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iTunes for Windows stuttering fix

iTunes is by far my favourite music player on any platform, so it has always been a great annoyance to me that, on my Tablet PC, it stuttered badly on every track, making it basically unlistenable. I could never work out why this was, as the same problem didn’t exhibit itself on my desktop PC, which is old enough to be far less powerful than the laptop.

So it was with huge relief that I found a fix here: Go to the QuickTime control panel, and change Sound Out to “Wave out” instead of “DirectSound” and the stutters go away completely, leaving you with the best music player working perfectly.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • nick

    Not quite the best, alas: the bugger still doesn’t play FLAC, meaning that if I’m to use iTunes (and since I’m getting the AirPort Express, oh, I so do want to use iTunes) I’m going to have to convert my entire FLACified music collection — all 81.4Gb of it — into the new Apple lossless format. Bastards.

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    There are projects afoot to do a QuickTime plug in which supports FLAC, and – because iTunes uses QuickTime to play stuff – this will fix it. In fact, Googling around, I find there are *two* such projects. Goody.

  • kmo

    Thanks for that fix, Ian!

  • http://life.wadindustries.com WaD

    Thanks SO much for that fix. It’s been driving me up the wall for the last 2 weeks. Finally google’d for it and volia.

    Will be hotlinking to this for sure!

    Thanks again!

    –WaD

  • rev

    Awesome, thanks so much, was starting consider changing media players :)

  • http://www.dnord.com Dan Nordquist

    You know you’re first on Google for “itunes stuttering”? And you fixed my problem. Life is good. Thanks.

  • Tom

    Cheers Mate,

    This was driving me insane. Now all fixed.

  • Derek

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  • richard

    May the lord bless you with many beautiful women. Fixed the problem a treat.

    thanks

  • Tristram

    Ok I am not the most tech person. I went into quicktime and found that I had already set it to waveOut. this is killing me slowly. I hate listening to my music because it stutters so much. any idea what i can do? i am running a compact 1.8 ghz 512 ram xp. thanks

  • http://technovia.typepad.com Ian Betteridge

    Tristram, if that doesn’t fix it then it’s nothing to do with QuickTime, alas – might be worth heading to http://www.apple.com/support and checking the forums to see if anyone else is having a similar problem.

  • Torben Brenden Pedersen

    Brilliant, and thanks!!

    At first I thought I had issues with USB performance (external SB Live!) until I realized that the stuttering only occured in iTunes.

  • Ludwig Von Rockstar

    You mad my day, thanks!

  • James

    First Google hit, exact solution. Don’t forgrt to restart iTunes after changing the option.

    Fantastic.

  • Oliver

    Wow this actually worked! Thanks! You would think Apple would inform people about this.

  • Paul

    Was hopeful…but this fix did not work for me. Im running Win2K and updated itunes and Quicktime. My quicktime settings does not include Sound out choices except for sampling rates and stereo or mono setting and such. No place for me to select direct sound or wave out.

    This (stuttering in itunes) is a new problem for me. Only happens when listening to an audio cd in iTunes or ripping. The windows CD player works fine and listening to MP3s in iTunes works fine as well. Its driving me crazy!! Any Ideas?

  • Karim

    On the new version of iTunes you just have to tick the “safe mode” box. Problem solved.

  • Chris

    Thank you, Karim. I couldn’t find the WaveOut option and was feeling distressed, since the three websites I’ve visited to solve the problem all pointed me to WaveOut. I was pondering whether it would be wise to check Safe Mode, but since you recommended it, I’ve done that. And it’s working, indeed. So thanks!

  • Trisha

    instantly fixed. thanks :D

  • Deedubs

    the quicktime fix didn’t work for me but i finally found something that did. apparently my hard drive had reverted to PIO Mode which was causing the drive to not be read as fast as it should and creating the stuttering when mp3’s were playing through itunes. i followed the steps below and now audio is smooth and stutter free!

    To enable DMA mode using the Device Manager

    1. Open Device Manager.

    2. Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers to display the list of controllers and channels.

    3. Right-click the icon for the channel to which the device is connected, select Properties, and then click the Advanced Settings tab.

    4. In the Current Transfer Mode drop-down box, select DMA if Available if the current setting is “PIO Only.”

    If the drop-down box already shows “DMA if Available” but the current transfer mode is PIO, then the user must toggle the settings. That is:

    • Change the selection from “DMA if available” to PIO only, and click OK.

    • Then repeat the steps above to change the selection to DMA if Available.

  • Rob

    Hey,

    I’ve tried all of these suggestions and it’s still doing it!

    I originally thought it was because of my low RAM situation. I had 256mb in this laptop but got another 512 making it 736mb now. Still there is a stutter grrrrr!!!!!

    Please help

    Thanks!

    Rob

  • Ben

    Thanks for the DMA solution ! totaly did it except the DMA would not go back to normal

    I found a solution involving deleting some registry key :

    http://sniptools.com/tipstricks/getting-back-to-dma-mode-in-windows-xp

    and now it’s back to normal.

    I had this problem after a failing defragmentation and the DMA would not go back to normal even after reboot.

    Thanks!

    Ben

  • http://discuss.jarretthousenorth.com/2006/09/01#a9629 Jarrett House North

    Eliminating stuttering in iTunes for Windows

    I

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dlalla/ Dan L.

    I know this sounds silly but it worked 100% for me. The QuickTime SafeMode waveOut option didn’t fix anything (although it is a logical and easy culprit to try first). Unlike many of you, I was fortunate to have my setup working PERFECTLY well until recently. I had moved my AirPort express and speakers VERY close to my AirPort Extreme base station and it gave me nothing but trouble. After playing with every other setting, I finally reduced transmitter power to 25% on both routers and it’s working perfectly again.

    I had rebooted PCs and ‘updated’ both routers after each failed change I tried, so it’s not because of another setting not being ‘apply’ed in my setup.

    Perhaps interference if they’re too close? Anyhow, just a suggestion and another easy thing to try…Good luck to all.

  • larry

    how do i get itunes to work again tried to reinstall however nothing happens. i wanted to get more space on my system so i deleted quicktime partially now my i tunes wont work can i get the same itunes back? will i loose all my music? “HELP!”

  • Larry D.

    how do i get itunes to work again tried to reinstall however nothing happens. i wanted to get more space on my system so i deleted quicktime partially now my i tunes wont work can i get the same itunes back? will i loose all my music? “HELP!”

  • Mike

    I used this fix the speed up my whole laptop. Windows was slowing down the hard drive. itunes was stuttering and slow.

    http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=817472

    Changed the drive to DMA from PIO and itunes and all windows sounds work fine again.

    Thanks

  • Chilibeez

    lordy this stutter is sooo frustrating. i have tried everything listed above and still get the stutter. i’m on XP pro and using itunes 7.0.2.16. the stuttuer is awful whether playing back imported tunes or listeing to the radio thru itunes. adjusting with the quicktime preferences didn’t work, and my device manager was already set to DMA. anyone have any other ideas? sure is helpful finding this blog.

  • Tracy Smith

    I have had two issues with iTunes stuttering on our

    Windows XP SP2 machine. One was caused by our antivirus program, Avast, being set on high security, and therefore pushing the CPU over 100%. I set that to medium, and the iTunes stream to our Airport Express was no longer being investigated with the result that the cpu stayed below 100%. The second occured when ‘crossfade playback’ was checked. This

    caused many songs, although not all, to stutter 3 or

    4 times either at the very end, or the very begining of play. This was also a cpu going over 100% issue. Turning this off made the stutter go away.

  • Gene Quagmire

    Friggin’ fantastic! It was also causing my internet radio, but all is well now! Thanks for the information!

  • Wz

    I tried this fix for the problem im currently experiencing but no good. Ever since itunes 7.2 i can’t play songs anymore without itunes using 100% of my CPU, compared to before with only 20%. Can’t seem to find a fix for this anywhere. Due to this songs are no good to listen as there are scratches and misses the way through so well as the rest of my PC gets lagged up. Any idea what could be causing this?

  • rgusto

    Hi, I’m posting to share a fix for a sudden problem I encountered. The problem was my computer started running very slow, the mouse would stutter (especially if more than 1 program was opened), my audio (from all players and my recording software) would stutter and skip A LOT! Was very frustrating/painful. I really dont know anything about computers, so i took it to Geek Squad. They did a diagnostic test ($59) and said it failed their hard drive test. They said i needed a new hard drive and everything would need to be reinstalled! I just couldnt believe my 1 yr old HP zv6000 that i just cleaned/deleted a bunch of stuff went from working perferctly to having a bad hard drive.

    Soooo, i read A LOT of internet postings on the same problem and tried a few things (chkdsk, disk frag, etc)…THEN…i decided to search under “itunes stutter”. And there it was…a fix. And how simple it was. I ‘ve copied the text ’cause i dont think i could word it correctly… Here you go. Good luck! Basically, uninstall the primary ide if its PIO mode (which my computer automatically switched to after a few poor shut downs on my part). THE FIX IS to get it back to DMA mode. To see what mode youre in now, go through the Device Manager, open the primary ide, right click to properties, go to advanced settings, and look at Current Transfer Mode. If it reads PIO Mode, click on the Driver tab, click on Uninstall, OK, reboot, etc and thats it!…read the solution below…and thats it! When you reboot after you uninstall it, it’s automatically set back into DMA mode…and that’s it! WHOOOOHOOOO!!! Amen. Here:

    To enable DMA mode using the Device Manager

    1. Open Device Manager.

    2. Double-click IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers to display the list of controllers and channels.

    3. Right-click the icon for the channel to which the device is connected, select Properties, and then click the Advanced Settings tab.

    4. In the Current Transfer Mode drop-down box, select DMA if Available if the current setting is “PIO Only.”

    If the drop-down box already shows “DMA if Available” but the current transfer mode is PIO, then the user must toggle the settings. That is:

    • Change the selection from “DMA if available” to PIO only, and click OK.

    • Then repeat the steps above to change the selection to DMA if Available.

    Changed the drive to DMA from PIO and itunes and all windows sounds work fine again.

    On your Primary IDE Channel-Device 0, which you state is set to “PIO” mode, have you already tried setting its transfer mode to “DMA if available”? That might be the source of your problem.

    Don’t worry about uninstalling the drivers/devices, Windows will pick them back up on reboot.

  • Josh

    Thank you so much. My enjoyment of iTunes and web browsing are now increased a hundredfold.

  • Josh

    I recommend setting some of your non-critical processes to low priority in the Task Manager. This solved the problem for me when no other solutions were helping in the latest iTunes versions.