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Accelerating the eSword Experience

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 eSword performance.


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 use.


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 window.


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 & commentaries.


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 “almost never.”


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.




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.


Now, where are my track shoes?