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VCACHE (Advanced)... <long>

The principle behind Windows' VCACHE is wonderful. However it is very greedy and must be tamed, especially for the home PC.

Windows stores recently used data in main memory so it is immediately available if required again. That sounds like a definite speed boost, and it is.

However the cache utilizes most, if not all, of your RAM and leaves little available for other software.

VCACHE is a storage area in memory
Windows allocates itself a local storage area (cache) in RAM for it's most recently used items. Instead of moving them back to the HDD it retains them in a Virtual CACHE in memory for easy and quick access. In some ways, this disk cache is the opposite of Virtual Memory - VCACHE stores recently used hard disk items in main memory, while Virtual Memory stores memory items on the HD.

These items in VCACHE are available at RAM access speed when next required - greater speed results. By default this cache expands and contracts dynamically according to need.

This principle is excellent, but its implementation in Windows 95/98 is suitable only for systems with oodles of RAM. Unfortunately some precious RAM is no longer available for running programs. AND Windows 95/98 is VERY greedy. It needs to be tamed

Windows 95/98 will gladly expand this cache size instead of sending the files to VM. The default settings for the cache can utilize most of your RAM! Also, when the cache takes more RAM than required, it causes Windows to swap out more than necessary to VM. This results is more HDD activity, and reduced performance. A MaxFileCache greater than about 4 MB is of little benefit on many systems.

Making an adjustment to the default V CACHE (Virtual Cache) settings in System.ini will make more usable memory available for your programs.

A variety of settings are recommended for different users.

A good rule of thumb is that the cache size should be about one-quarter of the total RAM in the system. This site suggests a maximum setting of 25% and a minimum of 10% as being suitable for most home users (but prefers setting both to 25%).

Many users suggest it is best to set the minimum to the same value as the maximum - to stop Windows 95/98 from making time-consuming adjustments.

If you have less than 128MB of RAM then you will possibly gain by changing this cache
If you have less than 64MB of RAM then you should change the default of this cache.

SET VCACHE MANUALLY Intermediate users
To manually tune the cache:
Backup the file system.ini first
* Select .... Start * Run
* Type in NOTEPAD \WINDOWS\system.ini
* Press [Enter]. System.ini opens in Notepad.
* Scroll down to the section [VCACHE]
* Edit, or enter, these lines (number in KBs), and then Save the file
and below those, add
Chunksize=512 (or 256)
Maxfilecache should be no more than 25% of your system's total RAM. Minfilecache should be no more than 10% - it should NOT be set to 0. Many users find it is best to set both at the same (higher) value.
Use an integer multiple of 1024. Make no change if you have more than 64MB RAM.

MinCacheFile & MaxCacheFile
These set the minimum/maximum RAM cache size used. The higher you set it, then the more RAM allocated specifically to Windows and the less that will be available to your own software.

Chunksize directly affects performance. The disk cache is a single block of memory and this block is divided into chunks. If it is set too small then there are too many chunks to manage, if too large then there is excessive wastage. The optimum value is the one that lies in between. Change the value in multiplies of 256 (512, 1024, 2048, ... )

NameCache sets a limit on the amount of files Windows can track.

DirectoryCache sets a limit on the amount of directories Windows can track. Fixing the values has the advantage of Windows not having to re-allocate memory to increase/decrease the cache.

VCACHE and WINDOWS 98 All users
Make the same changes in Windows 98
For the time being these principles apply to Windows 98.
The situation will change in a few years.

Using FAT 16
All of the previous principles will continue to apply.

Using FAT32
a) Use as previously until newer aligned software is in use.

b) Do not bother altering this cache when the newer 'aligned' software arrives.
Programs will be aligned on 4K page boundaries, and, when combined with FAT32, Windows 98 can run applications from the disk cache itself. This will alleviate the need to move some data cached on the HD into main RAM before it can be utilized. To date only MS Office programs are 'aligned'.

Seymore...¿± . (-:
Trekie since 67'
Geeky since 87'
Lovin' Poodles since I was born...

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