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Thread: Optimize Windows XP for Pro Tools - can be applied to Vista and 7 also

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Optimize Windows XP for Pro Tools - can be applied to Vista and 7 also

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    I've been asked for this a few times lately, so I thought I'd leave it here. I'd advise anybody running Pro Tools to do these steps.

    This was sent to me by Digidesign when I was having some issues with Pro Tools, and it really boosted performance.

    Although this guide is for XP, it can be applied to Windows 7 and Vista, although the places they mention might be located slightly elsewhere.

    Optimizing Windows XP for Pro Tools

    This section details system changes that may help to optimize the performance of a Pro Tools system on Windows XP.
    They are divided into Control Panel Settings, Registry Modifications and Other Settings.

    Control Panel Settings

    To implement the following Control Panel Settings go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click the
    appropriate icon. You may firstly need to switch to ‘Classic View’ to see individual items.

    Disable Automatic Updates
    Automatic Updates > check “Turn off Automatic Updates”

    Switch Off Desktop Background Image
    Display > Desktop > set to “None”

    Disable Automatic Desktop Cleanup Wizard
    Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > General tab > uncheck “Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard Every 60 Days”

    Disable Screen Saver
    Display > Screen Saver > set to “None”

    With a fast computer it’s not actually necessary to disable this. It is in fact probably better to leave it enabled and
    increase the Wait time to a sensible value, instead of disabling the screensaver altogether.

    Disable Simple File Sharing
    Folder Options > View > uncheck “Use simple file sharing”

    This is required for systems using Avid software or hardware.

    Disable Offline Files
    Folder Options > Offline Files > uncheck “Enable Offline Files”

    Switch Off Power Schemes
    Power Options > Power Schemes > select “Always On”

    Also, set “Turn off monitor”, “Turn off hard disks” and “System standby” to Never

    If supported, also consider deactivating power management in the BIOS.

    Switch Off Hibernation
    Power Options > Hibernate > uncheck “Enable hibernation”

    When this is on, Windows XP creates a file called hiberfil.sys to store the contents of RAM in the event of the computer
    automatically going into "hibernate" mode. The size of this file will be determined by the amount of RAM installed in the
    system – for example, with 512MB RAM installed a file of 512MB will be created.

    Disable System Sounds
    Sounds and Audio Devices > Sounds > Set “Sound Scheme” to “None”

    Set Visual Effects to Minimum
    System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Visual Effects tab > select “Adjust for best performance”

    Set Processor Scheduling
    System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > Processor Scheduling > set to “Background Services”

    Set Paging File Size
    System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > Virtual Memory “Change” button > set to Custom size of
    1024 or lower (Initial and Maximum)

    If using Avid Interplay, “Initial size” should be set to half the total amount of RAM installed, and “Maximum size” should
    be set to 1.5x the total amount of RAM installed.

    Disable Automatic Restart
    System > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings > uncheck “Automatically restart”

    This ensures that if the computer crashes it will display the blue information screen describing the nature of the crash.

    Disable Error Reporting
    System > Advanced > Error Reporting > check “Disable error reporting”

    Enable DMA for IDE/ATA Hard Drives
    System > Hardware > Device Manager > double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers > double-click each ATA channel >
    Advanced Settings tab > Enable DMA for each device

    Disable Network Adapters
    System > Hardware > Device Manager > double-click Network adapters > right-click each device to disable > click

    Disable Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop
    System > Remote > uncheck “Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer” and uncheck “Allow
    users to connect remotely to this computer”

    Disable System Restore
    System > System Restore tab > check “Turn off System Restore on all drives”

    System Restore lets you roll Windows XP back to a previous state if there is a system problem but it requires continual
    monitoring of hard drive activity, and runs automatically in the background using up resources. When deciding to leave
    it on then it may be worth checking that the frequency of the checkpoint is set to 24 hours and not every two minutes.
    Another option would be to leave it turned on for the system drive and switch it off completely on the media drive(s) as
    there should be no drivers or programs on the media drive(s) to be restored.

    Set the checkpoint to be once per day by setting the registry key below to decimal value 86400 (number of seconds in
    a day):

    Start > Run > type “regedit” > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > WindowsNT > CurrentVersion >
    SystemRestore > RPGlobalInterval

    Disable Fast User Switching
    User Accounts > Change the way users log on or off > uncheck “Use Fast User Switching”

    Registry Modifications

    To implement the following registry modifications you must launch the Windows Registry Editor. To do this click on
    Start > Run and type in “regedit”

    Speed Up Menus
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop > set “MenuShowDelay” to 1

    Disable Notification Area Balloon Tips
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion > Explorer > Advanced > add a new
    DWORD value called “EnableBalloonTips” and set to 0

    Disable NTFS Last Access Time Logging (if using NTFS-formatted drives)
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Filesystem > add a new DWORD value called
    “NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate” and set to 1

    This is designed to prevent the NTFS log buffer in physical memory from becoming filled with timestamp update
    records. Adding this entry to the registry will make directories list faster.

    Other Settings

    Below are some other settings to improve the overall performance of a Windows XP Pro Tools system.

    Disable nVidia Display Driver Service (required when using AVoption|V10 or Avid Mojo)
    Right-click My Computer > Manage > Services > Right-click the nVidia service > choose Properties and disable

    Disable Disk Indexing Service
    Right-click Start > Explore > right-click each hard disk > Properties > General tab > uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to
    index this disk for fast file searching”

    Other installed applications may also run Disk Indexing Services (e.g. Google Desktop) – these should be disabled or

    Disable Driver Signing Warnings (temporarily)
    Before installing any Pro Tools cards, temporarily disable the Driver Signing warning option. This expedites and
    automates much of the installation process. If you do not temporarily disable this option, warning messages (that you
    are installing an unsigned driver) will appear for each DSP chip detected during software installation.

    System > Hardware tab > Driver Signing button > Select “Ignore—Install the software anyway and don’t ask for my

    Formatting and Configuring an Audio Drive

    1. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage
    2. Under Storage, choose Disk Management
    3. In the Disk Management window, right-click the hard drive you will use for audio and choose Format
    4. For optimal disk performance, select 32K from the Allocation unit size pull-down. This increases how efficiently audio
    data is written to and read from the drive
    5. Make sure the Quick Format option is deselected, then click Start, and follow the on-screen instructions
    Note that Pro Tools only supports Basic drive types for Audio

    Defragmenting an Audio Drive
    Periodically defragment audio drives to maintain system performance. To defragment an audio drive:

    1. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage
    2. Under Storage, choose Disk Defragmenter
    3. In the Disk Defragmenter window, choose the drive you want to defragment
    4. Click the Defragment button and follow the on-screen instructions
    Disable Unnecessary Startup Items and Services
    To disable unnecessary programs which are automatically started when Windows starts use the System Configuration

    - Start > Run > type in “msconfig” (no quotes) and click OK
    - Click on the ‘General’ tab and uncheck ‘Load startup items’.
    - Click on the ‘Startup’ tab and then re-enable ‘DigidesignMMERefresh’, ‘Mediafour MacDrive’ (if installed) and any M-
    Audio items (M-Audio FW Tray Application, for example)
    Also disable any unnecessary services:

    - Start > Run > type in “msconfig” (no quotes) and click OK
    - Click on the ‘Services’ tab and tick ‘Hide all Microsoft services’
    - Click ‘Disable all’ and re-enable digiSPTIService, Digidesign MME Refresh Service and MacDrive service for Digidesign
    - Restart the computer
    After restarting, the computer displays a System Configuration message. Select the "Don't show this message again"
    option. If necessary you can revert to the original settings by running "msconfig" and choosing Normal Startup.
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  2. #2
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    Cool, thanks. I may try changing some of my settings -- although PT seems to be running just fine for me currently.

  3. #3
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    Jan 2013
    Lake Elsinore, California, United States
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    Cool Appreciate the Information

    Seriously... Thanks for the thread, this literally just came to my attention right before I installed the PT10
    suite, and now my system is optimized and ready to go. Much mahalos!!! Aloha

    FollowMe: @TraceEvidenz
    Last edited by TraceEvidenz; 01-16-2013 at 19:22. Reason: forgot to rate

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