Equate your shiny new Windows 10 laptop to a stock car you’re about to take on the racetrack. It may be super clean and in top working order, straight from the factory, but it’s not race ready. The following is a guide for Windows 10 optimizations for DJ software, and if you’re new to DEX 3, or any DJ Mixing Software, you should take the following often-overlooked steps to ensure problem free live performance.
Drop the Bloat
Default Windows 10 configurations are far from road-ready. They are loaded with adware that are battle ready and itching to fight to the death over your new computer’s system resources. The last thing you need while DJing a live performance is one of these little critters to win the resource battle and sap valuable resources at critical moments, therefore If a program or a settings is is not crucial it should be uninstall or disabled. More on this below.
Unless you’re Streaming with Party Tyme or SoundCloud in DEX 3, Disable WiFi and Bluetooth
It’s not always cut and dry with performance issues. Web-based applications that rely on WiFi can often be the cause of audio issues or even crashes. Disabling WiFi prevents these operations from being triggered. If Bluetooth is disabled you can prevent other devices from talking to your computer during critical performances.
NOTE: If you are a Party Tyme Karaoke or SoundCloud Go+ subscriber and disabling WiFi is not an option you should be aware of other background/web-based services on your Windows 10 laptop. Uninstall or disable them if you’re going to be online during your live performance. These include services like messenger, Skype, or automatic updates.
Don’t Fill Up
This is a BIG one and often overlooked: Always leave at least 20% of your Windows computer’s hard disk free. If your drive is more than 80% performance will suffer. Don’t do it.
If It’s Not Critical Software to Run your Show, Turn it Off
If the program isn’t absolutely necessary for live performance TURN IT OFF. This means everything, from Drop Box to iTunes. All software will utilize system resources even when running in the background.
Do you USB, Bro?
Doing USB right: Use USB 3.0 devices with 3.0 ports/cables, and USB 2.0 devices with 2.0 ports/cables. While USB 3.0 ports can handle 2.0 devices, they have to slow down to do so. Same goes for 2.0 ports and 3.0 devices. It will still work, but less than optimally. If you use a pro audio USB device or DJ controller this tip shouldn’t be ignored. Also, try not to use a USB Hub. While you may not have the choice due to the various USB devices you’re running, they can cause issues, from latency to noise.
The More RAM the Merrier
Windows 10 will use 2 GB or more of RAM for basic operations all by it’s lonesome. In our experience, on your Windows 10 DJ computer 8GB of RAM is the recommended minimum. If you’re mixing HD quality music videos or using advanced features like Shaders or Text, Image, and Video Overlays you’ll want more. With RAM, the more the merrier.
It’s Getting HOT
Typically you won’t experience this unless it’s a few hours into your event, but if you notice various issues occurring later on, including audio-related problems, it’s very likely heat related. Your Windows 10 computer will attempt to throttle back power to cope with overheating, which can result in a myriad of issues. There are a number of items that may cause it that may not be a poorly running computer or fan. For example, when you use a very small buffer, say around 5ms, your computer processor will work harder than if you used a large buffer (latency) size around 11ms. The surface you have your laptop on can also play a part in overheating. Stick with a flat/hard surface or use a cooling fan or pad if it seems to be a regular problem. Disabling services as previously instructed will also assist in keeping your machine running cool as a cucumber.
Windows 10 System Optimizations for your Windows 10 Computer
High Performance Mode
When mixing music or video live it’s all about performance over energy efficiency. Energy efficiency has it’s place, and we should also try to consumer power whenever possible, but doing so while performing with your Windows 10 DJ laptop isn’t one of those times.
From your Windows Start menu navigate to the Windows Control Panel/Settings:
Go to: System -> Power or System and Security -> Power Options -> Additional Power Settings
Choose “High Performance” as the “Power Plan”. Then click “Change plan settings” and set ‘Put the computer to sleep” to “Never”. Then “Save Changes.”
Kill Other Programs Running in the Background
Programs running in the background will display in your computers system trey (next to your clock at the very bottom right corner of the task bar located at the bottom of your screen). While they aren’t ‘all programs’ that could be running, most display in the system trey. This includes antivirus software and other items like spyware protection, email, Skype, Dropbox, display management, and others. Right-click on each icon system try and look for the ‘exit’ or ‘close’ options for each. With Antivirus, one of the biggest potential resource hogs, you may need to open up the programs control panel in order to locate the disable (or ‘disable real-time shields’)option.
You can also open up your Task Manager to review other applications running in the background that may not appear in your system trey. You can quickly access your Task Manager by clicing Ctrl+Alt+Delete and selecting “Task Manager”.
Disable Windows 10 Updates
What, you say? Yes, you can actually disable Windows 10 updates. While it’s not a single-click operation, it’s well worth the effort as the last thing you need is Windows 10 attempting to download a massive update mid-set. Here’s a great guide with a few methods for ensuring Windows 10 updates don’t bite you in the tukas!
Don’t Go to Sleep, Never Go to Sleep…
It may be a grueling 4-hour + set and you’re tired — but your Windows 10 computer shouldn’t be. If your hard drive goes to sleep while performing your audience will too. To ensure this doesn’t occur, click on the “Start Menu” (bottom left of your task bar at the very bottom of your screen) and select “Settings” -> “Control Panel” and Open the “Power Options”. Set the “Turn Off Hard Disks” setting to “Never”.
Graphics Effects Should be Disabled
Disabling Windows’ graphical effects will free up additional resources. Windows graphics effects can be huge resource hogs, even more so than professional level applications like DEX 3. Even the most high-end machines with dedicated graphics cards can suffer.
To disable the visual effects:
- Right click on your”Start” menu, go-to “Settings”.
- Then to “System” and type in the search box “Advanced System Settings”.
- In the “System Properties” window click the “Advanced” tab.
- Under “Performance” select “Settings”.
- Under the “Visual Effects” tab select “Adjust for Best Performance“.
- Click “Apply” and then “OK” to exit.
Windows may not look as pretty, taking on more of an early windows 7 look and feel, but performance will be increased.
Tweak Processor Scheduling
“Processor Scheduling” is also located in “System Properties”. These settings tell Windows 10 how it should allocate processing power. To ensure it’s placing your DJ software’s performance over the various background services do the following;
- Right click on your Windows 10 “Start” menu and go to “Settings”.
- Select “System” and type in the search box “Advanced System Settings”.
- In the “System Properties” window click the “Advanced” tab.
- Under “Performance” select “Settings” and then the “Advanced” tab.
- Under “Adjust for best performance” select “Programs”.
- Click “Apply” and then “OK”.
Nix User Account Control
User Account Control can be a real pain when it comes to rights and privileges your DJ software may require access to. Disabling User Account Control can prevent possible read/write issues and ensure your PCDJ software runs properly.
- Right-click on your “Start” menu and select “Settings”.
- In the “Search” box type in “User Account Control” and click on “Change User Account Control Settings”
- Set “Never Notify”.Click “OK” and Restart your computer.
Have a Dedicated Graphics Card and Your Mix Music Videos? Do this, Too
If you have a dedicated/discrete graphics card and mix music videos with DEX 3, especially if the videos are HD (720p and above) you’ll also want to make sure DEX 3 is using your high-end graphics card and not your shared graphics card (when applicable). Click here to learn how.