Has Windows 10 ever warned you your system is low on virtual memory? This can happen when you start an application that may be intensive on your system. If this happens to you, it is worth knowing how to manage and increase Pagefile (virtual memory) in Windows 10.

Pagefile is a Windows 10 system file that comes with the .SYS extension. Many users are unfamiliar with it because it is a hidden file that is stored on a hard drive. Essentially, the Pagefile.sys manages the physical memory (RAM) and allows your PC to perform at optimum levels.

What does virtual memory do?

Whenever you open an application in Windows, your PC will consume RAM. When you have more apps open than the RAM on your PC can handle, programs already running in the RAM are moved to the Page file. Technically, this is known as Paging and essentially means the Page file acts as backup RAM… many users know this as virtual memory.

Windows 10 has built-in automatic tools that manage Pagefile consumption based on your computer’s RAM. If you see a dip in PC performance or lag, your first port of call should be the Pagefile.

The Pagefile should also be your destination if you experience a PC crash because Windows 10 saves so-called crash dump images in the file. Whether you want to manage the paging file, check crash reports, or uncover reasons for bad PC performance, there are several reasons to visit the virtual memory in Windows 10.

Recommended virtual memory for Windows 10

In order to optimally set the paging file, the following basic rules apply to Windows 10:

  • If available, you should put the Pagefile on an SSD drive. Ideally, this is the system drive.
  • By splitting the Pagefile over several data storage locations, Windows 10 can be accelerated somewhat. However, if you have installed an SSD drive and slower conventional hard drives, you should only use the page file on SSD.
  • By specifying a fixed size for the Pagefile, Windows 10 works a little faster because the virtual memory does not have to be enlarged as needed.

Optimize and Manage the Pagefile (Virtual Memory) in Windows 10

You can optimize the paging file in Windows 10 by following these steps:

  1. Open Control Panel through Windows Search.

    Windows 10 - Start Control Panel

  2. In Control Panel head to “System and Security“.


    Windows 10 - Control Panel

  3. Next open the “System” menu.


    Windows 10 - Control Panel - System and Security

  4. On the left, click on “Advanced system settings“.


    Windows 10 - Control Panel - System

  5. Use System Properties to manage performance.

    System Properties” will open. Under the “Advanced” tab, find “Performance” and click on “Settings“.

    Windows - Control Panel - System Properties

  6. Find virtual memory management in “Performance Options”.

    In the “Performance Options” menu that then opens, you can access the settings for the paging file under “Advanced” and then click on “Change” under “Virtual memory”.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Performance Options

  7. Create a custom paging file size

    Uncheck “Automatically manage paging file sizes for all drives”. Under the list of drives, select your chosen drive. Move to the “Custom size” option and input our Windows 10 Paging file size recommendation, and click “OK”. For optimal performance, “Initial size” and “Maximum size” should be the same.

    Windows 10 - Control Panel - Virtual Memory