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

Conventional and Upper Memory Optimization

The system memory is divided into several different areas, as described in detail here. Of these, the conventional memory area--the first 640 KB of RAM--is special, because it is the only part of memory that some programs are allowed to use. Even if you have 32 MB of total RAM, the first 640 KB remains important for some types of programs, and you may need to take special steps to ensure that as much of it as possible is conserved. The upper memory area also often needs to be optimized, because optimizing it is a key part of optimizing the conventional memory area.

There are a lot of different factors that go into configuring a system to maximize available conventional memory. I have provided in this section some of the techniques that I commonly use. How exactly you should go about setting up the system depends on the hardware you are using as well as your operating system. I have included a section below for optimizing under DOS, and also under Windows 95. The DOS ideas are generally applicable for those using the DOS, Windows 3.x, or Windows 95 operating systems. The Windows 95 section expands upon the DOS section with ideas that are specific to Windows 95.

Next: Maximize Conventional Memory Under DOS (and Windows)

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