Christmas Cleanup

Christmas Clean Up – Refresh Your System

December 7, 2015

In this Insight Dan explores some things to think about when it comes to doing a refresh of your system.  

Day 7: 25 Insights in 25 Days Holiday Marathon

Christmas Clean-Up – Refresh Your System

This is most definitely not the Insight I had planned for today but in a funny way it is actually a much better one!

One of my hard drives imploded over the weekend and I’ve temporarily lost a lot of data.

I am quite good when it comes to backing up, but I thought this would be a great opportunity to have a think about getting my system cleaned up, refreshed and ready to start 2016 in tip top condition!

The temptation around the holidays is to buy shiny new toys but with all the great offers it’s actually a great time to invest both cash and time into some boring, but essential items and processes!

This is Insight dedicated to questioning everything and anything that can be cleaned, repaired, better organized or even thrown in the bin to make a fresh start for 2016.

Prepare For The Worst!

If you’re like me and use your grading system all day, every day, for grading work down time is not an option.

My biggest regret is not having even a basic clone of my system drive. I literally have to go buy a new drive, wait to arrive and download the OS installer.

It’s not a huge deal, but I wish that I could have had even a basic clean install that had all my apps installed and ready for data to be restored.

My recommendation is at the very least buy a spare SSD for your system drive, clone it and keep it near by!

Another bonus but fun (not) task I have ahead of me is digging out all my licences and serial numbers but that’s a whole new adventure!

Cleaning Up Both Virtually And Physically

If you have a backup plan in place then its down to the nitty gritty of cleaning and re-organising.

When I first started, that involved hoovering the tape decks to keep them as dust free as possible but now it’s more of a digital clear out.

We have over 700 TB of shared storage here at S&M and its almost entirely full, nearly all of the time.


If you use a PostgreSQL database with Resolve it’s worth both optimizing existing database’s and starting new ones.

In practice, I like to say I make a new database every few months but in reality – I still use Resolve 11 in work and the same database that I started using on Day one (scary!)

I think because I work in commercials I get away with it, but if you are working long form a year is far to long to be using the same database.

Take this holiday season to start a new database and enjoy faster performance and quicker saves!

Cache / Still Store

I once had a Linux Resolve system go down and wouldn’t boot up normally… the cause was the internal drive getting filled up to the brim with stills from the still store in Resolve.

Once every few months when I get a quiet day I like to get into my storage and delete all those nasty temp files in the cache.

I tend to delete the gallery also something to keep in mind is that when you do this, all your saved stills will vanish and you will be unable to full screen wipe to them.


I know most of you will laugh at this, but I never update my OS ever. I never update drivers and I like to stick with software versions that work.

I don’t know if this is due to stubbornness or smart thinking, but once my system is purring along nicely I hate changing anything on it.

I normally like to take a half day or day around the release of a major update like Resolve 12 for example to update my GPU and Decklink drivers.

It’s good to stay up to date to have the latest bug fixes, but I live a lot of my life by the ‘if it aint broke don’t fix it’ mantra.

Control Surface

How often have you cleaned your control surface (if you use one) ?

The trackballs are notorious for collecting food, beer, hairs and even dead skin over time.


I bet a lot of people either don’t clean them at all or not very frequently.

Here is what your trackballs will look like after 6 months of use!

You can see dead skin, crumbs and even some of my beard hairs in there!

The big Resolve panels that I use are easier than you think to clean. Just remove the rings carefully and you should be able to pop the ball out carefully. This is similar to other control surfaces.

Your Desk

I think at least once a year you should take everything off your desk and perform a deep clean.

Get every element off your desk and take it apart – from your monitors to your mouse pad.

This approach is especially good for cable tying all those new cables that you added temporarily 6 months ago and are still sitting there!




Last but not least, have you thought about all the spares you might need over the year?

Some things can easily be ordered next day delivery like HHDs, GPUs etc..

Others like DaVinci panel components need to be thought about in advance.

I recently had to perform open panel surgery due to a broken trackball


The lead time on ordering a DaVinci trackball is normally short, but this happened two weeks ago and I still don’t have a replacement part as it must be getting shipped from the factory in Australia!

This has made me stock pile on things like batteries for my wireless mice and keyboard, spare Wacom pens and even extra HDMI and SDI cables.

When you run a business you need to ensure that you don’t have any down time!

Get Your Monitor Calibrated

Every time I ask another colorist when they last had their monitor calibrated the answer is always at least a couple of months ago.

Monitors drift, so use the holiday season to get that monitor lined up and be ready for a strong start to 2016.

I think I about covered everything I plan to do this holiday season but if I’ve forgotten anything please do let me know in the comments!


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