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Temporary freezes, especially when using Netscape

Posted on 1998-03-18
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
For a littl while now, my system takes little "rests" while running. The whole system seems to jam up, the HD is assessed in little bursts and between the bursts the system is largely frozen (the mouse still moves though). After about ten or fifteen seconds the system recovers and works normally. The problem seems to be worse if Im running netscape although i does occur (less frequently) when im not. I have a vague feeling that this problem first occurred after i installed ISDN accelerator pack and the DUN 1.2 upgrade. My questions:
1) This almost seems like a memory/cache problem, could my RAM or cache be dying?
2) are there some swap file or cache settings ive got wrong or could optimise anywhere? (im using W95 to set the swap file and have no vcache settings)
3) could there be something in the registry gumming things up?
4) is this, after all, a netscape prob instead? (3.01)

Ive done a reinstall of ´95 (but only over the old version) and the problem didnt go away.

My system is an intel endeavor 1, iP100, 24MB RAM (2x4 and 2x8 all EDO) 256 kb cache, newest proprietory BIOS (VBS 4) running OSR 2,0 with DUN 1.2 and ISDN accelerator. Apart from the software i havent changed anything else on the system,in ages and it WAS running ok. Any tips???
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Question by:pog451
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:busuka
ID: 1754990
Run Scandisk then Defrag all your disks, clean \Windows\Temp folder, change 'typical
role of machine' to network server, add to SYSTEM.INI file under {Vcache} section line
MinFileCache=4096

This is for start. Check what network components you have installed.

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by:James Elliott
ID: 1754991
This exact same thing happened on my machine. However it happened a lot less frequenty on mine by the sounds on the way you describe things! In control panel somewhere, it asks you how much you wish to accelerate your graphics rendering or something. Could this be something to do with it! It worked on mine.
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Author Comment

by:pog451
ID: 1754992
Jell: Its not the graphics acceleration, as my Mytique has been running this way for ages.

Busuka: I do all this regularly anyway, but ill do it again and set the minfilecache
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Expert Comment

by:busuka
ID: 1754993
Pog, did you have ANY hardware conflict (yellow/red exclamation marks) in Device
Manager ?
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Author Comment

by:pog451
ID: 1754994
Nope, my system is pretty full, but it all works
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Accepted Solution

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smeebud earned 200 total points
ID: 1754995
Jell has a valid point,
Do this:
Check Your System's Graphics Hardware
To find your System's Graphics Acceleration settings:
1. Right click on My Computer
2. Choose Properties, that takes you to your System's Properties
3. Click Performance Tab
4. Click the Graphics button.
There you can adjust the speed of your Graphics Accelerator

There are three reasons why your graphics hardware may have difficulties using
the Full graphics hardware acceleration setting. First, Windows 95 may have
misidentified your display adapter or monitor during the installation procedure. If
so, Windows 95 isn't using the proper drivers to communicate with your devices.
Second, the version of display driver your system is using may be outdated. Many
graphics hardware manufacturers have improved their drivers and released
updated versions that perform more efficiently than the older versions. Third, your
display adapter may be an older, less sophisticated, model. If that's the case, it
simply may not be able to handle the Full graphics hardware acceleration setting.

Regardless of the cause, you'll want to begin your troubleshooting expedition by
making sure that you have installed on your system the correct and most recent
graphics hardware drivers available. If Windows 95 misidentified your display
adapter or monitor during the installation procedure and you later install the most
current drivers, you should use your system for a few days before adjusting the
graphics acceleration setting. You may have solved the problem with the new
drivers and will be able to safely and reliably use the Full graphics hardware
acceleration setting. More detailed information on identifying and obtaining
graphics hardware drivers.

Adjusting the setting

If you continue to have problems or if you discover that your display adapter is an
older model, you'll want to adjust the graphics hardware acceleration setting to an
appropriate level. The Hardware Acceleration slider
actually has four notches. The notches from left to right correspond to None,
Basic, Most, and Full. Moving the slider to the left gradually disables Windows
95's graphics acceleration features and lets you eliminate system crashes caused
by graphics operations. To adjust the setting, access the Advanced Graphics
Settings dialog box as we described earlier. Then, move the slider down a notch,
click OK to close the Advance Graphics Settings dialog box, and click Close to
dismiss the System Properties sheet. When the System Settings Change dialog
box, prompts you to restart your system, click Yes to do so.

Identify @ Check Your System's Graphics Hardware

Best places to download updated drivers
Web Site Address
The Drivers HeadQuarters Web site [www.drivershq.com]
WinDrivers.com [www.windrivers.com]
Windows95.com Drivers Updates [www.windows95.com/drivers]
Windows Sources DriverFinder [www.zdnet.com/wsources]

Conclusion

Before you adjust the graphics hardware acceleration setting, make sure that
Windows 95 is correctly using and identifying the display adapter card and
monitor. If it's not, you'll need to install the proper driver.
===========AND LOOK THIS OVER.
Two Part Windows 95 Tune up.
                                        Typical Role Settings
                        http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q138/0/12.asp
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):
-------------------------------
[vcache]
MinFileCache=4096 [Experiment, some people set MinFileCache=0]
MaxFileCache=4096
------------------------------
For 32mg
[vcache]
MinFileCache=8192 [Experiment, some people set MinFileCache=0]
MaxFileCache=8192
------------------------------
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
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\ Microsoft\Windows\
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.
===================
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\
CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Server]
@="Network server"
"PathCache"=hex:40,00,00,00
"NameCache"=hex:a9,0a,00,00
===================
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\control\FileSystem]
"NameCache"=hex:a9,0a,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:40,00,00,00
===================
Then:
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
buffering.

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
memory:
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.
5. Whether or not you're using the DoubleSpace/DriveSpace disk
compression utility, these drivers are taking up valuable memory and
slowing system startup.
6. Simply delete DRVSPACE.BIN and DBLSPACE.BIN from C:\ and
your Windows\Command directory. Note: do not do this if you are
currently using DriveSpace or DoubleSpace to compress your hard disk!!
OPTIONAL

7. Right-click on DOSPRMPT.PIF (in your Windows directory), and
select Properties. Load DosKey in a DOS box automatically:
8. Click on the Program tab, and enter "DOSKEY" in the field labeled Batch File.
9. Note: for more information, see Contents of the Windows95 MSDOS.SYS File.
Note: some of these settings can also be changed with TweakUI, one of
Microsoft's PowerToys.
OSR2 MEMORY.
See: http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q156/3/32.asp
There is so much information on memory and OSR2 that I couldn't
put it all here. Do this please;
Go to; http://www.microsoft.com/kb/default.asp
At Step 1: Choose Windows 95
At Step 5: Enter as a Search Phrase "msdos.sys and memory"

Please get back with me,

Regards,
Bud.
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Author Comment

by:pog451
ID: 1754996
well, my graphics adapter is a matrox mystique with the lataest BIOS and drivers, THATS why i dont think its that. I dont know that ive changed any of the system settings recently either :-((. Ill try those knowledge base hacks and see if any thing improves. If it does, ill grade the answer, but theres not really anything new to me here. Thanks for the help to date, if anyone else has some suggestions im all ears. Ill get back to you
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Expert Comment

by:smeebud
ID: 1754997
I have a Mystique too. That's not the point, or perhaps it is. If you have a good board like the Mystique, it may simply be to fast for 95 to handle YET.
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Expert Comment

by:smeebud
ID: 1754998
Let me know if I ned to be more clear on anything.
Are you running APM of any kind. if so, turn it off as a test.
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Author Comment

by:pog451
ID: 1754999
Hi again guys, just in case anyones paying attention still here (i havent forgotten you, i just still havent solved the problem yet), here are a couple of comments
1) Ive reinstalled Win95, no improvement
2) I have a problem with Vcache, ie. it wont run. Ive read the M$ knowledge base stuff on Ifshlp.sys but it doesnt seem to help.
3) Ive been running sysmon for a bit and what is happening is that the processor load is suddenly jumping to 100% and staying there as long as the system is locked. Im not sure if this is a symptom or part of the problem. Might this be due to my processor giving up the ghost? Im running an iP75 at 100 with a cooler and it was fine till now, but praps its feeling the strain. I may try dropping the sopeed don again, see if that helps. The problem Still seems to be worse when im using netscape, ive installed communicartor now and the pC still locks up.

 
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LVL 14

Expert Comment

by:smeebud
ID: 1755000
pog,
you say, "I have a problem with Vcache. Do you mean the vcache setting in system.ini.

Did you set a permenent swapfile?
Although you are supposed to be able to keep right on working when you HDD is writting,
or working, I know it's best that when it is actively busy writting [you can hear it] don't do anything until it's done.

Please tell me what you have done. Did you optimize your system per my 1st answer.
Did you change you System's Graphics Acceleration settings as suggested??

Bud
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Author Comment

by:pog451
ID: 1755001
Yo, im currently running on zero graphics acceleration etc. What i mena with "i have a problem" is that I get the dreaded "vcache initialisation failed" blue screen if I attempt to put a value (any at all) under [vcache]. Ive got the M$ file on the szbjct and have been plying with the position of IFSHLP.sys, but nothing seem to work.
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Expert Comment

by:smeebud
ID: 1755002
Do you have vcache.vxd in your registry at
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\control\VMM32Files
also you should have
=========
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\VCACHE]
"StaticVxD"="*VCACHE"
"Start"=hex:00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Services\VxD\VCACHE\Lookup]
====================
If not you can add this manually, or copy all between the double lines and paste to notepad, then save as Vcache.reg.
Double clicking it will enter that string

Get back to me.
Bud
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