How to increase Virtual Memory (page file) in Windows 11

by Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim Ali Alvi
Kazim has always been fond of technology, be it scrolling through the settings on his iPhone, Android device, or Windows. And at times, unscrewing the device to take... read more
Affiliate Disclosure
  • Virtual memory acts as RAM when the latter is full, thus freeing up space and improving the system's performance. So, check how to increase virtual memory in Windows 11.
  • When increasing the virtual memory, make sure to keep it 1.5-3 times the available RAM on your computer.
  • Also, find out how to increase the video memory in Windows 11.
Increase virtual memory in Windows 11

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If you are noticing a certain lag when running high-end applications or games, it could be that the RAM/memory generally runs full. This is where increasing the virtual memory or page file size in Windows 11 comes to aid.

Virtual memory or page file is one of the most misunderstood concepts, and there are a lot of myths surrounding it. No matter what others say or do, a thorough understanding of it is imperative to get the best performance from your computer.

In the following sections, we will walk you through the steps to increase virtual memory in Windows 11, help understand its importance, and the optimal virtual memory size.

Why do I need virtual memory?

The page file or virtual memory is basically a portion of your hard disk in use as the RAM. This becomes useful when the memory fills up and is unable to store any more data.

To understand it better, let’s take an example. Say, the available memory on your computer is 4 GB and the programs currently running require more than that. In such a case, many of these programs would crash in the absence of virtual memory.

Even if you have sufficient RAM, there’s no harm in allocating a certain space on your storage drive to the page file. Because it’s better to have virtual memory and not use it rather than not having it at all.

Also, it’s important to mention here that Windows can on its own take care of the virtual memory or page file. But, if you are facing freezing or lagging issues in Windows 11, increasing it manually might help.

What is a good virtual memory size for Windows 11?

Every person uses the computer differently, likewise, the optimal size for virtual memory will also be different. While some run video editing apps or play games which consume high resources, others may use the computer for tasks that are relatively lighter.

For both these types of users, a good virtual memory size wouldn’t be the same. While the former would require a higher virtual memory, the latter might be better off with the bare minimum.

Microsoft recommends that you keep the size of virtual memory between 1.5 to 3 times the available RAM on your computer. So, to set or increase the page file, you would first need to check the RAM on a Windows 11 system.

Available memory in Windows 11

Once you have checked the available RAM, you can easily set up the virtual memory or page file in Windows 11. As an example, say the available memory is 4 GB, so the minimum virtual memory to be set up is 4 x 1.5= 6GB while the maximum would be 4 x 3 = 12 GB.

Also, the page file is, by default, stored in the system drive, i.e., where Windows is stored, though you can change it.

So, if you have configured the settings such that protected operating system files and hidden items are both visible, there would be a pagefile.sys entry in the C: drive.

Page File in C: drive

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Now that you know the best virtual memory size, let’s help you understand how to increase the virtual memory in Windows 11.

How can I increase the Virtual Memory in Windows 11?

  1. Press Windows + S to launch the Search menu, enter View advanced system settings in the text field at the top, and click on the relevant search result that appears.View advanced system settings to increase virtual memory windows 11
  2. In the Advanced tab, click on the Settings button under Performance.Settings
  3. Navigate to the Advanced tab in Performance Options window.Advanced to increase virtual memory in Windows 11
  4. Next, click on Change under the Virtual memory.Change
  5. Untick the checkbox for Automatically manage paging file size for all drives.Untick checkbox to to increase virtual memory in Windows 11
  6. If Windows was managing the virtual memory earlier, it’s best to clear the previously set value and then increase it. To do that, click on the drive with System managed listed, select No paging file, and click on Set.No paging file
  7. Click Yes on the confirmation prompt that pops up.Click Yes
  8. Now, choose a drive or partition from the list, select the Custom size option and enter the same value under Initial size and Maximum size fields in MB (1GB=1024MB), taking cue from the previous section.Enter values to to increase virtual memory in Windows 11
  9. Once done, click on Set and then on OK at the bottom to save the changes.Click Set to to increase virtual memory in Windows 11
  10. Next, restart the computer for the changes to come into effect.

You now know how to increase virtual memory or page file size in Windows 11, and can use it to boost the system performance.

But, remember that, though virtual memory works the same way as the available RAM, it’s certainly not as fast. Read the next section to understand all about it.

Which is faster, RAM or Virtual Memory?

RAM is considerably faster than virtual memory, therefore, the latter only comes into the picture when the former is full.

To understand it better, let’s take an example. Say, you have multiple programs running on the system, some of which are minimized, and you haven’t checked them in a while.

When you open that program, it will take a little longer to load it, thus indicating that the OS moved it to virtual memory to free up space on the RAM.

Also, RAM is comparatively expensive and has to be increased by adding more chips. While virtual memory, on the other hand, can be easily increased since it’s located on the storage drive. So, if you have free storage, increasing virtual memory shouldn’t be a problem.

Due to the speed limitation of virtual memory or page file, it’s always recommended to store it on the fastest drive. For instance, if you have both an HDD and SSD, it’s best to store the page file on the SSD, owing to faster data processing speed.

How do I increase my dedicated video memory Windows 11?

Video memory or VRAM is another critical aspect when running apps that deliver high-end graphics. So. if you receive warnings that the graphics memory is full, it’s time to increase the dedicated video memory in Windows 11.

Other than games, some of the best video editing software too require high graphics, and in the absence of sufficient graphics memory or VRAM, you are bound to face issues when running these.

So, check our dedicated guide to find out how to increase video memory in Windows 11.

That’s all there’s to increasing virtual memory in Windows 11. Once you have increased it using the steps listed here, the computer should perform better and applications should stop crashing, if that was the case earlier.

Also, check what to do if Windows 11 is not using all the available RAM in Windows 11.

Tell us whether increasing the virtual memory helped your system perform better, in the comments section below.

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