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Hard Disk access speed can be improved

Where you place important software can speed up system

The manner in which the hard drive(s) and other hardware are physically setup can have a dramatic effect on performance

Running Scandisk occasionally is well worthwhile

IDE CHANNELS        All users

Hard Disk Controllers

Are your hard disk Uncached speed test results too low? You can test free at PCPitStop.

It is reported that some users can improve their Uncached speeds by Enabling both IDE channels in the BusMaster IDE Controller.

First record your current test results.

1. Open Device Manager / Hard Disk Controllers

2. Highlight . . . Bus Master IDE Controllers and click the Properties box

3. Select the Settings tab

4. In Dual IDE Channel Settings select Both IDE Channel enabled

Click OK and Reboot. Now test again.

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DISK ACCESS         Intermediate users

32-bit Disk Access

Switching ON the 32-bit disk access in System.ini can speed up accessing data from the hard disk.

Select ... Start • Run. Type in sysedit.exe. Highlight and expand SYSTEM.INI.

Add this line at the bottom of the [386enh] section, and one blank line before the next section.
Save, Exit, and Reboot


While in the [386enh] section of System.ini you can alter the mintimeslice setting (default is 20). A higher setting increases overall performance while a lower setting increases multi-tasking performance (THPC knows little else about this setting - it is given for your information only - feedback appreciated).

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WHERE TO INSTALL        All users

Use the fastest drive for important software

Where you place the Operating System (Windows 95/98), Virtual Memory, and important software can have a dramatic effect on system performance.
• When possible, make two small additional partitions - for Virtual Memory, and all the caches. Defragment the caches drive quite often.

• Also give Windows 95/98 it's own partition with plenty of free space for:
  1. Expansion due to upgrades, updates, fixes
  2. 32-bit programs installation always install files into the Windows directory
  3. Temp files (they can be very large!)
  4. Others e.g. caches that may insist on using that drive, and a reserve

• Install Windows 95 on the faster hard drive - it does make a difference.

• Put your Virtual Memory on a (small) fast Hard Drive or Partition

• Install important software on a physical drive different from the Windows drive, and also use this different drive for your hard disk backups (including recent, and pristine, backup copies of the Registry!)
• Use the slowest Hard Drive for real storage and for casual software.

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HD CONFIGURATION         All users

Select drives carefully

The manner in which the hard drive(s) and other hardware are physically set-up can have a dramatic effect on performance. Try to remember these principles:

1 Two devices co-exist on the same cable - primary as Master, secondary as Slave
2 Different drives operate at different speeds
3 All drives on the same cable always operate at the speed of the slower drive
4 Smaller (older) drives tend to be slower than larger (newer) drives
5 A drive tends to operate faster as the Master device
6 The most important hard drive should always be set as Master, and SHOULD NOT have a slow IDE device on that cable e.g. a CD-ROM or a small (older) Hard Drive
7 Having the most important software (the Operating System or Windows 95/98) on the fastest Hard Drive has a noticeable effect
8 It is best to disable any non-existent slave device(s) in the CMOS set-up; then the BIOS will not wait for a non-response
9 CD-ROM drives (usually PIO Mode 3 devices) are slower than HDDs (usually PIO Mode 4 or Ultra). Enabling DMA bus mastering for a HD on a CD-ROM shared channel may cause problems.
There are multiple possible selections depending on your own requirements. However with the above in mind you should be able to avoid obvious pitfalls.

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HD CLUTTER           All users

Clear Hard Disk Clutter

An enormous quantity of programs of dubious pedigree gets installed on Home computer. Delete junk programs. Do not keep what you do not need.
Uninstall them correctly
Unused programs clutter your hard drive, robbing you of valuable space and ultimately slowing down system performance. Hard drive clutter also causes conflicts with the useful software on your system. Tests have shown significantly faster performance and increased stability when even a few unused programs are removed.

Buggy installations and un-installations, and poorly developed programs, are also quite a problem. Knowing this will not stop us 'having a look' at new programs all the time. The Windows Add/Remove Programs applet is often inadequate, but start there anyway.

If you're on a budget and can't afford such as Norton's CleanSweep, try a shareware uninstaller, or keep a close watch on the applications you install and remove any that cause problems. Read Uninstalling on Safety, Part III

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SCANDISK       All users

Benefit from running Scandisk occasionally

Scandisk is a Windows 95/98 utility that scans the hard disk for errors, and tries to correct any found. Much of Windows95/98's peskiness can be due to minor FAT corruption which, hopefully, Scandisk will correct. The scan surface option is extremely slow and need not be run very often.

ScanDisk checks and fixes problems in the following areas on hard disk drives, floppy disk drives, RAM drives, and memory cards:
   1. File allocation table (FAT)
   2. Long filenames
   3. File system structure (lost clusters, cross-linked files)
   4. Directory tree structure
   5. Physical surface of the drive (bad sectors)
   6. DriveSpace or DoubleSpace volume header, volume file structure, compression structure, and volume signatures

Running Scandisk : Run Scandisk occasionally, or on need. Always use Scandisk immediately after a Windows 'event' (lock-up, or crash) - prevent trouble later on.

Scandisk can be found with Disk Defragmenter in Accessories • System Tools.

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Please remember that you alone are responsible for the consequences of any changes you make to your computer hardware or software.

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