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3D Spotlight : Tweaking : Tweaking your System Memory (Windows 2000 edition)

Tweaking your System Memory
Last Updated on July 18, 2000 by Thomas McGuire

First of, the more RAM you have the better, 128MB RAM is ideally the minimum of what anyone running Windows 2000 should have. This OS, much unlike Windows 9x has far better Memory management, one reason for this is because its meant to, Windows 2000 is intended for business/server use, not as a desktop system. Windows 2000 also uses a Paging file, which for all intents & purposes is the exact same as swap file in Windows 9x, just a different name (pagefile.sys) & a few other subtle differences.

If you have below 128MB RAM or less then you really should buy more RAM. This would be of far greater benefit to you than anything else. Much like the Windows 2000 Services guide this one goes into detail regarding settings & such, although if you're like me it's nice to know why & what you are doing. This is also probably the most comprehensive/definitive Windows 2000 memory guide around in terms of topics, settings & definitions covered. With that, on with the guide.

IMPORTANT NOTE You must be logged in as an Administrator to make (most) changes to these settings. So log on as one if you haven't already done so.

What is Virtual memory?

It is a hidden file on the hard disk that Windows 2000 uses to hold parts of programs & data files that do not fit in memory. The paging file & physical memory, or RAM, comprise virtual memory. Windows 2000 moves data from the paging file to memory as needed & moves data from memory to the paging file to make room for new data. Paging file is also called a swap file.

Another explanation is that it is, temporary storage used by a computer to run programs that need more memory than it has. For example, programs could have access to 4 gigabytes of virtual memory on a computer's hard drive, even if the computer has only 32 megabytes of RAM. The program data that does not currently fit in the computer's memory is saved into paging files.

However, it is generally more efficient to set this yourself rather than let Windows 2000 manage it (Although Windows 2000 does much better Memory management than Windows 9x does).

Hard drive setup

As you may know, the Page file exists on your hard drive(s), which is much slower than using RAM. So speeding up your hard drive can improve Page file performance a lot. Although more RAM is highly recommended, having fast hard drive will suffice.

Open My Computer, right click on the hard drive(s), select Properties. Select the Hardware tab. Now highlight the desired hard drive & click the Properties button. Finally, select the Disk Properties tab & SCSI Properties, where applicable. The following options can improve Hard drive performance. NOTE - Some of those options may, or may not be available depending on hard drive type, e.g. SCSI or IDE.

Write cache enabled: If you enable this feature, your computer sends an enable-write-cache command to the hard disk activating the hard disk write-back cache, & if you disable this feature, the hard disk write-back cache is deactivated. When enabled disk I/O performance may improve, although if you experience system failure e.g. Power loss, you could experience drive/file corruption. I'd recommend leaving this ticked unless your system is prone to bad shutdowns/power failure.

Disable Tagged Queuing: Tagged queuing is done by the SCSI controller & driver to increase the speed of completing I/O tasks. This is accomplished by sorting the commands so the order of the commands issued to the physical disk drive to read or write results in the most efficient movement of the physical read & write heads. As you can guess, doing it in this sequential order is far more efficient than when disabled, resulting in greater I/O performance. You should only tick this if you are experiencing problems with a hard drive(s) as performance is slower when Tagged queuing is Disabled. Leave it unticked.

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