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What is an .SWP file and can I safely delete it?

Recently a file taking up over 104 million bytes of space called WIN386.SWP appeared in my directory. What is a .SWP file and can I safely delete it?

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The .SWP file is more commonly known as the "swap" file, and is used by the system to "swap" out memory to the disk, temporarily. Windows uses this as a way of increasing the amount of memory available on the system, a method called virtual memory. Unless you turn off virtual memory, this file won't go away; in fact, having virtual memory turned on is a good thing. In short, this file is used by Windows for normal operations and should not be deleted.

This was first published in February 2002

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