For Windows PCs and laptops, there is a lot of confusion over pagefile.sys. Here is where we explain what pagefile.sys is and whether you can remove it. How to delete, move and resize pagefile.sys. See all our Windows how to tutorials.
What is pagefile.sys?
Windows uses a page file (pagefile.sys) as virtual memory because you only have a finite amount of physical random access memory (RAM). It sits on your hard drive or SSD (C:\pagefile.sys) ready to receive things as necessary and the size is dictated by the amount of RAM in your system, it matches.
Your computer will prioritise using your RAM to store data because it's faster to read it from here compared to your hard drive. However, when your RAM becomes full, Windows moves some of the data from your RAM back to your hard drive within the page file.
So, although it takes up space on your drive, your computer uses it to maintain performance by keeping important data to hand rather than getting rid of it because your RAM is at full capacity.
Can I remove pagefile.sys? How to delete pagefile.sys
You're probably reading this article because you want to get rid of the page file to free up some valuable space on your hard drive. Although pagefile.sys is found at C:\pagefile.sys, you won't see it unless you tell Windows Explorer not to hide protected operating system files.
While this is possible, we don't recommend doing so because of the possible drop in performance. There are a couple of things you can do though. First of all you can move the file to another drive. For example, if you're trying to make space on an SSD, move pagefile.sys to a hard drive if you have one.
If you want to go ahead a delete it anyway, follow the steps below but after selecting 'no page file' reboot your computer and delete the file.
How to move pagefile.sys
Open Control Panel.
Search for 'advanced system settings' and select it from the list.
Click Settings within the Performance section and choose the advanced tab.
Click the Change button under Virtual memory.
If you deselect 'automatically manage paging file size of each drive' you can set C: to 'No paging file' and choose another drive for 'System managed file'.
How to resize pagefile.sys
If you only have one hard drive or don't want to move the pagefile.sys there in another option. Although the size of the file will match your RAM, you can make is smaller to free up some space. Follow steps 1-4 above then do the following.
Deselect 'automatically manage paging file size of each drive'.
Select the custom size option and choose how big you want the file to be.