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18 June 2010
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PC & Making Music Tips Page 1/5 file:///C%7C/Web%20Sites/%7Bshort%20description%20of%20image%7D

Memory - Treat manufacturers minimum and recommended memory requirements with a pinch of salt. You can't have too much memory, with todays rock bottom prices I'd suggest 128Mb as a sensible minimum amount for a system for making music, espeically if your intending to use streaming audio.

Reboot - If something was working and for some reason now it's not, or something odd is happening, save what your doing and reboot your machine from cold. Don't just shut down and restart - shut down and power up again. Cures 90% of odd things going wrong.

Is it working ? - If something has stopped working, or isn't going in the first place, right click on My Computer (assuming your using Windows 95/98), click Properties, and then Device Manager. Expand the little crosses in the list of hardware devices you'll see. Anything that has a yello askerisk has a driver but it isn't working, i.e. isn't plugged in or isn't responding. If you've plugged something in, and you can't find it somewhere on the list that means there is no driver loaded and the system isn't recognizing the item.

Check for new drivers - Find the web pages of the manufacturers of the equipment, check the Links page for lots of them, visit them once a month or so, and see if they've released any new drivers for the equipment you have. Not just your music equipment, graphics cards, SCSI cards whatever. New ones are being released all the time.

Defrag - Delete everything you can off your computer, empty the recycle bin, reboot your machine and run the defragmentation program that lives under Programs > Accessories > System Tools. It'll improve system performance, load times and disk access. Not always by much, but can make a difference.

Port Problems - Most items that plug into your serial or parellel port have a pass through port so you can daisy chain items. If you've done this and the daisy chained device isn't working properly try swapping the devices around so that is the device plugged striaght in the back of the PC. Some items don't like being daisy chained.

Device Conflicts - When your computer boots up it allocates resources to eveything that is plugged in, if they are being used or not. To solve or pre-empt device conflicts you can disable things you don't use in the device manager. (Right click on My Computer > Properties > Device Mananger). For example if you have a soundcard built into the motherboard, a USB or Infra Red port that you don't use, then disable them. Don't delete the driver, as Windows has a habit of adding them back every time you boot up the machine, just right click on the item, choose properties, and disable. It'll free up resources, maybe even make the machine boot up faster too.

Backup - There is no disaster that can't be overcome if you backup properly, don't think it won't happen to you, one day it will. Hard drives crash, you get a virus, you overwrite or delete a file, easy done. How you back up isn't as important as long as you do, to Tape, CD, disk, DAT anything just do it. For really critical files, MIDI data for that would be number one, key samples etc. use more than one method of backing up. Don't totally rely on floppies by the way, I've seen way too many that have become corrupt.

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