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What are the standards for setting the paging file size for Windows 2000?

I have a question about virtual memory on Windows 2000 desktop machines. What are the standards for setting the paging file size? For instance, if my initial paging file size is 768 then what should the maximum size area be set to?

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This is a really good question, because a lot of controversy has raged about this particular subject, most of it completely misinformed. With Windows 2000 Service Pack 1 and above, the best answer is to let the machine judge the size of the virtual memory file for itself. From Service Pack 1 on out, a number of under-the-hood changes were made to the memory manager that made it much more self-tuning, and the internal tunings provided by Windows are likely going to be a lot better than any guesswork on the part of the user (even if it's educated guesswork). When you set the pagefile size in the Virtual Memory window, the program will list a "Recommended" setting; the best "Initial Size" setting is this "Recommended" setting, with a "Maximum" size of twice that.

This was first published in January 2004

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