Dual-booting all versions of Windows and Linux
VIRTUAL MEMORY - SWAP FILE PAGING
Virtual Memory is an admirable and necessary Windows function but can hinder your computer performance!
When most of main memory (RAM) is in use, Windows uses an area of the hard disk (Virtual Memory) to store data it would normally leave in memory.
Moving this data out of memory is called Paging. The data is stored in a file (Win386.swp) called the Swap File and will be found, by default, in the Windows directory.
An overactive Hard Disk ('trashing') is caused by excessive use of Virtual Memory (VM) which itself results from a lack of 'available' free memory. Any use of Virtual Memory causes the PC to slow down. Adjusting the default VM setting can speed up its usage.
ConservativeSwapfileUsage=1 is included here.
CORRECT VIRTUAL MEMORY SETTINGS All users
Determine your VM requirements accurately
Windows' default (dynamic) method of handling virtual memory works well for two types of users:
Recommendations of using 2½ times main memory for VM is not accurate enough!
For most Home users it is convenient to use a safe and reliable utility such as Swap Monitor or Windows' own utility, System Monitor to estimate VM requirements. Either will help you decide on the settings best suited to your own usage.
• First set VM to "Let Windows manage my virtual memory settings".
SwapMon (shareware; v 1.50; 1,489Kb; swapfile and VCACHE manager)
TUNE VIRTUAL MEMORY All users
Setting a static Virtual Memory
Defragmenting first is optional, but highly preferable.
• Return to Virtual Memory and select Let me specify my own virtual memory settings
• Place VM on a fast drive other that the Windows drive
Try not to use more than 90% space if you place VM on a small partition .
WINDOWS 98 VM All users
VM is improved in Windows 98, SE & ME
WHAT IS VIRTUAL MEMORY?
Windows uses hard disk space to simulate RAM
Modern programs (including Windows 95/98 itself) require large amounts of memory. Not all the components of these programs are needed in memory at any one time.
Virtual Memory (VM) is part of the hard disk used by Windows 95/98 to temporarily store some memory files not currently in use. They are stored on a designated area of the hard disk for easy retrieval when required. This frees some additional space in memory for files currently required, and more/larger programs can be run with a limited quantity of memory.
A Swap File (also called a Paging file) refers to a file swapped between VM and memory, and visa versa. VM is held in the swap file called Win386.swp
It is important to ensure access to VM is optimized, as the hard disk is many hundreds of times slower than memory. In systems with a shortage of memory there is constant swapping of files - a substantial slowing of the system occurs (and the hard disk can be heard working much of the time).
WINDOWS and VM
Microsoft's recommendation is to allow Windows 95/98 to use Virtual Memory(VM) dynamically; to let it use as much of your free disk space as it needs at any one time. This is quite acceptable except that it leads to considerable fragmentation and constant time-consuming swapping of files. Both slow down an already slow process.
Under Windows 95/98, VM is allocated according to expected future needs, rather than on actual current needs.
If you have memory-intensive situations then you are likely to benefit from an alteration to the default setting. Certain changes to VM will lead to increase efficiency and less fragmentation. You can lessen the amount of virtual memory re-sizing, disk swapping, and constant hard disk access.
OPTIMIZING VM All Users
Get the best from VM
Certain changes to Virtual Memory will lead to
HOW MUCH VM?
In the past most users just used 2½-3 times the amount of installed RAM.
This blindly ignored the basic fact that users with little RAM need lots of VM, and users with lots of RAM need little VM.
For a more accurate assessment do the following:
The Maximum: You can work this out by following this procedure:
The Minimum: You need to set it to more than your requirements at boot-up
A Further Option (mostly large RAM systems):
Set the Minimum to your greatest VM usage (plus a little), and do not set the Maximum at all. This is suitable mostly for large RAM systems and will protect against that day when you suddenly DO need an unknown quantity of additional VM. The rest of the time the new Minimum will never be exceeded or even reached.
Notes on VM
The hard disk is one of the slowest components in your system which means the constant use of VM will considerably slow down your system - you regularly hear the disk being accessed, and you have to pause while the next part of your program opens (pauses without disk activity are usually the result of an under powered CPU).
The ideal situation is where there is no need to use VM, i.e. you have a surplus of memory. However let's be pragmatic. VM is useful, is an integral, and essential, part of Windows 95/98, and it does work. Normal (occasional) VM usage is not unhealthy, and is a necessary part of the Windows 95/98 operation. Reliance on VM as a replacement for some memory requirements will drag a system down to the very slow lane.
The real cure for excessively used VM is to add more memory. However there is much that can be done to optimize VM usage, and to make more usable memory available. You need to refer to the Memory (RAM Shortage) section on this site for improvements to systems with a memory shortage.
Conservative Swapfile Usage
98, SE & ME: Limiting Virtual Memory use
If you have plenty of main memory (at least 96MB+) then you can prevent Windows from using any VM while some memory remains to be used instead. The obvious speed boost will result in some circumstances.
Your system must meet both of these requirements before you use this tweak:
There is no need to impliment this in Windows 95 systems.
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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