Why does Windows Media Player hork up all my CPU?
March 1, 2006 8:18 PM   Subscribe

Why does Windows Media Player hork up all my CPU these days? When it didn't used to?

Windows Media Player, Version on XP home box horks up all my CPU now. Every time I try and play more than one MP3 it goes through this big laggy session and plays the music files, but wow, it eats CPU like Bobbi Bliss. I don't remember it ever being so bad. In fact, a while back, I gave up trying to wrangle other MP3 players and moderate their operating system fights, and just gave in and let WMP handle all sound files, because I just got tired of all the stupid OS fights. It went well for a long time, but lately, this crazy app, well, I said, it horks up all my CPU now when I use it.

I'm surprised, because I sorta assumed it's tightly integrated with my XP Home OS. I'm using the term "tightly integrated" regarding Windows without irony for once.

So I Guess My Question Is, how can I find out why this integrated Windows app is acting like some 3rd-party app that billg hates? I don't get it. What sort of analysis can I do to find out what the hell is so CPU-intensive now? When it didn't used to before?
posted by sidereal to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
You have no visualization set, right? Because a more useless CPU hog has been seldom seen on the planet.

Personally I usually use the free version of Media Monkey for sound and video file playing under Windows. Seems slightly better behaved than WMP, and way better behaved than the RealPlayer atrocity.
posted by mdevore at 9:41 PM on March 1, 2006

Strike "and video" typo.
posted by mdevore at 9:45 PM on March 1, 2006

Perhaps this fix from Microsoft will help, or upgrading to WMP 10.

If not, I would make sure your drivers are up to date, and check this site for all kinds of info.
posted by SpookyFish at 10:23 PM on March 1, 2006

I know you said you gave up other MP3 players, but if you want something low footprint but full featured I would try Winamp. It uses virtually no memory, which is why it has always been my player of choice for music while playing video games. WMP is just a horrible MP3 player, it is really geared more towards videos. As for "wrangling MP3 players" and "OS fights" you make it sound like a shootout at the OK Corral. You open your player, you drag the files in there, your done, right? Or Shift-Click File/Open With/"Always Use Selected Program" and select MP3 player to change default behavior when double clicking.

Barring that, I would second a windows update, upgrade to WMP10, turn off all visualization, and in Tools/Options disable "Add Music Files to Library When Played".
posted by sophist at 12:48 AM on March 2, 2006

Perhaps a combination of winamp and media player classic with real alternative and quicktime alternative would suit your needs.
posted by MetaMonkey at 2:46 AM on March 2, 2006

Response by poster: I can't figure out what's changed. I used to drag MP3s into it, sometimes all of them, and just let it run all day, happily shuffling songs. CPU usage was way low. Nowadays, it grinds away like crazy. Most of the time. Sometimes it doesn't.

I have an old reliable copy of Winamp 3 that works. As far as the OK Corral goes, surely you've all watched different apps try and take over your file extensions and stomp other apps' codecs, yes? It really is a war. It took me forever to get Real Player software completely off my computer and repair the damage it had done to extensions, the registry, etc. Now when I browse a web site that only offers sound as Real Media, I just go somewhere else. No way am I letting that lying monstrosity through the door again.
posted by sidereal at 5:26 AM on March 2, 2006

sideral, get real alternative and quicktime alternative from my above post, they both come with media player classic, which is very light and works very well. The latest winamp is also perfectly good, and you can choose to only install and run it in classic mode for the lightest footprint.

With those two programs you can watch and listen to pretty much everything. Sorry if I didn't make that clearer above.
posted by MetaMonkey at 6:52 AM on March 2, 2006

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