Whether it is just a matter of curiosity or a genuine need to know before adjusting the size of the file on your own computer, just how large can a Windows page file actually be? Today’s SuperUser Q&A post has the answer to a curious reader’s question.

Today’s Question & Answer session comes to us courtesy of SuperUser—a subdivision of Stack Exchange, a community-driven grouping of Q&A web sites.

The Question

SuperUser reader Marina Dunst wants to know the maximum size that a Windows Page File can be:

I know that the recommended size for a Windows page file (C:\Pagefile.sys) is around 1.5 to 2 times the amount of RAM. Out of curiosity, what is the maximum size that a Windows Page File can be?

The Answer

SuperUser contributors Steven, Ramhound, and Techie007 have the answer for us. First up, Steven:

The size limit on Windows 7 is 16TB.

Source: Learn Best Practices for Optimizing the Virtual Memory Configuration [Microsoft TechNet]

When attempting to set a larger amount, Windows will display the error:

This limit is also the maximum file size for a file on Windows 7 NTFS.

Source: NTFS [Wikipedia]

The maximum file size for NTFS on Windows 8 and 10 is larger, but it is unclear if a larger Page File is allowed.

Followed by Ramhound:

Based on my research, the maximum Page File size for Windows 8 and 10 is identical to that of Windows 7. The process for changing the Page File’s size has not changed, which means the exact same logic is used.

And our final answer from Techie007:

I believe that 32-bit versions of Windows can only handle Page Files up to 4GB in size.

Have something to add to the explanation? Sound off in the comments. Want to read more answers from other tech-savvy Stack Exchange users? Check out the full discussion thread here.

Akemi Iwaya
Akemi Iwaya has been part of the How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media team since 2009. She has previously written under the pen name "Asian Angel" and was a Lifehacker intern before joining How-To Geek/LifeSavvy Media. She has been quoted as an authoritative source by ZDNet Worldwide.
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