reducing disk thrashing

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I have a sony tr5mp laptop with 1ghz cpu, 512mb ram and presumably a
standard 4200rpm laptop disk.

I'm running visual studio and SQL server most of the time along with
word, outlook IE, etc. the memory used as  reported by task manager is
generally sitting about 500mb.

When doing things like builds, attaching the debugger or starting up/
shutting down applications, and also when recovering from hibernate,
the disk seems to thrash a lot, and these tasks take a lot longer than
on my home PC which has 1gb RAM and SATA RAID 0.

would I have much to gain by increasing the RAM to 1gb (given that my
curent memory used is not in excess of the physical RAM installed?

alternatively would faster disks on some kind of NAS or firewire
interface be faster than the internal drive?

any thoughts gratefully received


Re: reducing disk thrashing

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That's a definite yes.  Although your memory gauge reports the memory usage
as nearly all the memory, that omits the memory requirement that windows has
farmed out to the swap file.  Adding more memory means less is swapped out
and thus less moving stuff around goes on.  Increase your memory to 1Gb and
then check the memory usage for the same opened applications.  I'll bet you
will find that it's close to the full amount again.

I recently trippled the memory in my PC (I had to so that I could edit High
Definition Video).  It halved the boot time, before any other speed

Re: reducing disk thrashing

M.I.5 wrote:
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Will second that!!  Builds take a heavy hit
on the machine in two ways.  First with a
multitude of small files out on the disk.
Second, with the launch of multiple processes
and threads... when memory gets tight these
wind up being virtualized out to swap.

(If VisStudio and XP page the process stacks
to the swap file the result would be horrid.)

A notebook gets hit doubly hard, slower disk
rotation rate and head access is slower.

Suggest -- yes bump up the RAM as far as the
machine and your pocketbook will allow.

Then, explore some different disk
optimizations that might help.  Most disk
organizers (MS-Defragmenter, Norton
Speed-disk etc.) seem to default for
MS-Office users ... a few app or common file
loads (word, excel etc.) followed by a data
file access then intensive swapping with an
occasional write action back to data file.

OTOH, a build tends to be both file and swap
intensive.  (lots of 'includes' etc.)  I'm
still using symantec's stuff which does have
some options about where things go.  But,
there might be better choices for
development work.

I've not seen any 'cookbook' notes on how to
optimize a drive to do what you wish --
probably will be a trial/error drill but
should yield happiness and saved hours in the
long run.  (fewer HDD failures as well!)


Re: reducing disk thrashing

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Increasing memory probably will help.  To be sure download a utility to
monitor the page file usage.  If the usage is high, then more memory will
help.  By the sounds of the disk thrashing, I would think it would.

See this article on Virtual Memory in XP by the late Alex Nichol, MVP.  On
it are links to a utility by Bill James to monitor the page file use.

Rock [MS-MVP User/Shell]

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