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The most significant optimizations in any NT system-short of making sure it has enough physical RAM to begin with-are the Virtual Memory settings. These are set in Control Panel/System/Performance tab. Click the Change button to bring up Virtual Memory settings for your system. You can have multiple pagefiles, one per logical disk drive. An optimal configuration calls for one pagefile on each physically separate drive.
Hit the Road
NT isn't an ideal system for portable computers, but the new Hardware Profiles feature in NT 4.0 does help. Start Control Panel/System and select the Hardware Profiles tab. You can make a copy with the Copy button, then click Properties to examine (and change) its settings. The most important of these is an option to disable all network features (which you don't need on the road). Once you've created the new profile, restart your computer. You'll have an option to select which profile you want immediately after NT starts up.
Hold on to that Memory
You can save some memory on small networks by adjusting NT Server's Server Object settings, which are set in Control Panel/Network's Services tab. Select Server from the list and click the Properties button. If you don't have 256 users, consider setting Minimize Memory used, which allocates buffers for up to 10 users or Balance, which allocates buffers for up to 64 users.
For NT Server, Microsoft has some online planning guides that can help you with RAM requirement questions. Check the planning, migration and deployment link on the NT Server Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/ntserver.
Like past versions, NT 4.0 lets you tune how much of an advantage the foreground application receives over background applications. However, the interface to this has changed; it's now a slide-bar control on Control Panel/System/Performance tab. The default position is maximum boost, which gives the foreground application the highest priority. Set it to None for UNIX-style (equal priority to all desktop tasks) behavior, and set it to the middle position for a good working compromise.