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SERATO HELP-Computer optimization guide for Windows users

Note: When you see this arrow : > it will mean “and then select”.

1.Turn Off Hard Drive Sleep

Make sure your hard drive is not set to sleep or turn off after a short amount of time.

Start > Control Panel > Power Options and set the ‘Turn Off Hard Disk’ option to ‘Never’.

Also in this window should be the options for ‘System Standby’ and ‘System Hibernation’ – we recommend you set these both to ‘Never’ aswell. 

Serato DJ software should only be used from a fresh system start-up, if you are running Scratch Live, ITCH or Serato DJ Intro after it has been in hibernation or sleep-mode the computer is likely to not be running at 100% and you can run into all kinds of audio/waveform dropout issues etc. (Kind of like how you are not 100% when you first wake-up).

2. Turn Off Wireless Networking  

A commonly reported issue on our forums is an ill-timed Wi-Fi connection with a clubs link. Several users have reported problems with their Wi-Fi cards connecting to a wireless network while DJ-ing, this can happen even without your browser being open. Any Bluetooth technology inside your PC will also be attempting to connect with other Bluetooth enabled devices

The subsequent data transfers will be taking your CPU cycles and requesting the use of your USB drivers, leading to a possible USB dropout. You also run the risk of being interrupted mid-set for a version upgrade.

A good routine to start is to disable wireless devices before DJing in a performance situation.

To disable wireless-networks go to : Start > Connect To > Show All Connections and right-click > disable any LAN or High-Speed Internet connections.

3.Turn Off Automatic Updates

We recommend turning off automatic updates. It is easy to do and can prevent potential problems of update installations during a gig which can effect Scratch Live / ITCH / Serato DJ Intro’s performance. Also, after every update you are prompted to restart your computer – If you are in the middle of a set you don’t want to accidentally hit ‘enter’ when that pops up do you!

To turn off Automatic Updates go to Start > Control Panel > Automatic Updates and select ‘Turn Off Automatic Update’, press OK.

4. Other Quick and Effective Tweaks :

1. Set graphic acceleration to full. You can do this by going to your desktop, right clicking and clicking on “Properties” then on “Settings”, “Advanced” and the “Performance” tab (this is sometimes called the ‘Toubleshoot’ tab. Make sure the Hardware Acceleration slider is set to “full” to reduce the load on your CPU.

2. Processor Scheduling should be set to “background services” and not “programs”.
Start > Settings > Control Panel > System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced Tab > Background Services

3. Disable the screen saver
Right-click Desktop > Properties > Screen Saver > None

For additional and more advanced tips on XP optimization check out this site here : http://www.audioforums.com/windows-xp-optimization.php

 

NOTE: Windows 7 and Windows Vista share many common elements. You should find the majority of the following tweaks work on both platforms.

Windows 7 and Vista comes set-up for a wide spectrum of users, hence the user interface is designed to look attractive, play nice sounds and provide the best web browsing multimedia experience it can. Due to all it’s bells and whistles, Vista has a higher system overhead than it’s predecessor XP and on lower spec machines can provide less than optimal performance when running a realtime application such as Scratch Live / ITCH / Serato DJ Intro.

For newer machines we recommend Windows 7 , especially if the manufacturer has shipped this new machine with Windows 7 pre installed by default.

If you’ve purchased a new PC with Windows 7 pre installed or you have up-graded your OS to Windows 7 recently you may not be aware there are several changes you can make to optimize your system for running Serato DJ software. This guide doesn’t cover absolutely everything you can do to maximise realtime audio performance on a Windows machine but is intended as a good starting point. Those who are hardcore tweakers there are several web sites with further in-depth information that we link to at the end of the article.

Note: When you see this symbol: > it will mean “and then select”.

1. When I’m 64-bit

Lets start the ball rolling with a simple check for any brand new Windows 7 users. If you already have Scratch Live, ITCH or Serato DJ Intro running with Windows 7 then ignore this one.

Windows 7 comes in two different versions, 32-bit and 64-bit. Check your PC for which version of Windows 7 you are using, to find out:

Click Windows start > right click computer > properties and look for system type shown below.

2. Processor scheduling

Processor scheduling allows you to instruct your central processing unit (CPU) on which processes are given priority. The normal setting will devote processing power to programs first followed by background services which include audio device drivers.

To get better performance from audio programs you can request your processor to handle background services first. This feature should enable your PC to give your audio driver a higher priority which can result in better real-time audio performance.

We would recommend you perform a test to check any change in speed or any adverse effects like USB dropouts. There may be a large difference or it may be negligible depending on what else you use your PC for. This tweak is easily reversible if you need to.

To make background services a priority:

Windows start > right click computer > properties > advanced system settings > advanced tab > performance > settings > advanced tab and set processor scheduling to Background services as shown below.

3. Windows Security settings

Warning: If you use your PC online then ignore this tip. This is only intended for people who will never be going online as this tweak will affect your online security settings.

The security centre is designed to keep out intruders, spyware, virus etc. It will also increase your CPU load leaving Scratch Live / ITCH / Serato DJ Intro with less processing power. To disable the security centre features and free up more resources for you:

Windows start > control panel > security centre >

1. Windows update > change settings > select never check for updates as shown below > OK and close update window.

2. Windows firewall > change settings > and select Off as shown below > OK > close the firewall window.

3. Windows defender > tools > options and uncheck “automatically scan my computer” as shown below > save > close the defender window.

Windows will carry on reminding you that your PC is at risk. Go to “change the way security centre alerts me” > “don’t notify me and don’t display the icon” as shown below.

4. Start-up services

When you turn on your PC, Windows 7 will start pre-loading your programs helping you reduce the load time when you open them. A half-launched program is helpful for the general user but it comes at the cost of you losing processing power.

By disabling your startup configuration you are helping Windows 7 allocate more CPU cycles to running programs. Another side effect is that Windows 7 will boot-up faster.

Follow these instructions very carefully, disabling the wrong thing can really mess up your machine.

To disable 3rd party startup items:
1. Windows start > Run and type ‘msconfig’ press OK > startup tab and turn off anything non-essential (iTunes helper, virus scanner etc)
2. Click ‘OK’ and ‘restart’. Check the ‘OK’ box on reboot.

For those who want to disable as many non-essential services as possible you can be more aggressive. Only do this if you know what you are doing and are confident you are not turning off anything important.

To disable system services:
1. Windows start > Run and type msconfig’ press OK > services tab. In the service tab select the box at the bottom of the screen to ‘hide all Microsoft services’ Then choose ‘disable all’.

If you disable something you need enabled then simply go back into ‘msconfig’ and reverse the items you need or to reverse the whole procedure choose the ‘enable all’ option in each tab.

5. Hard drive properties

This tip is really a check to make sure certain options on your hard drive have been selected. These selections should come as standard on new out-of-the-box machines, however if you or someone else has been using the PC for other projects then it’s a good idea to check this is still in place:

Windows start > computer > right click on your hard drive(s) > properties and under the general tab, make sure ‘Compress this drive to save disk space’ is un-checked and ‘Index this drive for faster searching’ is un-checked, as shown below.

6. Wi-fi and other devices

A commonly reported issue on our forums is an ill-timed Wi-Fi connection with a clubs link. Several users have reported problems with their Wi-Fi cards connecting to a wireless network while DJ-ing, this can happen even without your browser being open. Any Bluetooth technology inside your PC will also be attempting to connect with other Bluetooth enabled devices

The subsequent data transfers will be taking your CPU cycles and requesting the use of your USB drivers, leading to a possible USB dropout. You also run the risk of being interrupted mid-set for a version upgrade.

A good routine to start is to disable wireless devices before DJing in a performance situation.

To disable your on-board devices:

Right click computer > manage > device manager > right click on any device and choose disable.

Internet and wireless cards are found under ‘network adapters’ as shown below.

7. Gadgets

Sidebar gadgets on the right-hand side of your desktop provides some useful information for people who need to keep up to date with current news. It also takes processing power from your CPU and space on the screen.

By disabling it while you are using Serato DJ software you will free-up some screen space and CPU cycles.

If gadgets are enabled, right click on its icon at the bottom of the screen > properties and uncheck ‘start sidebar when windows starts’ as shown below.

8. Individualize

Windows 7 offers you the chance to really customize your PC by changing the color options, animations, screen saver and event sounds. Some of these options can interfere with a smooth running of your system by interrupting you and taking up processing power.

To personalize your PC right click on the desktop > personalize window

1. Screensavers are necessary to stop burned-in images but any period of in-activity will turn your screen saver on and you will lose sense of whats happening on the screen. Tweak your screen saver settings to a reasonable amount of time or select (None) before playing out for non-stop screen action.

2. Sounds – imagine being plugged into the clubs sound system and a Windows 7 event triggers a related sound effect. Set your sound schemes to ‘No Sounds’ to avoid this embarrassment.

9. Aero

The new visual design for windows is certainly attractive with its new transparencies and live icons. However Aero effects will be intensive on your CPU cycles when actually these should be dedicated to processing audio.

To disable all Aero effects – Windows start > right click computer > properties > advanced system settings > advanced tab > performance > settings > visual effects tab > adjust for best performance as shown below.

10. Power settings

The power settings on your machine allow you to change when your PC will automatically power down and hibernate if not in use. This could be a problem if your out DJing, you need to leave the PC alone for a while and it powers down!

By changing the option to ‘never’ power down you can have a no-sleep DJ performance. To access this tweak:

Windows start > control panel > power options > high performance > change plan settings > select ‘never’ for all options as shown below.

11. Defragment

When you delete any data from your hard drive it will leave an empty space. The new data written to the hard drive will start filling in the empty space, however if the new data is larger than the empty space, it will be split into two and the remaining data written to the next empty space. Over time this situation leads to your hard drive having to work much harder than it should do, as it searches for file sections.

Defragmenting your drives places data for each file type next to each other. All your music file types will be grouped together, making it quicker and easier for your hard drive to read the data which will increase the stability of your Serato DJ software.

We would recommend you regularly defragment your hard drive and external drive and don’t allow your hard drive to become more than 75% full.

To defragment your drive: Windows start > computer > right click on the chosen drive > properties > tools > defragment now.

Vista will let you set a regular time to defrag so you don’t have to remember. We recommend you set a regular time which is during a period of inactivity and roughly fits between 100 hours of use.

12. Further reading

The following links are some of the web research we carried out before writing this article. They offer further information regarding Windows 7 / Vista and audio programs.

www.audioforums.com
www.keyboardmag.com
www.soundonsound.com
www.musictechmag.co.uk
www.createdigitalmusic.com
www.tweakvista.com

Disclaimer – The information in this article is provided for free, please acknowledge that it would be unreasonable to hold us liable in respect of the information. We endeavour to ensure that the information provided is correct, so we will not be liable for any direct, indirect or consequential loss or damage arising in connection with this article.

Remember – Always back up important data and or create a system restore point before making any major changes to your operating system.

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