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Playing Music Slows Vista Network Performance?

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the sound-of-your-network-on-vista dept.

Windows 748

An anonymous reader writes "Over the months since Vista's release, there has been no doubt about the reduced level of network performance experienced compared to Windows XP. However, some users over at the 2CPU forums have discovered an unexplained connection with audio playback resulting in a cap at approximately 5%-10% of total network throughput. Whenever any audio is being sent to a sound card (even, several users report, while paused), network performance is instantly reduced. As soon as the audio is stopped, the throughput begins to climb to its expected speed. It's a tough one for users — what do you pick, sound or speed? So much for multi-tasking."

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DRM strikes again? (4, Insightful)

It doesn't come easy (695416) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304859)

I wouldn't be surprised if they find Vista is spending all its time making sure those precious audio tracks aren't being illegally copied during playback...damn those thieving music lovers...

Re:DRM strikes again? (1)

SaturnNiGHTS (1074969) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304909)

nice waste of time that would be, considering the analog hole. or maybe it's active discouragement?

Not likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305365)

Far more likely that it is recording the title as well as a hash of the item. Otherwise, you would be able to detect the network being used. This way, when your computer gets inspected by RIAA, they have a partial or even possible a FULL record of what you have been doing. Far easier to prosecute.

Conspiracy! (4, Funny)

suso (153703) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304861)

This is clearly an attempt by Microsoft to encourage people to buy more music to listen to while waiting to download the the upgrade to Vista SP1. I have pictures of a meeting between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates at a Carl's Jr. Steve handed an envelope under the table to Bill. Who knew?!?! Now it all makes sense why iTunes was promoting a track last week called "The Biggest EULA of Her Life" by Randy Newman.

In The United States Of Alphane (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304865)

Playing Vista slows music performance.

Or more accurately (5, Insightful)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305103)

Installing Vista slows Vista performance. Still don't see any reason why someone would use this as an OS over XP right now.

Re:Or more accurately (2, Informative)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305345)

The more I read, the more the old "avoid any version with a dot-zero on the end of it" rule of thumb is proven right.

Re:Or more accurately (1)

torkus (1133985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305453)

I don't see any reason why someone would use this as an OS over XP...ever.

I've scheduled to have a beta vista image created by the end of the year at my company. We have no intention of deploying it until *maybe* 2H08.

how on earth? (4, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304877)

How on earth does the sound and network subsystem overlap?
PCI resource scheduler issue? I'd love to see Disk I/O on a fast RAID Vs sound usage...

Re:how on earth? (4, Funny)

sunami88 (1074925) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305003)

How on earth does the sound and network subsystem overlap?
My 0.02? Its all the DRM piling up at an astounding rate, bringing the network to its knees.


And so on and so forth. Could be wrong though.

Re:how on earth? (5, Insightful)

glop (181086) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305019)

Well, the CPU scheduler could be at fault. They might want to make sure that your audio does not skip. Therefore the sound-using application might get a higher priority, or other I/O bound applications may be throttled to leave room for the audio and make sure there are not too many network interrupts to service that may block the sound.

So, you see, it's a feature, not a bug ;-)

Re:how on earth? (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305157)

Actually that sort of makes sense. The question then is does it effect other IO? Maybe writing to a drive? Would it show up in task manager?
So far I find you explanation the most likely if unpopular.
I sort of want some proof before I start stringing people up.

Re:how on earth? (1)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305321)

Hence why I initially asked about fast RAID Vs Audio playback performance.
Just like a relative of the GP said, I'm not buying/pirating Vista just to find out. Too much work and I'm not downing my server over a bug I'll likely never encounter.

Re:how on earth? (2, Informative)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305369)

If it is a scheduling bug then it is a nasty one because it seem to effect even quad core systems. Right now all I can say is I am glad I am running Linux and XP and not Vista.

Re:how on earth? (5, Funny)

AshtangiMan (684031) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305375)

I sort of want some proof before I start stringing people up.

You must be new here . . . but how did you grab such a low UID?

Re:how on earth? (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305455)

Nope I am not new knew here. I think you will find that most of the people below 100k are on the reasonable side. Not all mind you but most.
I am so old that I was here when the "imagine a beowulf cluster comment started."
I am pretty sure that this critter right here got that ball rolling :) 06/2122242 []

Re:how on earth? (5, Informative)

torkus (1133985) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305269)

That's great but my Pentium 1 - 133Mhz CPU could play MP3s. The tiny 'couple mW' CPU in the ipod shuffle can play MP3s. You expect me to believe that a modern computer is having CPU contention issues over the processing power to play a MP3? Even with the bloatware that is know as Vista...playing a MP3 can't need more power than opening Excel or Word.

Re:how on earth? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305437)

That's because the Ipod has it's very own hardware MP3 player. Faster, more efficient, less flexible.

However, I agree with the basic premise that even software MP3 decoders don't need much general purpose hardware power to run.

Of course, this is just a group of folks in a forum complaining and doing quicky experiments. May not even be true.....

Re:how on earth? (1)

Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305499)

(nodding in agreement)
Last time I checked, sound chips and ethernet MACs both have their own state machines to handle bulk data transfers using bus cycles, not CPU cycles, right? Bus bandwidth is huge compared to the bandwidth of both of those put together, right?

Re:how on earth? (3, Interesting)

DigitalSorceress (156609) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305039)

My guess is that it's a deliberate attempt to make sure that users aren't streaming the music out over the network.

DRM sucks... it's gotten so bad that they're interfering with all sorts of normal (non-infringing) activities in the hopes of getting the genie back in the bottle. When will they learn that it's too little, too late.

I mean, what? I'm supposed to choose between listening to music, or doing my job? BAH!

Every day, MacOS and Linux are looking better and better.

Re:how on earth? (3, Insightful)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305335)

My guess is that it's a deliberate attempt to make sure that users aren't streaming the music out over the network.
Nah, this looks far more like run of the mill incompetence.

Re:how on earth? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305045)

As part of the move out of the kernel, Vista's sound support is software only and doesn't take advantage of any potential acceleration that your sound hardware may provide. They have the nice per-application volume levels and faders in volume control, but it also means more CPU usage any time you play something.

Re:how on earth? (3, Funny)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305061)

How on earth does the sound and network subsystem overlap?

The smoke from the cigars mixes in the air of the smoke-filled back rooms where these things are decided between the content cartel and the company that makes Windows Media Central or whatever that thing used to be called.

Streaming (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305073)

Obviously you are trying to stream your music over the tubes, you dirty pirate!

We'll throttle you back to give your pirate customers choppy playback. Take that!

Re:how on earth? (1)

Killer Gentoo (1125211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305075)

Thanks to the closed-source nature of windows vista, we may never know.

I think many are makng a critical error in judgement, they expect microsoft products to make sense...
Possibly vista is using the pci bus VERY poorly, like spamming a bunch of useless or redundant data into the bus, whenever utilized, maybe it is limited to audio devices, or not. I know I'm not pirating/buying/installing vista to find out how buggy it is.

Re:how on earth? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305163)

How on earth does the sound and network subsystem overlap?
PCI resource scheduler issue? I'd love to see Disk I/O on a fast RAID Vs sound usage...
I wonder if it depends on how loud the volume is on my speakers (looks at the volume dial, set at 11...and sweats...).

(Thankfully, I'm running XP at work and Ubuntu at home)

Re:how on earth? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305201)

My guess would be that it's a bug in the PCI code. You interact with network and sound hardware in roughly the same way; write a memory address to a control register and the device DMAs it across. If there's a race condition or stale lock in the code that deals with the PCI bus then data being sent from the network or sound card drivers down through the PCI abstraction layer could be delayed. My guess would be that someone decided to optimise things for media playback, and so put the sound drivers at a higher priority than the network drivers (since most of the time you are more likely to notice audio skipping than slight drops in network performance), and the sound card driver is not releasing a lock in a timely fashion.

This, of course, comes with a huge disclaimer to the effect that I have no inside information as to the structure of the Vista kernel, and might be completely making all of this up.

Re:how on earth? (1)

letxa2000 (215841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305357)

Network performance is so bad under Vista that I don't use the LAN on any regular basis.

When I first got a Vista laptop about three months ago (when my XP laptop unexpectedly had a motherboard failure), I noticed that music playback was not continuous or smooth. There'd be little breaks in the playback which was extremely annoying. It also seemed weird since my laptop has a dual core. When my XP laptop got back from the shop, I made that my media PC so all music playback is now done off of that laptop while I do my real work on my Vista laptop. So that's how I solved the problem.

But I can definitely vouch for the fact that the network access is slow and there's something wrong the music playback--but the music playback problems I had didn't have anything to do with the network because I wasn't actively using it when I experienced the problems.

At the end of the day, it just comes down to the fact that Vista sucks.

Could be DRM related (2, Interesting)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304889)

There's probably a very good chance this is related to Vista's heavy handed DRM software. It's been reported that Vista does constant checking to see if you (gasp!) might be playing a file it thinks you don't have rights to. I could certainly believe that this kind of overkill DRM might effect network performance.

Re:Could be DRM related (1)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304953)

So what happens if you play back an audio file purchased (errrm, sorry, licensed) through one of the officially-approved Microsoft music stores?

Re:Could be DRM related (0, Troll)

robbiethefett (1047640) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305119)

So what happens if you play back an audio file purchased (errrm, sorry, licensed) through one of the officially-approved Microsoft music stores?
I'm pretty sure there is a routine built in to Vista for that very scenario.. It fires up outlook, downloads a worm, turns the machine into a zombie, and finally spams your credit card info to everyone in your contact list. come to think of it, that's actually the routine response to any user input.

Re:Could be DRM related (5, Insightful)

networkBoy (774728) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305015)

Not likely, as on the forums many users report multicore systems being nearly completely idle. Unless the box is phoning home, but even then that should only amount to your broadband speed being absent from the total. Anything that would rob 95% of your TCP stacks should show up as heavy CPU usage. I'm betting money on the PCI handler for the audio being borked.

Re:Could be DRM related (1)

Killer Gentoo (1125211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305253)

Very unlikely, there is no reason why DRM packets from one computer running one song would flood a network to such a degree, besides, to my knowledge, windows vista SUPPORTS DRM, which means it will play DRM'ed music, but that does not mean it necessarially phones home for non-DRMed audio files, and it certainly would not dominate 90% worth of network traffic if they did.

Honestly, much of the paranoia people have for microsoft is baseless, even microsoft can't get away with everything, which is not to say that they wouldn't like to. Even windows drones have their limits, afterall.

Re:Could be DRM related (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305347)

indeed. I happily use my home network whilst listening to music I ripped from a legally bought new CD here, all under vista. Of course, using vista just fine, and considering it a strong improvement over XP will not make the slashdot front page, because its not a way to bash the RIAA and whine about DRM.
People read the news that confirms what they have already decided.

The hits just keep on rolling for Vista (5, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304893)

It's like the Top 40 of suck.

Okay, it's a lot of little things but those add up for many users and businesses. I'm sure MSFT will get all the little niggling things fixed...eventually. The main issue I see is that MSFT really needed a home run with Vista and what they fielded wasn't much of an improvement even when it's working properly. And certainly not worth the cost differential.

Re:The hits just keep on rolling for Vista (3, Interesting)

gravyface (592485) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305035)

Vista network performance is *supposed* to be better: "support for the Next Generation TCP/IP Stack" and "TCP/IP window size auto-tuning" are two features that the Que book, "Using Microsoft Windows Vista" describes. This audio issue is probably related to DRM, however.

There are some things that sound good, but I had to dig to find them -- "I/O cancellation" is one of them. I don't know how many times I've had a client crash their desktop when trying to access a non-synched shared folder when disconnected from their laptop; this is supposed to allow you to cancel requests to unresponsive network and hardware resources, but I've yet to try it out.

Wow! (4, Funny)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304903)

However, some users over at the 2CPU forums have discovered an unexplained connection with audio playback resulting in a cap at approximately 5%-10% of total network throughput.

Wow! I bet streaming audio must suck!

Re:Wow! (4, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304999)

Wow! I bet streaming audio must suck!

Whatever you do, absolutely do not try this with RealPlayer on Vista. That has the potential to result in catastrophic system failure.

Re:Wow! (1, Interesting)

One Childish N00b (780549) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305029)

Ever think this might be some sort of DRM feature designed to make streaming audio suck? This would after all crap all over things like Shoutcast, which is the sort of thing the record companies are going after; basic internet radio.

Could be a case of defective by design - I hope I'm wrong, but I fail to see any sane reason why the two systems would affect each other like this.

steaming audio. (1)

leuk_he (194174) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305183)

Actually streaming audio might be a good test. One suggestion in that topic is that the cause is that vista is raising the priority of threads related to streaming. Stream audio over tcp/ip might raise the priority of the tcp/ip stack and the problem might be cornered this way.

But as always, MS is silent.

Stock answer (1)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305209)

"Working as intended."

Re:Wow! (1)

tttonyyy (726776) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305187)

Wow! I bet streaming audio must suck!
Are you kidding?? This is Microsoft taking the moral high ground. Anyone streaming audio is likely to be stealing it, so they make it suck. And just you wait 'til you try to stream porn WITH AUDIO. Vista's network stack will actually push the porn back out onto the internet along with some embarrassing webcam captures which it'll e-mail to your mom!

coldplay (2, Funny)

raffe (28595) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304917)

What if you play the song Speed of sound [] by coldplay [] ??? What will Vista do then?

Sorry, could not resist.

Re:coldplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304937)

I really wish you had.

Re:coldplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305025)

Coldplay sucks equally regardless of operating system.

Re:coldplay (3, Funny)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305041)

Seeing as the speed of sound is proportional to the square root of temperature, and the group is coldplay, it might not be very fast at all :)

Re:coldplay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305121)

They thought they were playing "Speed of Sound", but they were actually playing "Clocks" instead. Guess that's the problem with having songs that are indistinguishable in memory. ;)

Re:coldplay (4, Funny)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305147)

What if you play the song Speed of sound by coldplay??? What will Vista do then?

Mu. Only Mac users listen to Coldplay.

A dogcow? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305311)

What if you play the song Speed of sound by coldplay??? What will Vista do then?
Mu. Only Mac users listen to Coldplay.
Shouldn't that be "Muf"? [] And what about Windows Vista running in Boot Camp?

Re:coldplay (1)

gibbdog (551209) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305191)

The same thing that happens if you play any song by Coldplay. Everyone realizes that you are gay.

Re:coldplay (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305383)

The same thing that happens if you play any song by Coldplay. Everyone realizes that you are gay.

Thank you for sharing your experiences :)

What do I pick? (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304973)

I pick a different OS. Any OS, as long as it's not Vista. If I used Vista, I certainly wouldn't anymore after this; it's rare that I don't have some music playing when I'm using my computer. How the hell does this even happen, anyway? Seriously, how do you manage to fuck up the OS so much that simple audio playback pretty much breaks an entirely unrelated (or so one would hope) part of it?

Re:What do I pick? (1, Flamebait)

ashground (760276) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305389)

If I used Vista [...]
Funny how so many people with gripes against Vista are yelling from the sidelines without any first-hand experience.

I've never noticed a drop in network speed when playing audio. Nor does Vista crash on me. Nor have I had any driver issues. My Vista experience has been wonderful and painless, and from talking to other people, it seems like that's the case nine times out of ten. Of course there are bugs -- when you write an operating system taking several billion possible computer configurations into account, at some point something's not going to line up. That doesn't make the operating system worthless. And trust me, in all my years of running Windows, 3.0 to Vista, I've never come as close to throwing my computer out the window as I have trying to maintain any Linux distribution.

Vista's not perfect, but I'd still gladly choose it over any OS that forces me to compile things myself to get things working properly or buy an entirely new set of hardware just to run it.

Vista Phone Home (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20304979)

Its not that Vista's network performance drops when an audio file is played. Rather, Vista uses part of the network bandwidth to phone home to Redmond. This is pure speculation, but it logically makes sense considering MS's track record.

I love it when my possessions spy on me!

DRM or I/O priority (1)

ILongForDarkness (1134931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304983)

Could be DRM like others said, but I wonder if it is the marvelous prioritized I/O biting you in the butt? Is there a way for you to check the spacing between packets? I wonder if the network packet gets sent, while waiting for a reply the process context switches, then because the interactive bit is at a higher priority it takes longer to get a time slice to run the process again. The video playback might be causing more context switches ifself, because of the bit rate is higher, so greater chance you'll get a cache miss and switch as the I/O falls through to the harddrive, and the network would get the CPU back, making the download + video faster than download + music.

Re:DRM or I/O priority (2, Interesting)

conspirator57 (1123519) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305291)

some of the nicer netwerk cards' network processors have large portions of the stack implemented wholly within the cards' processor firmware. frastructure/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=15000186 []

it would be interesting to try one of these cards in a Vista machine whilst playing audio to see to what extent the performance is still impacted. Of course this would require a quick profiling of network performance with the new card without audio active as a baseline.

Re:DRM or I/O priority (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305317)

On a dual core system?
There should be a whole CPU left after using (a small part of) one CPU for playing the audio.

What is it doing? (1)

loconet (415875) | more than 7 years ago | (#20304991)

Has someone tried to packet sniff this thing to see what it is doing? Would vista hide that too?

Re:What is it doing? (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305125)

VISTA killed the radio star.

Re:What is it doing? (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305393)

The packet sniffer running in a Vista machine with properly signed vista drivers reports no strange packets. Of course outside, a completely untrusted machine running on untrustable OS with unsigned drivers might report large number of packets being sent to RIAA, but who you gonna believe, holy MSFT or some strange machine?

What do I choose? (1, Offtopic)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305007)

I choose Linux & or Windows 2000.

Not Just MP3's Slowing Network Performance (4, Interesting)

MarkToronto (1145669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305013)

Interesting... I thought I was going nuts the other day... I was Transcoding Video from my (powerfull) Vista PC to my XBox360. I noticed that if I was using Media Player to do anything on the PC, that it was slowed my network performance down quite a bit. I thought at first it was because of the transcoder working hard to buffer the other video, but realized the two cores weren't even being used that much, and memory was fine.

Not a hardware issue, and may not DRM, either (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305051)

For those of you thinking this is a hardware or a driver issue, RTFA. In the posts in this thread, many many different hardware combinations were tried, including one guy who used USB audio hardware. Sorry, but it ain't a hardware or driver's almost certainly a flaw or a bug in Vista.

Could be DRM, maybe, but that's just speculation. One guy said he stripped the audio from a video and played just the video, so I'm not certain it's DRM, either.

Microsoft user here. (4, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305055)

I have been a long time Microsoft user (notice I didn't say supporter, simply user) I've given OSX and various flavours of Linux a shot, but for whatever reason I decide to stay with Windows every particular reason, I just like the interface the best...maybe it's cause I was raised on it, I dunno. Been using windows regularly since Windows 3.1.

Now. That being said. Ever since I saw screens of "longhorn" and the list of proposed features, I was excited. I knew a lot of it wouldn't be in the retail release, but still...Microsoft had me more excited about an operating system than I had been since the first press releases of Windows 95. It wasn't just Aero (which frankly doesn't really sway me one way or the other), it was primarily the little tweaks and things that they were talking about. Vista looked like it was going to be mind blowing.

And then it was released. Every week, some new story surfaces about something not working right, or something being broken, or some kind of fucked it stands, I don't think Vista will ever be on my computer. XP works fantastic for me (although I do have an Ubuntu box hooked up to my computer for movie and TV show playback), and Vista seems to case more problems than it solves.

Grats, MS. Unless you pull something out of your asses soon, you are going to lose more and more users such as myself. And we are important insofar as your desktop buisness goes, because we KNOW you are full of shit and we still don't care.

We are starting to care, though.

Re:Microsoft user here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305213)

Gah, gotta use preview next time.

(although I do have an Ubuntu box hooked up to my computer for movie and TV show playback
That should read hooked up to my TV.

and Vista seems to case more problems than it solves.
and that should read causes more problems.

Re:Microsoft user here. (1)

TrancePhreak (576593) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305341)

That's an awful lot of following what you hear there. Quite a bit of it is incorrect. Vista is compatable with almost as much as XP, minus the 16bit stuff (which you usually needed something like DosBox for anyways).

Seriously, anybody listening to what they read on here for Vista is being spoon fed lies. I believed them for a while, but built a new system and wanted to try it out. I was pretty surprised at how much information about it is wrong.

Re:Microsoft user here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305387)

I never take anything I read on /. seriously, especially when it comes to Microsoft or Sony. Things I have heard have come from "neutral" websites and/or friends who have personally toyed around with it

Re:Microsoft user here. (1)

Killer Gentoo (1125211) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305385)

We are starting to care, though.
I don't really care. But it is interesting, back when I was using windows 98se, I said I'd never use XP, "I don't need it" "no improvements", but honestly XP was a huge step up from 98se, once you take away the children's interfac. Maybe Vista -aero could be also an improvement.

Re:Microsoft user here. (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305501)

See, that's just the thing...some of the stuff that MS propsed with Vista could make very big leaps, in all, performance, gaming, you name it.

Somehow or another, they managed a repeat of Windows ME...HOWEVER. Their one saving grace is that Vista isn't broken beyond repair upon's just going to take a lot of tweaking and working to get it where it should be.

I hope for both MS's sake and the sake of users like me that they don't squander the chance.

I think it is fair to say (1)

Bullfish (858648) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305063)

that vista is rapidly becoming the OS that nobody wants. Not consumers, nor business is adopting it at the rate MS was hoping and these types of things don't help their cause.

With any luck, maybe, just maybe MS might fix some of these problems with their service packs. If not, vista has all the earmarks of becoming the new ME.

Nobody "wants" Vista (1)

Y2KDragon (525979) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305283)

Even the US Government said no to Vista. And that is going to stay as long as Vista "requires" the capacity to dial home to the mothership. So, take that for whatever you like. I know that as long as that is the case, I flatly refuse to even consider Vista for any of my machines.

Audio fingerprinting? (3, Insightful)

apodyopsis (1048476) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305081)

Could this be audio fingerprinting - where the audio is examined for a signature derived from the audio samples themselves and then compared against a database of tracks? this system has been mooted as a "perfect DRM" vehicle as is does not matter what audio compression, or file format is used as the audio itself is used to generate a fingerprint license checking.

I can find a reference for video fingerprinting which quite explains things more eloquently then me : rinting []

I could imagine this would come at quite a hit in terms of processor bandwidth and hence slowing down the whole system.

Of course I would expect this would be visible in Task Manager, I would be tempted to check myself except that I do not (and do not intend to) use Vista.

FUD of highest quality (2, Insightful)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305089)

This is FUD of the highest quality. I'm sitting now with my Vista edition listening to some Iron Maiden's mpr (DRM free of course) and using Windows Media Player 11. I'm measuring the network speed by sending a 34 GB files to the server with the player working and without it. The dspeed is being measured using BMST (Bandwidth Meter Speed Test). No difference at all.

Of course you can write anything you want negatve about MS in /. and any sheep will just believe it without further inverstigation....

Re:antiFUD of poorest quality (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305249)

Of course you can write anything you want negatve about MS in /. and some fanboys will refuse to believe it with one anecdotal test....

Re:FUD of highest quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305277)

Congratulations, you're one person without the problem vs at least 10 with the problem.

Re:FUD of highest quality (1)

Alaria Phrozen (975601) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305285)

So you pretty much confirmed that it's the DRM in action. Thanks.

Re:FUD of highest quality (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305371)

I second that.

I noticed a few blogs recently have posted the question "Given it's a flop, how would you change Vista?". I didn't respond there, but I will here:

If I had to change just *one* thing about Vista (and I've been running it on two machines since March), I would change the fact that people make up so much random shit. Seriously. These articles are almost entirely FUD. Anyone bitching about "invasive" DRM or "needing" 2GB of RAM has never used it.

For anyone who hasn't used it, think of it like this: It's the same as XP, but has admin/user privileges straightened out by default, a sandboxed browser, and a beefed up firewall. Do absolutely all drivers/applications work yet? Nope. Do all of mine? Yep.

Re:FUD of highest quality (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305415)

Which points up the fact that it may also be a configuration problem. Depending on how you have the system configured, what you have loaded and running at any time, you're going to get resource highs and lows. I'm not sure where audio/video playback falls on the scale of system resources, but I imagine that they get shoved down the scale by some more intensive processes. I've read through the article, and some people had the problem but turned off some things and had performance kick back up. Mind you, these fixes didn't work for everyone, so maybe it's a pervasive problem with how resources are handled.

Re:FUD of highest quality (3, Informative)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305463)

Did you follow the link in TFS and offer your expertise to those having problems? Did you disclose your hardware configuration? We could all degenerate into a Microsoft flame fest or the solution could come to light and put the whole thing to bed.

Great! (0, Troll)

siDDis (961791) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305095)

I actually have a 10% faster internet connection! All I need to do is to upgrade to Linux.

Propaganda (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305105)

Lies. Just tested this on my Vista setup and it did not reproduce. Vista has been great for me so far, everyone dumping on it is really getting old.

Synopsis (4, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305109)

The forum goers seem to think the problem lays with something called MMCSS that boosts audio priority when files are being played back. This looks to be a buggy scheduler rather than nefarious DRM checks mucking up performance. The problem hasn't been pinned down by a long shot, but the scheduler makes the most sense.

It's a tough one for users....? (3, Insightful)

gsfprez (27403) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305115)


there are any number of operating systems, even some by Micorosft, that do not have this problem.

I'm sick of the going in asumption being "well, you have to use x". No. You don't. There are a cacophany of choices everyone makes. And it drives me batshit when people assume that buying Microsoft anything is not a choice.

Every time your mom or Joe down the street or some multinational company buys Microsoft's wares - its a choice. Whether or not its a good choice is strictly up to the situation.

Re:It's a tough one for users....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305215)

There are a cacophany of choices everyone makes.

You lost me with this sentence. Perhaps 'cacophany' wasn't the word you intended to use. 'There are myriad choices...' possibly?

not really (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305413)

people are used to windows, in big ways and little ways. for your average slashdot nerd, going between linux and os x and windows is not a big deal. for other people, it is. all of us here make fun of the complete computer moron: "how do you click a mouse?" "where's the any button?" but the truth is the vast majority of users are technically uninclined (not that much, but my point is, more in that direction than in the technical direction)

now we could use your tack, and throw up your hands in disgust. or use another tack, and make fun of them. or yell at them. or stare at them in cold silence. or make sarcastic remarks about them. etc.

either way, they're going to stay with windows. you can have any emotional reaction you want. doesn't get your average joe to switch from windows

my personal point of view is to emulate the windows gui in every single way, down to every little detail. then you'd get switchers i think

Sheeple (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305447)

I'm sick of the going in asumption being "well, you have to use x". No. You don't
The sooner you work that one out and simply start taking advantage of them the happier you'll be.


Prioritizing multimedia? (3, Informative)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305141)

Wasn't there a story on Slashdot a while back about how multimedia apps in Vista would take priority over others whether you wanted to or not? This summary [] (you'll actually have to RTFA since it's not in the summary, sorry ... or just look through some of the comments) might be the one I'm looking for...

Iterative Development Cycle (3, Interesting)

Enonu (129798) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305153)

I really hope Microsoft adopts an iterative development and release cycle on the order of around every six months for Windows some time in the future.
  • Bugs like this get noticed sooner and are easier to fix since they are fresh.
  • QA cycles are more focused.
  • Customer feedback helps drive the product to something the customers actually want to use.
  • Customers can have an easier time adapting to smaller changes.
Please note that OS X has proven that a faster iterative development model can work for a desktop operating system. They're releasing every year or so 0_.28Cheetah.29/ [] , which might be the sweet spot, but I bet they could do better.

Big-bang software releases, ala Vista taking years to develop, are destined for bugs and customer rejection like this. If you, as a software developer are stuck in a project with a release date longer than a year away, please take the time to set your project manager straight.

My PC Did Something Similar (3, Interesting)

UdoKeir (239957) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305237)

I run Mandriva at home and my wi-fi would grind to a halt if I played any kind of audio. As soon as I stopped the audio, the network came back. I found a couple of reports online from people that appeared to have the same problem, but never a solution.

I had to change out the motherboard for an unrelated reason, and the problem went away. It was a completely different chipset on the new motherboard, so I figure there was a problem with the drivers for the old one. I think it was C-Media audio.

Media Foundation Protected Pipeline (1)

clarkn0va (807617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305247)

I wonder if this has anything to do with the Media Foundation Protected Pipeline or the mysterious mfpmp.exe process mentioned in Peter Gutmann's paper [] , which he credits with "pegging the CPU at 100% load on startup and then staying at 10-20% CPU during playback".

He quotes one user,

While playing an MP3 file in WMP, I ended the "mfpmp.exe" process, and then sound stopped, but WMP still worked. I then pressed stop in WMP and then Play again and the MP3 file started playing, but this time through wmplayer.exe itself. It probably detected something wrong with the "mfpmp.exe" and fell back to another playback path I think. Can't be sure. A few seconds later, "mfpmp.exe" did appear again, but with 0 CPU usage as the file was playing through WMP. I had to restart WMP in order for the MP3 to play again through "mfpmp.exe"


Sound in XP (1)

Ost316 (1035874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305255)

I have an old computer at home (7 years old with the same motherboard). It runs XP and I hate Web 2.0 on it for exactly the reason you're stating with Vista. Whenever sound plays, the computer lags, often freezing for a few moments before playing the sound. It's noticeable and a pain in the ass, though I don't know if this is the same as the Vista problem.

IIRC, someone predicted DRM would do this (1)

surfingmarmot (858550) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305287)

He was labeled a zealot and largely ignored. An educated guess says there is a connection--you cannot load an I/O chain with a complex architecture that constantly sniffs the entire chain for malfeasance without some performance impact. That said, I believe it is likely any impact will be significantly reduced over time since this is Vista DRM 1.0 and so it is the first version of the code. I have no doubt Microsoft knows this is a problem and that poor performance vis a vis XP could limit the adoption of their new platform. One would think that an operating system under development for years by an "innovative" company would have been vetted of this kind of plodding code. But then one remembers this is a monopolist that heretofore has had little competitive challenge to its desktop dominance and therefore little incentive to either produce efficient elegant designs or face market share erosion to competitors. I think Microsoft honestly thinks the world will take Vista no matter what it is and are relishing the thought of being able to pull that off. And I see no sign so far they have anything to worry about either despite the faux outrage at the growing list of flaws in Vista.

Introducing... (2, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305323)

Windows 3.11! Boost your network performance with our TRULY multitasking system!

Music Benchmarks:
Windows 3.11_ **********
Windows Vista ***

And it comes with Reversi, too!

Clearly (4, Funny)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305325)

Microsoft's customers, the music industry, have to make sure that the criminals who play music over the internet are very limited in the amount of intellectual property they are able to steal.

Seems perfectly reasonable to me. If you don't like it, there are plenty of alternatives out there.


MultiMac (1985) anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305349)

Anyone else remember MultiMac, a beta MultiFinder-like program from Apple circa 1985. It ran on the "Fat Mac" under System 2.0. You could use the modem, printer, and applications at the same time but when you did any one thing, background printing - and everything else in the background - slowed way down.

Like non-NT-based versions of Windows, it too crashed several times a day.

That is nothing (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305401)

Trying playing any music backwards on Vista. If you listen real hard, you can hear "Gates is the devil incarnate. Balmer is dead".

Re:That is nothing (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305475)

Funny, I thought it said "The walrus is Ballmer"... but maybe it's just my headphones...

WP:RS (1, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305425)

Can I float an idea past the Slashdot editors:

If the only source for a story is one which would not qualify as a Reliable Source per Wikipedia guidelines [] , reconsider whether you have a story.

Yes, that includes stories based on a thread on a hardware forum.

I'm not asking for Slashdot to be held to journalistic standards (multiple source and/or independant investigative reporting). But Slashdot is supposed to be a news site, not a rumour mill. Is a single reliable source for unverified speculation like this too much to ask?

Audio drivers in userspace ? (3, Interesting)

this great guy (922511) | more than 7 years ago | (#20305457)

I am surprised no slashdotter mentionned this already... But could it be caused by the fact that, in Vista, the audio drivers are implemented in userspace ? My guess is that an actively used audio driver in userspace causes roughly 5,000 to 10,000 extra context switches per second. I didn't RTFA but this kind of CPU overhead would definitely be big enough to cause a visible reduction in network throughput when trying to max out a GbE link... Either because of the CPU time spent dealing with the context switches, or the extra latency it can introduce if some locks have to be held too long by the Vista kernels on some data structures concurrently used by the audio and network layer. Keep in mind that GbE network cards generate roughly 10,000 to 50,000 interrupts/sec when transferring at speeds approaching 1 Gbit/s, so a low latency in processing these IRQ is also critical.

OOP Software Complexity = Unforeseen Impact (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20305507)

Proving yet again why it's a good thing the linux kernel is written in C and NOT C++. Anyone who sells you on the advantages of OOP while ignoring the fact that all that abstraction comes at a price, is doing you no favors.

Maybe Apple can use this in an ad somewhere:
Vista = Car made for Homer

Apple BSD / Linux kernel = VW Jetta - smaller more economical and doesn't need 100% CPU cycles to save a file to disk.

One more reason to switch to Linux kernel.
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