Tuning PC performance for
Note: Orginally written
to help people improve sync in Zoom dances, these tips are
actually more general and apply to both dancers and dance leaders with
or without shared computer sound.
Another advanced tip – raise the priority of Zoom.
In Task Manager, click on the Details tab, and then right-click on Zoom
and Set Priority – Above Normal should be enough (do Not choose
There can be several problems that occur with a zoom dance session, but
the most annoying is when the music and the steps are not
synchronized. This only happens when the dance
leader is sharing computer sound. (But it is nearly
impossible to get great music without sharing computer sound.
More in the appendix.)
If there’s something missing from this guide, email email@example.com
with your questions or suggestions. My experience
is with a Windows PC, so if anyone has contributions relevant to other
platforms let me know.
PROBLEMS AND FIXES
There are several different things that can cause bad
synchronization. I’ll start with the most common, and discuss
what can be done about it.
#1 Your PC’s connection to the internet isn’t performing well.
- Start by testing your internet connection. I use
www.speedtest.net Ideally you would have a latency
(ping) of 15 ms or less, and a download speed of 10 Mbps or
more. If not, you may need to upgrade
your internet plan.
- If you are connecting via WiFi, see if you can use an ethernet cable
to connect to your router or cable modem. If your
PC does not have an ethernet port, you may need an
adapter. This usually makes Zoom much
- Other applications on your PC that have heavy internet use should be
paused. This includes DropBox (pause synchronization), cloud
backups such as Carbonite (can also be paused),
etc. For me this makes a huge difference.
- Try to minimize other people or devices in your house connected to
the internet. Phones, tablets, or other computers should be turned off
or put to sleep. Your DVR should not be recording.
#2 Busy CPU If your computer is trying to do a lot of other
things in addition to running Zoom, that can affect your audio or your
video, or how they are synchronized. Things that have worked
for others are to pause the anti-virus program, suspend automatic disk
defragmentation. (thing like backup mentioned in #1
can also cause busy CPU). Close any programs you don’t need.
Tools for assessing your system: While running Zoom, the
Audio Settings pane (click the up arrow next to the microphone) also
can show "Statistics". The "Overall" tab will tell
you if the CPU is busy (Overall should be 40% or
less). The Audio and Video tab will show network
issues - any Packet Loss is bad, and latency should be under 40
The ultimate tool on Windows for assessing exactly what is using system
resouces is Task Manager, which can show CPU, Disk, and Network
utilization. My PC has 145 different processes
running (but only because I cleaned it up – it used to be closer to
200). You can sort by CPU to see which
processes are using a lot of CPU, which is usually the problem.
Mac’s have an equivalent tool called Activity Manager.
For more advanced readers, consider uninstalling programs you don’t
ever use. PCs these days come with lots of junk installed and
some of it runs in the background. Don’t uninstall things you
don’t understand (Google them first).
There may also be programs you use rarely that don’t need to be started
when you boot your computer.