Exit all Unnecessary Applications
This follows common sense – to free up more resources you should of course avoid running other programs as much as possible when running GearBox.
But many Windows programs are often set to
launch automatically when you start your system and you may not even know it. One way to look for these is in the Windows Taskbar, but first you may need to change a setting to see them:
Right click on the Start button and select Properties from the context menu.
In the Taskbar and Start menu Properties dialog, select the Notification Area tab. Uncheck the Hide inactive icons checkbox.
Taskbar and Start Menu Properties - configuring the Taskbar to show the active program icons
You will now likely see several little icons on the Taskbar, at the lower right of your screen, next to your clock. Most utility applications that start with Windows will display a little icon here. You should know what it is you are accessing before shutting one of these off – usually hovering over the icon for a moment will show a tooltip informing you what utility it is. If it is one you do not need, often you can right click on the icon and choose Exit. The utility will again start next time you reboot your machine.
Disable Startup Programs with the System Configuration Utility
It is not recommended you use this utility unless you are familiar with the Windows XP operating system – seek the help of a technician if needed. To access the System Configuration Utility, click on the Window Start button and type in msconfig in the Search field.
In the System Configuration dialog, go to the Startup tab. All checked items here are set to start running when you boot Windows.
If some of these are not necessary, you can uncheck them - for example, the Windows Sidebar and Welcome Center items are nice conveniences, but can be disabled here to free up some resources.
When you install new software applications and hardware, you’ll often see more items get added here that will be checked and loaded automatically on Windows startup. Often these items can be disabled as well.
Note that some of these startup items will likely be important security utilities, such as Anti-Virus software, which you probably never want to surf the Internet without. You should probably keep these items checked unless they are causing problems with playback or recording.
You will need to restart your computer for changes in this dialog to take effect.
Internet and Network Connections
You’ll likely want your PC to be able to connect to the Internet or perhaps a network, but some
users find that having a connection active while using audio applications causes glitches or drop-outs, especially if using a wireless connection or USB wireless network card. One thing you can try is to disconnect from the Internet/network while using your audio applications if you find that it is causing some interference. Likewise, during the times that you are not connected, you should not need to have Internet/Networking utilities running, such as Windows Firewall, Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware, networking utilities, etc. It is not recommended that you exit these services while connected to the Internet, since they are necessary security measures.
Display & Power Settings
The following items are all accessed within the Control Panel:
Aero is the name Microsoft has given to the new slick “Glass Transparency” look of Vista’s display Themes. It does make the Vista experience cool and visually interesting, but systems with slightly older display hardware may struggle with or not run the transparency engine very well. To free up some memory you can switch the transparency off, or switch to the Windows Classic theme. Sure, this will make Vista look about as exciting as Windows XP, but its leaner and meaner if that’s your priority.
To switch off the transparency effect, go to Control Panel > Personalization and select Window Color and Appearance. Uncheck the Enable transparency box. Click OK when done.
To switch to the Windows Classic theme, go to Control Panel > Personalization and select Theme.
In the theme drop-down box choose Windows Classic. Click OK when done.
Turn off the Screen Saver
You likely do not want a screen saver kicking in during the middle of your perfect take when recording.
To turn this off, go to Control Panel > Personalize and select Screen Saver. Choose None for the
Screen Saver option.
Remove Desktop Background Picture
Having a high resolution photo or rotating slide show will use some resources – setting this to a plain, boring color will be a little less demanding, and maybe keep you focused on your music instead! To change this, go to Control Panel > Personalization and choose Desktop Background. In the Picture location menu, select Solid colors and then choose a color - click OK when done.
There is probably no reason for your audio PC components to ever need to power down (although if you have a laptop, then this can conserve the battery life). To configure your power options, go to Control Panel > Power Options. Choose the High Performance plan, and then click on the Change plan settings link below it.
The Power Options dialog - setting the High performance plan
In the Edit Plan Settings dialog, choose a time value or Never as preferred for the Turn off the display option. Be sure the Put the computer to sleep option is set to Never, then click on the Change advanced power settings link.
The Edit Plan Settings dialog
Click on the + box at the left of the Hard Disk item to expand it, and then also expand the Turn off hard disk after sub item. Click on Setting and enter a very high time value, such 999 minutes so that your hard disks effectively never power off. You can also optionally expand other items and change them if you like.
The Advanced Settings tab - Changing the Hard Disk power-down setting When your changes are complete in the Advanced settings, click OK, which should take you back to the Edit Plan Settings dialog. If you made changes here, click the Save changes button and then close
the dialog - if the Save button is not available, simply close the dialog.
Maintenance & System Tools
There are several recommended maintenance tasks you should perform regularly to keep your system in top form for audio work…
Backup Your Data
Yes, you have heard it before, but it is easy to keep putting off the chore of backing up all that audio data. Invest in a DVD burner or external hard drive backup system if you can afford it. Losing audio data can be far more costly and extremely negative to the creative process. There are also drive imaging software applications you can buy that will allow you to back up your entire computer’s contents – data, programs and all – and restore back to the working state in minutes in case of failure.
You accumulate lots of little temporary files and trash over time, so it’s a good thing to clean house once in a while. Click the Windows Start button. In the Search box, type in Disk Cleanup - in the list of results above, double click on Disk Cleanup. When prompted with the Disk Cleanup Options, choose Files from all users on this computer.
Choose the drive you wish to clean up and click OK. When you are presented with the options, check all items you want to clear out. If you choose your C drive, you will typically see may options here. You should at least clear the Recycle Bin, but may also want to check all others as well if yo are sure you don’t need to keep any of the files stored in them (click the View Files button to see what the specific files are that will be cleared for each category). Repeat the process and run Disk cleanup on each of your hard disk partitions.
Defragment Your Hard Disks
An important practice to follow for audio is to regularly run a defragmenting application on all your hard drive partitions, especially your audio partition, to allow more streamlined disk access. Many 3rd party companies produce defragmenting applications, but Windows Vista already includes Disk Defragmenter, which works pretty well (albeit a bit slower than 3rd party ones you can buy). To run Disk Defragmenter, click the Windows Start button and in the Search box, type Disk Defragmenter
- in the list of results, double click on Disk Defragmenter to launch it.
Disable Windows System Restore
Windows System Restore can be a helpful system tool to have running, since it regularly makes
backups of important Windows system files and drivers, and allows you to “roll back” to the previous versions in case of problems. But this service comes at some costs - a significant amount of hard disk space, CPU usage and the disk access it needs when the service kicks in. If you see no problems with
Windows® Vista® Optimizations
it active, then leave it on. But if you need to solve audio problems and want to try turning it off, then you can access it by going to Control Panel > System and choosing System protection from the Tasks list. In the System Protection tab you’ll see a checkbox for each hard disk partition on your system - you can uncheck each partition to disable System Restore individually for each. One compromise is to keep active for only your C partition, and disable all other partitions. Click on the OK button and restart your computer for the setting to take effect.
Disable the Indexing Service
The new Windows Indexing Service is indeed more capable in Vista and provides the user with
improved search capabilities. But once again this enhanced service comes at the cost of resources
you might prefer to keep available for your more demanding audio projects. If you don’t find yourself relying all that much on the Windows Search, then you might try disabling the Indexing Service to free up more resources.
Go to Control Panel > Indexing Options and select the Modify button. Select the Show all locations button if it is available (if it is not then you already are seeing all locations). Double-click Users in the Summary of selected locations pane, and then uncheck the Users directory in the upper pane.
Double click Start Menu in the Summary of selected locations, and the uncheck Start Menu directory.
Click the OK button when done.
There are of course still many more things you can learn about Windows® XP® and Vista® and upgrades you can perform on your system if you care to spend some time doing some reading. Be sure to check the site of the manufacturer of your audio software for some application–specific do’s and don’ts. If you do some Internet searching you can find countless web sites dedicated to offering Windows and PC tuning tips, as well as active user forums where you can argue endlessly about things like AMD® vs.
Intel® and Mac® vs. Windows®. Thankfully, there are some very helpful folks out there in cyberspace, and you can learn from their wisdom and mistakes.
Helpful Computer Optimization Sites
To follow are some very good sites dedicated to computer optimization, software and hardware tips
- these are also mostly focused on using computers for audio-related tasks as well!
MusicXP - http://www.musicxp.net/
TweakXP - http://www.tweakxp.com/
Sound on Sound Magazine - http://www.soundonsound.com/
Computer Music Magazine - http://www.computermusic.co.uk/main.asp
Tom’s Hardware - http://www.tomshardware.com/
Black Viper - http://www.blackviper.com/
Line 6 Online Resources
Hungry for more info? We’ve got extensive Help documentation, User Forums and Product Manuals
for your Line 6 gear just a click away...
Several more Help documents covering computer recording, MIDI Control, product Release
Notes and more are available here - GearBox Online Help
For technical support, choose from the many options listed on the Line 6 Support page - Line 6
Official Line 6 hardware Product Manuals can be downloaded here - Line 6 Product Manuals
Home » System » Windows Vista » Windows Vista Optimizations: Checking the IDE Transfer Mode - DMA is enabled
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