Q

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?

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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