Windows XP Installation Windows XP Installation Windows XP is our by jianghongl


									Windows XP Installation

Windows XP Installation

Windows XP is our preferred Operating System on IBM compatible PCs. Therefore we decided to provide
you with an installation procedure
Make sure your hard- and software is ready for use with XP before buying/installing this OS.

How to install Windows XP for Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL on a single or dual CPU mainboard?


- Remove all PCI cards from the system. Only put the AGP graphics card in the AGP slot. Connect the

- Settings in BIOS (press delete when booting), most settings depend on the BIOS.

In general:
- Set Virus detection to "disabled"
- Set all "shadowing" features to "disable"
- Set "AGP" as boot VGA (not "PCI") (assuming you use an AGP graphics card).
- Switch off all ports except the ones you need. The parallel port is used by Nuendo´s copy protection and
should be set to "bi-directional" (or "normal").
- Cubase SX/SL utilizes the USB port.
- Check if drives, processor speed and amount of RAM are recognized correctly in BIOS.
- Switch off Infrared and all USB options if these are not used.
- Switch off on-board audiocard (when present).
- Most other settings are probably ok.
- Set as first boot device the CD-rom/DVD drive to boot from the Windows XP CD. As second boot
device, Hard Drive 0.

Installing Windows XP

- Boot from the CD, and go through the setup.

- When setup asks "Press [F6] for installing 3rd party scsi/raid controllers", press [F5] and set the
computer role to Standard PC (see Addendum at the end of this document for details) only in case you

a) a single processor system and
b) an older mainboard that does not have an advanced programmable interrupt controller (APIC)

With this combination Windows XP will most likely assign one IRQ to all PCI components which could
result in performance problems.

Most of the current Pentium 4 and AMD Athlon XP mainboards have this API controller providing the
system with 24 instead of 16 interrupts.
If this applies to your system (check the mainboard documentation) you should leave XP to install ACPI,
this is done automatically.

- Then the setup screen will ask you to create a partition in the unpartitioned space. On a 30 GB drive, 6
or 7 GB is more then enough for a boot drive ("C:"). However, you can set any size you want, but make it
at least 4 GB. You might want to split the drive into two partitions, but this is a choice you´ll have to make
yourself. The only rule is: put audiofiles on a separate harddrive or RAID array. (either via the onboard
ATA/IDE controller, a SCSI or RAID controller connected). Here I´ll presume that you install a 2nd
partition, for several data, like documents or backups. However, you can also do that on a separate drive.
So press [C] to create a partition. Enter the size in MB (5000-7000), and press [enter]. Drive "C:" is
Press the down arrow to highlight "unpartitioned space". Press [C] again, to create drive "D:". Make sure
to choose
the maximum size given (already filled in), unless you want a 3rd partition on this harddrive. Press [enter].
Boot drive "C:" will contain the OS and applications, drive "D:" contains documents and other data,
backups, anything that is not streamed from any audio/video application.

- Now Win XP will ask you to select the partition to install XP on. Make sure "C:" is highlighted and press

- If the drive is not formatted yet (like new drives), you´ll be asked to format the drive, and to select a file
The file system handles how information is stored by Windows (or other OS´s). FAT(32) is the file system
used by Windows 98 and ME. It is rather fast, and doesn´t waste too much space. However, it has no
security option in case files get damaged. NTFS is the file system used by Windows NT 4, W2K and XP.
It takes more disk space to store the same data, especially with small files, but it can be faster, and is
more secure. Beware that Windows 98 and ME cannot read data on NTFS drives. Choose the file system
you want to use. We prefer NTFS.

- Windows will format drive "C:" and start installing files. After it reboots, do NOT boot from CD (don´t
touch the keyboard).

- Go through the installation, follow the instructions.

Settings for XP

When using a dual processor setup

- Verify dual processor support: open task manager ([ctrl][alt][delete]then [T]), check the "performance"
tab. The
"CPU Usage History" should show two windows, NOT one, when using a dual CPU system. Make sure
that View Computer History"One Graph per CPU" is checked.
Go to "control panel", "system", "hardware" tab, "Device Manager", double-click "computer", then "ACPI
Multiprocessor PC" should appear in it´s tree. That is correct. If something else ("X") appears:
double-click on "X", check the "driver" tab, "update driver", "next", "display a list of the known drivers...",
"show all hardware".
In the "manufacturers" list, set to "(standard computers)". Then, in the "Models" list, choose "ACPI
Multiprocessor PC". This is for Dual CPU systems.
Complete the installation..

General settings

- Install the motherboard drivers ("VIA 4-in-1 drivers", for example) . Check the homepage of the
motherboard manufacturer for the latest update. Also the chipset manufacturer can have updates/fixes
online. Independent websites about computer hardware can mention bugs/fixes for motherboards. Try to
keep an eye on these sites. Make sure the drivers are newer than the ones used by XP.

-Install the drivers of the AGP graphics card. After installation, make your settings. If you have a dual
monitor AGP card/setup, set this up first.

-Go to start menu/my computer/right mouse click/properties/advanced/"startup & recovery settings"
-->uncheck "automatically reboot"

-start menu/my computer/right mouse click/properties/advanced/"performance settings"
-->visual effects tab: check "adjust for best performance"
-->you might want to check "show windows contents while dragging". (This might give dropouts on some
systems, depending on configuration).
-->advanced tab: set "processor scheduling" to "background services".

-rightclick taskbar:
-->uncheck "autohide taskbar".
-->uncheck "hide inactive icons" (so you see what´s active).

-Start/Windows Messenger.
-->close the passport window when this opens.
-->then: tools/options/preferences:
-->uncheck everything. Close window. This will not start anymore.

-Start the "Tour de XP" when this pops up. Open one movie and close the whole show ASAP. This will
not start anymore.

-open control panel/"sounds & audio devices"/"sounds" tab.
-->"sounds scheme": set to "no sounds".
-->If you do not want any MME application (browser, Windows Media Player) ever to use your ASIO card,
go to the hardware tab. Doubleclick on your audiocard from the list, properties tab, audio devices.
Doubleclick the the driver listed here; check "Do not map through this device".
-rightclick the desktop; properties/screensave tab:
-->screensaver: "None"
-->power: "turn off monitor" & "turn off hard disks": set to "never".

-activate "numlock" on keyboard.

- Install Raid or SCSI controller with the latest drivers. Make sure to reboot after installation and verify in
device manager (control panel-->system-->hardware tab) that they´re listed without an error (red cross or
yellow exclamation mark behind the controller´s name). Also verify that the SCSI/RAID controller isn´t
sharing an IRQ with the graphics or audio card. Do this in "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", "System
Tools", "System Information". Doubleclick the "Hardware Resources" folder, click on "IRQs". If the
controller shares IRQ with the AGP card, or the audiocard, put the controller in another PCI slot. (Some
motherboards can address IRQ´s to certain PCI slots)

- Attach hard drives (for audio and video) to the controllers and partition/format them. Make sure they´re
listed and recognised by XP (device manager AND Windows Explorer) before going further. You can go
to Control Panel/ Administrative Tools/Computer Management (Local)/Storage/ Disk Management. Here
you see all harddrives attached and recognised by the system, even when not partitioned. Here you can
delete, create, format and rename partitions, while continue working with other parts of XP. Forget
"FDISK", it is obsolete and will not recognise NTFS partitions. Beware that a "healthy" status of a disk
does not mean it is formatted properly.

- Verify the functionality of the drives by copying data from one partition to the other.
- Install the audiocard and it´s drivers. Verify that the audio card isn´t sharing an IRQ with the graphics or
SCSI/ RAID card. Do this in "Start", "Programs", "Accessories", "System Tools", "System Information".
Double-click the "Hardware Resources" folder, click on "IRQs". If the card shares IRQ with the AGP card,
or a drive controller, put the card in another PCI slot. Connect the cables to your mixer/monitoring system.

- Setup the clock signal of the audiocard with other digital devices. One device is master, the rest is slave.
When using more then two digital devices, Wordclock might be nescessary.

- Playback a file through Windows Media Player (if you haven´t disabled the MME driver previously).
Verify if the signal is ok.

- Install CD burning software. Burn a CD to check if it isn´t interrupted.

Setting up Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL

- Install the latest Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL version.

- Open "Devices", "Device Setup". Choose "VST Multitrack". Choose the ASIO driver of your
audiocard. (NOT: ASIO Direct X, ASIO Direct X Full Duplex, ASIO Multimedia - these are ASIO shortcuts
of the
Direct X and Multimedia drivers, and will not give the performance a well-written ASIO driver will offer).

- Click on "Control Panel". In the audiocard´s control panel, you should set the clock settings, and latency.
Set the latency (audiobuffers) to the highest. Close the panel, set in "VST Multitrack" 12 buffers of 256 kb.
Close the dialog.

- Load a demo project. When copying project material from CD always copy this to the audio partition.
Select all files/folders in this partition, rightclick, select properties. If read-only is checked (maybe grey),
uncheck this. When asked, say "yes" for all files and subfolders. Now the files are not write-protected
anymore, which might have given problems working with these files.

- Play back the demo project, check the performance meter. The performance meter should not be
overloading, if the demo project is of moderate size.

- Press F5 and activate the first 4 inputs (8 channels). Add 8 tracks, select them, press R. Press record.
Even in 96 kHz 24 bit CPU meter should not be higher then 25 % with a dual GHz machine.
Disk performance should be 0 %. The disk performance may rise when you press start , stop or locate.
The buffers are flushed/filled during these actions and the performance meter shows the buffering.

- Create an empty project. Set/size every window in the project as you want it, create windows layout
(and lock them), set zoom levels etc. Create a template out of this. (refer to manual for these functions.).
Set your preferences. Create key commands as you like them (export them for backup).

Now you´re ready to work with Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL.

You can lower disk buffer size and amount, as well as lowering the audiocard´s latency. Beware that
depending on
the system and the project load, dropouts during playback or recording will occur if these buffers are too
low. When
you notice dropouts, choose reset (Open "Devices", "Device Setup". Choose "VST Multitrack"). When
the dropouts keep coming, raise latency and/or disk buffer size/amount.
Some notes to keep in mind:

- WinXPpro and XP home version have some differences. We have found no real difference in operating
these versions, except for XP Home not supporting a second CPU. So make sure you use XP Pro for
dual CPU systems. Another big difference is network services and remote options. If you are in doubt
what you need, please refer to or a local dealer for an extensive list of the
differences. For regular use with a single CPU and no networking, Xphome is sufficient.

- Never buy cheap RAM. Only known brands.

- For regular audio projects, a fast ATA 100 drive is fast enough to do the job. A RAID 0 array or SCSI
might be necessary when using huge projects, or digital video is being played back. Video can best be
played back from a separate SCSI drive. Always use separate hard drives for OS/applications and audio.

- If you are using Matrox graphics cards (G400/450/550 series): Powerdesk: options tab: switch off

- Install plugins and other software you NEED and USE. Betas, demos and software you know you will
never use,
can best be avoided. This keeps the system faster as well.

- Do not use "Auto hide" for the taskbar. Audio will be interrupted when the taskbar moves.

- Be careful when updating the system. Service Packs and Direct X versions may not always be
compatible. Ask support first if there are known problems. If everything runs smooth, there is no need to

- Check different independent hardware sites when buying new hardware. Often they mention potential
problems, as well as real world performance benchmarks.

- When installing (new) hardware, try to get different IRQs for all components. Swapping PCI slot is the
only way to change IRQ in a plug ´n play OS. Especially graphics, audiocard and ATA/SCSI controller
should not share IRQ.

- Update (flash) the motherboard BIOS, when problems arise (of course, there has to be an update
available). Read the instructions carefully before performing the action. Print the instructions on paper, so
you can see what to do and what not. A mistake can lead to a damaged motherboard.

- Disable all shadowing features in BIOS. Also disable ports that will not be used (serial ports, USB
maybe?). Do this before installing an OS.

- Do not install tuning tools etc. We don´t know how far they have an influence on system stability. Keep
the OS clean and natural, that seems to be the best.

- Do not install antivirus or office programs on this machine. These applications often run in the
background and may cause audio dropouts.

- You can go to Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Computer Management (Local)/Storage/ Disk
Management. Here you see all harddrives attached and recognised by the system, even when not
partitioned. Here you can delete, create, format and rename partitions, while continue working with other
parts of Win XP. Forget "FDISK", it is obsolete and will not recognise NTFS partitions.
- Defragment your drives every night (when editing daily). For XP, it might be interesting to install a
defragging application that can defrag more drives at the same time, as well may it contain a scheduler
for defragmentation.

- Do not set your SCSI adapter for 160 MB/s unless you´re actually needing it. For mid-size audio
projects, 40 MB/s should be sufficient. When using too much, the SCSI adapter can use PCI bandwidth
that other PCI cards might need.

- When audio problems arise, verify cabling and clock settings first.

- Open Event Viewer (Control Panel, Administrative Tools) in Win XP after startup to verify the system is
OK after you boot it. You can close it when everything is ok.

- After a crash (this may also be an error message, e.g. "nuendo.log was written" or similar, ALWAYS
save the project under ANOTHER name (using the word "crash"). Close Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL, and
maybe reboot XP (this is the safest).
Try avoiding working with the project saved after the crash. Use [ctrl][alt][s] regularly. It will save the
project under the same name, but with a number after it.

This list contains no real performance improvements. The OS is quite natural, and is in the same state as
how we test Nuendo/Cubase SX/SL on Win XP. If you want to optimize the system, please visit websites
that explain these steps, or ask system experts. However, beware that there is always a certain risk to
"optimising" a system, and we cannot guarantee that Nuendo or Cubase SX/SL will run with higher
performance or stability (in fact it may be worse).

Even though this list might help you in setting up XP successfully, we still recommend audio professionals
to buy a complete system from an experienced Pro Audio dealer who takes the time to select good
components, install everything properly and test the complete setup. Also will he provide service directly,
and in worst case may provide a system replacement. Of course, this depends on the service each dealer
can or will provide.

Have fun,
The Steinberg Team.


Here is an overview of the different possible computer configurations:

ACPI mode for mainboard (non-APIC mode) with one CPU slot / socket

Standard PC (ACPI disabled)
APM mode on mainboard (non-APIC mode) with one CPU slot / socket

ACPI multiprocessor PC
ACPI mode on dual CPU mainboard with two CPUs

ACPI uniprozessor PC
ACPI mode on dual CPU mainboard with one CPU or
ACPI mode on single CPU mainboard in APIC mode

MPS multiprocessor PC (ACPI disabled)
APM mode on dual CPU mainboard with two CPUs

MPS uniprozessor PC (ACPI disabled)
APM mode on dual CPU mainboard with one CPU or
APM mode on single CPU mainboard in APIC mode

APM = Advanced Power Management
ACPI = Advanced Configuration and Power Interface
APIC = Advanced Programmable Interrupt Controller
MPS = Multi-Processor-System

Useful internet sites

The purpose of this document is to provide a comprehensive guide to understand and optimize a PC
based system using the Microsoft Windows XP Operating System. The described steps are proven
techniques and are in agreement with normal optimization practices for Windows based Operating
Systems. Since hardware and software technology is changing continuously, the author of this document
cannot be responsible for system / hardware failures and/or program crashes as well as destruction of
files. Neither can this document cover all combinations of hardware, operating system upgrades, driver
upgrades and installation scenarios. It is up to the user to understand techniques utilized and to
understand software differences as well as obtain driver upgrades and patches as they become available.
This document is not designed to eliminate or minimize the need for "turnkey" multimedia computer
systems built by professional system designers. The author of this document cannot be responsible for
system / hardware failures and/or program crashes as well as destruction of files. The guide provides
details for each action item but is also written with the assumption that the reader is familiar with
terminology and procedures for Computer / Video hardware and the Steinberg software. Since this
document utilizes standard practices and software adjustments; it is rational to understand that certain
items may be very similar in grammar and/or content to those found in other documentation. All items /
steps in this document are written by the author utilizing
experiences with the involved technical devices and notes written over years of practice. References to
actual hardware & software products are for explanation, integration and optimization purposes only -
names and products are under control of manufacturers copyrights, patents and registered trademarks.


Use this URL to bookmark this page

Most of these tweaks were compiled form freely available material already
existing on the net, by Budz (contact Budz, on Efnet, IRC)

Use at own risk.

First Stages of Install

Firstly, a lot of hardware requires you to DISABLE the "Plug and Play OS"
option in your BIOS for correct installation and operation in W2000/XP.
Disable ACPI at the INSTALL STAGE!

When XP starts installing (Setup is still a DOS-style screen and shows a
message which says 'Detecting your hardware' or words to that effect) hold
down F5 ... after a short while you should be able to select the processing
kernel from a list. Choose "Standard PC".

During Setup, you will be asked to choose an Administrator password.
Remember it - you will need it.

After Windows XP has finished setting itself up, you will be asked to enter a
user name. Enter one and you're ready to go.

Login Stuff

- Logging in as Administrator
During the welcome screen, press CTRL-ALT-DEL twice. You will get the
Windows 2000-style login screen.
Log in as "Administrator", with your password that you set during setup.
When you're in, it's a good idea to get rid of the user you created, in order
to get rid of confusion and make sure you are logged in as Administrator at
all times, so that you have full access to all settings of the OS.

I find that it's nice to log on automatically as Administrator. Microsoft's
TweakUI control panel applet lets you do this very easily.

Also you can do it this way :

1. click on "Start" - then click on "Run" - and type
"control userpasswords2"
2. click OK
3. On the Users tab, clear the "Users must enter a user name and password
to use this computer" check box and click "Apply".
4. A dialog will appear that asks you what user name and password should
be used to logon automatically, just click "OK".

Then go to Control Panel / User Accounts, and click "Change the way users
log on or off", and untick both "Use the Welcome Screen" and "Use Fast User


If the installation has gone OK so far, it may be a nice idea to make a
GHOST image at this point, and at any point during this guide where you
think things might go pear-shaped while doing a particular tweak. Ghost is a
partition-imaging program. Similar programs include DriveImage Pro. Go do
a search on google for them if you don't know about them, as I really can't
be bothered to explain here :) Note that you will need a win98 DOS disk
handy to run ghost, as it will not run in an NT-core environment.

Install your drivers at this point. Motherboard chipset drivers, graphics card
drivers, drivers for your soundcard/LAN card/midi interface/whatever.

It is very important to install decent, well-written drivers. Usually this means
the latest driver for your hardware, but not always (see problems with
various Nvidia driver builds). Also it's sometimes significant what order you
install the drivers in. This will be different for every system though.

Standard Tweaking!

Control Panel/System
- Advanced Tab
Performance :
Visual Effects Tab - choose 'Custom' ; disable all except "Show window
contents while dragging"
Advanced Tab - Switch "Processor scheduling" to 'Background Processing'
- Set a fixed swapfile of around 1.5x your physical memory size (mine is
the same size as my physical RAM - 512mb)
Error Reporting :
Select "Disable error reporting" and enable "But notify me when critical
errors occur".

Startup and Recovery Settings
Untick "Automatically Restart" under the System Failure section.

- System Restore Tab
ENABLE "Turn off system restore for all drives" (i.e. disable this stupid
- Automatic Updates Tab
Select "Turn off automatic updating..."

- Remote Tab
UNCHECK both "Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent..." and
"Allow users to connect remotely..."

Control Panel/Display
- Themes Tab
Select "Windows Classic" theme.
- Desktop/Screensaver Tabs
Have "None" selected for both.
- Desktop Tab
Click on "Customize Desktop...". Untick "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every
60 days"
- Settings Tab
Use 16-bit colour (unless you use graphics applications or whatever).

Control Panel/Date and Time
- Internet Time tab
Untick "Automatically synchronize with internet time server"

Control Panel/Folder Options
- General Tab
Use Windows classic folders
- View Tab
Uncheck 'Display simple folder view in Explorers Folder list' - this stops
auto-expanding trees in Explorer
Select "Show hidden files and folders"
Uncheck 'Hide protected operating system files"
Uncheck 'Use simple file sharing' (if you want your network to run smoothly
- don't worry about this if
you don't have a network).

Control Panel/Power Options
- Power Schemes Tab
Select 'Never' for both "Turn off monitor" and "Turn off hard disks"
- Hibernate Tab
Uncheck the "Enable Hibernation" checkbox
- APM Tab
Without ACPI installed you won't get automatic shutdown unless you enable
APM. So enable it if you care about
Control Panel/Sounds
- Sounds Tab
Select "No Sounds" sound scheme.

Control Panel/Taskbar and Start Menu
- Taskbar Tab
Options on this tab are down to personal preference. It's probably best to
uncheck "Hide inactive icons" so
that you know EXACTLY what's loaded into the tray area at any time.
- Start Menu Tab
Select"Classic Start menu". On the custom tab, all options depend upon
personal preference - although I find
that "Use Personalized Menus" is one of the most ugly things ever
implemented by Microsoft.

Control Panel/User Accounts
- Click "Change the way users log on or off". Deselect "Use the welcome
screen" and "Use fast user switching".

Kill Search Dialog Puppy!
Open the search dialog
Click "change preferences"
Click "without an animated screen character"
The puppy will walk away

Getting rid of unwanted Startup items
Start -> Run
Type "msconfig"
Go to the "Startup" tab and get rid of any unwanted entries to save
resources and bootup-time.

Turn off Hard Disk indexing [The Indexing service can be disabled/set to
manual as well, to be sure this feature is gone]
1. Open my computer
2. Right click your hard drive icon and select properties.
3. At the bottom of the window you'll see "Allow indexing service to index
this disk for faster searches," uncheck this and click ok.
4. A new window will pop up and select apply to all folders and subfolders. It
will take a minute or two for the changes to take affect but then you should
enjoy slightly faster performance.
More Funky Tweaks!

Remove more superfluous Windows components -
Open the sysoc.inf file (located in C:\Windows\inf)
Remove "hide" from any line which has it (leave all commas)
After a reboot go to Add/Remove Programs -> Add/Remove Windows
Components. There should now be more to remove.

If you can't get rid of pesky Windows Messenger using this method, try
this... In a DOS box, type :

RunDll32 advpack.dll,LaunchINFSection

... this should do it :)


Limit usage of swapfile
Add a line under the [386enh] section of system.ini :


Turn off CD Autoplay
Start -> Run -> GPEDIT.MSC
Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> System
Enable "Turn off autoplay"


Disable zip folders embedded in Explorer :
type the following in a DOS box :

regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll

Registry Tweaks!
Please make sure you are comfortable with registry tweaking before you do
any of these. Assuming you are, I shouldn't need
to tell you that you access the registry editor by typing "regedit" in the Run
dialog. ;)

Boost Priority of Individual IRQs
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> System -> CurrentControlSet -> Control ->
create a new Dword value called "IRQ#Priority" where # = IRQ number
Set the value of this Dword value to 1 (Dec)
A good one to try is IRQ 8 (Realtime CMOS clock) : lots of people have
reported good results with this.
You can also try your soundcard IRQ or whatever, I can not guarantee good
or useful results. Experiment with this one.
To remove the tweak, delete the key (and reboot of course!)


L2 Cache Tweak
Change "SdecondLevelDataCache" to a value in KB (Dec) corresponding to
the size of your processor's L2 cache :
AMD Duron: 64(kb);
PII mobile/PIII E(EB)/P4/AMD K6-3/AMD THUNDERBird/Cyrix III:256;
AMD K6-2/PII/PIII katmai/AMD Athlon:512;
PII Xeon/PIII Xeon:1024;


Faster hierarchical menu speed [you can also use TweakUI for this one]

HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Desktop
Change "MenuShowDelay" key to 0


Disable Notification Area Balloon Tips
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion
> Explorer > Advanced.
Create a new DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips and set to 0.


Disable Windows File Protection
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SOFTWARE -> Microsoft -> Windows NT ->
Current Version -> WinLogon
Change "SFCDisable" key to 0xFFFFFF9D or ffffff9d (Hex)


Automatically Kill Tasks at Shutdown
HKEY_CURRENT_USER -> Control Panel -> Desktop
Change "AutoEndTasks" key to 1 (Dec)


Faster shutdown
Make sure "HungAppTimeout" is set to 5000
Change "WaitToKillAppTimeout" to 4000
Change "WaitToKillServiceTimeout" to 4000


Memory Performance registry tweaks :

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE -> SYSTEM -> CurrentControlSet -> Control ->
SessionManager -> Memory Management

Make the following changes :

DisablePagingExecutive=1 (Dec)
LargeSystemCache=1 (Dec)
IOPageLockLimit=16777216 (Dec) [add a new Dword key if this isn't there
(this last key refers to 16mb * 1024 * 1024 (i.e. 16mb in bytes)


Another Memory Performance Tweak (taken from and untested
by me)

Hi, I'm not 100% sure if this tweak will yield a great performance boost to
the majority of users out there, but for me it seems to have shown very
good results. By default, if you look in the
Manager\Memory Management]key, you'll see the 'SystemPages' DWORD
Value set to something around 500 MB (more accurately, 524288 (KB), or
something close to that value). Simply reduce the value to something
around 128 MB (131072 KB) or 256 MB (262144 KB). Personally, I'm using
the 128 MB setting, since my total RAM is 256 MB. It might help to
experiment a little, since each machine will most likely yield better or worse
results. Good Luck!


Unload DLLs
create new sub-key called "AlwaysUnloadDLL" with a value of 1 (Dec)

Networking Tweaks

Speed up network browsing :
delete this key :


Problems accessing an XP machine from a Win98 machine :
Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Local Security Policy -> Local
Policies -> User Rights Assignments
Find value entitled "Deny access to this computer from the network"
Right-click on this and choose 'properties'
Delete "Guest" account from this dialog.
Find the "Access this computer from the network" value
Make sure "Everyone" is in the properties dialog for this value.


Get rid of QoS
Start -> Run -> GPEDIT.MSC
Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Network -> QoS
Packet Scheduler
Change "Limit reservable bandwidth" to Enabled and change % to 0

Disable Offline Files

You can make network files available offline by storing shared files on your
computer so they are accessible when you are not connected to a network.
This feature is not required if you don't connect to a network. Even if you do
connect to a network, you may not need this functionality.

It can be disabled as shown below.

Start > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options > Offline Files > Untick
"Enable Offline Files"


Get rid of DHCP Network IP configuration on every bootup (inadvisable for
some internet connections)

When you start up your computer and you are connected to a LAN and your
computer is set to DHCP and your computer has to search for the DHCP
server and then request and IP address and all other configuration. This
process takes up some time and slows down the time it takes to boot the
computer up. Following the directions below will help your set a static IP
address. Even if your ISP says to use DHCP this tweak may still work for
you, but you are warnned!
1 Click Start and click on Run.
2 Type command in the text box and click OK.
3 In DOS, type ipconfig and hit enter.
4 This will show you your current IPs that your NIC and PPPoE adapters
have. Only pay attention to your Ethernet Card Adapter, not to the PPP
5 Next, right click My Network Places and select Properties from the drop
down menu. This will open up the Network Connections window. In here,
locate your Local Area Network connection and right click it, select Properties
from the drop down menu.
6 When the next Window that opens up, select Internet Protocol (TCP/IP)
and click Properties at the bottom.
7 In the next window, click 'Use the following IP Address'. This is where that
DOS window comes in handy. Copy the same exact IP Address from your
Ethernet card (in the dos window) and place it where it says IP Address.
Same goes for the Subnet Mask and Default Gateway. If your Default
Gateway is blank, then just leave it blank. Click Ok, then Ok again.
8 In the DOS window type exit dos then enter. Reboot your machine.
Now there is absolutely NO loading. You can connect as soon as you see
your desktop.

Quick Note: If you use DHCP (Dynamic IP Address) to connect to the net,
you may find that your net connection does not work after this. So if some
day your network connection stops working, just go back into the NIC card
properties and select automatically get IP address and reboot.

NTFS Tweaks

The NTFS file system is the recommended file system because of its
advantages in terms of reliability and security and because it is required for
large drive sizes. However, these advantages come with some overhead.
You can modify some functionality to improve NTFS performance as follows:

1. Disable creation of short names. By default, NTFS generates the style of
file name that consists of eight characters, followed by a period and a
three-character extension for compatibility with MS-DOS and Microsoft®
Windows® 3.x clients. If you are not supporting these types of clients, you
can turn off this setting by changing the default value of the
NtfsDisable8dot3NameCreation registry entry (in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Filesystem) to

2. Disable last access update. By default NTFS updates the date and time
stamp of the last access on directories whenever it traverses the directory.
For a large NTFS volume, this update process can slow performance. To
disable automatic updating, change the value of the
NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate registry entry (in
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentContolSet\Control\Filesystem) to 1.
If the entry is not already present in the registry, add it before setting the
value. (Add it as a REG_DWORD)

3. Reserve appropriate space for the master file table. Add the
NtfsMftZoneReservation entry to the registry as a REG_DWORD in
When you add this entry to the registry, the system reserves space on the
volume for the master file table. Reserving space in this manner allows the
master file table to grow optimally. If your NTFS volumes generally contain
relatively few files that are typically large, set value of this registry entry to
1 (the default). Typically you can use a value of 2 or 3 for moderate
numbers of files, and 4 (the maximum) if your volumes tend to contain a
relatively large number of files. However, be sure to test any settings
greater than 2 because these higher values cause the system to reserve a
much larger portion of the disk for the master file table.

Reboot after making changes.


There are no concrete rules for removing services. However, it is true that
Windows' own explanations of what each service does is inadequate. I found
quite a few nice sites on the internet which go into what each service does in
more detail and/or non-bullshit language, so that you are better equipped in
knowing what is safe to disable.

Here is a list of my ACTIVE services (i.e. the ones which are STARTED) and
their status (i.e. auto/manual/disabled). All the rest are either manual
or disabled.

COM+ Event System [manual]
Computer Browser [auto]
DNS Client [auto]
Event Log [auto]
Help and Support [auto]
Network Connections [manual]
Network Location Awareness [manual]
Plug and Play [auto]
Remote Procedure Call [auto]
Removable Storage [auto]
Server [auto]
System Event Notification [manual]
Webclient [auto]
Windows Audio [auto]
Windows Management Instrumentation [auto]
Windows Management Instrumentation Driver Extensions [auto]
Windows Time [auto]
Workstation [auto]

Note that you may need some services which are not listed here, and may
not need some which are. Each system is different :)



Shortcut to start explorer in C drive

%SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /n,/e,c:\

Tuning Tips
For consistency, before carrying out the tuning tips suggested below, switch to classic view in
the control panel. To do this, Start > Control Panel > "Switch to Classic View".
Then, switch to classic view for the menu. To do this, Start > Control Panel > Taskbar and Start
Menu > Start Menu Tab > Classic Start Menu.
If you require further information on a particular tip, click on the associated

1. Processor scheduling should be set to background services and not Programs. Start >
Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced Tab >
Background Services <javascript:popUpBig('tip_001.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_001.htm')>2. Visual effects should be set to a minimum. Start >
Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Visual Effects Tab >
Adjust for best performance <javascript:popUpBig('tip_002.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_002.htm')>3. Switch Off Desktop Background Image Right Click
Desktop > Properties > Desktop Tab > Background None
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_003.htm')>  <javascript:popUpBig('tip_003.htm')>4. Disable
Screen Saver Right Click Desktop > Properties > Screen Saver > None
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_004.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_004.htm')>5. Disable Fast
User Switching Start > Settings > Control Panel > User Accounts > Change the way users log
on or off > Untick Use Fast User Switching <javascript:popUpBig('tip_005.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_005.htm')>6. Switch Off Power Schemes Start > Settings > Control
Panel > Power Options > Always On > Turn off monitor and turn off hard discs to Never
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_006.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_006.htm')>7. Switch Off
Hibernation Start > Settings > Control Panel > Power Options > Hibernate > Untick
Hibernation <javascript:popUpBig('tip_007.htm')>         <javascript:popUpBig('tip_007.htm')>8.
Activate DMA on Hard Discs/CD ROMS Start > Settings > Control Panel > System >
Hardware > Device Manager > IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers > Right Click Primary IDE
channel and Secondary IDE channel > Properties > Advanced Settings Tab > Transfer Mode to
"DMA if available" for both devices. <javascript:popUpBig('tip_008.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_008.htm')>9. Disable System Sounds Start > Settings > Control
Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices > Sounds Tab > Sound Scheme to None.
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_009.htm')>       <javascript:popUpBig('tip_009.htm')>10. Do Not
Map Through Soundcard Start > Settings > Control Panel > Sounds and Audio Devices >
Hardware Tab > (highlight your soundcard from the list) > Properties > Audio Devices >
(highlight your soundcard from the list) > Properties, and check the "Do not map through this
device" checkbox. <javascript:popUpBig('tip_010.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_010.htm')>11. Disable System Restore Start > Settings > Control
Panel> System > System Restore Tab. Tick the "Turn off System Restore on all Drives"
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_011.htm')>      <javascript:popUpBig('tip_011.htm')>12. Disable
Automatic Updates Start > Settings > Control Panel> System > Automatic Updates > Turn off
automatic updating. I want to update my computer manually
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_012.htm')>   <javascript:popUpBig('tip_012.htm')>13. Startup
and Recovery Options Start > Settings > Control Panel> System > Advanced > Startup and
Recovery Settings > Untick Automatically Restart <javascript:popUpBig('tip_013.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_013.htm')>14. Disable Error Reporting Start > Settings > Control
Panel> System > Advanced > Error Reporting > Disable Error Reporting
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_014.htm')>        <javascript:popUpBig('tip_014.htm')>15. Disable
Remote Assistance Start > Settings > Control Panel> System > Remote > Untick Allow
remote assistance invitations to be sent from this computer
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_015.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_015.htm')>16. Fix Swap
File (Virtual Memory) Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance
Settings > Advanced > Virtual Memory Change > Custom Size. Set initial and maximum size to
the same value. <javascript:popUpBig('tip_016.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_016.htm')>17. Speed Up Menus Start > Run > Regedit >
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop Folder. Set MenuShowDelay to 1
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_017.htm')>      <javascript:popUpBig('tip_017.htm')>18. Disable
Offline Files Start > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options > Offline Files Untick "Enable
Offline Files" <javascript:popUpBig('tip_018.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_018.htm')>19. Disable Remote Desktop Start > Settings > Control
Panel > System > Remote > Untick "Allow users to connect remotely to this computer"
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_019.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_019.htm')>20. Disable
Internet Synchronise Time Start > Settings > Control Panel > Date and Time > Internet Time
> Untick "Automatically synchronize with internet time server"
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_020.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_020.htm')>21. Disable
Hide Inactive Icons Start > Settings > Taskbar and Start Menu > Taskbar TAB > Uncheck
"Hide Inactive Icons" <javascript:popUpBig('tip_021.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_021.htm')>22. Disable Automatic Desktop Cleanup Wizard Start
> Settings > Control Panel > Display > Desktop > Customise Desktop > Untick "Run Desktop
Cleanup Wizard every 60 days" <javascript:popUpBig('tip_022.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_022.htm')>23. Disable NTFS Last Access Time Logging (NTFS
File Systems Only) Start > Run > regedit > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System >
CurrentControlSet > Control > Filesystem. Add a new DWORD value -
"NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate" and set value to 1. <javascript:popUpBig('tip_023.htm')>
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_023.htm')>24. Disable Notification Area Balloon Tips Start > Run
> regedit > HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Software > Microsoft > Windows > CurrentVersion >
Explorer > Advanced. Create a new DWORD value called EnableBalloonTips and set to 0.
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_024.htm')>    <javascript:popUpBig('tip_024.htm')>25. Disable
CDROM Autoplay Start > Run > regedit > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > System >
CurrentControlSet > Services > Cdrom. Set autorun to 0.
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_025.htm')>     <javascript:popUpBig('tip_025.htm')>26. Disable
Disc Indexing Service Right Click Start > Explorer > Right Click Each Disc > Properties >
Untick "Allow Indexing Service to index this disc for fast file searching"
<javascript:popUpBig('tip_026.htm')>     <javascript:popUpBig('tip_026.htm')>
Hardware Tips
If you are considering purchasing or building your own Windows XP PC for your audio
applications, then it is certainly worth clicking on the links below. These are hardware
recommendations from RME Audio.
Year 2002 RecommendationsIntel P4 Standard, 1.8A GHz DDR
<>Intel P4 Professional, 2.0A GHz
Although the minimum amount of supported RAM for XP is 64MB, I would personally say that
128MB is the real minimum, whilst 256MB or 512MB is highly recommended for audio
applications. If your motherboard can handle it, put in as much RAM (cas2 if possible) as you
can (>512MB). More RAM is especially important when using soft samplers (e.g. HALion) so
that samples can be pre-loaded as much as possible into memory, rather than relying heavily on
disc streaming.

NTFS or FAT32?
I get many emails each day in connection with which file system to use with Windows XP on an
audio PC. Some audio users claim that FAT32 <> is better,
whilst others claim better performance and higher reliability when using NTFS
Many people will recommend FAT32 as the preferred option (probably because they are more
familiar with it), but the reality is that both NTFS and FAT32 have their strengths and
weaknesses, and the truth is that each will give similar disc performance and reliability when
configured properly.
I have tried both, and have detected no noticeable performance difference between NTFS and
FAT32 to date. However, I have to say that Windows XP does appear to respond faster and
perform disc I/O operations faster with both file systems.
Some Logic Audio users have reported playback delays (>3 seconds) when using FAT32 on
Windows XP, which can be resolved by simply switching to NTFS. This is actually a well
documented problem. Try doing a search on the Sound On Sound <>
forums for more details on this issue.
The bottom line is that if you are only running Windows XP on your computer, then you should
consider using NTFS on all of your discs, as NTFS is the native file system for XP and 2000.
NTFS is self repairing and much less susceptible to data corruption, which makes CHKDSK a
thing of the past - even with improper shutdowns.
However, if you are dual-booting and have Windows 9x in addition toWindows XP, then you
will need to use FAT32 or a combination of FAT32 and NTFS, i.e. so that all operating systems
can see all discs (only 2000 and XP are compatible with NTFS).
Another situation where NTFS is better than FAT32 is with larger discs (>32GB). FAT
performance tends to decrease with larger discs, whilst NTFS is more consistent. Fragmentation
of the disc is also reduced when using NTFS as the XP operating system tries to keep files
Converting your discs from FAT32 to NTFS using XP is very straightforward, using the convert
<javascript:popUpBig('convert.htm')> command, although be careful as I have heard reports that
this can result in cluster sizes of 512 bytes. The process will convert "unmounted" discs (i.e.
audio), whilst you are running XP. If you want to convert your XP system disc, then the
conversion will take place when you next restart XP.
If you do decide to format your discs with NTFS, then you won't be able to see these discs at all
if you boot to DOS. This can be quite confusing at first, especially if you have got into the habit
of using FDISK to prepare you discs. FDISK does not work fully with NTFS. Instead, your disc
preparation is done as part of the XP install procedure or you can move things around within XP
after you have installed it.
You can find further reading on this subject here
<> and also at the Microsoft
er/help/choosing_between_ntfs_fat_and_fat32.htm> website.

As far as processors are concerned, anything less than an Intel PIII-1Ghz (or equivalent) will
probably be sluggish when running Windows XP, so consider getting a faster CPU

Graphics Card
An AGP Graphics Card <javascript:popUpBig('agp.htm')> with 32MB of memory is the
preferred option over a PCI graphics card for audio applications.
If you think you are having problems with your graphics card, try downloading the latest drivers
from the relevant manufacturers website. If this doesn't solve the problem, then try reducing the
colour depth to 16 or 24 bit instead of 32 bit.
Also consider getting a dual head card, so that you can use two monitors, ie. Matrox G450/550.
For example, you could have Cubase SX arrange window on one monitor and the mixer/vsti's on
the other.
Hard Discs (EIDE or SCSI?)
Use a separate hard disc for your system disc and for your audio disc.
Your first choice should be whether to go for IDE or SCSI. If you are planning to use your DAW
in a home or project studio, then I would say that SCSI is just too expensive and doesn't really
offer any value for money. Newer EIDE drives are very quickly catching up in terms of
performance, and a few can even match the top SCSI performance for single user machines.
With support for the ATA100/133 interface, the new generation of IDE drives are extremely fast.
When buying your EIDE discs, make sure that you go for a spin speed of 7,200rpm and a seek
time of at least 10ms. Try to stick to well known brandnames like Quantum, IBM, Maxtor,
Seagate and Western Digital.
The other advantage behind EIDE is that it will mean one less PCI controller card in your PC (if
your motherboard doesn't have onboard SCSI).
For a complete assessment and comparison between SCSI and IDE for DAW application follow
this excellent link at
In addition, <> is an extremely informative website, and is
certainly worth reading. In particular, read the "Leaderboard" on this site for informed opinions
of the best hard drives in each classification.
There have been some reports of lower than expected disc performance when using XP with
Small Computer System Interface (SCSI) hard discs formatted as NTFS. Microsoft have
acknowledged this problem and will be releasing a fix in the next service pack. In the interim,
they have provided a downloadable solution, which can be found here -

If you have one of the more modern motherboards with APIC (Advanced Programmable
Interrupt Controller) capabilities, then it is likely that all of your PCI devices will have separate
IRQ's, if you have installed Windows XP as an ACPI computer.
If you have an APIC capable motherboard, then it is recommended that APIC is selected in the
BIOS, as opposed to PIC and that you do an ACPI install of XP. Typically, the number of
interrupts will increase from 16 (actually 15 as IRQ 2 is reserved for PIC linking) to 24 with
Read more on APIC here
If your soundcard is sharing an IRQ and you think that this might be causing you problems
(crackles, etc.), then try moving it to another physical PCI slot in your motherboard. Most
motherboards PCI slots are configured so that they will share their IRQ with another PCI slot or
another motherboard device. Some PCI slots are not shared at all. Try to put your soundcard in a
PCI slot that isn't shared with anything else if possible.
To find out what IRQ's your PCI slots share, check your manual. There is generally a chart/table
showing IRQ sharing configurations.
When you are in XP, check the device manager and make sure that your soundcard has an IRQ
of its own.
It is important to get your soundcard on its own IRQ because a) not all soundcard drivers are
100% efficient when sharing with another devices drivers, and b) there may be PCI card
hardware sharing anomilies.
As a final resort, to free up IRQ's, you can consider disabling unused devices in the BIOS. For
     if you don't use your COM ports, then disable these and this will give you two extra
     if you don't use your motherboard USB, then disable this.
     if you don't use your parallel port, then disable this
     any other unused devices can also be disabled in the BIOS if it lets you
Click on the link below to read about IRQ's in Windows XP.
For an in-depth explanation and history of IRQ's, click on the link below.

When formatting your your hard discs, it is worth knowing that the cluster size
<javascript:popUpBig('cluster_size.htm')> can play an important part in the overall efficiency of
disc performance (I/O).
Data from hard discs is read one cluster (allocation unit) at a time. This would mean that a disc
with 4KB clusters would read 4KB at a time. Therefore, a 128KB file would require 32 separate
discs I/O's. If the same file was stored on a disc that had been formatted with 64KB clusters, then
only 2 discs I/O's would be necessary.
This is a very general and simplistic explanation of cluster sizes, but as a general rule of thumb if
you plan to store many "smaller" files on a hard disc (your system discs), then it is probably
better to let XP automatically determine the best cluster size for the disc. On the other hand, your
audio disc will probably have fewer "larger" files (WAV files, typically 10MB per minute for
stereo 16bit 44.1khz), so it may be better to increase the cluster size and override the assumption
that XP makes when formatting.
There are other factors that need to be considered when deciding upon cluster size, so I suggest
that you do a search on the internet for further information, and then experiment with your
cluster sizes yourself, to find the best setting for your setup.
You may not find the disc performance differences associated with different cluster sizes
earth-shattering (if at all), but I believe that everything, however small, can make a difference.
There are a number of ways of reformatting your hard discs in XP, but remember to back up
your data first! One way, is to do it via the Administrative tools (Start > Control Panel >
Administrative Tools > Computer Management > Disc Management). If you right click on the
partition you want to format, then a window <javascript:popUpBig('format.htm')> will pop up
allowing you to select the file system and the allocation unit size.

Sound Card
If you're serious about the audio applications on your PC, then you must get a good soundcard.
Consider how many simultaneous inputs/outputs you will need. It is also absolutely crucial to get
a card that is supplied with very good and regularly updated drivers. Low latency Windows XP
ASIO drivers (V2) are something to look out for if you intend to use the card with any ASIO
<javascript:popUpBig('asio.htm')>compatible applications in a Windows XP environment.

Network Cards
Some network cards (3Com Ethernet) can cause "crackles" with audio. If you are experiencing
problems related to this, then it may be worth disabling the network card. You can disable the
network card in the device manager.
It is also an option to consider setting up separate hardware profiles
<javascript:popUpBig('hardware_profiles.htm')>in XP so that you can configure your devices
and services according to how the PC will be used.

Defragment Often
As a final thought to this section, remember to defragment your discs frequently (system and
audio) to get the best I/O performance. Regularly degragmented hard discs will also take less
time to defragment if done frequently.
As previously mentioned, NTFS fragments less with XP than FAT32. However, it is still
important to defragment regularly with both file systems.

Remove XP Components
One of the features that XP doesn't offer that Windows 98SE did, is the ability to customise the
installation process by selecting/removing only the components that you require (Accessories,
System Tools, Multimedia, etc.).
Windows XP doesn't offer you this flexibility during the installation process, and so any
Windows XP components that are not required will need to be removed after the installation has
You won't gain any system performance by removing unused components, although you will
steal back some disc space and "trim down" your XP environment by removing programs that
you just don't use.
Normally, to do this you would go to the "Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel and
select "Add/Remove Windows Components". This process scans your system and shows you
what you have installed so that you can deselect/delete the programs that you don't need.
There is a slight problem, in that Windows XP "hides" certain components so that they can't be
seen on the list and subsequently, can't be removed.
However, there is a very simple way to make these reappear so that they can be removed.
Use Notepad to edit the sysoc.inf file in the Windows/Inf folder. Do a search and replace for the
word "hide" (leave match case unticked), replacing hide with nothing. Save the file.
TIP : If you can't see the "inf" folder, then in explorer make sure you click the "Show Hidden
Files and Folders" option. Explorer > Tools > Folder Options > View.
Go back to "Add or Remove Programs in the Control Panel and select "Add/Remove Windows
Components". Components that couldn't be seen before can now be viewed and removed. You
will notice that Windows Messenger can now be removed, which can be a resource hog.
Reboot after removing components to take effect.
Typical components that can be removed are (there may be others depending on your
     Accesibility Options
     Indexing service
     Update Root Certificates
      Windows Automatic Updates
      Windows Messenger
      Games
      Desktop Wallpaper
      Explorer (Unless you use the audio PC for surfing of course)
      Communications
      MSN Explorer

Useful XP Tools There are some useful tools that can be used to tweak the XP
environment, without resorting to editing the registry directly.

Microsoft Power Toys
Power Toys are additional programs that Microsoft developers work on after a product has been
released to manufacturing.

Microsoft has taken great care to ensure that Power Toys operate as they should, but they are not
part of Windows and are not supported by Microsoft.
For this reason, Microsoft Technical Support is unable to answer questions about PowerToys.
Download the XP versions of Powertools from Microsoft

As with other Windows versions, programs can be started automatically by XP. It is worth
checking to see what programs (if any) your XP system is starting by itself on startup, as these
may be using valuable processing power.
To investigate the automatically starting programs, use the XP msconfig tool. The msconfig tool
is not new to XP and first appeared in Windows 98 and then ME.
To run msconfig, click on Start > Run and type in "msconfig" (no quotes) and click OK. Click on
the Startup Tab and uncheck any programs, that you don't want to autostart. Dont' disable
anything you're not sure about.

Redundant Tuning Tips Some of the tweaks used in Windows98 are no longer
relevant in Windows XP.

Windows XP file I/O is more efficient than Win9X, so the VCACHE tweak used in Windows 98
is not needed in XP. Just make sure that the discs are regularly formatted and use either FAT32
with 32KB clusters or NTFS with 64KB clusters (audio disc).

This line goes into the system.ini file on Windows 98 and ME, after the [386 Enh] tag, and
makes the OS use the RAM more than the swap file on the disc.
However, this has absolutely no effect in Windows XP, so it is not necessary. Try putting it in
and checking your PF usage in the performance section of your task manager. It makes no
difference at all.
This setting has different meanings depending on which version of Win9x you are using. It
wasn't even introduced as a setting until Windows 98 came out, so don't bother with this one if
you are still running Win95. If you are running Win98 or 98SE, this setting will force the
computer to use the swap file in a "conservative" way, which in other words is the same way as
Windows 95 did. If you are running on Windows Me (this is one of the big speed tweaks for
WinMe, particularly if you have more than 128 Mb of RAM), this setting will tell Windows not
to use the swapfile at all until all of the RAM is used. After all of the RAM is used, the computer
will push off the most infrequently used data to the swap file. This setting goes under the
[386Enh] section.

Graphics Card Colour Setting
It is not advisable to use 256 bit colour depth. Stick to the default setting. Modern graphics cards
tend to be optimised for 32 bit, which means that 16 and 24 bit are also not recommended. If
you're having problems at 32 bit try lowering to 24 or 16 bit, etc.
If you think you are having problems relating to your graphics card, try downloading the latest
drivers from the relevant manufacturers website. If this doesn't solve the problem, then try
reducing the colour depth to 16 or 24 bit instead of 32 bit.

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