part of virtual memory implementations in modern operating systems, using secondary storage to let programs exceed the size of available physical memory.

For simplicity, main memory is called “RAM” (abbreviated from “random-access memory”) and secondary storage is called “disk” (a shorthand for “hard disk drive”), but the concepts do not depend on whether these terms apply literally to a specific computer system.

Virtual memory is a memory management technique that is implemented using both hardware and software. It maps memory addresses used by a program, called virtual addresses, into physical addresses in computer memory. Main storage as seen by a process or task appears as a contiguous address space or collection of contiguous segments. Windows manages virtual address spaces and the assignment of real memory to virtual memory. Address translation hardware in the CPU, often referred to as a memory management unit or MMU, automatically translates virtual addresses to physical addresses. Software within Windows may extend these capabilities to provide a virtual address space that can exceed the capacity of real memory and thus reference more memory than is physically present in the computer.

The primary benefits of virtual memory include freeing applications from having to manage a shared memory space, increased security due to memory isolation, and being able to conceptually use more memory than might be physically available, using the technique of paging.

Basically, a paging file is an area on the hard disk that Windows uses as if it were RAM when you run out of available RAM.
By default, Windows automatically manages the pagefile settings for you, but there may be times you may need to manually manage your pagefile. For example:

  • If the C: drive that Windows is installed on is small in size, you may wish to remove the pagefile from that drive, and add a paging file to another drive with more space instead.
  • If you use a lot of memory, then you may wish to add a pagefile to another drive to have available if needed.
  • If you don’t use a lot of memory and your pagefile is large in size, you may wish to use a smaller custom size.
  • If you are getting a BSOD PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA or KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR or Low Memory type error, you may need to use a larger custom size for the pagefile.

This tutorial will show you how to manage the virtual memory paging file for each drive on your Windows 10 PC.

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