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What is Virtual Memory

Virtual memory is a common feature of modern computer systems. Microsoft Windows uses virtual memory in addition to the system memory (RAM) to make it possible to run more programs and open larger files. While most of today's computers have at least two gigabytes of physical system memory, this is not enough for running various applications and video game. Without virtual memory, the computer will soon run out of system resources and slow to a halt and you'll get an error message telling you to close some of your open programs. Virtual memory helps to overcome these problems by caching frequently-used data to the hard disk.

In Windows, the virtual memory is, by default, managed automatically by the operating system. The amount of virtual memory changes as required. The virtual memory is stored in a hidden file on your primary hard disk (pagefile.sys). Memory is managed in such a way that the most frequently-used data is kept in the system memory for instantaneous access. Less frequently-used data is moved over to the virtual memory page file. For example, a web browser with multiple tabs open may take up to several hundred megabytes of memory. When you're actually browsing the Internet, most of the data will be contained in the system memory. If, however, you run a video game or another memory-intensive application, the data in the memory occupied by your web browser will be moved over to virtual memory, since it is not needed at that moment.

You can change the amount of hard disk space that Windows allocates to the virtual memory file, but it is generally better to let the operating system automatically handle it for you. You should almost never disable virtual memory altogether, since your computer will quickly run out of RAM unless you have an enormous amount installed. You can also change the location of the page file to a different hard disk. The page file is typically around four gigabytes in size, although it depends on your operating system, the amount of physical memory installed and the amount of free space on the hard disk. If you're running out of disk space, you can also tell Windows to move the page file to another hard disk.

Windows Vista and later also provide ReadyBoost technology which allows you to use a USB flash drive for caching frequently-used data. This can improve performance in certain applications and tasks, although it is not designed to replace standard virtual memory.

Increase your Windows Virtual Memory quickly by accessing our Virtual Memory Tool after downloading our software.


Microsoft Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and other countries. Speed improvements vary based on your system configuration. ErrorTeck is not endorsed or affiliated with either Microsoft or the third party applications it supports.