Don’t throw anything away: Part 2

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Size does matter – continued …

With the advent of the 32-bit operating system, the operating system can access two hard drives at the same time. This is called Multi I/O – Input Output.

If your operating system, you data and your virtual memory all reside on the same drive, there is a potential for a bottleneck, and delays in the time Windows requests and receives its information. The CPU then has to prioritize what to send and receive first and last. No benefit of Multi I/O because you are using only one drive. If you added a second hard drive, you could benefit from the Multi I/O features. Think about opening a word document, opening an e-mail, and simply running Windows. That creates quite a queue of data that has to be prioritized and opened according to importance. Quite a lot of work for a spinning hard drive to perform these operations.

If you install Windows on C, and your data on D, you could alleviate some of the burdens on the drives because they can both perform the same tasks simultaneously, and then just deliver the data to the CPU.

To go one step further, put your virtual memory on both drives. Since Windows is already running on C, it is also an option to put as little virtual memory as you can on C drive. You may end up using a fraction of your RAM
, such as one-quarter. On the second drive, put the other three-quarters of virtual memory. One example might be for 1 Gb of RAM, – 250Mb on C, and 1,250Mb on D. You are using Windows formula of 1.5 x your physical RAM, and three times your RAM for the maximum size. You can adjust this as you see fit, and may even find a better formula.

Optimally, put your virtual memory on a third, smaller hard drive that is dedicated to it only. That may seem a bit extreme, and not the most power-conscious of decisions.

While Windows is busy working away, doing its normal tasks, you can offload some of the burden to another hard drive, and have Windows multi I/O.

Some important points to note: a really old memory
may not be fast enough. Check the access time of the drive and the internal cache. The average speed is 10 ms and 1Mb of internal cache. The manufacturer should have this information on their website, but you may have to dig for it.

If your hard drive is considerably slower that the others in your system, this can slow you down. Try to have all your drives in the 7 – 9 ms response times. You can’t make that adjustment, though, these are manufacturer design specifications.

How you use your computer also can determine what settings should be used for virtual memory. Again, visiting the Performance settings. Right-click on My Computer, left-click Properties; then the Advanced tab; click the Settings button, and Advanced tab, and you will see settings for Processor Scheduling and Memory usage.

Processor scheduling is how much priority programs get. For overall system programs, you would leave it as background. If you prefer the open foreground applications to get priority, then set it to foreground. Memory
usage is also geared towards programs or background services. If you run databases, or programs with large amounts of data in memory, set this to system cache so that they can have a higher priority for memory usage. If you run your computer for everyday tasks like e-mailing, web surfing and games, leave this set to Programs.