PC users often ask what’s the purpose of the huge pagefile.sys file located at the root of the Windows installation drive and if it’s possible to delete it.
To start with, page files work as a physical extension of RAM. Windows 10 moves infrequently or least used memory pages from the physical RAM to page files or pagefile.sys when the physical RAM usage is very high. Pagefile .sys has another important role. It records information about the Windows status during a crash.
Can I delete the pagefile.sys file?
On computers that have large RAM, Windows 10 might not use the page file as the large physical RAM might be large enough for all operations. If you have large RAM (16 GB+) on your PC and you are sure that programs won’t take up all the physical RAM, you can consider deleting the pagefile.sys file. In short, the more RAM you have, the less you need pagefile.sys.
What happens if I delete the pagefile.sys?
Well, you won’t see any difference as long as the physical RAM usage is within limits. If and when your physical RAM usage reaches 100%, applications might crash or hang, and you might lose unsaved work. At times, even the Windows operating system might hang as well. So, it’s best not to touch the pagefile.sys file.
As pagefile.sys is a system file, it doesn’t show up with default settings. Open the File Explorer, click the File menu and then click Options/Change folder and search options to open the Folder Options dialog. Here, deselect Hide protected operating system files option. Select Show hidden, files, folders, or drives option. Click the Apply button.
Like other system files, you cannot delete the pagefile.sys file directly from Windows Explorer. You need to disable the page file feature to delete the pagefile.sys file. That is, disabling the page file feature will automatically delete the pagefile.sys file.
IMPORTANT: Disabling the pagefile or deleting the pagefile.sys file might adversely affect the overall performance of the Windows 10 operating system. If you find that the Windows 10 is not working properly after disabling and deleting the pagefile, please turn on the pagefile again.
Remove pagefile.sys in Windows 10
Complete the given below directions to disable and delete the pagefile.sys in Windows 10.
Step 1: Type Sysdm.cpl in the Start/taskbar search field and then hit the Enter key to open the System Properties dialog.
Step 2: Switch to the Advanced tab by clicking on the same. In the Performance section, click the Settings button. Clicking on the Settings button will open the Performance Options dialog.
Step 3: Here, switch to the Advanced tab. In the Virtual memory section, you can see the size of the paging file. Click on the Change button to open the Virtual Memory dialog.
Step 4: To disable and delete the pagefile, uncheck the Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option. Next, select No paging file radio button. Click the Set button. Click the Yes button when you get the warning dialog. Finally, click the Apply button.
When you are asked to reboot, restart your computer once to delete the pagefile.sys file. Be sure to restart the PC even if you are not asked to do so.
To enable the pagefile.sys file
Step 1: Follow the directions mentioned in Step 1, 2, 3, and 4 of the method above to open the Virtual Memory dialog.
Step 2: Select Automatically manage paging file size for all drives option. Click the Apply button to enable the paging file. When asked, reboot your computer once to generate the pagefile.sys file.
How to delete the hiberfil.sys file in Windows 10 guide might also interest you.