Before we move on to tweaking the Catalysts, let’s do some cleaning up and optimization of the system in preparation for more specific tweaking. These steps are important so try to do each and every one of them each time you install a new version of the Catalysts. When the new Catalysts have installed, and you’ve rebooted your system, it is now perfectly safe for you to delete the temporary installation files which were created in the directory you specified during installation. These are simply the unzipped ati catalyst control center download xp of the Catalyst installation package which were used to install the drivers elsewhere on your system – they are not the actual driver files being used by Windows.
Remember to also delete or backup the latest Catalyst package which you downloaded earlier. Windows soon, it may be worth saving them somewhere for future use. Try not to keep lots of older Catalysts however, as these are readily available for download around the net. When the Catalyst drivers and the Catalyst Control Center install on your system, they install new Services and startup items.
Some of these can be removed or disabled, depending on your circumstances. Also called the ATI External Event Utility, this service is primarily needed if you use the ATI Hotkey settings available in the ATI Catalyst Control Center. I highly recommend disabling this service – I have experienced no negative impacts by doing so. This item preloads the required processes to make the Catalyst Control Center functional.
It is not required for your graphics drivers or settings to function properly. If you want to remove the ATI Catalyst Control Center System Tray, then you can disable it from loading up each time you restart Windows by opening the ATI Catalyst Control Center, click on the Preferences button and untick the ‘Enable System Tray Menu’ item. Startup and delete any ATI entries there. Obviously if you want to use this system tray tool, you can skip this step. Note that I find this is a handy way to access the CCC, so it’s not vital that you remove it. Delete to remove the entire folder and its contents. You can now check the effects of this immediately by going back to your desktop and right-clicking to check the context menu.
The ATI Catalyst Control Center entry will be gone, but note that this cannot be “undone”, so either backup using System Restore if you’re not sure about this modification, or simply reinstall the ATI Catalysts and the entry will be recreated. If you have any doubts, or experience any issues, reset all of the above back to their defaults. If you’ve permanently removed a startup item, you can get it back by reinstalling the graphics driver. It is not critical that you disable or remove these items if you don’t feel confident in doing so. This is a slightly trickier procedure, but it won’t be harmful if you follow the instructions here.
If you have had several Catalysts installed on your system in the past, or even an Nvidia card installed previously on the same Windows install, not to mention any other previous items of hardware which you no longer use, then this tip lets you remove them from the registry. In the Device Manager window that opens, go to the View menu and select ‘Show Hidden Devices’ – this is very important if you want to see the unused devices. Now expand each of your devices and look through all the sub-components listed. You will see that some of the devices are shown in a lighter grey color. For the purposes of this guide, what we need to look for are entries under the Monitor and Display Adapter device categories.
Under Monitor there should be at least one darker monitor entry for each monitor on your system. If there are any greyed out entries, you can remove them by right-clicking on the entry and selecting ‘Uninstall’. Do this for all greyed out entries under the Monitor device. Under the Display Adapter device, if you find two entries – a main one, and another one which has ‘Secondary’ next to it – these just indicate that your graphics card is capable of two separate outputs to two different display devices. You should keep both of these. Do not attempt to uninstall the dark entries under here.
If you’re feeling game, you can go through some of your other device entries and delete greyed out devices which you know for certain are no longer connected to your machine, or are traces of a device which has been moved around a few times. For example, under Human Interface Devices you may find multiple greyed out entries for a mouse which you may have moved from one port to another. If you do happen to uninstall a device which is still connected to your system, it’s not the end of the world. Windows will usually re-detect it upon reboot and look for drivers to reinstall it. This is far too low for CRT monitors, as most of them can easily exceed this refresh rate, especially at lower resolutions. Each time you install a new Catalyst driver, you will have to override this tendency for Windows to default to 60Hz. Make sure you don’t select a refresh rate beyond your monitor’s capabilities as this will result in an ‘out of frequency’ error and can damage your monitor.
However the best method is to use a Refresh Rate fix, such as Refresh Force. Just click the ‘Auto Populate’ button and it will detect the correct maximum possible refresh rates for each supported resolution on your monitor. This is a simple but important step which should never be skipped. The advice below also applies to the ATI Control Center settings of the same name. There are two sets of settings here, PCI Settings and AGP Settings. For example, if you have an AGP graphics card, the AGP Write and AGP Read settings should both say On in the ‘Current’ box next to them. This provides optimal performance, and there should be no reason either or both of them should ever be set to Off.