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Saturday, March 9, 2013

What is hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys and How Do I Delete It?

What is hiberfil.sys Anyway?
Windows has two power management modes that you can choose from: one is Sleep Mode, which keeps the PC running in a low power state so you can almost instantly get back to what you were working on. The other is Hibernate mode, which completely writes the memory out to the hard drive, and then powers the PC down entirely, so you can even take the battery out, put it back in, start back up, and be right back where you were.
Hibernate mode uses the hiberfil.sys file to store the the current state (memory) of the PC, and since it’s managed by Windows, you can’t delete the file.

So if you never use it, and want to disable Hibernate mode, keep reading. Personally I stick with Sleep Mode the vast majority of the time, but I do use Hibernate quite often.
Disable Hibernate (and Delete hiberfil.sys) in Windows 7 or Vista
You’ll need to open an administrator mode command prompt by right-clicking on the command prompt in the start menu, and then choosing Run as Administrator. Once you’re there, type in the following command:
powercfg -h off

You should immediately notice that the Hibernate option is gone from the Shut down menu.

You’ll also notice that the file is magically gone!

It's the system paging file - your virtual memory or "swap file". It's where Windows "swaps out" memory contents to make room for other things when the combination of software you're running requires more RAM than you actually have.
Pagefile.sys is always locked by the system as long as you have virtual memory enabled. That's also a clue as to one way to get rid of it: turn off virtual memory.
Or, if you prefer, move it to another drive.
In Windows XP, right click on My Computer, click on Properties, click on the Advanced tab, in the Performance section click on the Settings button, click on the Advanced tab, and finally click on theChange button within the Virtual Memory section.
In Windows Vista, the steps are similar: in the start menu right click on Computer, click on Properties, click on Advanced System Settings, in the Performance section click on the Settings button, click on the Advanced tab, and finally click on the Change button within the Virtual Memory section. In the resulting dialog you may also need to uncheck "Automatically manage paging file size for all drives" to be able to take control of settings yourself.
Here's mine, in Windows XP:
Virtual Memory Settings
As you can see, you can select the size of the virtual memory file to be used per drive. I currently have "No paging file" on my C: drive, my system drive - there is no pagefile.sys there.

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