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win98 Start button and harddrive access

Posted on 2000-03-16
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
When I click on the start button and move the mouse to the folders that slide open my computer access's the hd for every link and displays them very slowly. after I access them all and get them in cash they open quickly but if I leave and come back a few hours while leaving the computer on the start menu becomes slow and needs the access the hd for every item in it
again. Is there a way I can get it to not access the hd so much.I work on a lot of computers and mine at home is the slowest when it comes to this situation. My computer is a P600 with 256meg  ram and 3hd's the main hd's are ultra2 scsi with the third being ultra ide . I have a lot on the computer and have noticed a graduale reduction in performance but the programs work just fine after they are running with no lag. where the normal everyday start menu display etc is sluggish
I have setup my ram to be used as priority over hd swapfile space and edited the registry to inlarge the main cash in win98
I have also inserted min and max settings for disk cash in the system ini file , all of which help programs run faster but not the basic interface of win98 itself (menu's opening folders with a lot of icons in them takes a lot of time depending if they were opened recently.I have run norton diskdocter and defraged the hd with no effect.I am using the scsi drives as the primary drives and with the ram being used for the swapfile first my swap file very seldom above 0 megs unless my system resources fall below 15% left.
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Question by:lippman
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2625420
Adjusted points from 100 to 150
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2625452
First and foremost, I find performance degrades significantly if I don't clear my BROWSER history and cache and run Mainteanance (cleanup/scandisk/defrag).  This makes a huge difference.  Additionally, find that if I load many startups, and TSRs and other things that run in the background, system also degrades performance-wise.  Thus, am selective about what all loads for me and do this using

start
run
msconfig

and uncheck unnecessary loads.  This can be quickly reinstated the same way by rechecking the items.

Asta
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2625460
Obviously, anything on the SCSI drives will be faster than the IDE drives.  Thus setting yourself up to use the fastest drive for the stuff you use most frequently would be beneficial (including the Swapfile - virtual memory).  I'd probably opt to use the slower drives just to store some of my data and backup stuff.

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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2625503
Edited text of question.
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2625509
Adjusted points from 150 to 180
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2625562
It helps you and us all follow the thread of events here if you follow up with comments rather than bothering to amend the original question to respond.

You've created some very unique environments; however, your ultimate goal is to have a fast performing system but your customizations slow it down instead (sorry to say).  Creating a permanent swapfile which is @ 2.5X the size of your total RAM will minimize the disk activity and resizing of the swapfile to meet demands.  I've implemented this and find the performance great.  I'd highly recommend first, however, doing a DEFRAG so that when you set up your permanent swapfile it is contiguous and not all fragmented.

There are varying opinions on a windows-managed versus permanent swapfile.  I've given my "opinion" and find it has served us well.  W98 has great performance if setup is correct.

Additionally, running some of the Norton utilities (actually many utilities and TSRs not just Norton) have a downside impact on performance.  I opt only to use these types of utilities "on demand".  For example, if I'm going to be downloading or somehow feel exposed, I invoke my Viruscan, otherwise if I'm not introducing anything new to my system, why degrade performance by having background stuff running?  



Asta
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Expert Comment

by:sahnun100
ID: 2625808
Try this as I had similar problems.

On start up access the BIOS by keying DEL, F1 or whatever it is on your PC.

Within the BIOS look for the power management subject and disable it.  Hope this helps.

Regards
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Expert Comment

by:sahnun100
ID: 2625812
sahnun100 changed the proposed answer to a comment
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by:rwilson032697
ID: 2625929
lippman: I'm sorry, but your machine it specced way to high. I have a P133 I can swap which will solve the problem :-)
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by:linschoten
ID: 2625953
The above ideas are very good, however I am going along another theory by thinking that these links have hidden UNC's in them. When the link is selected it is tring to access a UNC line ie. \\server\sharename, that does not exist.
At any stage was the C:\ drive shared and you have changed the nodename / computername ?

Just a thought... hope it helps.
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Expert Comment

by:Jerome030900
ID: 2626884
If harddrive space and memory are not an issue. Check to see what 16 bit apps are loading in DOS. Stop all of them temporarily when windows starts to boot press F8 and create a Detect Log that you can inspect later. If you use VirusScan while in screen save mode you will need to stop that as well. Disable the virus scanner and animated icons also. In the control panel open Find Fast and clean out the logs and then disable it also. after these changes restart your PC and use it normally to test the performance. One other thing you should check is whether or not you are in DOS Compatibility mode from the Control Panel/Performance.
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2628025
Normally this would be a good solution to try except that I don't have any 16bit dos aps running and I don't have a virus program running in the backgroung
I use it only on demand. and I also don't have any animated icons so even though I feel this is a good responce to my problem it won't help me.
thankyou though
 
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2628152
Just to add another perspective.  I have an older PII, 233 Mhz, 132MB RAM with only SCSI Ultra 2 internal HDDs and one slower 32X internal CD-ROM SCSI on an Adaptec 29160N, and setup as I said earlier.  It ZOOMS; do you need the IDE?  I'd also go with recommended settings.  

Asta

PS Hope you've got lots of cooling fans/heatsink, etc.
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2628506
I have tried it with and without the ide in the system and it makes no difference in performance. also the IDE is only used for ghost backup images of the system is stead of multiple jazz and burning multiple CD's
I'ts the fastest and cheapest backup system in my opinion,especially since large IDE's are so inexpensive.
I feel that you have a noteworthy idea as far as not using IDE for reasons of
combining interfaces and having the system slow down because of it but, because of the speed of my system it has never been a noticable issue .
I do have a considerable amount of stuff on my system and my regestry file has grown to 4.5megs and maybe this is an issue but not sure how to
determine a safe reduction in size without creating corruption in other areas. thankyou for the input

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Expert Comment

by:Dr_Skouby
ID: 2628729
This a very interesting problem--one which I have never seen.  While its not clear what the problem is, its not one which can be solved by swapfile and other system optimization because your computer should not have the problem with hard drive accesses you described regardless of hard drive speed or optimization.  Have you looked for registry problems?  4.5 megs is  a fairly large registry but I have worked with larger on much less capable machines with no problems at all.
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2628949
I have looked at the regestry with norton diag and have found a few problems with invalid links , but when I look closer at which links they are always cd programs and of course they aren't in the player so it would think there is problems when really there isn't
any sugestions on other programs to look into this mater further would be appreciated
thanlkyou Alex
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Expert Comment

by:Dr_Skouby
ID: 2629587
Since ALL of the information displayed when you press the start button should be stored in the registry (and, thus, should be 'known' to windows), the question is why does windows re-scan your disk to find it.  Sorry I don't know the answer; I'll think about it.  Could it be a problem with your windows installation?
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Expert Comment

by:Jerome030900
ID: 2630688
Is it possible for you to complete a Thorough Scandisk without crashing at this point? The reason that I ask is that on earlier versions of Ghost, when we cloned a drive that had different sizes, somehow the data would go onto the new drive fine but the machine would always have problems with stability. If we could not complete a true scandisk, it is best to back everything up to another drive or tape. Then reset the BIOS, Fdisk, and format it as though you were starting fresh. Then copy everything back to the drive.
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2631616
Yes I can scandisk without any problem and the ver. I'm using is 5.1c soon to be 6.0  I know of the problem that you are referring to and Symantec has it as a documented problem in it's files for previous versions with certainr mother boards with particular IDE integrated chipsets
Thankyou for your input.
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Expert Comment

by:maxmars
ID: 2632272
Two comments:

1)  Perhaps its time to consider your network drivers.... I know you may not think this could be it, but this sounds like a protocol issue (the system is giving a higher priority to refresh a nonexisting network resource) waiting a specific period of time before giving up ... then allowing the system to proceed.

2)   I dont think this is a "real" harddrive optimization problem ... the registry is likely to be your best point of attack in solving this one.
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2637760
What about a normal shutdown, leaving system off a couple of minutes to ensure that ALL TSRs, realtime drivers, are unloaded.  Then at reboot holding CTRL until you get the menu where you'd select things like SAFE MODE, and MS DOS Prompt only among others, please choose the latter.

Then navigate to there directory where you installed windows\command.  If at default it would be:

cd c:\windows\command

then type scanreg/fix

If after the registry is rebuilt, any change?

Asta
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2639921
To My surprise when I went to run scanreg it came with a error but it couldn't fix it , the error message said either delete files to make more room on the HD and if that didn't work I would need to put windows in a new directory.
I'm not what to make of this since in windows it says the registry check out fine and another third party program says the same thing.  ?
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by:Asta Cu
ID: 2646931
If you'd like my personal opinion (in addition to the recommendations I've made previously), when scanreg/fix has been unable to fix my registry when run after a shutdown and reboot from MS DOS Prompt, that pointed to major problems and found me reinstalling all (not pleasant and certainly hope that's not your case).  I've never seen this message resulting from scanreg/fix from the windows\command directory.

I'm guessing that

1) you've got tons of tmp files on your drive .... either *.tmp or ~* as well as

2) possibly *.chk files that resulted from errors found/corrected by scandisk if that's how you have your settings

3) a by-product of no virtual memory

4) just not enough room on your HD based on your unique setup.

There is much good said about 3rd party PC managers, and some not so good; especially when it comes to key operating system information.  Many of these create major modifications to Windows that is tough to undo; and some actually create more problems along the way as you're trying to solve them.

Anyway, I've been fairly open about my feelings here and have found my recommendations to work for our systems.

Perhaps someone else will step in with more insight.

These tools may be helpful to identify some of the W98 goodies and processes.

Asta
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2646938
http://support.microsoft.com/support/windows/tools/98Tools.asp

Windows 98 troubleshooting and diagnostic tools.

Asta
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Author Comment

by:lippman
ID: 2647242
Asta
I don't remember why but when I did the scanreg the other day I booted off of a boot disk not from the F8 menu I think becaue I decided to ghost the drive before I did the fix as a precaution. after reading your message about a dos window I decided to run it without the /fix in windows and it didn't find any errors, I then proceded to reboot into dos mode from the start button and again no errors and then from the f8 menu and again no errors were found. Maybe the floppy boot didn't have enough base 640 to do the scan properly. Not sure I have at least 3gigs free on each drive and I only had 4 .tmp files etc an all drives ,I remove them reguarly. I tend to agree with you on the good and bad 3rd party aps and am debating on if I want to use one. I do want to tell you that I have over the past week improved my problem about 70% by doing a multiple of small changes to the system some of which you mentioned and some which you and others gave me ideas. one of which is custom placement of certain files and forders to be placed first during defrag. I don't beleive I have a problem than one cure will fix but a multiple of small fixes will add up to the solution. I feel that your input has helped me either by solutions you sugested or by indirect
sugestions that helped me think of others. You haven't solved my problem but you have aided me to improving it to a tollerable condishion.
So I have a have a question. Do I award you the answer , is there a way to devide the answer or should I remove the question? I don't want to be unfair to you or others .
      Thankyou Alex
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2650655
Hi, Alex.

I appreciate your kind heart and desire to be equitable.

First, the easiest way to spread points amongs players (participants) is to post a Question with ZERO POINTS in the Customer Service Area.  Then in the subject or text area state you'd like to have the question paid as follows:

Please split the question here as follows:

http://www.experts-exchange.com/jsp/qShow.jsp?ta=win98&qid=10312271

EXPERT ID (NAME) AND POINTS
EXPERT ID (NAME) AND POINTS

..... etc.

I believe they will then refund your points on this question (or split for you, unclear about the precise process now); and then have you put up two or three new Qs, again including the link as to what it's for in the question text area and just the expert name in the subject field.

They will then post some answer which you can then individually accept and grade.

---

Lots of words to accomplish one goal, but am hopefull that new deliverables by the programmers will allow splits directly before too long.

---

I've found that if I truly have anomolies or gremlins in my systems, as I often do; making sure that my settings in scandisk/defrag etc. serve my needs and run it (as you do) regularly.

Then, a total shutdown and off long enough to unload all and reboot to MS Dos Prompt ONLY, to navigate to my windows\command directory and running scanreg/fix helps 99.9% of the time.

I then follow this with a reboot and within Windows run SFC to ensure stability in my system files (again via settings have it defined to ensure that I'm advised not only of corruptions, but also changes, etc).  My reasoning here is that too often key system files are replaced by other software with back-level versions (mfc*.dll are notorious for being hit).  I can then quickly and easily restore the current or chosen version directly or use

start
run
msinfo32
tools
Version Conflict Manager

to restore.

Best wishes, hope this helps.

Wearing my SCSI cables as I type this; back to my own troubled systems.

Asta

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Accepted Solution

by:
lippman earned 180 total points
ID: 2697899
    Everyone I have found out the answer to this problem so I have asked it to be removed. as for the answer I have given it below, Thanks for all of your input on this mater.


HARD DRIVE THRASHING/ICON ACCESS


To reduce your hard drive thrashing and decrease the potential delay you might experience when you open up pages to the start menu,right-click to bring up a context menu, or a dialog box and to avoid a permanent
refresh of your Desktop icons, open Regedit and go to:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer

Look in the right hand pane for the "Max Cached Icons" entry.
Create it if not present: right-click in Regedit's right hand pane -> select New -> click String Value -> name it "Max Cached Icons" (the spaces are required, but don't type the quotes).
The default value is 500, which means the maximum number of icons that are cached by the OS.
The information about all Win9x cached icons is held in the ShellIconCache file, located in your Windows folder. Every time you create a new Desktop/Start Menu folder/shortcut, this file
is updated, until it reaches the (default) upper limit of 500 icons.
But you can increase this number to allow Windows to cache more icons, and to force it to stop accessing your disk(s) frequently, only to search for those "uncached" icons.
You need to restart your machine after this change, sometimes 2 or more times, until the new setting "catches on". :(
According to this MSKB article, the maximum size allowed for "Max Cached Icons" is 2000, but on some systems it is possible to increase it above that (experiment to see if it works on
yours).
Try also to delete a possibly corrupt ShellIconCache file after modifying this number, especially if you have deleted some of your shortcuts or changed their icons, because Win9x still
keeps the info about deleted icons. :( Don't worry, it will be recreated next time you (re)start Windows. :)


Alex
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2698072
Interesting, found the same info in the Microsoft Knowledge Base while searching for ICON anomolies.

Lengthy troubleshooting thread and chase for us all.  Glad your situation is resolved, Alex.

Back to my own troubleshooting issues.

Asta :0)
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LVL 3

Expert Comment

by:darinw
ID: 2698480
Hi all,

Rather than loose the work and solution to this problem by deleting it, I am accepting lippman comment as the answer and refunding his/her points.

darinw
Customer Service
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Expert Comment

by:Asta Cu
ID: 2698493
With an A!  Nice Work, happy Sunday all.

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