Using MMC to Change Pagefile Size

Lately, I've been using various Microsoft Management Console (MMC) snap-ins that let you manage your computer resources, rather than using command line tools or other utilities that give you access to the same information. I thought using the common console would make life a little easier, but for the most part, it has yet to do that. I still get the urge to go back to the command line or wish for the old Windows NT 4.0 utilities, but I'm trying to get as comfortable with the MMC interface as I am with the old-fashioned way of doing things. However, I've noticed that the computer's behavior might not be the same depending on where you make system changes. Specifically, I recently noticed that using the MMC Computer Management snap-in to change a system's pagefile size doesn't always work.

In the past, when I wanted to modify the pagefile on any Windows 2000 system, I simply right-clicked My Computer, selected Properties from the context menu, clicked Advanced, Performance Options, and selected Change under Virtual Memory. I've never noticed a problem with this procedure and didn't really expect to encounter any when I made pagefile changes using the Computer Management snap-in.

To change the pagefile size using the Computer Management snap-in, launch Start, Programs, Administrative Tools, Computer Management. Right-click Computer Management (Local) at the top of the tree-view pane and select Properties. You'll see a slimmed-down version of the Properties applet you would see under My Computer. Click the Advanced tab to see the same options as in the paragraph above. When you modify the pagefile settings, you use the same interface provided in the System Properties applet (as found in the Control Panel or under My Computer, Properties). Everything looks the same, so there's little reason to presume that it wouldn't behave the same. But for some reason, using the Computer Management snap-in to change the pagefile doesn't always result in the pagefile size changing after you reboot the system. For that reason, I suggest you use the System Properties applet to make this change.

This week's tip:
I know that some of you really enjoy editing the registry, so here's how to change your pagefile size using a registry edit. You can also look here to see whether your pagefile changes have actually changed.

  1. Open regedit.
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory management.
  3. In the right pane, double-click the PagingFiles entry. This is a REG_MULTI_SZ data type, and it contains one line for each drive that has a pagefile. For example, the notebook I'm using has the line C:\pagefile.sys 192 384. The format is driveletter:\pagefile.sys minsize maxsize.
  4. Make your changes and exit regedit. Reboot the system to apply those changes.
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