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Installation and Troubleshooting - Knowledge Base
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Program Performance

Your program performance will be dependent on many things:

Performance Tips

Program Warm-up

For snappiest performance at show time, we recommend you "Warm-up" the program prior to show time by playing a video for at least a few seconds. This will cause .Net to load into RAM memory all of the programs modules and codecs that are needed for video playback. Subsequent plays will start much faster because the necessary modules are now pre-loaded in RAM.

For example, if your media is a set of MP4 videos, then create a 10 second MP4 as a warm up video and play it sometime prior to the performance. It can be as simple as a black screen video with no audio so the audience is not even aware that it's been played -- or show your business logo with some theme music.

Disable Anti-Virus and/or Firewall

You may get a quicker video start by disabling your anti-virus (AV) program during shows. AV may be scanning the video file before it allow the program to open it. The same may be true of your firewall if you are playing Web streaming videos.

Close the Web Browser

Web Browsers can draw significant CPU cycles and memory usage, especially when Add-Ons are running in the browser.

Disconnect from the Network

If you don't need the Network access during a performance, disconnect from the network (unplug network cable or disconnect from wireless connection). This will prevent Windows from trying to ping the Microsoft Cloud for updates while you are playing media.

Close Unnecessary Programs

Every running program takes up RAM memory and some may cause periodic wake-ups that could drain CPU cycles. Close any programs and unneeded services that you aren't currently using.

GPU Hardware

Video Mill will use computer GPU Hardware (graphics processing unit) capabilities when the video codec allows it. So it is dependent on the format of the video and the codec used to render that format. Video Mill uses the .Net WPF MediaElement as a video rendering element (WPF: Windows Presentation Foundation). Check your GPU Hardware user guide to see if it offers tweaks for the WPF MediaElement. The GPU may also offer WPF Graphics Rendering Tiers tweaks.

Tuning Windows Performance

Windows® is a multi-tasking operating system. Many program tasks run concurrently and Windows divides the CPU processing into time slices, giving each task a portion of the CPU. That means when too many tasks are running, it can slow down the performance of running programs. Also Windows gives some system tasks a higher priority.

A healthy Windows system will idle at about 1-3% CPU Utilization. But Windows can/will kick off system housekeeping tasks that can drive 30% CPU (or much higher) and throttle network traffic. Some system tasks may run for 5-10 minutes or more. Windows 10 is notorious for this, especially when your Start Menu has many 'Live' Tiles which can check for updates 10-15 times over the span of an hour.

How to Tune Windows

There are many articles written on tuning windows for performance. Here is a good one with some core suggestions: 9 Windows 10 Features You Can Safely Disable.

In general, we turn OFF ALL the Windows Privacy Settings on our lab machines (press Windows-Key + I to access). Some privacy settings can cause a lot of network traffic communicating with Microsoft Cloud servers. This does NOT seem to cause issues with email or Web browsing.

Warning: We do not endorse any third party apps that tune Windows -- Use them at your own risk. If you are not a tech savy user, consult someone who is before tuning. Shutting off some windows services can make your system unstable or disable a feature you rely on. For safety, create a Windows Restore Point before proceeding.

Monitoring with Windows Task Manager

Task Manager (Figure 1) is a useful app to watch your system performance over time. To Open it, right-click on the Windows Taskbar, then pick Task Manager. Use the Task Manager to see when you get a CPU throttle condition (or excessive disk access or network traffic). Then check the Details tab to see what task(s) are causing the spikes.

Resource Monitor is another useful app that shows utilization by program task at a more detailed level. See the link at bottom of Figure 1 to start the Resource Monitor.

Figure 1. Windows Task Manager - CPU @ ~30% Utilization
Figure 1. Windows Task Manager - CPU @ ~30% Utilization