As I make presentations about AutoCAD throughout the year, some of the most common questions that come up have to deal with optimizing AutoCAD; the software is slow to start, the software is very sluggish when I try to draw, and the list goes on. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for issues like these, something I’ve found to help more times than not is updating the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database. In some extreme cases I’ve actually seen this solution take an AutoCAD installation that ran so slow and unstable it was absolutely useless, and make it usable once again.

Modern releases of AutoCAD have become much more dependent on your machines graphics card and the underlying drivers. In a nutshell, the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database matches the capabilities of your machines hardware to the capabilities of AutoCAD.

Getting Up-To-Date

Before we begin, if you’re running Windows Vista or Windows 7, be sure to run AutoCAD as an an administrator. You can do that by right-clicking the shortcut icon, and then selecting Run As Administrator.

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  1. From the status bar, right-click and select Performance Tuner from the menu that displays. Alternatively, you can enter 3DCONFIG at the command line.SNAGHTMLa0e1e2e SNAGHTMLa0e1e2e thumb
  2. From the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog, click View Tune Log. Note the Version number from the Performance Tuner Log dialog.
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  3. Close the Performance Tuner Log dialog to return to the Adaptive Degradation And Performance Tuning dialog. Click the Check For Updates button. This will ping the Autodesk servers to see if a newer version of the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database exists.
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  4. Assuming a newer version of the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database exists, the Performance Tuner Update dialog will prompt you to update it. Click Yes to update.
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  5. After choosing yes, AutoCAD will download and install the updated database. The Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog will display a confirmation of this update.
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  6. To verify the update did indeed update the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database, click View Tune Log from the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog.
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  7. Exit out of the Performance Tuner Log dialog, and click OK to exit the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog, and you’re done.

Manual Performance Tuning

One additional step I like to do after updating the Autodesk Certified Hardware Database is to perform a Manual Tune. Like the update, this is done from the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog.

  1. Re-launch the 3DCONFIG command if you closed out of the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog.
  2. Click Manual Tune from the Adaptive Degradation and Performance Tuning dialog.
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  3. This opens the Manual Performance Tuning dialog. Here you can individually customize each of the settings, or let AutoCAD figure out what’s best by clicking Reset To Recommended Values.
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