If windows can't address any more than 2.5 GB of memory, and you have 1 GB of memory, then you should set min and max pagefile size to 1 GB or less.
The 3x recommended setting is probably more specific to MS's recommended 256 MB of RAM, 768MB pagefile configuration, and probably does not scale linearly to larger sizes of RAM. Especially if Windows can only address 2.5 GB of memory addresses.
Does anybody have a solid number and source on the memory addressing??
Everyone else's comments are also very good and worth looking into.
There are a number of registry hacks to force windows to leave the pagefile alone, such as disable paging executive, etc. I would worry about other problems before messing with registry settings, however.