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The first step in having a successful Pro Tools experience happens before you even install Pro Tools on your computer. Before installing Pro Tools check to make sure that your computer meets the requirements to run Pro Tools. Check this site digidesign.com/compatibility. This site is an extremely important one to visit to check out that your computer specs, operating system, hard drive, audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, plug-ins and third party devices are all compatible with Pro Tools 8.
I also highly recommend checking this site before purchasing any additional hardware or software you plan on using with Pro Tools. If we scroll down here, we can see Pro Tools compatibility grids with every kind of system, even great links like this. Is my PC compatible with Pro Tools? If you scroll down even further, you can see compatibility alerts for Apple products as well as how Pro Tools plays with XP and Vista.
Pro Tools 8 can run on Macs running compatible versions of OS X, as well as Windows computers running either Vista or XP. While you are on this site, check to make sure that you are running a compatible version of your computer's operating system. Minor operating system version differences can be the difference between whether Pro Tools can run on your computer or not. Before installing Pro Tools there are few things that you can optimize on your computer to make sure that it runs really smoothly with Pro Tools. On a Mac you should turn off the Software Update, turn off the Energy Saver, set the processor performance, disable spotlight and dashboard shortcuts, disable spotlight indexing and enable journaling for audio drives. The specific steps on how to do these actions are listed in the Getting Started PDF file in the documentation folder that comes with Pro Tools.
To optimize a Windows system for Pro Tools, you should enable the DMA, disable system standby and power management, disable ClearType font smoothing in XP and disable user account control in Vista systems. Again the specific steps on how to do these actions are listed in the Getting Started PDF file in the documentation folder that comes with Pro Tools. Here are a couple more recommended optimizations that are applicable to both Macs and Windows systems. Turn off any program that runs in the background, quit any program that's unneeded while running Pro Tools, turn off any unused FireWire devices, and there may be a few more that are listed on digidesign.com. Check their site for the latest info.
There are a few additional optimizations that you can use in a Windows system if it applies to your computer. You can disable network cards, adjust processor scheduling and disable system startup items in XP. It's strongly advised not to record audio to the internal system hard-drive on your computer. That will reduce the performance of your Pro Tools system and can also interfere with the performance of your computer in general, not just with Pro Tools. Digidesign recommends using at least one external hard-drive or a second internal drive to store your audio files and that drive should either be an external 7200 RPM FireWire drive or a compatible ATA or IDE drive.
Again, check the compatibility page on Digidesign's site for their recommendations. Having a large fast hard-drive is imperative for working with Pro Tools and achieving the best performance from your Pro Tools system. So, make sure to optimize your computer for running Pro Tools and check the compatibility pages on Digidesign.com s o that you don't run into any incompatibility surprises with your computer or associated Pro Tools gear.
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