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Posted on 1999-01-03
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
I'm trying to get some more understanding about my AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT files. I run NT Workstation 4.0 SP4. I had a fair grasp of how these files worked and what
they did under DOS, but I need some more help understanding
them now.

This question arose from another question I posed here at EE
with regard to the path environment variable. I adjusted/edited the path variable and its value from within
the system, not the User section from Control Panel | System . I am the only one who uses this PC. I am not networked. I can logon as Administrator or 2 other logons I've set up.

Here is what's contained in my CONFIG.NT file which is located in (on my PC) I:\WINNT\System32 . . . .

REM Windows NT MS-DOS Startup File
REM CONFIG.SYS is not used to initialize the MS-DOS environment.
REM CONFIG.NT is used to initialize the MS-DOS environment unless a
REM different startup file is specified in an application's PIF.
REM By default, no information is displayed when the MS-DOS environment
REM is initialized. To display CONFIG.NT/AUTOEXEC.NT information, add
REM the command echoconfig to CONFIG.NT or other startup file.
REM When you return to the command prompt from a TSR or while running an
REM MS-DOS-based application, Windows NT runs COMMAND.COM. This allows the
REM TSR to remain active. To run CMD.EXE, the Windows NT command prompt,
REM rather than COMMAND.COM, add the command ntcmdprompt to CONFIG.NT or
REM other startup file.
REM By default, you can start any type of application when running
REM COMMAND.COM. If you start an application other than an MS-DOS-based
REM application, any running TSR may be disrupted. To ensure that only
REM MS-DOS-based applications can be started, add the command dosonly to
REM CONFIG.NT or other startup file.
REM You can use EMM command line to configure EMM(Expanded Memory Manager).
REM The syntax is:
REM EMM = [A=AltRegSets] [B=BaseSegment] [RAM]
REM      AltRegSets
REM          specifies the total Alternative Mapping Register Sets you
REM          want the system to support. 1 <= AltRegSets <= 255. The
REM          default value is 8.
REM      BaseSegment
REM          specifies the starting segment address in the Dos conventional
REM          memory you want the system to allocate for EMM page frames.
REM          The value must be given in Hexdecimal.
REM          0x1000 <= BaseSegment <= 0x4000. The value is rounded down to
REM          16KB boundary. The default value is 0x4000
REM      RAM
REM          specifies that the system should only allocate 64Kb address
REM          space from the Upper Memory Block(UMB) area for EMM page frames
REM          and leave the rests(if available) to be used by DOS to support
REM          loadhigh and devicehigh commands. The system, by default, would
REM          allocate all possible and available UMB for page frames.
REM      The EMM size is determined by pif file(either the one associated
REM      with your application or _default.pif). If the size from PIF file
REM      is zero, EMM will be disabled and the EMM line will be ignored.
dos=high, umb

And here's what's contained within my AUTOEXEC.NT file. . .

@echo off

REM AUTOEXEC.BAT is not used to initialize the MS-DOS environment.
REM AUTOEXEC.NT is used to initialize the MS-DOS environment unless a
REM different startup file is specified in an application's PIF.

REM Install CD ROM extensions
lh %SystemRoot%\system32\mscdexnt.exe

REM Install network redirector (load before dosx.exe)
lh %SystemRoot%\system32\redir

REM Install DPMI support
lh %SystemRoot%\system32\dosx

I appologize for this question being so verbose. It's sort of a multiple puzzle.


How can I use these files to both optimize my NT and gain
more control of how it runs? In the last question I posed,
I had a path value (echoed to the screen) that contained
directory references that were no longer of any use. There
ought to be a way of editing these things and forcing things
to operate optimally, despite the way Bill Gates wants it to

Question by:jnowlin
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Expert Comment

ID: 1796729
The AUTOEXEC.NT (or BAT) and CONFIG.NT (or .SYS) have no help at all in improving  Your NT performance. These files just help you to run DOS base (16 bit app) in NT enviroment. They're loaded just when some kind of such app launch not when NT startup and you just need to change them when these app need some special setting to run (like enviroment parameter or some special program need to run be for your app can start...).
 To improve your NT performance, you have to optimize your paging memory setting, usually defrag your hard disk, disable un-nessessary service, using the drive optimized for your hardware to run wih NT system... and something like that but forget the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG stuff.

Author Comment

ID: 1796730
I need some more information regarding optimizing my NT.

Expert Comment

ID: 1796731
sorry but hnminh is absolutely right

the files are not used by NT but by 16 bit applications that need a auto and config
to gain performence add more ram and use scsi

thats all
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Accepted Solution

snowleopard earned 600 total points
ID: 1796732
Optimizing NT is always an ongoing challange but here are a couple of things to look into:

Page file:  If your using SCSI dedicate a second drive for the paging file and temp/log files.
                a one Gig should do well (I've seen these around for $40. cdn). You'll still need
                allocate about 15MB to the primary NT installation drive though. Registry                 editing may be required (ie: for *.evt logs)

Drivers:    Always use the latest drivers for you adapters and mainboard chipset (SCSI,  
               IDE, RAID, PCI bridging, etc). These are usually supplied by the manufacturer
               ie: Compaq, HP, IBM.

Video:      A fast video adapter such as the Elsa Erasor II, which has DirectX and OpenGL
               support under NT4 and NT5.

Defrag:     I've tested several defragmenters for NT, so far the best product is Diskeeper.

Caching:  NT's cache schema is crap, use O&O's CleverCache to manage it (this                                              actually works to improve File i/o operations dramatically).

CPU:       Powertweak, this utility can control and improve processor functions /                                              performance. It's not permanent, modifications drop on reboot. If you can use
               two cpu's and set Services Affinity across them with the Service+ utility.

RAM:       the more the better, start with 128MB and add 32MB for every major App you
               install. For CAD, 3D Animation, Digital Video, Ansys, GIS, etc, start at 512MB
               some people suggest turning off ecc mode, don't, the performance hit is not
               negligable on 300mhz cpu's and above when weighed against data integrity.

Registry:  Here are just a couple of NT registry items which can help improve performance
               ( this is specific to Pentiums w/512b cache and 256MB ram) Get the book
               "The Experts Guide to the Windows NT registry", it's a treasure trove of info.
                Though lacking in some registry hacks it's hard to beat for its depth.


[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management]



Apps:        Set netscape to use five MB of RAM and zero  for the disk cache. a similar
                 setting can be made to IE4.01 /IE 5.0. Do this for any other app which has
                 such an option, if it doesn't use a Ramdisk of 10 to 50 MB (this is cheaper
                 than Solid State Drives) and set is temp/work files there.

Data:         Again if you'r using SCSI add another drive just for data storage, say about
                 4 to 6 Gigs. You may have to edit the registry to get your applications to                                                    default to the alternate drive/directories. You can also move templates, maps,
                 textures, etc ( ie: MS Office, Corel WP, 3DSMax) to this drive.

File system:  Of course use NTFS, but set the Block size for 4k. Studies have shown
                    that performance i/o is best balanced with this size. There are caveates
                    related to NT Server applications though.

BIOS:        Check with the manufacturer of your Mainboard and check the best settings                                                    for Latencies and Speeds and other Advanced Options.

CD's:         If you can use a separate SCSI controller for tape drives, CD drives, CD-R
                 drives. Any media that you can get for SCSI thats slower than the HDD'S.
                 Basically avoid mixing these devices with HDD's (avoid IDE).

Overclocking:  there are several web sites dedicated to pushing hardware performance
                      limits of Mainboards, RAM, Video adapters, etc. Use with caution.

I hope this gives you a place to start, but just as a little note:   NT ranks dead last in performance when tested against AIX, HPUX, Solaris and other major comercial Unix OS's
on the same or comparible hardware (Linux would probably also be in there as a high performer). NT4 with Interix 2.2 (formerly OpenNT) is now certified as a Unix OS.



Author Comment

ID: 1796733
Thanks snowleopard! Can I offer you some points?!
This is the sort of stuff I've been looking for. Everything I have is IDE or EIDE, not SCSI.
I have a Matrox G100 Productiva AGP video card with 8Mb of RAM running with my PentiumII 266 Mhz processor with 64 Mb of SDRAM.

I have been contemplating buying another 64 Mb module of SDRAM as well as a faster
video card(board). But, other than that, I have been unable (up to now) to find out what
else I can do to "tweek" (other than one of the OSs you mention above).


Expert Comment

ID: 1796734
Points are always nice. On your system I would suggest the following:

A second IDE 2GIG HDD as master on the secondary channel Use it for the Page file and Temp DIR, also set your Net Browser cache locations to this drive.

Add more Ram 128 min. 256 would be better.

Use the software products I suggested last time, they have demo versions available on the web sites.

Video is ok, use the latest drivers, also look into a utility called PowerStrip at http://www.entechtaiwan.com/

If you use your CD-Rom for alot of multimedia or gaming get the ZEN Technologies True X 40x IDE CD-rom (go to HIVAL.com) set it for slave on the secondary ide channel. don't use the secondary ide connector on the Primary channel. This cd is worth the bucks, amazing performance.

At some point you may want to switch to SCSI (the HIVAL CD should still be used 'cause it will be the only device on the IDE bus, but set it as a master.) Look into Mylex Host Adapters, they are not expensive and perform better than the popular Adaptec Controllers. Do not mix SCSI HDD with scsi tape or scsi cd drives. don't mix scsi wide with scsi ultra2 unless the Host Adapter has specific support for it (lowers performance of the scsi bus). Use teflon scsi cables and active terminators (Granite).



Author Comment

ID: 1796735
Thank you snowleopard!

Good Stuff!!!


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