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Posted: October 7, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Defragmenting Your Hard Drive
It's amazing how often the little process of defragmenting a hard drive gets overlooked by system optimizers - when it ideally should be the very first thing they do. Defragmenting the hard drive lines up all of the different parts of a particular program sequentially on the hard drive so that it can be accessed more quickly. If you are using the standard Windows defragmenter, the optimal settings for it are to defragment the files and consolidate free space, as well as scan for errors (don't want to write to a bad sector of the hard drive by accident). If you are using a commercial defragmenter, you will want to set it to place the swapfile at the outside edge of the drive, and put more commonly used system files closer to the outside edge of the drive as well - hopefully leaving only rarely used data files near the center of the drive (where data-transfer is the slowest due to the disc's rotational speed). Now, defragmenting a drive takes several hours, so you will probably want to do this overnight.
MSDOS.SYS holds some interesting startup settings for Windows that should be explored. I will go into depth about each setting here - they should all be placed in the beginning part of the msdos.sys file under [Options].
Logo - This setting simply tells the computer whether or not to display the Windows logo while it loads programs in the background from the command line. Disabling this will slightly increase the startup speed. To disable it, include the line logo=0 in MSDOS.SYS.
DrvSpace - This setting tells the computer whether or not to include the drivespace compression algorithm for FAT16 hard drives along with the other system files at startup. Disabling this will give an overall boost in system performance, and unless you are using drivespace to compress one of your hard drives, it is recommended. To disable this driver, use the line drvspace=0.
Dblspace - This setting tells the computer whether or not to load the doublespace compression algorithm for FAT16 hard drives along with the other system files at startup. Disabling this will speed up the system, and unless you are using doublespace to compress a hard drive on your system, it is recommended. To disable the doublespace driver, us the line dblspace=0.
DisableLog - This setting tells the computer whether or not to create a log file during every system startup. Disabling this will speed up boot times, and seeing that it is unlikely that the log file will ever be used, it is recommended. To disable the log file, include the line disablelog=1 in the msdos.sys file.
Doublebuffer - This setting tells the computer whether or not to use double-buffering for your hard drive. If you have a large FAT32 partition or you use SCSI, you are probably going to want to leave this enabled, but if you have a smaller FAT32 partition (under 10 GB per partition is a good rule) or you use FAT16 for some ungodly reason, disabling this can give you a speed boost. To disable it, use the line doublebuffer=0.