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21 More Super Ways to Speed Up Vista - Part 4 - Optimize Your Paging File

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/11/2009

This Windows Vista tutorial shows you how to configure your paging file to speed up your system. Read on to learn how...

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    Tip #7: Configure Your Page File to Speed Up Windows Vista

    A paging file, also referred to as a “swap file” is a section of your hard disc that acts much like additional RAM. When your system runs low on RAM (physical memory), Vista extends the amount of available memory using the paging file. In effect, the paging file works by simulating your physical RAM.

    Vista can takes up a fairly large chunk of gigabytes of your hard drive space to create a paging file. Here’s how to configure it to optimize system performance.

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    How to Manually Adjust the Size of Your Page File

    1. Click on the Vista Orb and the right-click on Computer. Select Properties from the context menu.
    2. Click on Advanced system settings in the left-hand side pane of the System window.
    3. Click on the Advanced tab. Go to the Performance section and then press the Settings button. This opens the Performance Options dialog box.
    4. Select the Advanced tab in this dialog box, and go to the Virtual Memory section, and click on the Change button. You may note down the current system-managed page file size for your own reference.
    5. Uncheck the box that is labeled: Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
    6. Highlight the specific drive that you want your page file located on. (See Do’s and Don’ts below). If you only have one hard drive, it will already be selected.
    7. Click on the radio button that is labeled: Custom size.
    8. Type in your desired minimum and maximum size for your paging file. It is recommended that, at a minimum, you set this size equal to one and one half (1.5) times the amount of RAM that you have.
    9. Click on the Set button.
    10. Click OK and then reboot your computer as required for your changes to take effect.
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    DOS AND DON’TS

    • If you only have one hard drive but it is split into multiple partitions, you should locate your Page File to the same partition on which you have Vista installed. Never create additional page files for the other partitions. Even if a single hard disk drive has multiple partitions, never place more than one paging file on it.
    • If you have installed multiple hard drives, you should locate your Page File on the same drive on which you have Vista installed UNLESS the other hard drive is of the same or better performance. To maximize performance gains, the paging files should be located on faster hard drives.
    • Do not place your paging file on a fault-tolerant drive such as a RAID array or a mirrored volume, because the manner in which data is written to them may decrease performance rather than boost it.

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    • If you reduce your page file by too much, this will cripple or significantly slow down your system if it can’t create a sufficiently large disc cache for the particular task at hand.
    • While a large paging file can increase performance in Vista significantly, an insufficiently large paging file will hinder its operation. A small paging file can on the other hand interfere with the computer's GUI.