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In Top 24 Tweaks

Top 24 Speed Tweaks #1

Top 24 Speed Tweaks #2

Get a 20% - 100% speedup boost (part 1)

Most used PCs using Win98/95, and most new ones, can be made substantially faster in less than 60 minutes!

Explanations are brief in this Section. Full explanations, and many more speed tweaks to increase computer performance, are in the Sections (see Menu).

Memory       Startup       Video
Modems       MTU       Port speed
Vcache       CD-ROM       Page buffers
Read-Ahead       PC Role       Virtual Mem

If your computer has suddenly started to underperform, you should go to Cure Sudden or Progressive Computer Slowing >>

READ First

A 20% - 100% speed improvement boost in just 60 minutes?

Yes! For many PC & Win9x users. And perhaps more for the occasional user. The changes are relatively easily made by the vast majority of Home users. The degree of improvement will obviously depend on the current state of your entire PC system.

THPC set itself the task of listing the important, and quickly-made, speed boosts that could be made by THPC to any PC using Windows 98/95 in the home and these two Pages are the result. The order shown is that used by THPC and is far from obligatory - you can choose your own.

The changes up to Defragmentation can all be made in less than 30 minutes if you are familiar with the setting up of software. Other important changes are marked [Soon] indicating that you can, and should, attend to those later on.

Where do these speed gains come from?
This is highly system dependent. Systems in need of serious attention may achieve up to: memory (10%-50%), video (20%), defragmentation (20%), modem (30%-300%), vcache (5%-10%), cd-rom (10%-20%), reducing number of programs (30%), and so on.

When you reach Fragmentation you will be due a tea break - Defrag can be a little slow!


Remember the main factors that control the speed of your computer system:

CPU: speed     Clock: multiplier setting     Motherboard: BUS speed and chipsets
CPU Cache: internal/external, quantity (& quality)
Memory: quantity free, and speed (quality)
Video: screen resolution, chipset, video memory
Operating System (OS), such as Windows98, and installed components
Software: number of programs running, and their memory (CPU & video) requirements
Hard Disk: access speed (and setup / fragmentation / partition cluster size)
Peripherals: mostly their Chipset (make / model), driver, and Setup

The order of importance will depend on your own system components and setup. It is important that you know exactly what you have and how it is being used.

Remember that the PC is a system of components, each dependent on the operational speed of the other components. The CPU is normally given such prominence because it is the fastest system component. However if the other components are not functioning optimally then some of that CPU's 'power' is wasted while it waits for other components complete their tasks.
Example: a CPU upgrade will be of small benefit to a system with a shortage of (free) memory, or with a slow motherboard BUS speed, or with an inadequate Graphics card, or with .... !

The fastest, and also the most cost-effective, computers are balanced systems which are then tweaked for optimal performance.

MEMORY (RAM)       Read Memory / Startup

Reclaim your memory: Make more usable RAM available for your programs.

Startup: Prevent programs starting from Startup folder, the Registry, (or Win.ini)
98 Use the Configuration utility that comes with Windows 98 to conveniently alter Starup, the Registry, and win.ini [select Start, then Run, and type in msconfig].
95 Use get it here Start Editor (free; v 3.5; 446KB) to remove them from Startup & Reg
Intermediate users: Open win.ini. Place a semicolon (;) at the start of lines with Load= or Run=, and Save it (you can later remove the semicolonif you wish)

Major memory hogs include Find Fast, Office Startup, System Agent, RealPlayer StartCenter, Active Movie, NetMeeting, automated programs, and many others - they use many MegaBytes of RAM.
THPC's Memory / Startup shows how to fully maximize main memory usage

Install only the parts of software that you need.
Run only what you need at any one time; as few programs as possible.
Use old software (smaller) if it will do. Run software suitable for your system!

VCACHE: Read about VCACHE (this page)

[Soon] FONTS never used are still loaded at boot-up ( _\Windows\Fonts ) so use less.

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VCACHE        Read Disk / VCACHE

Tune VCache settings with the Cacheman utility (read VCache Settings)
Windows often prevents you from using much of your main memory (RAM) for other programs, including games. This restriction can be alleviated by changes to the disk cache called VCache in Windows/system.ini. The speed boost can be quite dramatic.

98 Windows 98, SE, & ME
Games use: Use Cacheman utility and select the CD Writer option.
Windows use: Leave it alone (dynamic), but read VCache Settings & Win98 for exceptions.

95 Windows 95
All Users: Use the Cacheman utility and select the appropriate option.

Cacheman: Download this small FREE cache-specific utility to make the changes required.
Just click on Optimize Disk Cache Size, and select the option which best suits your usage. Or you can change the 2 slide bars or the edit fields to manually set the disk cache size. Use the Cd writer option if you only use games. Then click on File and select Save & Exit.
This utility also offers a Remove Cache Optimization option should you be unhappy with any alteration made. Cacheman also shows the current amount of free physical memory.
• A reboot is necessary after an alteration is made. Optimal settings are often user specific.

Read the VCache Settings & Win98 page (all gamers, and all users with 128MB+ RAM, )
Read the VCache Settings & Win95 page (irrespective of your type of usage).
get it here Cacheman (freeware; v 2.0; 135KB)       Cacheman

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Use the lowest screen resolution, and color depth, that is acceptable for your needs. This is usually 800 x 600, and 16 bit, for the Home computer. Switching from 32-bit (True color) to 16-bit (High Color) will improve many games speed by 20% and you will hardly notice a deterioration in graphics. Experiment with 24-bit if you have that.

Note: Extra video memory (beyond 2MB) will not increase video speed - it WILL increase the color depth available at higher screen resolutions. Graphic speed is controlled, in the main, by the chipset on that card.

Set how Windows 95/98 will use your graphics hardware

Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • Graphics
In Advanced Graphics Settings set Hardware Acceleration to Full

If you ever encounter a problem that could be video related, then try the effect of reducing the Acceleration.

[Soon] Update your graphics card driver every 6 - 12 months. Switch to VGA mode, and install the newer driver exactly according to the manufacturer's unstructions. Get to know its functions and use only those that your system can cope with comfortably.

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VM - Stop Hard Disk trashing

Windows 95/98 uses VM (on the slow Hard Disk) dynamically when usable RAM (much faster) is in short supply. Without VM we would, at times, need buckets of RAM when running some programs concurrently.

However we need to optimize its use. Help to stop HD trashing by manually setting the size of a static VM

Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • Virtual memory
Check on Let me specify my own Virtual Memory settings
(if possible select a small and fast partition other than the Windows drive)

Set both the Maximum & Minimum to about 3 or 2½ times the size of your RAM.
You can use very little if you have oodles of RAM, and more if short of RAM.

Remember: This quantity of Hard Dsik space is now permanenlty allocated to VM (unless you change it again) and wil not be used for normal file storage on the Hard Disk.

Remember: The norm is 2½ to 3 times the memory size. However, in reality, you can best set it according your own RAM quantity. Setting VM to OFF (or none) can lead to occasional problems as some items, like Screen Savers, automatically use VM.

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BROWSER      Read Modem - FASTFIX

Select a browser that suits your system.

One of the factors that can drive you to distraction is using a browser that is too heavyweight for your PC system. Use one that does not drag you down to the slow lane.

The following shows the browsers suitable for different Windows 9x system. This is always system and user-specific but you should try to follow the guidelines.

Also included is the Pentium CPU that would normally be associated with that Windows 9x to achieve optimal performance. *

95A (100MHz+): Netscape 3 (32-bit), or IE 3.02, or Opera (any version).

95B (133MHz+): IE 5.5 SP2 only if system resources can cope, or Netscape 3 (32-bit), or IE 3.02, or Opera (any version).

95C (233MHz+): IE 5.5 SP2, or Opera 6 (but use Netscape 3 if you do not need a modern browser).

98, 98SE, Me (350MHz+): IE5.5 SP2, or Opera 6 (but use Netscape 3 if you do not need a modern browser). Use latest versions of Netscape only if resources permit their use.

If circumstances force you to use a browser that puts your system under stress, then always use the minimum options. In particular, experiment with switching off all items like Use Smooth Scrolling, Graphics (Show Images), Smart Image Dithering, Java and JavaScript, and any others of that type in the browsers' Options.

* Windows 95 requires a fix before it will run on a system running faster than 300MHz

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CD-ROM caches          Read More Tweaks / CD-ROM

Increasing its cache size improves CD-ROM performance. The CD-ROM drive works at its normal speed, but more current data is now accessed from the cache (faster) than from the CD (slower).

Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • File System • CD-ROM

Set Supplemental Cache Size slider to maximum

In Optimize access pattern for select a speed higher than you actually have (unless you have a memory shortage)

[Soon] Keen CD-ROM users should read the CD-ROM 'Mania' topic in More / CD-ROM

[Soon] Keen users may also try a CD-ROM Accelerator like getCD-Quick Cache ( 489KB; Shareware ). It will need 20-50MB HD space when in use.

[Soon] If possible, set the CD-ROM as Master on that cable

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Let Windows 95/98 anticipate your next requirement.

When an item is opened, Windows can read-ahead, within the Windows environment, the next part most likely to be required. Windows stores it in memory for fast access should it be requested.

Accessing data from memory is hundreds of times faster than from the Hard Disk.

Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Performance • File System

Put the Read-ahead optimization to Full


Correct a Windows FAULT. It is ESSENTIAL for most home users to correct a faulty setting in Windows 95/98.
  • Note: MTU is MaxMTU, and RWIN is RecWindow.   ( MSS = MTU minus 40 )
  • Note: IPMTU is the Windows 98 equivalent of Windows 95's MTU

A Internet Protocol setting in Windows 95 (and 98 to some extent) is set for fast Ethernet connections (1500). A new Registry Key of MTU (IPMTU for Win98) must be set to a lower setting (576) for the slower phone line connection from the home to a ISP.

The change will result in a 30% to 300% improvement

95 Use get it here MTUSpeed (free, 152KB) to set the MTU (and RWIN) values
• First find your own ISP's MTU with get it here FindMTU (free, 168KB) and use his MTU
• Or just use a MTU of 576 and a RWIN of 2144 (your ISP 'should' be using 576)

98 Windows 98 has the new self-adjustable Registry setting.
Look in Control Panel • Network • Dailup Adapter • Advanced • IP Packet Size. Set the Packet Size to small (for 576). The three settings available are 576, 1000, and 1500. Many users say downloads are still improved by setting IPMTU to a permanent value of 576.

MODEM 2 - COM PORT - Speedup Internet    Read PORT SPEED

The Windows default Com Port speed is set very low to prevent quite old modems running into problems. This slows downloading because data passes through the Port far too slowly.

Increase the Port speed in Device Manager

Right-click My Computer and then select:
Properties • Device Manager • Ports (COM & LPT)
Select the Port you use, and then Properties • Port Settings
28,800K modem Use 38,400 or 57,600 bits per second
33,600K modem Use 57,600 or 115,200 bps
56,000K modem Use 115,200 or 230,400 bps

Internal modems should also be configured in the Modems option in Control Panel


The modem's Maximum speed is the speed the modem communicates with the computer.

This link usually carries uncompressed data, and needs to be (substantially) higher than your modem-to-ISP connection (compressed data), or your downloads will suffer.

Use the highest Maximum speed available to you in DUN and in Modems.

Or for a:
28,800K modem   Use 38,400 to 57,600
33,600K modem   Use 57,600 to 115,200
56,000K modem   Use 115,200 to 230,400

Usually the higher setting will benefit only those who have a clear phone line to the ISP.

* Also read Modem 4 and Modem 5 on next page

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For your convenience, here are the essential/best/easiest free speedup Win9x utilities.

get it here MTUSpeed     152KB     increase download speeds by setting your MTU to 576
get it here StartEd     171KB     Win95 only; Win98 should use msconfig.exe from Run
get it here X-Setup 6.0     3.7MB     huge customization, and speedup, tweaks with a clickable GUI
get it here WMAlign     KB     load large programs much faster (requires Office, or a new Registry entry)
get it here MemMax     476KB     improve memory management & optimize VCache

get it here Cacheman     136KB     best VCache manager - use if not using MemMax
get it here CD-Quick Cache     XXXXKB     Optimize the CD
get it here RegClean     782KB     partial Registry cleanup - use regularly - also use RegCleaner
get it here RegCleaner     528KB     partial Registry cleanup - use regularly - also use RegClean

get it here Regmon v4.13     110KB     track Registry changes when installing software
get it here TweakBIOS     134KB     tweak RAM timings in the BIOS
get it here PCAccelerator     KB     XXXXXX
get it here Wintune     993KB     Benchmark utility
get it here AddAWins     226 KB     Dual-boot or Multi-boot Windows Me, 98, SE, 95, Lite.

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READ 2nd

Don't stop now.

Next is Defragmentation which many 'Tweakers' would place in FIRST place! THPC has left it till now because it is somewhat slow, and must be returned to on a regular basis in order to keep the Hard Disk(s) correctly optimized.

Many of the Tweaks in the next Pages are of equal, or even greater, importance to your PC speed. Some can only be implimented at specific times e.g. your Hard Disk setup.

Before you Defragment you can Disable the Screen Saver and any other automated software you may have running - for best performance you should not be running them anyway, except the anti-viral software!

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Speed Tweaks Centre >>

• Basics of PC Optimization

• Top 24 Speedup Tweaks #1

• Top 24 Speedup Tweaks #2

= or =

• Cure Sudden or Progressive Computer Slowing

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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.

Copyright © LarryM 1998-2015