Corrupted Media Files in Windows 7 Can Generate High CPU Usage

A hotfix is now available

Windows 7 is nowhere near the resource hog that its predecessor, Windows Vista, was. However, there are scenarios in which simply opening up a Windows Explorer window can have the processor cycles go through the roof. According to users, one case in which users of the latest version of Windows can experience a high CPU usage involves corrupted media files. The Redmond company noted that the problem affected not only Windows 7 but also Windows Server 2008 R2.

Essentially, customers will notice that opening up the Explorer.exe process while accessing a folder that contains corrupted .wav files, will result in high processor usage. “You have some corrupted .wav files in a folder on a computer that is running Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2. When you open the folder, you encounter the following problems: The computer responds slowly. You cannot perform any other operations. You experience high CPU usage in the Explorer.exe process,” Microsoft explained

A simple workaround to this issue is to simply kill the Windows Explorer process. This can be done via the Task Manager, under the processes tab. To bring Explorer back to life again, simply select to Run a new program, type in explorer.exe and hit Enter.

“You may also encounter problems when you use other applications or operations to open the corrupted .wav files. For example, if you try to use Windows Media Player to open the corrupted .wav files, Windows Media Player stops responding. Additionally, the Wmplayer.exe process generates high CPU usage,” the software giant added.

Microsoft already has a hotfix in place for users affected by this specific issue. While an update is not yet available, the hotfix can be grabbed from Microsoft Support and deployed in order for high CPU usage problems associated with corrupted media files to be resolved.

“When a folder that contains corrupted .wav files is opened, Windows Explorer calls the Media Foundation (Mf.dll) function to extract metadata from the .wav files. However, the Mf.dll function enters an infinite loop when extracting the metadata,” the company said.

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