Video editing on a Windows PC - what can I do to prevent dropped frames?

15 replies [Last post]
Joined: Mar 7 1999

Info about setting up hard disk drives and Windows 9x PCs for video editing and for avoiding dropped frames. Some info is also included here about Win2K (and XP), but not much. But this is being added on an ad-hoc basis.

One important point to check - if you have ever had the MGI/Roxio VideoWave editing program installed on your PC - is whether a rather troublesome DV Codec is still on your system. Instructions can be found on this url for how to get rid of it in Win9x systems:


There are a number of reasons why this [dropped frames] might be happening - the most likely being:

1/ Your hard disk drives are not optimised for video

2/ You have a number of programs running in the background that are interfering with capture and playback.

3/ You are running a program, such as Adobe Premiere 6 or Ulead MediaStudio Pro 6, on an OHCI-standard FireWire port or card but have not downloaded from the software maker's websites the updaters required to give decent quality timeline playback (assuming, that is, you even have a PC fast enough for the job - which should be 600MHz or faster; though you might get away with 450MHz).

Here what you need to do:

1/ Optimise your hard disk set up as follows:

* Try to make sure you are capturing to your fastest hard disk - ideally NOT the boot disk - and that the disk has plenty of space on it and is not badly fragemented.

Ideally, you should record video to a drive installed just for that purpose, not to the system drive. If you are recording to the system drive, it is better to have that drive partitioned and to record to the new logical drive you create.

However, you should back up your drive before doing this AND should ensure that you use a non-destructive partitioning program, such as the latest version of PowerQuest's Partition Magic (currently V7) or Norton's Ghost. Free partitioning tools are also available and I'll include links to them here if someone can let me know the urls.

* Make sure that DMA is turned on for any IDE hard disks and ATAPI/IDE CD/DVD drives. In System Properties - go to each drive individually and switch this on. If there is no option there for DMA, then check your motherboard manual to see if the motherboard uses a separate program for DMA enabling. If there is nothing there, then check that DMA has not been disabled in the PC's Bios. The Bios is usually accessible when the PC starts booting up, by pressing a key - such as Del or F2.

Note that in Win2K (and XP), although DMA is also selected from Device Manager, you need to go to the section called, "IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers".

Win2K users should also check out this posting from Tim Callaghan called, "How to Supercharge your Windows 2000 installation - some tips". It's at:

I know for a FACT that some laptop PCs with SIS motherboard chipsets (including models from AJP's range) are not able to have DMA switched on under XP unless a small Win 2K register-fix utility has been run. This utility (called something like SIS.exe) should be available from the company that supplied the PC.

Be aware, too, if using Win2K (pre SP2) and ATA/100 drives, that you need to download a small (149KByte) fix that allows these drives to run properly.

This fix can be downloaded from:

After installing this fix, it is possible for Win2K to wrongly report what mode has been set. At the address above, this oddity is described thus,
After you install this hotfix, you may notice an incorrect "PIO" value displayed on the Advanced Settings tab for an IDE device in Device Manager. This does not mean that the device is functioning in "PIO" mode. Windows 2000 is displaying an incorrect value.

* Ideally, have your hard disk(s) on one IDE cable and CD stuff on the other - often older CDs can't have DMA enabled, and will slow down a hard disk if on the same cable.

* Be aware that some ATA drives (ATA/66;100 and 133) MUST be connected using 40-pin/80-wire data cables. However, even old ATA/33 drives benefit from using such cables which reduce the chance of data being corrupted by electromagnetic interference.

Take care, however, because some of these cables have only 39 pin holes, and can cause serious damage if you try to push them onto motherboard connectors that have 40 pins.

* Also be aware that older PC motherboards may not recognise new ATA/66; ATA/100 or ATA/133 drives. As a result, they treat these drives as being something old that they've not heard about, and this means that the drives save and read data at about one-quarter of the speed that they should (maybe even worse than that!).

Overcoming this problem involves downloading a DOS program from the drive maker's web site which, when run, lets you choose how the drive will report itself to the motherboard.

On older PCs you'd ensure that the drive reported itself as being an ATA/33 model. That way you'll find it runs like an
express train!

With PCs that can recognise drives that use the even faster ATA/66, you would, of course, get the drive to report itself as as being ATA/66. Similarly if you have ATA/100 - and a motherboard that recognises that system - then that's how you'd set the drive to report itself.

I'm told by Maxtor that the new ATA/133 drives that started to go on sale at the tail end of 2001 will automatically run at the appropriate (ie slower) DMA setting when connected to ATA/66 and ATA/100 boards and controllers. I have not yet verified this.

* Right-click on My Computer and select Properties - click on the
Performance tab and then on the button called, "File System". For "Typical role of this computer", select "Network Computer". Then turn Read-ahead optimization to None. Next, click on the Troubleshooting tab and click in the button tick box - Disable write-behind caching for all drives. Ignore Windows warnings when you make these changes and OK your way out - you'll then have to restart you PC.

2/ Turn off all background tasks that are not video-editing related.

These include MS FindFast (installed by MS Office) - which you can switch off in Control Panel - all virus checkers and disk security stuff, and Windows' Scheduling Agent.

Most of these can be switched off in one place. Go to start, programs, accessories, system tools, system information. This brings up Microsoft's System Information Program. Click on the Tools menu item and pick System Configuration Utility.

Click on the Startup tab and turn off the programs that you know you don't need for video editing - including Windows Scheduling Agent.

You'll then need to reboot the PC

3/ If you are running an OHCI-standard FireWire card or port and are dropping frames, check out the web site of your video editing software maker - looking on support and download pages for updaters that specifically address this problem. Adobe ( and Ulead ( both have such updaters available for their OHCI-compliant programs.

You must also install the latest version of Direct X - currently V8.1 (about 11MByte) but see below if you own an older JVC camcorder. V8.1 includes the Video Capture Update for DirectX 8.0 - formerly known as Digital Video Update - which needed to be installed with DirectX 8.0a.

V8.1 can be downloaded free from:

The DirectX 8a downloads tended to cure a LOT of people's dropped-frame problems with OHCI-cards, especially if using older JVC-branded camcorders, but it is NOT clear whether this is still the case with V8.1 (judging by some problems that have arisen in Windows XP - which has V8.1 built in).

If you are using an older JVC DV camcorder (on an OS earlier than XP), then it might make sense to instead install DirectX 8a and the DV updater.

These seem no longer to be available from Microsoft's DirectX pages, but are available on some non-Microsoft sites (how much longer for, though, I do not know).

If you need these downloads and can't find them after searching the web (starting at [url=,],[/url] I'm happy to email them to people - though their considerable size may mean that they are blocked by email limits imposed by your internet service provider (or that you think your email program is broken because it is taking so long to complete its download of your email).

If the above tips don't work, then do feel free to post a message in the hard drives forum on this messageboard.

Such a posting should have a meaningful subject line - not, "Help" but, something along the lines of "Overcoming dropped frame problem with Premiere 6 and xyz's OHCI cards" - and spell out in DETAIL the
problem, and give FULL info about the hardware configuration of your PC and what operating system you are using.


Bob C

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 16 May 2001).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 21 June 2001).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 01 September 2001).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 11 January 2002).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 27 January 2002).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 20 September 2002).]

Joined: Mar 7 1999

Originally posted by Andy Edmiston, and moved here by Bob C

Running a lot of non-video-related applications in the background may interfere with capture and timeline playback. The FAQ above details the method for removing startup programs via the Microsoft Configuration Utility (MSCONFIG.EXE).

However, this is more targeted at those programs that you want to ensure never darken your doorway again (step forward Microsoft FindFast and take a bow). It is equally useful to be able to kill off those programs that you do use but that you wish to shutdown while creating your video masterpiece - Anti-Virus software is a good example.

A handy little utility in this regard is called EndItAll. The two best things about EndItall are that it is incredibly easy to use and that is free. EndItAll lets you terminate all non-essential programs for many purposes including running NLE software. However, you cannot terminate the essential system programs Explorer and Systray and it obviously won't terminate itself.

EndItAll's main window presents a list of running applications. Any software in the list can be protected from termination by highlighting the entry and hitting the space bar - hitting the space bar again unprotects the software. Protected items have a little padlock next to them. EndItAll will also remember that these items are protected next time you run it. So, for example, it you have already started up Premiere and only then remembered to get rid of other running processes, you can protect Premiere from termination and it will remain protected each time you run EndItAll. Once you are ready to go, you simply click on the button marked "EndItAll", wait for it to do its stuff and then click "Exit". That's it! This is one of those utilities that once you've used it you will wonder how you did without it and one that should occupy a permanent home on your QuickLaunch toolbar or Windows Desktop.

The program can be downloaded from several places, see below for one example:

EndItAll download page:
[This message has been edited by Andy Edmiston (edited 28 February 2001).]

[This message has been edited by bcrabtree (edited 12 April 2002).]

Michael H S
Joined: Mar 15 2001

This is great, I’m working my way through it, but as I’m not that clued up about what goes on under the lid of my system, here is a list of what comes up in the system configuration utility window. Some of the items are obvious candidates for deselecting even to me, but most of them I’m not sure about and I'd certainly appreciate some advice on which ones should definitely be left on.

Taskbar Display Controls
System tray
Load Power Profile
Microsoft Works Portfolio
Microsoft Works Update Detection
Adaptec DirectCD
HP Product Registration
Keyboard Manager
HP ScanPicture
Adobe Gamma Loader.exe
Microsoft Office StartUp
HP1170 FPB
Web Reminder

It's an HP Pavilion hence the items beginning with HP.

Cheers Mike

peter grendon
Joined: Oct 13 2000

Hi Bob I think I remember you saying in the mag that there was a section on this board where you whent through setting up for videos for the new commers and a nurd like me,I cant find it,is it possible for it to be brought into the current pages and maybe kept there? thanks for all the help so far,thank god we have a techie type to sort out the computer side when we start the school club.

Joined: Aug 4 2001


Thanks so much for the information on configuring a PC to prevent dropped frames. My system was dropping frames at a horrific rate until I found your posting. After reconfiguring my system - no more dropped frames.


Joined: Aug 20 1999


The End It All link seems to be redundant
This newer one works though

If the link above becomes redundant a search for 'enditall' in google should find it.


John Price

[This message has been edited by johnpr98 (edited 12 December 2001).]

If you have any Forum Suggestions please post them here

Andy @ EAS Computers
Joined: Mar 5 2002

that's some huge list, about the longest I have ever seen! I bet your PC takes ages to boot up.
You could experiment by disabling each one, but that'll take ages. Most are monitoring things anyway. If I were you, do CTRL-ALT-DEL and End Task on every one except Explorer (which I notice you have not listed) and SysTray.
For a more permanent solution, do START, RUN, type in msconfig. Go to Startup. Disable each one in turn and see what effect it has.


Joined: Feb 19 2002

Hi Bob,

A very useful article.

A minor point which may cause hiccups.

You're hot link to includes ) and , leading to an error message from the browser when selected.



Joined: Feb 19 2002

Hi Bob,

At the risk of being labelled a nit-picker!

The EndItAll applet is no longer available from your hot link.

It can be found on the Aptive Toolbox address,

Incidentally, enditall can only be used on W95/98/NT4.



Joined: Mar 26 2002

quote:Originally posted by bcrabtree:
Commenting to bring this to the top again.

Please note the link to EndItAll does not work now. Try

Nik Wood
Joined: Aug 29 1999

Doing what Bob suggests sorted out my problem with Studio Deluxe's inability to export finished projects back to DV tape on a DV in enabled cam.

I guess those of us who are new to this, and have just installed NLE software on a mature home PC, don't realise just how much junk we have accumulated that stops the PC working properly.

Thanks again Bob C.

Joined: Mar 7 1999

Please note that I've added a new and related thread here:

This may save anyone who has used MGI VideoWave a LOT of grief - it shows you how to check whether a rather troublesome DV Codec installed by VideoWave is still on your system, and how to remove it.

Bob C

Joined: Feb 7 2002

Hi Leonard.

EndItAll works on my 2000 system.



Joined: Jul 28 2003

I just tried enditall on XP pro and it seems to work fine...

Andy Ru
Joined: Aug 3 2003

I'm new to your forumn. I've been having trouble making svcd'c from mini dv tape (quality not good), so after reading Computer Video I am going to start from the begining and use this FAQ to set my computer up, and then use one of your trials.
I've uninstalled the videowave codec and set the dma tab. But can you answer the following please:-
to set the performance of my computer as a "Network Computer", can I do this in Windows XP ?

Joined: Apr 28 2001

The new Enditall2 is avalible from here:

It works with XP Home sp1, not checked yet with Pro!
Read the guide of how to use it if you are new to it.
Some virus checkers need to be shut down first before running enditall.

Enditall also helps software conflicts when using Movie Maker 2 and Nero6.

2000+ Athlon XP, MSI KT3V Motherboard, 728Mb DDR Ram, 10gb Boot & 80Gb video drives, Sony DRU500 DVD/RW.
Win XP Pro, Premiere 6.5, Scenalyzer Live, OHCI Firewire, DVD Workshop, Sony TRV80 Camera

All sorts of kit....but never enough!