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Vcache settings: How and why and how much?

Posted on 1999-01-14
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Last Modified: 2013-12-16
Question for BUSH in particular: How to optimize the vcache settings to ensure that Windows 95 (and WinNt if it is different) uses as much installed RAM as possible without resorting to virtual memory?  How do I access settings, how should they be set...
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Question by:michaelg
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bushhead earned 600 total points
ID: 1761311
hmm.. i hope that my answer will live up to your expectations because you put a rating of HARD on this.. i thot it would have been an easy.. or at most a moderate.. so i'm gonna try to put some extra effort into this...

first a description of vcache
The disk cache system in Windows 95. VCACHE replaces the Smartdrive system used in older versions of Windows. Whereas SmartDrive is a 16-bit driver, VCACHE is a 32-bit driver. VCACHE can dynamically change the size of the disk cache depending on available disk space and application requirements.

in your system.ini look for something like [vcache]. it should currently not have anything under there if you have not already fooled with the settings yourself. to configure it.. do something like

[vcache]
MinFileCache=2048
MaxFileCache=2048

of course 2048 is just a random size in KB. for your computer you will have to decide and probably test what is the best settings for yourself. generally the settings are about 1/8 to 1/4 of your total ram. i have 32 mb and i set mine to 4096. i think if you use wintune from www.winmag.com you will also find some tips in there about what to set it to. note that this is the program that i use to benchmark my computer and all the changes that i make to test if i have made anything faster. :)

 
go to http://www.aserve.net/faq/win_95_swap.html and read about the swap file stuff there.. might help in your other question as well actually...

and some other pointers
Since disks are considerably slower than memory, Windows uses some memory as a disk cache to increase performance. For example, Windows may read 16KB of data from disk into memory, even though a program like Word only requested 4KB of data. If Word later requests more data, Windows can deliver it from memory, rather than having to go back to disk. In Windows 3.1x, you have to set up the disk cache manually using either SmartDrive or 32-bit file access, and it's a fixed size that doesn't change in response to how you're using the system.

Windows 95 does a reasonable job of managing cache on its own, but you can tweak it to get a bit more predictable performance. In the Windows 95 SYSTEM.INI file, you can add or change the following entries:

[ vcache]
MinFileCache=min
MaxFileCache=max

Min and max represent the minimum and maximum KB size. Without these entries, Windows 95 uses its own defaults.

note however that win98 has it's own built in memory thingy.. so it's no use setting vcache settings in win98.. and probably would slow the computer down..

bush
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by:bushhead
ID: 1761312
wasn't sure if i ticked the box for an email notification...

:)

bush
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by:michaelg
ID: 1761313
Thanks Bushhead... good pointer to try out. I got a reply on this as part of Laprhroag's reply dated Jan 14 to my previous question re virtual memory ...he too suggests a setting between 1\8 and 1\4 of installed RAM.  He suggests a setting of 8192 for a system with 32 MB RAM... (q.10116665).  Regards, Michael.
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