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Cache and how does it works


© St. Petersburg Times, published September 11, 2000

Q: What is cache? How does it work? I've noticed that some Pentium III chips carry 256K instead of 512K. Why? What does one need if you are using your PC for a variety of functions, such as gaming, business applications and graphics?

A: Cache is a small, higher-speed memory system that stores the most recently used instructions or data from a larger but slower memory system. Programs often use a subset of instructions or data repeatedly, and cache is a cost-effective method of enhancing the memory system in a "statistical" method, without having to resort to the expense of making the whole memory system faster. The newer PIII chips use a 256K full-speed cache (same speed as the processor) as opposed to the 512K half-speed cache on earlier chips. I'm not sure you would see noticeable differences between the two in most applications, but generally, faster cache is better than slower but larger cache.

Color depth error

Q: I have had progressively increasing problems -- first at only one Net site but now even offline -- with Internal Faults that bounce me offline or out of whatever program I'm using. It may occur when the PC is not used for a while. One such online pop-up window is: "Iexplore, a red X, This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down . . . invalid page fault in module MSHTML.DLL at 0157:70caf8de."

A: The Mshtml.dll file is responsible for image rendering within Internet Explorer. Yours is a known problem generally associated with using High Color (16-bit) or True Color (24-bit) color depths with older third-party display drivers. You should check to make sure you have the latest version of display drivers for your video adapter or set your color palette to 256, which also should solve the problem. Adjust your color palette using the following steps:

1. Click Start, point to Settings and click Control Panel.

2. Double-click Display.

3. Click the Settings tab.

4. In the Color Palette box, click 256 Color.

5. Click OK.

6. Restart your computer when you are prompted to do so.

Reducing startup programs

Q: I followed your advice to reduce startup programs, but the My MSInfo screen has no tabs. Also, I can't delete items shown on the right screen when I bring it up. Is there an alternative?

A: Make sure after you run MSINFO32, you click Tools, and then System Configuration Utility. It is there that you will be presented with the different startup tabs where you can control initialization.

What goes on C drive

Q: I started with Windows 3.11, then installed Windows 95 when it came out. I since have installed a 6.8-gigabyte hard drive as drives D, E, F and G. My CD-ROM is H. What can I transfer from my original hard drive, C, to one of the other drives to free space on the C drive? Is there anything critical on the C drive that would shut down operations if I transferred it? My C drive is only 420 MB and I have about 34 MB free.

A: Nothing but the initial boot files are required to be on your C drive. However, I would leave the Windows installation as is. You can move all other programs to other partitions. Just keep in mind that most programs put entries in the registry specific to where they were initially installed. In this case it is best to uninstall then reinstall these programs. Always check Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs first, then if not found there, look for a UNINSTALL.EXE or SETUP.EXE in the applications directory.

Missing DOS file

Q: I have lost a file named setver.exe and now get an alarm beep when starting Windows 95. What does this file do and is it replaced by a file named How do I turn off the annoying alarm when Windows starts up?

A: Setver.exe was designed to enable version-checking applications to run successfully under later versions of DOS. If you no longer run DOS applications, you can safely remove the line in your Config.SYS file that tries to load Setver.exe. is Setver.exe. If you have this file on your system, simply rename it to Setver.exe.

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