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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Windows as a music workstation
I can't take it anymore! Too many glitches!
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opg



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 7:14 am    Post subject: I can't take it anymore! Too many glitches!
Subject description: My PC just freezes up intermitently too much
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I've had this probably for a while now. I blame my wife using my PC to file taxes online (the ONLY time I ever connected to the internet with the computer). Of course, I can't prove that, so I guess I'm just putting myself in the doghouse for no reason Confused

I use Fruity Loops v3.5 on a PC with Windows XP with 512 MB of RAM. Version 3.5 is all I really need, and with the exception of the occasional plug-ins that hog all your memory, Fruity Loops rarely ever gives me problems.

My problem is system-wide. The computer will freeze up for at least 10 seconds and at most, long enough to have to restart the PC. This occurs 90% of the time when I am opening folders, or opening files in the window in any program. Only once in a while does it actually lag when opening up a program. Imagine it: everytime you load a sample, you have to wait 10 seconds. It can be frustrating!

I have no idea what could be causing this (except that it's a PC Rolling Eyes ), but I've had enough. I'd love to use a Mac (I could use our G4 downstairs), but I'm pretty hooked on FL right now. I'm considering looking at Ableton Live if I do plan to switch over, but FL v3.5 is all I need and nothing more that would hog even more CPU power.

One idea I had was to simply upgrade to 1GB of memory, but this problem seems to weird to warrant that. Any ideas on where to start (besides throwing it out the window)?

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Blue Hell
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Might be a disk issue, what is the harddisk light doing during the freezes ?
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Upgrading to 1GB is a good idea. Worth the money, IMHO. 2GB is even better. 512 MB is pretty much the bare minimum.

Your problem sounds similar to something I was experiencing a while back. Do you have any other computers on a network that your computer mounts (I don't know what the Windows term for that is.) Sometimes, if things aren't configured just right, Windows will check the network every time you do a file directory listing.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
Might be a disk issue, what is the harddisk light doing during the freezes ?


Yes, I'll second that. OTOH, it could just be Windows full stop? One thing I've noticed since using a PC is how much the HD is always whirring and accessing itself. It seems like even when I move the mouse, the HD light flashes like a bastard! I hardly hear a peep out of my Mac. Both my brother and my father were hardened PC users, until they too had disk problems. Fortunately they have now both switched and are having a joyous HD experience Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Come come, Tom. Macs aren't perfect and they have problems too. What do you do when you have a Mac problem, switch to Linux? Let's try to help solve the problem and not get back in the Bill vs Steve games.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Sometimes, if things aren't configured just right, Windows will check the network every time you do a file directory listing.


And when the network resource is not present windows might seem to freeze for a while, especially when opening an explorer window.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

How much free space on your hard disk? Things can start getting glitchy if you let the free space get below 25%.
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opg



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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Blue Hell wrote:
mosc wrote:
Sometimes, if things aren't configured just right, Windows will check the network every time you do a file directory listing.


And when the network resource is not present windows might seem to freeze for a while, especially when opening an explorer window.


This sounds like a good place to start. I'll take your advice and upgrade the RAM, too. However, I feel like most times I'm asking so little of the CPU that it's gotta be just one or two settings to change. I'll also be sure to check the HD light.

I believe I have plenty of space on my HD, and I've even got a second (but older) hard drive that is completely empty. I kept it from an older PC that I had custom built in all the wrong ways, then just dumped everything I needed (mostly soundfonts) onto this new computer's HD.

Thanks! I'll give you all an update tonight or tomorrow.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

opg wrote:
I believe I have plenty of space on my HD, and I've even got a second (but older) hard drive that is completely empty.


The HD light being on long might indicate a bad disk, a bad disk controller or a bad cable.

Did you reformat the old HD ? Windows doesn't like two swap files to be present.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 10:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

mosc wrote:
Come come, Tom. Macs aren't perfect and they have problems too. What do you do when you have a Mac problem, switch to Linux? Let's try to help solve the problem and not get back in the Bill vs Steve games.


But Mosc, honestly I have never had a Mac problem. Period.

It wasn't my intention to start a Bill vs Steve debate, as I too, use both. This mail is coming from my Optiplex GX150 (which for the moment is my main workhorse), but my last Mac (a G4) gave me NO problems whatsover. I can't comment on my Macbook, because I haven't had it as long- but I must say, I don't think the design is as good as the older Powerbook G4. OTOH, running Windows XP on the Mac has made it freeze on quite a few times and this Dell's screen, completely out of the blue, once in a while, gives me a bsod, and freezes up without any reason at all.

The only real advantage I can see that PC's have is that there is more software available for them. If you are into problem solving, then yes a PC does look like a cheaper option, but if you don't understand them, then they are more expensive to own.

Bottom line is that given the choice I'd rather not have a computer at all- but then how am I gonna poke fun at others on internet forums? Rolling Eyes Very Happy

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 05, 2007 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

This might not be of help to you, but I feel that an OS reinstall every now and then does the PC good. This is especially appropriate if you install a lot of new apps all the time. Some DLL and other issues seem impossible to repair, making the system deteriorate.

/Stefan

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 06, 2007 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Here's the latest update:

I went into XP's Manage --> Services window and disabled ANYTHING that was network related, automatic-updates related, etc.

Here's a link if you're not familiar or want to see a list of the typical items that can be disabled:

http://www.ss64.com/ntsyntax/services.html

I then restarted, and things seemed to run quite better. I'll have to check again and again this week to make sure, but I may have solved it (at least temporarily). Things seem to be opening up reasonably well. I'll have to try a few things again that completely froze up my computer a few days ago to see if it made any real difference. Unfortunately, I won't ever be able to pinpoint any specific service that may have been causing the problem.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Nope. It did not work. My PC is still falling into periodic meditative states. I wonder if I can just plop my M-Audio card into the Mac G4....hmmm... Confused
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Quote:
One idea I had was to simply upgrade to 1GB of memory, but this problem seems to weird to warrant that. Any ideas on where to start (besides throwing it out the window)


If you computer had not done this before and it's doing this now, I would say that upgrading to 1GB will not solve this problem. Something has changed.

It MAY be a HD problem, or, another program is stealing CPU time from your computer unknowingly. First, disable your network and unconnect any Ethernet you have connected. See if that makes a difference.

Also, do a virus scan and check for spyware or malware. These programs usually steal cycles like mad.

If you are running XP, then go back to a restore point at which you know the computer was working fine.

Just a few bits of advice.

Also, I NEVER connect my music computers, especially prformance computers, to the internet except just to retgister software.

Also, I have started using Ableton LIVE 6.05 now and it's really a joy to work with! It's really field tested to the max and is very stable, even on a PC! It's a bit expensive and I just threw down $500.00 for it from zzounds! Shocked
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

The tip about re-installing is a good one. Cars need oil changes, and computers need a good cleaning, too. I usually start fresh, install everything on a "base" system (drivers, software, etc), then capture an image of the hard drive. There are many tools to do this. Then, every 6 months, I just format the drive and re-install the image. It keeps things running very smoothly, and it's a very quick process to do this (like an hour or two) rather than going through ALL the installation steps.

Another thing, for an audio computer, is doing regular de-fragmentation. You can also have the disk scanned for errors. From windows explorer, right-click on a drive (C:for example), properties, then tools. Do error checking and De-Frag regularly (defrag once per week, error can be done the same). This should be done on ANY os, disk drives are sensitive things, and they should be maintained to keep peek performance.
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opg



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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yeah, I've already de-fragged and, even though it was seriously in need of it, this did not solve the problem.

I tried to keep the PC away from any internet connection since I bought it, but I mentioned earlier that there was the one day I had to go online to file my taxes. I probably got bombed with spyware in that one evening, not that I could say that the freezing started right after that. That will be the next step: anti-virus and all that jazz.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Hi opg!

Not sure if you resolved this yet or not... You said this started after your wife did taxes? It might be that the tax program is causing the problem. If possible - you might want to uninstall it, reboot and see what happens. sometimes programs will get down right obsessive with checking for file changes, updates, etc....they don't want to be ignored.... Laughing

Also - check and see if Windows is managing the size of the swap file -
Right click on My Computer - select properties - Advanced - Performance - Advanced - Virtual memory - Change - (whew!) You want to select a custom size and set it to 1.5 times the installed memory size. Now, I have heard that if you have 1 gig or more of memory you don't even need it - but if you have the hard drive space, why not? Probably more importantly - if you have a second hard drive in the system you want to put the swap file on it instead of the C: drive.

Also - make sure your Temp folders and Temporary Internet Files folders are emptied on a regular basis.

If you go to www.musicxp.net there are a lot of tweaks to get your system running more efficiently.

Oh - if you have ANY NORTON or SYMANTEC products on the PC - remove/uninstall them! They can single handedly bring your ocmputer to a crawl.

Dave
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 5:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

DES wrote:


Also - check and see if Windows is managing the size of the swap file -
Right click on My Computer - select properties - Advanced - Performance - Advanced - Virtual memory - Change - (whew!) You want to select a custom size and set it to 1.5 times the installed memory size. Now, I have heard that if you have 1 gig or more of memory you don't even need it - but if you have the hard drive space, why not? Probably more importantly - if you have a second hard drive in the system you want to put the swap file on it instead of the C: drive.

Dave
www.ambientstickist.com


YEah, I got rid of TurboTax and any (anti)virus software Twisted Evil that I had. I did consider the virtual memory change, but I didn't know what was the best setting. It's good that you mentioned using the second hard drive. I have one that I installed just to dump everything from my old PC into the new one, so it is completely empty. I just wasn't sure it would be safe to put the swap file on it.

I'll definitely give all this a shot. Thanks!

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

For what it is worth, Linux typically uses a swap file of 2X the real memory. If you are swapping, though, it's time to increase the memory. That said, I think putting the swap file on a second drive is an excellent idea.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On my PC I get a little glitch sound every 10 seconds. It happens on anything playing on a media player or on Sonar. I could play a CD, wave file, MP3, etc. I get that glitch every 10 seconds. For the life of me I can't figure out what it is.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2007 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Could possibly be a mismatch in the sample rate settings on your PC and your sound card or audio interface.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Mohoyoho wrote:
On my PC I get a little glitch sound every 10 seconds. It happens on anything playing on a media player or on Sonar. I could play a CD, wave file, MP3, etc. I get that glitch every 10 seconds. For the life of me I can't figure out what it is.


AHHH! Cursed DEMO software! Laughing

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

No, this is not demo ware. These are legit copies. I could play a wav file on media player or Sonar, and every 10 secs. I hear a click or tiny pop. It also happens when I record.

Howard, what's with the mismatch? How do I check for that or change it?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 10:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Make sure your card uses internal sync and that the DAW and the card are using the same samplerates. Do you have anything connected to spdif? In that case that might make your card glitch.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2007 11:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I'm using internal and nothing is connected to the spdif.
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