Create a pagefile


Applies To: Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows 8

This security policy reference topic for the IT professional describes the best practices, location, values, policy management, and security considerations for this policy setting.


The Windows operating system, by default, designates a section of the hard drive as virtual memory known as the page file, or more specifically, as pagefile.sys. It is used to supplement the computer’s Random Access Memory (RAM) to improve performance for programs and data that are used frequently. Although the file is hidden from browsing, you can manage it using the system settings.

This policy setting determines which users can create and change the size of a page file. It determines whether users can specify a page file size for a particular drive in the Performance Options box located on the Advanced tab of the System Properties dialog box or through using internal application interfaces (APIs).

This policy setting is supported on versions of Windows that are designated in the Applies To list at the beginning of this topic.

Constant: SeCreatePagefilePrivilege

Possible values

  • User-defined list of accounts

  • Administrators

Best practices

  1. Restrict the Create a pagefile user right to Administrators, which is the default.


GPO_name\Computer Configuration\Windows Settings\Security Settings\Local Policies\User Rights Assignment

Default values

By default, members of the Administrators group have this right.

The following table lists the actual and effective default policy values for the most recent supported versions of Windows. Default values are also listed on the policy’s property page.

Server type or GPO

Default value

Default Domain Policy


Default Domain Controller Policy


Stand-Alone Server Default Settings


Domain Controller Effective Default Settings


Member Server Effective Default Settings


Client Computer Effective Default Settings


Operating system version differences

There are no differences in the way this policy setting works between the supported versions of Windows that are designated in the Applies To list at the beginning of this topic.

Policy management

A restart of the computer is not required for this policy setting to be effective.

Any change to the user rights assignment for an account becomes effective the next time the owner of the account logs on.

Group Policy

Settings are applied in the following order through a Group Policy Object (GPO), which will overwrite settings on the local computer at the next Group Policy update:

  1. Local policy settings

  2. Site policy settings

  3. Domain policy settings

  4. OU policy settings

When a local setting is greyed out, it indicates that a GPO currently controls that setting.

Security considerations

This section describes how an attacker might exploit a feature or its configuration, how to implement the countermeasure, and the possible negative consequences of countermeasure implementation.


Users who can change the page file size could make it extremely small or move the file to a highly fragmented storage volume, which could cause reduced computer performance.


Restrict the Create a pagefile user right to members of the Administrators group.

Potential impact

None. Restricting this right to members of the Administrators group is the default configuration.

See Also

User Rights Assignment