• W Not to be modified w/o approval of D. M. LaBorde indows ME TWEAKS
  • Not to be modified w/o approval of D. M. LaBorde April 2001 tweakwinve (twkwve)

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    Not to be modified w/o approval of D. M. LaBorde
    April 2001


    Version 1.0


    I strongly suggest first time readers review this (first) page before proceeding.
    TWEAKWinVE (Tweak Windows for Video Editing) was developed for two Microsoft Windows Operating Systems (Windows Me and Windows 2000 ). The document is a separate file for each operating system. I have tried to structure this in two formats : 1.) Discussion Detailed Section - Each tweak is discussed in detail. How and/or why the tweak works followed by step-by-step “how-to-do”. Many include screen captures for reference. 2.) Quick Reference Table - Developed for fast review and rundown. Those with OS experience can quickly “rundown” the list and make the appropriate checks & changes. The table is setup with a column for entry of current values should the reader want to keep track of changes made.
    The concept is that a number of small changes can add up to a significant impact on PC performance. Many of the “tweaks” singularly do not represent a noticeable difference but added together they do make a significant difference. There are, however, a few listed that will make a large impact by itself. After the “tweaks” were made; the “Available System Resources” for Win Me was 99 % (just after boot-up) - Win 2000 had 18 processes running & 97 % available memory.. Both operating systems were put through paces with typical editing / capturing functions - rendering and “RealTime” transitions/filters. Both were VERY STABLE. Interestingly, the WinME seem to function just as well as the Win 2000 i.e. very little difference in response time when changing RT screens, etc,. Testing time was limited so long editing segments were not done for all test. The NT coded system would be expected to (possibly) produce more stability. That was not necessarily experienced or given the opportunity to do so.

    Each Tweak was tested to determine the impact with regards to video editing not other types of PC usage (gaming, etc.). All test were done using the Matrox RT-2000 editing system with Premiere 6.0. This system can produce high processing loads on the operating system and it makes an excellent selection to troubleshoot (replicate high-end use). The computer system used for testing could be considered medium to high-end for 2 Qtr 2001. It utilizes a PIII – 800 Processor and has 512 megs of SDRAM 133. System drive was purposely set on IDE ATA-33 (UMDA mode) – slower swapfile (pagefile) response, etc.. The Audio HD was a separate UMDA-66. Video drives were on an ATA-66 RAID device. The OS hard drives were utilized in a portable caddy so that each could be swapped and the same video scenes tested – edited, etc.

    The Internet is riddled with information of “tweaks” and or fixes. Many of these are unproven, dangerous and/or not applicable to editing processing power. I have gleaned through many of these and include those worthy. This document would become too large and impractical to list all failures or “snake-oil settings or “tweak utilities”.

    "The difference between theory and real life is that - in theory, there is no difference between theory and real life, but in real life, there is a difference."  Although all settings have been tested; this author cannot be responsible for entry errors by the individual and/or the “state” that a problematic system may already be in (void of permanent recovery). It would be wise to make a recovery disk or back-up for system restore. No money is solicited just pass on this information to help others experience the exciting field of videography. For new findings and/or problems found in current settings (for future updates) send to : dlaborde@shabakah.net.sa

    Tweaking” steps are why some systems seem to run forever, are rock solid, and suffer none or trivial resource leaks; while others are memory sieves that have to be rebooted on a regular and routine basis. You can take time to read this and make the adjustments or later make time to troubleshoot system freezes, crashes and loose critical editing time.

    Not to be modified w/o approval of D. M. LaBorde
    indows ME TWEAKS

    Version 1.0

    I have read and/or heard analysis by many videographers claiming Windows Me was problematic and slower than Win 98SE. Typically, vague results or just blanket remarks were made with no hard conclusive evidence given. I have analyzed and tweaked a ME system for video editing. From my test; I find that it can be as or more responsive and stable than my experience with Win 98 / SE. This is especially true with regards to multi-media type programs. I do believe some of the negative information given was due to problematic setups and/or drivers in the early months after introduction. I did, however, find that more tweaking was needed to gain the desired response for VE. Video Editing manufactures (such as Matrox) are moving support to Win ME. Hence my tweaks and analysis are with ME. Most of these are transferable to Win98 systems but not guaranteed to be as effective. Many of the tweaks given are similar to those used in Win 98 editing days, however, some values (formula) settings have changed so experienced readers are encouraged to read all areas even those they are familiar with.

    Many of the “tweaks” given will initiate a message that a shutdown is required for the change to take place. It is suggested that the viewer not cancel shutdown for more than 2 or 3 changes before initiating a reboot. All the tweaks have been tested but any given condition (registry settings and equipment drivers) can vary enough (on an individual’s machine) that a conflict is possible though not likely. Should one occur, a small number of changes; can make troubleshooting much easier. If equipment / registry conflicts occur; a reboot into safe mode should allow one to return to previous conditions, etc.

    System Performance and Preparation (“Success is in the details”)

    The more RAM you have; the better. With today's memory prices you might want to optimize your current memory system. Video Editing (VE) users should have at least 128 MB RAM to get decent performance in Win ME. My test have shown that Premiere 6.0 responds much better with at least 384 MB of RAM but 128 MB (with proper tweaks) is achievable and effective in RealTime. The latest DirectX 8.0a and 8.0bda patch were used and very responsive / stable.

    Before doing any significant a number of “tweaks” it is advisable (and actually beneficial to performance success) to do a number of preparatory items. This places the OS in a more responsive- receptive mode for “tweaking”.

    1. Do a disk scan and repair to clear up bad sectors.

    2. Do a disk defrag to compact and un-fragment data.

    3. Scan registry for fragments and compact (compress). To do this safely and effectively programs such as SystemSuite or Easy Cleaner or Norton Utilities. They are much better than tools in Windows. Compressing removes any unused space, making the registry file smaller & faster.

    The “TWEAKS”

    1. Virtual memory – Windows uses a dynamic virtual memory manager to handle Swapfile duties. It provides more memory to applications than is physically present in the computer RAM (It uses hard disk space to simulate RAM). The amount of RAM in the computer plus the size of the “Swapfile” equals the total virtual memory size. Windows uses a dynamic Swapfile that remains at a size of 0K until it is needed. The Swapfile can grow to use all the available space on the hard disk if it is necessary. This is the default setting for the “swapfile”. With Video Editing it is more efficient to set this yourself rather than let Windows dynamically manage it. When Win manages the file it can increase or shrink and eventually gets distributed (fragmented) over the disk taking more time to access.

    Calculating Virtual memory - Before you can set your Virtual memory you’ll want to calculate what to set it too. Some recommend using a general formula - Physical RAM X 2. This can, however, be incorrect. Using that formula, a person with 64 MB RAM should set 128MB, while a person with 128MB RAM should set 256MB. Clearly the person with little RAM needs a greater amount of Virtual memory than the person with a lot of RAM. I suggest RAM X 2.5 for systems with 256 MB or less and RAM X 2 for those above 256 MB. Selecting a fixed minimum swapfile will drastically reduce the thrashing your hard disk that it takes from 98/ME's “dynapage”

    1.       Right click on My computer & select Properties. Select the Performance tab.

    2.     Select Virtual memory. Choose Let me specify my own virtual memory setting.

      1. Set it as shown below (substituting in your own values of course). The values shown below are for a system with 512 MB of physical RAM.

    Once you have set your Virtual memory size you can further optimize it. The Swapfile is best placed on the outer edge of the hard disk it is located on. Windows 9x\Me Disk Defragmenter will not do this. You’ll need a disk defragmenter like Norton Speed Disk or McAfee Nut’s & Bolts to do so.

    I do not recommended that you put your Swapfile onto a separate partition of your system drive as this will increase the time to access it & increases hard drive head movement as well. Instead, it is recommended that it be placed on the most used partition of the least used drive. This will mean the C:\ drive where Windows is installed for users with a single hard drive. If you have another hard drive installed you should use that instead. To change where the Swapfile is located, change the Hard disk location when setting Virtual memory (see display above). Do not place the swap file on your video disk as high editing and capture activity can cause conflicts / delays. Ideally you would want to place your Swapfile onto a separate hard drive, on a separate IDE channel (if possible do not put 2 high activity hard drives on the same IDE channel). I currently have mine on the system drive. Again, the swapfile should go onto the outer edge of that hard drive using a Utility Program like Norton or Nut’s & Bolts, etc

    Virtual Memory (continued)

    Save the changes you have made & reboot for these settings to take effect. When you change to select your own settings versus letting Win do it you will get an alarm just acknowledge and proceed.

    One added note - during certain encoding processes i.e. encoding to mpeg-1 or 2 with software programs like Tmpgenc / Panasonic you may receive an out of memory error while doing a long segment coding. Set your MAX virtual memory setting to Drive size (MB’s) and than reset to normal after the encoding process.

    2.) Hard Drive Service - The Swapfile exists on your hard drive and this is much slower than using RAM. So speeding up your hard drive can improve Swapfile performance a lot. Although more RAM is highly recommended, having a faster hard drive will aide. Make sure you regularly run Scandisk to fix any errors/ sectors on the hard drive

    System Properties contains important settings which are used to improve hard drive performance and for troubleshooting purposes – hence it is in the troubleshooting tab.

    Right click on My Computer, select Properties. Select the Performance tab. Now hit the File system button. Go to the Troubleshooting tab.

    Disable new file sharing & locking semantics. This setting controls file-locking mechanisms in Windows. Tick (Disabled) this setting if you are currently experiencing problems with certain programs. However, it should be used as a last resort - your system will perform optimally with this setting “Unticked” (Enabled).

    Disable write-behind caching for all drives. This setting tells the computer to cache all disk writing operations to that particular drive. Basically, this means that a certain amount of what is being written to the disk is actually being stored in the RAM and isn't written to the disk until either the cache starts overflowing (in which case it starts writing from the bottom of the cache) or the computer is shut down. Enabling this setting generally increases performance but in intensive editing mode and real-time operation RAM can become overloaded and also fragmented to actually reduce performance. Leave it ticked (disable write-behind) unless have large amounts of RAM and then even do high use (intensive editing test) to verify effectiveness.

    Disable System Restore (Windows Millennium only). Ticking this setting will semi-disable Windows ME’s system restore capability. It is (semi) in it still replaces/rebuilds some files, e.g. autoexec.bat. The benefit of Ticking this setting is that it will lessen the amount of hard drive activity used to build System Restore files. This will improve editing system performance significantly.

    3.) Vcache

    By default Windows will determine these settings based on RAM installed (the Min/MaxFileCache). With Video Editing is better to set Vcache settings yourself. Vcache is limited to a maximum cache size of 800 MB – this really shouldn’t matter to anyone but those with excessive amounts of RAM (Greater than 512MB). On such high RAM systems not limiting the Vcache has been known to cause problems).

    Click on Start, Run. Type in system.ini & hit Enter. Scroll down to the [vcache] section. Under that heading Add/Edit the following lines :

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    Not to be modified w/o approval of D. M. LaBorde April 2001 tweakwinve (twkwve)

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