17 Ways to Optimize Your Windows PC for Studio One

Microsoft Windows has been the world’s number one operating system for almost 30 years – it runs on everything from desktop PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, ATM machines, electronic billboards and many other devices. Because of its ubiquity, there are an enormous combination of hardware settings, system settings and audio settings available that can affect how Studio One will run on your machine.

For the computer musician, it is wise to spend some time tweaking your system for audio – it can help improve performance and stability. These steps can reap benefits if you are experiencing problems in audio playback (clicks, pops, dropouts or other artifacts), or if you are simply looking to get the most out of your hardware.

Note: For many of these steps, we will be accessing config options directly from the “Run” Command. You can access run in several ways:

  1. Use the Windows Key + R
  2. Search for it in the Start Menu
  3. Choose it from ‘Accessories’ in the Start Menu


Certainly one of the most dramatic (and expensive) ways to improve your computer’s ability to handle audio is to consider upgrading your hardware. Thankfully, these days, upgrading a machine’s RAM or Storage Drive has never been easier or cheaper.

  1. Maxing out your RAM is by far the simplest way to upgrade.
  2. If possible, and if your budget allows, consider using a Solid State Drive (SSD) instead of a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) for your OS. While much more expensive per Gigabyte, the performance increase offered by an SSD has to be seen to be believed.
  3. A new graphics card, cooling system or power supply can also reap noticeable benefits to a PC’s performance.
  4. If PC fan noise is an issue, look into a silent cooling system.
  5. Make sure you are running a 64 bit version of windows if your processor can support it. This brings numerous benefits including more efficient RAM usage. To check this, head to

Control Panel>System and Security>System


One of the most important things you can do to maintain an optimized system is keep up to date.

  • OS – Check Windows Update regularly for patches and updates. You can do this in Control Panel > System and Security > Windows Update.
  • Program – Make sure you have the latest version of Studio One installed – there are frequent releases for bug fixes and general improvements – you can check for updates in the “Help” Menu.
  • Plugins – if you use third party VST plugins, check occasionally to make sure they are up-to-date. Every plugin will have its own way for you to keep it up-to-date. Some companies (like Native Instruments) allow you to keep your software current by using the NI Service Center.
  • Drivers – Drivers act as the link between software and hardware, and they can be updated from the Device Manager. Look for your soundcard under “Sound, Video and Game Controllers,” right-click and choose “Update Driver Software.”

For audio production, your choice of audio drivers matters, a lot. For low-latency playback on Windows, ASIO4all is the best driver by a considerable margin, and is a must for any Windows audio system. Check their website (www.asio4all.com) for updates.

If you are using am external soundcard, it will usually come with a custom ASIO driver made specifically for that card. This, too, should be kept up-to-date by checking the manufacturer’s website.

Choose the “High Performance” Power Plan

Windows allows you to choose between high performance settings and more power-friendly, eco settings.

  1. Start>Control Panel>Power Options.
  2. Choose “High Performance.”
  3. You can configure more advanced options in “Change Plan Settings.”

Uninstall Any Programs You Do Not Want/Use

New PCs often come with unwanted trialware pre-installed. Similarly, old PCs can often accumulate junk from daily use. Head to Control Panel > Programs and Features to uninstall anything extraneous that you do not use.

Disable Startup Programs

Developers want you to use their programs, so sometimes they make their programs start with windows at startup. This not only slows the speed of booting up the OS, it also allows that program to stay running (and hogging resources) until you manually close it.

To view the list of startup programs:

  1. Click the start menu & search for ‘run’ (or press Windows key + R).
  2. Type ‘msconfig.’
  3. Click the ‘Startup’ tab.
  4. Disable any unnecessary programs.

Disable Aero Visual Effects on Windows 7

By default, Windows 7 uses the Aero Graphics theme which includes things like window transparency, snapping, animations and other fancy visual effects. These use a certain amount of system resources and it is often significant on low-performance or older PCs. To switch to a more basic visual style:

  1. Start>Control Panel>Personalization.
  2. Choose a theme from ‘Basic and High Contrast Themes.’

Disable User Account Control

This step can streamline application installs and updates.

  1. Start> Search for User Account Control Settings.
  2. Move the slider to “Never Notify.”

Disable Visual Effects

Click the start menu & search for ‘run’ (or press Windows key + R)

  1. Type : “SystemPropertiesPerformance” and press Enter.
  2. On the Visual Effects Tab, select ‘Adjust for best performance.’

Disable Windows Firewall, Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware

This can free up system resources and additionally it ensures that you will not be interrupted during recording or playback. Consult the website of the AV programs you use for information on how to temporarily disable them. Windows Firewall can be disabled in the Control Panel.

  • Control Panel>Windows Firewall>Turn Windows Firewall On or Off.

Disable Unnecessary Windows Features

  • Control Panel> Programs> Turn Windows Features on or off.

On my Studio PC, I usually disable

  1. Games (Waste of Time and Space).
  2. Windows Gadget Platform (Major security holes associated with these and Microsoft themselves recommend disabling them).

Disable System Sounds

System Sounds can interrupt audio from your DAW.

  1. Control Panel>Hardware and Sound>Sound.
  2. In the “Sounds” tab, choose “No Sounds.”

 Allocate Processor Resources

  1. Click the start menu & search for ‘run’ (or press Windows key + R).
  2. Type : “SystemPropertiesPerformance” and press Enter.
  3. On the ‘Advanced’ Tab, choose ‘Background Services’ (This is because Audio drivers is treated as background Services, not as programs).

Enable DMA (Direct Memory Access) on Each IDE Channel

This allows data to be transferred directly into RAM and can improve performance. To ensure DMA is enabled

  1. Open device manager (Run>devmgmt.msc).
  2. Expand the IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers category then double click on each one of the IDE channels.
  3. Under the ‘Advanced Settings’ tab, make sure the ‘Enable DMA’ box is ticked in device properties.

Note: this only applies to certain hardware and if this option is not available, you should not worry about this step.

Defragment your Hard Drive(s)

It is good practice to defragment your Hard Drive occasionally- this forces the Drive to store information in a more tidy way, freeing up space and making the information faster to access.

  • Start>All Programs>System Tools> Disk Defragmenter.

Use a Disk and Registry Cleaner

As your computer gets older, it collects unused files and settings which take up hard drive space – making it slower and slower. A good maintenance app like CCleaner cleans up these files and makes it faster with the click of a button. You can download that at their website: https://www.piriform.com/ccleaner.

Disable Unnecessary Windows Services

IMPORTANT: Before disabling a service, ensure that it is safe to do so. Always read the Description field before disabling one. Use common sense.

Example: “iPod Service” is safe to disable, “Windows Driver Foundation” is not.

  1. Run>services.msc.
  2. Right click on a running service and choose “Stop” from the context menu.

Use ReadyBoost

ReadyBoost is a disk caching software component of Windows Vista and later Microsoft operating systems. It allows any compatible mass storage device to be used as a hard-drive memory cache for the purpose of increasing random read access speed to the hard drive.

  1. Plug in a USB flash drive.
  2. Computer>Right Click on the USB drive>Properties.
  3. On the ReadyBoost Tab, choose either “Use this device” or “Dedicate this device to ReadyBoost.”

Perform any/all of these on an older computer and you should see a dramatic performance boost. On a new/newer computer, taking these steps should set you up for minimal working interruptions from your computer and allow you to focus on what’s important.