Sound card distortion while Scrolling Mouse?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Gazette Reader Bill T. from Merkel, Texas writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I look forward to your newsletter and have enjoyed and learned a great deal from your tips! Unfortunately, I am having problems with noise after installing Windows XP Home Edition. I like to listen to music on the computer while reading my email, but while scrolling through email or web pages, I get this noise that sounds like dragging a needle across an old 79 rpm record. Please advise if you have any ideas? "

My response:

Yes, I have a few things that come to mind! First things first: this dilemma sounds similar to another problem which was mentioned in a past newsletter about sound [lag] problems and Windows Media Player. The consensus of the article was that Digital Playback (found in newer versions of Media Player) creates high CPU usage and may cause lag in sound ... and possibly even distortion. Disabling Digital Playback in Media Player may resolve this issue:

Intermittent Media Player Internet Radio sound, Part 2

Exploring Other Possibilities through Process of Elimination

Troubleshooting hardware is all about process elimination. The following methodology may not be the "most" correct solution, but it should point Bill in the right direction:

If the Digital Playback isn't the problem, check to see if there are any sound card, video card, or mouse Resource Conflicts using Device Manager.

To access Device Manager with Windows XP:

  • Right click My Computer
  • Select Properties
  • Go to the Hardware Tab
  • Click Device Manager

Side note: Yellow exclamation marks (!) beside an item will signify trouble or conflict with another device.

If there is a yellow exclamation mark beside the sound card, try moving the card to the last slot inside the machine. Most motherboards typically do not share the last slot resource with any other devices. Once this has been done, load Windows again and see if you can reproduce the problem.

You can also try replacing the sound card altogether. Get one that includes a hardware sound table, as it reduces sound lag and requires less processing power (if any). Once this has been done, Load Windows again and see if you can reproduce the problem. If the problem still exists even after trying all of the above, try changing your video card. If that still doesn't work: bring your computer in for repair and tell the technician what you've tried already!

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