Tag Archives: disk

Windows 7: Resource Monitor Tool

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It doesn’t matter how new your computer is, you only have a limited amount of resources. You have to keep an eye on your CPU, your memory, and your disks – you need to know what’s going on! The Resource Monitor Tool has been improved for Windows 7 to make this easier for you to do.

On the primary tab of the Resource Monitor, you’ll find information about your CPU, memory, disk and network, as well as an overview of your performance. The remaining tabs go into more details in their area. For instance, in the CPU tab, you can see a CPU usage breakdown by service. Also, on the Disk tab, you can see a breakdown of disk activity by process.

The first thing you’ll notice about the Resource Monitor in Windows 7 is that they took the graphs and moved them to the side. In Vista, they were shown along the top. The charts would end up scrolling off the screen. This way, you’re able to dive in deeper, and see things more clearly at a glance.

More than anything, I appreciate the network section. They list off services that are running, the firewall status, and even what ports are being listened to (or from!). It goes deep into my system, and lets me keep better track of what is going on within my system – and help to keep it more secure, as well!

They did a really good job at really spicing this up. If you’re a power user, you’re going to appreciate the Resource Monitor tool inside of Windows 7, especially if you “kind of” liked it in Windows Vista. I kind of liked it in Vista, but it just wasn’t enough. This one in Windows 7 is definitely enough.

Kudos, Microsoft. I’m very happy to see how excellently this has been upgraded for Windows 7.

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How to Set up a RAM Disk for Free

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Many people confuse the difference between Hard Drive space, and RAM. A Hard Drive is where the data sits, and is stored. RAM is what the data uses when it is actually running. RAM has no moving parts, therefore it is faster. Therefore, you may find yourself in need of a RAM Disk. This will allow you some extra storage. In layman’s terms, it takes a section of the RAM and makes it act as though it is a hard Disk.

Reb suggested a free tool to help you set this up, called RamDisk. A RAMDisk acts as a virtual drive on your system.

It allows you to create directories, copy files to and from it, etc…. The data however is not written onto a hard disk, but remains purely stored into a particular part of the RAM memory. Hard disks have mechanical parts that are needed to seek to a particular position on the magnetic storage media and to read/write data. This makes them relative lazy. A RAMDisk does not need to seek , and by this , it can read and write the same data to upon 30-60 times faster than a hard disk ! However, the data stored in RAM is “volatile” : it disappears when you cut off the power to the RAM memory, in other words, if you turn off your system. This applies to the content of the RAMDisk too !

Do you know of other tools or programs that can help you create a RAM Disk? What other tips do you have for us regarding memory usage? Leave me a follow-up comment on this video, or drop me an email to [email protected]

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David Weston submits the following addendum:

What Reb says is true, but only if the amount of available physical RAM is more than the space you need for your RAM Disk.

Windows uses RAM for data that is immediately required for active program storage, intermediate calculation storage, etc. If you are running a lot of programs, or some large programs, the physical memory can become full. In these cases, Windows shunts the least important stuff off to disk to free up some space. This is called “paging”.

Paging files are optimised for this purpose, so the seek time that Reb mentions is less of an issue, but you still have the time required to read and write from the paging file. Also, if memory is heavily used, you can end up reading and writing the same data multiple times, as Windows tries to optimise the use of memory. This is called “thrashing”. Thrashing really slows a machine down, so there are times when RAM disk should be avoided.

RAM disk can be good, but only if you have large quantities of free memory available, and you only need to hold small amounts of data.

Free Disk Partition Tool

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Many of you have asked me for a recommendation for a partition tool. In the past, I’ve recommended Partition Magic, which of course is not free. Wirelesspacket gave me a link to a free partitioning program that appears to be quite good!

PartedMagic is an open source project. It is a Linux LiveCD/USB/PXE with its elemental purpose being to partition hard drives.

What is a partition, you ask? Well, to put it in simple terms… take your Disk on your computer. Usually, your C drive of course. You can use this tool to create “partitions” on it, that is, separate sections. You can have one that boots a Linux distro, one that boots Windows, and even one for your music files. You see where I’m going with this? A partition tool will help you divide that hard disk, and manage the separate sections… or partitions.

There are two things that make PartedMagic stand out above other alternatives. One is the fact that it comes with complete documentation. The other thing is the sheer number of file systems it supports. Parted Magic supports the following: ext2, ext3, ext4, fat16, fat32, hfs, hfs+, jfs, linux-swap, ntfs, reiserfs, reiser4, and xfs.

I’m always interested in hearing your tips, tricks, ideas and programs you can’t live without. I encourage you to send me your thoughts via a comment to this or any other video, or by sending me and email to [email protected]

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Defrag Your Hard Drives with Diskeeper for Windows

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Protocol joined me to explain why he chooses to use Diskeeper instead of the built in Windows defragging tool.

Diskeeper is an excellent tool. There is a 30-day free trial available for you to check it out.

With Diskeeper, it’s faster, has more options, allows you to schedule when it should run, and provides you with reports. Diskeeper 2008 Home edition puts your PC in the driver’s seat, allowing you to enjoy unprecedented performance and reliability while you work, browse and play. Fragmented hard drives drain critical system resources and compromise almost every aspect of daily computer use, leading to longer load times, persistent lags and costly crashes. Diskeeper 2008 Home shifts your system into high gear, ensuring that all your programs are running at peak performance.

Your computer will run faster with Diskeeper 2008 installed – period. You’ll enjoy using every aspect of your system, from downloading to accessing files to surfing the web with greater ease and efficiency. Leave hang-times, freeze-ups and other fragmentation-based crashes in the dust.

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