Virtual memory allows Windows to open more windows and run more programs simultaneously while only keeping the one being actively used in RAM. The "problem" lies in the fact that information remains in the page file. As you use different programs and perform different functions on your computer the page file may end up containing all sorts of potentially sensitive or confidential information.
To reduce the risk presented by storing information in the page file you can configure Windows XP to erase the page file each time you shutdown Windows. Here are the steps to configure this setting:
- Click Start
- Click Control Panel
- Click Administrative Tools
- Click Local Security Policy
- Click the "+" next to Local Policies
- Click Security Options
- Doubleclick "Shutdown: Clear Virtual Memory Pagefile"
- Select the "Enabled" radio button
- Click OK