Returning eSword to its Four-Minute Mile Productivity
Over time, things which were fast slow down. The first man credited with running
a four-minute mile was an Englishman named Roger Bannister. He achieved this feat
with a time of 3:59.4 - six tenths of a second less than four minutes. I don’t know
if he was given any fancy nicknames like “Tail Wind Turner” or “Combustible Huxtable”
(if you’ve never watched the sitcom called “The Cosby Show,” forget it), but that
was fast. It still is; not world-record-fast any more, but still the measure by which
runners are scored: “Can you run a four-minute mile?”
I’m quite sure that Sir Roger Bannister can’t run a four-minute mile any longer;
you see, he’s almost 85 years old. And this I know: over time, things which were
fast slow down.
And that brings me to eSword. When you first installed eSword, it was quick; it was
responsive; it ran the computer version of the four-minute mile. But over time; well,
you know what happens. Over time, things which were fast slow down. It happened to
your eSword experience, too.
While Sir Roger can’t turn back the ravages of old age, there are some things that
you can do to “turn back the clock” on your eSword speed & performance. It can run
its four-minute mile again.
OK, let me guess: you’ve downloaded every commentary and dictionary you ever found
anywhere; and installed every one of them, even though you have no idea what their
theologies are; and you’ve never used many of them in any of your studies. Am I right?
Or, more probably, am I close to right?
Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps consumed 12,000 calories a day while training for
the 2008 Olympics (8 gold medals, by the way): think about that! I don’t know how
many calories Bannister was eating during his four-minute mile training, but he must
have been devouring food, just like Phelps. eSword dictionaries (and to a lesser
extent, commentaries) devour system resources, too.
Make it sing by not making it sync. The easiest step you can take to improving eSword
speed & performance is to turn off the synchronizing feature of your dictionaries.
On the dictionary tool bar, look for the “Synchronize...” button (it looks like three
links of a chain). If you’ll depress that button, you’ll not only “unsync” all of
the dictionaries, you’ll have taken the simplest step possible to accelerate your
With the dictionary “sync” button inactive, eSword will no longer utilize massive
amounts of system resources every time you click your mouse on a word. True, eSword
will no longer immediately move to the dictionary entry; but when you want to find
a word in the dictionary, you can just temporarily reselect the sync button.
ALSO: Make sure you deselect the “Dictionary Topics” button (CTRL-t). Don’t be nervous
about your dictionary topic window disappearing; all you’ll have to do is hit “CTRL-t”
again (or click the obvious button) and it reappears. These two simple steps (deselecting
the dictionary “sync” & “topics” buttons) are the easiest steps you can take for
eSword performance acceleration.
Your commentaries can be “desynchronized,” too. Again, you’ll have to click the “sync”
button on and off as needed to move your commentary. But if eSword isn’t using system
resources to automatically look for words (dictionaries) and verses (commentaries),
everything else you want it to do will be much faster.
Remove unneeded modules. The best step you can take to improve eSword speed & performance
is to delete the dictionaries that you don’t use. The second best step you can take
to improve eSword speed & performance is to delete the commentaries that you don’t
Bible Dictionaries. Bible dictionaries are great resources; but really, how many
“basic” dictionaries does one need? If you have ISBE and ATSBD, those are going to
cover the basics. Other “basic” Bible dictionaries are just duplication of material.
Scroll through your dictionaries, and ask yourself this question: “How many of these
have been helpful in the last 90 days of study?” An honest answer will go a loooong
way towards putting eSword on a diet!
Commentaries. Let’s come face to face with this reality: the vast majority of users
can only process the information in a dozen good commentaries. Why do you need dozens
& dozens & dozens?
If you have more than two dozen dictionaries & three dozen commentaries, it’s time
to do some pruning.
Procedure. First things first: there are two kinds of computer users - those who
back up their work; and those who will learn to back up their work. Sooo -back up
all of your modules. Your dictionaries and commentaries are located in your “C:\Program
Files\e-Sword” folder (or perhaps your “C:\Program Files (x86)\e-Sword” folder).
This entire folder should be backed up on a regular basis (“regular” is an undefined
period of time that makes you feel comfortable!). Do not delete the files from this
Once your files are backed up, open eSword and then go to the “Options / Resource...”
dialogue box. Here you’ll find all of your modules by category. In order to delete
a module, simply right click it’s title and choose the only option available: “Delete
Resource Permanently”. Scroll through and delete all of your extraneous dictionaries
Geek note. The reason modules should be deleted in this fashion has to do with the
Windows OS. Windows versions later than XP utilize something called a “virtual store.”
The short of it is this: eSword may make copies of some of your modules and then
hide them from you. You’ll think you’ve deleted them using your Windows Explorer;
but after they’ve been manually deleted, they can show back up again (you have no
idea how frustrating this is until it happens to you). If you delete modules using
the “Options / Resource...” dialogue box, eSword deletes all of the copies it has
hidden away on your system.
If you have implemented steps one and two above (“Software Maintenance” & “Module
Maintenance”) and are still having some performance issues, there’s another good
step to take: change the way you study. No - I’m not kidding. “How?” you ask. Turn
off the modules you don’t regularly use.
Once upon a time I studied every single one of the 150 psalms. (Over a four year
period, I taught from them every week. Very enriching indeed!) During that time,
Spurgeon’s Treasury of David (tab name: “Psalms”) became one of my best friends.
There were weeks when I clicked on that button a dozen times or more. But once I
finished in the Psalms, would you care to guess how much it was used? Uhm, how about
You probably have several resources that, while you don’t want them deleted from
your system, you don’t need to use on a regular basis. OK -turn them off.
Gone, but not forgotten (and not really gone!). Simply return to the “Options / Resource...”
dialogue box and deselect all of the resources you don’t regularly use. When that
is finished, restart eSword. All of those resources are still on your hard drive;
but eSword is temporarily ignoring them. Turning off your “eccentric” dictionaries
and unneeded commentaries will give you another boost to your performance.
Still lagging? Well, there is a hardware option that can be explored. You can easily
(yep - “easily”!) add more RAM (“Random Access Memory” - really it’s working memory)
to your system.
Did you know that your RAM is more important to performance than your hard drive?
Let me paint a word picture using a real world office. Your hard drive is your 4
drawer filing cabinet. Your RAM is the workspace on your desk. You can put a ton
more in your filing cabinet than on your desk; but you can’t work on papers that
in your filing cabinet. In order to work on them, they have to be on your desk. And
the more cluttered your desk gets, the harder it is to work.
The three above steps (“Software Maintenance,” “Module Maintenance,” & “Study Maintenance”)
are about cutting the clutter on your desk. But another way to “declutterize” your
desk is ... to get a bigger desk!
My True Story. Back in 2009 my eSword experience was really beginning to drag (and
I don’t mean drag race). I decided I needed more RAM (I had 1Gb; I decided I wanted
to add 2Gb more). Now here’s the thing: I’m not very “techie.” But once I watched
a couple of videos, I decided that even I could add RAM to my computer. Trust me
-if I can do it, you can do it. I added a 2Gb RAM chip to my laptop - and I was
back to the races (and this time, drag racing!).
Crucial Memory makes it oh! so easy to upgrade your RAM! Simply download and run
a small “system scanner,” and you’ll find out exactly which RAM chips are compatible
with your computer. Laptop or Desktop matters not; this is goof proof and easy to
do. By the way: Crucial guarantees their “system scanner” recommendations will work
on your system. Their “support” menu includes more videos about installation. For
about 50 bucks you’ll have your computer humming again.
TA-DA-TA-DA-TA-DA!!!!! CHARGE (it)!!! (Use Your Charge Card & GO SHOPPING)
If you’re to this point, and your system still isn’t as responsive as you’d like,
it’s time to go computer shopping. A genuine upgrade will have at least: 1) More
RAM; and 2) A faster CPU (processor). To find out what you currently have, right-click
your “Computer” icon. There you’ll find your “Processor” (speed is measured in Ghz;
if your current system is “1.9 Ghz” - then you’ll want to buy something with more
Ghz) and your “Installed Memory (RAM)” (size is measured in GB; if your current system
is “2 GB” - then you want to buy something with more GB). If you’ll upsize these
two numbers, you will definitely upgrade your system.
Since it is easier to upgrade your RAM down the road, make sure you get all of the
processor speed that you can afford now. Then, down the road, when your system eventually
slows down (remember: Sir Roger Bannister will never run a four-minute mile again...),
you can easily add more RAM to it to increase its useful life by at least 18-24 months.
TURN BACK THE CLOCK
Over time, things which were fast slow down. Sir Roger Bannister can’t declutter
his life, add new lungs, legs & heart, and lose a few pounds to be able to run the
four-minute mile again. Pity. But by following these suggestions you can turn back
the clock on your eSword experience. It will run the four-minute mile again.