Optimizing Windows For Audio Performance

Optimizing Windows For Audio Performance

How to optimize my Windows PC for performance Audio?

This page will help you to diagnose problems and suggest various changes to improve audio performance in general on a Windows PC.
These optimizations are not all required to run freqport, however are recommended where and if possible.

Note: Before attempting these changes we suggest to backup all files (or create a restore point).

High-Performance Power Plan

Disable automatic sleep and hibernation.

1.    Go to Control Panel > Power Options.

2.    Click ‘Show additional plans’.

3.    Select ‘High Performance’.

4.    Click ‘Change plan settings’.

5.    Make sure both power options are set to ‘Never’.

Disable System Sounds

System sounds can interrupt audio applications. To disable them:

1.    Go to Control Panel > Sound.

2.    Select the Sounds tab.

3.    Under Sound Scheme, select ‘No sounds’.

4.    Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’.

Disable Visual Effects

The visual features in Windows can use resources that could otherwise be used for audio processing. Disable some of the visual features by doing the following:

1.    Click the Windows button and type ‘performance’ to open the ‘Performance Options’ dialog.

2.    In the ‘Visual Effects’ tab, select ‘custom’.

3.    Deselect ‘Animate windows when minimizing and maximizing’. You can also experiment with disabling other visual effects to see if they affect audio performance.

4.    Click ‘OK’.

If you wish to generally optimize your Windows 10 graphics for the best performance, use the ‘Adjust for best performance’ option.

Set Processor Scheduling to ‘Background services’

This will improve the performance of your audio drivers on your computer. To do this:

1.    Go to Control Panel > System.

2.    Click ‘Advanced system settings’ and select the ‘Advanced’ tab.

3.    Click on ‘Settings…’ to open the ‘Performance Options’ dialog.

4.    Select the ‘Advanced’ tab.

5.    Set Processor scheduling to ‘Background Services’.

6.    Click ‘Apply’ then ‘OK’.

Note: If application delays become apparent in after changing this setting, revert to back to best performance for ‘Programs’ option.

Disable Windows Background Apps

Windows 10, by default, runs a number of Apps in the background (regardless of whether you are using them) which can consume system resources.

1.    Select ‘Settings’ from the Windows Start menu.

2.    Select ‘Privacy’, and then ‘Background Apps’ from the left-hand menu.

3.    Switch off the apps that you do not believe you are using, or that you do not wish to run in the background when you are not using the program.

Disable ‘Windows updates from more than one place’

This Windows feature enables your PC to share Windows updates with other PCs on the local network and the Internet, and can impact your network bandwidth.

1.    Select ‘Settings’ from the Windows Start menu.

2.    Select ‘Update & Security’ > ‘Advanced Options’ > ‘Delivery Optimization’.

3.    Move the slider to ‘Off’.

Disable Automatic Windows Updates

It’s advisable to ensure your PC is running the latest Windows and BIOS versions (unless a specific update is known to interfere with your audio software or hardware).

Windows 10 will automatically keep your PC up to date. However, due to Murphy’s law (‘anything that can go wrong will go wrong’), automatic updates often occur at the worst possible times, hogging vital resources and bandwidth, and unexpected system reboots following an automatic update are usually catastrophic for audio sessions.

There are many resources on the Internet describing how to disable automatic Windows downloads, installations and updates (for example: https://www.windowscentral.com/how-stop-updates-installing-automatically-windows-10).

If you choose to disable automatic updates, you should instead perform manual updates at least every month.

Disable Windows Firewall, Anti-virus and Spyware Software

If you’re able to run your system without connecting to the internet, then these should all be disabled to ensure that no interference occur during audio recording or playback, and to ensure that maximum resources are available.

To remain secure while your firewall and antivirus disabled, it is advisable to disconnect from any Internet connections when working with audio.

Disable Windows File Indexing

File indexing can use valuable processor resources. If you don’t need your PC to be fully indexed, you can disable it for all or selected drives.

To disable file indexing:

1.    Use the Windows key + R to open the ‘Run’ dialog.

2.    Enter: control.exe srchadmin.dll

3.    Click ‘OK’.

4.    In the Indexing Options dialog, click ‘Modify’.

5.    Deselect the locations that you don’t want to be indexed.

6.    Click ‘OK’ and then ‘Close’.

Manage Startup Applications

You can prevent applications from starting automatically via the Startup tab of the Task Manager.

To open Task Manager, hit Ctrl + Shift + Esc, then select the Startup tab.

Right-click an application and select ‘Disable’ to prevent it from starting automatically.

Configure your Paging File

If you need a paging file, increase the virtual memory (swap space). A rule of thumb is to set your virtual memory to twice the size of your RAM, but there are other considerations.

If you’re sure you do not need a paging file, switch it off entirely for all drives. Search for a good resource on swap space / virtual memory / paging file optimization for more information.

Disk Cleanup

Disk Cleanup provides a simple interface to clear out old files from your computer.

1.    Click the Windows button and type ‘disk cleanup’.

2.    Select the drive you want to clean and click ‘OK’.

If you are recording, consider de-fragmenting your drives regularly. Another approach is to use a separate drive for recording, which is regularly reformatted (and thus also de-fragmented).

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