If you’re upgrading to AutoCAD 2012, don’t forget to also disable InfoCenter (unless you really need it). Just download and install AcadInfoCenterOff to disable it on any version of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT. If you already have AcadInfoCenterOff installed, you can just run a repair install to apply it to a newly installed instance of AutoCAD 2012.
Over the years, I and others have provided instructions for turning off the AutoCAD InfoCenter (or Communication Center in older versions). The instructions are different depending on the AutoCAD version. To make things simple, I decided to roll them all up into a single one-size-fits-all MSI file that disables InfoCenter for any and all versions of AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT in one fell swoop.
The AcadInfoCenterOff.msi file on the ManuSoft Freebies page contains a custom action that disables InfoCenter during installation. Uninstall restores all previous settings. No actual files are installed, as all changes are made in the registry. Packaging the custom action into an MSI is just a convenient way to ensure that you can uninstall in the future from Windows Control Panel even long after the MSI is lost or forgotten.
Why would you want to disable the InfoCenter? Faster startup, for one. Fewer crashes and lockups, for another. This feature of AutoCAD actually starts an invisible background task that runs as a separate process (named either WSCommCntr1.exe or WSCommCntr2.exe), which establishes inter-process communication with the running AutoCAD. This type of inter-process communication channel is notoriously unreliable, and it’s not unusual to see the background task orphaned in memory after AutoCAD closes in an unusual way, sometimes consuming a lot of CPU cycles and sometimes preventing an AutoCAD restart until it is forcibly ended.
Did you know that Autodesk is offering a promotional upgrade price to AutoCAD LT users until January 19th? Check out http://www.adskhost.net/43404/solution.php. According to that web page, you can upgrade an AutoCAD LT 2004/2005/2006 license to any one of several AutoCAD 2007 based software offerings from AutoCAD 2007 to Inventor Series — for $1995. If you have an LT license, now might be a good time to upgrade it.