I have a laptop with 2GB of RAM, running Windows XP.

This machine is provided by my client, and I'm required to use it.

I'm having to run some pretty intensive apps on the laptop (2 IDE's and a web server), and have found that it goes extremely slowly. Looking at the task manager, I see that my Page File usage is sitting around 2.72 GB.

I believe this indicates that I'd get significant performance improvements from upgrading my RAM to 4GB - as this would decrease the amount of paging required. (Is this assumption correct?)

Unfortunately, the client won't upgrade the RAM.

Is using a thumbdrive for my page file likely to provide any performance improvements here?

I had heard that thumbdrives can improve performance, since they're read/write times are significantly lower than my current hard drive. (again - is this correct?)

Is this even an option on XP, and if so, how do I go about doing it?



  • Depends on the HDD, the quality of the flash drive, and whether it's in a USB 2.0 slot. I wouldn't bother. You might get better results putting your temp folders on it.
    – Alan B
    Nov 25 '10 at 17:13
  • Why is your client so stingy? They'd make back what they paid on the upgrade in a few hours of saved time from your increased productivity...
    – Shinrai
    Nov 26 '10 at 15:37

I use one for my home folder on my netbook, in case it's ever stolen.

It's been my experience that they're just as slow as floppies.

Mine runs XP with 1G memory, and can barely run basics like browser & ftp client.

Since you're bound to the hardware, all you can do is try to lighten the software load as best you can.

Have a look at BlackViper's site & see the appropriate 'Windows Services' section about what system services you can afford to do without.


It might make sense to have some heavier ones like Help and Print Spooler set to 'manual' & activate them as needed.

Another thing you can try is replacing the built-in desktop shell 'explorer', with a lighterweight window manager. I'm a fluxbox fan on nix, and there happens to be one for Win32 as well by the name of xoblite.


Opera's much faster than other browsers & integrates many functions so that you need less running.

Another lightweight that comes to mind is burnatonce instead of Nero.

Irfanview's a light image editor, albeit basic.

Look around for lightweight software to replace your current selections, there's quite a few out there.


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