Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Windows XP Performance Tweaks

In the last few weeks, I've been playing with my memory management settings in Windows to enhance performance. After all, nobody wants to wait for his computer to finish doing something.

It has all begun when I purchased another 1GB of RAM for my computer. After installing it, I happily thought I would be able to get rid of the page file (I've heard about some people doing it). The reasons are quite obvious - having a data transfer rate of ~1GB/sec (RAM) instead of ~50MB/sec (HDD) when paging memory.

After removing the page file I was quite happy, or shall I say Windows was happy, until I started running memory consuming applications like Guitar Pro 5, which loads all of its RSE (Real Sound Engine) samples to the RAM. Windows then became pretty sick and told me he is increasing the page file size (of course he can't do that, because I disabled the page file).

So I gave up and set-up a page file of 2GB, but still felt some tasks are too slow for an AMD dual-core 3800+ with that amount of RAM.

Then I started looking for windows performance tips, most of them I knew from my past occupation as a sysadmin, like setting the classic windows theme, disabling visual effects, shutting down the indexing service and more.

Some tips, however, were not known to me and even surprised me a bit.

For example, dealing with file last access timestamp. When Windows accesses a file for read or write it changes a value in the file system known as the file last access time. This means that your HD is busy writing data to itself, even if it only reads files!

All of this is pretty known and trivial, but the less trivial thing is that you can disable this useless option (no application that I know of uses this field anyway) by entering the command prompt and using fsutil:

fsutil behavior set disablelastaccess 1

After setting this flag I've noticed that explorer runs much faster, especially when loading a new directory listing and displaying it.

Few more tips can be found here (check out tips 4,5,6):

And also here:

1 comment:

Kedar said...

Yeah...pretty nifty..Thought I'd try it...worked okay!