Speed up Windows 95

Windows 95 seems to have allowed us to do more with our PC’s at any one time, but the truth is this multi tasking operating system, slow down what used to be very simple tasks. There are a number of things you can do to optimise system performance. Several things that you can do to speed up Windows 95….

  1. Buy more RAM! I think everyone should be running between 32 and 64 Mbytes of RAM.
  2. Get a Faster or Larger hard disk Drive
  3. Load fewer fonts. Every Font loaded adds to the resources used by GDI.EXE. Simply store your fancy fonts in another directory. If you need a particular font at any time all you need do is double click on the font to open it, then minimise is and as long as that fonts is open it will be availble to the system.
  4. Compress your registry (this only works with OSR2). Run Regedit and export your registry to C:\Compress.Reg, then restart in MS-DOS mode and run REGEDIT /C C:\COMPRESS.REG. this exports your registry to a text file, then creates a brand new registry from that file, overwriting your registry we a slightly smaller copy.
  5. Get rid of config.sys and autoexec.bat, Those 16 bit (and 8 bit) real mode drivers can really slow down Windows 95’s Protected Mode 32 bit perfomance.
  6. Unload all those powertools that are running is systray! Those system Schedulers, Screen re-sizers and anti virus utilities. If you only occasionally use Floppies, simply test them before use and if you download heaps of shareware from the net set WinZip (or whatever you use) to scan for viruses as it open the files. MS Media manager reindexes every 15 minutes by default and Findfast re-indexes every 2 hours. Personally I have removed both of these memory grabbing hard disk trashing utilities from my startup groups.

Speaking of which, the places that programs and services can be loaded on a Windows 95 System are, Config.Sys, Autoexec.Bat, Win.ini, system.ini, winstart.bat (Valid but no-one ever uses it) The registry Run, Runonce, RunServices and RunServicesOnce and finally the Startup Folder.

  1. Change your file system properties to ‘Network Server’ under ‘Control Panel’ ‘System’ Performance ‘File System’. But be warned on the Win95 and Win95a these settings don’t work correctly (Known Bug by Microsoft)
  2. Put you Virtual memory on a separate IRQ and Base memory I/O Address. That is add a second hard disk onto the secondary channnel and manually control the virtual memorye settings (under ‘Control Panel’ ‘System’ ‘Performance’) and point it to the New drive.

Windows also likes to dynamically resize the Virtual memory swapfiles as needed as well as the Disk cache (Vcache). You can limit the amount of thrashing that the system does by limiting both of these.

  1. For the Virtual memory, simply set the maximum and minimum size to the same figure. How much is enough? Most people think that Virtual memory should be about 2.5 time larger than system RAM e.g. 32Mb system should have at least 80Mb virtual memory.


  3. Limit the dynamic resizing of Vcache by adding the following two lines to the Vcache section of System.ini
  4. Finally make sure you are running the proper drivers for your IDE Controller (E.g. loading Machine.Inf, and MSHDC.Inf), then go to Device Manager to the properties and place a check mark in the DMA box. This would enable DMA mode transfers for the hard disk drive.


It’s now safe to turn off your computer

If your experiencing a problem where the machine boots flashes an text error about being unable to load ATMSYS in the system.ini or registry., then displays the ‘it is now safe to switch off your computer’ screen. Try and check if the text message is about being unable to load ATMSYS in the system.ini or registry, as the fix is very simple. Boot to a DOS prompt , change to the windows directory and Edit the SYSTEM.INI and change the line that reads SYSTEM.DRV=ATMSYS.DRV to read the standard SYSTEM.DRV=SYSTEM.DRV


Windows is shutting down your system

If your computer locks while presenting you with the Windows is shutting down your computer, please wait, Then you know you have a software problem. It can often be difficult to track down but you have to unload all programs and services that are running until you find the one that’s causing you trouble. Common ones are Anti-Virus software trying to scan all files on the drive as windows closes down, Novell Netware drivers trying to log off the network, The USB Supplement fighting with some display drivers.

I normally, start buy using Alt+Ctrl+Del to bring up the close program, program and exiting everything but explorer and then trying a shutdown. The problem with the close program, program is that it only lists programs and not services. If you have downloaded the MS Kernel toys you will have a program called WinTop, which lists all programs and services running. On a machine running nothing, you may see KERNEL32., MSGSVR32.EXE, MPREXE.EXE, MMTASK.TSK, EXPLORER.EXE and SYSTRAY.EXE. You can also use WinTop to terminate process’s.

But one thing is for sure, it’s always a software issue!