Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia


Every Windows user has spent hours trying to figure out ways to optimize system performance. And each of those same users has most likely been frustrated by that process. Understanding Win 9x and tuning it to be more efficient, whether for desktop applications or video-intensive games, can be very time-consuming.

This book gives you the tips and tricks you'll need to make your system run faster than ever before, and you won't find them in any Windows documentation. Do you really...

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Every Windows user has spent hours trying to figure out ways to optimize system performance. And each of those same users has most likely been frustrated by that process. Understanding Win 9x and tuning it to be more efficient, whether for desktop applications or video-intensive games, can be very time-consuming.

This book gives you the tips and tricks you'll need to make your system run faster than ever before, and you won't find them in any Windows documentation. Do you really need Internet Explorer? Can you use an alternative shell that will give you a better Windows experience? Maybe you're wondering if you need a hardware upgrade or if you can tweak your existing system to work faster instead and save you a lot of unnecessary expense? Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia will answer these questions and save you wasted hours of searching and experimenting on your own computer to find the practical solutions you're looking for.

This book covers:

  • General concepts of conserving memory and CPU cycles, processor speed, and disk optimization
  • Speeding application launch times
  • Utilities bundles and which one is right for fine-tuning your system
  • Benefits of partitioning your drive and what tools you need to do it
  • What to look for in uninstallers and how to use this valuable maintenance tool strategically
  • Replacement Windows shells like Program Manager and freeware shells like EVWM and LiteStep
  • Optimizing DOS sessions and Dial-up networking

You may find other books that teach you how to be more productive with the user interface, but they don't talk much about system optimization. Whether you use your computer in a home or office for business or games, with Optimizing Windows for Games, Graphics and Multimedia you won't need to dig through hundreds of pages to come up with a small handful of tips. This book does that work for you and presents it in an easily referenced format.

If you want to make the most of your time and your computer, this is a book you'll want on your shelf.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
You can make Windows a whole lot scrappier, more efficient, and just plain faster—and David L. Farquahr will show you how. This book is full of ideas you haven't seen in the usual computer magazines. Some of them, like organizing your drives into many smaller partitions instead of one big one, go against conventional wisdom. But they make for faster (and in some cases more stable) systems, especially for gaming and multimedia.

Farquhar shows you custom techniques for optimizing virtual memory to your specific patterns of usage; then walks you through finding your system's fastest video settings (they aren't necessarily 640x480—and with some video cards, 1024x768 is faster than 800x600, which is counterintuitive, to say the least). You'll learn how to optimize your Windows folder (and clear out unnecessary clutter); speed up the boot process by editing msdos.sys and adjusting your CMOS settings; streamline your Registry to improve performance, free up memory that Windows is wasting, create a lightning-fast RAM disk for Windows temporary files, and much more.

There's a full chapter on supercharging DOS for gaming, and another on improving the speed of your web connections (maybe the problem isn't the phone company or your modem, but your wiring). The book is also chock-full of information about free and low-cost Windows utilities you didn't know about.

Get Optimizing Windows For Games, Graphics & Multimedia, and you just might be able to postpone that next new computer purchase an extra year or two. Not too shabby.

This book is for those computer users not ready to upgrade a system, but who still want to play some of the best graphically enhanced games. It provides practical tips and procedures that can help an older computer run more efficiently and faster. Farquhar, a systems analyst and a computer columnist for the newspaper, includes simple tricks like optimizing a swap file and taking down wallpaper, as well as practical advise on using utilities, and optimizing DOS. In addition he gives advice about optimizing modems and making Internet exploration faster, and how to do a clean Windows installation. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565926776
  • Publisher: O'Reilly Media, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/8/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 291
  • Product dimensions: 7.05 (w) x 9.17 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Farquhar graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in journalism and has been working as a systems analyst ever since.

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Table of Contents

Preface ix
1. System Optimization Theory 1
What Makes a Computer Fast? 3
The Ideal Operating System 4
Working Within Windows' Limitations 5
Is My Computer Getting Slower? 7
What You Can Expect to Get from This Book 8
Requirements for This Book 9
Measuring the Improvement 11
2. First Steps 13
Check Your Free Disk Space 14
Lose autoexec.bar and config.sys 17
Make Sure Your System Is Using 32-bit Drivers 17
Clean Out Your Startup Group 17
Optimize Your Swap File 18
Optimize Your Disk Cache (and Get a UPS!) 20
Tune the Hidden Windows Disk Cache Settings 21
Turn Your CD-ROM Caching 22
Turn Off CD-ROM Autoplay 23
Optimize Your Multimedia Settings 23
Turn Off Power Management 24
Take Down Your Wallpaper 25
Use Hotkeys Instead of Desktop Icons 25
Lose the Screen Savers 26
Lose the System Sounds and Desktop Schemes 26
Turn Off the Windows 98 Animations 27
Turn Off Windows 98 Tooltips 27
Find the Fastest Settings for Your Video Card 28
Enable Your Hard Drive's DMA Setting 29
Shrink Your Start Menu 29
A Primer on Regedit and the Registry 30
Turn Off Windows 95's Window Animation 35
Turn Off Pause in Menus 35
Turn Off Click Here to Begin 36
Tune Windows 9x to Your Modern CD-ROM Drive 36
Recover That Wasted CD-ROM Cache Memory 38
Improve the Windows 9x Server Template Even More 38
Reduce Filesystem Fragmentation 39
3. Disk Optimization 41
Directory Optimization 42
Taking Care of Fragmentation 50
Working Within the Physical Limitations of the Disk 56
Living with FAT 57
Other Disk Performance Tools 69
How Much Difference Will This Make? 73
Getting Rid of Disk Compression 74
4. Speeding Up the Boot Process 76
The Boot Process Explained 76
Speeding Up the Boot Process 78
msdos.sys Options 79
Wringing That Last Ounce of Speed from msdos.sys 86
Speeding Up autoexec.bat 87
Getting By with Less in Your Startup Group 87
Speeding Up POST 89
Compacting the Registry 91
5. Utilities 93
What Tools You Need and How to Use Them 93
Should I Upgrade to Windows 98? 94
The Big Three Utilities Suites 95
Uninstallation Programs 105
Anti-Virus Software 107
Freeware and Shareware Utilities 109
6. Replacement Windows Shells 119
Program Manager 120
EVWM 123
StarOffice 125
LiteStep 126
7. Optimizing DOS 134
Try It 135
"Insufficient Memory?" I Have 64 Megs! 135
When DOS Programs Are Sluggish 140
Running DOS Programs in DOS Mode 141
A Pseudo-Dual Boot 143
Dual-Booting Windows 9x and True DOS 145
Tweaks You'll Want Even If You Never Run DOS Software 148
What to Do When DOS Games Run Too Fast 148
Putting It into Practice 150
Running DOS Games from a RAM Disk 155
8. Modems and the Internet 157
Idealistic General Principles 158
Finding Your Modem and Optimizing Your Port Speed 158
Optimizing Your Port 159
So What's This UART Business? 159
A Bit of Low-Tech: Your Phone Connection 160
Download the Newest Drivers for Your Modem 161
Tune Your Connection via Software 161
Speed Up DNS Lookups 163
Lose the Ads Altogether 165
Preloading and Caching Utilities 168
Taking Full Control of Your Internet Connection 169
The Value of Free Software 171
Which Web Browser Should I Use? 171
Tune Your Web Browser 172
9. Home Networking 174
Requirements 174
Using Networks to Save Disk Space 184
Some Networking Tips 185
10. Clean Windows Installation 188
First Steps with Windows 95 188
Hacking Out MSN and the Exchange Client 190
OSR2.x's Excess Baggage 191
Installing Windows 98 192
Installing Windows 98 Without Internet Explorer 195
Removing Internet Explorer from an Existing Windows 98 Installation 197
Installing Device Drivers 197
Performing the Installation 198
Post-Installation Magic 201
Stupid Installation Tricks 202
Multi-Booting Windows 95 and 98 204
11. RAM Disks 206
Advantages of RAM Disks 206
Special Considerations for Windows 98 and RAM Disks 214
12. Hardware Upgrades 217
Prudence in Hardware Upgrades 218
Realistic Memory Requirements 218
Video Cards 226
Modems 231
Printers 233
The PCI Bus 233
Straight Talk on CPU Upgrades 234
Motherboards 239
CD-ROM and DVD Drives 245
External Removable-Media Drives 248
Scanners 248
Monitors 248
Input Devices 249
Buying New Systems 250
Scavenging 251
What Do I Do with This Old 486? 252
Appendix Useful Web Resources 255
Index 261
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