Lots of scraps of data get stored in the pagefile, so does it make sense to wipe the file at shutdown?
It can take a long time to wipe a large pagefile, delaying shutdown by full minutes in some cases.
The pros and cons of regularly wiping pagefiles
Reader Sue M. is weighing the tradeoffs between high security and ease of use.
- “I can find tons of information about how to clear the pagefile in Windows but very little about why.
“How important is it to clear the pagefile? All other things being equal, it seems a good idea, but all other things aren’t equal. It slows shutdown speed by a factor of 10 or so. What do you think, Fred?”
The short answer? I don’t think wiping the pagefile is worth the time or trouble.
The pagefile (aka swapfile or virtual memory) is a large, temporary scratchpad area that Windows uses to hold live code and data that won’t fit into RAM.
As you run programs and load data, Windows calculates which code and data are likely to be needed in the immediate future. That’s the stuff it keeps in RAM — a PC’s fastest memory system.