What does 'PF Usage' in 'Task Manager' mean?

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Thread Starter
Apr 28, 2007
hey guys, does anyone know what this means? i see it when i hit ctrl alt del.

i always thought it stood for the amount of RAM being used, but i'm not sure?

thanks guys
Jul 28, 2007
No problem with the link here.

The Windows XP Page File
Performance is always an issue when dealing with computers. We tend to think of major items such as processor speed, amount of installed RAM and the graphics card when talking about how fast a computer performs. It's true those components do play a large role in performance, but one item that can substantially impact overall performance that doesn't get nearly the amount of attention as the more well known components is the paging file. The paging file is very closely related to the physical RAM installed in the computer. Its purpose is to extend the amount of physical RAM and make it available to the system. Both services and installed applications can benefit from this 'extra' RAM, even though it is substantially different from the sticks that plug into the motherboard.

Not all that long ago 32 to 64 megabytes (MB) of RAM was considered a huge amount for a personal computer. Today, amounts of 128MB to 256MB are common with many machines sporting 512MB or even 1GB of RAM. It might seem that with such a huge jump in installed RAM that the paging file would be unnecessary. There must be some sort of law or correlation that I don't know about, but operating systems and applications keep finding ways to suck up all that memory so the page file remains with us. There have been a number of schemes for extending the installed amounts of RAM but basically they are all paging files. When the load imposed by applications and services running on the computer nears the amount of installed RAM it calls out for more. Since there isn't any additional RAM to be found, it looks for a substitute; in this case virtual memory which is also known as the page file.

We now have two types of memory; random access memory (RAM) and virtual memory, or the page file. The page file is created during the Windows XP installation and resides on the hard drive. Page files are measured in megabytes. The size of the page file is based on how much RAM is installed in the computer. By default, XP creates a page file which is 1.5 times the amount of installed RAM and places it on the hard drive where XP is installed. Other than plugging the RAM into the motherboard, there is little than can be done to alter its performance characteristics. The page file is a different story. Because it's located on a hard drive, it's subject to a number of factors that can hinder its performance.


Aug 7, 2007
The PF Usage shown in the Task Manager is actually the Commit Charge, and does not show the current size of the page file, or how much of the page file is currently being used.

The Commit Charge is the total amount of the Virtual Address Space the could be written to the page file if needed.
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