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How to Fix a Buffer Underrun Issue

A buffer underrun issue usually means your computer can’t process data fast enough to keep up with a task which can be either audio or video playback. This sometimes means you’ll see glitches, stuttering, and other small problems.

Understanding Buffer Underruns

What’s a Buffer? It’s a temporary storage area where data waits before being processed. Think of pouring a big bottle of water into a glass, the glass is like a buffer between your body (or the table) and the bottle.

Underrun Trouble: If you try to pour water from the bottle faster than the glass can fill, it will spill over (data loss). This is similar to an underrun. Your computer can’t fill the buffer fast enough and it’s throwing playback errors.

How to Fix the Underruns

Close Background Programs: Any software running in the background will eat up resources. Close unnecessary applications, especially those that might be using your disk drive (file transfers), network (downloads) or processor heavily.

Update Drivers: Outdated drivers, specifically sound card, network and chipset drivers are a common cause.

Device Manager: Open Device Manager (search for it in the Start Menu), look for any devices with yellow exclamation marks.

Download Directly: Visit your computer or motherboard manufacturer’s support website to find the most up to date drivers.

Disable Power Saving: Throttling features designed to conserve power can sometimes slow down data flow enough to cause issues.

Control Panel: Go to Power Options and switch to the *High Performance* plan. If you can’t find it there click on the small battery in the taskbar on the lower right of the Windows screen and click on *Battery settings*.

BIOS: Look for settings related to CPU speed stepping or power saving within your BIOS and disable them for testing.

Check for Overheating: If your system is overheating your CPU and other components will slow down.

Monitoring Software: Use tools like HWMonitor to check temperatures.

Clean the Dust: Dust accumulation worsens overheating. Clean your computer’s fans and vents.

Increase Buffer Sizes: If you’re dealing with underruns in specific software (audio production, video editing), look for options inside the program itself to increase audio/video buffer sizes. This provides more breathing room for your computer.

Other Things

External Hard Drives (USB): Slow USB hard drives can cause underruns when playing media. Try moving the files to your internal drive or upgrade to a faster external drive.

Damaged Files: If the problem is limited to specific files, the files themselves might be corrupt.

Hardware Limitations: Older computers will struggle to handle specific types of media. You might just have to buy a newer computer.

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