Managing the Page File - Manual or Automatic?
In Vista or Windows 7, to check the page file size, press the Windows button on the keyboard or click the Start orb and type in "system." In the search results at the top, click the item that simply says "System." This is a shortcut to Start → Control Panel → System. Click "Advanced System Settings" and then click the "Advanced" tab. In the "Performance" area, click on "Settings." In the resulting dialog, you should see your page file size under "Virtual memory."
In Windows XP, right-click "My Computer" and select "Properties." Then click "Advanced" and follow the same steps as in Vista.
Should you let Windows "automatically manage the paging file size for all drives?" There are pros and cons involved. An advantage of Windows handling it is that you won't run out of page file unless you run out of hard drive space. A disadvantage is that a variable file, unlike a fixed-size file, may become fragmented and cause even more hard drive activity. Of course, if Windows runs out of swap space in a fixed-sized file, it may promptly crash.
On my PC, I have three internal hard drives. One is a (faster) one TB drive, and another is a 500 GB drive that Windows runs from. I decided that I didn't want a swap file on the C: drive at all, but I didn't mind Windows handling the swap file automatically on the other drive. So I unselected "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" and then clicked the C: drive. Then I clicked "No paging file" and "Set." I did the same for the second hard drive. Finally, I clicked the one TB drive I planned to use, clicked "System managed file size" and "Set."
For that drive, "Virtual Memory" is showing as Recommended: 4411 MB and Currently Allocated: 3241 MB. (The PC has 3 GB of RAM.)
If you prefer to manually manage your swap file size, try making it about 15% larger than your amount of RAM.