Software Tip 2a
About RAM and swap file
In Windows 95 and 98 it is important to understand the of the relationship between:
Windows are in all versions (as all Microsoft software) a very resource demanding operating system. Then you might ask, why bother to use Windows? We all know the answer: The Microsoft Office packages are undoubtedly the finest, most user friendly and most thoroughly planned office programs on the market - no question about that. They can work satisfactorily on your PC, but it requires some hardware. A lot of hardware indeed.
The processor should be fast, as all modern processors are. Plenty of RAM and a roomy and fast hard drive is also very desirable for running Windows.
Windows is clever using the swap file . It "extends" its RAM to the hard disk. If you only have 64 MB RAM in your PC, you can be assured that you have a sizable swap file on your disk.
You deside the placement and size of the swapfile using the System Properties dialogue box. Here you see it from Windows 2000:
We recommend that you limit the swapfile to a size of 512 MB using Windows 98/Me. If you use Windows 2000 (which is working a lot better than 98/Me) you should leave Windows to deside the size of the swap file.
Anyway, you need to keep an eye on the swap file. In Windows 95 many breakdowns originated in swap file use. But luckily Windows have improved a lot; Windows 98 is is better at controlling RAM and swap file than Windows 95 is.
Windows 98 has a better algorithm to control RAM etc. The swap file is still there, and it is big - but that does not have to be a problem. Windows only reads to and from the swap file, while no work is done on the PC. In that way we do not even notice that there is a swap file.
In the Windows versions 2000 and XP there is no need to worry about memory management, it works fine (but please use 512 MB RAM).
Copyright (c) 1996-2001 by Michael B. Karbo.