Here are some general tuning tips for Windows. Following some of these
suggestions should free up some of your system resources.
· Wallpaper - It costs memory and processing time to keep wallpaper on
your system. To remove wallpaper, right click on a blank area of the
desktop and select "Properties" to access the Display Properties
dialog box. Under the "Background" tab, select "None" for "Wallpaper"
· Colors - The number of colors in your display directly affects the
amount of memory it uses. A 16-color display uses roughly half the
memory of a 256-color display. You can use the "Settings" tab of the
Display Properties dialog box to set your display colors.
· Screen Resolution - The resolution at which you set your display
affects processing speed, and to a much smaller degree, memory.
Changing your screen's resolution should probably be a last-ditch
effort to get that last bit of needed performance. Microsoft assumes
that you have a minimum of an 800x600 display for standard
applications and a 1024x768 display for advanced applications such as
· Utility programs - Many systems load unneeded applications programs
when Windows starts up. Look for icons in the taskbar tray. You'll
find that these icons connect to applications that you may not use
very often, but start automatically when you start Windows. See if you
can turn the application off and start it manually when you need to.
You can see what programs are loaded when Windows starts up by running
"msconfig" from "Start / Run". To find out what some of these programs
are, go to the Web site at:
http://www2.whidbey.net/djdenham/Uncheck.htm. This site has
color-coded (green, yellow and red) program names indicating safe,
caution and danger. It also has comments explaining what the program
· Icons and other graphics - Every icon on your desktop consumes
memory. The same is true for any other form of graphical image or
window. Organize your data into folders and open only the folders you
need at any given time.
· Leaky applications - Some programs "leak" memory. They receive
memory from Windows but never give it back, even after they terminate.
After a while, you won't have enough memory to run programs, even
though you should. The Windows 98 data-centric interface tends to
accelerate the rate at which memory dissipates if you open and close
an application for each data file. You can alleviate this situation by
keeping leaky applications open until you know you won't need them
again. You can find a leaky application by checking system resources
and memory before you open and close it. Open and close the
application a few times (make sure you also open some documents while
inside), then check the amount of memory again after the last time you
close it. If you find you have less memory (a measurable amount - not
a few bytes), the application is leaky.
· DOS applications - Nothing grabs memory and holds it like a DOS
application under Windows. Unlike other applications, the memory used
by a DOS application usually can't be moved around to free space. You
might have a lot of memory on your system, but Windows won't be able
to use it because it's all too fragmented. If your system has so
little memory that it can't tolerate even the smallest amount of
memory fragmentation, avoid using DOS applications.
How to monitor your system performance
Windows 98 provides several tools that you can use to monitor your
system's performance. The two most useful tools that Windows 98
provides are the Resource Meter and the System Monitor.
· Resource Meter - The Resource Meter enables you to monitor system
resources. The Resource Meter can be found on the Start Menu /
Programs / Accessories / System Tools / Resource Meter. When started,
an Icon will be placed in the taskbar tray. Placing the mouse cursor
over the icon for a few seconds displays a quick readout of the
various levels. This display tells you the status of the three
memory-related areas of the system.
· System resources: This tells you the amount of memory you have left
in the smaller of the two 64KB memory pools used for windows, icons,
dialog boxes, and other system objects.
· User resources: This tells you how much memory Windows 98 is using
for interface-related objects such as windows and dialog boxes.
· GDI resources: All icons and other object-memory usage associated
with the graphical device interface appear in this level. This level
always pertains to graphic system elements rather than an interface
element such as a button or a window.
· System Monitor - The System Monitor utility enables you to track a
variety of system statistics, including CPU usage and actual memory
allocation. Monitoring these statistics tells you whether a certain
optimization strategy was successful. System Monitor also detects
performance-robbing hardware and software errors on the system.
You can use the Add button (Edit / Add Item...) to add new items to
the list. Use the Edit button (Edit / Edit Item...) to change the way
System Monitor displays a particular value. Use the Remove button
(Edit / Remove Item...) to remove an item for the monitor list.
The System Monitor utility also gives you the ability to create a log.
You can start a System Monitor log by pulling down the "File" drop
down menu and selecting "Start Logging". Be sure to give each log a
I suggest using the System Monitor to monitor the following items on your computer:
· Memory Manager: Unused Physical Memory
· Memory Manager: Swapfile size
· Memory Manager: Swapfile in use
· Kernal: Processor Usage
Pay particular attention to the "Swapfile size" and "Swapfile in use"
items of the System Monitor. This information can be used to create a
permanent Swapfile, which can be de-fragmented for optimum system
I realize that this is a lot of information. Start by looking at the
utility programs that are being automatically started with Windows.
Turn off any that you don't absolutely need. If your resourses are
still low after turning off the utility programs, try removing any
Wallpaper, reduce the number of icons on your desktop, and reduce the
number of display colors (use the minimum required for Metastock.
Hope this helps.