Paging file functionality requires system account permissions and proper size

Article translations Article translations
Article ID: 259151 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q259151
For a Microsoft Windows XP version of this article, see 315270.
Expand all | Collapse all


You may receive the following error message while Windows starts:
The system has no paging file, or the paging file is too small.
However, if you look at the configuration settings for the paging file, the settings may seem to be correct.


This error message may occur if the System account does not have the correct NTFS permissions on the volume on which the paging file is configured.


To resolve this issue:
  1. Click Start, point to Programs, point to Accessories, and then click Windows Explorer.
  2. In the left pane, expand My Computer, and then click the drive that contains the paging file. Typically, this is the system drive unless you specified otherwise during Windows Setup.

    NOTE: The paging file (the Pagefile.sys file) is a hidden operating system file. To view these files:
    1. On the Tools menu, click Folder Options.
    2. Click the View tab.
    3. Click to clear the Hide protected operating system files (Recommended) check box. (Note that you may want to select this check box again when you finish this procedure to help protect the system files.)
    4. Click Yes when you are prompted to verify the change, and then click OK.
  3. On the File menu, click Properties. Click the Security tab to view the current permissions.
  4. Click Add, click System, and then click Add.
  5. Click Administrators, click Add, and then click OK. Note that you must click Administrators, not Administrator.
  6. Click System, and then click to select the Full Control check box. This automatically selects the other check boxes.
  7. Click Administrators, and then click to select the Full Control check box. This automatically selects the other check boxes.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Click Start, point to Settings, click Control Panel, and then double-click System.
  10. On the Advanced tab, click Performance Options.
  11. In the Virtual Memory section, note the Total paging file size for all drives value, and then click Change.
  12. Click the drive that contains the paging file. The System and Administrator accounts now have Full Control permissions on this drive so that you can make changes.
  13. In the Initial Size and Maximum Size boxes, type the size for the paging file, and then click Set. For additional information about the proper size for paging files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    197379 Configuring page files for optimization and recovery in Windows Server 2003, in Windows 2000, and in Windows NT
  14. Make sure that the Maximum Registry Size value is at least two times the size of the current registry size.
  15. Click OK.
  16. Quit any running programs, and then restart the computer.


Utilities that work with the paging file may not work if the System account does not have proper permissions on the volume that the paging file is configured to use. For example, if the NTFS permissions are set incorrectly, the paging file does not appear in System Monitor or Windows Diagnostics, but it does appear in the System tool in Control Panel.

If you modify the NTFS permissions on a volume in Windows, the System account may be inadvertently removed from the partition. If this occurs, the System account cannot manage some system resources such as the paging file.

By default, the Everyone group has Full Control permissions on an NTFS volume. This permission might have been removed to provide additional security. Individual accounts, such as the Administrator account, may have been added. However, the Everyone group includes the System account. Removing the Everyone group without adding the System account as an individual account renders the paging file unusable.

For additional information about paging file setting, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
242447 Changes to paging file settings are not retained


Article ID: 259151 - Last Review: May 7, 2007 - Revision: 4.3
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0, Terminal Server Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter Server
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Enterprise Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
kbenv kberrmsg kbprb KB259151

Give Feedback


Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from