Tech Tip: Clear the contents of the paging file

If you work in a highly sensitive environment, security controls help make sure information stays where it's supposed to. You can add an extra level of security to a server when you shut it down cleanly by forcing the system to clear the contents of the paging file.

By taking the following steps, you'll prevent someone from booting the machine with an alternative OS and reading the paging file, which contains passwords and other sensitive data.

  1. Start the Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\SessionManager\Memory Management.
  3. Add a REG_DWORD value type with the value name ClearPageFileAtShutdown, and set the data value to 1.
  4. Exit the Registry Editor, and restart the system.

During the shutdown process, the OS will check this key and determine whether to take this step.

Note: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes.

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