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If you upgrade your CAD software regularly, you will experience your computer becomes slower. If your computer is already 3 years old, it comes the time to purchase a new one. However, if you don’t have the budget yet, you have to use your old computer anyway. But you want it to perform faster, aren’t you?
So let’s try to do some optimization. This article is the first part. Before we start to customize our CAD software, let’s start with optimizing our system.
Optimize your computer settings for performance
If you use Windows 7 or Windows 8, you will see it has fancy graphic effects. Slide effects, shadows, translucent selection, transparency, and many more that we don’t need. It looks fancy, but they consume many resources. Even if you use Windows XP, this will help to reduce Windows to consume too many resources.
Press Win key (the one Windows logo) and type on search ‘advanced system settings’ – without quote. Click the icon when it appears.
If you use Windows XP, right click my computer then choose properties. Click advanced tab.
Under performance category, click settings.
In performance option dialog, visual effects tab, choose adjust for best performance. It will disable any visual effects so your computer will have better performance. Your Windows may not look pretty, but we care more about performance, right?
Click OK until all dialog boxes are closed.
Remove application that you don’t need
Too many applications will also degrade your computer performance. So why keep it if you don’t need it?
Some computer brand has many applications pre-installed. Games and utilities that we never use. And sometimes we install freeware to try but never use it anymore. Remove them.
If you install Windows skins to make your desktop looks like Mac OS or Windows 7, remove it. You don’t need it.
There are several web applications that you can use instead of installing desktop clients. I use Tweetdeck, webmail, Evernote and several more applications using browser.
Unless you really need it, don’t install it.
Turn off what you don’t need on startup
Now we have removed applications that we don’t need. Now let’s make change to Windows startup.
Many applications start automatically when you start Windows. Sometimes you can turn it off later, sometimes it’s still running on background and we never notice it. If there are too many applications start during startup, it will take some times until you can use your computer. Now let’s turn off what we don’t need.
Hold Win key and press R. Type MSCONFIG then ENTER. This will open system configuration window.
In services tab, click check hide all Microsoft Services. Many Microsoft services are important, so just let them run on startup.
Now you can uncheck what you don’t need to start automatically. Do the same thing on startup tab.
Services run on the background, so you will not see any application to start. Do not turn off anti virus or other security services. If you are not sure, you can leave this tab.
On startup tab, you will see applications that will run immediately after you start Windows. Skype, download manager, Instant Messaging, and many more. This should be easier. You know the applications, don’t you? If you don’t use it on daily basis, uncheck it. You can start it anytime using start menu or double click the application icon on desktop.
Cleanup your hard drive
There is no definite answer of how much space we should have on hard drive. Most answer will say 10-15% at minimum, related to disk fragmentation. More than that, your Windows will run very slowly. If you already uninstall what you don’t need, now let’s cleanup some space.
Open Windows Explorer. Select a drive you want to cleanup then right click. Choose properties. Click disk cleanup.
Disk cleanup will not delete your data files. It will only remove temporary files that the system created. Like browser cache, recycle bin, temporary folder, etc.
After you cleanup your hard drive, you may want to defragment your drive. I don’t feel significant improvement by defragmenting my drive, but cleaning up drive space really helps.
Cleanup your registry
This is not everyone favorite. Many people are worried to mess with Windows registry. They afraid some software will not run after cleaning up registry. It’s correct.
Registry keeps information of your software. Many settings are stored there. The larger the registry, it will consume more of your computer’s resources. The thing about registry is, when you uninstall a software, it may not removed from registry as well. Some information will be kept there. When you decide to reinstall the software, it will remember your old settings. If you like to install and test many software, your registry will be very big.
If you want to try cleaning up your registry, you can try CCleaner.
Warning: Working with registry may damage your system. Remember to create registry backup every time you clean up your registry. When something goes wrong, you can double-click the backup registry to restore the old value. Never work with registry without creating backup!
If you don’t know how to create a registry backup and how to restore it, you shouldn’t do this!
Check your network
Do you save your file on shared folder over network? Or probably you share templates and libraries over network?
If you think opening and saving files are very slow, test to save it locally on your hard drive. Of it works fine, you may want to ask the IT guys to check your network problem.
It is unavoidable to upgrade your computer to keep up with the technology. The common lifetime for computer is 3 years. After that you need to purchase a new one if you want to keep up.
However, if you don’t want to purchase a new one yet, you need to optimize what you have. Don’t install what you don’t need, focus the computer settings for performance, and make it efficient.
Next on part 2, we will configure AutoCAD to run faster.
Share here if you have experience with optimizing your computer for performance!
Can autocad do a direct English translation from Chinese texts? Just a thought since it is really troublesome to cut and paste each text and do a google translate.
I hope there is such thing as this will really make our lives easy.
Have you tried this plugin by CADstudio? http://www.cadforum.cz/cadforum_en/qaID.asp?tip=2280
I’m interesting in locating a service that can optimize CAD stations for best performance. An organization that can evaluate current performance, benchmark, refine settings and test to insure the most optimum performance for AutoCAD 2014 and MEP. Does anyone know of such a company?
I never know any organization that does that. Maybe you can consult with the workstation reseller. I know that they don’t do that, but they may have partner that can do such thing.
Sir, kindly advise me.. I have a plan to buy a new computer workstation using for autocad 2014 in rendering architectural design, my current design some times is reaching to 350MB, this heavy load cause freezing of my computer.. please kindly advise me what hardware configuration of the workstation that i should purcahse to
run my work smoothly?
Hello, I have a quastion about network, in our company people work in autocad 2013, and they are storing data in network. You advised to check network, could you tell methods for doing that? How I can check my network? Thank you for answer.
Working directly with shared folder may have some performance issue. Try to work with same file locally and see if there's a significant difference. If you have many users and work with large files, saving directly to server would be a problem. What I would recommend is using PDM software like Vault. This allows you to work locally, but can sync with server during checkin/checkout.
really appreciate your effort on sharing this one…