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Old 06-26-2007, 11:25 AM
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Default Windows XP and Pro Tools Setup and General Troubleshooting

Optimizing Windows XP for Pro Tools

This document details system changes that are recommended (or required) to optimize the performance of a Pro Tools 7 system on Windows XP.
It is divided into Control Panel Settings, Registry Modifications and Other Settings.


To implement the following Control Panel Settings go to Start > Settings > Control Panel and double-click the appropriate icon. You may need to switch to ‘Classic View’ first to see individual items.

Disable Automatic Updates
Automatic Updates > check “Turn off Automatic Updates”

Switch Off Desktop Background Image
Display > Desktop > set to “None”

This uses additional graphics memory that can be used elsewhere.

Disable Automatic Desktop Cleanup Wizard
Display > Desktop > Customize Desktop > General tab > uncheck “Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard Every 60 Days”

Disable Screen Saver
Display > Screen Saver > set to “None”

With a fast computer it’s not actually necessary to disable this. It is in fact probably better to leave it enabled and increase the Wait time to a sensible value, instead of disabling the screensaver altogether.

Disable Simple File Sharing
Folder Options > View > uncheck “Use simple file sharing”

Disable Offline Files
Folder Options > Offline Files > uncheck “Enable Offline Files”

Switch Off Power Schemes
Power Options > Power Schemes > select Always On

Also, set “Turn off monitor”, “Turn off hard disks” and “System standby” to Never

If supported, also consider deactivating power management in the BIOS.

Switch Off Hibernation
Power Options > Hibernate > uncheck “Enable hibernation”

When this is on, Windows XP creates a file called hiberfil.sys to store the contents of RAM in the event of the computer automatically going into "hibernate" mode. The size of this file will be determined by the amount of RAM installed in the system – for example, with 512MB RAM installed a file of 512MB will be created.

Set Visual Effects to Minimum
System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Visual Effects tab > select “Adjust for best performance”

Graphic effects, such as menu animations, dissolving menus and "tip" pop-up windows all require additional processing power.

Set Processor Scheduling to Background Services
System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > select “Background Services”

This has the effect of switching from more frequent and smaller CPU time slices (programs) to less frequent and longer CPU time slices (background services).

Set Paging File Size
System > Advanced > Performance Settings > Advanced tab > Virtual Memory “Change” button > set to Custom size of 1024 or lower (Initial and Maximum)

Disable Automatic Restart
System > Advanced > Startup and Recovery Settings > uncheck “Automatically restart”

Disable Error Reporting
System > Advanced > Error Reporting > check “Disable error reporting”

Disable Remote Assistance and Remote Desktop
System >Remote > uncheck “Allow Remote Assistance invitations to be sent from this computer” and uncheck “Allow users to connect remotely to this computer”

Disable System Restore
Start > Settings > Control Panel> System > System Restore tab > check “Turn off System Restore on all drives”

This lets you roll Windows XP back to a previous state if there is a system problem but it requires continual monitoring of hard drive activity, and runs automatically in the background using up resources. If deciding to leave it on then it may be worth checking that the frequency of the checkpoint is set to 24 hours and not every two minutes. Another option would be to leave it turned on for the system drive and switch it off completely on the media drive(s) as there should be no drivers or programs on the media drive(s) to be restored.

Set the checkpoint to be once per day by setting the registry key below to decimal value 86400 (number of seconds in a day):

Start > Run > type “regedit” > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > Software > Microsoft > WindowsNT > CurrentVersion > SystemRestore > RPGlobalInterval

Disable Hide Inactive Icons
Start > Settings > Taskbar and Start Menu > Taskbar tab > uncheck “Hide Inactive Icons”

Disable Fast User Switching
Start > Settings > Control Panel > User Accounts > Change the way users log on or off > uncheck “Use Fast User Switching”

Registry Modifications

To implement the following registry modifications you must launch the Windows Registry Editor. To do this click on Start > Run, type in “regedit” and hit OK.

Speed Up Menus
HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Desktop > set “MenuShowDelay” to 1

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

Disable NTFS Last Access Time Logging (if using NTFS-formatted drives)
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Filesystem > add a new DWORD value called
“NtfsDisableLastAccessUpdate” and set to 1

This is designed to prevent the NTFS log buffer in physical memory from becoming filled with timestamp update records. Adding this entry to the registry will make directories list faster.

Disable CDROM AutoPlay
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Services > Cdrom > set AutoRun to 0

Also, do the following:

Right-click Start > Explore > right-click each removable drive (CD, DVD etc) > Properties > AutoPlay tab > for each type of content check “Select an action to perform” and choose “Take no action”


Below are some other settings to improve the overall performance of a Windows XP Pro Tools system.

Disable nVidia Display Driver Service (required when using AVoption|V10 or Avid Mojo)
Start > My Computer > Manage > Services > Right-click the nVidia service > choose Properties and disable

Disable Disk Indexing Service
Right-click Start > Explore > right-click each hard disk > Properties > General tab > uncheck “Allow Indexing Service to index this disk for fast file searching”

Disable Driver Signing Warnings (temporarily)
Before installing any Pro Tools cards, temporarily disable the Driver Signing warning option. This expedites and automates much of the installation process. If you do not temporarily disable this option, warning messages (that you are installing an unsigned driver) will appear for each DSP chip detected during software installation.

System > Hardware tab > Driver Signing button > Select “Ignore—Install the software anyway and don’t ask for my approval”

Formatting and Configuring an Audio Drive


1. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage
2. Under Storage, choose Disk Management
3. In the Disk Management window, right-click the hard drive you will use for audio and choose Format
4. For optimal disk performance, select 32K from the Allocation unit size pull-down. This increases how efficiently audio data is written to and
read from the drive
5. Make sure the Quick Format option is deselected, then click Start, and follow the on-screen instructions

Note that Pro Tools only supports Basic drive types for Audio

Defragmenting an Audio Drive
Periodically defragment audio drives to maintain system performance. To defragment an audio drive:

1. Right-click My Computer and choose Manage
2. Under Storage, choose Disk Defragmenter
3. In the Disk Defragmenter window, choose the drive you want to defragment
4. Click the Defragment button and follow the on-screen instructions

Disable Unnecessary Startup Items and Services
As with other Windows versions, programs can be started automatically by Windows XP. It is worth checking to see what programs (if any) your Windows XP system is starting by itself on startup, and what other ‘services’ are triggered to run during normal operation as these may be using valuable processing power.

To investigate which programs are automatically starting when Windows starts use the Windows XP msconfig tool:

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 automatically start when Windows starts.

To investigate the status of any services that may be automatically started by Windows use the Services Manager:

To launch the Windows Services Manager, right-click on ‘My Computer’ and choose ‘Manage’. Click on ‘Services’ (under ‘Services and Applications’) to see a complete list of services. Each one will either be set to ‘Automatic’ (started by Windows when needed), ‘Manual’ (started by the user when needed) or ‘Disabled’ (cannot be started). To change the state of a service, double-click it.

Beware: If you are not sure about what something does it is always wise to try and find out before disabling it as it could render the computer partially or completely unusable! A useful resource for finding out the function of the regular Windows services is found at:

Remove Unused Items
One of the features that Windows XP does not offer that Windows 98SE did is the ability to customise the installation process by selecting/removing only required components. This means that any Windows XP components that are not required will need to be removed after installation has completed. Removing unused components will not generally improve system performance, but you will gain extra disk space and "trim down" the XP environment by removing programs that aren’t needed.

Firstly, go to the “Add or Remove Programs” Control Panel and scan through the list to see what additionally installed programs can be removed. Then select “Add/Remove Windows Components” to see which components of Windows can be removed.

There is a slight problem, however, in that Windows XP “hides” certain components so that they can't be seen on the list and subsequently, cannot be removed. There is a very simple way to make these reappear so that they can be removed, as follows:

1. Display the contents of system folders and show hidden files and folders:

Start > Settings > Control Panel > Folder Options > View > check “Display the contents of system folders” and “Show hidden files and folders”, and uncheck “Hide extensions for known file types”

2. Launch Notepad and edit the sysoc.inf file found in C:\Windows\inf. Do a ‘Replace...’ for the word ‘hide’ (leave ‘match case’ unchecked), replacing ‘hide’ with nothing. Save the file (as a .inf not .txt!).

3. Go back to the “Add or Remove Programs” 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.

4. Reboot after removing components to take effect.

Typical components that can be removed are (list not exclusive):
  • Accesibility Options
  • Indexing service
  • Update Root Certificates
  • Windows Automatic Updates
  • Windows Messenger
  • Games
  • Desktop Wallpaper
  • Communications
  • MSN Explorer

These steps can be useful when receiving random 'assertion' or 'neoaccess' errors (especially when recording or saving) or other problems when launching Pro Tools.

Delete DAE and Pro Tools preference files

1. Start Menu > My Computer > Local Disk(C:) or correct hard drive (click "show the contents of this drive" if the files aren't displayed) > Program Files > Common Files > Digidesign > DAE > Right-click on the DAE Prefs folder and delete.
2. Start Menu > My Computer > Local Disk(C:) > Documents and Settings > "Your user folder" > Application Data > Right-click on the Digidesign folder and delete. (If the Application Data folder is not showing: Tools Menu > Folder Options > View Tab > Select "Show Hidden Files and Folders" > Click Apply and OK.)

Delete the Digidesign Databases folders for all hard drives

1. Start Menu > My Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Digidesign Databases > Right-click on the Digidesign Databases folder and delete. (Repeat for all hard drives.)
2. Start menu > My Computer > Local Disk (C:) > Program Files > Digidesign > Pro Tools > Databases > Right-click on the Volumes folder and delete.

Quicktime is required for proper operation of Pro Tools in WinXP systems - please make sure you have Quicktime installed. You can download the latest version at

Please download and install the Pro Tools Tech Support Folder , which has tools and utilities to assist in diagnosing and troubleshooting potential problems you may encounter.

Note: To enable other users to help you, please include all of your system details when posting an issue to the DUC; Pro Tools hardware, Pro Tools software version, CPU, OS version, Motherboard make/model, chipset, amount of RAM, type of hard drives used, etc.

- Please - Use SiSoftware's Sandra Lite application to generate a full system profile:

Under SiSoftware Sandra, click on "Download & Buy" to download the free Sandra Lite version or purchase other versions. After installing Sandra, click on the 'Hardware' tab and run the 'Computer Overview', then copy and paste into your post here on the DUC.

Pro Tools Technical Support, Registration and Setup Videos

These videos have information on the following topics:
  • Product Registration
  • Technical Support - Searching Answerbase and getting answers to your questions
  • Pro Tools System Compatibility - How to determine if your system is compatible
  • Mbox 2 family - Information on what's in the box
  • Authorizing Ignition Pack 2
Avid Audio Tech Support
Help us help you - read this before posting
Support FAQ

Last edited by DigiTechSupt; 03-10-2009 at 03:07 PM. Reason: Added Sandra info