I have made a Windows Optimizations-guide working with DAWs and plugins that has all the right and valid information, how to setup computers running windows system. Many have no real knowledge about this and there are tons of websites on the Internet state all kinds of bad advice and tweaks that often are counter productive instead of fixing anything.
I hope my guide will help you and answer some of your questions you might have.
AERO on Windows VISTA, Windows 7 Windows 8.1, Windows 10 - OS-X Cocoa Frameworks
AERO need to be ON to direct all graphic processing to use graphic card -GPU instead of the CPU. You don't want to use the CPU for the graphic representation in windows. Today, there are non benefits to disable AERO, just the opposite.
Any visual you see in windows are 3D,2D, API calls, GDI and DirectX and Windows programs/ apps include DAWs use your graphic card to run all 3D, 2D, API calls, GDI and DirectX visual acceleration in windows that are then connected to windows visual and graphical representations called AERO.
All graphical representation in windows is handle 100% by the GPU and the RAM on board of the graphic card when AERO is turned on. If you turn AERO OFF, all graphic visual get directed to the CPU again. (old behavior). Today that doesn't work because graphical visual in windows are programed and based on AERO and direct API calls, resulting in errors working with Windows, DAWs and other programs if you have AERO turn OFF.
So what is API calls? There are important technology included in Windows AERO interface that are very important part of windows interface. There are direct connections to the graphical representations that is called direct API calls. Developer use direct API-calls in example Cubase and other programs and the API-support is available in the form of the Windows Software Development Kit (SDK). SDK providing documentation and tools necessary to build software based upon the Windows API-calls that are associated to the Windows interface. Microsoft has provided the DirectX set of APIs as part of every Windows since Windows 95.
DSP coding will just increase every day so we will see more GPU based coding and add of more functions to the audio plugins use the GPU processing in example Cubase and Native Instruments in the near future. So it can be good idea to invest in a better graphic card without going crazy. In fact already today many 3 part manufactories base all their GUI code and API calls around AERO. This is true since Windows Vista and GPU processing and directed to the GPU and API-calls are used on both Windows VISTA 7 / 8.1, Windows 10 and OS-X, Linux and Ubuntu . On OS-X you can't disable their coca framework (Open-GL) and that is a good thing. I hope Microsoft will do the same and take away the legacy option so you can't disable AERO in the near future.
Windows XP background - History.
On Windows 95, 98 and XP all graphic were directed to the CPU only. On XP and older systems, windows and programs graphical representation and processing were directed to the CPU not the GPU on the graphic card.
There for it was recommend to use as so low graphic as possible because it took away CPU resources from the DAW programs and plugins. Its because all the programs, plugins and windows graphical interface shared the CPU. Today that old legacy behavior and operation is history.
About Process scheduler on XP to "background task".
This old tweak must be the most confused tweak since XP windows.
That tweak has been used and abused since Matthias Carsten at RME come up with this great tweak on XP only.
It was meant to be used with specific RME hardware on XP platform only to provide better low latency from 23ms to 3ms. Even Mattias Carsten that is the original founder of this tweak say as I do and Microsoft and all the tech Gurus in the world say the same thing; ---> on VISTA, Windows 7,Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 it should be set to PROGRAM.
Audio or ASIO are not a background task in windows.
Some people ask if MIDI is a background task? No, its not a background task either.
Its a real time operation. MIDI messages are made up of 8-bit words, and are transmitted serially at a rate of 31.25 kbaud.
POWER Schema shall always be set on "Performance-mode" even for Laptop. Check in "Device manger" manually. Make sure in "Power-management" on all USB port isn't set to sleep/disable.
Disable all Speed step, C-wait and Sleep.
Hyperthreading shall be set to =ON
Turbo Mode can be ON as default. In some rare cases you can turn Turbo mode off.
UAC-User Account Control
You can go ahead and disable that in Windows VISTA, Windows 7 and Windows 8.1. In Windows 8.1 its no needed as in Windows 8.1 has another kernel core protection further down inside the core base that has stronger protections against bad code then UAC.
Windows hibernation can be a good idea to take away to free up space especially if you use SSD on /C: Windows.
Check the Internet how to do that.
Virtual Memory -" page sys"- settings.
You'll receive many different opinions on how to deal with the page-file. Some will say that you should completely disable it. Their logic goes that Windows is inefficient at using the page-file, and if you have plenty of memory you should just disable it since RAM is a lot faster than traditional hard drives. By disabling Virtual Memory, you are forcing Windows to use the RAM instead of the disk.
The only problem is that windows Virtual memory and page-sys functionality doesn't work like that. Because Windows will never page-sys the applications you are currently working with anyway so it will not make your computer performance any faster by disabling the page-sys.
What can happen instead is that your apps are going to start crashing, since there's no virtual memory for Windows to allocate. And even worse, your system will crash or become very unstable.
So what settings and how to proceed?
On Windows VISTA, Windows 7, Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 or later , let windows mange your Virtual memory regardless how many gigs of RAM you have installed. I have 32GB RAM myself. Let Windows manage your Virtual Memory - page Sys-file on "C: drive"- only. Do not use any extra partition for page sys either.
If you have more then one harddrive installed in your system, set all other drives then "C:" to "None" page sys-file. You only need one.
On windows XP only, it can be good to manage your page-sys file yourself. Set virtual memory to X1,5 times the RAM installed in the computer. Set the same value of both Max and Minimum. But these settings are only for Windows XP .
Core parking on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1
Disable core parking can be a good idea on some systems. This is advance operation require "reg-edit" operation so if you have no experience with systems you can mess up your system completely. On Windows 8.1 its much easier. check the Internet how to do that.
http://forum.cakewalk.com/Windows-7-amp ... 61804.aspx