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Optical Drive Tweak Guide (Page 2/2)

Posted: March 24, 2000
Written By: Keith "Farrel" McClellan

WinBoost 2000

WinBoost 2000 includes a few settings that can help to optimize your optical drive. Select the "Optimize CD-ROM Speed" setting, and use it to set the cache to Large and choose the appropriate speed for your drive. If you have a DVD drive installed in your system, choose 24x for a 1x DVD drive, and the highest speed available for 2x and above drives.

CD-Quick Cache

This little bugger of a program pre-caches the most often used portions of a disc onto either the system RAM or the hard disk, improving disc performance in expense of one of those two system resources. If you happen to have a LOT of excess RAM or a spare hard drive lying around, this program can do wonders for your system.

Download CD-Quick Cache

IDE Channel Configuration

It is best to have your optical media drive on a different channel than your hard drive. If you can make the drive the master of that IDE channel, that is even better. For more information about configuring IDE channels, check out the How to Install an Optical Media Drive Guide.

Caring for your Optical Drive

In most cases, caring for your hardware is a usability thing, and not a speed thing, which is why we don't focus on it here. However, keeping the tray and lens of your optical drive clean can boost performance and lessen the chance of scratches to the media. Here are my recommendations on how to care for the drive:

- Use a little bit of isopropyl alcohol or Windex on a clean cloth and wipe the tray clean. Let it dry before closing the drive again.
- Use a commercial lens cleaner on your system. They all work about the same, just follow the directions and you should be good. Make sure you clean off the brush before trying to use it though, or you may be making matters worse.

Writeable and Rewriteable Media

CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-RAM, and other similar writeable media require some "special" tweaks and considerations. The trays for these media types need to be cleaned more frequently, because in my experience the less durable discs leave a residue on the tray when they are being burned. If you own any of these drives, there are a few programs that I recommend:

- Audiograbber - This program rocks. As audio "rippers" and encoders go, this is definitely one of the best - and fastest programs available.
- Nero - If you have a CD-R or CD-RW drive, this is one of the best programs. In my experience I have found that it will flawlessly grab and copy media that other programs won't, even on the same drive.

These drives will benefit from all of the same tweaks that I mentioned above, but I want to forewarn you that you should disable CD-Quick Cache before burning - for some reason or another, I have found that it will occasionally cause problems.


Hopefully you will find the information in this guide useful. As always, feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions.

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