Windows 8: Windows Media Player audio skips under high cpu usage (for example, while syncing to external device)

Hello all,


Recently upgraded to Windows 8 Pro (on a laptop, from Vista).  I now notice than when playing music with Windows Media Player, there will be very short skips and audio dropouts in the audio when the CPU is close to 100% usage.


The easiest way to reproduce is playing music while syncing an external mp3 player.  While the CPU is converting files (from WMA lossless to a lower bit rate so that I can put more songs on the player), the audio played by WMP will have short skips and audio dropouts that are extremely irritating.


I used to sync this mp3 player on another PC running windows XP and a much less powerful CPU (Pentium D) for years, and I never heard this before.  Is there something fundamentally wrong in Windows' 8 processing of audio real-time tasks?


Has anyone else observed this behavior?

Is there a parameter somewhere that can be adjusted?  I tried adjusting the WMP process priority to above normal, High and Realtime, but that had no effect on the problem behavior.


Machine exhibiting the behavior:


    Laptop with Core 2 Duo P8400 @2.26 GHz, 4 GB memory

    Windows 8 Pro with Media Center

    Windows Media Player version: 12.0.9200.16420


Machine on which I had no problem before:


    PC with Pentium D processor, 1 GB memory

    Windows XP Professional


Question Info

Last updated April 7, 2019 Views 1,315 Applies to:



Welcome to Microsoft Community Forums.


From the description that you have posted, you are facing an issue with the Windows Media Player.


I can imagine the inconvenience you have experienced.


To assist you better I would appreciate if you could answer the following questions:


1)      Have you made any changes to the hardware or software on the computer prior to the issue?

2)      What is the make and model number of the computer?

3)      Do you get any error message / code?



Follow the steps and check,


Method 1: I would suggest you to clear the Windows Media Player database. To do this, follow these steps:


a. Exit Windows Media Player.

b. Right click on Start, click Run, type “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Media Player” without quotes, and then click OK.

c. Select all the files in the folder, and then click Delete on the File menu.

Note: You do not have to delete the folders that are in this folder.

d. Restart Windows Media Player.

Note: Windows Media Player automatically rebuilds the database.


Method 2: If this does not resolve the problem, clear the Windows Media Player database cache files. To do this, follow these steps:


a. Exit Windows Media Player.

b. Right click on Start, click Run, type “%LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft” without quotes, and then click OK.

 c. Select the Media Player folder, and then click Delete on the File menu.

d. Restart Windows Media Player.


Note: Rebuilding the library will not delete the actual music or video files, but it will remove extra information like ratings, play count and Last Played Date.


Method 3:  Turn Windows features on or off


Method 4: I suggest you to download the latest version of drivers including BIOS. If there are no driver’s available for Windows 8, suggest you to download the Windows 7 drivers and install in compatibility mode and check.



Important: Modifying BIOS/ complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) settings incorrectly can cause serious problems that may prevent your computer from booting properly. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the configuring of BIOS/CMOS settings can be solved. Modifications of the settings are at your own risk. 


Note: Download the latest drivers from the Manufacturer’s website and save it on to the Desktop.


Click on the link and follow the steps:


“Make older programs compatible with this version of Windows”


Method 5: I suggest you end the high usage and unwanted processes from the task manager and check,


a)       Right click on Taskbar and select Task Manager.

b)      Select Processes tab and check for the high usage process and tell him to end the task.

c)       Under Apps

d)       Except Windows Explorer. Check the programs are using the high usage right click on the program click on End Process.


Method 6: Run the Windows Media Player settings troubleshooter and check.


Follow the steps to run the troubleshooter:



a)      Press Windows key + C on your keyboard to show the Charms bar.

b)      Type Troubleshooting and click Troubleshooting under Settings.

c)      Now click on Programs.

d)      Click on Windows media player settings to run the troubleshooter.


If the issue persists you may try to update all the drivers and check if it helps.


a)      Press Windows Key +R, type devmgmt.msc to open the Device Manager.

b)      Expand the Drivers, click on the driver.

c)       Click on Properties, click on Driver tab.

d)      Click on Update Driver.

e)      Restart the system.


NOTE: I would recommend you to check the System Event Logs for Bad Block errors.


This information should help you. If you need further assistance regarding Windows, please let us know we will be happy to help.

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Depressing how the answers provided by Microsoft are canned answers, that often have no bearing on the actual issue.  But here goes the answers:


1) As I stated originally, this is a fresh install that never worked correctly.  So no, I haven't "made any changes prior to the issue", except installing Windows 8 itself...  Was that the mistake?


2) The laptop is an HP HDX 18


3) As I explained originally, there are no error codes, the audio simply skips or drops out for a very short moment (I'd say maybe a tenth of a second


Method 1 - Clear database:

Since this was a fresh install, the database was already cleared.  I don't see how clearing it again would help.


Method 2 - Clear cache:

Again, fresh install, cache was already cleared.  Please explain how this can have an effect on audio drop-outs when CPU is 100% while playing an audio file....


Method 3 - Turn features on/off

Which features would you like me to turn on or off to see if that solves the problem?


Method 4 - latest drivers

Already done.  When I installed Windows 8, I made sure to get the latest version of drivers, including the BIOS.


Method 5 - kill high usage process

As I have explained in my original mail, the problem can be reproduce by syncing files to a MP3 player.  In that case, the process using most of the CPU time is Windows Media Player itself.  If I kill it, I also stops the music I want to listen to.  Cure the disease by killing the patient?


Method 6 - WMP troubleshooter

First, your instructions are incorrect.  There is no Troubleshooting under the Windows Charm as you indicated in your step a).  In step b) you say to type.  That's on the start menu, accessed by pressing only the windows key.


So I ran the troubleshooter, and it did suggest to reset default WMP settings.  So I did.  In detailed report, it does say "Restore default Windows Media Player settings - Completed".  However, by curiosity, I ran the troubleshooter again, and it reported the same issue, even though it had just reset the settings!  So I guess that's a false positive.  I tried resetting again, then running WMP, then running troubleshooter again.  It always report "Configuration settings might be set incorrectly".  Can you provide more information as to what "settings" might be incorrectly set, and why the reset to default does not clear the error?


I tried a sync of my player while playing audio after running the troubleshooter, and the drop-outs are still present.


Updating drivers:  That was method 4, and it was done.  (By the way, which drivers do you mean?  My list is over 150 drivers.  Running an "Update driver" for all 150 drivers seems more like a recipe for trouble than anything else...)


There were no bad block errors in the Windows log "System" in event Viewer.



Got any more ideas, hopefully more directly related to the issue I raised?

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