Playing CD's

I discovered this one by accident.

There is normally a cable between the cd player and the sound card. When running the old C:\WIN98\CDPLAYER.EXE, that cable is required to play a cd. (I'm sure you all knew that.)

However, when a cd is played using "C:\Program Files\Windows Media Player\WMPLAYER.EXE", that cable is not used. (Well, I was shocked.) It appears that the data is read the same as a disk file, processed on the motherboard, and transmitted to the sound card.

At some point, Microsoft replaced Window's CDPlayer with MWPlayer. At first glance this is a real improvement because MWPlayer is able to automatically (via the internet) determine the album name and the names of all the selections. However, because the CPU is used to process the music, recordings tend to skip and to slow down your system. This is most obvious if you press Alt-Ctrl-Del to get the Windows 98 Task Manager window - then the music just loops.

You can fix this "problem" by modifying the registry. Basically, change the default HKCR\cdafile\shell and HKCR\AudioCD\shell options.

CPU Utilization

The following data was collected using the System Monitor on a 450 MHz Pentium II running Windows 98 SE.

When WMPLAYER.EXE was hidden by other windows, its per cent utilization dropped to 3% or less. However, cpu operations, such as saving a file to floppy, produced noticable breaks and skips in the music. As a result, it is my recomendation that WMPLAYER.EXE not be used.

Author: Robert Clemenzi -
URL: http:// / user / clemenzi / technical / PlayingCDs.html