Clear the Windows Paging File at Shutdown, the Microsoft way!

While one can always use our Ultimate Windows Tweaker to set Windows to delete the Page File on every shutdown easily, you can also use a Fix It released by Microsoft. Cleaning the page-file on every shutdown means overwriting the data by zeros, and it takes time. This will increase shutdown time.

But if you work on confidential documents, then you may want to have this setting ‘on’. When you load such documents, they are loaded into RAM. To save RAM Windows places certain items in the page file. Hence you may want to delete page file at every shutdown, in such cases.

Some third-party programs can temporarily store unencrypted (plain-text) passwords or other sensitive information in memory. Because of the Windows virtual memory architecture, this information can be present in the paging file.

Although clearing the paging file is not a suitable substitute for physical security of a computer, you might want to do this to increase the security of data on a computer while Windows is not running.

Running this Microsoft Fix It available at KB314834, clears the Windows paging file (Pagefile.sys) during the shutdown process, so that no unsecured data is contained in the paging file when the shutdown process is complete.

If you want you can also clear the paging file manually! To do so open regedit and navigate to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\

Right-click on Memory Management and select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.
Name the DWORD value ClearPageFileAtShutdown.
Double-click on the DWORD value and type 1, in the value data box.

That’s it! To reverse the process, type 0 (zero) in the value box instead!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.