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Can my page file hold sensitive data?


It can. Memory pages are swapped or paged to disk when an application needs physical memory. Even though the page file (see Control Panel->System->Performance->Virtual Memory) is not accessible while the system is running, it can be accessed by, for example, booting another OS.

There is a registry key that can be created so that the memory manager clears the page file when the system goes down:

HKLMSYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlSession ManagerMemoryManagementClearPageFileAtShutdown: 1

Note that the clearing of the page file only is done when the system is brought down in a controlled fashion. If the machine is just switched off or brought down in any other brute way, of course no clearing will be performed.

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