by January 30, 2004 0 comments

You can tweak not just desktop OSs, but also server OSs to get better performance. Here are a few useful tips for Windows 2000 Server. As some of them require tweaking the Windows registry, we strongly recommend that you back up the registry. Also you should try these tweaks after office hours or on holidays. Though all of them are perfectly safe, if anything does happen to the server, you’ll have enough time to set things right. 

Edit registry to increase system performance

Increase system performance
This tweak will work only if you have 512 MB RAM or more on your server. It will load your OS’s core functions into memory instead of using page files from the hard drive. To improve system performance, run REGEDIT.EXE from Start>Run and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\ SessionManager\MemoryManagement. Here, double click on the ‘DisablePaging Executive’ entry in the right-side panel. In the dialog box that opens up, set the value to ‘1’and close the registry window. Reboot the server and you should see a considerable performance improvement. A word of caution here is that since the core system is on the memory, a server reboot might cause you to loose data. So, ensure that the server has proper power backup. 

Run 16-bit programs
Many times when you run 16-bit programs on your Windows 2000 Server, you might encounter the error message “<program name> caused a general protection fault in module KRNL386.EXE at 001:6382”. This error appears due to an incompatibility between 16-bit programs and VDM (Windows NT Virtual Docs Machine). You can resolve this problem by deleting the VDM key from the registry. You’ll find it in the Windows registry in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\SessionManager\AppCompatibity. Here, delete the NTVDM.EXE subkey, click on ‘Yes’ to confirm and restart the machine.


Value           Memory
65536 256+
32768 128+
16384 64+
8192 32+
4096 32 or less
then 32 caching

Disable unnecessary programs and services
In WinXP there’s a small utility called MSCONFIG.EXE that allows you to enable/disable services and programs from startup. We have given this utility for Windows 2000 Server on this month’s PCQ Essential CD. Copy the file from the CD to your desktop, unzip and copy the resulting msconfig.exe file to C:\WINNT folder. Now type msconfig in Start>Run to run the program. Rest will depend upon what you want to enable/disable.

Increase file-system caching
For this, run Regedit and go to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControl Set\Control\ Session Manager\MemoryManagement. Here, you’ll find an entry ‘IoPageLockLimit’ in the right panel. To increase file system caching, double click on it and set the file caching limits according to how much RAM there is in your system. Here are a few 

Protect from DoS attacks
Systems that are directly connected to the Internet often face DoS (Denial of Service) attacks. These attacks generate too much traffic on the server’s network interface due to which the server slows down. By default Windows 2000 Server has some arrangements to tackle such attacks, but those may not be enough. You should also change the TCP/IP stack settings from the registry. 

Remove unnecessary services using msconfig

From the registry, open the key 
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\ TCPIP\ parameters. Find the ‘SynAttackProtect’ entry in the right panel and double click on it. By default you will find the value set to 0, which is the default protection for small DoS attacks. If the server is on the Internet, it should be set to 1 or 2 for better prevention. These reduce the TCP retransmission levels.

You thought this was only possible on desktops? Not if your server is also running on IDE hard drives. To enable DMA, right-click on My Computer and select Properties from the drop-down menu. Here, select the Hardware tab and click on Device Manager. This will open a window showing the hardware devices on your system. From here expand the ‘IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers’ and right-click on ‘Primary IDE channel’. Now click on Properties>Advance Settings, and select DMA, if available, in the Transfer Mode section. You need to do this for the secondary IDE channel as well.

Sanjay Majumder

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