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Windows 7: Windows Explorer freezes Audio Drivers

24 Jun 2017   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate
Windows Explorer freezes Audio Drivers

I am running a clean, virus and malware free windows 7 professional machine. I do QA for a company which makes recording software called Mixcraft, which you can see here

I have recently had an issue where opening windows explorer while the software is playing audio, will freeze the audio driver/device, causing me to have to restart the software to get playback happening again.

System specs
AMD FX 8350 8 core 4Ghz processor
16GB ram
2, 2TB drives
Nvidia gforce210
Multiple sound devices and interfaces. The issue mainly happens with a Presonus Studiolive 16.0.2

* I have ran the exact same tests with the same hardware on another win7 pro machine and do not have the issue.
* Nobody else has the issue
* The issue will happen with different daw (recording software) on the same pc, so the issue is not Mixcraft.

Things I've tried
* Disconnecting all network dirves, usb drives, etc
* Disabling all 3rd party shell extensions via shellexview
* Using asio, wav or wavert, all have the issue
* Updating everything on the pc (which i am usually up to date anyway).
* Updating firmware on the interface, along with driver

My theory about this is as follows: Something about Explorer is freezing the system, causing all system threads to stop processing, even highest-priority audio threads, like those used in Core Audio mode. For a moment, all mixing ceases.

Chances are that this ASIO driver can only wait so long for audio data before it starves and just quits. WaveRT & Wave eventually recover, but the ASIO driver doesn't.

I have attached a zipped video showing me reproducing the issue.

Attached Files
File Type: zip (1.04 MB, 2 views)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jun 2017   #2

Windows 10 64 bit

I use Cakewalk Sonar (Platinum).
I've had similar problems with a USB interface (I've had several interface units but I think it was with a Roland Octa-Capture). I had dropouts and upping the buffer size (e.g. 256 or 512) seemed to tame it, although that increased latency.

I've tried several Presonus interfaces and they ALL had hardware problems. The latest was a Studio 192 that lasted one day and the 2nd day I powered it on but couldn't power it off with the power switch. It was sent back and replaced with my current device, an MOTU 896Mk3 Hybrid.

Have you run the free Replendence Latency Mon? May help in troubleshooting.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jun 2017   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate

The problem is not the interface. I can get the same thing to happen using others. This is just my main interface at the moment.
The problem is in windows somewhere.
On those times when it doesn't lock up when I open an explorer window, I can hear a slight crackle in the audio. Like the cpu is being interrupted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

25 Jun 2017   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate

Mr. Firebird I think you may have solved it...
I ran that latencymon and it led me to my power settings. Somehow my cpu was being throttled. I am a techie and have been for 20 years, I built this pc and set the cpu to min 100 and max 100, somehow it was changed.
In any case, I have been running the daw now for over an hour, opening and closing explorer windows with no issue. Where do I send the case of beer? heh heh
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2017   #5

Windows 10 64 bit

Bud Lite. LOL

Glad to hear you apparently found it. I've been in electronics (amp tech in Nashville) and computers for more years than I care to think about. However, I tend to not tweak unless absolutely needed. The only "tweak" I have in my system is Power Plan is set to High Performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Explorer freezes Audio Drivers

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