Navigating Paging File Issues: Returning to Optimal Drive Configuration


“I’ve encountered an unusual issue with my computer’s paging file configuration. Initially, I resolved a gaming performance problem by relocating the paging file from my HDD (D drive) to my SSD (C drive), which resulted in improved frame rates. However, despite setting the paging file to the C drive, my external HDD (E drive) is now unexpectedly bearing the workload. This is perplexing because I haven’t made any changes to the E drive settings. I’m seeking to revert to the previous arrangement where the paging file was on the C drive, and the D drive managed the workload. Can you provide guidance on how to address this issue? I’m concerned that the E drive’s slower speed, being an external drive, might affect my system’s performance, as indicated by the noticeable change in fan speed during startup. My goal is to shift the workload back to the D drive for better reliability.”


A user has come forward with a rather intriguing problem regarding their computer’s paging file setup. After successfully enhancing gaming performance by moving the paging file from an HDD (D drive) to an SSD (C drive), they’ve now noticed that their external HDD (E drive) is unexpectedly handling the workload. This shift occurred without any intentional changes to the E drive’s settings, leading to concerns about potential performance issues due to the E drive’s slower speed as an external device.

The Objective:

The user’s primary goal is to restore the previous configuration where the paging file was set on the C drive, with the D drive absorbing the workload, thereby ensuring better system reliability and performance.

Expert Analysis and Solution:

To address this issue, we must first understand the role of the paging file. The paging file, or swap file, is a component of the virtual memory system in Windows operating systems. It acts as an overflow area that the system can use when the physical RAM is full. The location and management of this file can significantly impact system performance, especially when dealing with resource-intensive tasks like gaming.

Here are the steps to troubleshoot and resolve the paging file configuration issue:


Verify Paging File Settings:

  • Open the System Properties dialog by pressing `Win + Pause/Break` or by right-clicking ‘This PC’ and selecting ‘Properties’.
  • Navigate to ‘Advanced system settings’ and under the ‘Performance’ section, click on ‘Settings’.
  • Go to the ‘Advanced’ tab and under ‘Virtual memory’, click on ‘Change’.
  • Ensure that the paging file is indeed set to the C drive and that no paging file exists for the E drive.
  • 2.

Check Drive Activity:

  • Use the Resource Monitor or Task Manager to observe the disk activity. This will confirm whether the E drive is actually being used excessively and for what processes.
  • 3.

System File Check:

  • Run the System File Checker tool to ensure there are no system file corruptions that might be causing misconfigurations. Open Command Prompt as an administrator and type `sfc /scannow`.
  • 4.

Drive Health Check:

  • Perform a health check on the E drive using disk checking tools to rule out any hardware issues that might be causing abnormal behavior.
  • 5.

Reconfigure Paging File:

  • If the settings are correct and no system or hardware issues are found, try disabling the paging file, rebooting the system, and then re-enabling it on the C drive to reset the configuration.
  • 6.

Consult Event Logs:

  • Check the Windows Event Viewer for any system logs that might indicate why the E drive is being utilized unexpectedly.
  • 7.

External Factors:

  • Consider any recent software installations or system updates that might have altered the paging file behavior.
  • 8.

Professional Assistance:

  • If the issue persists, it may be wise to seek professional technical support to delve deeper into the system’s configuration.


The unexpected shift of workload to the E drive is indeed unusual, especially when no changes have been made to its settings. By methodically checking the system’s configuration and health, one can often resolve such issues. It’s crucial to ensure that the paging file is optimally configured to maintain system stability and performance, particularly for gaming applications where speed is essential. With careful analysis and the right adjustments, the user should be able to revert to the desired paging file setup and enjoy a seamless gaming experience.

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