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Should I change the role to Network Server?

Posted on 2006-07-24
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Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Hi everyone

I keep reading that a good tweak for Windows 98 is to go into the device mgr and change the typical role of the computer to 'Network Server' rather than desktop computer. This is because doing so increases the cache for the file names, and thus makes opening files faster. But what about someone like me, who only opens the same 30 files again and again. I have 512 mb of memory, so I don't mind giving up some to increase the cache size for the file names, but why should I? Since I only have 30 file names, I shouldn't need the larger cache anyway. Am I missing something here?

Thanks very much

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Question by:shlomofu99
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by:blue_zee
blue_zee earned 25 total points
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Honestly, the difference in performance, from my personal experience is minimal, and I can't say I ever noticed any.

If you keep your system clean, scandisk and defrag now and then, regularly run a few spyware/malware scanners, keep a good and updated AV software and a firewall, you will probably never notice a big difference between the server or desktop settings.

And regarding RAM, 512mb is more than enough for Win98 and going over that may even have the reverse effect, unless you tweak some other settings.

Concluding, if you have enjoyed your system as it is... why worry?

Cheers,

Zee
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BillDL earned 25 total points
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I agree with blue_zee on this one.  I have tried all the registry settings to allow choice of various permutations, but cannot determine any enhancement or degradation to performance.  That's on a two systems:
Pentium 4 1.7 GHz with 512 MB of RAM.
Pentium 3 450 MHz with 384 MB of RAM.
Perhaps you might perceive some benefits on a slightly older computer with lower spec, but how do you measure this?

Put it this way, if you can't determine any increased performance through normal use, then it's not worth even bothering to check using some benchmarking utility.

Leaving something like MS Office's "FindFast Indexer" enabled, or having MS Messenger's "LoadQM" running in the background, are far more likely to degrade performance far more than any marginal increase in performance gained through changing the settings you are referring to.
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by:BillDL
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Thank you, shlomofu99.

I looked for and found an old text file that I saved from somewhere.  It might have been from Axcel's Tips and Tricks (http://www.mdgx.com/)  but I can't be sure.

=================================================================
MAX CACHE SPEED

Configuring Windows 9x/ME File System cache to increase performance is limited to only 3 presets:
"Network Server", "Desktop Computer" and "Mobile or Docking System".
Those are only the maximum ALLOWED values.

Control Panel > System > Performance tab > File System button > Hard Disk tab > "Typical role of this computer" box > "choose type" and also "Read-ahead optimization" slider.

The "Network Server" setting is the highest available, and allocates about 40 KB of RAM to cache the last 64 accessed directory paths and the last 2729 accessed files.

You can increase these settings BEYOND the Win9x/ME GUI limit, by creating new settings which allow your computer cache up to 3 times more files and directories, and also to speed up hard disk performance substantially.

The only disadvantage is that this way Windows will allocate up to 3 times more physical RAM to the file cache, which is taken from the available memory pool, normally used by applications/games.

Therefore I recommend doing this ONLY IF your system has at least 32 MB of RAM. This works best on computers with 64 MB and up.

MAXCACHE.REG:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates]
@="Max Cache"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Super Cache]
@="Super Cache"
"NameCache"=hex:00,ff,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:ff,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Max Cache]
@="Max Cache"
"NameCache"=hex:00,18,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:c8,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Huge Cache]
@="Huge Cache"
"NameCache"=hex:80,13,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:90,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Large Cache]
@="Large Cache"
"NameCache"=hex:a0,0f,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:80,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\FS Templates\Medium Cache]
@="Medium Cache"
"NameCache"=hex:20,0f,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:50,00,00,00

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\control\FileSystem]
"NameCache"=hex:00,18,00,00
"PathCache"=hex:c8,00,00,00


REG File

"NameCache"     "PathCache"                         Memory (RAM) Used
---------------------------------------------------------------------
NEW Setting      Cached Files   Cached Directories      KiloBytes [KB]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Super Cache     65280           255                     2170 KB (2.1 MB)
Max Cache        6144           200                      150 KB
Huge Cache       4992           144                      108 KB
Large Cache      4000           128                       80 KB
Medium Cache     3872            80                       64 KB

MEANING:
["Max Cache"]: this allocates about 150 KB of RAM to cache the last 200 accessed directory paths and the last 6144 accessed files.


Default         "NameCache"     "PathCache"             Memory (RAM) Used
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
OLD Setting      Cached Files   Cached Directories      KiloBytes [KB]
-------------------------------------------------------------------------
Network Server   2729           64                      40 KB
Desktop Computer  677           32                      16 KB
Mobile/Docking    160           16                       4 KB


Use the "Super Cache" settings ONLY IF you have at least 128 MB RAM!
=================================================================

Here is another *.reg file that I copied from an unknown source which creates new radio button selection options.
Just make sure that you backup your current registry settings before changing any manually or using a *.reg file.

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer]
"Max Cached Icons"="4096"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced\IconCache]
"Text"="Icon Cache Size"
"Type"="group"
"Bitmap"="SHDOC401.DLL,6"
"HelpID"="update.hlp#51140"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced\IconCache\Small]
"RegPath"="Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer"
"Text"="1024 Icons"
"Type"="radio"
"CheckedValue"="1024"
"ValueName"="Max Cached Icons"
"DefaultValue"="4096"
"HKeyRoot"=dword:80000002
"HelpID"="update.hlp#51140"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced\IconCache\Medium]
"RegPath"="Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer"
"Text"="2048 Icons"
"Type"="radio"
"CheckedValue"="2048"
"ValueName"="Max Cached Icons"
"DefaultValue"="4096"
"HKeyRoot"=dword:80000002
"HelpID"="update.hlp#51140"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced\IconCache\Large]
"RegPath"="Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer"
"Text"="4096 Icons"
"Type"="radio"
"CheckedValue"="4096"
"ValueName"="Max Cached Icons"
"DefaultValue"="4096"
"HKeyRoot"=dword:80000002
"HelpID"="update.hlp#51140"

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\Advanced\IconCache\Huge]
"RegPath"="Software\\Microsoft\\Windows\\CurrentVersion\\Explorer"
"Text"="8192 Icons"
"Type"="radio"
"CheckedValue"="8192"
"ValueName"="Max Cached Icons"
"DefaultValue"="4096"
"HKeyRoot"=dword:80000002
"HelpID"="update.hlp#51140"

Bill
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by:shlomofu99
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Thanks for the update, Bill

I have 512 mb of RAM, so in theory I could make myself a network server and give up some RAM, but as I see it, why would I want to? There are only about 30 files I access, and each file is 1000 pages in Word. So what I need is as much RAM I can get, and I don't need such a large cache for only 30 file names. That's why I kept the role of my computer to be 'desktop computer'. Does this make sense to you?

Thanks
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by:BillDL
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Yes it does make sense.  Most of the *.reg files you see posted on the internet were either written for Windows 95 or 98 First Edition to add missing options or circumvent naturally occurring restrictions, or were written before todays higher spec computers and before it was commonplace to have as much RAM.  In other words, most were written to speed up older and slower computers.

One pitfall that Windows 98/98se DOS suffer from is that it fails to release loaded DLL's from memory after they were called and used.  In a long session where a number of applications are opened and closed, this does slow the system down.

There is a registry modification which forces Win98 to release DLL's from memory, and it's worth checking your registry to see if the setting is there and enabled.
http://www.winguides.com/registry/display.php/667

OR, paste the following into Notepad, add two blanl lines, and save as something like "UnloadDLLs.REG".
RIGHT-Click on it and "merge" it to the registry to create the new setting and enable it:

REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\AlwaysUnloadDLL]
@="1"

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by:shlomofu99
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I checked and had the setting there. Thanks, though.

I'm relieved to hear that my setting myself up as a desktop computer is a good move for my situation, since I so often read not to do that.

Thanks very much
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by:BillDL
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You're welcome, shlomofu99.
I suppose there's only one way to be sure if you're missing out on any possible enhancement in performance to be gained, and that is to test out each setting for a short while and see if any are noticeably better or worse when the system is used for a variety of standard functions.
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by:shlomofu99
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Exactly. But who has time for that, espec for something that is unlikely to give a major speed boost. That's why I posted this question. I'm therefore going with my logic, as I described above.

Thanks again
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