Wednesday, December 15, 1999

Defragment that swap file. Go on, you know you want to. Ah go on. Go on, go on, go on, go on...

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

To improve the efficiency of Windows you can change the size and location of your swap file. Very often you will find yourself using several memory intensive programs at once and you will simply not have enough physical RAM to cope with the strain. It is at this point that Windows creates what is known as a swap file. This is a substitute for physical memory and will contract and expand contingent on how many memory demanding programs you use simultaneously.

This swap file can soon become fragmented to the detriment of your PC's performance. To prevent this from happening you can alter the way Windows manages your swap file by editing your virtual memory configuration (the relevant control panel applet can be located by browsing through your start menu items in the order: control panel > system properties > virtual memory). From this window you should modify the settings so that your swap file occupies a fixed proportion of hard drive space and resides on a separate partition or drive to your Windows installation.

Just to clarify - moving your swap file to a non-Windows drive or partition prevents disk defragmentation tools from having to restart each time data is written to your swap file, hence accelerating the process. In addition, because your non-Windows partition is written to far less frequently than your Windows partition, it will be less prone to fragmentation in the future.

Smug Mac-owner's fascinating fact no. 438: defragmentation tools are superfluous on systems running OS X because the Mac OS file system is designed in such a way as to prevent data from becoming fragmented in the first place!

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