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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 2
01-20-2010, 05:39 PM
System Tweaks

Now, if you've never did anything with Windows processes or tasks or such, here is a great time to learn.
Windows Update - simply keeping Windows updated can keep up your performance of the OS itself, usually. Not to mention security fixes,you can usually find some tweaks and updates of things here, never know when a slightly updated version of DirectX is released. Visit the Windows Update Site for updates,or you can do it from within Windows itself (Start Menu, plus some people have it on automatically).

BlackVipers Process Guide - located at pick which operating system you have (most people use Windows). If you have Vista,XP,etc there is a guide there. You should see inside each guide, a massive table of all Processes that Windows runs in the background. Did you know most of these are unneeded for every day gaming? Take this example chartl, you can see how BV shows you a variety of setups from a "gaming" setup,to completely barebones with everything off you need. This will vary per system (my laptop has some services a desktop won't) but you get the idea. Simply look at his site,pick the setup you want, and tweak.

Open Start - Run - type in Services.msc (or if you are using Vista/Win 7 hold the Windows Key and press R) this will open up the services administration panel with all the process and services on your system listed here. You may see some listed as running some not.

Simply follow the guide on BlackViper's site, and go down the list. I personally go by the "Safe" setup,and disable / stop all processes that aren't absolutely needed for Windows to function normally. If you opened your Task Manager before this,you might see 60,70,or even more processes listed, going by the guide there, you can trim that down to around 40 or less,or even better depending upon your system. Don't worry,it's safe and you can re-enable something should you need it later. RS: "Safe" list from the OS guide

You can also check processes that are set to startup but may not necessarily have a service assigned to them that goes along with it.

Open Start - Run - type in Msconfig (or if you are using Vista/Win 7 hold the Windows Key and press R) and after msconfig is open, click the Startup tab. These are all the applications Windows loads on boot up into the desktop environment. You can google what each one is if you're unsure. Otherwise uncheck the ones you don't want,hit Ok. Reboot. Less stuff running now.

Anti Virus Software - If you don't use an anti viral product, please do. There are some decent free ones, Avast, AVG or Kaspersky are some good choices. Download one, update it, scan your PC and keep it clean of viruses. (if its got process that run in the background, you can disable those at least while playing STO). If you want a paid a.v., there are more choices, I'd recommend Nod32 (its lightweight, scans fast, and catches just about anything).

Jotti's online scan lets you pick a file and run it against a few dozen scanners at once. Only drawback is it's just a file at a time,so if you have something singular that you think is suspicious, this is a good way to do a broad scan. It's free too.

Housecall is TrendMicros virus scan on the fly. It's a free scan you can do from just about any web browser,as long as you have Java installed. Download the plugin, and let it run. This makes a great secondary anti virus in conjunction with your regular installed version,since it requires no download/install,just a small plugin and an internet connection.

Anti Spyware Software - just like their big brother anti virus software,anti spyware will keep your system running lean. You wouldn't believe how many tracking cookies just general non-porn surfing will generate. Toss in people using unsecure browsers (IE) or surfing some rather untrustworthy websites (warez,porn,etc) that's a lotta spyware. Download and install some anti spyware software such as Spybot/Search & Destroy, MalwareBytes,or some alternatives to anti spyware that help point out infected processes or files, such as HijackThis.

GPU Drivers (Video Card Drivers) - You'll want to keep your drivers up to date. Whether or not you have an ATI card or a Nvidia,there's usually up to date drivers for it unless its many years old. You can get ATI Drivers, right here and you can get Nvidia Drivers, right here. If you aren't sure what video card you have,Right Click My Computer - Properties - Hardware - Device Manager and select Display Adaptor & you should see the model of the GPU listed there. If it's an intergated card like an Intel on board video card,check Intel's website.

Turn off Programs - Unless you need it, turn off everything else. If your system needs the power to go into STO,having iTunes or Winamp open to listen to music might not be so good. You don't need your various IM applications open either,I'm sure you can deal without AIM/Yahoo/MSN/ICQ for a period of time while you play. Keeping files downloading in the background,like streaming a large highdef movie from Netflix or Youtube can hamper things,and even if you're using bittorrent for a legitimate purpose,turn it off while playing to see a performance increase.

Check Your Peripheral Hardware - that USB mouse and keyboard may be nice, on lower end systems, could drain more resources. Not much of an issue for modern pc's. Recommend a normal PS/2 connection if using low end PC.

Utilities and Programs

There are a couple other ways to tweak things a bit within your system.

Game Booster - I know what your thinking, this has to be some crappy piece of spyware that doesn't really do anything and comes from a rather small company. I thought so too at first. But I tried it. Of course I scanned it with every anti virus I could think of and spyware too,it was clean. All Gamebooster does is provide a method in one single gui, to check your current running Processes ( | ),and it has a built in list of which ones aren't absolutely needed. So if you didn't use BlackVipers guide or still had a few processes you could live without,GameBooster gives you the option to turn them off,AND once you are doing playing,with one easy click GameBooster turns those processes right back on. Think of it as process management for those that want it simpler or might not know much about how to deal with them. And to top it off,it's free. No trial or limitations really, just free. Nab it at the Official Game Booster site.

CCleaner - a freeware registry cleaner,a lot of old programs leave crap in the registry which here and there ain't so bad but a ton of over time and drain some performance. CCleaner lets you go in and delete some of this extra stuff. Now,WARNING,if you mess with your Registry in windows and make some critical mistake,thats not good. Make a backup of your registry and research what you are removing and see if it is safe to remove before even thinking of it. You can get at CCleaner's site

Defrag - I lump this into programs cause,while Windows has a default defrag utility, some people prefer others. And there are many to list, so I've leave it with this; defragging once every month or two helps. A traditional HDD breaks down into tiny little sectors, each one containing X amount of information of a program, split across many areas. Think of it like a really big jigsaw puzzle. Your system can piece it back together each time, but just like trying a new puzzle, you might not complete as fast as your last puzzle, or you might lose a piece of a puzzle making reassembling it time consuming while you find the piece or lost completely. HDD's work similarily, and defrag helps keep all the pieces in a neater package for faster easier reassembling. You can use the default tool Windows offers or there are a plethora of defrag tools available online,free and paid.


Field of View - A staple of reducing some lag and gaining a frame or two. Instead of playing with your ship/avatar/toon zoomed all the way out,zoom in some. You'll notice the closer you zoom, the more frames you net. Now it's not going to be a huge increase but if there is an area of the game, say a high populated area in an instance that maybe slows down your rig, you could zoom in and possibly look down. Depending upon your activities (fighting,tradeskilling,etc) you could walk through that area fine, other times you may need to adjust to what you're doing.

HUD Placement/Removal - Now at the moment we really can't remove HUDS or make drastic changes to the UI, but you can minimize some of them. This won't get you a huge increase but if you can live with a smaller chat hud, or some things shrunk down, every little bit of stuff your PC doesn't have to draw graphically can help. At least, this has always been my experience in mmorpgs.


Getting STO to function in a different OS - there's been some discussion on this, mainly a good back & forth going on in Someenigma's STO Under Wine/Linux/Mac thread. This will show you how to get it run.

And this thread, helps Linux/Wine Performance.

That should make STO more playable if you need it to be. Updates will come to the guide as needed.