Today's Tip: Virtual Memory, do you have enough?

Physical RAMSo you've just added additional memory to your computer because a friend told you it would help speed things up, but you haven't seen any improvement whatsoever. This could be because even though you've added more physical RAM to the computer, you haven't adjusted your operating system's virtual memory settings. Virtual Memory settings are usually created automatically at the time your Operating System is installed on your computer, so if you've upgraded with more physical RAM, you need to adjust the virtual memory settings accordingly. So how much virtual memory should you have? General rule of thumb is 1.5 times the value of physical RAM in the computer. This means if your computer has 2 GB Physical RAM (2048MB), your virtual memory (also known as a pagefile) should be 3 GB or 3072MB. Set this value by right clicking on "My Computer" Select the "properties" option and from there, the "Advanced" tab. Click "Settings" in the Performance section, and when the resulting dialog box appears, select the "Advanced" tab once again. Here you will see "Virtual Memory" in the bottom half of the window with the option to "Change". Follow the prompts to set your pagefile or virtual memory to the approriate value. I've provided a couple of screen captures below to point you in the right direction. If you're still uncertain, send me email and I'll be happy to guide you through!

Advanced System Properties






















Advanced Performance Options

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Today's Tip: Scheduled HDD Defrags (Pt 2)

Yesterday I showed you how to set up an automated background defragmentation of your computers HDD using a scheduled task on Windows XP and Windows 2000. As you may have noticed, it's a tedious and multi-step process. Today I'll show you how much easier the same process is on Windows Vista and Microsoft's next OS, Windows 7. Microsoft has really simplified and streamlined the process!

 Step 1 of 4

Step 1 of 4: Click on START and type Defrag into the search box then double click "Disk Defragmenter" at the top of the search results

 Step 2 of 4

Step 2 of 4: Select the check box "Run on a schedule (recommended)" and then click on "Modify Schedule" Ste[ 3 of 4

Step 3 of 4: Set the frequency, day, and time for your scheduled defrags and click OK. Helpful hint, schedule a time when the computer is on but not likely in use. Step 4 of 4

Step 4 of 4: Click on "Select Volumes" and place a check mark next to the drives you wish to defrag. Click OK and your automatic scheduled defrags are set!

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Today's Tip: Scheduled HDD Defrags (Pt 1)

A couple of days ago, I discussed keeping your system running efficiently with periodic HDD defragmentation. Under Windows XP and 2000 this is done by clicking on START > Programs >Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter. From there follow the wizard to defragment your HDD. This can also be setup as an automated task on specified schedule so you can set it and forget it. Part 1 of my tutorial on scheduling an automatic HDD defrag under Windows XP and Windows 2000 is below. Look for part 2, scheduling automated HDD defrags under Windows Vista tomorrow. Step 1 of 10

Step 1 of 10: Click on START > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Scheduled Tasks Step 2 of 10

Step 2 of 10: Double Click on "Add Scheduled Task" Step 3 of 10

Step 3 of 10: When the scheduled task wizard starts, click "Next" Step 4 of 10

Step 4 of 10: From the Program Selection option, click "Browse" Step 5 of 10

Step 5 of 10: Using "Look in" navigation, navigate to C:\Windows\System32. Locate and open"defrag"

Step 6 of 10

 Step 6 of 10: Select how often you want the defrag to run and click next Step 7 of 10

Step 7 of 10: Select start time and other parameters and click next. Helpful hint - make sure you select a time during which your computer is powered on but not in use. Step 8 of 10

Step 8 of 10: Windows requires that you enter a user and password (twice) so the task can run as if you were sitting at the machine. This will be your username and password. Click Next Step 9 of 10

Step 9 of 10: The task scheduler wizard confirms that you have setup your defrag task. Select "Open Advanced Properties" and click Finish

 Step 10 of 10

Step 10 of 10: In the "Run" box, it will say "C:\windows\system32\defrag.exe". You must add a SPACE and drive letter notation. So, for example, if you want to defragment drive C, you would modify the "Run" box to say "C:\windows\system32\defrag.exe c:" (without quotes). Click OK to finish. At this point, the scheduled task wizard will prompt you once again for your password.

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Today’s Tip: Defrag that HDD!

One of the simplest things you can do to improve the performance of your computer is to regularly defragment the hard drive.  Your computer’s hard drive is much like a giant filing cabinet. When data is written to the drive, the system doesn’t care “where” on the drive it writes to, it just looks for free space.  The result is that parts of a file get scattered indiscriminately all over the usuable disk surface.  Imagine a filing cabinet with no folder structure, only pieces of paper thrown randomly into drawers!  Can you imagine trying to locate all the pages of that important contract you need to review and having to sort through thousands of pages to locate them?  The result is basically the same with hard disk fragmentation. If you’ve got a 500GB disk drive, everytime you access a given file, the computer may have to reconstruct the file by gathering all the pieces by searching the entire drive!  That’s a performance killer and over time will severly slow down your PC. 


By setting a system task to periodically defragment the drive (for most users every 30 days is more than adequate), you will keep your disk optimized and your system running smoothly for years to come!

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