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Windows 95 > Troubleshooting Windows 95

Increasing Performance

By: Arie Slob

There are several ways to increase the performance of Windows 95. The best way is to add as much RAM as you can afford. However, several users have complained that their system actually got slower, particularly when more than 32MB RAM was available. The reason is that Windows allocates most of the available RAM to it's Virtual (Disk) cache. This can be prevented with the following solution:

Virtual Cache (Vcache)

This is the Disk Cache (replacement for smartdrive), not to confuse with Virtual Memory. Some users only use a maximum setting, others a maximum and minimum setting. Just experiment and find what's best in your situation.

  1. Open System.ini for editing (click Start > Run and type sysedit in the Open box and click OK)
  2. Select System.ini in the System Configuration Editor to bring it to the front
  3. Add these lines to the [vcache] section (add the section if it's not there):

(This setting is for 32MB RAM)

These values limit the size of the vcache (in kilobytes), so that Windows is prevented from using more of your available RAM for the vcache. This will increase the amount of free memory available to your system, so that when you open another program it is not paged to disk immediately due to lack of free memory.

The MinFileCache (=Minimum File Cache) setting prevents Windows 95 from shrinking the cache below 1024KB. As a rule of thumb, use 25% of your RAM for the MaxFileCache. In general, most users say that a MaxFileCache (=Maximum File Cache setting) of up to 9MB works best for them, even if they have more RAM available. Just experiment with these settings to find what works best for you. You can see how your vcache behaves by starting System Monitor (Sysmon.exe) from your Windows directory. Choose Edit > Add Item > Memory Manager > Disk cache size.

If you have 24MB or more RAM, you can optimize performance by selecting Network server as the typical role of your machine:

Change the Typical role of your Machine

  1. Press Start > Settings > Control Panel
  2. Open System
  3. Select the Performance tab, click on File System in the Advanced Settings box
  4. On the Hard Disk tab, select Network Server as Typical role of this machine

Increasing Performance

Note:The NameCache and PathCache values are written to the registry incorrectly for the Network Server (and Mobile or Docking system) (does NOT apply for OSR2 users). To fix the problem follow this procedure First:

  1. Start the Registry Editor
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ FS Templates \ Server
  3. Make sure the following values are being used:
	PathCache=40 00 00 00 
	NameCache=a9 0a 00 00 

This procedure is explained in Microsoft's Knowledge Base Article No. 138012

The setting you use controls the size of various internal data structures used by the 32-bit file access driver (VFAT).

When you use the Mobile Or Docking System setting, VFAT allocates memory to record the 16 most recently accessed folders and the 337 most recently accessed files. This consumes approximately 5KB of memory.

When you use the Desktop Computer setting, VFAT allocates memory to record the 32 most recently accessed folders and the 677 most recently accessed files. This consumes approximately 10KB of memory.

When you use the Network Server setting, VFAT allocates memory to record the 64 most recently accessed folders and the 2729 most recently accessed files. This consumes approximately 40KB of memory.


  • Run only one network client, if possible. For example, configuring a computer with both the Client for Microsoft Networks and Microsoft Client for NetWare Networks requires more memory than running a single client
  • Run a single network protocol. For example, running Microsoft TCP/IP, NetBEUI, and the IPX/SPX-compatible protocol requires a larger working set than running a single protocol
  • Run the fewest possible network services. Running File and Printer Sharing services, the Microsoft SNMP agent, and so on, all require memory and increase the working set of Windows 95

Network Settings can be changed by accessing Control Panel/Network.

MS Office

If you have MS Office installed, you can increase the performance of your computer Substantially by removing Find Fast from your StartUp folder. Normally Find Fast will from time to time index the files on your drive(s), to speed-up opening them in MS-Office. We personally don't care if we have to wait the additional milliseconds when opening a document in Word, at least we know what we're waiting for!

To reclaim the space used by the find-fast index, go to Control Panel, select Find Fast, select your hard drive(s) and from the Index menu, choose Delete Index. When you've deleted your Index, choose Close and Stop.

More information on the Office 97 Find Fast utility can be found on Microsoft's Web site.

Another utility installed by Office 2000 is MDM (Machine Debug Manager). MDM is part of the Front Page Express debug software, and is utilized by a very few. Unless you need debug, it shouldn't be hogging resources.

To remove MDM:

  1. Start the Registry Editor
  2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ RunServices
  3. Delete Mdm.exe from the list

It could also be necessary to rename Mdm.exe. Find Mdm.exe on your hard drive (in \Windows\System), and rename it to Mdm.ex_.

MDM is also part of the Microsoft Script Editor installation, additionally, if the system has Internet Explorer version 5 or later, Mdm.exe can still be configured to start at the startup of Window 95 or Windows 98, if the script debugging feature in Internet Explorer is turned on. You can turn off this feature within Internet Explorer. On the Tools menu, click Internet Options. On the Advanced tab under Setting, make sure that Disable script debugging is selected.


Recently it was discovered that the Win386.swp file (Windows virtual memory) could be set to Read-only. This will course a number of errors, some of them are:

  • Control Panel and My Computer icons may change to the default Windows icon
  • There was an internal error and one of the windows you were using will be closed. It is recommended that you save your work, close all programs, and then restart your computer
  • There is not enough free memory to run this program. Quit one or more programs, and then try again
  • Internet Explorer cannot open the site http://c:\windows\web\controlp.htt
  • This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor

When you get these error messages, and you click the Details button, any of the following error messages can be displayed:

  • IEXPLORE caused an invalid page fault in module Mshtml.dll at 015f:70c449bb
  • IEXPLORE caused a stack fault in module Shdocvw.dll at 0167:77c8ebe0
  • IEXPLORE caused a stack fault in module Shlwapi.dll at 0167:70bd3114

To resolve this:

  1. Select Start > Find > Files or Folders
  2. In the Named box, type win386.swp
  3. In the Look in box, select drive C, and then click Find Now (the box Include subfolders should be checked)
  4. Right-click the Win386.swp file, click Properties, and then click to clear the Read-only check box
  5. Click Apply, and then click Close