A paging file, a.k.a. a swap file or virtual memory, is usually a very large file in which the Windows operating system places a dump of what's in RAM. That is, cached data in RAM is placed in a single file on our HDD or SSD to free up some space on our RAM bones.
The swap file is placed on the hard disk, so it is much slower than RAM, but it allows the operating system to run without interruption, even in situations where the amount of available RAM is insufficient to support all processes. The swap file is also known as the swap memory file, image memory file and paging file.
How to change the paging file settings?
Depending on the operating system and version, the paging file option can be changed in several ways. Here are examples for Windows 10 and macOS.
In Windows 10:
- Right-click on the icon in the system's Start menu and select "System."
- Click on the "Advanced System Settings" tab in the right menu.
- Click on the "Settings" button in the "Advanced->Performance" section.
- Click on the "Virtual memory" tab.
- In this tab we can uncheck the option "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" and select "Custom size" virtual memory of our computer.
- Click on the "Apple" icon in the upper left corner of the screen and select "System Preferences."
- Click on the "Memory" icon in the "Hardware" section.
- Click on the "Change the size of the swap memory file" button.
- In the "Change the size of the swap memory file" window, you can change the size of the swap file.
Note: Changing the size of the swap file may affect the performance of the operating system. Therefore, it is recommended to use the default settings or change them only if there is a specific reason why it is necessary.
Is it worth disabling the paging file?
It depends on whether the paging file is used and whether it is needed for the proper operation of the system. A paging file is a file that is used to store a portion of data that does not fit in RAM. When the system needs to access data that is stored on the hard disk and is not currently in RAM, the paging file is used to move that data into RAM for access.
If you have a lot of RAM and use an operating system that manages memory well, it is possible that the paging file is not needed and you can disable it. It may even speed up your system because the system won't need to transfer data between RAM and the hard drive. However, if you are low on RAM or use applications that require a lot of memory, the paging file may be needed to keep the system running smoothly. In that case, it is better not to disable it.
If you want to disable the paging file, you can do so by editing the operating system settings as we described above.