Microsoft's minimum requirements are usually a bit of wishful thinking. ;) Operating Windows XP with anything less than 256MB RAM would be a bit trying. However, adding RAM to your machine is probably one of the cheapest and easiest ways to improve the performance of your machine. With an OS like XP it doesn't pay to skimp on memory.
I have run XP with 160MB, and a reasonably fast 40GB HDD.
It's usable, programs like word, excel and IE worked, software with bigger memory requirements Paintshop etc. were very sluggish.
Later I updated to 288MB, the improvement in speed was very noticeable, although memory hungry applications were still frustratingly slow.
Turning off everything in XP that you don't need - theme's, IR communications, etc. makes a huge difference.
Get as much RAM as possible.
My employer just upgraded to XP and now everything works so sloooow.
One reason might be an antivirus program running in the background, but everything is much slower than before.
I wouldn't run XP on less than 512mb. I use 2gb myself.
I run 2gig too. I agree with the 512 meg option too. That's enough to keep it running pretty well. I've tried 128 meg before just to see what would happen, and the test computer dragged even though it has a 2.x ghz processor. RAM's cheap, go crazy.
For a real good performance 256 MB is recomonded. So go for it
512 minimum if you want to keep your hair
I have an old desktop computer with 128 RAM and WIN98. I once installed WIN XP and it ran much slower, almost unusable. So I had to switch back to 98.
Besides a new CPU, there is nothing better than lots of RAM - and it's cheap today.
I can remember getting a 386 with 16 megs of RAM inside. That was an upgrade from 8 megs. RAM cost $100 a meg back then - my point?
Buy more RAM, you won't be sorry. I build my own PCs and 512 is usually the minimum on XP, 256 is my minimum on Windows 2000 Pro.
More Ram - I am running 1GB in most of the computers that I maintain at the office. 512MB worked ok, but the more the merrier. MS seems to always increase the memory you need when they release new versions of windows. When Vista arrives, I guess we will be upgrading the memory again.
The other little trick is to go to start->settings->control panel->system->Advanced tab and adjust the settings for best performance.
I do this with every pc I can, as well as boosting the RAM. Seems to work pretty well, and does away with the annoying flying graphics.
More ram isn't good if you're still using your hard drive as memory. Disable virtual memory (the pagefile).
Once your hard drive is allowed to do it's job I would suggest a minimum of 1GB for most users (512 for grama if she's on a real budget). 2GB's are required to run everything plus world of Warcraft (I'm a heavy multitasker).
Just Internet - 512MB
Most People (no games) - 1GB
Moderate to Heavy Gamer - 2GB
|More ram isn't good if you're still using your hard drive as memory. Disable virtual memory (the pagefile). |
Disabling the virtual memory on a machine that is already underpowered in terms of RAM, as indicated in the initial post, would not be the best advice.
For one thing, doing this would waste a lot of RAM. When programs ask for some virtual memory they often ask for a lot more than they ever actually use. This space has to be allocated somewhere on the system. If you have a page file available, the system can assign it there, but if not, it gets assigned to RAM, and then you're tying up what could be hundreds of megabytes from any actual use.
Standard advice is to set your virtual memory pagefile at 2.5 times the size of your RAM. Some advocate more or less depending on how you use the machine.