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NTFS vs FAT32 File Systems: Hard drives may be formatted using the newer NTFS or older FAT32 file systems. You can determine which type of hard drive format your system is using by right clicking on the drive letter in Windows Explorer and selecting Properties. Under the General Tab, it will list whether the drive has been formatted in NTFS (NT File System) or FAT (File Allocation Table) 32.
If your hard drive is formatted with FAT 32, you will not be able to record video files larger than about 4GB. In this case, you should consider reformatting the drive for NTFS, which has virtually unlimited file size capability and is better suited for video applications.
Keep Your Drivers Up to Date: For best performance, make sure you have installed the latest drivers for your hard drive controller (IDE, SATA or SCSI). We have seen super-fast Pentium 4 systems which could not perform an acceptable video capture because the built-in SATA hard drive controller's driver software was out of date. Updating to the most recent driver completely solved the problem.
Use a Dedicated Hard Drive for Video Capture: To optimize performance, the hard drive used for capturing video should be on its own IDE, SATA or SCSI channel (depending on the type of hard drive). If another device, such as a DVD, CD-ROM or other disk drive, is connected to the same channel as your capture drive, data transfer will be reduced to the speed of the slowest device on the bus. Using a dedicated IDE, SATA or SCSI port for the video capture drive will maximize the data throughput for video streams and help minimize frame dropouts during capture and transcoding.
Use a Fast Hard Drive for Video Capture: Recording video in DV format requires a data rate of about 3.6MB/sec, so the hard drive should have a minimum *real-world* data throughput of at least 20MB/sec. (Overkill is desirable in this situation.) For best results, use an ATA-100 7200 RPM (or faster) hard disk drive that is dedicated to only capturing data from your video-capturing device.
Defragment Your Video Capture Hard Drive: A fragmented drive has to work harder in order to store data because its disk-write head will be forced to seek out clear sections on the drive while trying to write to the disk. The *real-world* data transfer rate will actually slow down because of this, no matter how fast the specs say the drive is. De-fragmenting the drive will help assure optimum data transfer rate by providing contiguous clear areas of the drive on which to store the large files, thereby reducing the work the system has to do ("system overhead") during file-writing. To defragment a drive, click Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.
Enable DMA Mode on your Hard Drive: In Windows 2000 and XP (all versions) DMA is normally enabled by default. If for some reason DMA is *not* enabled on your hard drive, the data rate may slow down and cause video capture frames to drop out during capture and transcoding.
If a hard drive controller in your PC uses a custom device driver for your hard drive, it may not be possible to enable DMA on the drive. In addition, some very old hard drives do not support DMA, but these would probably be too slow to use for video capture anyway.
To enable DMA on your IDE hard drive In Win 2000/XP: 1. Click Start, (then Settings if using Windows 2000), then Control Panel. 2. Double-click the System icon. 3. Click the Hardware tab and then the Device Manager button 4. Click on the "plus sign" [+] beside the "ATA/ATAPI controller" entry and then double-click on the "Primary IDE drive". 5. In the Primary IDE Channel Properties window, clic