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Tweaking Microsoft 98/ME/XP Paging FileWindows configuration task manager page file
We are not responsible for you loosing data or hurting your machine, so don't come crying to us when you loose all that info just because we said this may help. All modern operating systems handle this by using "Virtual Memory" : memory, which does not exist as existing physical memory chips(RAM), but has emulated memory by using a part of the disk to temporarily store information, which is currently not used by the CPU, from physical memory to disk, to make room for information currently used by the CPU. if such information placed on the disk is required by the CPU at a later time, other information in memory is stored to disk, making space for the needed information to be put back into physical memory.
Since information may be swapped several times between physical memory and the disk, the file on the disk used to store memory information is often called "Swap-file". Since the information is swapped in fixed size units called "Pages", the file is also call "Page File". It is very important to never let your system run out of memory. We all know what happens when no memory is left - Your system will either become really slow or will lock up forcing you to restart. Neither is fun nor good, where usually resulting in the loss of data. If you are on a Win2K or XP machine, to see how much memory is being used at the present time, right click on the task bar at the bottom of your desktop and choose task manager.
Now that you have task manager open, click on the Performance tab, notice where I underlined in red. Total is the amount of memory currently being used, limit is the amount of memory that you have available which is physical memory + the size of your paging file. Peak is the highest amount of memory that the system has used since it's last reboot.
Now let's get to tweaking. What we want to do is set the starting size and the limit size of the paging file to be the same values, this way windows doesn't have to increase and decrease the size of the paging file all the time, it will always be at the size that we set. Plus you can set it to however much space you would like, this also depends on the size of your hard drive and how much space you have available and the amount of space that you are willing to give up. I always set mine at 768MB.
To set the size of your systems paging file, there two ways of getting to your system's properties, well actually three ways but we will cover the two most common. You can either get there by clicking Start -> Control Panel, then double clicking the system icon or if you have a My Computer icon on your desktop, right click on it and click properties which will open the system properties dialogue box. Once there, click on the advanced tab and you will see the same as displayed in the pic to the left. Under Performance, click the settings button.
Now that you have clicked on the settings tab, a new dialogue box will open like the one to the right. Here you have other performance settings available, but the one we are concerned with right now is the change button under virtual memory. Click the change button and we will start doing the fun stuff.
Now that you have pressed the change button, another dialogue box will appear as the one below. I have already set mine prior to doing this write up, but here you can choose the partition you would like the paging file to be on. If your system has multiple partitions, it is better to put the paging file on a separate partition than the one that the operating system is installed on. Select custom size, then for initial size set this to the same setting you wish to have for the maximum size. Like I mentioned before, I always set mine for 768MB. Once you have entered your values, click on set, then click ok to close the dialogue box. It will then give you a prompt to tell you that the system needs to be restarted for the new setting to take affect. Click ok, then on the next screen click Apply, then click ok, and on the next screen click ok. You will then be prompted to restart the system now. If you don't have any other programs open, click ok, otherwise save and close all other applications that you may have running, then restart the system through the normal sequence.
That's it, you're all done. Wasn't too hard was it? Anyway, you more then likely won't experience any speed increases but you will help reduce the chances of your system locking up or running out of memory. Hopefully you found this tip to be useful.