Looking for ways to Improving Performance

Question: What can I do to improve performance of Windows 2000? I can't find explanations on how to decrease memory fragmentation, buffers, etc.

Answer: Windows 2000 is pretty good at optimizing itself to get the best performance that it can from your hardware so there are not too many things you can change to improve performance without upgrading your hardware. Here are a few things that you might try.

First, if you go into Administrative Tools, you'll find the Performance Monitor Utility. You need to be logged on with administrator access to be able to turn on the performance counters but once on, the monitor can be viewed under any userid. This will help you to identify any bottlenecks in you system so that you will know what needs adjusting in order to improve performance.

If you run lots of programs at once then your programs may be continually being moved to the swap file. The best way to fix this is to install more memory but something that you can do to improve performance is to increase the size of your swap file so that it will not have to be dynamically resized which can lead to it being fragmented across your drive. Defragmentation utilities will not touch the swap file (which is always in use) so the only way to defragment it is to boot your system from a boot disk and delete the pagefile.sys from there, it will be recreated when you next reboot and will be written in as few fragments as your hard drive fragmentation allows.

While you are updating the size for your swap file, you can also change the priority that is given to the foreground application. A higher priority will make the foreground program faster although any background applications will be slowed slightly as well.

Hard drive fragmentation is one of the biggest things to affect performance when your programs need to access the hard drive. The defragmentation utility can be accessed by right clicking on the drive, selecting properties, and then going to the Tools tab. The utility is the one at the bottom. You can reduce the future fragmentation of your drive and improve hard drive performance by converting to the NTFS file system if you haven't already done so. If you defragment the drive before deleting and recreating the swap file then the swap file will also end up with fewer fragments.

If you use a command line a lot then you can adjust the command and screen buffers associated with your command console by selecting the console properties from within the control panel. The command buffer can be changed on the options page and the screen buffer on the layout page.

There is not much that you can do about how memory is allocated to programs as the memory is divided up to suit Windows with several memory areas, some of fixed size and some depending on the amount of memory in your system. How these different areas of memory are used is determined by the individual application program and so unless you are writing the program yourself you have no real control over the memory that a particular program uses.


This article written by Stephen Chapman, Felgall Pty Ltd.

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