I have this question. I have a PC with an old Pentium 4 and Windows XP
installed on it.
This PC has only 512MB.
The Windows explorer's window
gets really slow, almost stuck, whenever I browse "my
images" folder inside of "my documents" folder. This "my images" folder is in the hard
disk of the PC where the operating system
is installed and has a lot of image files
with a total size of around 14 GB. When I remove some of the images of this folder and there are 5 GB or so, then
it is possible again to scroll quickly the scroll bar of the windows explorer when it is displaying the content of the "my images" folder.
As for hard disk space, on one hand there is enough space in this hard disk
because there are 15 GB still left so the problem of slowness when browsing this "my images" folder seems not be related to lack of hard disk space.
On the other hand, I did another test just in case and checked that when I use a USB external hard disk to store all the 14 GB images,
then there is no problem when displaying the folder's content where all these images are stored. Then, first question, is Why the slowness only happens when
displaying a folder with a huge content inside of the internal hard disk but does not happen with the same folder when it is stored in a USB external hard drive?
I really do not know yet. I thought the problem might be that the computer has not enough memory. That is why I did ctrl+alt+delete to check how much memory was being used.
Then actually I could see in the task manager that the memory which was being used went up to 530 MB or so. But I thought such a short increase above the 512 MB limit of RAM memory
should not be enough to make the computer so slow when displaying the contents of this "my images" folder in the internal hard disk of the PC.
So the main question is, do you think buying another 512 MB of memory will make the computer quicker when displaying this pictures? I would rather know whether
this increase in ram memory is going to be useful or not to increase the speed of the scroll when the windows explorer show the contents of the "my images" folder.
At the same time I would like to ask your advice as for the speed with which Windows XP starts on this computer
. Would you recommend installing Windows 7 in this Pentium 4
in order to make it boot faster and make it faster in general, for example, whenever I use Microsoft Office (Access, Word...) or try to display any huge folder's content?
I would not install Win7 with only 512MB of memory. It might work, but it would be painful.
As for if more memory would help your situation, I believe it would.
When you talk about browsing a folder with images, I assume you mean a folder with Thumbnails turned on (i.e. each file icon becomes a small version of the picture).
You have two things working against you here.
1) Windows must cache all those thumbnails in memory. Therefore, when you have thousands of images in a single folder, thats thousands of thumbnails in memory. The more files in a folder, the more images it has to read in, the more thumbnail converting it has to do, and the more thumbnails it has to store in memory.
2) Even 18MB of page-file/swap memory (i.e. memory stored on the harddrive) can be a problem when Window's has to do everything I stated under #1. I.e. Windows now has to read an image off the harddrive, create a thumbnail, then store that thumbnail into the page-file/swap memory back on the harddrive. This can drastically slow-down the whole process.
The reason a USB drive helps is because even though Windows still runs out of memory and starts caching to the harddrive, it does not also have to read the images from the harddrive (therefore, its not bouncing back and forth between reading and writing).
edit: This is only a band-aid, but have you tried dividing your images into separate folders? It not necessarily how many you have on the drive, its how many you have in a single folder.