Guest post by: Tibor Schiemann, Vice President of Tuning Technology, TuneUp
While I’m not a wedding expert, I can say with certainty that today’s PCs are equipped to take on many multimedia wedding tasks, such as creating slideshows, rendering beautiful videos and sharing photos online. Unfortunately, these tasks can be a real burden on the critical parts of your machine, causing videos to stutter, distortions in recorded audio and annoying lags in photo editing. To mitigate these hiccups, I’ve outlined three quick and easy steps you can take to ensure your PC is running to its fullest. Keeping your busy schedule in mind, these tasks can be easily completed in just a few hours, so you have more time for craft and creativity!
1. Turn off non-essential Windows background services.
There are several dozen Windows and third-party services running constantly in the background that can significantly slow down your PC. The good news is, Windows has gotten to the point where it pauses or delays services until they’re actually needed. Nonetheless, there are some services that you should turn off, especially when working on heavy-duty multimedia projects like digital scrapbooking.
To do this, hold down the WIN-key and press “R”. Then, type in “services.msc” and hit Enter. Now, go through the list of services and make sure to turn off those that you don’t need on your multimedia machine. To turn off a service, double-click on it, and select “Disabled” from the drop-down menu. The following list describes the services that are, in most cases, safe to turn off on dedicated multimedia rigs.
2. Defragment or TRIM your disk.
As you set out to create your playlist, slideshow or craft file in a timely fashion, it’s important that your hard disk is able to fully process the entire file. Since files are easily fragmented when data is written or deleted, it is vital that all of your applications be read by the hard disk in a continuous manner, so as not to negatively affect performance.
To defrag the disk, fire up the Start menu, and go to “All Programs”, “Accessories”, “System Tools” and “Disk Defragmenter”. Select your Windows disk, and hit “Defragment disk” (Windows 7) or “Defragment” (Windows XP).
In Windows 8, Microsoft integrated the TRIM command into the Disk Defragmenter—so, simply hit “Optimize”. Windows 7 doesn’t offer this, so be sure the TRIM command gets executed regularly. To see if TRIM is enabled, open up a command prompt by clicking on the Start orb and typing “cmd” into the search bar. Right-click on the first result (“cmd”), and click “Run as administrator”. Next, type in the command “Fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify”, and hit Enter. If this returns the result “= 0”, you’re good to go! Otherwise, TRIM isn’t supported and needs to be enabled. Try entering the command “fsutil behavior set DisableDeleteNotify 0”. If that doesn’t help, a firmware upgrade might be necessary to enable TRIM.
3. Improve your sound quality.
If you are having trouble with your sound quality, for example, with video production, you can quickly and easily take advantage of Microsoft’s sound center service. You’ll find it under “Control Panel”, “Hardware and Sound” and “Sound”. Make sure to choose the right sound card, as PCs often come equipped with more than one audio device. Double-click on the device that’s used (for example, the HDMI device or the built-in sound chip). You’ll then have a couple of options to improve sound quality and performance:
- Enhancements: These offer some hardware-accelerated audio improvements, such as “Virtual Surround”, which simulates 5.1 surround sound with two speakers or “Loudness Equalization”, which improves volume for several applications, including media players and video-cutting apps.
- Advanced: If you’re trying to record audio with the best possible quality, make sure both the audio application (for instance, Audacity) and Windows are set to the same sample rate and bit depth. Under the “Advanced” tab, you can increase the quality with the “Default Format” setting. The “Exclusive Mode” setting is good for situations in which two simultaneously running applications cause stuttering. If this happens, just turn off both settings and try it again.
By following the simple steps outlined above, brides will be able to show off their creative side without worrying about unnecessary glitches and ensure that their DIY wedding video or other multimedia project can be up to professional standards!
This weekend DIY project for prepping your PC was written by our guest, Tibor Schiemann of TuneUp. Thanks, Tibor! Now, let us know what questions you have, and good luck prepping your PC this weekend!