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Things to do after adding RAM to Win XP

Posted on 2010-08-21
Last Modified: 2012-06-22

After adding in the memory, Task Manager, Performance now shows the new total
(with extra memory accounted for).

What else do I need to do besides rebooting the Win XP Professional SP3?

Increase pagefile size & what else for faster performance (say browsing
web, Outlook & pasting of screen shots into MSWord) ?

It's a laptop
Question by:sunhux
LVL 13

Accepted Solution

lee555J5 earned 36 total points
ID: 33491603
You should not *need* to do anything. If you have left your pagefile size to be system managed, it will fix this automatically.
BTW, the biggest boost in configuring a pagefile is move it to another physical disk, but this is usually not possible in a laptop.
LVL 20

Assisted Solution

woolnoir earned 36 total points
ID: 33491606
Well - it depends how much memory. I always try and go for zero swapfile, or a very small one to minimize the amount of disk  pages. Depending on the memory amount a ramdrive could be useful for storage of temp files.

As general performance things, ensure the disk is defragged.
LVL 20

Expert Comment

ID: 33491614
if you do have a swap file, ensure that its set to a SPECIFIC size rather than being dynamic. this will prevent fragmentation of the file.
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Assisted Solution

jamielfurr earned 36 total points
ID: 33491634
If the system recognizes the new RAM there's not much else required to do.  I normally let the System Manage the paging file since the folks that designed the OS know best how to manage the paging file.. Unless you are tweaking the machine for a specific purpose like gaming, etc...

I usually put my paging file on a different physical drive than the OS if possible, so that it will not compete with the OS for disk time.  Any other disk maintenance will be beneficial for overall system performance.

I usually remove all unused programs and data, run disk cleanup, and delete and large unused files.  Basically delete anything that is not needed.  Be careful not to delete anything if you are unsure of.  Then run a defrag to get you disk back into shape.  The Windows defrag works good but sometimes I use the Defragler (Free Download).  It actually has an option to move all the large files to the end of the drive, which will increase overall disk performance on most systems.  

Other than that you could tweak the Visual Effects setting for performance in System Properties.  Disable loading unneeded programs and services at system boot, and your system should be back in good shape.

If you still have performance issues you may need to take a look at where the bottleneck is and fix any issues you may find.


Author Comment

ID: 33491943

after adding 1GB RAM (on top of existing 1GB), Task Mgr shows that I have about
 1GB RAM free/available.

>  Depending on the memory amount a ramdrive could be useful for storage of temp files.
Any links for simple instructions to create Ramdrive that anyone can post here is
 appreciated & what are the temp files I can consider placing on it?

LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 33491951
Although a "RAMDrive" does sound intriguing, you do not have enough RAM for this, even 2 GB. I would let Windows manage your memory as it needs.
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 33491968
IOW, Windows will use all of that 2 GB if you let it, especially if you open several apps at once or do anything more taxing than docs, email, and surfing. Any function such as gaming or video or photo editing several photos at once will chew deep into that 2 GB in a hurry.
You may want to consider performance tricks such as RAMDrives on your next laptop when you have 8+ GB RAM. ;-)
LVL 95

Assisted Solution

by:Lee W, MVP
Lee W, MVP earned 36 total points
ID: 33492039
Windows allocates 4 GB of address to EACH process, regardless of how much RAM you have.  So the more RAM the better.  As for the paging file, it's unwise to set it to zero.  Windows won't use it if it doesn't need to and the recommendation is 1.5x RAM.
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

by:Danny Child
Danny Child earned 36 total points
ID: 33492139
There's a lot of debate around swapfiles, but generally, I've not seen much difference on fixed or XP-determined sizes.  I'd agree with LeeW that a zero size is not good...

for other performance tweaks, there's a fairly exhaustive procedure here:

and another

Assisted Solution

sbs-mix earned 35 total points
ID: 33492200
actually guys, windows can only manage a maximum of 3 Gb's of RAM, even if more is installed, and even if Windows shows 4Gb.
So if you install 4 gigs and go to my computer, you may see "4Gb RAM", but windows will only be able to use 3 of them.
This is due to the 32 bit architecture of the OS, and impossibility of addressing memory. If you absolutely want to install 6 Gigs, then you should look at 64 bit Oses, which will then manage effectively this amount of ram.

that's the reason why we have 64 bits versions of vista and xp. you shouldn't expect that of a performance improvement though, thoses oses do the job very badly, and you need 64 bit version of your apps, incompatibility issues, well in a couple words headache !

Expert Comment

ID: 33494301
upgrade to Windows 7 64...excellent piece of software.
LVL 23

Assisted Solution

phototropic earned 35 total points
ID: 33494302
You could also try running a third party memory optimizer app. Tech Republic reviewed this one recently:


You can download from here:


Although in my experience the difference in performance is barely noticable...
LVL 13

Expert Comment

ID: 33494879
Please close this Q before we stray further from your original query. Also, it seems the longer this is open, the more people will try to confuse you.

This Q has nothing to do with addressable memory space, and no one has suggested 6 GB RAM.

If you read the Asker's Q and comments, you will see the Asker has only 2 GB RAM. The Asker, therefore, has no reason to use a 64-bit OS, excellent or not.

Why suggest a solution where "in my experience the difference in performance is barely noticable..."? This only serves to muddy the water.

If you are not confused yet, you will be soon if you leave this Q open. ;-)



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