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Windows 7: Windows audio randomly dies (probably USB-related)

02 Feb 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 (SP1)
Windows audio randomly dies (probably USB-related)

Hello there,
I've been pondering around this problem for quite a while now and I finally decided to inquire the mighty crowds of computer wisdom i.e. you all :)

I've had this exact same problem in my previous system (with Windows 7 32-bit and quite a bit different internals) but it wasn't nearly as frequent as it is now (with Windows 7 64-bit and brand new CPU/MB/RAM/GPU) - however, this problem never happened on my previous box while it had Windows XP installed for a short while. Namely, the audio in Windows would stop working at random, every app that uses an audio interface would freeze when attempting to access any sink, I can't change the volume or mute anything, and I cannot even reset the Windows Audio service (reset times out) when that happens - the only solution is to reboot after which everything works just fine. The only difference between my old system and this one is that now I rarely get the reset procedure to 'freeze' on 'explorer.exe - Playing log-off sound...' (requiring to force restart to continue the process), but now it more often hangs at 'Shutting down...' screen requiring a physical restart.

My audio stack consists of the integrated sound (disabled, I don't need it, but in my previous setup it was enabled) and two USB-based sound sinks, namely Logitech Z Cinéma speakers (Default Device) and Logitech G930 headset (Default Communications Device). Both are connected directly to the motherboard USB ports so it's not a problem with wonky USB hubs.

The problem is most likely to occur shortly after waking up from stand-by (actually, not stand-by, just monitors and HDDs off), using both audio devices at the same time (most frequently while talking on Skype using the headset and trying to run some video in browser which uses the speakers) and turning the secondary monitor on (I sometimes turn it off, physically, so it doesn't distract me while watching something) - the secondary monitor does have an USB hub to which only my webcam is attached if that's some indication (it does add a new audio recording device when turned on).

Here's a list of things I've tried which didn't solve the problem:
  • Changing USB ports to which the said devices are attached.
  • Disabling USB selective suspend in power options.
  • Reinstalling the drivers, including trying with older versions.
  • Writing a simple app which sends a short barely audible noise to each of the devices each minute to avoid internal standby mode should they have it.
I suspect it has something to do with traditionally crappy Logitech drivers/software given that the exact same computer running Linux doesn't give me any troubles whatsoever (except the severely lacking features due to the missing drivers/software).

So, the question is - where to look next for a solution? The Event Viewer doesn't show anything when this occurs (except reporting that some app stopped working from time to time), if the Driver Verifier is turned on it doesn't BSOD when this happens, the drivers/software don't produce any logs... At this point I'd be happy even for a way to restart the Windows audio service or whatever it is that hangs when this happens, as long as I don't have to restart my whole system which is mighty annoying.

Thank you very much in advance for any insight you might provide.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2013   #2

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

Hiyya inco and welcome for starters I am definitely no expert mate I run a straight forward Asus Xonar DG card (the Xonar supports 7:1 systems) with my Ivy B with a Logitec Z 506 speaker set up and I have no probs at all, and it is a fairly cheap card at that.
Now I don't know what your audio set up is and it sounds like Ben Hur to me but just as a suggestion why not try a different brand card? I just really like the Asus control module that comes with mine and Asus do a really nice range of sound cards.

I am just getting a gut feeling the Logitec card is not the full dollar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 May 2013   #3

Win7 Pro 32 - Win8 64


I encounter very similar problem as yours with my USBs sound devices (I am not the only one with line6 material, but it remain an isolated to certain computer with win7 or win 8). I encountered it with two different laptop computer. My USB device are :
- line 6 pod studio UX2, an audio device dedicated to electric guitar and music recording
- line 6 pod X3 live, a guitar mutli-effect with an USB port for recording (and more)

the first computer is (almost was, the GPU has a failure causing overheating and shutdown) a Compaq CQ61-220 sf. This laptop was under windows vista 32 and the "randomly dying audio" problem has never appears under this Operating System. The problem has appear when I ugraded my OS to Win 7 Pro 32, taking advantages of a special offer. But at this time the problem occurred very rarely, maybe less than one time a month. When problem tended to append more frequently my computer had already the overheating failure and some BSOD started to appears. I thought it was the problem and it was time to change computer.

the second computer is a HP sleekbook b050sf under win 8 64. With this computer the problem occur more frequently. Generally, with my pod studio ux2 it happen after 1 or 2 hour.

I also encounter another problem with my devices. Sometimes a audio artifact can appears when I listen music. Sometimes, an audio artifact can appear, it sounds like cracks, pops or like if my music was corrupted, it can be very subtle. This problems is present with both computer, even when the old was under vista. Strangely, with the old, this audio artifact totally disappear when i disable the wifi. With the new, it is worst and disable wifi doesn't solve the problem. I think this audio artifact and the audio dies are linked.

Can you say if you notice some sound artifact with your device and can you put here brand and configuration of your computers ? maybe, we can spot a rpoblem linked to hardware configuration(I hope you see one day this message)

my configuration :
Compaq CQ61-220 sf :
Os : Win vista 32 updated to Win7 pro 32 ( I totally erased win vista partiton before installing win7)
Cpu : Pentium dual Core T4200 @ 2Ghz
GPU : Nvidia Geforce G103M
WiFi : Atheros AR9285
Ethernet: Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller
integrated sound : IDT hight definition Codec

HP sleekbook b050sf :
OS : Win8 64
Cpu: Core I3-3217U @ 1.80 Ghz
Gpu 1: Intel HD Graphics 4000
Gpu 2: Nvidia GeForce GT 630M
Wifi+bluetooth : Ralink RT3290
Ethernet : Realtek PCIe FE Family Controller
integrated sound : IDT hight definition Codec

Edit : forgot some details about my config
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Windows audio randomly dies (probably USB-related)

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