Keep the core system in RAM

Use this registry trick to improve system performance by preventing your OS from sending user-mode and kernel-mode drivers to the paging file.

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Windows XP takes portions of the operating system, applications and data files that aren't currently needed in RAM and temporarily stores the data on the hard disk in the paging file. During a normal computing session, Windows regularly moves data back and forth from RAM and the paging file.

If you have a considerable amount of RAM in your system -- 512 MB or more -- you can improve system performance by preventing the operating system from sending user-mode and kernel-mode drivers, as well as kernel-mode system code, to the paging file. You can do so by changing a setting in the registry. Here's how:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).

  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management.

  3. Double click DisablePagingExecutive DWORD value.

  4. Change the value in the Value Data text box from 0 to 1 and click OK.

  5. Close the Registry Editor.

You may need to restart the system or log out of Windows XP for the change to take effect.

This was first published in September 2003

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