Itís been a long
time since we posted our initial Windows XP memory guide,
and given the advancements in PC hardware and the increased
system requirements of applications nowadays, it was about
time the guide got an update.
There are several
components to the Windows memory subsystem. For the most
part this guide will be targeting the Hard Drive, CPU, and
RAM, optimally configuring these along the way, and clearing
up many of the placebos surrounding memory management in XP.
As always, itís good
practice making sure you have the latest XP, hardware, and
application updates installed. For the purposes of this
guide, this is a very important action to take, since in
many instances software patches fix memory related issues.
You can find relevant XP updates via
Updates and Windows Update, while hardware driver
updates can be found at
TechSpot Drivers. For application-specific updates
check the developerís website or use any built-in
Also important to
notice, much of the information and settings covered in this
guide will require Administrator privileges in Windows.
Properties (right click on My Computer and
select Properties), select the Advanced tab
and press the Performance Settings button, finally
selecting the Advanced tab.
scheduling. This option
specifies how CPU time is to be shared between processes. By
default this is set to Programs, which
indicates that foreground processes are a higher priority
for CPU time and is recommended for most users as
Application performance will be of primary concern.
When set to Background services CPU time is more
evenly divided between processes, which is more appropriate
This setting controls the size of the file system cache.
When set to Programs (Default) a standard
sized file system cache is allocated (Less than 10MB RAM);
this is recommended as it provides best Application
performance. When set to System cache this enables
the use of a large file system cache (Up to RAM minus 4MB!);
this option is only suitable when Windows XP is
acting as a Server not as a gaming system or for
other Application/Workstation use as it will be detrimental
to performance as Microsoft notes:
When you enable
System cache mode on a computer that uses Unified Memory
Architecture-based video hardware or AGP, you may experience
a severe and random decrease in performance. The Drivers for
these components consume a large part of the remaining
application memory when they are initialized during startup.