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WINDOWS PERFORMANCE TIPS

Disclaimer - The actions to perform the hints in these documents reflect the steps you would take to accomplish the action in Microsoft Windows 98. The steps vary slightly for Windows 95, Windows ME, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Microsoft seems to change the location of these tools with each operating system.

Editing the registry is for those that KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. Guardian Geek takes no responsibility should you decide to edit the registry and screw things up.

rarrow.gif VIRTUAL MEMORY SETTINGS
If you let Windows manage your Virtual memory settings, the System often resizes the swap file (the simulated memory on your hard disk), and can use up to the entire free space on your Hard disk for caching. There is no single optimal setting for the swap file size, because it's dependant on the number of programs running at one time, and on the amount of RAM in your system. It should be at least the amount of your RAM, i.e if you have 32 meg RAM in your system, the swap file should be at least 32 meg to reduce the chance of "out of memory" errors.

By choosing a custom Virtual memory setting, you can optimize your system by having a constant swap file size. It not only eliminates the processing time Windows takes to resize the file, but also reduces the fragmentation of your Hard Disk.

Note: It might be a good idea to defragment your Hard Disk before editing the swap file settings, so the swap file itself won't be fragmented.

Go to Control Panel > System > Performance > Virtual Memory and choose "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings". Specify the same amount of space for minimum and maximum swap file size. Make the swap file twice the amount of RAM you have on your system (or at least the same size as your RAM). Reboot your computer.

Note: If you have more than one Hard Disk, use the fastest/newest one for your swap file location.

Example: If you have 32Mb RAM, the recommended settings are as follows:

 

rarrow.gif COMPUTER ROLE
If your system has 16MB RAM or more, you can gain a bit more speed by changing your computer's role from Desktop Computer to Network Server.

With the Desktop Computer Setting, VFAT allocates memory for the 32 most recently accessed folders and the 677 most recently accessed files, consuming approximately 10K of memory. When you use the Network Server setting, VFAT allocates memory to record the 64 most recently accessed folders and the 2729 most recently accessed files, consuming approximately 40K of memory. The additional 30K RAM is well worth it.

To change the setting, right-click on the My Computer Icon. Click Properties, then Performance and choose the File System tab.

Note: There is a bug in the original Windows 95 and Windows 95A with the Network Server Setting.

rarrow.gif VCACHE
Vcache is the Windows disk-caching virtual device driver. This is a very important part of Windows, as it provides excellent disk performance. Windows, however, limits vcache from it's total potential. The following tweak will keep Vcache from taking up all your RAM, and being resized all the time.

Here's how to improve it. Type sysedit in your Start > Run dialog box and navigate to System.ini. In the ini file, look for [vcache] and add the following:

MinFileCache= nnn
MaxFileCache= nnn
ChunkSize= nnn

(nnn represents a multiple of 2)

MinFileCache and MaxFileCache should be the same (about 25% of your RAM) to avoid resizing. ChunkSize should generally be 512, but you can omit this one. You should set MinFileCache and MaxFileCache to about 25% of your total RAM for best performance, i.e 8190 for 32Mb RAM, 16384 for 64Mb, 32768 for 128Mb.

These are sample settings from one of our PCs (256Mb RAM, Windows 98)
[vcache]
MinFileCache=65536
MaxFileCache=65536
ChunkSize=512

Notes: Generally, the more RAM you have, the bigger vcache can be. Remember that the RAM used by vcache can't be used by applications. Also, Windows 98/98SE has better memory management than 95, so you might not notice much improvement using this tweak

rarrow.gif WINDOWS 98 SETUP AND EMM386
During setup Win98 will remove some drivers from your Autoexec.bat and Config.sys files. Unfortunately it removes EMM386 for Win98's first time use so it can detect hardware without interference, but forgets to un-REM it. Make sure you are using EMM386 and have optimal options set. You can still use memmaker for Win98. Also, make sure you aren't using any old dos TSRs like DosKey or other unnecessary files. You have Win98, not Dos98. You rarely use dos, if ever, and it's not as important as a having a faster Windows 98 machine is.

Windows 98 loads EMM386, but there are some command line switches that can improve your system's performance. For example, if you have EMM386.EXE ram or EMM386.EXE noems in your Config.sys file, it will enable you to load the drivers after that in the Upper Memory block, instead of Conventional Memory. To load devices in UMB, use devicehigh in Config.sys, and lh (loadhigh) in Autoexec.bat. DOS=UMB, HIGH in your Config.sys will free up Conventional Memory as well. You can type mem /c/p in DOS Prompt, to see what's loaded into memory, and where.

Note: It is important to follow some rules when editing your Config.sys. The first line should load Himem.sys, the second EMM386.exe, and any other drivers should be after those two.

If you still use BUFFERS, FCBS, LASTDRIVE and STACKS commands in your Config.sys file, make sure that you are using the BUFFERSHIGH, FCBSHIGH, LASTDRIVEHIGH and STACKSHIGH commands, which became available in Windows 95, to free more conventional memory.

rarrow.gif INTER-NETWORKING
Go to Control Panel and click Network. Make sure you have Client for Microsoft Networks selected. If you don't, this may be why your Internet Dial-up password won't save.

Click on Dial-Up Adapter and select Advanced. Go to IP Packet Size and experiment with Small, Medium, and Large packets to see which one works best for you. This is similar to the program MTUSpeed that would adjust this setting for you.

Also there is a value in your registry called SLOWNET and it is usually set at 01 change this to 00. It won't dramatically increase your transfers but it will reduce timeouts. The key is as follows:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\Class\Net\0001

In dial-up networking uncheck the Log on to Network under Server Types. You can also get rid of the NetBEUI and IPX/SPX protocols.

NOTE: This will only effect your login time. In some cases it is necessary to keep this box checked.

rarrow.gif MULTIPLE DEVICES
To improve your system's reliability and gain some more speed, you should remove the multiple devices that build up when changing drivers and hardware. Restart your PC in Safe mode (Press F8 while system is booting and choose Safe Mode from the menu).

Right-click on the My Computer icon, choose Properties, and click on the Device Manager tab. Check all the device categories, and remove all but the first instance of the devices on your system.

Note: Don't change your devices' properties while in Safe Mode.

rarrow.gif DEFRAGMENTING HARD DISKS
Working on your system, deleting and modifying files causes your Hard Disks to become fragmented, resulting in slower hard disk speed and overall system performance. You should defragment on a regular basis, once or twice a month, depending on how much you use your system.

To defragment your Hard Disks using the default Windows utility, close all running applications, disable the Screen Saver and start from Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter

Note: If you have a large hard disk or your system is heavily fragmented, it can take over an hour to complete.

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