Scott Paul Lewis – Composer & Orchestrator

Windows 7 DAW Performance Tuning

Windows 7 DAW Performance Tuning

Mar 15, 2013

Windows 7 Performance Tuning Tips

These are some basic tips I use to help with the performance of my Windows 7 DAW. If you have questions, please let me know. 🙂

Now, some of these will need to be at your best discretion. Some of them you will want to turn off/on based on how you use your workstation. For example, if you use your workstation for music only (never connect to the internet, never install any other applications, etc.) you can turn off a lot more.

1. Windows Page File - If you let Windows manage this, it can create a lot of disk overhead. This is something you really do not want with your audio workstation. The rule of thumb for your paging file is to have it set at 1.5 times your physical memory. Set the initial size and maximum size to the same. Normally you can set it to the recommended size. This will cut down on the amount of disk I/O.

Another quick note on the paging file if you are running SSD drives . . . If possible move the page file to a regular SATA drive. This will help improve the longevity of your SSD.

2. Background Services - There is always some debate over this one. If it is set to programs, your foreground programs will take precedence in processor time. If it is set to background services, the scheduling will be distributed equally among all running services. So, remember the way your DAW works will take your VSTi's and run them in the background. So, set them to background services to provide best performance.

3. Video - Ok, this one should be pretty obvious . . . Turn off all of the "fun" windows visual effects. You can selectively change them or just set it for best performance.

4. Extra Tools - Install these two tools from Sysinternals (www.sysinternalstools.com) - It will direct you to Microsoft's site: Autoruns and Process Explorer

With these two tools you can turn off and find a lot of stuff that is running that you never knew was there. For example, you can use Autoruns to turn off all of those extra services that start when your computer boots. Do you really need to start the Adobe updater every time Windows starts?

Here is a lit of services that can be disabled (ones that I disable). Remember that these services should be tested based on how you use your DAW.

Certificate Propagation

Distributed Link Tracking Client

Internet Connection Sharing

IP Helper

Media Center Extender Service

Net. Tcp Port Sharing Service

Routing and Remote Access

Superfetch (Because I run SSD for my OS/boot drive)

Windows Connect Now

Windows Defender (I run a separate AV program)

Windows Firewall (I have a separate firewall)

Windows Media Player Network Sharing Service

Windows Search (this one is a real system killer)

Here is a comprehensive list of services and on/off options:

http://www.blackviper.com/service-configurations/black-vipers-windows-7-service-pack-1-service-configurations/

5. Here are a few more extras to think about.

Turn off remote assistance

Turn off Indexing on all drives

Set all power options to Never off

If you defrag your regular SATA drives, do it on a schedule that does not interfere with your schedule.

Disable the screen saver

Disable Fast User Switching

Disable Error Reporting

6. Updates - OK Here is another big one . . . I see this a lot . . .

Keep your drivers and system updated!!!! What I do to make things really easy . . . I have a list of installed software and hardware. Once a month I go through and update anything that has had updates released. I always keep my NI software updated, audio drivers updated, DAW software updated, video card driver updated, etc. The most critical items should be updated.

There is some thought to . . . If it isn't broken, don't fix it. I only agree partially. Here is why . . . If you install an application update and it creates a problem or makes something worse - UNINSTALL it. Duh! It may take up a little more time but I always prefer having an up-to-date system performing efficiently.

7. BACKUP!!!!! For those of you that do not backup . . . You are insane!!! I have another small write-up on backup here: DAW Backup