Failure during a Windows 2000 setup or a Windows 2000 service pack installation can sometimes result in the creation of a small temporary page file, which isn’t deleted on completion. This temporary page file prevents Windows 2000 from creating its regular, larger page file when it boots. This causes poor performance because of the small size of the page file.

If Windows 2000 is the only operating system on the machine, you can’t simply delete the temporary page file and allow Windows 2000 to create another. Reconfiguring the page file settings through the GUI doesn’t correct the problem, because Windows 2000 is still unable to create the new page file with the old one in use. Here’s how to remedy such a situation.

Recovery Console to the rescue
To locate the temporary page file, look in the %systemroot% folder for a file named Pagefile.sys. Next, boot the system to the Recovery Console (RC). (You can boot the RC from the Windows 2000 CD if it isn’t already installed.)

What is the Recovery Console?

The Recovery Console is a utility that’s built into Windows 2000. This utility allows you to boot a PC containing a damaged copy of Windows 2000 to a command line. From the command line, you may accomplish such tasks as enabling and disabling services and manipulating files, even if they’re stored on an NTFS partition. Check out this article for more information.

The page file is a hidden system file, so the RC won’t let you see or delete the file. However, you can replace the file with another file and then delete that replacement file to clear it out for good.

  1. In the RC, use the CD command to change to the folder where the page file is located.
  2. Use the COPY command to copy any other file over Pagefile.sys. (For example, you can use the command COPY WIN.INI PAGEFILE.SYS to replace Pagefile.sys with a copy of Win.ini.)
  3. Next, enter the command DEL PAGEFILE.SYS to delete the page file.
  4. Exit the RC and boot Windows 2000.
  5. Right-click My Computer and choose Properties; then, click the Advanced tab.
  6. Click Performance Options and set the desired page file size.

Real-world Recovery Console

Have you pulled yourself out of a jam with Windows Recovery Console? Have you come up with a creative troubleshooting technique the uses the Recovery Console? Post a comment to this article and share your advice with other TechRepublic members.