Performance and memory tuning

Charlie Russel, Sharon Crawford and Jason Gerend Microsoft Press, Copyright 2002

The following is tip #8 from "10 tips in 10 minutes: Configuring Windows 2000 Server," excerpted from Chapter 6 in the book Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion, Second Edition, published by Microsoft Press.

Although the Windows 2000 Server family of operating systems is self-tuning, there are a few settings that you might want to modify to maximize the performance of a server. To adjust the way Windows 2000 Server optimizes its memory, page file, and visual settings, use the following procedure:


  2. Double-click the System icon in the Control Panel.


  3. Click the Advanced tab and then click Performance Options.


  4. In the Optimize Performance For section, choose the Background Services option.


  5. Click Change in the Virtual Memory section to open the Virtual Memory dialog box, shown in the image below.


  6. Select the drive for which you want to adjust virtual memory settings.


  7. Enter the Initial Size and Maximum Size for the page file and then click Set. Use the following guidelines for optimizing page file sizes:
    • Create a page file on the system (most likely C:\) partition with the initial size and maximum size set to the amount of installed physical RAM.

    Requires Free Membership to View

    • This allows the system to create a memory dump in the event of a system crash.
    • In addition to the page file on the system partition, allocate space for the page file on the fastest drive or drives in the system. Placing it on multiple physical drives improves performance, unless the drives are slow or heavily used (avoid these). Placing page files on multiple partitions on the same drive doesn't improve performance.
    • Place the page file on the fastest drive available. You might want to avoid software or hardware-based RAID volumes, as the data redundancy might reduce performance. Instead pick a simple volume, stripe set, or mirrored volume.
    • Create a page file in its own logical partition or in a partition before any data is written to it. This minimizes page file fragmentation. Alternatively, defragment the partition before creating the page file to ensure that the page file is allocated a contiguous area on the hard drive.
    • If there is plenty of disk space available, set the initial size and maximum size to the same value. This reduces page file fragmentation because additional hard disk space doesn't have to be allocated for the page file at a later time.
    • Use the Page File Bytes counter in Performance Monitor to determine how much virtual memory is consumed under the heaviest usage conditions, and then use this amount to set the initial size, and possibly the maximum size (after increasing the number to anticipate increased future demands).


  1. Click OK when finished, and then restart the computer.


  2. Click Start, select Settings, and then choose Network And Dial-Up Connections.


  3. Right-click the internal network connection and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.


  4. Select File And Printer Sharing For Microsoft Networks and then click Properties.


  5. Select the memory optimization method that the server should use, as described here and shown in the image below:
    • Minimize Memory Used -- The best setting for servers that service only a limited number of clients (say 10 or so) or have a limited amount of RAM (less than160 MB). This setting uses the least amount of RAM for caching.
    • Balance -- Uses somewhat more RAM for caching, improving file sharing speed while still leaving lots of RAM available for applications. This setting is a good choice for domain controllers.
    • Maximize Data Throughput For File Sharing -- This is the default setting and is appropriate for servers that mainly act as file servers. It allocates the largest amount of RAM for the system cache, maximizing file sharing performance but reducing the amount of available RAM for other programs.
    • Maximize Data Throughput For Network Applications -- Allocates a small amount of RAM for the system cache, making as much RAM available for server-based applications as possible while still ensuring good connectivity for clients. This setting is appropriate for servers that run network applications such as Microsoft SQL Server or Microsoft Exchange Server.


  6. Click OK when finished.

10 tips in 10 minutes: Configuring Windows 2000 Server

  Tip 1: Checking for setup problems
  Tip 2: Configuring devices
  Tip 3: Using Device Manager
  Tip 4: Troubleshooting devices
  Tip 5: Configuring Networking Settings
  Tip 6: Using the Windows 2000 Configure Your Server Tool
  Tip 7: Configuring the first server on your network
  Tip 8: Performance and memory tuning
  Tip 9: Updating Windows
  Tip 10: Securing Windows


This chapter excerpt from Microsoft Windows 2000 Server Administrator's Companion, Second Edition by Charlie Russel, Sharon Crawford and Jason Gerend is printed with permission from Microsoft Press, Copyright 2002. Click here for the chapter download or to purchase the book.

This was first published in August 2005

There are Comments. Add yours.

TIP: Want to include a code block in your comment? Use <pre> or <code> tags around the desired text. Ex: <code>insert code</code>

REGISTER or login:

Forgot Password?
By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy
Sort by: OldestNewest

Forgot Password?

No problem! Submit your e-mail address below. We'll send you an email containing your password.

Your password has been sent to:

Disclaimer: Our Tips Exchange is a forum for you to share technical advice and expertise with your peers and to learn from other enterprise IT professionals. TechTarget provides the infrastructure to facilitate this sharing of information. However, we cannot guarantee the accuracy or validity of the material submitted. You agree that your use of the Ask The Expert services and your reliance on any questions, answers, information or other materials received through this Web site is at your own risk.