Creating a partition for Win95 Swap File

Posted on 1998-03-05
Last Modified: 2013-12-16
What are the pros and cons of creating a partition for the swap file in Win95?
How big should this partition be?
Question by:tyjacs
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754772
First I need some more info-

What sort of system do you have?  (RAM, HDD, CPU, Cache)
What software do you usually use on it?

Expert Comment

ID: 1754773
The biggest bonus for creating a separate partition for your swap file is that it wont get as fragmented (as you're not sharing the partition with other programs), and therefore should run faster. The cons of this, is that if you're using many apps at once, you might run out of room (if you make the partition too small) and windows will crash.  A good measure would be at least 4 times you're ram capacity (ie 32 megs - 128 meg partition) should do dandy.   I'd probably want to make it about 200 meg or so, just to be on the safe side.

Expert Comment

ID: 1754774
That depends on the type of system and what it is used for......
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754775
Actually, creating a separate partition for the swapfile, even on the same drive, may decrease performance rather than improve it.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754776
There should be now goood reeasons to create a partition for your swap space. Only if the swap space is on a different physical HD-drive there could be some performance increase.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754777
rbr, not true! Actually, the decrease in performance would be even worse when the swap file is placed on a second physical drive. As you move downward from the BX and LX chipset towards vx etc, this will worsen as bus mastering and DMA/UDMA was not employed. The performation degredation would be unbelievable. Try it and you'll see what I mean!
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754778
Tyjacs, I presume that you want to imporve performance of the swapfile. If this is tru, try this. Leave the swapfile where it is for now, but make some changes. First, rather than let windows manage the swap file, set it's size between 3 and 4 times the size of your memory. Now boot the system into safe mode and delete the swapfile entirely. Now reboot the system. You should have to defrag it and it should show a marked improvement.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754779
Sorry, you should NOT have to defrag it!

Author Comment

ID: 1754780
adamgg:  I am running an Intel 200MMX on a Supermicro P5STE(512K Cache)  with 64M of 60ns EDO ram.   I have an IBM DHEA-36480 6.4G U/ATA HD.

Author Comment

ID: 1754781
dew_associates:  Exactly! I want to get the best performance out uf the swapfile.  When I boot into safe mode, you wanted me to "delete the swapfile entirely", I am not sure how to do that.  In the past I would tell Win95 not to use a swapfile and run defrag, but I don't think that I have ever deleted it while Win95 was set up to use it.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754782
Okay Tyjacs, I don't want you getting into unfamiliar territory then. Make the changes this way.

1. Set the swapfile size between 3 and 4 times the size of your memory.

2. Now just reboot the system and then run defrag and it should show a marked improvement.
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Expert Comment

ID: 1754783
If you want a FASSSSSST swapfile.. do what i have done in a cpl of machines.. Purchase a Solid state disk... overkill.. but quite nice.. and no persistent frag problems...

Expert Comment

ID: 1754784
tyjacs, you should reject proposed answer, because it not answers
your task. Dennis was closer. My opinion is just dedicate partition
for swap file and set MINIMAL size of swap file 2.5xRAM_size
(160 MB), don't set maximum size of swap file. AFAIK, perfomance
decreases when Win95 try to reduce swap file size (in case of
'Let Win95 manage ...'). Also in file SYSTEM.INI locate [Vcache]
section and add this line:
Further, it's not recommended to set MaxFileCache parameter.

Regards, Ian

Author Comment

ID: 1754785
I want to give the points to Dennis.  I am following his suggestions.  Thanks Dennis
LVL 25

Accepted Solution

dew_associates earned 100 total points
ID: 1754786
Thanks Tyjacs!  If you have additional questions while working with the swapfile for awhile, please post them here!
LVL 14

Expert Comment

ID: 1754787
I have to disagree with Ian on;
"it's not recommended to set MaxFileCache parameter."
here's my .....well here it is.
Two Part Windows 95 Tune up.
                             Typical Role Settings
Many users have complained about Windows95 seizing up for up to
a minute because of random, pointless disk activity. This is due to the
way that Windows95 is set to handle disk caching and virtual memory.

Think off this as a Standard Proceedure like Scandisk and Defrag;
Except you only have to do it ONCE.

Although Windows95 instructs you to "let Windows handle disk cache
settings" for best results, this obviously does not yield the best results.
Swapping and /tmp files compete for the same resource.
Put simply, this means if a program runs the machine out
of swap space, /tmp will fill up, and if large files fill up /tmp
programs will not be able to get any memory to run.
If this restriction becomes a problem for you, a separate disk
partition can be allocated for /tmp.

Here's how to eliminate the
1. Random Disk Activity,
2. Improve System Performance
3. Handle Memory More Efficiently
                           Part One: Virtual Memory
1. Right click on My Computer, and select Properties.
2. Click the Performance tab, and then click Virtual Memory
3. Choose Let me specify my own virtual memory settings.
4. If you want to choose a different drive for your swapfile, run Disk
Defragmenter first.
5. Specify the same value for the Minimum size and the Maximum size,
so Windows95 won't spend so much time re sizing the file.
A good size is roughly 2 1/2 times the amount of installed RAM
(i.e. create a 40MB swapfile if you have 16MB of RAM).
6. Press OK, and then OK again, and confirm that you want to restart
your computer.
Note: if you have Norton Utilities, you'll be able to optimize the swapfile.
If you want to take the time, you can optimize it manually by exiting windows,
deleting the swapfile, defragmenting the drive, and restarting. Once you've
set the swapfile size to be constant, you won't have to worry about a
defragmented (broken up) swapfile again.
"The advantage of this process is that Win95 doesn't waste CPU cycles
downsizing the swap file to its auto-set-minimum. Downsize waste doesn't
happen unless enough applications are loaded and then closed which
exceed that minimum. This will be a low-probability situation if you set the
minimum swap file properly."
                            Part Two: Virtual Cache
1. Open SYSTEM.INI for editing.
2. Add the following two lines to the [vcache] section
(add the section if it's not there):
MinFileCache=4096 [Experiment, some people set MinFileCache=0]
For 32mg
MinFileCache=8192 [Experiment, some people set MinFileCache=0]
3. These values, in kilobytes, regulate the size of the VChache, so you
can stop it from filling up all available RAM and paging all loaded apps to disk.

Here are several little modifications you can make to improve
Windows95 performance:

Speed up system restart:
1. Add BootDelay=0 to the [Options] section of C:\MSDOS.SYS
Speed up the Start Menu:
2. In the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\
Control Panel\ desktop, and add a string value named MenuShowDelay,
with a value specifying the number of milliseconds (400 is default, smaller
numbers are faster).
By making a few little tweaks to Windows 95's Control Panel settings,
you can realize some big performance gains. Start by double-clicking on
the Control Panel's System icon, then clicking on the Performance tab.
Next, click on the File System button. You'll see two settings in the
resulting Hard Disk dialog box:
The setting labeled Typical Role of This Machine determines how much
space is set aside in main memory to handle path and filename caching.
The default Desktop Computer choice allocates space for a paltry 32
paths and 677 filenames, whereas the Network Server  choice bumps
those settings up to 64 paths and 2,729 filenames.
Even if your computer is used strictly for desktop applications, change the
Typical Role box to Network Server. Unfortunately, if you're using the
original release of Windows 95--not the recently updated version titled
OEM Service Release 2 (OSR2)--you'll have to take an additional step
to correct a bug in the Windows 95 Registry.
Change the value of
CurrentVersion\ FSTemplates\Server\NameCache to a9 0a 00 00, and
\PathCache to 40 00 00 00.
Or copy everything between the double lines, copy and paste to notepad
and "Save as"
"Role1.reg" and "Role2.reg". Then all you have to do is double click on those
files to enter them.

CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Server]
@="Network server"

The Read-Ahead Optimization slider establishes how much additional data
Windows 95 should fetch every time you retrieve data from your hard disk.
Read-ahead buffering improves performance by reducing the number of
times your machine has to go out to the relatively slow hard disk to get data.
Set the slider all the way to the right, giving Windows 64K of read-ahead

Next, click on the CD-ROM tab in the File System Properties box. The
Supplemental Cache Size slider adjusts the room Windows 95 sets aside
for read-ahead buffering of your CD. The first three steps on the slider add
64K or 128K each to the cache; the final three steps add 256K apiece. The
box labeled Optimize Access Pattern For doesn't control access speed to
your CD; the setting's real function is to reserve even more buffer space for
caching CD reads. The Single-Speed Drives and No Read-Ahead settings
don't increase the buffer size.
But the double-, triple-, and quad-speed settings add 50K, 100K, and 150K
of cache, respectively.

If you use your CD drive frequently, move the Supplemental Cache Size
slider to Large, and specify that you have a Quad Speed or Higher CD,
even if you don't. The combination will set aside about 1.2MB for CD
caching, and ensure that your CD will run as fast as possible.
An Alternate swapping method
Run Sysmon and check to see how much
memory you usually use (w/ your normal programs running).
Now set the minimum swap file to just slightly larger
than this number, but leave the max alone (let it use
the whole drive if needed). This way you will have a
permanant file on the drive that will let you use the
computer w/o win95 always resizing it, but when you
need more space win95 will be able to use up to the
rest of the drive. If you limit the top end when win95
needs more space it will choke and either refuse to run
the program or crash.
More free memory in DOS windows:

1. Add LocalLoadHigh=1 to the [386Enh] section of SYSTEM.INI. -
Warning: this may cause unpredictable results if you are not using the
EMM386 memory manager. Remove DoubleSpace/DriveSpace from
2. If you know how to scroll, minimize windows, etc., you can recover
[7.1 Megs] of disk space by deleting the .AVI files from /windows/help
3. Deleting Extraneous or Leftover Files
You can safely delete the following files in the root directory: *.txt,
*.prv, *.log, *.old, *.___, and *.dos (unless you use dual-boot). You can
delete these files from the Windows directory: *.log, *.old, *.___, *.bak,
and, *.000, *.001, etc.
4. RAM Although Windows 95 will run in 8 Megabytes of RAM,
I see far too many troubles in doing so. With Windows 95, like
Windows 3.1x, adding RAM will significantly boost performance.
For the best price-to-performance ratio, 16 Megs is recommended.
You will see an additional performance increase with even more
RAM, but, unless you are working with many complex applications
simultaneously, or editing 24-Bit color images, you get
diminishing return on your money above 32 Megs.

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