Next Steps
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Now that you've successfully performed your first optimization, you'll want to try Optimax with your own strategies. If you follow the same procedure as you did for Sample 1, you should be well on your way. You may encounter some bumps along the road; this chapter should help you to smooth them out as you travel on your road to financial freedom.

Using the Run History Pane
After you have performed an optimization, make notes about it by double-clicking the User Notes column, and by right-clicking it to create more detailed notes. This will help you remember what each run was for. For example, you might type "Sample 1 test" beside your first optimization. You can even right-click and paste your EL into the TXT or RTF documents so that you will always have a copy of it to go along with the run, in case you change it in the future. That way, you can always reproduce the same equity curve if you change something and worsen your returns.

When you want to start another optimization, simply highlight the run history row that contains the optimization settings you want to use. You can modify them first before starting the optimization. Modifying them does not change the settings for that historical run - instead it sets them up for the next run. When you close the Optimization Settings window, the settings are ready to use. Click the Start Optimization button, start optimizing in TradeStation, and those settings will now be saved with the new run. Clicking an old run always restores the original settings from history again.

Learning the Ropes
After you've successfully optimized a strategy, here are a few things to try:
·Run your first optimizations with price modulation turned off. (In the Optimax Optimization Settings window, clear the Modulation On checkbox.)  
·Run the same optimization three times, once using each fitness function to compare how the fitness function affects the optimization results. To do this, simply uncomment each function in turn in the Epilog.  
·Turn on price modulation, and insert the OMX_PriceModX strategy into a new chart. Play with the price modulation settings to get a feel for how they affect the price series in TradeStation.  
·Re-optimize the strategy with price modulation enabled to see how this affects the performance. Remember, at this point you aren't trying to improve the returns - you're stress-testing the strategy to see how quickly it will fail. Expect lower returns; if your strategy continues to perform successfully then you will have determined that your returns have a higher probability of success in the future as well.  


Rules of Thumb
To avoid errors, you will need to follow these guidelines when working with Optimax:

·If you have multiple versions of TradeStation installed, close Optimax before using a different version of TradeStation, the start Optimax back up again.  
·If you get an error in Tradestation during a run - for example a Max Bars Back violation - you must stop the optimization in both TradeStation and Optimax and then start a brand new optimization as per normal. Optimax will remember your settings, so you only have to click Start in Optimax, and then optimize the IterationNum input in TradeStation to start again.  
·Always start the optimization in Optimax first, then in TradeStation.  
·Always stop the optimization first in Tradestation, then in Optimax  
·When stopping the optimization in TradeStation always select Cancel Optimization And Restore Original Inputs  
·Always save your workspace with the IterationNum, Generation and Individual number inputs set to 0. If they are set to any other number, you will get an error when you open the workspace.  
·Do not defragment or back up your hard drive during an optimization. Doing so can prevent your results from being sent to Optimax. Before starting an optimization, turn off any programs that do this automatically, such as Diskeeper or Second Copy.