Pagefile.sys Huge: What Is It and Can I Delete It?

If the pagefile.sys huge in your Windows 10/11, and Server computers, you can read this passage to get close to the file and learn to safely and effectively handle with it.


By Irene / Updated on March 27, 2024

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User case: pagefile.sys huge, larger than 20GB!


I run Windows 10 with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. I'm constantly bombarded with warnings about low memory, and Windows wants me to close some applications. After investigation, I noticed the pagefile system. I let Windows handle all memory allocation, so now it grabs 20GB of my HD space and still throws errors about insufficient memory.  But I don't know what is pagefile, sys. I have to restart my PC at least once a day to clear the memory issue, but it always returns. Why is Windows having so much trouble with memory allocation, and what is the fix?

- Question from Microsoft Community


Many Windows users, especially those using Windows 10/11 sometimes will find a large pagefile.sys taking up much space on their computer, with Windows warning about low memory and ask you to close some applications. Even if you restart your computer every day and try to clear the memory problem, it will appear again soon. So you might want to know: what is pagefile.sys exactly and is it safe to delete? In the next part, we'll give you detailed information and share some simple fixes to help you.

About pagefile.sys in Windows

In this section, you can know all about the pagefile.sys on your Windows PC. We will separately explain what it pagefile.sys, why it is so large, and can you delete the large pagefile.sys.

What is pagefile.sys?

Pagefile.sys is an important system file in Windows that is used as virtual memory in systems like Windows 10, Windows 11, and Windows Server. It is generally stored in the root directory of the system (C:) drive and helps expand available memory by storing data that cannot fit in physical RAM.

This data has several functions, including optimizing memory usage, supporting system failover dumps, and facilitating the operation of certain applications such as domain controllers and certificate servers.

Why the pagefile.sys large?

Why do the pagefile.sys gets so large, even up to 20 GB or more? The answer is complicated. pagefile.sys serves as swap memory to enhance data exchange between primary and secondary memory. Since it stores multiple blocks of data, the file will naturally grow over time.

Besides, its size depends on system memory and the frequency of system crash dumps. It may also reflect the amount of physical memory installed. That is to say, if the memory is 64 GB, the page file might be 64 GB as well. But the size of the page file varies from system to system and cannot be simply generalized.

Is it safe to delete the large pagefile.sys?

Can you delete the pagefile.sys that is large? It is generally not recommended to delete pagefile.sys as it is a significant part of Windows memory management. However, if you have enough memory (such as 16GB or more), it may be relatively safe to delete it to extend your drive space.

But if you delete it, your computer's physical memory will be probably exhausted, it will run slower, and Windows may even crash if the situation gets worse. Applications can also slow down or crash because there is no space to store necessary data. Therefore, it is better to think twice before deleting the huge pagefile.sys unless your physical memory needs exceed your installed memory capacity.

How to safely fix pagefile.sys large problem and extend drive space?

Since the pagefile sys. is bound to the normal Windows running, you may worry about the consequences of deleting it. Here we will guide you to safely handle with it and effectively extend the drive space. But if you have accidentally removed them, don’t be fret, you can also learn to easily recover it in this passage.

Method 1. Manage the huge pagefile.sys in Control Panel

If you directly select the file and press the Delete key (or simultaneously hit Shift+D keys), you probably will see the notice: "The action can't be completed because the file is open in another program." So, to manage the arge pagefile.sys in your Windows PCs, you need to go to the Control Panel and make some adjustment to safely troubleshoot huge pagefile.sys.

Step 1. Press Win + S on the keyboard, type control panel in the search box, and then press the Enter key. In Control Panel, type advanced system in the search box and then click System.


Step 2. Under the Advanced tab, choose Settings under the Performance heading.


Step 3. In the Performance Options window, choose the Advanced tab, and then you can see the size of the pagefile.sys file.


Step 4. Then, click the Change button. If you want to remove pagefile.sys, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives and choose No paging file. Then, click the Set option and click OK.


Step 6. If you want to control the size of pagefile.sys, uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives and choose Custom size.

You can set the initial size to 2048MB and the maximum size to 4096MB to see how your system performs. Try increasing these values if you get an out of memory or performance degradation error.

Method 2. Clean junk files on your drives

Except for large pagefile.sys data, the system also generates many temporary files and small data files when running tasks, many of which are outdated or junk files. These useless files clutter the disk, especially the C drive, and consume a large amount of disk space. If you've never cleaned them before, you may find these files occupying more than ten gigabytes of space.

To keep the system and disk in good condition, it is recommended to regularly remove junk files. AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard is a free and powerful tool that can thoroughly clear unnecessary data from your computer. You can even preserve important pagefile.sys files to avoid system instability. This method is intelligent and safe for expanding drive space.

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Step 1. Install and launch AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard, and then click "Free up" > "PC Cleaner" in turn.

PC Cleaner

Step 2. In the pop-up window, click "Start Scan" to scan for junk files on your Windows PC.

Start scan

Step 3. Wait until the scanning process completes.


Step 4. After the scan is completed, all kinds of available junk files will be listed. Then, tick the options you want to clean, then click "Clean All" to begin the cleaning process.

After scanning

Step 5. When you see a correct symbol displayed in the interface, you can click "Back" to exit the Window.

Finish clean

Method 3. Allocate free space

As the C drive generally stores important files like the pagefile.sys, you probably don’t want to remove it or other files you're unfamiliar with due to data safety considerations. At this time, it's a good idea to upgrade to AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. It features a robust feature called "Allocate Free Space," which allows you to directly allocate free space from one drive to another without deleting anything or risking data loss. Here, we will demonstrate how to quickly move space from the D drive to the system drive in just 3 steps.

Step 1. Right click partition D and select Allocate Free Space.

Allocate Free Space

Step 2. Set how much space you want to allocate form partition D and choose C partition as a target partition.

Allocate From D To C

Step 3. Preview the result after allocation. If that’s what you want, just click "Apply" on upper left to carry out the operation, or you can click Discard behind Apply and do the operations above once more.

Apply Allocate Free Space

Tip: How to restore pagefile.sys

If you have deleted the huge pagefile.sys and find that your system becomes unstable, you can easily recover it with the help of AOMEI Partition Assistant Professional. Its Recover Data function can assist you to restore lost data from many complex scenarios, such as system crashing, formatting, virus attack, accidental deletion, and so on.

However, if the problem is severe that cause Windows keeping crashing or even not booting properly, you should first try booting into Safe Mode to have a repair. To do so, please check out our guide on how to boot into Safe Mode in Windows 11.

 Step 1. Click Recover Recover Data on the main interface.

Recover Data

Step 2. Select the drive where the deleted data stored and click Start Scan.

Recover Windows Data

Step 3. When the scan finish, all deleted files will be listed. Then, choose the target file you want to recover and click Recover file.

Select Recover Data

Step 4. Here, select a path to save the recovered file.

Select Saved Path

Step 5. When the recover is over, click OK to exit it.



With this guide, the pagefile.sys huge problem can be effectively fixed. If you want to further expand the drive space, it is advisable to try App Mover, Merge Partitions, Delete Large Files, Find Duplicate Files provided by AOMEI Partition Assistant. For Windows Server users to run this powerful tool on their devices, kindly please turn to the Server edition.

Irene · Staff Editor
Irene is an Editor of AOMEI Technology. She devotes herself in giving insightful thoughts on common computer problems with simple and clear guidance. Irene loves to help people solve problems and explore more solutions on relevant issues. She loves reading, singing and travelling.