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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. Go to the avid.com site, and navigate to the Avid Knowledgebase. You can find that under Support & Services. On the right side here, Pro Tools Support, click Knowledgebase. Use this site to check that your computer specs, operating system, hard drive, audio interfaces, MIDI interfaces, plug-ins, and third-party devices are all compatible with Pro Tools 9.
I absolutely recommend checking this site before purchasing any additional hardware or software that you plan on using with Pro Tools, especially if you're buying a new computer. So let's look at where we want to find information for compatibility. If you actually scroll down to this menu, you can find Compatibility. Hit Search, and you can see Plug-in Compatibility, Operating System Requirements. While you're on this site, check to make sure that you're running a compatible version of your computer's operating system.
Minor version differences can be the difference between whether Pro Tools can run on your computer or not. Before installing Pro Tools, there are a 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 configure the System Preferences, optimize the Energy Saver, turn off Airport and Bluetooth, disable Time Machine, disable FireWire Networking and Filevault Protection, update your iLok Drivers, and turn off the Software Update.
You may also want to disable Spotlight Indexing, and disable the Sudden Motion Sensor if you're using a laptop computer. The specific steps on how to do these actions are listed in the Getting Started PDF in the Documentation folder that comes with your Pro Tools system. You can also find this information on Avid's web site. Note that some of these steps may change as the Mac OS gets updated. To optimize a Windows system for Pro Tools, you should configure your Device Manager, disable network cards, and audio devices, disable USB Power Management, disable system startup items, make a few hard disk optimizations, turn off User Account Control, and adjust the Power Options.
You may also want to adjust Processor Scheduling, disable the screen saver, and adjust the display performance. The specific steps on how to do these actions are listed in the Getting Started PDF in the Documentation folder that comes with Pro Tools, and also on Avid's web site. Note that these steps may change as the Windows 7 OS gets updated. Here are a few 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.
There may be a few more that are listed on avid.com. Check their site for the latest info. Avid strongly advises not to record audio to the internal system hard drive on your computer. That'll reduce the performance of Pro Tools, and can also interfere with the performance of your computer in general, not just with Pro Tools. Avid recommends using at least one external hard drive or a second internal drive to store your audio files. That drive should either be an external 7200 RPM FireWire drive or a compatible ATA/IDE drive.
Again, check the Compatibility page on Avid's site for the 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 Pro Tools and check the Compatibility pages on avid.com, so that you don't run into any incompatibility surprises with your computer or your associated Pro Tools gear.
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