Windows Vista includes a number of tools that you can use to pinpoint performance bottlenecks. Some of these, such as the System Health Report, the Windows Experience Index, and the Reliability Monitor, provide static snapshots showing the resources available to your system and where those resources might not be adequate to your needs. Others, such as the venerable Windows Task Manager, the new Resource Overview, and Performance Monitor (an improved version of the tool known in Windows XP as System Monitor), let you track a variety of performance metrics in real time.

In addition to these snapshot and monitoring utilities, Windows Vista incorporates the following forms of performance-enhancing technology: SuperFetch, ReadyBoost, ReadyDrive

All three of these are designed to reduce the amount of time your system spends engaged in performance degrading disk IO. SuperFetch is a memory management technology that observes your computer usage patterns over extended stretches of time (noting the programs you run and the days and times you typically run them) and adjusts caching behavior to accommodate your own particularities. ReadyBoost uses external memory devices (such as USB 2.0 flash disks) to cache disk content of all kinds, reducing the need for time consuming hard disk access. And ReadyDrive is technology that supports the use of hybrid hard disk drives drives that incorporate nonvolatile flash memory (NVRAM) as well as conventional rotating disk media. Hybrid drives are particularly useful for extending battery life on portable computers, because they reduce the need for drive spin. More »

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Windows needs a pagefile on its boot partition that’s large enough for a debugging file called a memory dump. A dump file, however, contains highly technical information that’s useful only to system administrators and very advanced users.

A 2MB pagefile is enough for Windows to write out the minimum amount of information necessary to help an expert identify the problem. You can create a pagefile this small on your boot partition, and then add a larger pagefile on a different drive for code swapping to improve performance.

If you decide to make your boot-disk pagefile this small, you’ll need to follow these steps: More »

You may be able to free up some valuable space if you’re using two disk partitions, using two physical drives, or dual-booting between XP and Vista on the same machine.

I’ll show you several steps you can take to eliminate duplicate files and get more out of your disks.

Decide on your multiple-partition strategy

Years ago, it was common for users seeking more reliability to divide a hard drive into two or more partitions: portions of a disk, each with a different drive letter. Back then, recovering data from drive d: was easier than from drive c: if the primary partition (containing Windows) became corrupted.

That configuration is rare today, because backup programs and disaster-recovery services have improved. But there are still three situations in which you might find yourself handling two or more partitions or physical disks: More »

One of the better Windows Vista features I’ve seen is ReadyBoost. Despite contrary misinformation you will read on other sites, this does not add more memory to your system. The flash memory used is nowhere as fast as RAM, but it is sometimes faster than hard drives. Readyboost works by caching your pagefile on the drive. It does not replace the pagefile, it is just a cache. A faster than hard drive but slower than RAM cache. But this speed can make a difference, especially consider the slowness of many peoples hard drives.

How do I use it?: More »

If you give your pagefile a fixed size it saves the operating system from needing to resize the page file.

1. Right click on My Computer and select Properties

2. Select the Advanced tab

3. Under Performance choose the Settings button

4. Select the Advanced tab again and under Virtual Memory select Change

5. Highlight the drive containing your page file and make the initial Size of the file the same as the Maximum Size of the file.
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