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Advanced Computer Systems

Networking, Help Desk, & Custom Software

Virtual Memory: Avoid Fragmenting

Remember: if you feel uncomfortable performing these tasks, ACS can provide these services for you.

One major cause of slow document loads, constant hard drive access, and system instability is caused by the Windows operating system!  Windows uses part of the hard disk in your computer to swap information from computer memory to disk when there isn’t enough computer memory available. This area is called the “swap file” or "page file". This swap file grows and shrinks as the memory needs of Windows changes, causing the disk to become fragmented as time goes by. If the virtual memory size is set to a fixed value then it will not grow and shrink, eliminating the fragmenting problem.

Making system configuration changes improperly can affect the proper operation of the system. I've made this change hundreds of times without incident, but there is always a slight risk of complication if the directions are not followed properly.  Remember, ACS can provide these services for you.
How To:

You can fix the swap file size to avoid the fragmenting problem by performing the following:

1)       Close any open windows on your screen.

2)       Click the Start button, then right-Click on “My Computer” or "Computer" depending upon Windows version.

3)       Click Properties. On Windows 7 & above you'll then need to click on "Advanced System Settings".

4)       Click Performance Tab

5)       Click Virtual Memory.

6)       Change to “Let Me Specify Virtual Memory Size”.

7)     You should set Minimum and Maximum virtual memory sizes to double the amount of memory in your computer – both with the same values. If in doubt, use the "recommended" value provided on the screen.  Click "Set".

8)       Click “OK”. If needed, Click OK again.

9)       Answer “Yes” to rebooting the computer.

10)   Run defrag at your next opportunity, as the benefits are more significant if you do this. You can read our defrag tips to learn what to do next.