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  • Desktop Tweak

    I came across this today and thought it may be of help to others experiencing problems with loading applications, memory usage and speed.

    I used it and it does work. It even sorts out some of the sluggishness related to Adobe Bridge.


    The amount of RAM used to be the limitation for the number of applications you can open at any one time. Even with the use of virtual memory, there was a practical limit to the number of applications you can open.

    But today, having 1GB to 2GB of memory is not uncommon. With so much memory, it's now possible to load up many applications, even memory-guzzling ones like Adobe Photoshop. Or is that only what we think?

    Believe it or not, even if you have so much memory, you may still encounter problems loading up all the applications you want. In fact, you may also face problems with the applications that are already running!


  • #2
    Interesting article Paris,

    Desktop heap is a new one on me. I'm always a little wary about changing memory settings, as there's often unexpected consequences from doing so. The original programmers often had reasons for choosing the settings they used, other than the obvious ones.

    The article also did not advise readers to do a registry backup before altering settings. I strongly recommend anyone wanting to try this to do so before attempting to change any settings in their registry.

    Easiest way to do this is to go into Registry Editor, click on File/Export, set "Export Range" to "All" then Save it to a folder where you can find it.
    To restore, (should things go wrong) double click on the Exported file. (Provided of course that you haven't fouled up your registry to a state where you can't recover the file).

    My solutions simpler, don't have so many applications open at the same time. There's not usually any real reason (other than laziness) for not closing things after you've finished with them.


    • #3
      Hi Gary,

      Wise advice, always back up the registry before doing changing settings.

      A long history with computers has taught me the importance of backing up and saving settings. It has become such second nature to do so that I neglect to include it in comments and statements I make.

      There are many reasons for changing some settings especially in Windows XP however. The basic setup takes the safe line that every computer it will be installed on has a similar hardware and software configuration. In other words it tries to find the middle ground. But as systems change and parts and memory are added system settings do not necessarily change to reflect the new hardware and at times to get the most out of your computer changes need to be made.

      There are many utilities out there for tweaking systems, several supplied by Microsoft. Overall though, I don't like these or use them as they offer too many confusing options that can conflict with each other and rather than optimize the system they slow it.

      Occasionally I like to try small changes to see if they will make a noticeable difference and improve things. Sometimes I win, sometimes nothing.

      To reiterate Gary's advice, "Alway backup."



      • #4
        hmmm, i couldnt get to the 2nd page of that thing. where it says 'let's take a look at the solution', 'solution' is highlighted and a rollover comes up and only will allow me to go microsoft's live meeting sign-up. thinking maybe i had a hijack, i ran hijackthis and removed a few suspicious items, but i still get the same thing in mozilla and it wont even load the page in i.e.

        could someone post the rest of the article?



        • #5
          Hi Paris,

          Not trying to put anyone off Tweaking their system (I'm an inveterate tweaker myself), just hinting that there are risks involved, and that gains in one area often cause losses in another.

          At face value, the tweak you've linked to seems OK. Just wondering how many people will actually need the tweak, and how many will do it thinking its useful, when the simpler solution of shutting some of their processes down would have solved their problems.

          Of course there are situations when this may not be possible, and your tweak will solve someone's problem.

          Thanks for posting anyway.



          • #6
            Hi Craig,

            Here is the 2nd page.

            The Solution

            To correct this problem, all we need to do is increase the size of the desktop heap. That sounds simple but it actually requires us to edit the registry using the Registry Editor.

            Editing the registry comes with a certain degree of risk. You may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall Windows. If you have experience editing the registry, then doing so may not pose much of a problem. But if you have never tried editing the registry before, it's highly advisable you obtain the assistance of someone with experience.

            Okay, if you are ready, let's get on with it!

            1. Run the Registry Editor (usually found as drive:\Windows\regedit.exe).
            2. Go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control -> Session Manager -> SubSystems.

            3. Double-click on the Windows string to edit it.

            4. If you check the Value data, it should be something like this :-

            %SystemRoot%\system32\csrss.exe ObjectDirectory=\Windows SharedSection=1024,3072,512 Windows=On SubSystemType=Windows ServerDll=basesrv,1 ServerDll=winsrv:UserServerDllInitialization,3 ServerDll=winsrv:ConServerDllInitialization,2 ProfileControl=Off MaxRequestThreads=16

            5. The portion of interest is "SharedSection=1024,3072,512".
            The three values under Shared Section determines how much memory in kilobytes (KB) is allocated to each component of the desktop heap.

            The first value is the shared heap size, common to all desktops. It's used to store the global handle table and shared system settings.
            By default, it's set to 1024KB. You generally do not need to modify this value.

            The second value is the desktop heap size for each desktop associated with the "interactive" window station. It's used to store user objects like hooks, menus, strings and windows.
            By default, it's set to 3072KB. The more users log into the system, the more desktops are created. Consequently, the total "interactive" desktop heap size will increase to reflect the number of desktops created. But each desktop will only have an "interactive" desktop heap of 3072KB.

            The third value is the desktop heap size for each desktop associated with the "non-interactive" window station.
            By default, it's set to 512KB. But if this value is not present, the size of the "non-interactive" window station will be the same as that of the "interactive" window station.
            Every service process created under a user account will be given a new desktop in a "non-interactive" window station created by the Service Control Manager (SCM). Therefore, each of these services will consume the amount of desktop heap, as specified in the third SharedSection value.

            6. The total desktop heap used in both interactive and non-interactive window stations must fit into the 48MB system-wide buffer.

            Consequently, decreasing the second or third SharedSection values will increase the number of desktops that can be created. But it will reduce the number of hooks, menus, strings and windows that can be created within each desktop.

            On the other hand, increasing the second of third SharedSection values will reduce the number of desktops that can be created. But it will increase the number of hooks, menus, strings and windows that can be created within each desktop.

            In addition, increasing the third SharedSection value will reduce the number of user account services that can run successfully on the system.
            7. To solve the problem we are facing, just increase the desktop heap for "interactive" window stations, which is the second SharedSection value. By default, it's set to 3072KB.
            Try increasing it to 4096KB or to a higher value that addresses your problem. But please note that increasing this value will reduce the number of desktops that can be created.
            8. Reboot the system for the changes to take effect.

            That's it! Your system will now have a larger "interactive" desktop heap!

            ****There's a couple of Screen Shots from the page.
            Attached Files
            Gary Richardson
            Senior Member
            Last edited by Gary Richardson; 07-22-2005, 01:47 PM.


            • #7
              thanks, gary.

              must be time to run anti-spyware again on my system.



              • #8
                Hi Craig,

                No problem.

                I'm currently doing a course on removing spyware. Real brain squeezer, there's a lot more to it than you'd think. Some of the new variants are a real pig to kill.

                Hope you've not got anything serious, or better still nothing at all.

                Best wishes,



                • #9
                  thanks, gary.

                  i'm generally pretty careful and dont pick up much junk. i run ad-aware, hijackthis, norton anti-virus, have a router and a firewall (zone alarm) and keep winpatrol active at all times. i also prompt for all activex and cookies on sites where i havent been or dont know about, but it would seem i've picked up something if you guys can go to that site and simply click on 'solution' and get to the next page and i cant. i get that rollover thing and i can ONLY go there if i click on 'solution'. so, it would seem i've picked up something.

                  i found 4 suspicious items in hijackthis and removed them, but i still get that rollover thing. might be time to update hijackthis again or try ad-aware. might be that i could just flush my history/cache/temp folders too and get rid of it.

                  if you've got any other ideas, let me know.



                  • #10
                    if you've got any other ideas, let me know
                    Get a Mac

                    (Sorry Craig... I just HAD to do it...)


                    • #11
                      lol dee dee the thought has occurred



                      • #12
                        Hi Craig,

                        Current version of HJT is 1.99.1.

                        However, HJT is more an analysis tool than a removal tool. Certainly it removes certain items, but in many cases it does not remove the core processes and programs that cause the problem. These often have to be removed manually.

                        Also, certain items on your HJT log (010 items) must NEVER be removed using HJT as they will damage your internet connection. Other tools must be used.

                        If the problem persists with any site other than the one earlier, I would advise posting on one of the HJT forums, and have one of the experts look over your log.

                        If you need a list of the good ones, I'll be happy to post one.

                        Best of luck,


                        PS. If you want to clean out a lot of the temp files and other build up of junk on your computer, try CCleaner


                        • #13
                          thanks gary. it would seem this is the only site this does this on. so, i suspect i've either got some kind of java or activex thing turned on for this site, or something in a temp file that's only affecting this site. or, maybe it's got something to do with the .net framework from microsoft. i also have that installed. at any rate, it's not a big problem so far. if it starts showing up on other sites, i'll prolly have to kill it, but for now, not gonna worry about it any more.

                          i also just checked my version of hjt and it's only 1.97.7, so might update it this weekend.



                          • #14
                            ok, this desktop heap thing was of particular interest to me, as, i've been having problems with paint shop pro quitting unexpectedly during work. and it always quits with that message of 'send report to microsoft yes/no'. generally, this was happening, the crash, whenever i was using brushes that take a lot of memory, like large clones, smudges, air brush and so on and in rapid succession, one stroke right after the other. i could see that the harddrive light was coming on a lot, usually indicating swap file activity, which means 'you've run out of standard memory'. i've got 512 megs in this machine and it's a 1.7 ghz machine. psp had no problems before with all this.

                            now, it never used to do this, but since getting on retrouchpro i've been finding and installing plugins like crazy. and, apparently, psp 7 when you load it up, pre-loads the plugins too. so, i've been eating up memory...somewhere. and this heap thing sounds like it may be the place.

                            so, i made the suggested tweak and raised the middle value to 4096 and changed none of the others. so far, windows hasnt complained. i just rebooted for the effects to take place and no adverse effects....yet.

                            i also removed 'filter factory complete', which is a large series of filters i hardlly ever use. they're kind of weird.

                            so, we'll see. i'll let you all know how this turns out.



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