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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
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    Finding Windows Media Player's hidden controls




    LANGALIST PLUS

    Finding Windows Media Player's hidden controls


    By Fred Langa

    Windows Media Player (WMP) has evolved enormously since its humble beginnings, but not all its improvements are easy to find.


    For example, you can control the default two-second silence WMP adds between tracks but only if you know where Microsoft buried the setting.


    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/langalist-plus/finding-windows-media-players-hidden-controls/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Re: Fastest drive. While using the fastest drive for the page file is good advice, it isn't the only thing to take into account. In the OS/2 days, the mantra was always "the most used partition on the least used hard disk". This may still be of value; if your fastest drive is heavily used but you have a slower-drive that is hardly used, it may make sense putting the page file on the slower drive. The reason for that is that the heads will do little other than accessing the pagefile, so will not need to skip around the disk, whereas on the faster drive they may be flipping between the pagefile and other files all over the disk. The reason for the "most used partition" advice is simply to reduce the time spent moving - the heads are more likely to be over the most used partition already, so have less distance to seek.
    I'm not sure how valid these reasons are with modern disks - and if you use an SSD they are probably irrelevant - but it does mean that speed alone is not enough - and the article shows that even "speed" isn't that simple!
    Another useful piece of advice is to fix the size of the pagefile so it is in one piece (you may have to set the pagefile size to zero, reboot, defragment the disk, then reset the size to what you want and reboot again for this to work).
    Cheers

    KeithC

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Another fine tuning issue

    I agree that if the pagefile is on the same drive as the OS, applications, and data that it should be on the same partition as the files used the most, since statistically that should minimize seek latency. The opposite is true if you have two drives - then you want the pagefile on the drive that is least used, since the likelihood of head movement away from the pagefile is reduced.

    In addition, and as can be seen from Fred's graphs, the pagefile should be placed on the drive before any other files, since that area - drive sectors being numbered from the outer edge moving inward towards the spindle - is the area of the disk with the highest performance. Today, the outermost tracks hold more sectors than those closer to the spindle, since the circumference of the outermost "tracks" are greater than those further away from the edge. That means that for a given rotation, more data can be transferred (higher data transfer rate), the likelihood that a seek will be required is lower, since more data is under the head, and the seek distance is reduced, since more data is in a local band - i.e., adjacent tracks. Rotational latency is unaffected.

    A second order issue is that even if the second disk is slower than the main disk, the main disk is busy - not just in head movement, but in buffer management, command processing, etc. - whereas the second disk is idle. A command sent to the second disk is processed in parallel with the main disk - the functions overlap in time, because the controllers aboard each drive are separate and independent. So while the main disk is busy seeking, waiting, buffering data, transferring data, processing commands, sorting seek order (for those drives that do so), etc. the second disk can be doing the same for requests to/from the pagefile, at the same time, in parallel. Then the only queueing (sequential delay) involved is arbitration and transfer on the IDE cable, if the drives are on the same cable, or arbitration at the motherboard chipset level, if they are Sata.

    So even with a slower second disk, system performance increases owing to parallelism of operation. There are other issues - buffer size, prefetch length, etc. but these are outside the scope of this article. What is not, however, is that the pagefile should be contiguous, fixed, and user-managed. That is, in the advanced performance settings, under virtual memory, move your pagefile to the second drive, set it to custom size, with initial and maximum size both set to the Windows recommended size, which is 1.5 times available main memory. That way the pagefile will not be managed by Windows and dynamically adjusted in size, which would subject you to the risk of pagefile fragmentation and performance loss.

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