Changing Pagefile (Virtual Memory) settings in Windows 10

The Pagefile is a file used by Windows that is kept on the hard-drive. Pagefile is also known as Virtual Memory. It acts as an additional cache for things that might be kept in RAM, but stored this way because either RAM is too full or the data might be needed to made persistent.

If you frequently run out of RAM, increasing the pagefile will help to keep your programs running properly could stop crashes caused by low memory.

Some things you need to know

  • Data stored in the in the Pagefile is not optimal as hard-drives are much slower to access then in physical RAM.
  • Important: Pagefile/Virtual Memory is not recomended on SSDs as the file can be written to and read from fairly frequently and can cause premature wear on the drive. If you’re not worried about wear, you may still set a page file.
    You may also move the pagefile to a mechanical drive or set the file to a static amount.
    Also to note: as SSD tech matures, the agility of flash increases thus lowering potential wear.

Changing the settings

Use Cortana to search for “Advanced system settings“:

Search Cortana: advanced system settings
Search Cortana: advanced system settings

Clicking into Advanced system settings will bring up the “System Properties” view. In the “Advanced” tab, click “Settings…” under the “Performance” section:

System Properties: Advanced
System Properties: Advanced

This will bring up the “Performance Options” view. Continue to the pagefile settings by clicking “Change…” under “Virtual Memory” in the “Advanced” tab:

Performance Options: Virtual Memory
Performance Options: Virtual Memory

Lastly, you should be presented with the “Virtual Memory” view where you will be able to control your pagefile settings:

Virtual Memory view
Virtual Memory view

You can set a static size, move the pagefile to another drive or simply let Windows take control of the virtual memory with dynamic allocation.

HDD benchmarks

Interested how a SATAII compared with a new SATAIII drive, I decided to do a quick benchmark to compare the results.
In this benchmark I will be comparing the Kingston HyperX 120GB SSD (S-ATA III), Seagate ST3320613AS 320GB 7200-rpm 16mb cache (S-ATA II) and a Western Digital Blue 2TB 5400-rpm 64mb cache (S-ATA III).

I am primarily doing this to compare the transfer rates of a faster, low cache S-ATA II mechanical drive with a slower, high cache S-ATA III mechanical drive. The reason, I hear you ask?
S-ATA III bus speed is rated at 6gbs compared with 3gb/s on the older S-ATA II interface.
A mechanical drive will never use up the whole bus width of S-ATA because of the way they operate, (all down to spindle speed and head speed) so my theory is that the faster the drive, the better I/O you will ultimately receive thus faster write and read speeds.

I used ATTO Disk Benchmark for the benchmarks and Piriform Speccy for the datasheets.

Looking at the results, I was quite surprised. To see a slower speed drive out perform a faster drive was not what I expected to see. As you can see, the HDD’s do not even fill half the bandwidth of S-ATA II bus speed, whilst the SSD is 100mb/s shy of hitting the top end S-ATA III speeds.

There could be a number of factors at play here; looking more closely at the Seagate’s spec sheets, it has endured alot of uptime and probably more spin-up’s then the WD will ever have. Also the test isn’t quite as scientific as having 2 “identical”  drives with varying speeds and that’s probably where you will see results.

On the back of this, I’m quite impressed to have had the Seagate lasting this long; the internet is littered with bad omens of Seagate’s from years of old! It might be time to replace this one whilst I’m still winning!