paging file

Definition of paging file in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is paging file?

A file on a hard disk that Microsoft Windows NT or Windows 2000 uses to store program code that is temporarily not needed to maximize the functionality of the limited RAM on most machines. The paging file, sometimes referred to as the pagefile, is managed by the Virtual Memory Manager.


The default size for the paging file on Windows NT is equal to the amount of installed RAM plus 12 MB. The default size for the paging file on Windows 2000 is equal to 1.5 times the amount of installed RAM. The minimum allowed paging file size is 2 MB. The default location of the paging file is %SystemRoot%\pagefile.sys.


During installation of Windows NT and Windows 2000, the paging file is automatically installed on the partition that has the most free space. You achieve the best performance by moving the paging file to a separate hard drive with its own controller. Use the System utility in Control Panel to configure the paging file.

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