How to Fix System Page File

By Jack Gerard

The system page file, also known as a swap file or as "virtual memory," is a file on your hard drive that your computer's processor can use to temporarily store data until it is ready to be processed. When errors occur with this file, a general slowdown of your system can occur because your processor will not be able to prepare as much data for processing. Fixing a system page file is easy, however; all you need is a defragmentation of your hard drive, though a little preparation is necessary.

Step 1

Open the "Start" menu, click the "Control Panel," "System and Maintenance," "System," and "Advanced system settings" to open the "System Properties" window.

Step 2

Click on the "Advanced" tab and locate the "Performance" section. Click the "Settings" button to open a new window where you can alter the performance settings.

Step 3

Click on the "Advanced" tab in the new window and locate the "Virtual Memory" section. Click the "Change" button to access your system's virtual memory settings.

Step 4

Select your primary hard drive from the drive listings and click the box next to the "No Paging File" option. Click the "Set" button, then click "OK" to accept the settings and close the window. Close the other open windows as well.

Step 5

Click the "Start" menu and "Computer" to open Windows Explorer. Select the hard drive for which you just turned the page file off. Type "pagefile.sys" into the search bar and press the "Enter" key to search the drive for the physical file that stores the page file data. Right-click it and select "Delete" from the context menu to fully remove it.

Step 6

Reboot your computer, allowing it to load without the page file.

Step 7

Run Windows Disk Defragmenter (click "Start" and type "defragmenter" to locate it) or a third-party defragmentation program of your choice.

Step 8

Open the "Control Panel" again once defragmentation is complete. Return to the virtual memory settings window and uncheck the "No Paging File" option. Click "Set" and "OK."

Step 9

Close all open windows and reboot the computer again. A new page file will be created upon startup, free of the fragmentation or corruption that caused its previous problems.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you have more than one hard drive or partition, you should create a secondary page file on another drive your computer can use while it defragments your primary drive.
  • If you cannot see the "pagefile.sys" file when you search for it, Windows Explorer is likely not set up to show hidden files. To correct this, open the "Tools" menu, select the "Folder Options," click the "View" tab of the new window that opens and click the option to show hidden files. Close Windows Explorer, then open it again with the new settings in place.