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Windows Vista hints and tips

Speed tweak registry hack for Windows

Windows uses the hard disk drive as an extension to memory and this enables it to work when there is very little installed in the computer. When it needs memory to run a program it saves the contents of a block of memory to the page file on the disk and then makes it available to the program.

Despite PCs having more RAM installed than they every did previously, they can still run short of memory on occasions so the system is still needed. However, RAM is cheap and many people have more than enough in their computers to run Windows with gigabytes to spare. Does Windows still need to write memory out to disk?

If you have a couple of gigbaytes or more of RAM you can instruct Windows to keep as much of its system code and drivers in memory as possible. This means that they can be accessed faster because they aren't going to end up stored on the relatively slow hard disk drive.

Click Start (and then Run on XP), and enter regedit to open the registry editor. In the left-hand pane navigate to the following key: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \SYSTEM \CurrentControlSet \Control \Session Manager \Memory Management. Look on the right for a valued called DisablePagingExecutive. If it doesn't exist, select Edit, New, DWORD Value (32-bit in Vista). Name it DisablePagingExecutive.

Double click this value in the right-hand pane and then set the value to 1 to force Windows to keep important drivers and system code in memory and stop them being written to disk. (A value of zero means that they can be written to the page file, which is slow to access.). Quit the registry editor and restart Windows. It should be slighty faster. It won't be a big difference, but any speed up is worth having.

If you search the web for DisablePagingExecutive you will find conflicting views about this registry value. However, Microsoft says "It... improves performance on machines with a lot of memory, because it prevents disk reads to get code or data."

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