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Written by: Keith "Farrel" McClellan
Posted: February 15, 2000
The Big One
Here's the tweak that drove me to re-write this tweak guide. It can improve operating system and application speed by up to 10% - so listen up. Windows has a little program that is included with it called walign.exe. Running it sets up the files (DLLs and EXEs specifically) in the walign.ini file to access memory in the same kind of 4 KB sectors that Windows does. This does two things - (1) it speeds up memory access, and (2) allows the program to run directly from the vcache (no longer do we have to have two copies of a program in memory!). However, it isn't a universal program (its big brother, WinAlign from the Windows Resource Kit, is a universal program, but it costs money) - or at least it's not supposed to be. Here's a way to trick the program into doing what you want it to.
There are two methods for tricking the program into optimizing a file that it's not intended to. One applies to files that are in the system subdirectory (where the program resides) and the other uses the command line.
For this particular hack, you will need to open up a dos prompt in the windows\system directory and the walign.ini file in notepad. At the command line, type dir *.dll /p and dir *.exe /p respectively (the first to list only DLL's and the second to list only EXE's). Each time the list stops, copy the far right hand column into the open walign.ini file using the box text select tool in the dos window (the dotted square). Once you've copied all of the file names from both dir listings into the INI file, save the file and run walign.exe. It will optimize all of the files within the directory.
This 'hack' allows you to optimize any file on your computer. Use the format walign [x:\directory\file.ext] in the command prompt to optimize any other file on the system. Because of this command line property, you can very easily use a batch file to optimize every file on your computer.
To create this batch file, I recommend using the dir /p *.exe and dir /p *.dll commands from the subdirectory in which you want to optimize. This will list, sorted by subdirectory, every EXE and DLL file on that drive. Then simply do the copy/paste deal into the text file. Then make each of the files in the following format:
Save the file into the windows\system directory as a file with the .BAT extension and then run the file. You can do this for just about all of your applications and system files. Be careful though, because VERY occasionally the process won't work on a file and you'll have to replace it from a backup. This really isn't an issue for files residing within the System subdirectory but other files may not have been designed to work with that kind of optimization.
Well there you have it - if you are looking for more tweaking information, make sure you check out our other tweak guides. And as always, feel free to email me with comments and questions.