Answer Line: How Can I Tell If My PC Has Caught a Virus?

When It Comes to Swapping, Flash Ain't As Fast As SDRAM

I'm often asked if you can speed up a PC by moving the Windows swap file (also known as the paging file or virtual memory) to an external USB 2.0 flash-media drive. This isn't a good idea, despite the addition of a similar feature to Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista OS. The swap file is located on the hard drive, which provides slower access than system RAM. A USB drive uses nonvolatile flash memory that is also pokier than RAM, and the USB 2.0 connection such drives use is much slower than the PC's interface to its internal hard drive. Instead of revving up your system, you would actually drag it down. If you want to speed up your PC by limiting swap file use, install more system RAM.

Send your questions to answer@pcworld.com. Answer Line pays $50 for published items. You'll find Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector's humorous and other writings at www.thelinkinspector.com.

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