Display Computer Optimizations
While the basic configuration of the display computer outlined above is sufficient in many cases, some computers require additional work to achieve best possible performance. This section provides some general hints and pointers on how to proceed.
NOTE: The information below does not apply to Dataton WATCHPAX units which are supplied ready-tuned for WATCHOUT.
Formatting the Disk and Installing Windows
If you intend to use a computer primarily as a WATCHOUT display computer, it makes sense to re-format the hard disk and then install only Windows, required device drivers and WATCHOUT. This avoids many problems caused by various pieces of software that are often pre-installed on computers, or that may have accumulated over time.
NOTE: You don’t have to re-format your hard disk in order to use WAT CHOUT. This is an advanced procedure that helps in obtaining the best possible performance. You can apply all other adjustments described in this appendix even if you choose not to dedicate the computer to WATCHOUT.
To prepare your computer in this way, first make sure that the hard disk doesn’t contain any important information. You should perform a backup if you’re unsure about the content of the hard disk. Then start the computer from the Windows installation disk, and follow the on-screen instructions. Early on in the installation procedure, you will be asked where to install Windows. As part of this, you will get the opportunity to remove the existing partitions and create new ones, which you should do.
For best performance, create a smaller (50-100 GB or so) partition for Windows and any other applications you may want to install. This partition will become the C: drive. Leave the remainder of the disk unformatted for now.
Proceed with installing Windows on the newly created, small partition. Once that’s done, install required device drivers (graphics or sound card drivers, etc), and perform any additional adjustments mentioned in this appendix.
Before installing WATCHOUT, you need to format the remaining space of the hard disk:
- Right-click Start and choose Control Panel > Administrative Tools.
- Double-click Computer Management.
- Click Disk Management in the list. Right-click on the Unallocated space.
- Choose “New Partition”.
Proceed with creating a primary partition of the maximum size.
If installing on a rotating-platter disk, choose the NTFS file system with an “Allocation Unit Size” of 32K on the last page of the “New Partition Wizard”. Generally, it is OK to also select “Perform a Quick Format”. Specifying a larger allocation size greatly reduces the tendency of disk fragmentation, at the cost of a small amount of wasted disk space. Given the fact that most WATCHOUT media files tend to be rather large, this should not have any practical disadvantages. This is not needed if you’re using a Solid State Disk drive.
Once the formatting is complete, the new partition will appear as the D: disk drive. Create a WATCHOUT folder on this disk, and install WAT CHOUT here. When the WATCHOUT installer asks where to install WATCHOUT, choose the newly created WATCHOUT folder on the D: drive.
NOTE: Under Windows 7, the “Administrative Tools” option is hidden by default. To show it on the Start menu, right-click the task bar and choose Properties to display the “Taskbar and Start Menu Properties”. Click the “Start Menu” tab. Click the “Customize” button. In the list, make sure that “Display Administrative Tools” is enabled.
Windows Media Center
Under Windows 7, make sure you disable Windows Media Center: If not, this feature in Windows may interfere with some functions in WATCHOUT.
- Right-click (Windows 10) or click (Windows 7) the Start button and choose Control Panel.
- Select “View by: Small Icons” then choose Programs and Features.
- On the left-hand panel click on “Turn Windows Features on or off”.
- Scroll down to “Media Features” and expand it.
- Uncheck Windows Media Center.
NOTE: Windows Media Center is not available under Windows 10.
User Access Control Settings
The User Access Control (UAC) feature of Windows may interfere with certain functions in WATCHOUT, particularly when running on unattended display computers. UAC, per definition, assumes that there is a user. WAT CHOUT display software is often run in an unattended way, with no user standing by to click buttons or type passwords. Furthermore, you generally shouldn’t run WATCHOUT on networks that have direct Internet access, or any other kind of unrelated (and possibly harmful) traffic. Under those specific circumstances, you’re better off without UAC, since it tends to cause more problems than it solves.
To turn off the UAC
- Inside the Control Panel window, click User Accounts.
- Click Change User Account Control Settings.
- Drag the slider to Never Notify.
- Click OK.