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Latest revision as of 19:13, 12 August 2020

Increasing the Speed of a Works for MS-DOS 3.0 Database

PSS ID Number: Q103859 Article last modified on 10-21-1998



====================================================================== 3.00 MS-DOS kbother

The information in this article applies to:
- Microsoft Works for MS-DOS, version 3.0


The speed of sorting, querying, and data entry in the Works 3.0 Database is influenced by the following factors:

  • The size of the Database (.WDB) file.
  • The size of individual records in the Database. Because data is swapped out of conventional memory on large files on a record-by-record basis, the number of fields per record is more significant than the total number of records. Sorting, querying, and data entry in a Database with 10 fields and 20,000 records may be fast, while one with only 1,000 records but 200 fields may be slow.
  • The number and complexity of formulas and functions used in the Database.
  • The system configuration, including amount of expanded memory, whether memory resident programs are running and the speed/fragmentation of the hard disk.
  • Whether Works is installed on a network or locally installed.


To improve the speed of the Works 3.0 Database, do the following:

  1. Remove any unnecessary terminate-and-stay-resident (TSR) programs and device drivers.

  2. Defragment the hard drive using a program such as MS-DOS 6.0’s Defrag utility. NOTE: Make sure you thoroughly read the defragmentation utility’s documentation before beginning.

  3. Add up to 4 MB of expanded memory to your system. If you have a 386 or higher processor, use an expanded memory manager such as MS-DOS 5.0 or 6.0’s EMM386 to configure up to 4 MB of extended memory as expanded. If you have a 286, add an expanded memory board.

  4. Place a formatted disk in drive A and start Works with the /N A: switch to disable the swap file. For example, type the following at the MS-DOS command prompt:

    works /n a:

    When you use the /N switch, Works looks for the .INI and TEMPLATE. files at the location the /N switch points to. As a result, to retain full functionality, copy these files to disk in drive A, and then always use the same disk when starting Works.

  5. If you have enough RAM, set up a RAM drive and point the swap file to it using the /N switch. For example the following MS-DOS command

    works /n d:

    directs the swap file to a RAM drive D.

    For more information about using RAM drives with Works 3.0, see your “Microsoft MS-DOS User’s Guide” or query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

    works and database and ram and drive

  6. If Works is installed on a network server and the workstation contains a hard drive, either create a user directory on the hard drive and point the swap file there using the /N switch, install Works itself locally on the hard drive, or use one of the workarounds in steps 4 and 5 above.

  7. If your Database has many (more than 100) fields, and you are using expanded memory, reducing the number of fields may increase speed. This is due in part to an expanded memory (EMS) limitation; individual Database records greater than 16K in size are forced out of EMS into conventional or swap memory.

KBCategory: kbother KBSubcategory: dworkskb

Additional reference words: 3.00 ramdrive slow lim performance

Version : 3.00 Platform : MS-DOS ============================================================================= Copyright Microsoft Corporation 1998.