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Windows XP/System performance XP


I am trying to trouble shoot a problem and one of the areas I looked at was System Performance.  There is something I don't understand.  In Control Panel and then System Properties and under the Advanced tab, Performance, Settings, Advanced, Virtual Memory information---I find the space available in the C drive is 20556MB.  In the custom set up I have Initial size of 1512MB and Maximum size of 3024MB.  Fine.  But below that is the Total paging file size for all drives.  It has a minimum of 2MB.  Recommended of 5505MB and Currently allocated of 1512MB.  I don't understand how the Recommended of 5505MB is even bigger than the Maximum size.  What is that telling me?

Hi Art,

The Recommended Virtual Memory Page File Size is usually, by Default, a suggestion of 1.5 x the amount of physical memory (RAM) in a system as a Minimum, and 3x the amount of memory you have in your system as a Maximum (it may suggest more however). This is merely Windows’ recommendation of course, and you may set a Virtual Memory page file size of whatever you wish, or disable it completely. The fact that it differs from your selected Maximum is merely informing you that Windows is suggesting to have it larger than what you have set, but you need not change it at all, if you wish to leave it as you have it.

Here is a page from Microsoft that gives some basic information on Virtual Memory and other Performance considerations for Windows XP; but for the most part, you may choose whatever values you wish for the Minimum and Maximum limitations of the Page File. If you are unsure of what size the Virtual Memory Page File should be, allowing Windows to decide by choosing the System Managed radio button will allow the amounts to be automatically set:
At that page, there are also some explanations of concepts and suggestions for other settings as well. Overall, if you are familiar with setting the Virtual Memory Page File sizes, it is completely fine to have it less than the suggested Maximum amount indicated.

I hope that starts you off at least, Art!

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Troy M. MCSE, CNA, MCP, CST, IC3, Aplus


Hi there! Even though I am relatively new around here, I have been having great fun with PCs for over two decades now, becoming familiar with Windows through versions 3.x/9x/Me/2000/XP/2003/7/8/10. I enjoy helping others with what I feel is an exciting industry - computers are always changing, improving and offering new opportunities for learning. I look forward to assisting you with questions concerning Windows, how it interacts with your PC Hardware, configuration/settings or just general tips and ideas. Besides troubleshooting questions, feel free to ask the basics, as well. I will always start there, and I firmly believe that there is no such thing as a dumb question - we are all ‘Beginners’ at one time or another!


I am an A+ Certified, Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with Computer Service Technician and LAN Administration diplomas and over 15 years direct experience with PCs including assembly, troubleshooting/support and upgrading. I have worked for retail outlets, schools and businesses, and have been an Instructor in the past as well – helping others, just like you, understand and enjoy computers!

MCSE (Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer), CNA (Certified Novell Administrator), MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), CST (Computer Service Technician (Formerly Computer Engineering Technician)(Hardware/OS servicing Diploma), IC3 (Internet and Core Computing Certification)(Hardware/OperatingSystem/Internet Fundamentals Certification), A+ (Computing Technology Industry Association Hardware/Operating System Certification)

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