How to use hard drive as RAM to make your PC run faster

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Aina Martin
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You know you can use the free storage space on your PC's hard drive and use it as RAM virtual to make your PC run faster? Do you have doubts about what I just wrote, is it true? I'll answer you immediately and with confidence. Yes, it is possible use hard drive as RAM in Windows 10 and earlier versions of the Windows operating system, including Windows 8 and 7.

Why use the hard drive as RAM?

If you have more than 8GB of RAM, you don't need to read this article. But, if you use a PC or laptop with 4 GB of RAM, you'll often feel the need to have more random access memory, and make your PC run faster and apps run efficiently.

Since you don't want to spend any more money on new RAM or your PC won't allow you to install more RAM, you can allocate space from your hard drive to use it as virtual memory. No, your hard drive can never replace RAM, it will never be able to process data like RAM does. This method is only recommended for those users who have no choice but to use their current PC.

How does it work?

Windows uses a optional hidden system file known as a paging file which can be used to extend virtual memory (system memory). The paging file is activated when the applications running on the PC begin to occupy all the physical memory. In such a situation, Windows moves the inactive apps and programs to the paging file located on the hard drive. This allows the PC to allocate more physical memory to more important apps while keeping files inactive but running in virtual memory.

Should I disable virtual memory on a PC with enough RAM?

No. You should not disable virtual memory regardless of the amount of physical memory on your PC. Disabling virtual memory can result in a slow PC under extreme load. Virtual memory on Windows PCs is enabled by default and Windows has set a specific amount of virtual memory space on the hard drive. However, you can further increase the size if needed.

How Much Virtual Memory Do I Need?

As I said earlier, Windows has set up virtual memory for you by default. However, if you feel you need more space, you could increase by around 2GB on top of what is already allocated. Just because you have several gigabytes of hard drive space doesn't mean you have to assign different spaces on your hard drive to virtual memory. To determine how much virtual memory you need, figure out how much your PC eats up all the memory, i.e. physical + virtual memory combined. Here's how to do it.

  1. On your PC, run all the apps you usually run usually.
  2. Then, right-click on the taskbar and select Task Manager.
  3. Go to Performance tab and click Memory.
  4. The section displays the physical memory + virtual memory. If your PC is using all memory or nearly 90% of the memory, you may need to increase virtual memory.

Use the hard drive as RAM

Increasing the size of virtual memory is not a difficult task, but knowing how to do it and do it correctly is important. If you are unsure how to do this, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the key right on Start button and select Control Panel.
  2. click on System and security and select System.
  3. In the left pane, click Advanced system settings.
  4. In the window Advanced of the window Property of  work, click the button Settings in the section Performances.
  5. To open the Advanced tab in the window Performance options.
  6. Click the Change button in Virtual Memory section.

Here you have more options to configure virtual memory. At the bottom of the window, you can see the memory currently allocated.

For single unit PC: keep the option selected " Automatically manage paging file size for all drives " .

For PC with multiple drives: if you have multiple drives or multiple SSDs, you can assign the paging file to one of the SSD partitions to improve performance. You can also manually assign the paging file to one of the HDD units.

To do this, select all SSD or HDD drives and uncheck the “Automatically manage paging file size for all drives” option except the HDD you want to use as virtual memory.

Manually allocate virtual memory

If you want to manually assign virtual memory on your hard drive, here's how.

  1. Select the HDD you want to use and uncheck "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives. "
  2. Select Custom sizes and enter Initial size in MB and Maximum size in MB. Make sure you keep the initial size above i 200 MB.
  3. Click the button Tax to set the paging file size for the drive.
  4. Do click su OK per salvare I modified it.

After that, you may be prompted to restart your PC. You can start your PC immediately or restart it later.

Now that you have virtual memory set up you should see a performance boost next time your PC is under strain. But remember not to allocate too much space for virtual memory when setting it up manually.

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