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(sometimes known as a swap file, or paging file)is the operating system's way of creating what amounts to artificial RAM on your hard drive.
When the system starts to run out of RAM - when running big files in multiple applications for instance - it uses a reserved space on the hard drive to create a temporary storage space. It does this dynamically, in other words the virtual memory space increases and decreases in size as and when it's needed, up to the pre-set limit.
You'll usually be aware of the system doing this, because you'll hear the hard drive working hard as the operating system shuffles data back and forth into and out of the swap file. This 'artificial' RAM is slower to access than 'real' RAM, so there's an associated performance loss, and if you find your hard drive is churning away on a regular basis you would be best advised to increase the installed RAM.
You can adjust the amount of space set aside for the swap file, and you do this by going to the system properties section in Control panel - the exact location differs slightly, depending on which version of Windows you use. Increase the swap file size to approximately two and a half times the installed RAM (assuming your Hard drive has sufficient space).
In your case I would first look to doubling the size of your installed RAM.
in my performance options, in advanced ,where it says memory usage, it was set to programs:::: if i change that to the other option (system cache) would that make any difference
Go to 512 Mb of Ram and take it from there.
You can also see some idea of what FE is talking about if you download Cacheman (Its free), and see how things perform as you can reset your Virtual memory with that or make it to your requirements.
It will tell you I think to get that extra RAM when you see your results and performance change.
You can always delete Cacheman when you have finished "Playing" with it. Its an interesting little programme.
I don`t know the price of RAM at present but its usually a good price at Crucial.(Hi Peter I hope you had a good Christmas)
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