How to Optimize Windows 7 Netbook for Audio Recording & Home Studio

It’s surprising that netbook nowadays (as of August 2011) are becoming more popular in terms of usage. It is also much more affordable today to buy a netbook with 1.6GHz to 2.5GHz processor speed which is already using Intel Dual core technology with 2GB of RAM.

Most of these netbooks are powered using Windows 7 operating system. Netbooks are smaller than laptops with typical 10.1inch screen. Also the trend in using netbooks for audio recording are increasing.

This guide will walk you through some optimization tips for your netbook. The objective is to make it run as fast as possible when doing audio processing task by optimizing RAM usage. In addition, your overall netbook speed and performance will be maximized.

This tutorial will be illustrating the tips using one of the commonly used netbooks which is ASUS EeePC netbook Seashell series (10.1 in), see picture below:

Asus EeePC

The most important optimizing factor in speeding up your netbook is your RAM usage. Random access memory (RAM) is very important when doing audio recording because any digital audio bits are temporarily stored in RAM for easy accessing by CPU.

Yet even though you have 2GB of RAM, a typical RAM usage of netbook in an un-optimized environment will be running around 1GB to 1.5GB for a shared video memory environment. So if you start any audio recording task, you will have very little RAM space left and your netbook processes starts to slow down. Below are the suggested tweaks:

1.) “Disable” or set to “Manual” some of the Windows services. You can download this guide. To use that guide, simply unzip it and open it with any PDF reader. Then it list down completely what are those Windows 7 services that can be safely turn to “Manual” or “Disabled”. It is very clear in the screenshot provided.

In your netbook, simply go to “Start” – “Control Panel” then click “Administrative tools”. After that double click “Services”. Adjust those services based on what is recommended on the PDF guide. After all are implemented, restart your Windows 7. It is important to note that some of the services are required for normal operation such as print spooler so leave it set to manual but “started” if you are always using a printer.

2.) Install Minimem RAM optimization tool. You can download it here.

Restart your netbook after the installation.

3.) Disable all graphics and aero features in Windows 7. Go to “Start” – “Control Panel” – “System” – then in your left click “Advanced System Settings”. Go to “Advanced” then under “Performance” click “Settings”. Click the radio button “Adjust for best performance”. Apply it and click OK. Of course after implementing this setting your Windows 7 appearance looks very simple and not flashy as before. Remember that you are sacrificing these appearance features to make your netbook run/operate faster.

4.) Minimize the start up programs to a minimum. Go to Start, under “Search programs and files” click “msconfig”. When you see the results, click on it. Go to “Startup” tab and then uncheck the following items: