Used to specify the number of "disk buffers" and "secondary cache buffers" to be made available in memory. The BUFFERS and BUFFERSHIGH commands can only be invoked from Config.sys.


To allocate memory for buffers in conventional memory:
BUFFERS=n [,m]

To allocate memory in upper memory blocks (if available):
nNumber of disk buffers to be allocated. n must be from 1 to 99 - default is 30 (or 23, or 21 depending on version of Win95)
mNumber of buffers in the secondary buffer cache. m must be from 0 to 8 (default is 0)


  1. Buffers are used to to temporarily store information while it is being moved between disk and memory. "Disk buffers" are used to hold a disk sector's worth of data in memory to facilitate file handling and directory operations. "Secondary cache buffers" act as simple caches and hold unused parts of files in memory in anticipation of their possible use.
  2. If an invalid value is specified for m or n, the default values are used.
  3. If no BUFFERS/BUFFERSHIGH statement is included in Config.sys, IO.sys will load the default number of buffers into Upper Memory.
  4. Even if Buffers are explicitly loaded with the BUFFERSHIGH statement, one Buffer (512 bytes) is still always loaded into Conventional Memory. If there is insufficient room for the specified number of Buffers to be loaded into Upper Memory, then they are ALL loaded into Conventional Memory.
  5. Although Win95 programs do not use Buffers (except during during the loading process) many Dos programs do - and such programs may well modify Config.sys accordingly. More sophisticated disk cache utilities are available and may be a better choice in some cases. The MS Knowledge Base article Q78434 compares the merits of Buffers and the Smartdrv utility.
  6. Experts seem to agree that setting Buffers to 13 (as suggested in Knowledge Base article Q156332) saves some memory and causes no untoward problems. (Works for me!)

This page last revised:
December 9, 1999.