Windows 98 Performance Tips
Microsoft says it did not set out to make significant improvements in the general system performance of Windows 98. Our tests confirm this. We saw no improvement in start-up speed, although shutdown seemed faster with Windows 98. The most dramatic improvement we saw was in loading applications. Applications frequently loaded up to 50% faster with Windows 98.
Saving Disk Space
Operationg systems like Windows store files on hard disks in clusters. These clusters range in size according to the size of the hard disk. Any disk greater than 1GB in size uses 32K clusters. A 1-byte file would use up the same 32K that a 30K file requires. Windows 98, however, supports a 32-bit File Allocation Table (FAT32) file system, which means it can store files in smaller clusters (as small as 4K), a more efficient method than with a 16-bit FAT (FAT16).
To give an idea, a 1GB hard drive, with Windows 95, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Publisher, and some miscellaneous files, takes about 530MB of disk space. After upgrading to Windows 98, installing FAT32, and running the Maintenance Wizard (see New Utilities), we cut the amount of used space down to 480MB.
Another advantage of FAT32 is the ability to support larger hard drives. Windows 95 can support a partition no larger than 2GB. Windows 98 can support a single partition hard drive up to 2 Terabytes.
To see what FAT32 might do for your system, download Microsoft's FAT32 utility. This 40k file will show you how much space you can save.
App Load Improvement
Using a combination of FAT32 and the new Maintenance Wizard in Windows 98, you can improve application load times by 50% or more. As stated before, FAT32 cuts the cluster size on your hard disk to 4k. The Windows cache, by coincidence, reads from your hard disk in 4k clusters. Windows 98 will load applications faster simply because it is now reading and writing information using the same cluster size.
Unless it is turned off (which is not recommended), Windows will use Virtual Memory no matter how much physical RAM is on your computer. A quick way to speed up your virtual memory is to purchase another IDE Hard Disk, the size around 65 to 200 megabytes in size, these sized hard disks are usually easy to find for under 35 dollars. By using a separate hard disk, the Swap File, and your normal "C:" drive, will become less fragmented, allowing your system to run faster. Set your swap file minimum to be at least 25MB, and Windows will not have to "dynamically" expand and shrink it, which will also speed up performance
You can monitor your swap file size by using System Monitor (detailed in IE Tips, Check Modem speed and Troughput). Choos Memory Manager, Swap File Size to monitor the size of your swap file.
Another option is to set up a swap file with a minimum size. Use System Monitor to see the average size of your swap file, and set the minimum to that (click Start, Settings, Control Panel. Choose the System icon, click the Performance tab, then Virtual Memory tab, and choose Let Me Specify My Own Virtual Memory Settings).
Uncheck Removable Floppies
Win98 has a setting to check for removable floppies which is set to "on" by default. You can uncheck this for a faster bootup if you dont have any removable floppies. Click Start, Settings, Control Panel and double-click the System icon. Click the Performance tab, and click the File System tab. Under the Floppy Disk tab, uncheck "Search for new floopies every time your computer starts.
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