Streamline Your Computer For Music

Streamline Your Computer For Music

Using Your Windows XP Computer For Music

I have a friend who was using his computer for music. He was trying to record some songs on his computer. He was having some problems but was reluctant to tell me about them in case he came over as an idiot! So, being the person he is! He plundered on trying to figure out how to get over the problems.

Streamline your computer for music

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One of the problems he had was his connection to the internet; and it’s intrusion on his recordings with nice little Microsoft sounds telling him he had new mail! His solution to this was to unplug the connection.

But there is an easier way to optimise your computer for music!

This advice is based around Windows XP but equivalent issues and settings or their derivatives can be found in all versions of Microsoft Windows.

After many chats over the phone and messenger services, I finaly dragged it out of him. His computer appeared to be getting a bit slow, plus the noises from his internet connection, were making it difficult and frustrating to get a decent recording.

So I ran him through a few things to try to prepare his computer for music.

  1. Run the Disk Cleanup
  2. Uninstall any redundant or unused programs
  3. Run the DeFragmenter
  4. Set up a New Profile

Disk Cleanup

From the Start menu, choose,

All Programs: Accessories: System Tools: Disk Cleanup

This will scan the chosen drive and highlight any unecessary and redundant files, such as downloaded Program files, Temporary internet files, Offline web pages, Recycle bin files etc. These can all be deleted. This can free up quite a bit of room!

Uninstall Any Redundant Or Unused Programs

From the Start Menu, choose,

Control Panel: Add or Remove Programs.

Wait untill the list is populated and then go through it and uninstall any programs that you never use! We all install things that we think we might need or that might come in handy! The fact is, we all put too much crap onto our hard drives!

You might be surprised by how much room these programs take up!

Run The DeFragmenter

Now that you’ve removed some of the chaff! It’s time to reorganise what’s left.

From the Start Menu, choose,

All Programs: Accessories: System Tools: Disk Defragmenter.

Choose the drive to defrag and let it go!

Depending on the size of your drive, this process can take some considerable time. When I Defrag, I set it in motion just before I go to bed, and leave it running overnight!

Set Up A New Profile

Setting up a New Profile is probably the best thing you can do if you use your computer for everything! (If you use your computer specifically for music recording and nothing else, why are you reading this?) I use my computer for surfing the net, graphics, video, and music creation. I can’t afford a seperate computer for recording. So I have a ‘Profile’ set up for music recording. Basically, when I boot up my computer, I have the option of using it for general activities, or for music production. With a seperate profile, you can turn off or disable anything that is not required! Like the printer, Scanner, internet connection etc. this frees up memory and processor capability and, keeps you focused on the task in hand! No more annoying pop ups telling you you have more junk in your inbox!

From the Start Menu, choose,

Control Panel: System:

A System Properties dialogue box appears; choose the Hardware Tab; and in the lower pane choose; Hardware Profiles.

Another Dialogue box appears.

Now you should see the profiles set for your computer. If you haven’t been here before, the only profile you’ll see is ‘Profile 1’ (Current) If this is not highlighted, select it now.


From the list of options below the window, choose, ‘Copy’ You will be prompted to name it! Then click OK. Now select the new profile in the pane and click ‘Properties’ and select the ‘Hardware Profiles Selection’ box.

Now you need to Re-Boot!

As the computer boots up, you will need to keep an eye on it! At some point, you will have the option to choose the profile to boot into. In my case, I have, ‘Profile 1’ & ‘Music’. So, with the arrow key, choose your new profile and press enter. The computer will now boot into you new profile.

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At first glance, all appears to be exactly the same! That’s because, it is exactly the same! But now now we can start to change things the way we want!

Go back into your Control Panel: System: and select the ‘Hardware Tab’ Now select the top pane ‘Device Manager’

You will now see a new Dialogue box appear with a long list of Devices.


At the top of the list is your computer (Mine’s called Douglas) and then everything else. From here you can start to disable all the things that are not needed to create your music. So, to disable your printer, choose:

Ports (COM &LPT)

Right click on the port your printer is plugged into ( Mine is in the Com port (USB)) and select ‘Disable’ It’s as simple as that!


You can disable your:

  1. CD – DVD drives
  2. Floppy drive
  3. Printer
  4. Scanner
  5. Network Adapter (Internet Connection)

Anything that you have connected that you are not going to be using but is taking up processor power! If you disable something that you decide you need, then just go through the same process and enable it again.

I hope this helps in your quest for musical excellence! If you have any questions? Please open a new thread in the forum and ask away!

Discuss this article in our Music Forum.

About Steve Perrett

Logo-dark-bg-square-170A Songstuff staff member for several years, Steve plays guitar, writes songs and records his own material.

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