# A2/A2F/A2OA Tweak Guide

• Yes.
22
• No.
10
• Somewhat.
3

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Hi everyone.

As it seems, many have trouble with games even today, so I decided to post a guide I made several years ago in hope that it will help other players get more out of their hardware/software.

Plain text - Relatively safe for average users.

Bold - Section, important notice.

Red - Warning, take precaution.

Bold Red - Take extreme precaution, and if unsure, skip this and don't try it at your own.

Bold Blue - Guide section, contains sub-sections.

General System Tweak Guide

This guide was originally made for and appeared on sasclan.org as a sticky and it was optimized for older game titles and Windows XP and Vista primarily, however, feel free to use it as it may still prove useful. Click/Tap on "Show Spoiler" to open it.

Here is a brief guide on how to optimize your system not just for gaming but for your everyday use. Please note that this guide focuses just on the core instructions, for indepth instructions on each action/tool use the Internet searches. Use this guide at your own risk.

:icon_question: For more detailed information you can now use Per-App Setup section of this guide.

Resources.

>nCleaner - http://www.nkprods.com/ncleaner/

>CCleaner - http://www.piriform.com/ccleaner

>RegistryBooster - http://www.uniblue.com/software/registrybooster/

>SpeedUpMyPC - http://www.uniblue.com/software/speedupmypc/

>MyDefrag - http://mydefrag.com/

>Ausilogics Disk Defrag - http://www.auslogics.com/en/software/disk-defrag/

>Disk Scanner - http://www.ariolic.com/disk-scanner.html

>Game Booster - http://www.iobit.com/gamebooster.html

>Internet connection tests - www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/ and pingtest.net

>iolo Memory Mechanic - http://www.crucial.com/promo/index.aspx?prog=uslp_mechanic&cpe=InsiderJan08US

The Big Cleanup.

It all starts here, and it needs to be done.

Clean up your pc from the trash accumulated on your system. This can range from unnecessary files to registry keys. I suggest nCleaner and CCleaner as best free alternatives available, combine them both for best result. Or if you have some bucks to spare buy RegistryBooster and SpeedUpMyPC from Uniblue which I personally use for over 4-5 years.

>Remove all unnecessary programs and games before proceeding, to both save resources and let your system breathe.

>Clear trash, all of those cleaners can automatically detect and remove unnecessary trash.

>Clear invalid registry. Don't be afraid, it's safe to use these tools to clear registry, if you are afraid of messing up something you can always make backups. Or backup the whole registry base by opening Regedit (look up online on how to do that) and exporting it.

>Dump free space. In CCleaner there is an option to wipe out free space, what this means is that you clear data that you deleted but is still available on your hard drive as backup and can be recovered with special tools such as Recuva. This process can take lots of time to finish, specially if you have big slow HDD.

>For maximum impact, manually locate documents and settings folders and browse applications folders per user, remove folders of companies/names that label a product you no longer use, but beware that this can also cause damage if you do something wrongly.

Boosting Up.

Now that you got rid of all that trash, you can start boosting up your system to run faster.

>For gaming, create a new user profile/account.

>In nCleaner, in Tweaks section, use lots of tweaks available to speed up your system and enhance privacy, you need to do this on your own and posses at least average knowledge about software and tweaking. There are many other tools that you could use for system tweaking. Disable visual effects in Windows, make it look like the old ugly Windows Classic, disable shadows in windows, animations, shadows on cursors, etc, you get the idea.

>Remove wallpaper, make it blank (accessed by right click properties by default)

>Page file, often misunderstood as replacement for RAM memory, pagefile is additional memory allocated on your hard drive for your system and applications. While RAM is in temporary form, pagefile can stay even after you shut your system down, however it's slower, but still very necessary for your system to function well. Many people think that manually setting pagefile size has best effect, however, the very best option is to select one drive, and let system allocate pagefile by itself because that's the best value and you may even notice huge performance improvements.

>Disable or uninstall running processes. If you have many tools that run on startup and all the time, your systems performance will fly through a window, right into the trash can. use CCleaner to manage which programs will start upon system boot and which wont, the less of them start when system is booted, the better your system will do. In addition, if you are an expert with tweaks, I suggest that you get COMODO Cleaning Essentials and it's KillSwitch app, it's by far best of this kind, and it's free.

>De-fragmenting. I suggest MyDefrag and Ausilogics Disk Defrag for HDD defrag tasks. By default, Ausilogics Disk Defrag can do the job, if it can't, run MyDefrag at 1st and Ausilogics Disk Defrag at second, both combined achieve ultimate defragmentation results, MyDefrag in particular has unique technology. Also, you should defragment your registry, to do this you need RegistryBooster from Uniblue or some other tool that can do the job.

>Disk error checkup. Disk Scanner by Ariolic will do the job.

>Stop unnecessary services. Windows in particular runs many services, search online on how to disable services, and once you learn so, disable the ones you don't need.

>Gaming boost. There is a tool called GameBooster, feel free to try it, however I found it that after I optimized my system with the above mentioned steps GameBooster became useless.

Optimize your work and gaming habits.

Yup, you need to know how to do things so your system can perform better. In games for example, how well do you know your hardware? What are your hardware's limitations? In short, the better you understand your hardware's capability the preciser your in-game settings will match the smoothest framerates given as well as best visual/audio quality delivered. Most of the time, to get the best result you will need to tweak your games settings rather than something "globally" on your system.

>Tune the graphics to match your graphic cards capabilities, don't push it to do something it can't or can but poorly. If you want to play a game that doesn't support your system specs, get 3DAnalyzer.

>Tune sound quality to match your systems processing power, specially the channel count (The lower the better).

>Run as fewer games/apps in same time as possible.

>Update ALL drivers (Proceed with caution! If you don't know how to properly update drivers don't do it on your own!)

>RAM memory dump. You can dump your ram memory with tools like iolo Memory Mechanic so that when you play a game you have more RAM available for it.

Protection.

The Internet.

I also suggest, that you run as few programs/apps as possible, specially the ones that make connections and transfer data, ideally you will want to run just a game and that the game you run will be the only source of data traffic use.

All the above tasks should be performed as bellow:

>The Big Cleanup. - Do this every day, or once in every 2-3 days.

>Boosting Up. - Once a week or two.

>Optimize your work and gaming habits. - All the time.

>Protection - All the time.

>The Internet. - Once a month or half a year. If you've found good internet connection, use it for a year or two.

Per-App Setup.

This a deeper list of things you can do with the tools mentioned in this thread. It's basically a set of actions I do with the tools mentioned, it's up to you whether you will follow or not. Use with caution.

nCleaner:

>Clear trash - nCleaner>Clean Now for both registry and files respectively>Scan>Fix

>Clear junk files - nCleaner>Find Junk>Tick all three types>Run a Smart Scan>Be careful what you delete at the end.

For General tab I suggest the following checked:

Windows: Don't start MS Messenger with Outlook Express.

Windows: Don't autostart CDs (after this one you will need to manually autostart discs)

Windows: Disable Dr. Watson.

Windows: Enable Disk Optimizer on boot.

Windows: Increase NTFS Performance.

Windows: Force Kernel to remain in Physical Memory (sorta risky but can help)

For Privacy tab I suggest the following checked:

Windows: Disable Error Reports.

Windows: Turn off remote desktop support.

Windows: Don't synchronize with Internet time.

Windows: Restrict anonymous guest access.

Windows: Disable integrated Firewall (up to you, can cause false positives with security tools)

Windows: Hide computer in network.

Windows: Don't show last logged on user name.

Windows: Don't report to Microsoft malware infections (optional, can cause errors)

Windows: Disable recent documents history.

Windows: Clear recent documents history on shutdown.

Windows: Disable user tracking.

Internet Explorer: All, except if you use IE.

Media Player: All

Hit Apply per each tab to confirm changes, reboot if necessary.

>Statrups - nCleaner>Startupman> Under applications tab, disable what you don't need, and under System>System Services you can disable services (be extremely careful, and don't touch anything you are unfamiliar with, it's better skipping this than making an error here)

>Free space wipe - nCleaner on main page Shred free space>Select drives>Start (I don't recommend nCleaner's space shredder, if it encounters an error your system can be left stranded with millions of empty files all over the place, I suggest CCleaner for this instead)

CCleaner:

>Cleanup - CCleaner>Cleaner>Select options you deem useful>Run Cleaner and do same for Registry tab.

>Tweaks - CCleaner>Tools>Startup to access startup processes list, use Disable button, in Internet Explorer tab disable all if you don't use IE

CCleaner>Tools>Uninstall>Uninstall unnecessary stuff (also use this uninstaller for anything you uninstall) CCleaner>Tools>System Restore>Remove all but one entry, unless you need these.

>Free space wipe - Before you proceed, explore Options and select best options for the task, be EXTREMELY careful not to wipe off your hard drives data as CCleaner supports this, instead, use just free space wipe options, if unsure, don't do anything. CCleaner>Cleaner>Find Wipe Free Space checkbox, check it>Run Cleaner>When done, uncheck this box for normal cleaning tasks.

RegistryBooster:

>Clear registry - RegistryBooster>Start Scan>Fix (create backups if you need so)

>Defragment registry - RegistryBooster>Registry Scan>Registry Defrag, reboot if necessary.

>Cleanup - RegistryBooster>Restore>Remove old backups.

SpeedUpMyPC:

>Similar as for RegistryBooster.

Comodo Cleaning Essentials:

Using this set of tools is recommended only for pros, if you are not an experienced user don't use this as it can cause serious damage.

>Malware Scan - CCE(find in dir)>Scan>Update or Skip>Start>Next>Fix

>Autoruns - Autoruns(find in dir)>Scan>Disable/delete the ones you think are not needed, you may detect well over 1000 startup processes, it is advised that even pro tweakers take EXTREME precaution tuning up anything in this tool.

>End processes and/or connections, analyze data - KillSwitch(find in dir)>Select which of the tasks you want to do, end processes that are unnecessary or suspicious, do same for connections, use analytics provided for technical assistance.

MyDefrag:

>Defrag - MyDefrag>Defragment only>Select drives>Run>On finish, File>Close

Ausilogics Disk Defrag:

>Defrag - Ausilogics Disk Defrag>Select drives>Defrag (select no if popup shows)

Disk Scanner:

>Scan disk for errors - Disk Scanner>Start Scan

Game Booster:

>Optimize - Game Booster>Boost

3DAnalyzer:

>Tuneup - 3DAnalyzer>Find game executable>Select proper options>Launch.

TCPOptimizer:

Network tests:

>Test speed - You can use Speakeasy's speed tester, it's simplest or you can do a simple search for "speed test" and find many good solutions, either way, use these tests to see what's your Internet speed.

>Test Ping - Pingtest.net is best for this. ideally, you will want a connection with as smaller ping as possible, with no packet loss and no or near low amount of Jitter.

iolo Memory Mechanic:

>Dump RAM memory - iolo Memory Mechanic>Optimize(run it few times if necessary)>Close (also, if you want to save up more on RAM, shut it's process with Task manager)

ArmA 2 Specific Tweaks.

There are many threads and guides that describe many tweaks people applied for ArmA 2, however, not all is known, so here's my take on most basic as well as some advanced tweaks I used over years.

In-Game Settings

Visibility - View distance, in other words how far you can see things in game, the lower this setting is the better performance you will get. Some thresholds I found - 300 meters is the absolute minimum for playable view distance, can be used for CQB specially under rainy/foggy conditions without appeal loss, huge performance boost. 1000 m, the golden standard, any value above this will start to take on performance on the double, suggested value for under 1000 is 800. 2000, minimum realistic view distance, doesn't impact performance much yet still adds to realism. 5000 preferred realism setting, does affect performance but adds on quality. 10000 is maximum view distance in ArmA 2, unless you have a monster machine to run the game on all settings highest possible and fly jets all the time this setting is useless, whiplashes GPU's and CPU's and even the best on the market will find it hard to handle all of the detail. Visibility setting is dependent on other game options, thus it's affect on performance varies.

Brightness - Adjust how "white" a scene is, I suggest values from 1.0 to 1.1 (best)

Gamma - A setting that combines brightness and contrast, in other words, makes things brighter and sharper suggested values 1.0 to 1.2 1.1 is the best for almost all monitors.

Quality preference - Best left untouched, however if you are a lazy one use it for preset graphic settings on the go. This setting changes automatically once you start to adjust things manually. Mine says Very High after all the tweaks I applied to my A2 and OA settings although not everything is on highest.

Interface resolution - Game screen resolution. Almost all monitors will give significant boost for 640x480 and 800x600 resolutions as this is a golden standard for many devices, including computer monitors and newer screens. The two resolutions lack on quality, however if you need performance do use them. Other resolutions will hit performance, with each bigger one (by standards such as 1024 p, etc also wide screen) doubling on resource usage. Other settings depend on resolution strongly. 1024x768 is the best resolution between quality and performance, any resolution above that gives little to no noticeable quality gain if your monitor is 17'' or smaller.

3D Resolution - Aka renderer. This setting is best left with the same resolution size as for the interface, in other words 100%, any value above that will squeeze more detail under same pixel density which may improve quality but will take a on performance greatly. In the most extreme cases, if you really need performance gain, set 3D renderer on 50%, this will give 2/3 performance gain but make everything look pixelated and blurry, less noticeable with higher resolutions.

Video memory - Aka game "pagefile" except that this one is for your local RAM memory sticks. The lower setting uses 256MB of RAM, while Very High uses up to 2 GB. Default setting uses custom values defined in cfg settings file. Refer to Memory Tweaks section for more detail. Lower setting is recommended if you have less RAM memory installed but a fast processor, while higher setting is recommended if you have more RAM memory but slower processor.

Anisotropic filtering - This is what makes everything look crisper because this setting loads more textures further. However do note that the higher values will affect your performance. Lower values best used when your processor is slower and when you are using lower texture setting, while High is recommended for faster processors (GPU's with more RAM memory as well) and higher texture/memory values. Recommended Medium or Disabled (no difference between low and Disabled, however Low will in fact affect performance) for performance gain.

Antialiasing - This is what makes 3D object edges look less pixelated, this is also what will eat a lot of resources. Don't use antialiasing unless you have a high-end system.

ATOC (A2:OA Only) - Antialiasing on certain objects such as foliage. Refer to BI's ATOC wiki page for more detail. It is recommended to use ATOC instead of Antialiasing highest setting.

Terrain detail - How many objects are loaded on terrain scene, very low will add grass, while higher value will more density and complexity to 3D objects. Best recommended for performance gain are Low and Normal values, use Very Low if you don't want grass.

Object detail - Defines how many objects will be loaded on a scene. The higher this value is the more objects you will see further in distance, best combined with view distance. This setting also affects how far you can see enemy targets, so while lowest setting may remove enemies from under 600m Normal and Higher settings will display them above 1000 thus I recommend Normal for Chernarus and Utes while High for Takistan, Zargrabad and any other large scale desert terrain. Objects are loaded in local RAM memory.

Shadow detail - Adds shadows. Disabled setting removes shadows, however, interestingly, in come cases there's no performance difference between Disabled and Low settings as it seems that A2 engine pre-renders shadows anyway regardless of what you choose, so Very Low/Low setting is recommended anyway however do mind that this setting will make some object shadows blocky. High and Very High setting add smoother shadows but greatly impact performance, they also draw shadows on objects further in distance.

HDR quality (A2:OA only, however A2 and A2Free have this in cfg settings and can be used) - Often misunderstood, HDR has huge effect on performance and even quality. Most people wonder what it does and can't notice anything, that's because most pay attention to wrong details. What HDR quality setting does is define bit depth for lightning effects such as sky, muzzleflashes, reflections and even night/heat vision. Normal uses 8bits High uses 16 bits while Very High uses 32 bits. A difference between 8 bit and 16 bit quality is easy to spot. With Normal setting sky looks somewhat sliced, as if someone painted it with different brushes while on High it looks smother and has more natural colors. Normal setting makes terrains darker and more pale, specially in Dusk/Morning while High setting adds more realistic nights and colorful environment. Normal setting for night/heat vision has huge impact, for night vision it uses only green and black, heat uses grey and white or grey and black while High setting uses green, white and black colors for night vision making it a lot more realistic and black, grey and white or black for heat signatures (BAF scopes use red and orange for thermal on Normal while red, orange and yellow for thermals on High). What I suggest is to use High setting, unless you really need to gain on performance. Very High setting should be used only with 64 bit systems because there's no big difference between High and Very high for 32 bit systems where difference isn't significant.

PPAA/FXAA (A2:OA only) - Is antialiasing via post processing. Don't try to understand how it works, look at it like antialiasing for effects. Refer to this link for more detail - http://community.bistudio.com/wiki/arma2.cfg

After several tests, I came to a conclusion that PPAA is safe to use on any system as it doesn't impact performance like default AA but does indeed smothen scenery. FXAA shown the best results, recommended Low to Medium, while FXAA is perfect for large screens with bigger resolutions as it sharpens scenery and makes everything look more realistic. SMAA on the other hand smothened edges but did impact performance, what's more even it blurred objects in distance even on Very High.

Post process effects - What makes lightning look more natural. Disabled uses no effects whatsoever. very Low uses bloom and adds night vision flicker, Low uses all that and adds motion blur with bloom, Medium/Normal adds higher bloom and depth of field (blurs things in distance) High adds SSAO (A2:OA only) while Very High adds more SSAO (A2:OA only) in ArmA 2 High and Very High add more bloom and better night vision. This setting depends on HDR quality setting.

Interface size - User interface, aka boxes, buttons, texts size. use larger values for larger resolutions, Normal is recommended. Can be customized in cfg files.

Aspect ratio - 4:3 is standard, any other aspect ratio is either widescreen, multiscreen or custom preference. Can be customized in cfg settings beyond presets in game options.

Vsync - Just don't use it. Unless your system is a beast and you wear immerse goggles, headtracker, have DIY simulator hardware and want to experience war without going to the battlefield and dying. Basically, Vsync stops screen tearing, making everything surreal but ONLY when your system can render everything on highest at 60fps.

USE WITH CAUTION

CFG's - To be added soon.

Memory Tweaks - There were and still are many debates on memory tweaks for ArmA 2, so I decided to get to the core of it, do some tests on my own and find the best solution. This by far is the biggest tweak of all for ArmA 2(CO, Free) and will in fact improve your performance for up to 80%!

:icon_question: There is a much easier method for forcing custom memory tweak values with A2/A2F/A2OA. You can apply same "formula" from this section but with exception that you use shortcut parameters and not cfg's. Refer to Parameters section for more detail.

Before I explain this. Please note that this tweak is for advanced users who know how to tweak A2 cfg files (refer to previous section to learn how) and even then use caution.

In cfg files there are two fields named localVRAM and nonlocalVRAM and it is these two settings that bring lots of improvements.

localVRAM - This is a setting that defines how many bytes your game will allocate to your GPU RAM memory (and not local RAM) in addition to that, test shown that the lower this value is the lower in-game LOD (Level of detail, aka object complexity) is when game loads and emulates 3D.

nonlocalVRAM - This is a setting that defines how many bytes your game will allocate to your local RAM (Not GPU)

The perfect formula (Experimental, no guarantee):

After many tests, I found out that, for localVRAM values at 50% of your graphic cards RAM are the best and safest to use for all systems while 60 to 80% of GPU RAM value is recommended for any quality graphic card that has 1 or more gb's of RAM memory.

For nonlocalVRAM this is similar, 50% is the recommended value of your AVAILABLE RAM memory while 80% is the maximum stable value for systems with over 2 GB of local RAM installed. The reason why I mention AVAILABLE is simple, ArmA 2 can use only memory that is available, not the one that your system occupied, so for example let's say you have 2 GB of ram, your system used up 800 MB, so you have 1200 MB to use but what ArmA 2 sees is that you have 2 GB, and once you run out of free local RAM memory your game will crash, to prevent this from happening open your Task Manager and under Performance>Physical Memory>Available note the value down, this value is your available local RAM amount, slice 50% of this value and that's the value you should use in your A2, A2Free, A2OA cfg's nonlocalVRAM field.

Some examples:

localVRAM=268435456 which is 256 MB of GPU ram allocated to the game for 512 MB GPU

nonlocalVRAM=1073741824 which is 1024 of local RAM value allocated for 2 GB/2048 MB installed local RAM

128 MB = 134217728 bytes

256 MB = 268435456 bytes

512 MB = 536870912 bytes

1024 MB = 1073741824 bytes, 1 GB

2048 MB = 2147483648 bytes, 2 GB

4096 MB = 4294967296 bytes, 4 GB

8192 MB = 8589934592 bytes, 8 GB

16384 MB = 17179869184 bytes, 16 GB

The even more important memory tweak is memory allocation. Since recently, A2:OA supports custom memory allocators (dll's) to help solve performance issues. I myself had an issue with A2:OA until recently and went on to test all memory allocators that came with the game as well as use some custom memory allocators that are available for free.

Memory allocator is what manages your system/software memory, be it RAM, local disk space or even data transfers in some cases. In this case, for A2:OA memory allocators play big role by managing local RAM, GPU RAM and pagefile memory. After brief testing, I managed not only to solve my crashing issues but also gain an incredible 80% performance boost!

This is how to use memory allocators. By default, your A2:OA game directory has a folder named "dll" this folder contains a number of memory allocators (in form of dll's) What you need to know about this folder is that if you want to use custom memory allocators you have to put them in this folder and then execute them via commandline.

To execute an memory allocator for your game, in game shortcut parameters add -malloc=NAMEOFMALLOC where NAMEOFMALLOC is memory allocator dll name from dll folder WITHOUT .dll extension.

Test results bellow. Please note that these tests were done with beta version of CO and on a mediocre system, in other words they were pushed to do something a memory allocator wasn't designed to, i.e. run the game on highest settings (with objects, textures, 5k view distance) with only 2 GB of local RAM and 512 MB GPU RAM available (one of my test systems specs) The tests were conducted as follows - All A2: CO vehicles were placed on an area next to player spawn, a helicopter was used (Little Bird) to fly over cities, most used terrain was Bystrica (ACR) and cities (Ex Chernogorsk and Ex Elektrozavodsk) if memory allocator didn't crash by then, another terrain was loaded (Fallujah) and then yet another (Zargabad)

Included memory allocators (these come preinstalled in dll folder):

tbb3malloc_bi - Poor performance, resource hungry and crashes if forced. Couldn't handle two cities in Bystrica. All high settings.

tbb4malloc_bi - Default memory allocator, works decently and can handle things well, crashes if forced. Couldn't handle two cities fully in Bystrica. All High to Very high settings.

jemalloc_bi - Very good performance, loads objects fast, lower level of LOD, crashes if forced and returns debug dialog (memory exception notice) Could handle only one city in Bystrica. High settings.

tcmalloc_bi - Very good performance, loads objects even faster, higher LOD, crashes if forced. Could handle one city in Bystrica. High to Very High settings.

nedmalloc_bi - Exceptional performance, loads objects decently not too fast though, uses "Receiving" screen to handle memory, of which speaking off the more RAM memory you have allocated to the game the faster this "Receiving" screen will disappear. Uses a lot of processing power. Didn't crash at all.

Custom memory allocators:

Hoard (winhoard.dll) - Incredibly fast memory allocator, whatsoever the fastest. Designed for 64 bit systems in mind. Could handle all 3 terrains but crashed eventually. Recommended for multicore users. Very High settings used. http://www.hoard.org/

Windows default (XP, W7 left untested) - Painfully slow, but very stable, could handle all 3 terrains on High settings.

Any other - Suggest and I will test.

And the winner is.....nedmalloc_bi !

Not only did it not crash, but this memory allocator saves on performance, and what's even more so I pushed it to extremes, used highest settings possible in A2:OA (except resolution, 1024p) and it didn't crash, I pushed it even further and ran JSRS, WarFX, COWarMod and even ACE, literally filled an entire block of vehicles in Fallujah and it didn't crash, I did get very low framerate though as expected as my system is mediocre and everything was on highest possible which is quiet a feat (~10 frames)

So what to use? If your processor is fast and you have plenty of ram, you can use the default memory allocator, for big performance gain use Hoard. If you have a mediocre system and your game crashes, use nedmalloc_bi as it will work perfectly fine in all conditions.

:icon_question: After the latest beta patch test, using nedmalloc_bi with Low to High Memory settings in game seems to give additional performance boost with small quality loss but no crashes. Might not work for everyone though.

G.A.S. Memory FIX

THIS TWEAK IS FOR EXPERT USES ONLY BECAUSE IT INVOLVES BIOS SETTINGS MODIFICATION WHICH IS DANGEROUS EVEN FOR ADVANCED USERS, A WRONG SETTING MAY RENDER YOUR SYSTEM UN-BOOTABLE OR EVEN WORSE FRY YOUR PROCESSOR/GPU. USE WITH EXTREME CAUTION.

G.A.S. or Graphics Aperture Size is a bios setting that can fix lots of crashes with games, presumably ArmA 2. I myself experienced many crashes only to get them fixed this way. However, this tweak involves BIOS setting modification. If you don't know what BIOS is, how to access it or how to modify it, don't even think about trying this one out, rather skip.

Here's how to adjust G.A.S. - Access BIOS settings, then under Advanced tab (by default) find chip settings or chip configuration, you should see a field named Graphics Aperture Size and a value set to it (Default 64 or 128) enter this setting and select 512 MB (Higher values NOT recommended). If your G.A.S is already on 512 MB or higher then let it be, if not, after you set it to 512 MB, go to BIOS exit point and save changes. Your system should reboot and you should be able to play ArmA 2 a lot smoother without sudden crashes.

This tweak is useful not only for ArmA 2 but also for other games, and is specially useful with studio suites like Creative Suite, FL or Kerkhytea where GPU is processing a lot of data and needs a lot of RAM memory.

Parameters(Unfinished)

While using launchers is the easiest way, some may still prefer the good old fashioned shortcut parameters. ArmA 2 has few you can use.

"-mod=X:\Bohemia Interactive;MOD1;MOD2;Expansion;Expansion\beta;Expansion\beta\Expansion" -parameter

This parameter helps you fix A2+OA to CO issues or helps you run A2 Free and OA as CO Lite with mods. X: is your drive and Bohemia Interactive (Default ArmA 2 Free folder) is folder of your ArmA 2 or ArmA 2 Free installation while MOD1 and MOD2 are mod name examples, you can add as many as you wish though you should keep it short. -parameter is desired parameter to go along this one such as -skipintro, you can add more parameters as well.

-skipintro

This helps skip game "intro" levels, or introduction screens (Depends from your executable version)

-nosplash

Skips splash screens (Read game logos, notices, etc) on startup.

-world=empty

Loads a custom world so it appears in your main menu backdrop. This can be useful if you want to pre-load some objects (say some weapons, vehicles, buildings) in order to shorten loading times when joining a server, or you can simply use "empty" value to load no world at all and gain on some RAM and startup timing.

-malloc=nedmalloc_bi

Forces game executable to use different memory allocator (from dll folder that can be found in game directory) you can also use "system" value to force use of your system's memory allocator.

-maxmem=VALUE

Is a parameter that forces/limits local RAM memory amount used with A2/A2Free/A2OA. VALUE is a number (in MB's). Note that minimum allowed value is 256 MB and maximum allowed value is 2047 MB. This parameter however has no impact on file cache (page file) size whatsoever. Recommended value is 50% of your free local RAM memory available.

-maxvram=VALUE

Same as for maxmem, except that this one is for your video memory (GPU) and that minimum allowed is 128 MB while maximum allowed is 2047 MB (should not be crossed or you risk damaging your GPU unit) Recommended value is 50% of your GPU RAM memory.

Server Optimization (To be added soon)

I hope this guide helped you a bit. If you want some details clarified or something explained, or perhaps you have a suggestion and want it added to this guide, feel free to post in comments.

Please don't forget that this guide may not work for everyone, or for that matter at all. All entries in this guide are my personal opinion and/or suggestions by other users. Everything was tested, however that doesn't guarantee that this guide will help you. Therefore you are free to try it (At your own risk and your own will) and see if it helps or not.

Edited by MAVEN

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GREAT post!

If you add in-game tweaks, this could be the definitive guide to optimize the computer to run ARMA 2

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GREAT post!

If you add in-game tweaks, this could be the definitive guide to optimize the computer to run ARMA 2

Thanks Down8, that's a great idea :D

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I commend you on your post, it will be a great guide for newer pc gamers. I use some of the tips/tweaks you mention.

However, having run gaming pcâ€™s for many years now, I have less to do, i.e. I donâ€™t load the pc up with anything other than the game and the bare essentials to run the pc/game, works a treat, always has. That is the only suggestion I give to anyone who wants to game and get the best results from their pc, use it just for the game/games nothing else, buy another cheaper pc for everyday use. The price of a mid range gaming pc is not that bad now and it will run this game provided it is kept lean and clean. Then hopefully that would give you enough change to buy a cheap everyday desktop/laptop..

Anyway a good guide, but with this game it means little without the game tweaks, of which there are numerous, if I were you I would gather up and link tweaks, plus add some of the game tweaks you use or have tried to your OP, then build it up from there. It will be a great help to many who are coming into this game and pc gaming in general.

I think you have started from the right place, the pc, then worry about the game once you have that as optimized as possible, that or build/buy a gaming pcâ€¦:cool:

Always keep it 'Lean and clean', has to be, well for great gaming anyway..;)

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That's actually a very good advice. I have a workstation for work and a set of testing systems for testing purposes (which I sometimes use for gaming)

Overloading system with too many programs always leads to problems. That's why new gaming profile should give some solutions.

Anyway, feel free to post your optimizations/tweaks here, the more there are the more helpful this thread will be :)

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Really good post, much appreciated. Actually it is a bit too general to make it sticky here but it could be stickied in the OT section. If you manage it to have more ArmA 2 related tweaks besides the more general tweaks, i could make it a sticky in here which personally i would prefer.

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>Update ALL drivers.

Hi Maven how are you? Very good post btw. I would just like to add one thing for unexperienced users, only because of a bad experience I had awhile back from a "PC performance Guide". Okay, so for your average user (not a computer guru), video drivers (for nvidia anyhow) are easy to update & install. It's all automatic once you 'hit' install, it removes old drivers for you and updates with the new ones etc.

However, some other drivers on any given PC, require different methods of installation. For a noob trying to update ALL of the PCs drivers, it's not as simple as installing video drivers and may cause more problems than it's worth. They may end up with a non-functioning computer, because of some small thing they did wrong.Then they end up taking it to a shop to pay to have it fixed, and in the mean time they don't have a gaming machine.

Anyhow, that's what happened to me when I tried to update some motherboard drivers, I didn't uninstall them first so it corrupted the drivers or w/e (I think it was the motherborad drivers, anyhow), and in the end, the computer shop reformatted and installed all of the latest drivers anyhow LOL. Maybe it was just bad luck, in any case I don't dare try and update any other drivers besides video drivers since then. And to open another can of worms, uninstalling the correct drivers for any given hardware/software can be daunting... atleast for me.

I'm not saying it's the best practice, I'm just saying un-experienced users should Beware and take precaution before picking up a random performance guide and assuming it's okay to just go down and do everything on the list. I only generally update the drivers that will automatically uninstall/install the driver(s) I need, without a huge hassle and a risk of failure. ie; video drivers

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Thanks guys.

Myke, as I mentioned before, I will add ArmA 2 specific optimization instructions when I have more free time as Down8 and ChrisB already suggested, so that's sorted :)

Hi Iceman. I'm ok, thanks, a bit busy catching up but doing fine, and how are you? ;)

I agree about that part, however there are now some free tools that can search for new driver updates and install them automatically, even Windows has autoupdate functionality for drivers, perhaps I should add some instructions on that.

Anyway I will update the drivers section and add a notice so hopefully nobody will mess up, and maybe after A2 specific tweaks are added I may add drivers Per-App instructions.

Edit. Done, I also added agenda with notifications which text means what and put all warnings in red and bold red text.

Edited by MAVEN

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Guide updated. ArmA 2/OA tweaks sections added. I will add even more detail soon, some of which are advanced tweaks not mentioned elsewhere (at least not in true detail).

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Thank you MAVEN, this is very comprehensive! I will take your advice of put on High object detail on Desert Maps.

In relation to the shadow detail, I don't notice a high impact performance compared with HDR, AA or post process, although other people may.

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You are welcome and thanks, Down8 :)

Guide updated, added a tweak that can give up to 80% performance boost and solve crashes (in my case at least, now I can run OA with mods on higher settings and with lots of AI)

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Impressive set of advices there MAVEN, thanks. If you ever get around to elaborating on the ATOC settings, it would be very welcome. Has always had me confused :)

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Would it be okay for me to add something in here, A2/CO specific? If I'm out of line here, please delete the post and let me know. Pertaining to a graphics setting (texture detail level) & LOD for GPUs that use more than 512 MB VRAM. If you use a video card with over 512MB VRAM, always set the texture detail level to default. If you have a really good PC, that runs the game like liquid smooth and you wondered why LOD turns to shit after you zoom in this is most likely the cause. Don't even use very high, use default!! This allows your gpu to take advantage!!

From the ancient changelog of patch 1.08:

- New: Support for larger texture cache with new Texture Detail level "Default", useful for cards with over 512 MB VRAM.

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I understand you made a lot effort into this, however there are some mistakes in this guide which make me wonder how reliable is the performance testing done with the tweaks, as in following cases the tweaks suggested do nothing at all:

- localVRAM and nonlocalVRAM are write only. Game never reads them, you can change them how you want, it does not matter at

- winhoard.dll cannot be used in its default state, as it does not conform to our allocator interface. Someone would have to make a derived project first and plug the hoard into the interface the game expectes. When you use winhoard.dll, you actually get a default allocator instead (same as without -malloc option). It is therefore strange your reported results are different for winhoard and tbb4malloc_bi.

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Impressive set of advices there MAVEN, thanks. If you ever get around to elaborating on the ATOC settings, it would be very welcome. Has always had me confused :)

Thanks. ATOC is basically antialiasing applied to certain objects, in this case foliage. This setting depends on antialiasing setting in Video options, so if you don't use antialiasing you can't enable ATOC either. What it does is smoothens jaggy edges.

Would it be okay for me to add something in here, A2/CO specific? If I'm out of line here, please delete the post and let me know. Pertaining to a graphics setting (texture detail level) & LOD for GPUs that use more than 512 MB VRAM. If you use a video card with over 512MB VRAM, always set the texture detail level to default. If you have a really good PC, that runs the game like liquid smooth and you wondered why LOD turns to shit after you zoom in this is most likely the cause. Don't even use very high, use default!! This allows your gpu to take advantage!!

From the ancient changelog of patch 1.08:

Sure, the more tweaks the better. From my own tests I found out that Video settings memory presets (Low, Normal, High) affect both GPU and local RAM, though I'm not sure if there's a limitation for 512 MB only on GPU cards. I do use default setting and it gives me performance boost.

I understand you made a lot effort into this, however there are some mistakes in this guide which make me wonder how reliable is the performance testing done with the tweaks, as in following cases the tweaks suggested do nothing at all:

- localVRAM and nonlocalVRAM are write only. Game never reads them, you can change them how you want, it does not matter at

- winhoard.dll cannot be used in its default state, as it does not conform to our allocator interface. Someone would have to make a derived project first and plug the hoard into the interface the game expectes. When you use winhoard.dll, you actually get a default allocator instead (same as without -malloc option). It is therefore strange your reported results are different for winhoard and tbb4malloc_bi.

I didn't put a lot of effort in this guide, though I did stitch pieces of knowledge I wrote down over years.

Thanks for informing me about the mistakes. I will correct them, however please do clairfy what needs to be corrected exactly.

By default, A2/A2OA engine does indeed write only to cfg files and doesn't attempt to read those custom values. However, once I forced the engine (Via operating system) to not write to these files but "read" them, A2, A2Free and A2OA did in fact use these values. I purposely even put 4 MB for localVRAM and nonlocalVRAM with significant difference in performance and lots of crashing, and I used special tools to monitor memory usage (CCE) to make sure those values in fact work. What I found out was that using value higher than RAM amount available (GPU, local) crashed my game, while measured values made things go smoother. So I don't know what to say about this. However if you don't want this tweak listed do let me know.

About Hoard. That explains why it crashed eventually. But once again, my tests shown performance boost with this memory allocator. Perhaps A2 engine didn't use Hoard at all but set to default memory allocator? If so, how come there was performance difference and why is there a "dll" folder and read me file for users to use with different allocators? In any case, I'm using tbb4malloc_bi now as it never crashed my game. Speaking of memory allocators, will more of them come in future releases?

-----------

P.S. I mentioned in the guide, and even in comments, and I will mention this again. This guide is a personal opinion, and anyone who wants to use it uses it at his/her own risk! There is zero guarantee on anything, so if you want to see results you will have to test by yourself as experiences may vary for different users. If you are not experienced user, please don't follow steps from this guide that you are unfamiliar with.

Edited by MAVEN

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I do appreciate the effort that must have gone into this post, so please don't take this the wrong way, but apart from what Suma said, some of the information you provided is outdated, incomplete or just plain incorrect:

Incorrect / outdated info

• The benefit of not using a desktop wallpaper will be zero on any semi-modern computer (i.e. one that can run Arma2). You're better off disabling Aero (which you didn't mention), but even there the benefits are questionable.
• The number of shortcuts on your desktop has absolutely nothing to do with VRAM and does not affect performance.
• Performance boosts by "cleaning" the registry are also considered to be negligable.
• The "dump free space" part is entirely unnecessary, since it does not affect system performance at all. Recommending that people waste time doing this every day is utterly confounding to me.
• Dr. Watson hasn't been around since Windows XP.
• 1024x768 may have been the "gold standard" of resolutions a few decades ago, but nowadays widescreen TFT/LCD monitors are the norm, and it is recommended to set the interface resolution to your monitor's native resolution (or to a lower resolution with the same aspect ratio for better performance).
• I'm pretty sure the "Video Memory" setting relates to VRAM usage, not system RAM, and should be entirely GPU-dependent, not CPU.
• You say that the "very high" HDR setting should only be used on a 64bit system - this makes no sense.

Oversights / missing info

• Where defragmenting is concerned, you should really mention that this should never be performed on SSDs. Also, you forgot to mention that Arma2 runs best from an SSD, which is a major oversight IMO.
• Aside from the things Suma mentioned, you should also elaborate further on the effects of various Arma2 settings:
• The shadows setting can have a counter-intuitive impact on performance, for example if you have a weak CPU but strong GPU, setting it to high or very high can actually improve framerates compared to normal or low.
• You should mention that PPAA/FXAA can be used in combination with or as an alternative to the default antialiasing.
• Under postprocessing, SSAO actually comes in three different levels of quality (with increasing performance costs) starting with normal (low SSAO), high (medium SSAO) and very high (high SSAO).
• As mentioned above, your screen resolution alone should determine your aspect ratio. 4:3 is not "standard".

[*] A section on driver tweaks would be helpful, as these can affect performance.

PS: I'm aware that this guide represents your personal opinion, but for the sake of anyone coming here looking for tips and tweaks to improve their performance, I think it is important to stick to proven facts. False information does not help anyone and just leads to people wasting their time. :)

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This guide was originally made for and appeared on sasclan.org as a sticky and it was optimized for older game titles and Windows XP and Vista primarily

What's unclear there? This guide is somewhat old, only slightly altered and everything noted was tested by users from other forums with positive results over almost two years.

The Incorrect / outdated info part of your comment is true with newer systems, Windows Vista, W7 and W8 but not fully true with mediocre systems. After all, why would anyone who has a high end system look up for a tweak guide?:rolleyes:

The same goes for Oversights / missing info part. I know about those, but again, not everyone has high end systems. I myself have a workstation which could handle any game on highest settings but my work policy doesn't allow me to play games on it, can't use it even for internet browsing. By annual statistics (2011-2012) 1024x768 and 4:3 aspect ratio were the most used, while web browsers used slightly different aspect ratio but similar resolution.

Standards (used by many programs/games today, I myself use these for my own design and software):

HD (TV's, monitors, flatscreens, touch panels): 1024x768, 1266x768, 1280x800, 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200

Mobile HD (Smartphones, tablets, eReaders): 320x480, 480x320, 640x480, 640x960, 960x800, 960x854, 1024x1024, 1200x800

Now, if I had some statistics (like for example what's median system specification among ArmA 2 players) maybe I could optimize the guide further and adapt it for this community more.

Any input is much appreciated. If anyone feels like something is missing, should be added or corrected, DO post it in comments for others to see, if it's something of greater value, fully proven and tested, I will add it to the guide and give a proper credit.

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What's unclear there? This guide is somewhat old, only slightly altered and everything noted was tested by users from other forums with positive results over almost two years.

Nothing is unclear, but I still think it is necessary to keep facts straight. As for users testing things with positive results, be mindful of the placebo effect. Just ask Suma about betas released with no changes whatsoever, but players suddenly complaining about new problems or noting magical performance increases - all of which must actually have been caused by something else, because the beta was exactly the same as the last one.

You yourself have apparently fallen victim to this effect with your localVRAM tweak, just as I did a few years ago. This is no fault of yours, nor anyone elses. All I am saying is that the guide can and should be updated to reflect new information. If something simply does not work, it has no place in a guide.

The Incorrect / outdated info part of your comment is true with newer systems, Windows Vista, W7 and W8 but not fully true with mediocre systems. After all, why would anyone who has a high end system look up for a tweak guide?:rolleyes:

By "newer systems" we are talking about anything that can actually run Arma2 decently on minimal settings. I have tried Arma2 on an Intel Dual Core E5400, a GTS240 and 2GB DDR2 RAM (my old HTPC) - trust me when I say, cleaning the registry, removing desktop icons and your wallpaper will not improve performance one bit. I literally tried everything.

Just to be clear: the things I mentioned should apply for any computer that can concievably run this game. If you need to resort to deleting desktop icons and wallpapers in order to scrape out the last iota of performance from your system, you probably just can't run the game at all.

The same goes for Oversights / missing info part. I know about those, but again, not everyone has high end systems. I myself have a workstation which could handle any game on highest settings but my work policy doesn't allow me to play games on it, can't use it even for internet browsing. By annual statistics (2011-2012) 1024x768 and 4:3 aspect ratio were the most used, while web browsers used slightly different aspect ratio but similar resolution.

Standards (used by many programs/games today, I myself use these for my own design and software):

HD (TV's, monitors, flatscreens, touch panels): 1024x768, 1266x768, 1280x800, 1440x900, 1680x1050, 1920x1200

Mobile HD (Smartphones, tablets, eReaders): 320x480, 480x320, 640x480, 640x960, 960x800, 960x854, 1024x1024, 1200x800

4:3 / 1024x768 may be the most common overall, but I would wager that this is due to big businesses still widely using older hardware. According to Steam's hardware survey, 1920x1080 and 1366x768 (both 16:9) are the most widely encountered resolutions on PCs used for gaming, which is probably more relevant for Arma2. In any case, "most used" is still not the same as "standard" - there is in fact no single "standard" resolution or aspect ratio. So I maintain that the best advice to give to people is to use their monitor's native resolution, or otherwise a resolution with the same aspect ratio.

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Well. Just to be clear, I never had an intention to actually expand this guide or for that matter adapt or update it (never even expected it to become a sticky here, thanks for that) However, I posted it for a sole purpose that someone can find it useful, there seems to be lots of interest in this guide so I decided to update it a bit, that however doesn't mean I will list everything or make it perfect. I just don't have sufficient time for that. It's also not official and not your ultimate do-it-all as well.

About your older hardware. Just because a processor boasts more cores, or GPU boasts more ram memory, it doesn't necessarily mean there will be significant performance gain. In fact, newer hardware is built with less quality and more flaws, that's something I can't help anyone with.

I don't know about you. But besides my workstation, I have two systems that I use for testing purposes (for my own products, beta programs, apps, and games sometimes from other developers also) Got A2, A2 OA (with DLC's) installed and several mods on both, applied my tweaks, then I was able to play on near highest settings using SP mission called Advancing Power (By Dragon Zen) I managed to get decent 25-30 frames on the system that has higher specs than the other (from the two) while on the other performance dropped around ~10 frames, that being said, A2/OA can be played on both systems on medium settings with minimal lag, and both of those systems have low specs on purpose (lower even than your older hardware, one of them is a single core even) what this means is that I tested my tweaks, applied them and managed to gain performance boost, and that nothing in the guide above was written just randomly without being tested first, so it's not a placebo effect either. This worked fine for me, and several others who tried my guide before I posted it here.

If it doesn't work for you, or anyone else. I'm sorry to hear about that, you aren't forced to rely on it at all, or even use it.

As a saying goes, take it or leave it:D

Also, this guide is not solely "MAVEN's" because I don't actually take full credit for it (I never wanted to, never did anyway, it's free to use, with good intentions and I don't expect anything in return, even a thank you) which means that it belongs to a community it was posted for, and which also means that users of this guide have responsibility to improve it (regardless of whether I do add my own sections and that those are based on my own opinion) if they want something better.

Want a better guide? Want more detail? Want something corrected? Sit down, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and write a piece, test it, then post both your suggestions and test results here and if it's worthy I will add it to the guide :)

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Ok, I basically misinterpreted the intention of the post/thread. I saw the length and that it was sticky and immediately thought it was meant to be the semi-official "ultimate Arma 2 tweaking guide". Sorry if my criticism/comments came off a little strong as a result. :)

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No need to apology at all, I appreciate criticism and it's ALWAYS welcome.

While it's not ultimate ArmA 2 guide yet, you can help make it if you want to :)

In fact it's just a general system tweaking guide, but since most of us play ArmA 2 here and there was a suggestion, A2 section is added. The more tweaks are added, the more helpful this guide will be, thus I encourage contribution from everyone.

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Thanks. ATOC is basically antialiasing applied to certain objects, in this case foliage. This setting depends on antialiasing setting in Video options, so if you don't use antialiasing you can't enable ATOC either. What it does is smoothens jaggy edges.

What I was asking for though, was some guidance on how to practically set ATOC values (there are numbers from 1-7, I think) in some config file that needs to be edited. Not an accessible in-game option, unfortunately. And what - in your experience - the different values do wrt. quality vs fps. But only if it is something you see a point in doing of course.

Thanks, OP

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Here you go (from A2 wiki page):

0 - disabled

1 - AToC on grass

2 - AToC on new OA trees (takistan, zargabad, proving ground, shapur)

4 - AToC on old A2 trees (utes, chernarus)

// combined

3 - AToC on grass & OA trees

5 - AToC on A2 trees + grass

6 - AToC on A2 + OA trees

7 - AToC enabled on grass, A2 & OA trees (default)

In my opinion, if you want to use AToC, you will need to use antialiasing, antialiasing by itself is performance killer for many machines, so if you do manage to run your game smoothly with antialiasing you may as well use AToC and PPAA with minor to no difference in performance (depending on your GPU)

If you do want to be selective with AToC, then you will ideally want to use just AToC on trees as those are often higher above ground and do appear in skyline thus it's easier to spot jagged edges on leaves. Grass on the other hand looks very good on normal, high or very high texture quality with object detail on normal or higher. PPAA smothens object edges in a way that those appear to be "antialiased" and since foliage such as grass is on the ground many players don't pay much attention to it at all, so you can use AToC on trees + PPAA on Low or Medium (Sharp for bigger, brighter and crisper screens with more pixel density, while SMAA or PPAA on Low to Medium for almost any monitor/screen)

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Hi Maven

Re services: there are excellent guides to which Windows services one should, could, and should not disable for XP, W7, & W9 on Black Viper's site

http://www.blackviper.com/

I've used the XP list for years. Users unfamiliar with messing around with services should find it very useful.

There's a great utility that you might consider adding to the list. As a precaution against mistakes that make Windows unbootable, using ERUNT / ERUNTGui to back up the registries before changing anything is good practice. If you accidentally turn off an essential service you can use the registry restore part of the program (ERDNT - see the documentation with the program). IMO this is an essential tool for any flavour of Windows. I use autobackup to back up the registry on every boot, also I do a manual backup before installing or uninstalling any program.

Cheers

Orc

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Hi Maven

Re services: there are excellent guides to which Windows services one should, could, and should not disable for XP, W7, & W9 on Black Viper's site

http://www.blackviper.com/

I've used the XP list for years. Users unfamiliar with messing around with services should find it very useful.

There's a great utility that you might consider adding to the list. As a precaution against mistakes that make Windows unbootable, using ERUNT / ERUNTGui to back up the registries before changing anything is good practice. If you accidentally turn off an essential service you can use the registry restore part of the program (ERDNT - see the documentation with the program). IMO this is an essential tool for any flavour of Windows. I use autobackup to back up the registry on every boot, also I do a manual backup before installing or uninstalling any program.

Cheers

Orc

Thanks.

Great suggestion, can you write a step by step section so I add it to the guide? Like, how to make those backups, how to use them, etc. I can do it myself but since you suggested and use them it's better you do it:)