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Speed up XP with file compression / UPX?


azagahl
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Can XP be sped up with Windows File Compression or UPX to compress exe and DLL files?

It seems like my dual-core CPU and network are idle almost all the time but XP seems very sluggish. I'm guessing that the harddrive is the bottleneck. Probably its faster to read a Windows-compressed file and decompress it on a fast CPU, than to have to read a file 2x as big from the slow hard disk. I don't think it just this one harddrive that's crappy, the harddrive seems to be a bottleneck on most XP PC's I've seen recently, especially on dual-core systems.

Thanks for any suggestions you have.

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Can XP be sped up with Windows File Compression or UPX to compress exe and DLL files?

It seems like my dual-core CPU and network are idle almost all the time but XP seems very sluggish. I'm guessing that the harddrive is the bottleneck. Probably its faster to read a Windows-compressed file and decompress it on a fast CPU, than to have to read a file 2x as big from the slow hard disk. I don't think it just this one harddrive that's crappy, the harddrive seems to be a bottleneck on most XP PC's I've seen recently, especially on dual-core systems.

Thanks for any suggestions you have.

No. You should only compress files that are not used often. The compression only gives you more available disk space. Compressing EXEs and DLLs (especially the Windows, Program Files or Documents and Settings folders) are not recommended and may lead to an unstable system.

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I was hoping for a bit more detailed advice, perhaps some benchmarks or rules of thumb. Oh well, I should have anticipated a kneejerk "c0mpr3ssion is 4 l0zerS" message.

If you think about it for more than a minute, with a fast enough CPU, and slow enough hard disk, compression is guaranteed to increase system performance. On a two- or more core system, where some cores are idle 99% of the time, its worth considering.

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I was hoping for a bit more detailed advice, perhaps some benchmarks or rules of thumb. Oh well, I should have anticipated a kneejerk "c0mpr3ssion is 4 l0zerS" message.

If you think about it for more than a minute, with a fast enough CPU, and slow enough hard disk, compression is guaranteed to increase system performance. On a two- or more core system, where some cores are idle 99% of the time, its worth considering.

I don't know what your file structure is, so by not compressing the folders I mentioned, that should give you a hint as to what you can compress or not. I don't understand how that isn't helpful enough.

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Agreed - that's why it isn't recommended to use the file compression or drive compression built-in feature of NTFS on the Windows boot volume or volumes that are used to load apps. Every time the file is accessed a decompress will need to occur (CPU _and_ disk hit), and a recompress will need to occur when the file is unloaded (another hit). Compression is fantastic for saving space, but not so much for binaries that are going to be in use (it will make your box slower, not faster).

If Windows is running that slowly regularly, consider msconfig / autoruns as a test to disable non-MS items and see if the problem continues. Removing antivirus and firewall packages as a test is also good, as I've seen many an antivirus and firewall filter driver completely lag systems to the point they become unusable, and disabling the driver in device manager (view hidden devices) "fixes" it. A reinstall is usually all that it takes to get around that, but another something you can test.

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I don't understand your rationale that with a fast enough CPU and a relative slow HDD, compression will speed up the computer????? That's simply ridiculous.

As the above two posts mention, your system will slow down!

Besides if you are convinced that it will speed up, why would you shoot down tripredacus's reply?

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I remember back in about 1992, I was using an 80MB harddrive on a 386sx (8mhz), running Dos 5 or 6. They were just starting to use compression for the whole drive. I think the software available was called 'stacker' and or 'superstor'. Microsoft even released a version as part of the OS, but there were copyright/patent issues and it was modified.

Anyway, even back then, it was considered possible to get equal or better performance out of the system, if the CPU could decompress the files faster than the time it took for the harddrive to access a larger uncompressed file.

Right after this software became slightly popular, harddrives started to get a lot bigger, and no one was interested in compression.

Since then, a lot has changed. Harddrive access/transfer rates have improved. CPU's have improved. Everything has obviously improved. The question is still a legitimate one. Can any benefit be gained in access or transfer rates by using a small percentage of the cpu to decompress every file? In the end, it may depend on what files you are trying to access regularly. It may provide the most benefit for the most extreme cases. If you deal with uncompressed media streams where the data can be measured in gigabytes, I think it might help.

I hope someone who has actually tested and used the current versions of drive compression can respond to this thread. I know that the average gut reaction is to say it will slow down performance, but it may not be true. In the end it may depend on he specific computer and what type of files you are accessing.

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While all those things may have improved, the method in which Windows handles files is relatively the same. Your theory may work better with current hardware and OS if you had a 2GB HDD rather than a 200GB HDD. Either way, I think the actual access times would be negligeble. And not only that but using compression is going to put a considerable strain on the file system. It may be better to just upgrade the computer.

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compression the windows dll's and exe's will slow down the computer. The reason is ever time the dll or exe is required it is reloaded, causing mulitple occurances of a program or dll in memory. If left uncompressed the Dll's are loaded only once and called when required.

As a rule of thumb its ok to compress programs like office or cal as they will only be required once, but programs like explorer are refrenced constantly so they shoul be left untoched

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