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I think we all rely heavily on our computers. But what happens when things go wrong? I think we've all been there. I'd like to hear what everyone does to keep their computers running. This could be a benefit to all.

For example, a PC will keep a record of every image, every web page, and more, from every place you visit on the web. It keeps it in a folder of temporary items. every time you start your computer, this info gets loaded into ram. Not a big deal at first, but after awhile, ram gets full and slows the computer down. Deleting the contents of the temp folder (clearing the cache) is a simple way to speed things up. There are several ways to do that.

What's your go to procedure to get back on track? Or maybe you need some help. We can all help each other. 

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A new computer, alas...  I went so far last year as to get a used (but souped up) 2nd computer for hosting all my software samples (slave).  This has greatly reduced the burden on my main computer, so I don't anticipate having to upgrade either of them in the near future.

John,

If these are desktops, can you explain the advantage of slaving a second computer over adding an SSD to the main computer to host your samples? You still need regular back ups, but if the main computer crashes you can put the SSD in a different computer. I'm curious.

My main computer is one I built myself. The OS and all my music and video software on an SSD. Everything is very fast.

Yes, both desktops.  It's simple division of labor but mostly the fact that the sample libraries I now use are hugely memory intensive.  My core computer is fast, but it is an HP intended for home use and so only has a 32GB physical limit on the memory.  When I began to build out my full orchestral template with the Spitfire libraries (basically every orchestral instrument/every articulation/with 1 or more mic positions), my main computer started to buckle.  I really want everything to be available to me in real-time, so my only option at that point was to buy a new computer with a ton of memory.  I decided to buy a used desktop because I can get 128GB RAM workstation running Windows 7 for <$1000 (I think I looked up its original list price and it was ~$6000).

This is a set up specifically for memory-intensive sample libraries, so certainly not for every composer.  I think I read that Mr. Zimmer has something like 40 slave computers running in his studio...

Obviously you know this if you build computers, Bob, but the SSD only adds hard drive space and access speed.  These are both very important for the big sample libraries, but if want to have everything loaded at the same time you need that ton of memory.

Sorry, I keep adding, but it is also useful that the slave computer runs on barebones Windows 7, sits offline most of the time and basically has no other software besides the stuff I need for it to run it as a server.  Like most people I almost always have more than one program running on my main computer at the same time. My Internet browser, Microsoft Office, Adobe, etc. all eat up resources if they are running on the same system as the sound libraries.

John Driscoll said:

Yes, both desktops.  It's simple division of labor but mostly the fact that the sample libraries I now use are hugely memory intensive.  My core computer is fast, but it is an HP intended for home use and so only has a 32GB physical limit on the memory.  When I began to build out my full orchestral template with the Spitfire libraries (basically every orchestral instrument/every articulation/with 1 or more mic positions), my main computer started to buckle.  I really want everything to be available to me in real-time, so my only option at that point was to buy a new computer with a ton of memory.  I decided to buy a used desktop because I can get 128GB RAM workstation running Windows 7 for <$1000 (I think I looked up its original list price and it was ~$6000).

This is a set up specifically for memory-intensive sample libraries, so certainly not for every composer.  I think I read that Mr. Zimmer has something like 40 slave computers running in his studio...

Exactly. How long does it take your HDD to load 100GBs of sounds? Imagine 128 GBs of ram, a 2TB SSD. Everything in one fast package. I never run anything while working with music or video software. On a personal note, I prefer W10, of which I own a few bare-bone versions. Fast and easy. My computer boots to the desktop in less that 17 seconds. The same sounds load in a fraction of the time on my desktop than on my laptop.

Thanks for your input. This how I learn things.

I know of several scenarios where people network computers together. There just has to be an inefficient lag to that kind of setup. Seems to me that Mr. Zimmer has a greater bankroll and far more expectation on him than any of us 

John Driscoll said:

Obviously you know this if you build computers, Bob, but the SSD only adds hard drive space and access speed.  These are both very important for the big sample libraries, but if want to have everything loaded at the same time you need that ton of memory.

This should develop into a good thread, Bob! Thanks for introducing it.
I'll start right from the start with problem no. 1 which I'm facing and which has nothing to do with software, but rather the actual physical hardware. I think that it may affect all classical guitarists (and at least a few ladies).
Given that I don’t have somewhere that I could call "a fixed abode" as I'm always traveling/giging, my only available computer solution is the laptop. I did not use a desktop for the last 12-14 years and I would not know about the durability of the physical hardware, but I always preferred to use Acer laptops (good value for money). I had an Acer for 7 years with windows 7 and I had no complain with it, till it got a bit slower cause it was overwhelmed I suppose with so much software I had installed in it. Two years ago I bought a 2TB laptop, but HP this time. Now I curse it every day:
As a classical guitarist I always keep four well cultivated nails in my right hand for playing. So, by typing on my keyboard from the first 8 months of the HP life, the characters started disappearing, eaten away by my nails. Now the characters "L", "M", "N" "Backspace" "Coma" , "Dot" etc. are not visible at all, and especially when I'm typing in Greek, I press the "L" key rather than the accent key (used for most words as Greek is an accented language), and I make many typo mistakes which are very time consuming correcting afterwards. This did not happen with my old Acer laptop. So even in that aspect it was better than my current HP. Of course I am a bit biased cause I much preferred windows 7 to the present big-brotherish windows 10, but the problem is very real to me. What would be a solution to this hardware problem (for classical guitarists and ladies with long finger nails?)
Any suggestions welcome.

(SOS the complete right side of my keybord, I'm afraid. will soon perish away) :-)

It takes about 3-5 minutes or so for the slave computer to load my orchestral template (which is about 78GB of RAM).  The slave computer is all SSD--my main computer runs WIndows on an HDD but I use another SSD for all the sound files/recording/etc.

The computers are connected directly to each other by a fast ethernet cable, and Vienna Ensemble Pro (the program that connects the two of them) is quite spiffy and stable, so I never notice any sort of lag whatsoever. 

Bob Porter said:

Exactly. How long does it take your HDD to load 100GBs of sounds? Imagine 128 GBs of ram, a 2TB SSD. Everything in one fast package. I never run anything while working with music or video software. On a personal note, I prefer W10, of which I own a few bare-bone versions. Fast and easy. My computer boots to the desktop in less that 17 seconds. The same sounds load in a fraction of the time on my desktop than on my laptop.

Thanks for your input. This how I learn things.

I know of several scenarios where people network computers together. There just has to be an inefficient lag to that kind of setup. Seems to me that Mr. Zimmer has a greater bankroll and far more expectation on him than any of us 

John Driscoll said:

Obviously you know this if you build computers, Bob, but the SSD only adds hard drive space and access speed.  These are both very important for the big sample libraries, but if want to have everything loaded at the same time you need that ton of memory.

Ah well, you didn't say all that. 

I still think it would be more efficient to have everything in one box, minus the HDD. Less things to go wrong. I know the opposite thought is to spread things out so that it is easier to recover from a problem. 

Thanks, john, for putting up with my questions.

Well, Bob, you got my attention a second time today! I used to work in computers and can offer some practical tips.

1) The number one thing you can do to speed up a computer is to power it down completely, let it sit for a minute, and then restart it. This deals with a problem called "memory fragmention" (not to be confused with "disk fragmentation" in case you've heard either term before). For a computer that is used all day, I recommend doing this at lunch time and before you go to bed at night.

2) Almost everything else you can do, such as clearing out your programs' caches' will have limited or no impact, plus it can be dangerous, because cache files are typically a dig around through your hard drive and also typically, located near important system files, which if you delete, could impair your computer's functioning. Note that I am not talking about browser caches, these are typically clearable from within the browser, and are safe to delete. Clearing caches if you are technologically bold is ok, and, depending on how heavily your program makes use of them, may be of some help, but will not have nearly the impact a shutdown/restart will.

3) I definitely do not recommend running a disk defragmentation program. This is a leftover technology from the days when hard drives were small and computers were slow, and it has extremely limited effect, plus is dangerous, since it can damage files.

Socrates. 

Sorry I missed your post. You have a very annoying problem indeed. The only thing I can think of is to find a usb keyboard that you like. You can get them in full size or mini. And they aren't expensive and when you wear is out, you replace it. Think about it. To test it out I'm typing on one plugged in to my laptop now.

I understand about HP. I've had HPs and Toshibas and most big companies add so much junk to the OS that it can be a mess, after a while. When the hard drive went bad on my Toshiba I found and old drive and installed it. I downloaded a bare bones version of W10 from Microsoft, loaded it, and because the old computer had a registered version of W10, Microsoft automatically activated the new version. Now it's a truly clean OS. I suspect that your Big Brother view of it is more because of all the extra stuff HP installed. And you can turn off a lot of the things you might not like. Though I've had little need to do this.

Gav,

Right on about turning off the computer. A restart is not the same. Whenever one of my wife's pieces of tech misbehaves, she turns it off so it can "think about it's sins". I always turn my computers off at night. My experience has often been that most folks don't clear anything, ever. So just clearing the browser cache can have an effect. I'm not a professional, so many of the things I've done to keep the 6 computers in my house running would no doubt make your hair stand on end. On the other hand I had to correct things that "professionals" have done. It's just like anything else.

It's news to me about defrag. I don't know that there has been much development in HDDs in the last several years. I mean they are no faster than they ever were. I agree it might not help, but I don't think I ever heard of it causing damage that might not have been there to begin with. Anyway, live and learn.

What would be a solution to this hardware problem (for classical guitarists and ladies with long finger nails?)

Rather than buying a whole new keyboard, you might look into buying a few replacement keys, and seeing if its in any way cost efficient, and then possibly even try keyboard "skins" or protective covers and see if you can type easily through it.

Hope this helps.

Thanks Bob

https://soundcloud.com/bob-morabito/

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