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If you are experience in poor quality while play your videos in a PowerPoint slideshow, your operating system may be a factor. PowerPoint 2010 is optimized to run in Windows 7. If you're running Windows XP or even Vista, you may not get ideal performance. There are a few settings in Windows that you can tweak to improve your multimedia playback. I'm going to demonstrate this using Windows 7, but several of the settings may be applicable in Windows Vista or XP. The very first technique should be obvious, but if you're new to computers, it may not be.
If you have several applications open, they're all using your computer's RAM. Close all other programs and see if your presentation runs more smoothly. Next, we'll take a look at your hardware. If you're using Vista or Windows7, you can look at the Windows Experience Index to see what areas you can improve. Click on the Start button in the lower left-hand corner of your screen. In the right-hand column, click on Control Panel and then in the Search box in the upper right corner, type in experience.
Here's a link for Check the Windows Experience Index. Click on it. The Windows Experience Index measures the capability of your computer's hardware and software configuration, providing a measurement in the form of a base score. A higher base score generally means that your computer will perform better and faster than a computer with a lower base score. If your score is low, your PowerPoint slideshow may require more resources than your computer has available. Take a look at Windows Help and Support for more information. While you're here, click on the Open Disk Cleanup link on the left hand side of your Window.
I want to take a look at my C: drive, so, I'll click OK. It's important to make sure that there's adequate free disk space on the computer where you will deliver your presentation. If your hard drive is almost is full, your media playback will degrade. Disk Cleanup will search your hard drive for files that you don't really need. If your hard drive is getting full, deleting these files can improve your computer's performance. I'll put check marks in front of all of these options, but you may want to leave some unchecked if there are files or folders that you use.
I can see near the bottom that I'll save 73 MB, but your number will certainly be different. I'll click OK. It does say, Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files? And that will be fine. I'll say Delete. To see how much room you have after running Disk Cleanup, go back to your Start button and then click on Computer on the right. Look at your C: drive. I always recommend having at least 2 or 3 gigabytes of open space on your hard drive. If you have less than that, consider moving some of your saved files to an external hard drive.
I'll close this window. Now, back on our Control Panel, click on Advanced tools. At the bottom, you'll see Open Disk Defragmenter. Click on that. Disk fragmentation means that when your computer saves or installs software, it uses up hard drive space wherever it finds it, instead of keeping each file intact. For the moment, just watch me and try these steps later. Each step can take a long time. Now my disk isn't fragmented, but if yours is, you'll see a map of your computer's hard drive.
Each color will be a type of file and on unoptimized disk, you'll see that the colors are scattered everywhere. I would then click on Defragment disk and my computer would rearrange the files into an organized system. But don't do this right now. Defragmenting a disk can take several hours. I'll click Close. Next, we'll make sure that your video card drivers are up to date. Go back up to the Search Control Panel Box in the upper right hand corner of the window and search for driver. The top match will be Update device drivers. Click on it.
Locate your Video Graphics Card under display adaptors. I'll click on the triangle. Here's my video card. Right-click on it and choose Update Driver Software. I'll ask you to search online for updated drivers. It will look online and let you know if you have an update. My computer already has the most recent driver installed. If yours doesn't, you could update it right from here. I'll click Close. I'm going to close all of these windows.
Last, let's clean out your Temp folder. While you use your computer, it automatically saves temporary files on your hard drive. Some of them are automatic backups and others are used by the system to maintain open programs. If you have a lot of files in your temp folder, it can slow PowerPoint down dramatically. To find your temp folder, first you need to close PowerPoint and all the other programs you're using. This ensures that there are no active temp files. Click on the Start button and in the Search box, type %temp%.
A Temp folder will appear at the top of the list. Click on it. Here are all the temporary files on my computer. You can usually delete any files that you find here. Remember that they were all put in this temporary location by your software, but just got left behind. Many of them even have the extension .tmp. Note that the file size for most of them is fairly small, but you will find some over a megabyte. Click on one of the files and do the keyboard command Ctrl+A to select all of them.
If you would rather pick and choose which files to delete, you're welcome to do so. Righ-click on any one of the files and choose Delete. It will ask for confirmation and we'll click Yes. If you got an access error or file in use error, it's most likely because you are tempting to delete a file that is in use. Check off Do this for all current items and then say Skip. You can leave the file there and delete it later or use a more advanced technique to remove it.
Taking all these steps to make sure your computer is in tip-top shape can definitely improve your experience with PowerPoint when your files are multimedia intensive.
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