Tired of clicks and pops? Annoyed with error messages? No matter if you just bought the latest and greatest or if your dusty old PC has more than its share of birthdays, Windows isn’t automatically ready to tackle your studio tasks out of the box. This guide should help clear up some of those pesky performance issues that as a studio artist, you don’t have time to worry about. After all, its all about the music!
The first thing to do is more of an aesthetic fix and will only make it easier for us to get through the optimization guide. First click on the Windows Start button and choose Control Panel. On the top right corner of Control Panel, switch the ‘view by’ type to ‘small icons’. This gives us a lot more options without having to click through so many menus.
Disable USB Power Management
This helps prevent power issues with devices that are powered by USB.
**Note** For external hard drives, change the option from “optimize for quick removal” to “optimize for performance”
For internal drives, use these settings:
For external drives use these settings:
Disable Startup Items
These settings will make you PC boot lighting fast and give your computer the much needed overhead power to run more plugins.
2. Go to the Startup Tab and choose ‘disable all’ in the bottom right corner.
** NOTE: after doing this Pro Tools users with Avid or Digidesign interfaces must check the box for “Digidesign MME Binder”**
3. Next, navigate to the Services tab. Check the box at the bottom to “hide all Microsoft Services”
4. Choose “Disable All” on the bottom right corner. **NOTE: Pro Tools users must check the boxes for “Digidesign MME Refresh Service” (Avid/Digidesign interfaces only), “digiSPTIService” and “PACE License Services”
5. Click OK and reboot the computer.
Changing the processor scheduling settings dramatically improve the way your computer handles audio tasks. From our experience, we have seen a big performance increase on many other non-audio related programs as well. Its a good thing!
5. Click the OK button. You will have to reboot for changes to take effect.
Open USB settings> USB Selective Suspend, and change this to “Disabled”.
Open Processor Power Management > Minimum Processor State> 100%
7. Click OK, then Save Changes.
1. Click on the Windows Start button and choose Control Panel.
2. Choose Sound.
3. Within the Sound settings, select your device and click Properties.
4. Within the Properties window, navigate to the Advanced tab. Then, make sure you uncheck the two boxes under Exclusive Mode.
5. Do this for all devices under the Playback and Recording tabs in Sound Settings.
Speedstep or Processor Throttling
This optimization is probably one of the most important out of all of these. Unfortunately due to the vast array of differences in computer manufacturing, we don’t have a specific step by step tutorial on how to do this. This setting can be disabled from your computers BIOS. If you are familiar with your computers BIOS, look for “Intel Speedstep”, EIST, or “AMD Cool n’ Quiet”, and disable it. This is basically a setting that ramps down your CPU clock cycles to a slower speed, to save electricity. In many cases it interferes heavily with most recording processes on a computer and can severely degrade your performance. Disabling this setting will also make all of your other programs perform a lot faster as well. If you aren’t sure how to disable this option, get with your computer manufacturer for instructions on how to do this.
Virus Protection and Internet Security
For the most part, this will not play nice with your recording programs but let’s be realistic about this. The average Joe uses their music computer for all of their business as well. Its not the best way to handle it, but not everyone has the space (or cash) to run 2 separate computers. If you don’t have a separate machine to run the internet on, use the least intrusive antivirus that you can. We recommend AVG or Microsoft Security Center. There is little CPU usage with these but seem to be pretty effective. If you feel the need to be running any more security than this, you should think about using the internet on a different computer, or change your browsing habits. A light antivirus and a good browser like Firefox with the Adblock Plus extension can do miracles.
Chances are if your are running a modern computer, we really don’t need to make any further changes. Windows 7 is much more efficient with its graphics on modern graphics cards. There are exceptions to this, but for the most part you should be fine. If you are an enthusiast and would like to further optimize the computer we recommend the Black Viper optimizations in addition to this guide. You can find them at: