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Monday, January 24, 2005  

Systems tweaking

I've been trying to tweak a computer system which was particularly sluggish after installing Blinkx. The machine only has 128 Mbytes of memory, so that's an obvious problem. In the end I decided to abandon Blinkx and replace it with the new Yahoo Search - but even here I decided to prevent it from loading up at startup or login time. I used the great little tool WinPatrol (Scotty dog) to get rid of any unnecessary startup programs. Remember - you don't really save that much time by having all those programs you hardly ever use sticking around in your System Tray, but you do lose a lot of time at startup when everything is loading. You can also check how well your processor is doing using the Windows Task Manager, and if you select the right options from the View menu you can get a lot of information - which tasks are using up CPU cycles, which are generating page faults and which are taking up a lot of memory. I'm now being ruthless - anything which isn't really necessary is not allowed to start. This makes things run ever so much quicker. Spyware and other software may try to reclaim their place in your System Tray - and also memory, but if you use WinPatrol regularly you should be able to prevent this happening. I will probably upgrade the memory on the machine to make it less problematic, but nevertheless I suggest that preventing all but the most important programs from running will make a very big difference. You can also tweak the priorities of the programs if you want to get more oomph, though this can cause some extra problems, and you may not be able to regain control of the machine easily. There are utilities available for handling the priorities of running tasks in a more effective way than Windows does, but unless you are desperate to try them it probably makes sense to do the major prunining suggested here first.

posted by David | 10:42 pm
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