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Optimize Windows 7 for Video Recording and Streaming

These optimization steps will make your PC run more efficiently and give you higher frame-rates and capture rates for recording OR streaming:

To CamStudio

To Google Hangouts on Air

To YouTube Live Events

Streaming Using OBS

Streaming Using Wirecast or Wirecast for YouTube


PC Settings

1) Turn off all enhancements:

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\System\Advanced System Settings => Advanced Tab => Performance Settings button => ”Adjust for best performance” radio button


2) Select a non-aero theme:

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Personalization => Choose Windows Classic theme

Desktop background – solid color – I use some darkish gray

No screensaver

Window Color – picks up the Desktop Background’s solid color

Set Windows Sounds to – No Sounds

 Save this theme setup as “Video Optimized”


3) (Optional) One other thing you can try if resources are hurting:

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Display => Change Display Settings link => Advanced Settings link => Monitors tab => Set “Colors” to High Color (16-bit).

Sometimes this is dramatic, doubling frame rates in some cases. I think that occurs because setting to 16-bit color disables Aero, which we’ve already done in the steps prior, so this likely will not produce much of an improvement. But give it a try – always good to experiment. (Note: On an XP machine, this definitely always helps!)


4) Now we’ll shut off some background programs.

You can easily turn these auto-loading programs on again after you are done.

 If you are running Dropbox, click on its tray-icon and then the gear, and click “Pause Syncing”. Remember to click “Resume Syncing” later on!

If you would rather quit Dropbox, you’ll have to also go into the preferences from that gear, go to the General tab, and un-check “Start Dropbox on system startup”

Next click Start and type in msconfig.exe or click start/run and type msconfig.exe

Go to the Startup tab

Write down the ones that are loading (that are checked) so you can check just the ones you were running after you are done. There is no “save profile” setting for this, so you have to write it down.

OR… I use Windows’ built-in Snipping Tool to take pictures of the screens rather than writing them down. Here’s how:

Click Start and type in SnippingTool.exe

Adjust the display window to show the full names in the window

Take a few pictures scrolling down after each shot till you get them all.

 Now click on “Disable All” but then go in and re-check your antivirus.

It is not a good idea to do anything involving the Internet without Antivirus turned on!

 Re-check anything else you really will need to do the video. I use Sysinternals ZoomIt and Sizer all the time, so I leave them checked as well. Eventually you’ll know what you need to keep.

It will ask you to restart. Say no to this. Now instead shut-down (completely) and then re-start your computer.


5) Quit System Tray Items

Although the previous step usually gets all these, now look in your system tray to see if anything else is running that does not need to be. Usually a left or right click will reveal a close or quit menu item. Get rid of all extra running stuff. Especially cloud services, backup utilities, etc.


6) Windows Update

Next, go into Windows Update and turn that off temporarily. That will avoid it taking over your computer and downloading files when you need the bandwidth and unfettered drive access, and especially to keep it from running an installer process in the background when you need all the CPU you can get!

Control Panel\All Control Panel Items\Windows Update\Change settings — set to “Never Check for Updates”

Don’t forget to return here and turn it back on again!


7) Skype

Finally, definitely don’t be running Skype during the recording or streaming activity unless that is the program you are streaming to!

Browser Settings

If you are using any extensions you don’t absolutely require, de-activate them for the time being. For instance, in Chrome, extensions can spawn processes in the background without your even using them. This may be true of other browsers as well.

Chrome: Go to Settings\Extensions\ and uncheck the boxes of everything not mission-critical.

Firefox: Go to Addons and Extensions and click the “Disable” button for as many as possible.

You are more ready now than you have ever been to record or stream at the best capture rates your computer is capable of!

Once you are done, simply reverse these steps.

3 Responses to Optimize Windows 7 for Video Recording and Streaming

  1. Hi!! I’m on Windows 7 and am trying to find a way to record some webinars of a class I’m taking.. I’m afraid I’m a bit “older” than most taking these classes and it can take me a few times of watching before I actually grasp the concepts. Although I’m not technically illiterate-I’m certainly NO expert and have never attempted to record anything from my screen before. I’m getting desperate because I only have another week to access these webinar videos at no further cost!!
    I TRIED using your CamStudio, following some YouTube videos I found-but ended up with 2 900,000KB+ files (a temp file, and avi & audio) in my folder and when I tried to play it back-It was just a black screen with no audio?? I tried again last night to record a live webinar-and while I’ve got some video, (although it repeats itself over & over-the same first 4 minutes or so of the webinar) at 4,194,358kb-there’s no audio!!

    My Son told me to try this OBS software, but when I tried installing it, I get an error that a DivX codec is needed, when I try & install THAT, it says it can’t be installed because a version of it is running. I shut down every conceivable process I could without shutting the system down, but STILL Get that this is running somewhere??!

    Can somebody PLEASE help me??!!

  2. Ok, scratch that last paragraph. After disabling everything, I was able to install DivX & OBS. I’m going to attempt to record a webinar again, this time from OBS. Will let you know if it succeeds…

  3. OBS is a far more capable piece of software. I have many videos on using it at my YouTube channel. See

    CamStudio is plagued with a 2 Gigabyte file size limitation, so doing longer form videos is impossible with that. I’ve been able to squeeze a MAXIMUM of 3 hours out of it, using tricks like very low playback rates/high CFE numbers (like 10/100) and high keyframe settings (300). OBS presents none of those issues.

    Let me know how you fare – I’ll be watching my emails for the notification that you wrote.


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