Tweak the settings to speed up your computer
How to speed up your Computer by changing the Page File/Virtual Memory Settings in Windows
This video will show you how to change the virtual memory/page file in Windows 7 to speed up your computer. You can change the page file in windows XP and Vista in a very similar way to that shown in this video.
Virtual memory for your computer is hard drive space used by Windows when it fills up the physical RAM (which stands for random-access memory). Let’s say you have a computer that has 496MB of RAM and you’re running several applications at once that might need a total of 700MB of memory. Windows will fill up the 496MB and then use the free space on the hard drive to store the rest to ensure that you can continue to run the applications. This is called the Paging file or Virtual memory and Windows will increase and decrease the size of this file as needed. Writing to disk takes much longer than writing to physical RAM, so when Windows uses the paging file, computer performance decreases.
This means that the more RAM you have, the better your computer’s performance will be. However, we can also tweak the virtual memory settings so that the paging file does not get fragmented and so that Windows does not have to grow or shrink the size of the paging file. Both of these will cause the computer to slow down, especially on older machines.
So to get to the 'Virtual Memory' settings, you must right click 'My Computer' (either in the start menu or on your desktop if you have a shortcut for it) and then select properties. Next, click 'Advanced system settings'. In this new window here, you need to select the 'Advanced' tab if it is not already selected and then press the 'Settings...' button under the subheading 'Performance'. Select the 'Advanced' tab again in this new window and then click the 'Change...' button under the subheading 'Virtual memory'.
As you can see from the dot in the radio button next to 'System managed size', your system manages the virtual memory by default, but this can be changed to increase your computer's performance. If your computer has a lot of RAM and you know that you will never exceed it with the applications you use, then you can simply turn off page filing by putting a dot in the radio button next to 'No paging file', press the 'Set' button, then 'Apply' and then the 'OK' button in all the windows that we have opened to get to the virtual memory settings window. Note that you may have to restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
If you want windows to be able to record details for errors such as the blue screen of death without fail or you do not have enough RAM to use the applications that you want to use, then turning off page filing is not an option. Instead, you can use a custom size for page filing. To do this, put a dot in the radio button next to 'Custom Size'. Now the values that you want to set for this will vary depending on how much extra memory you need to run your desired applications. I'd say the easiest way to do this is to first, make sure the page filing is set to 'System Managed'. Don't forget to press 'Apply' and 'OK' to save the changes. Then press 'Control' + 'Shift' + 'Escape' on your keyboard to bring up the 'Task Manager'. Then select the 'Processes' tab. I find it easier to maximise the window and you may need to widen the 'Memory (Private Working Set)' column to see the full name and values. If you have the desired application or applications open, then they will be displayed in this list. You can then look at this column which will tell you how much memory that single application is taking up. If you want to work out how much memory several applications take up then simply have them all open (or open them individually) and add the memory for each one together.
I would restart your computer to make sure that only the necessary services and start-up items are running before moving on. Then go to the performance tab in the windows task manager and look at the 'Available' value in the bottom right under the 'Physical Memory (MB)' subheading. This is displaying how much memory your computer currently has free. As you restarted your computer before doing this, it is displaying how much memory your computer has available when it is in idle state, not running any extra applications.
The value that is shown here should first be multiplied by 1000 to convert it from megabytes to killerbytes and then it should be taken away from the amount of memory your desired applications take up which you have previously worked out. This new value that you have just worked out is the amount of extra memory your computer needs to run your desired applications. Now at this point I'd add a bit to the value so that you will definitely have enough virtual memory. I'd say adding something between 200000 and 500000 should be fine. The value that you currently have is in killerbytes however, not megabytes; so once you have worked out the total extra memory you require, simply divide it by 1000 to convert that value to megabytes which is what the page file is displayed in.
Conversion help: Note that in the video I say to multiply/divide by 1000 for simplicity as the custom size of the page file has not got to be exact. These values are for exact conversion:
1024 KB (Kilobytes) = 1 MB (Megabytes)
1024 MB (Megabytes) = 1 GB (Gigabytes)
If you are finding it a little difficult to work out the extra memory you require then, if you want, you can simply put a fairly large value in the boxes for the next step, as it doesn't matter too much, it will just take up more space on the hard drive. Don't set it stupidly high, just high enough for you to be certain that your desired applications will be able to run. Something like 6000 will suffice.
We can now go back to the virtual memory settings window and put this value that you have worked out into both the initial size and maximum size text box so that both values are the same. This ensures that the file does not grow or shrink and therefore will not fragment. However, you should defragment the hard drive before doing this to make sure that the paging file is all together on the hard drive. Once you have done this, press the 'Set' button, then 'Apply' and then the 'OK' button in all the windows that we have opened to get to the virtual memory settings window. Note that you may have to restart the computer for the changes to take effect.
To conclude, both turning off page filing completely or setting a custom size page file where the initial size and maximum size is the same should increase your computer's performance.