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PC is only as fast as it's slowest component and while 2GB of ram is better than 1GB regardless of the OS it probably won't be the limiting factor in most cases with XP. Also if I remember correctly anything over 2GB with XP will never be utilized properly. More often than not the slowest component is your PC will be the hard drive. The next revolution is SSD drives which are out now but still out of reach for the average Joe. Think USB memory key on a large scale.

Personally my fix to the slowdown blues is a reimage. While that sounds dreadful to most people I use a trick that makes it a cinch that anyone can do. I mentioned this in another thread. Create 2 partitions, primary partition of around 10GB and install Windows on it. The 2nd partition contains the rest of the space. Change the destination of "My Documents" from the default C:\ to D:\ and ensure that any additional programs you install get installed to D:\ and not C:\. A reimage for me takes about 20 minutes and no fear of losing data.
 

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You will notice quite a substantial speed increase if you get a small WD Raptor 10,000 rpm Hard drive to put the OS on. About the same or even less than 2GB RAM, and will have a much greater impact on your system's performance.
 

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Turning off paging is safe with 3GB of RAM (I do it with 2GB.) It will provide a small speedup when less than 1GB of memory is required and a large speedup when more than 1GB of memory is required (compared to 1GB of RAM.)
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Great info HD. As for partitions, when I purchased my computer, it was already partitioned into C and D drives. The D drive contains recovery information (I couldn't figure out why there were no XP cd's in all the papers initially). The existing hardrive is 250G, the Recovery partition D occupies about 12G of that. Currently I only have around 10G free, with everything stored on the C drive and on which the OS I would guess is installed. I'm not a great fan of this arrangement. This is an HP system and I did make the recovery CD's it prompted me to make earlier.

The new hard drive on order is a 500G capacity. I'm planning to move all of my media files (which currently take a fair amount of the existing room) to the new drive. Would you suggest partitioning this new one as well? Obviously I want to make best and most efficient use once the new drive goes in.
 

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Well if you buy a brand name PC you really don't have any options for imaging. My suggestion really only works with a homemade PC. Brand name PC's are great for the warranty but have 1 major failing. If you have a 1 year warranty and in month 13 your motherboard dies your done for. All the big names use propietary motherboard designs so if you need to replace it out of warranty they will charge you more for the motherboard than to go buy the same model used somewhere. I used to run an electronics shop and have 1st hand experience with people being "up the river".

As usual I tend to drift off topic. For the new HDD, partitioning it would be more or less your preference. I doubt you would see any performance increase from making smaller partitions. That being said 500GB is ALLOT of space so unless your hardcore into downloading movies/tv episodes or ummm "specialty" vids ;) you will probably never use all that space. May want to partition off what you think you need just to make formatting bearable. The rest can be left unformatted and essentially it's "missing". Only way to see the unformatted space is from disk management. Start/Run diskmgmt.msc

Also you mentioned getting 2 more gb's of ram. If the new ram is faster than the old stuff and you board supports the faster speed I wouldn't even both using the old stuff. If you use 2 different sets of ddr it will only run as fast as the slowest pair so it's conceivable 3gb of ram could be slower than 2gb.
 

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I would not partition the 500GB drive. You might want to think about how to organize the disk using directories before copying or moving files to it. A second drive is a good place to store backups as well. I usually partition the first drive. 30GB is allocated to the OS (i.e. XP.) A second partition is created for future operating systems (i.e. Linux.) The third partition is used for personal files, applications and data. Directories like My Documents, etc can be moved to the third partition or a second drive. Putting frequently accessed files or applications on a second or even third physical drive can provide a speedup since it spreads the load between more than one disk. When processing large files, putting the source and destination files on different disks can create a significant speed up.
 

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Re: memory. Look up Crucial memory and use their scan tool. I did on a desktop and laptop and it was 100% accurate on the memory I had. I also ordered what they suggested as an upgrade and it is perfect. 1GB for my desktop and 2GB for the laptop (ddr and ddr2 respectively, 184 pin and 200 pin resp.)

At the time(a few weeks ago) their price was also very good. and the product seems to work great. They even included the instructions for installation.
 

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There are two primary benefits to partitioning.

1) provided you only install the OS and any programs it uses at startup on C: then if your c: partition fails/becomes unrecoverable a format and install is much less painful as Dezz mentioned.
2) not mentioned yet is defraging. C:, with it's miriad of little files and changing settings gets fragmented the quickest. A small C: partition ( I like 15gig for XP) will be WAY quicker than doing the full HDD.

Personally I have 6 or 7 partitions on my 2 HDDs. I break things down into large categories like XP OS, APPS, Games, Multimedia, Backup, pagefile, Vista OS.

The non OS partitions rarely have to be defraged simply because that stuff doesn't typically change once installed/written. In case you're wondering, I have open office installed on my APPS partition and that same install location is used by XP and Vista. Same with games and most other APPlications. I still have things from the late 90's on these types of partitions. In the meantime I've done numerous OS reinstalls none of which have any effect on the other partitions.
 

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I put 2 OS partitions on the first drive and one on the second drive. The rest I leave as one large partition. That allows for a second OS with a separate data space or installation of a third OS on the second drive. It comes in useful for trying out beta builds of Windows or trying new Linux distributions. Windows is not in my long term plans right now. I will keep XP around for some time but the plan is to switch to Linux and phase out Windows applications when licenses expire and suitable Linux replacements are found.
 

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Discussion Starter #30
One thing I'm curious about is if I ever have to do a reinstall of the OS due to hard-drive failure. As mentioned, my hard-drive is partitioned into C/D drives with the D containing the recovery information. I was prompted to make recovery cd's when I first used the system. Assuming my hard-drive became corrupted, would I be able to use these cd's to install my pre-existing OS (XP Media Center) or do they look for information stored on the D drive? This is an HP system by the way.
 

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Use a backup program such as True Image to make copies of the disk partitions to an external drive. If you need to replace the system drive, just pop the TI recovery disk in the CD/DVD drive and restore everything from the external drive. It typically takes less than an hour. Backups can be automated or done manually. I do mine before installing MS updates every month and before installing/updating any major software packages.
 

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Presumably, the CDs you made are a replacement for the d: partition. The d: partition, like you suggest, won't be much help if the HDD fails.
When you consider XP uses less than one CD and you had to make more than one, I think this is a safe assumption.
 
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