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slow memory reading at pc pitstop

Discussion in 'Earlier Versions of Windows' started by indigowindow, Jan 10, 2002.

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  1. indigowindow

    indigowindow Thread Starter

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    my memory configuration speed is consistently showing around 66% at pcpitstop.com. what could be causing this? i have 512 MB windows 98se IE 5.1. i don't want to use docmem.
     
  2. Styxx

    Styxx Banned

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    First clean out your Startup folder - Start; Programs; Startup. Right click each item in turn there and choose delete. I have only 'swtray' there, the joystick driver, and it has to be there. On most machines you don't want anything in that folder.

    Check your available resources by right-clicking My Computer; clicking Properties; Click the Performance tab. Resources available are displayed as percent there at top. Check it when you get done running the System Configuration Utility mentioned below.

    Click the Start button; Run; type 'msconfig', without the quoatation marks, in the Run box and click OK; Then click the Startup tab; Uncheck anything you don't need running in the background. For reference on what's not needed running in the background in the System Configuration Utility, view this website first and print out the list:

    http://www2.whidbey.net/djdenham/Running_items.htm

    It's important that you print out the above mentioned list.
     
  3. indigowindow

    indigowindow Thread Starter

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    i have a lean startup menu and my computer is well maintained. this low reading is very unusual. almost like one of the ram modules is going bad. but it still shows 512 mb loading at startup.

    scanreg
    systray
    loadpowerprofile
    scriptsentry
    truevector
    minilog
    zonealarm
    bhocop
    transparenttext
     
  4. rhettman5

    rhettman5

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    A free utility from microsoft, intended for win 95, but works on 98( I know, I use it) called wintop, it tells you what is using your resourses, kinda cool : http://www.webtree.ca/newlife/wintop_info.htm


    hope it helps..Rhett
     
  5. Styxx

    Styxx Banned

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    Your startup menu does look pretty lean however, the percentage of free resources you list is not that low but about average. 65% free right now myself on a Emachines Celeron 633 with 192 Mb of RAM. Note that 65% of 512 Mb is a hell of a lot more than 65% of 192 Mb and I'm running fine. It sounds like you're running well. But a RAM module could be going bad like you say or, just needs the module checked that its seated properly and dust and dirt free with compressed air keeping the can upright.

    Explorer
    ZoneAlarm
    Navapw32
    Vsmon
    Systray
    minilog

    Resource Leaks," Part One

    No matter how much physical RAM you have in your system, it's still possible to run out of System Resources. When that happens, one of three things occurs:
    1. You may get an error message such as "Out of memory" or "Not enough memory to display completely" or "System Resources are running low."
    2. Or, your system may begin to behave weirdly by doing things such as opening blank or garbled windows, refusing to respond to keystrokes or mouse clicks, and the like.
    3. Or, your system may simply crash and burn.
    In each case, your only remedy is a reboot. Hope you saved your data recently!
    So what's really going on? What can you do to prevent it from happening? And do those freeware apps that John mentioned (and others like them) really help? Let's take it a step at a time:
    The Mythical "System Resources"
    To begin with, there's no single thing called "System Resources." It actually means different things depending on how it's used. Most generally, it refers to all the components of your PC that let it do what it does.
    But the "System Resources" that John's letter mentioned are two very specific memory areas inside Windows: User Resources and GDI (Graphics Device Interface ) Resources. You can think of these areas as scratchpads -- actually, internal tables and pointers -- that Windows uses to keep track of running applications.
    The User area contains information about all the apps and windows currently running, including dialog boxes, the controls in dialog boxes, and so on. Every DLL, in fact, your apps use gets its own data area in the User section. Loosely speaking, the more things you ask your computer to do at once, the more heavily used your User area becomes.
    The GDI area keeps track of the things Windows uses to draw what you see on screen: there are things called pens, brushes, fonts, bitmaps, regions, and palettes, for example. Roughly speaking, the more graphical objects you have on-screen -- windows, icons, wallpapers, etc. -- the more heavily used your GDI area becomes.
    Both resource areas are of a fixed size regardless of how much RAM you have -- and that's the problem. If you run too many things at once or have too many graphical objects displayed at once, you can deplete the User or GDI area. When that happens, you get the error messages mentioned earlier, or weird behavior or a crash.
    The Good News
    With properly-coded applications (that's a major caveat), it's actually fairly hard to run out of System Resources. I just tried an experiment, for example, on my main Win98SE system here: I opened (as normal windows) Internet Explorer, my Office 2000 suite (Access, Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and FrontPage), Lotus Organizer, an MS-DOS window, and Eudora (a notorious resource hog), plus a couple of small "tray" apps I always have running. It's hard to imagine a single person needing to run much more than that at the same time, but Windows could have done lots more -- I still had 28 percent system resources free!
    (And by the way: You can thank Windows Magazine -- the predecessor of WinMag.com -- for this ability of Windows to handle so many apps with ease. You see, during the early beta testing of what was to become the original Windows 95, the folks at WinMag discovered that the new OS retained the tiny, inadequate System Resource areas of the old Windows 3.1. WinMag complained to Microsoft, in print, and Microsoft responded by making Windows 95's System Resource areas far larger than they'd planned to. It's a little-known fact, but literally every person who has ever used any version of Windows 9x has benefited from the aggressive testing and reporting of Windows Magazine!)
    The Bad News
    As you run apps, open and close windows, and so on, various User and GDI resources get allocated. When you shut down an application or when part of an app is no longer needed, its resources are supposed to be released, freeing up space in the User and GDI areas for use by other apps.
    However, in poorly-coded apps, some of the resources used by an app may not be released. Over time, more and more resources may be marked as "in use" even when they're really not. In a sense, bad programming treats the User and GDI areas as roach motels -- resources check in, but they don't check out: Eventually, there's not enough available resource memory space to continue working, and you get an "out of memory" error message or crash.
    In fairness to programmers, in a complex app there can be thousands of items to track. When programming for Win9x was a new thing, many apps were truly awful about releasing resources. In fact, this was one of the reasons why Win95 got its bad reputation for instability: It was actually "resource leaks" in various badly-coded applications that often were the cause of Win95 crashes.
    Win98 is better at cleaning up after sloppy programs; it can recover "leaked" or "orphaned" resources, up to a point. Windows NT and 2000 largely do away with the limited resource areas, and thus are intrinsically more resistant to problems of this sort. Plus, programmers and programming tools have gotten better at preventing leaks. But resource leaks still happen, and a very leaky app or a large number of apps with small leaks can still wreak havoc.
    Finding Resource Leaks
    Here are the official Microsoft instructions for finding what they generically call "memory leaks" in Win98. (Other versions of Windows have similar procedures.)
    1. Restart your computer, and do not start any programs.
    2. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click the Performance tab. Note the percentage number next to System Resources. This is the amount of free system resources before you run any programs.
    3. Start one of your programs, use it as you would normally for 15 or more minutes, and then quit the program.
    4. Right-click My Computer, click Properties, and then click the Performance tab. Note the percentage number next to System Resources, and compare it to the number you noted in step 2. If your system resources are substantially less than they were previously, your program may be creating a memory leak. To resolve this issue, contact the manufacturer of your program to inquire about the availability of a fix for this issue. To work around this issue, restart your computer after you quit the program.
    Note that step 4 refers to resources that rebound to a level "substantially less" than before: In some apps that use shared components (DLLs and such that perform common functions) some of the shared components deliberately may be left in memory in anticipation of reuse: The program designers may use a little space in the User or GDI area as a kind of cache to speed the next use of the shared component. So, seeing a loss of a few percent of resources after running an app does not by itself mean you have a leak.
    But a large drop almost always means there's a leak. Likewise, if you repeatedly open and close an app and find that your resources steadily decline and do not recover, this too means you have a leak: The components are not being reused.
    Also note in step 4 that Microsoft correctly attributes this behavior to the applications, not the OS; the problem arises within the leaky application, and really can only be fixed there. (Ironically, some Microsoft applications leak, too; but the OS can't fix what's broken in an application even if it's from the same company.)
    This means the only true cure for memory leaks is a rewritten or patched version of the offending application: The programmers have to find out what memory isn't being properly released, and correct the problem -- plug the leak.
    Other Tools and Fixes
    There are many, many utilities, both free and low-cost, that purport to fix memory leaks caused by other applications. I've been trying a pile of them for the last couple weeks, and in Part Two of this column I'll tell you how these optimizers work, what they actually do, and whether they're worthwhile or not.
    Meanwhile, you can begin tracking your own System Memory use to see if you're experiencing resource leaks. You can use the Microsoft procedure, above; or, if you want to get really serious about tracking System Resources, there's an even better way:
    It's a very simple utility called Resource Meter. It may already be installed on your system in Start/Programs/Accessories/System Tools. (If it's not there, you easily can install it by clicking to Start/Settings/Control Panel and then clicking on the Add/Remove Programs applet. Within the applet, choose Windows Setup; scroll to System Tools and then click on Details. Select System Resource Meter and click on OK. Depending on how your system is set up, you may need to insert your Windows CD; if so, you'll be prompted at the right time.)
    When you run the Resource Meter, you'll see three bar charts: System Resources, User Resources and GDI Resources. In this case "System Resources" is really shorthand for either the User or GDI resources, whichever is lower: The overall "System Resource" bar simply shows you whichever resource pool (User or GDI) is lowest at any given moment.
    If you minimize the Resource Meter, it installs itself in your System Tray, by the clock: It becomes a tiny bar graph that shows you available System Resources (again, this is simply the lower or either User or GDI resources) in near real-time. If you want more detail, you can hover your mouse over the tiny bar-chart icon, or click on the icon to open the full-sized chart display.
    I created a shortcut to the Resource Meter (C:\WINDOWS\ Rsrcmtr.exe ) and dragged the shortcut to my Startup folder: C:\WINDOWS\Start Menu\Programs\StartUp . This way, the Resource Meter runs every time Windows starts.
    Over time, you'll learn what constitutes acceptable resources for your particular system and apps. (When your resources get low enough, you'll sometimes get a warning from Windows suggesting that you close some apps in order to recover resources.)
    Some people worry if their resources drop into the 70 percent; others fret if they go below 50 percent. I think these fears are left over from the early days of Windows: In normal use, my resources fluctuate between 30 to 60 percent free all day long, and that's fine. I also know that I can get all the way down to low single-digit percentages of available resources before I actually run into resource problems. Your mileage may vary, but I generally don't worry about resources at all until or unless my Resource Meter shows me dropping into the 10 percent range or so.
    So keep an eye on your meter: If your resources drop steadily during the day, you may have a leak. With careful use of the Resource Meter, you may be able to identify which app is causing the leak, and then visit the vendor's home page to see if there's a fix.
    In the next column, we'll look at utilities that try to fix leaks. Meanwhile, what are your experiences with resource leaks? What apps have you found to be leaky? What tools or techniques do you use to plug the leaks or recover the resources?

    IF NOT ENOUGH MEMORY AVAILABLE WARNING SIGNALS

    Your computer is struggling along with Windows 98SE and only 64 MB of RAM. You need to increase it to 128 MB.
    Go to Start; Programs; Startup, right click any items inside that folder and choose Properties; Click the Shortcut tab; Under Target, write down the entire path there in case you need to put the item back in the Startup folder Right click one item at a time there and choose Delete after the path is noted down; then restart and run programs, usually none will be effected.
     
  6. indigowindow

    indigowindow Thread Starter

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    i think you misunderstood my post. i'm concerned about the memory SPEED. i've never had this much of a slow speed reading.
     
  7. Styxx

    Styxx Banned

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    I think perhaps you misunderstand the meaning of the test. I did that test at PC Pitstop and those tests are not to be taken quite as literaly as you imply. Mostly they're just a nice-to-know generalized novelty and influenced by multiple variables most of which are beyond our control! My memory speed was at 104%, but thats influenced by HOW MUCH RAM YOU HAVE. They said I need to add some memory. 256 up from 192Mb. I won't waste my time and money just to add the recommended ammount. For one thing, having only 2 slots (one 128 Mb and one 64 Mb chip presently) I'd have to Not use the (lose the use of) 64 Mb chip and add 128 Mb chip for only a 64Mb gain over what I've got. Thats wut Pitstop recommends. Did it say that to you or what? Personally, I'd take the time and monry to upgrade to a max of 512 Mb by buying two - 256 Mb chips if I was worried aboutit, which I'm not. See? You have to look at what the website is recommending and saying to you in time and dollars compared against the performance of your computer you're actually getting. See?

    Do you suppose they are selling memory for others? Why else would the Crucial website banner be right next to their report summary? :) Crucial is one of the best sites to buy memory over the internet but still all its saying to you is add some memory usually, not that a module is going bad. I can't find anywhere on the site it says they have that capability. Now, did the website actually suggest you had a module going bad in Summary? Or did you just come to that conclusion yourself?

    Adding some memory will take care of you if that's convenient, I bet.

    If you had a memory chip going bad you'd have noiticed symptoms of severe slow down, severe! and/or maybe your computer wouldn't even start or barely load Windows taking a long long time at startup.

    Have you noticed these types of things? If a module was going bad I doubt you would be able to use PC Pitstop to even run the test.

    In one area it said my CPU was slow in other its was fine where it counted. You must understand the results before making quick decision. In the real world as here, that quick impulsive thinking can cost you big!
     
  8. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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    "memory speed"? I'm not exactly sure what they are referring to. But isn't this a motherboard issue?

    Cas Latency?
    FSB?

    ??
     
  9. indigowindow

    indigowindow Thread Starter

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    my memory speed in the past has always been above 100%. for it now to read 66% several times in a row means something's changed somewhere.
     
  10. Rollin' Rog

    Rollin' Rog

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  11. indigowindow

    indigowindow Thread Starter

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    rolling rog - we'll see how funny that is when the dog bites you. instructions for the biostar m7vkd board do not recommend changing the cas from 3. while this is an interesting link, it doesn't explain the drop in speed during the test. but i should experiment with optimizing the system.
     
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