Swap File

What Does Swap File Mean?

A swap file is a Microsoft Windows hard disk drive file (HDD) that provides virtual memory to its OS and programs and supplements the system’s existing solid state physical memory.


A swap file is also known as a swap space, page file, pagefile or paging file.

Techopedia Explains Swap File

Introduced to supplement physical PC memory limitations, swap files are still used in operating systems like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008, as virtual memory is a cheaper alternative to magnetic media. A typical swap file is equal to or larger than the system’s total installed physical memory. The exact size is based on the OS and amount of physical memory, as well as applicable personal and/or corporate policies and preferences.

Although swap files provide additional system memory, the data stored in swap files is typically less active or idle because HDD transfer and access speeds are much lower than solid state memory.


Related Terms

Latest Privacy and Compliance Terms

Related Reading

Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…