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Paging File

1. What is the purpose of the Paging File and what does it do
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The wikipedia articles covers this topic very well:

The purpose of the paging file is to provide a specific location on the hardrive to store and manage data that cannot fit in the available amount of RAM.  Paging is a memory management process that lets a computer store data in equally sized blocks called pages in a secondary storage location (in this case the page file) when it cannot fit into the available amount of ram.
The Wikipedia article is quite good but be aware that there are many articles on the Internet that are mostly nonsense.

The pagefile was designed to optimize the usage of physical RAM. It does this by offloading rarely used data to a file on disk, thus leaving more memory for more important puposes. It is not some kind of overflow area used only whey RAM is full but as an ongoing process. In most cases it works very well.

In most cases an adequately sized pageile will benefit performance.
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