When Virtual Memory Overflows: Strategies for Controlling Pagefile Size


“I’ve encountered a persistent issue with the virtual memory on my newly built PC, where the pagefile expands excessively, reaching sizes greater than 90GB, necessitating a system restart to resolve. This occurs regardless of whether the pagefile is system-managed or set manually. With 32GB of DDR5 RAM installed, I suspect a memory leak may be at play, but I’m unable to pinpoint the responsible program. Could you provide your expert guidance on this matter?”


Excessive pagefile growth on a PC can be a perplexing issue, particularly when it balloons to sizes upwards of 90GB. This not only hampers system performance but also necessitates frequent restarts, which is far from ideal. The problem persists irrespective of whether the pagefile size is managed automatically by Windows or configured manually, indicating that the underlying cause is not related to the pagefile settings themselves.

Given that you have a substantial 32GB of DDR5 RAM, it’s reasonable to suspect a memory leak as the culprit. A memory leak occurs when a program fails to release memory that it no longer needs, causing the occupied memory to grow over time and potentially leading to excessive pagefile usage.

To pinpoint the program responsible for the memory leak, you can use the Windows Task Manager or Resource Monitor. These tools provide real-time data on the resources each process is using. Here’s how you can use them:


Task Manager

: Press `Ctrl+Shift+Esc` to open the Task Manager. Go to the ‘Processes’ tab and sort the list by the ‘Memory’ column to see which processes are using the most RAM.


Resource Monitor

: Access it by typing ‘Resource Monitor’ in the start menu search bar. Once open, click on the ‘Memory’ tab for a more detailed view of memory usage.

Mitigating the Issue

Once you’ve identified the program with abnormal memory usage, you can take several steps:

  • Update or Reinstall

    : Check for updates for the identified program, as updates often contain fixes for known issues, including memory leaks.

  • Contact Support

    : If the issue persists after updating, consider reaching out to the software’s support team for assistance.

  • Alternative Software

    : If no solution is forthcoming, you may need to look for alternative software that performs similar functions without causing a memory leak.

  • Preventive Measures

    To prevent future occurrences, ensure that all your software, especially drivers and system updates, are kept up-to-date. Developers regularly release patches that fix memory management issues.


    An excessively large pagefile is often symptomatic of a deeper issue, such as a memory leak. By methodically monitoring and updating your software, you can usually resolve these issues. If problems persist, professional assistance may be necessary to delve deeper into the system’s behavior and rectify the underlying cause.

    Remember, while a system restart may temporarily fix the issue, it’s crucial to address the root cause to ensure the smooth operation of your PC in the long term.

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