mostly XP stuff, but allot of it still applies, theres another doc about for newer systems that I cant find right now, will post it up soon as I find it! http://www.tim-carter.com/music-production/optimize-your-pc-for-music-production.php part one... Here is a small guide to optimize your pc for best performance for music production. First some notes on ACPI ACPI Could cause some computer problems related to IRQ sharing, so if all else fails, reinstall your windows xp, and when it starts loading and asking you to press F6 to install SCSI/RAID drivers, Press F5, eventhough its not displayed. Here you can choose that you want to install a "Standard PC" and not ACPI. ACPI is mostly for laptops, for power management and stuff, and is known to cause issues with audioworkstations. 1.Processor Scheduling – Set to Prioritise Background Services This is an essential tweak for musicians, but not for the general Windows user. As most musicians will be using ASIO, it is vital to prioritise this in your system. To do this, right-click on ‘My Computer’, then select ‘Properties’. In the ‘Advanced’ tab, go to Performance>Settings, click on the ‘Advanced’ tab here, and change the processor scheduling from ‘Programs' to ‘Background Services’ using the radio button. 2.Set Page File Size In the same tab as the ‘Processor Scheduling’ tweak above, you will find a section entitled ‘Virtual Memory’. Click the ‘Change’ button to modify your page file size.The Page File is used by Windows to simulate RAM when actual physical RAM is running low – hence the term ‘virtual memory’. It is also commonly referred to as a paging file or swap file. For best performance, you should set the initial size and the maximum size to the same value – if you have enough hard drive space, the ideal would be 4095MB. However, I would recommend that you do not set it lower than 2GB – running out of virtual memory is definitely a bad thing, whereas most modern PCs have multi-gigabyte hard drives which can comfortably devote a couple of gigs to the page file. Of course, you should have as much physical RAM in your PC as possible – it is one of the components of your machine that has an immense impact on performance and can be easily upgraded. At least 1GB is recommended for music applications.If you have more than one physical hard drive, you can achieve better page file performance by putting it on the drive that Windows isn’t booting from – that is, you should have your page file and your Windows installation on completely separate physical hard drives. edit: my tip, spread your page file across 2 drives if you can, this will reduce access time 3.Disable Visual Effects Staying in the ‘Performance Options’ menu, click on the ‘Visual Effects’ tab. Here you should select the radio button which says ‘Adjust for Best Performance’. This will ensure that Windows doesn’t waste any of your precious PC resources just to make the interface look ‘prettier’. 4.Disable Error Reporting If you close the ‘Performance Options’ menu, you will be in the ‘System Properties/Advanced’ tab again. Here you can click on ‘Error Reporting’ and use the radio button to disable error reporting. This will not boost performance as such, but it will stop Windows from asking you to send an error report any time something goes wrong with a program you’ve been running. You can leave the ‘But notify me when critical errors occur’ checkbox ticked. 5.Disable Automatic Restart In the ‘System Properties/Advanced’ tab, click on the ‘Settings’ button in the ‘Startup and Recovery’ section.In the ‘System Failure’ section, uncheck the box marked ‘Automatically Restart’. 6.Disable Remote Access In the ‘System Properties’ menu, click on the ‘Remote’ tab. Here you can uncheck the Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop boxes. Unless you specifically need to access your PC from another computer, you should disable this capability. 7.Remove Screensaver and Wallpaper Another unnecessary visual effect is desktop wallpaper – to help keep Windows nice and brisk, don’t use any wallpaper. Right-click on the desktop, select ‘Properties’ and in the ‘Desktop’ tab, select ‘None’ as your background.While we’re here, you should also disable your screensaver. Go to the ‘Screen Saver’ tab, and select ‘None’.Also, you should keep the number of icons (shortcuts, folders etc.) on your desktop to a minimum – preferably none – as these also need to be loaded by Windows. Any shortcuts you need can be stored in your quick launch menu (just to the right of the big ‘Start’ button). 8.Disable Power Management and Hibernation Still on the ‘Screen Saver’ tab, click on the ‘Power’ button to access the monitor power menu. Here you can set your power scheme to ‘Home/Office Desk’. Now make sure that the drop-down menus for ‘Turn off monitor’, ‘Turn off hard disks’ and ‘System Standby’ are all set to ‘Never’.Now go to the ‘Hibernate’ tab and ensure that the ‘Enable Hibernation’ checkbox is not ticked. 9.Turn Off Drive Indexing By default, Windows indexes all hard drives to enable you to find files more quickly – in practice, however, this is only beneficial for extremely complex searches and will not benefit most users. Disabling this feature will increase your system’s overall performance.To do this, simply open Windows Explorer (right-click on Start and select Explore). Then right-click on each hard drive in your system and select ‘Properties’. Here you should uncheck the box marked ‘Allow indexing service to index this disk for fast file searching’.Also, never use compression on your drives, as this entails a significant performance hit. Make sure the ‘Compress drive to save disk space’ box is left unticked. 10.Hard Drive Write Caching Windows XP normally uses write caching on all drives – this means that a small area of system memory (cache) is set aside for data to be stored in before being written to the disk itself. For most users, this results in optimal hard disk performance. However, if you are recording (for example) a particularly long piece of audio, then the cache may be filled before the recording is finished - at which point the contents of the cache are suddenly dumped onto the hard drive, possibly resulting in dropouts and glitches in the sound file. Depending on how you use your drive, you may find that write caching either improves or reduces performance. You can experiment for yourself to find out which suits you best.To enable write caching, go to the ‘Hardware’ tab in the hard drive properties menu (see previous point), select your hard drive from the list and click ‘Properties’. Now click on the ‘Policies’ tab and select ‘Optimise for performance’.To disable write caching, select ‘Optimise for quick removal’. It is always a good idea to disable write caching for removable flash drives, and also for external USB/FireWire hard drives if you plan on plugging them in and out a lot. 11.Reduce Recycle Bin Size In Windows Explorer, right-click on the recycling bin and select ‘Properties’. By default, Windows allows the recycle bin to use 10% of your drive space. This can lead to a huge waste of space on large hard drives – 2% should be perfectly adequate for most users. On the ‘Global’ tab, use the slider to set the recycle bin size to a suitable value – you will need to select ‘Use one setting for all drives’ first. Another thing I find really useful is not having Windows ask for confirmation every time I want to delete something. To achieve this blissful condition, simply uncheck the ‘Display delete confirmation dialog’ box. 12.Turn Off Network Folders Staying in Windows Explorer, click on the ‘Tools’ tab and select ‘Folder Options’. In the ‘View’ tab, you can uncheck the box beside ‘Automatically search for network folders and printers’. If your computer is not on a network, there is no need to have this option enabled, and turning it off should slightly speed up your browsing.I also recommend that you select the radio button to ‘Show hidden files and folders’. This is not a performance tweak, but enables you to see all the files that are present on your machine, which can be useful when seeking out spyware or engaging in other troubleshooting activities.Also, it may be useful to uncheck the box which says ‘Hide extensions for known file types’. This will allow you to view and modify file extensions (such as .wav, .avi and so on). 13.Disable Offline Files If you are not on a network, or if you don’t need to access offline files, then you should also disable this feature. In Control Panel, select ‘Folder Options’, go to the ‘Offline Files’ tab and uncheck the ‘Enable offline files’ box. 14.Disable or Modify System Restore Windows XP has a built-in recovery system whereby it creates ‘restore points’ to which you can revert if something goes wrong with a driver/program installation. While this is a good safety net to have for most people, it does consume a lot of system resources and experienced Windows users may want to turn it off.To do this, click on ‘Start>Control Panel>System’ and go to the ‘System Restore’ tab.System Restore can also be found at ‘Start>All Programs>Accessories>System Tools’.Here you can choose to disable system restore entirely, or you can simply reduce the maximum amount of hard disk space allocated to the service. To do this, go to ‘Settings’ and adjust the slider for ‘Drive Space Usage’ to about 5% - you can set this according to the size of your drive, but don’t go below 1GB.