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21 More Super Ways to Speed Up Vista - Part 6 - Manage Your Virtual Memory Resources

written by: Dianna Monda Dill•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 5/11/2009

You can significantly improve the performance and speed of your Vista system by Managing your Memory resources. Read on to learn how…

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    TIP #9: Enable Direct Memory Access (DMA)

    Windows comes with a feature that is called Direct Memory Access (DMA). It is a bus mastering feature that is designed to enable your Hard Disk Drive and CD ROM drive to transfer data directly to and from your PC's RAM, (hence the name “Direct Memory Access"), bypassing the Central Processor Unit (CPU). This in turn serves to reduce the load that is placed on your CPU, freeing up processor resources and allowing your system to operate faster. It is also important for providing a high performance means for transferring data to and from your CD and DVD burner and other devices. Typically, it is enabled by default. However, if a system error occurs or if a device was not properly installed, then it will have to be manually enabled, which will boost system performance. Here's how:

    1. Log into your system as administrator. Open the Start menu and click on Control Panel.
    2. Click on System and Maintenance, and then Device Manager. Provide a password or confirmation if prompted.
    3. Click the plus [+] sign next to IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers in the left-hand pane, to expand this section. The particular devices that will be listed will differ based on your computer.
    4. Right-click on each entry that has the word “Channel" in its name. Select Properties from the drop-down menu.
    5. Now, click on the Advanced Settings tab. Under Device Properties, check the Enable DMA option. Click the OK button.
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    TIP #10: Disable SuperFetch on a Low Memory Vista System

    If you have less than 2GB of RAM, it may be necessary to disable Vista's SuperFetch. SuperFetch is designed to be deliver faster response times by caching portions of the programs that you use most frequently. It is intended to speed up your system. However, SuperFetch requires more “free" memory, and if you have insufficient RAM, Superfetch is forced to perform its tasks from limited RAM. This results in high levels of fragmentation and a slower computer system. In this case, it may help to disable it at least temporarily.

    1. Click on the Vista Orb. In the Start Search box, type “Services" and hit Enter
    2. Scroll down through the list that will be displayed. Double click on SuperFetch
    3. Change the Startup Type to Disable.
    4. Under Service Status, click on Stop.
    5. Click Apply. Click OK.

    CAUTION: This will only enhance performance if you have minimal memory in your system. On a system that does have sufficient RAM, Superfetch will speed up performance and enhance responsiveness.

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    TIP #11: Turn Off Low Disk Space Checks

    This registry hack offers a somewhat minor performance gain. It prevents Vista from continually checking the amount of available space on your hard drive and popping up the balloon warning that you are running out of space.

    1. Click on the Vista Orb to open the Start menu and type regedit into the Start Search box. Press Enter. This opens the Registry Editor.
    2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_ USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\ CurrentVersion \Policies\Explorer
    3. Right click in the right-hand pane and then select New Dword (32 bit) Value.
    4. Name this DWORD: NoLowDiskSpaceChecks and press Enter.
    5. Right click the new Dword. Click Modify.
    6. Change the Value Data to 1. Click OK.