Virtual memory is the memory management capability of an OS (Operating System) which uses software and hardware to allow a computer to make up for lack of physical memory by transferring data from RAM to the storage disk. The virtual memory (Pagefile) in Windows 10 is a hidden file system with .SYS extension stored in the system drive (generally the C drive). It allows the system to work smoothly by reducing the workload of the RAM.
Our PCs have a finite amount of RAM, so when you run multiple programs at the same time, it results in memory run out. To counter this, the RAM transfers the data to the hard drive temporarily called the Paging file, which works as a secondary RAM. With this, a system can load larger or multiple programs at the same time with infinite RAM.
The size of the virtual memory can be from 1.5 to 4 times the physical memory (RAM) of your computer. Generally, the system automatically manages the paging file size according to its configuration and RAM. However, while using your PC, if you are noticing slow performance or seeing a message “Your system is low on virtual memory” or getting an error such as
KERNEL_DATA_INPAGE_ERROR Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) or
PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA, then you need to change the default virtual memory manually.
In this guide, we will walk you through to increase the virtual memory size for better system responsiveness. There are two ways to increase the size, one by using the Windows 10 Settings app and other from Command Prompt.
How to increase the virtual memory size on Windows 10 via System Properties?
Follow the below actions to manage the paging file size on Windows 10:
- Press Win key + Pause from the keyboard to open System properties.
- Click on Advanced system settings link from the left pane.
- Go to Advanced tab
- Now, under “Performance” section click on the Settings button
- In the Performance Options window, click on Advanced tab
- Click on the Change button in “Virtual memory” section
- And on new window uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.
- Select Custom size, then set the Initial and maximum size in MB for paging file and click the Set button.
- Click the OK button and restart the PC.
After completing the steps, you could see an increase in performance when running multiple programs at the same time.
How to increase Windows 10 virtual memory via Command Prompt?
To manage the paging file size through command prompt, follow the below actions:
- Type cmd on Windows search to search for Command Prompt – right-click on it and click on Run as administrator
- On Command Prompt, type the following command and press Enter from keyboard to check the status of the paging file:
wmic pagefile list /format:list
wmic computersystem where name="%computername%" set AutomaticManagedPagefile=false
and press Enter to change the virtual memory from automatic manage to custom.
- To set the initial and maximum size type the following command:
wmic pagefileset where name="C:\\pagefile.sys" set InitialSize=9216,MaximumSize=12288Note: Adjust the initial and maximum size according to your system memory
- Now restart your device by typing the following command and hit Enter:
shutdown -r -t 00
If all the steps are done correctly, the device will restart with the new values of the paging file size, and you could find a slight increase in performance when running multiple apps. It’s recommended to set 1.5 times the available memory for initial and for maximum size 4 times the memory. You can also disable the paging file but it will cause some programs, features stop working which could result in some weird behaviors.