Crash Avoidance

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Windows XP is fairly forgiving but if you routinely have a lot of folder windows open you may find that Windows crashes or freezes when you switch between folders. This is due to the way Windows manages RAM memory; each open folder is allocated the same amount of memory, whether it needs it or not. This isn’t very efficient as it puts a big stain on the CPU and memory resources when you switch between folders. This Propellerhead tip lets you reduce the chances of a crash by changing the way Windows handles these processes. Go to Folder Options in Control Panel and select the View tab. In the Advanced settings window scroll down the list and check the item ‘Launch folder windows in a separate process’. Click OK and it’s done. Don’t forget to visit the Top Tips archive on the BootLog website at www.rickmaybury.com

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2 comments

  • “This is due to the way Windows manages RAM memory; each open folder is allocated the same amount of memory, whether it needs it or not. This isn’t very efficient as it puts a big stain on the CPU and memory resources when you switch between folders.”

    What garbage…

    Normally, Windows Explorer simply spawns new windows whenever you open a new folder. These new windows all SHARE the memory allocated to the explorer process. It’s a very efficient use of memory. The tickbox you mention means that Windows creates a new Explorer process each time you open a new window.
    So what are the practical outcomes of this?
    Well, contrary to what your article suggests, opening each window in a new process actually uses far more memory than the default alternative. The advantage is that should a fault occur in one window, no other open windows will be affected.
    When Windows XP came out, machines were shipping with 128MB of RAM. With each window taking up 10MB or so, having them all run in the same process was more efficient. As many machines now ship with 512MB or 1GB RAM, it isn’t so important.

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