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[ The PC Guide | System Optimization and Enhancement Guide | System Optimizations and Enhancements | Operating System Performance Optimization ]

Customize Swap File Settings

The swap file is a file on the hard disk that is used for virtual memory paging. When a multitasking system such as Windows has too much information for it all to be held in memory at once, some of it is stored in the swap file until it is needed.

The default swap file settings for the Windows 95 operating system are generally poor; by default the swap file is always placed on the C: drive, and it is set to start out small in size and then be dynamically resized. You can increase performance by customizing the swap file, using the Windows settings controls. Before you do this, you will need to determine what settings to use. The best way to do this is to read these three optimization sections, which discuss swap file location, size and resizing respectively.

Once you know what you want to do, set up the swap file by following these steps:

  1. Enter System Properties, Performance Area: Right-click the "My Computer" icon on your desktop and select "Properties", or double-click the "System" icon in the Control Panel. Then select the "Performance" tab.
  2. Edit Virtual Memory Settings: Select the button labeled "Virtual Memory..." under "Advanced Settings". Then select "Let me specify my own virtual memory settings".
  3. Select the Location for the Swap File: Select which hard disk volume is to contain the swap file from the list box labeled "Hard disk". (You are actually choosing a logical disk volume here, not a physical hard disk, despite the label.)
  4. Set the Minimum and Maximum Swap File Sizes: Using an appropriate size for the swap file, set the minimum and maximum file sizes. If you make the minimum and maximum size the same, you will disable swap file resizing. If you make them different you will allow resizing between the maximum and minimum sizes.
  5. Select "OK": Depending on what your settings were before, you may get a message at this point warning you about managing your own virtual memory settings. That's fine. You will also be asked if you wish to reboot your PC. Do so, after of course saving any open files.

Warning: Do not make the swap file too small or you risk running out of memory and experiencing system crashes and other problems. Do not disable virtual memory or you may experience system problems.

Next: Eliminate Swap File Resizing

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