Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

The paging file and hibernation file can be turned off. Whether it affects the speed of your computer will depend on how heavily you use it.

There seems to be a debate all over the web and I can't seem to get a straight answer. I know you covered page file on your website. But can it be disabled, even deleted, if you're using an SSD drive? According to some forum pages, they go so far as to say it's useless along with super fetch and hibernation all in an attempt to free up space for a 60 GB SSD. I thought this would be plenty of space when I ordered my laptop only to see it have 30 GB free the day I received it in the mail. Using Windows 7, 64-bit, and it has 8 GB of RAM.

In this excerpt from Answercast #17, I talk about freeing up disk space from the paging file and what may cause you to decide to turn it back on again.

Delete the page file?

With 8 GB of RAM, it is certainly reasonable to consider turning off the paging file. The short answer is, absolutely, you can turn it off.

The way to do that is to go into the paging file settings and then set the paging file to zero for all drives.

That way, when you reboot, the system won't even try to create one. If there's an existing paging file, you can then just delete it. Just go look at it; delete it like you would any other file. It won't be in use like it normally would and you won't be prevented from deleting it.

Will you have enough memory?

If you've got 8GB of RAM, that could be more than enough.

I ran my desktop for a couple of years with no paging file with 8 GB of RAM. Only recently did I turn it back on because I was starting to do a few things that occasionally would push me past 8 GB of RAM usage.

I think my laptop that I'm recording this on today also has 8 GB of RAM and I believe I have the paging file turned off here too. It works just fine.

What it boils down to though, is that it really depends on how you use your computer:

  • If you run a lot of software simultaneously.

  • Or you run software that uses a lot of memory.

On my desktop, I was trying to run several virtual machines at the same time. Then, you may need a paging file.

But if you're not, if you are just doing the standard stuff like surfing the web, checking email, and some simple things like that, then I'm sure you can get away without it.

Delete hibernation file

Hibernation? Again, yes.

That takes up disk space because it will create (in your case, and in my case) an 8 GB hibernation file.

A hibernation file is basically the size of your installed RAM. I never use hibernation so it's a feature that I immediately turn off when a laptop arrives. That then allows me to go in and delete the hibernation file: hiberfile.sys. So, those are a couple of ways that would free up a fair amount of disk space right away.

Move the files

The other alternative, of course, if you've got a hard disk in the machine, is to move the paging files and hibernation file (in particular) to a different drive.

But then if you start saying, "Am I really getting the speed advantage I wanted out of my SSD?" ...if you want this speed advantage, you kinda sorta want the paging file on the SSD.

So, it gets complicated, but absolutely, you can turn them off.

I recommend that you do so immediately. You probably also want to start taking a look at what other kinds of things are on the C drive that may be moved elsewhere, or removed, for space savings.

I have an article I would point you at, "What are hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys? (And how do I remove them?)" That will run you through the steps to turn both of them off and remove the files: freeing up the disk space.

Article C5337 - May 14, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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4 Comments
Mick
May 15, 2012 1:41 PM

If I remove (or delete) hyberfil.sys, I get error messages from my USP auto-shutdown program section. Apparently it is used to safely shut down the computer during a power failure.

Mark J
May 15, 2012 1:59 PM

@Mick
The most common reason for not being able to delete the hiberfil.sys file is that hibernation is enabled on the computer. Disabling hibernation should allow you to delete hiberfil.sys. If not you might try a tool like Unlocker Assistant.
You might also want to check out this article for more information. Why do my files get locked?

whs
May 16, 2012 1:49 PM

I think you always need a pagefile. When I look into my Resource Monitor on my 8GB desktop, I see a lot of hard faults.

I also think that the system creates an emergency page file if you totally delete it.

Surprisingly memory faults are not neccessarily a sign of page file use or neccessity I don't think. I believe Windows uses a very interesting program load technique where they basically tell the memory manager "OK, these adresses are now backed by the file foo.exe", and then transfers control to the program - which is then loaded by virtue of it not being in memory and causing a page fault. Advantage is that only those portions of the program that are actually used are actually loaded. I though it was clever.
Leo
16-May-2012
Dan B
May 31, 2012 5:34 PM

Concerning moving hiberfil.sys -- I recall from years ago that it must be on the boot drive, as that is the only place the wake-up feature knows to look for it. I don't like this file primarily because it increases the size of disk image files by a very large amount (the size of the hiberfil.sys file, less whatever compression the image has#.

Moving the paging file makes much sense and should be done #as a general rule) on any system with available alternate partitions.

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