Thursday, March 22, 2007

Windows XP: Clear Your Paging File at Shutdown

Note: This is an advanced tip, and should only be preformed by those familiar with the process of modifying the Windows registry. Remember to backup your registry database and your data before performing any registry modification. Also as always perform this modification as your own risk.
Did you know that the contents of your computers RAM is constantly being written to the hard drive. This is because the Windows Virtual Memory feature (VM) uses a file called PAGEFILE.SYS to hold the contents of RAM.

The reason for this is that all operating systems that have a VM feature use the hard drive as a temporary storage medium for the contents of the RAM. This allows the OS make your applications think they have more physical RAM then they really do.

If you're concerned about people reading the contents of the PAGEFILE.SYS file on your computer, for privacy or security reasons you can have Windows delete this file when your computer shuts down. This will prevent someone from being able to easily access its contents.
Note: By having the PAGEFILE.SYS file cleared when turning off your computer will significantly slowdown the shutdown and boot-up process. The reason is file has to be deleted and created during each of these processes.
To enable this feature:
  • Open the Registry Editor
  • Navigate to the following location: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management
  • Change the value of ClearPageFileAtShutdown to 1.
  • Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer.

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