Stripped windows version.

Is there an instruction (Microsoft or Steinberg) that explaines how to strip Windows 7?
I don’t need internet, games, index search and all other humbug.
Just need a dedicated OS to run Cubase.


With Windows 7 there’s not much you really need to do.


  1. switch off system sounds
  2. switch ‘processor scheduling’ to background services (ASIO drivers)
  3. disable windows’ firewall
  4. disable the defragmenting harddrives schedule (better defrag manually)
  5. create a high performance energy scheme

Bios: disable the on-board soundcard (if there is one), lan/w-lan - whatever you don’t need.

That’s it basically.

There are many guides over the internet, i.e.

Remove parts of Windows
Control Panel / Programs and Features / Turn Windows features on or off [upper left panel of window] → Windows Features dialog.
Toggle to your heart’s content, but note that since Win 7, and particularly Win 8, there is not much difference in whether they are uninstalled or not, but you might disable some services that you may come to rely upon, as an OS full of objects and services has quite a hierarchy of dependencies.

Remove indexing
While one could just disable the indexing service, I vaguely remember that because of its dependencies, I was not willing to do that.
However, to stop indexing on all drives:

  1. Open Windows Explorer.
  2. Right click on a local drive and select the Properties option to open its Properties dialog.
  3. Uncheck the ‘Allow files on this drive to have contents indexed … … properties’ at the bottom, and click the OK button to open the ‘Confirm Attribute Changes’ dialog.
  4. Select the ‘Apply changes to drive X:, subfolders and files’ option, and click the OK button.
  5. If the Access Denied dialog appears, if required enter login details for an admin account, then click the Continue button. The Applying Attributes, then the Processing dialogs appear, leaving the indexing updated without further indication.
  6. Repeat steps 2 to 5 for each drive.

I habitually turn off indexing as the number of times I have ever searched is very low, though the newer OS philosophy is to keep your stuff as disorganised as you like, and it will index it all for your queries at the Start screen. Well, a DAW would end up in a mess if left to the ‘wherever’ philosophy, so I turn it off. With all SSDs, searches without indexing are pretty quick (and silent!).

Thanks for your reply.
Gonna check things.

I thought the Win audio model had changed so that this was not required any more.

Not a resource hog in Win 7, nor in 8 even with the included AV component. Still handy to have for protection against VST(I)s et al that one has downloaded. Not likely to be activated in the middle of recording or listening, unless you decide to interact with something external right at that time. If you do turn it off, you need to AV check EVERYTHING that you import and export on some other machine to cover your butt!

I do NOT recommend disabling the internal soundcard, as then the OS WILL use your nice fancy audio interface if it really needs to make a noise, which is obviously NOT what you want happening in the middle of a session.

Retaining the onboard soundcard active, with system sounds off, allows the OS to default to it if it needs. Some programs may ignore the system sounds setting during installation and create audio events with active sounds, but if you don’t have the onboard audio going anywhere, you will NEVER hear them. Typically, they are programs, such as communications ones like Lync, which you would not normally have in a DAW, though you might if you wanted LAN based comms between the studio and the control room.

Of course, if the drivers for those onboard devices are creating problems, then disable them, but check what sound events newly installed programs may have decided to provide.

The ‘High performance’ plan is already included with Windows, and you cannot delete it, so you only need to edit it to ensure everything stays on with no power saving options.

The best thing you can do is to strip the installer. will let you remove almost everything (not a good idea by the way). It can also integrate updates (download them with this tool here ), and also integrate your own drivers plus a bunch of other stuff.

Note that Win 7 and 8 are NOT XP, so while that OS required a lot of tweaking to stop it interfering with multimedia streams, its later counterparts are much more stream-friendly as is.

Just recommended the things I usually do for my offline DAW. Works for me. Some habits might be a hangover from XP times though.

Firewall: if activated it pops up every now and then, saying ‘application xyz is trying to do… whatever’, which is bothering me. Any downloaded plugins or VSTis come from my internet laptop anyway, where firewall and AV are running of course. No virus on my offline DAW ever since…

Saving SSD space is still rather essential though.

I have a dual Win 7 boot system, one is online and has all the ‘crap’, the other never sees an internet connection at all, except to activate some software, in which case I have to enable a few services and devices.

Just another option to throw out there. You lose around 8gb for the second install though.

The OS bits we are talking about omitting are not that great that they would make a very large difference to the space taken up, on disk or in memory.

At least the Win 8.1 upgrade-in-place does not need 20GB of free space!

I have used dual boot in the same way for several years, though I have always left at least Windows Defender running on the DAW partition.

I just use the internet on the DAW partition for software updates and authorisations. I used to duplicate everything on the main partition as a test bed, but we have now got most of the VST(I)s we are likely to want, so are not so much into experimenting. Much less time on maintenance.

All depends upon how one uses their computer(s). If one uses multiple monitors, dual boot makes more sense.

For example, I have five monitors and a TV connected to my dual boot, and while I use them all for the DAW, I still use four of them for general use. Switching all of them is a bit beyond your average KVM switch. I suspect that many Cubase users have multiple monitors, so they may also be in the same boat. Dual boot keeps the space requirements minimal and cabling a lot simpler!

I use the general partition for VideoStudio Pro and PaintShop Pro for doing the YouTubes and artworks for our songs, to keep the DAW partition as clean as possible. I keep the files for the videos and artwork in folders within the Cubase project on a data drive common to the two boots. Separate computers would not allow that simple data setup.

The downside of dual boot is that Bluetooth keyboards don’t work so well as the pairing gets confused and needs to be setup again on each boot, so I went back to a wireless dongle keyboard.

Yeah I tried it years ago and gave up because I was sick of re-booting just to use the internet or play a game. But I have almost zero time for games anymore and any important internet stuff I can do with a tablet or phone. So this time around I’m really liking the dual boot system.

Thanks all for your input.

Put my operating system and cubase on a ssd.
With 4 sata hdd I created a raid configuration.
Stripped Windows 7 completely.
Using this system as standalone, no internet, no other software.

My conclusions:
Systems starts like a Bugatti Veyron.
Cubase opens within the click of your mouse.
VST performance running very smooth, no longer peaks in performance.
When I have opened a project I can start directly, need no longer to waith
till all plugins are loaded.

Again thanks for your reply.

after the wealth of knowledge you was given could you tell us exactly what you stripped out of windows and the procedure you used otherwise this thread is just left hanging ?

Aloha T,

Speaking as a Mac user;
a major +1 for this very insightfull and informative thread from
all the posters.

While on this board for the past three years now, I have learned sooooo much
about PC 'puters use in the DAW world.
And it is threads like this one that contribute to the (continuing) ‘lesson’.

Tanx again guys.

Hello G-String,

Find somebody that understands your BIOS, I did it myself but it is
a risk doing this. Changes in BIOS will have big impact on your PC.
Also read all the info you can get about creating RAID.
Be aware that all data on the HDD’s you use for RAID will be lost.

What did I do:
First I downloaded and installed the latest drivers for my system,
Intel for motherboard, Sapphire for videocard, Steinberg for hardware.
Installed also the RAID driver.

Made a system image on an external HDD and a windows recovery cd.
Backup everything on your hdd’s to external HDD.

I disabled all onboard devices (audio, lan, IR enhanced consumer) accept 1394,
need it for MR816x. This is my configuration, yours can be different, depending on
the hardware you use.
Sata Drives, changed chipset sata mode from AHCI to RAID.
The discrete sata controller is still AHCI for my SSD drive (boot drive with OS and Cubase).
Save BIOS and restart. In my case after booting I could acces the RAID
configuration and selected the HDD’s for RAID configuration.
Again, be aware that all data on these drives will be lost!!!
In my system I have 1 SSD drive (Boot, OS and Cubase) and 4 HDD that I configured for RAID.

After doing this you will not see your new drive in windows.
In windows go to: Control Panel - Administrative Tools- Computer Management.
Click on storage - disk management.
Now you see all HDD’s in your system.
Click on the new HDD (RAID), create new volume and format.

Control panel - Power options, change to High performance, click Change plan settings -
change advance power settings - Hard disk - Turn off hard disk - change to never.

Control panel - System - Advanced system settings -
tab advanced - performance -settings, change it for Adjust to best performance.
tab Remote - disable allow remote assistance and enable don’t allow connections to this computer.

Control panel - Windows defender, Windows firewall, Windows update, I disabled them all.

Control panel - Programs and features. I removed everything I don’t use.
Control panel - Programs and featers - turn Windows features on or off,
I only enabled Windows media player and net framework 3.5.1.
All the rest I disabled. But again this is for my system and needs.

Further you can find on the internet many items about tweaking windows 7.
Read and try, might help you.

Best regards,