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  • Xp Fyi

    While we are on the subject of I/O cache, that JAZ mentioned in another thread. Microsoft by default enables potentially dangerous feature in Windows XP. I thought I would mention it in case there may be some of you not aware of it. I know it caught me by surprise to learn that Microsoft thinks it is a good idea to turn on "write cache" on your hard drive in XP Pro. I don't know if this is the case in XP Home Edition as I don't have any experience with that version.

    I guess they wanted the slight performance boost this feature gives the XP. This will speed up the performance of XP especially with slower hard drives because the system doesn't have to wait until the data is written to the drive before going on to the next task. The problem that makes this a risky configuration is if the system locks up or is interrupted in some way, the data in cache is never written to the drive and will be lost.

    The odds are that this may never impact you. But I don't think the extra performance boost is worth the risk. That's just my opinion.

  • #2
    yikes, thanks for the info Kevin. I'm running XP home right now, so I don't know if it's even in there, but in case it is enabled, where is the setting for disabling that? I've gone through almost every setting in the control panel to try to optimize for better performance (getting rid of the new XP visual effects etc.) and customize things, but I don't recall ever coming across that.

    - David

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    • #3
      Re: Xp Fyi

      Originally posted by KevinBE

      I guess they wanted the slight performance boost this feature gives the XP
      You will get more than a slight performance hit if you turn that feature off.

      Have you ever studied operating system design theory? Every major operating system utilizes write-caching.

      I've used this feature from the NT 3.51 days up through XP and I don't remember ever losing data due to crashes though of course it's theoretically possible.

      Please folks, Microsoft is not stupid. If they have put something in the OS as a default, it's probably for a good reason.

      Jaz

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      • #4
        David if you look at the properties on your hard drive in "my computer". Select the hardware tab and then "click" on your hard drive in the list and select properties. In the properties for the drive there should be a tab for policies. Select this tab and you should see the check box for that option to either enable or disable write cache. I recommend turning it off. You might try it to see how much it impacts your system performance. Your only risk is from lockups, re-boots, and power interruptions.

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        • #5
          XP, write-caching & Safe removal of devices


          Windows XP, write caching, and Surprise Removal of Hardware

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          • #6
            Re: Re: Xp Fyi

            Originally posted by jaz
            Please folks, Microsoft is not stupid. If they have put something in the OS as a default, it's probably for a good reason.
            Jaz
            Sorry, but I'll have to disagree with that! the number of times I've had to change a default setting because it made no sense is a high one.

            Kevin, thanks, for XP home the steps are almost exactly the same, except I have to go to the Device manager to see my drives listed, then I turned off the write cacheing. I'd rather have less performance than data loss or corruption!!

            - David

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            • #7
              Microsoft isn't stupid, but sometimes software installation routines can be. They can frequently volunteer settings that really aren't optimal. However, write-cacheing has been around for so long that I don't think anyone has any real danger from it, unless there are serious extenuating circumstances, like unreliable or overclocked hardware, etc.

              There are a great number of settings that changing from the default can help. However, there are far more that changing from the default can harm or at least cause unnecessary waste. And none of these are universal, so don't go changing stuff just because someone recommends it, check to see how it will affect your specific machine.

              If in doubt, don't.
              Learn by teaching
              Take responsibility for learning

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              • #8
                Microsoft is not stupid...???

                au contraire!!
                Attached Files

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                • #9
                  lol Greg, AAAaaaah noo it's the dreaded Clippy, keep it away from me!! thankfully I never had to deal with that thing..
                  (here's an animation you might find amusing:
                  http://annoyances.org/pictures/clippydeath.gif )

                  Doug - ok, yes I admit, Microsoft isn't stupid, look who's the biggest software company in the world after all! and for a lot of those settings it's personal preference I guess (i.e. the visual effects of XP really irritate me and I hate things like that which take away from performance)
                  I guess I'm kind of contradicting myself here though, for the case of write cacheing, I'd rather take a bit of a performance hit (and so far it hasn't been noticable) then risk data loss, no matter how unlikely, and I'm not good about doing regular CD backups, so I do everything I can to keep my hard drives running well and with the least risk of corruption or loss.

                  - David

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                  • #10
                    A couple of weeks ago I was helping my sister with her computer, doing the typical housecleaning, installing a popup killer, etc. Along the way I turned off "Clippy", the little assistant you provided an image of. I thought she was going to cry (she's 50). I explained how it sapped resources, provided no real useful information, etc., but she was inconsolable. I quickly turned him back on, and you'd have thought I revived her dead puppy.

                    MS may be anti-competitive, heartless, even illegal, but they are not stupid.
                    Learn by teaching
                    Take responsibility for learning

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by G. Couch
                      Microsoft is not stupid...???

                      au contraire!!
                      Stupid?!?

                      How much money does Bill Gates have?

                      I wish I was that stupid

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Well, I agree Microsoft isn't stupid, in fact it's just the opposite. But, that being said, they don't always have your best interest at heart whenever they make product design decissions. You can bet that there is a reason behind everything they do.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KevinBE
                          Well, I agree Microsoft isn't stupid, in fact it's just the opposite. But, that being said, they don't always have your best interest at heart whenever they make product design decissions. You can bet that there is a reason behind everything they do.
                          What a surprise...They are a business and have a business model which includes making a profit.

                          If you're worried about that, I suggest going with Linux and using GIMP.

                          Jaz

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                          • #14
                            Why would I be worried about that? I've been using their products for 18 years. I've been using xenix/unix/linux for almost as long. I like Microsoft products, I just wish they had more competition. We would all benefit from that.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by KevinBE
                              Why would I be worried about that?
                              Well, you were complaining about them not having our best interests at heart. What major, successful corporation truly worries about the consumer first, profits second? Certainly no photographers that I know! :-)

                              Until Ralph Nader takes over Microsoft, I think that won't change.

                              I agree with you regarding the lack of competition. However, Microsoft got to where they are by being smart, business and technology-wise.

                              Jaz

                              Comment

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