Tuesday, March 22, 2005

No Page File For You

I've been working my Tablet PC progressively harder lately.
I run several applications at once, usually on the order of 5-10 windows, and it's been getting new tasks, such as running mapping software that talks to my GPS, and MS Streets & Trips, which the GPS talks to. Both of those programs involve loading huge, detailed map files to RAM.
The real resource hog, though, is Virtual PC. It's another of MS's offerings that the academic licensing program has given to me for free. I've had it sitting around for a while, but then I realized that it would be a good way to learn Linux without sacrificing a computer or fiddling with a multi-boot environment. I've done both, and when it comes to Getting Real Tasks Done vs. Learning A New OS, the tasks win every time.
With Linux on a virtual install, though, I have immediate access to Windows and I don't have to feel bad about the computer I've installed Linux on that I never use anymore. Almost the opposite, in fact. I'm working my ultra portable as if it were a desktop replacement.
So I decided it was time for a RAM boost from 512 MB to a full Gig. I thought that I had a single 512 chip in this machine, but when I opened it up, I found a disappointing dual 256 configuration. So I made a call to Josh at Prime Systems and asked if he could turn my two 256's into a single 512. He did, free of charge. I wanted to pay, but Josh wouldn't let me.
By the way, I highly recommend buying from Prime Systems in Kaysville. They treat me well and they'll do the same for you. And I do not recommend buying from Totally Awesome Computers. Trust me. I've never heard one of Totally Awesome's customers rave about their excellent service. More on this later, probably at Confessions.
Unfortunately, I wasn't in a position to buy the other necessary 512 from Prime because I had already found a killer deal on one online and placed the order.
The system ran a little slower with just the single RAM chip installed, but the second 512 came the very next day. When I opened the package, I discovered that the 512 that I ordered and the 512 Josh had given me were identical. Sweeeeet. The upgrade took about 45 seconds, and that was taking it slow.
The system's performance since the upgrade has been noticeably snappier. I've been running on the Gig for about ten days now without any problems, so last night I killed my page file. And guess what? I think the Tablet is even a little quicker now. But of course, I'll backtrack if anything goes wrong.
Last night I spent a couple of hours working on my server. I fiddled with it back in January, and something I did made it stop responding to file requests about once per week. It would then hang while rebooting, forcing me to hard reboot it by disconnecting power and then reconnecting.
I suspect that a misconfigured application server was causing the problems. A while back I was all obsessed about having FTP access on the server, so I enabled IIS and Application Services on it to use the built-in FTP capabilities. That didn't work, so I simply switched to Filezilla Server, but forgot to turn off all of the other junk that I had turned on and never got to work.
If that was indeed the problem, then I think I've got it fixed. I also installed System Restore to the server back in January (it isn't part of the OS out of the box like in XP), so that enabled me to restore the machine to a point around Jan. 15. If there was a crooked registry setting crashing the server, that should be fixed now too.
Now that my Tablet has a Gig of RAM, I've strongly considered upgrading my desktop and the server. But the thing is, they don't seem to need upgrades...they both run just fine on the 512 I've given each of them. My desktop only runs slowly when I'm ripping some kind of media on it, which is going to happen no matter how much RAM is in there. And the server only runs slowly when it's about to crash. And if I fixed everything like I think I did last night, that shouldn't be a problem anymore.
And so my weakest system, horsepower-wise, has the most RAM. Ooh! I bet I'll get a performance boost on the Tablet in Half-Life now!

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