Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tweak Vista baby! Tweak it!

If you are planning on using Windows Vista as the operating system for your digital audio or video editing workstation, you better be prepared to tweak it! Estimates say you need the following hardware:
- 2Gb PC5200 memory or faster
- Intel Core Duo 2 processor (1.6GHz or better)
- (2) 7200 rpm SATA hard drives (size is up to you, best to go with at least 80Gb each.
- 64 Mb Video card or better

I recommend using two 7200 RPM SATA drives. This enables you to benefit from loading your operating system on one of the drives, while using the second drive for the data and of course windows virtual memory. Windows operates faster when you have two drives of the same specs. however, you don’t absolutely have to follow that rule. A slower drive can impact your data throughput speeds as one drive will be waiting for the slower one.

It implement this setup, load your operating system and applications on drive C. Use D:\E: as your working directory for your audio\video editing suite. You should also configure Vista to use the virtual memory on the D:\E: drive as well; make the C: drive’s virtual memory size about 1\2 your total system ram. D: drive’s virtual memory can be set to 1.5 to 2 times your physical ram.

Aside from hardware specifications, Vista still requires some fine tuning for memory usage:
you can do this in a few steps
- analyze the startup folder and remove or disable programs from starting up (windows sidebar etc.)
- remove useless accessories and programs (uninstall what you don’t need)
- analyze the services

The most important factor in your system’s speed is to minimize the unused services, and manually set services to menu, as opposed to automatic startup. Services are essentially the collection of everything that Windows uses to get the job done. When you plug in a USB stick, a service tells windows to configure it. When you use the wireless card, the windows wireless service locates wireless networks and connects you to them.

Services are organized by importance. This is done automatically by what windows deems as important. You have the option to override these decisions and tweak the services to your liking. You may also completely disable services that you never use. Wireless for example - if you have a desktop PC and don;’t plan on using any wireless connections, you can disable the service.

To access services on your computer, click start, then run. Type in “services.msc” and click OK. Below are some resources for fine tuning and tweaking services. Take note - use at your own risk. make sure you have a backup, or at least system restore turned on. As you disable and enable services, keep a note of the last few services you changed, in case you have to undo the the changes!

Vista Service Tweaks on MSFN Forums
Service Configurations Intro