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Pro Tools & Windows 7 optimization

I recently switched from Windows XP to Windows 7 64 bit. The install went surprisingly well considering my usual bad luck with this sort of thing. While there was a lot of reinstalling of software the experience overall was very positive and far less stressful than I feared. Win7 looks and feels and works a lot nicer than XP did with the same hardware so I’m really satisfied. Windows 7 64 bit is strongly recommended. Whether you need more RAM now or not, this is the way forward and will be the standard.

Note – I also updated my MacBook Pro to Snow Leopard, which was even easier but leaves very little to talk about as everything works perfectly as is. If you have questions feel free to ask.

I know some people are hesitant to upgrade, so here are my tips for making the transition.

Pro Tools

Pro Tools 8.0.4 is the first version to be officially compatible with a 64 bit Windows system. When this was announced I knew it was my cue to finally ditch ancient XP for good. At this time there is no full installer for 8.0.4 so unfortunately the installation takes quite a while. Pro Tools 8.0.0 (the retail dvd version) will not work correctly with Windows 7.

The Process is recommended in this order:

  • Completely uninstall any previous versions if applicable
  • Download and install Pro Tools 8.0.3 Full installer from your AVID account. Do not run Pro Tools yet.
  • Download and install Pro Tools 8.0.4 Update
  • Optional – Install additional Toolkits (Music Production/DV/Complete Production)
  • Make sure ALL your plugins are up to date

Pro Tools should work well at this point. If it does not or you desire improved performance continue to the optimization steps below.

Note – Pro Tools 8.0.4 is 64 bit Windows compatible but is NOT a 64 bit application. For this reason Pro Tools will install to the Program Files (x86)  folder.

Optimizing Windows 7 for Pro Tools

Note- These tips are with Pro Tools in mind but will improve the performance of ANY DAW you use.

1 – Windows 7 Optimizations and Troubleshooting – Here is AVID’s guide for setting up Windows 7:

I personally don’t find it all necessary and didn’t follow all of it on my system like disabling graphics effects, disabling other devices. I actually need internet and the internal sound card often while using Pro Tools for realtime collaboration, lessons or tech support. I did do the USB Power thing. Power settings are set to always on exept monitors which turn off after 10 minutes. This is the official guide, if you need tech support this is what they assume you have already tried.

2 – Microsoft Hotfix Fix311388 – This hotfix has been recommended by a few PT 8/win7 users. I’ve installed on my system with no issues before or after. For some this made a world of difference. Recommended if you use either a firewire audio interface or firewire hard drive (or plan to).


3 – W7 x64 optimzations for 8.0.4 – I went through and applied the tweaks in here, but found my internet stopped working and had to revert it all. You can read through the thread but I would skip the the tips in the original post. The best bits of the thread are the next 3 below


4 – Ultimate Windows Tweaker – Later in the thread user Shan recommended Ultimate Windows Tweaker. It adjusts windows options easily


5 – SMARTShan also shared another great tool for registry tweaks, I use the “tweaked settings” option. One click to apply general system optimizations.


6 –  Menu delay utility – Absolutely install this, removes the delay between clicking a button and the menu appearing in all of Windows. This tiny thing allows you to work faster.


You can set up a key command to launch any program. This is something I started to do to make my life easier.

Here is how I did it for the M-Audio Profire control panel.
– Start>Control Panel find M-Audio ProFire. Right-click and choose ‘create shortcut’ Close the control panel explorer window.
– Go to your desktop and find the new shortcut to the profire control panel. Right click and choose properties
– In the ‘shortcut key’ entry box enter the key command you want to launch the control panel. I use ctrl+Alt + Num 0
– Apply and close the properties window.

I’ve also set this up for my media player and the Sounds control panel to quickly switch the default device.

I also find it handy to have a link to the DAE folder on the desktop to check the plugins and unused plugins folder from time to time.

“C:Program Files (x86)Common FilesDigidesignDAE”

That’s about it at this point, I’ll update the post if I come across any more tips. Everything is working great (other than the slow scrolling bug) on my end, I dare say the best any version ran on the same hardware. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

One Comment

  1. online mastering
    online mastering March 11, 2011

    Highly appreciated I bet many of the tweaks are good for other DAW’s. Windows 7 has been a mixed bag so far I hope service pack 2 gets it 100pct sorted. cheers

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