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Nine times out of ten, this sort of difficulty in playing videos indicates a problem with the video driver.

I'm running Windows 7, SP1, Home Edition; Acer Aspire laptop. When I stream a video, for example, the Food Network cooking video, YouTube's videos, etc., it will start OK and then the video will freeze and the sound gets stuck on one note. The computer is then locked up; I'm unable to use the mouse or the keyboard and the only way I can power down is to remove the battery and reboot. Can you please help me with this dilemma?

In this excerpt from Answercast #67, I look at a computer that freezes up when playing videos.

Video freezes computer

So, nine times out of ten when this happens, it is a problem with the video driver.

So, what I would strongly recommend you do is make sure that you have the most recent video drivers for that laptop installed.

That will typically mean heading on out to the Acer website and looking for their support options. Make sure you know the model number of your laptop. Go out there and see if there are updated drivers that are available for it.

Almost always, a heavy use of video in the form of streaming videos (or just running video in general) usually indicates that there's some kind of a hiccup, some kind of a timing problem, some kind of a bug, in the drivers that actually drive the hardware.

Yes, it's possible that there's a hardware issue, but it's just not really that likely. So the very first thing I would do absolutely is to have you go out and make sure you're running the most recent drivers.

Possible screen resolution

The other thing to try (if the drivers don't resolve this) is potentially to at least try a different screen resolution. You're running Windows 7 so you can right-click on an empty area of the desktop; click on Personalize and there you'll see something for screen resolution.

Change it to something else; it doesn't really matter what - as long as it displays on the screen. Typically, it's something smaller than what you have now. It may not look great, but if you determine that streaming video works in that mode, then that's a data point.

Unfortunately, it's probably a data point for a technician to then take a look at exactly what's going on. Still, it sure feels like something to do with the video driver and that's where I'd have you start.

Article C5995 - November 5, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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3 Comments
WHS
November 6, 2012 9:00 AM

When you encounter the problem run this program
( http://www.thesycon.de/eng/latency_check.shtml ).
If you have a lot of red bars it would indicate a driver problem. Underneith the bar chart, you may find hints to the specific problem.

Dan
November 6, 2012 9:35 AM

Why are you removing the battery? Usually if you hold in the power button for a few seconds when the system hangs, it will power it down. Try that. Not sure if removing the battery when the computer is running will cause a problem - even when hung, but I wouldn't want to do it myself.

James
November 6, 2012 9:31 PM

Dan, holding the power button doesn't always work and pulling the power cord doesn't work on a laptop. Pulling the battery is sometimes the only way. It kind of scared me a bit the first time I had to do it.

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