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Troubleshooting iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7 video playback performance issues

Symptoms

This article pertains to video playback performance issues in Windows Vista or  Windows 7.

Here are some things to check if, when viewing a movie in iTunes for Windows Vista or Windows 7, you notice that a video appears distorted, intermittently pauses, or has audio that is out of sync with the image on-screen.

Resolution

Note that Video playback performance issues in Windows XP and 2000 are discussed in a separate article.

Check your system requirements

  • Be sure that your computer meets the requirements to properly playback video in iTunes. These requirements are detailed on the iTunes download page.
  • Check to see if you have the latest video driver updates for your computer and any installed components. For instance, video driver software updates often offer improved graphics performance for your system. Read Updating the drivers on your Windows PC to learn more about updating drivers on your Windows Vista PC.

Increase Display Color Quality in Windows Vista or Windows 7

  • On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  • Click "Hardware and Sound" in Control Panel. Then, click Personalization in Windows Vista or "Appearance and Personalization" in Windows 7. In Windows 7, select "View by Category" if you do not see the option for "Hardware and Sound" in Control Panel.
  • Alternately, in the Classic View of Control Panel, click Personalization.
  • Click  Display Settings for Windows Vista or Display and then Screen Resolution for Windows 7.
  • Windows Vista: Choose the highest resolution setting as shown here:
     



    Windows 7: Click the box next to Resolution, and adjust the slider to the highest value as shown here:

  • Click OK.
  • Your screen may flash briefly and you may see a message asking you to confirm the settings. Click Yes if the image on screen looks normal. Note: If the screen looks dark or distorted, wait 15 seconds for the screen to revert to it's previous state.

Disable Direct3D video acceleration in QuickTime for Windows Vista or Windows 7

  • On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  • Click Additional Options and open the QuickTime control panel in Windows Vista. For Windows 7, click Additional Options and select View by "Large or Small icons" if you do not see the QuickTime icon in Control Panel.

    Alternately, in the Classic View of Control Panel in Windows Vista, open the QuickTime control panel.

  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Deselect Enable Direct3D video acceleration in the Video section as shown here:

  • Click OK.

Disable DirectX in QuickTime for Windows Vista or Windows 7.

  • On the Start menu, click Control Panel.
  • Click Additional Options and open the QuickTime control panel in Windows Vista. In Windows 7, open QuickTime control panel and select View by "Large or Small icons" if you do not see the QuickTime icon in Control Panel.

    Alternately, in Classic View of Control Panel in Windows Vista, open the QuickTime control panel.

  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Select Safe mode (GDI only) in the Video section as shown here:

  • Click OK.

Modify your System Drive Configuration

The data transfer method for your computer's optical drives and hard drives may not be configured for optimal performance. If your computer's drives are capable of Direct Memory Access (DMA), make sure this feature is enabled. The steps below outline how to enable this feature.

To turn on DMA:

  • Right-click on Computer in the Start menu and click Manage.
  • If Windows needs your permission to continue, click Continue.
  • Select Device Manager.
  • Click the plus sign next to IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
  • Right-click on the IDE bus that contains your hard drive, and in the shortcut menu, click Properties. Click the Advanced Settings tab.

    Make sure the Transfer Mode for the devices on the bus is set to DMA if available, not PIO Only.

    [NOTE: IDE drive not available on Apple computers.]

  • Repeat steps 4-5 of the IDE Channel devices listed under IDE ATA/ATAPI controllers.
  • Restart your computer and play a movie in iTunes again. If you made any changes to the transfer mode for any IDE channel devices, you should notice improved playback performance.

Disable ReadyBoost on Flash-Based Drives

Windows Vista and Windows 7 include a feature called "ReadyBoost" that can be used with some flash-based USB drives. If you are experiencing video playback issues with iTunes in Windows, disconnecting ReadyBoost-enabled flash drives may improve video playback performance. Alternately, disabling ReadyBoost may also improve video playback performance without disconnecting the flash drive. Follow the steps below to disable ReadyBoost:

  1. Click the Windows Start button and choose Computer.
  2. Right-click the icon for any flash-based USB drives and choose Properties from the shortcut menu.
  3. Select the ReadyBoost tab.
  4. Select Do not use this device and click OK as shown below:

Additional Information

Some customers using computers containing NVIDIA nForce Serial ATA (SATA) controllers may experience unexpected behavior when playing videos in iTunes on Windows from a SATA hard drive. iTunes may unexpectedly quit or become unresponsive or the computer may unexpectedly reboot or show a blue screen. Standard IDE hard disks are unaffected by this issue. If your computer contains a standard IDE hard disk, you can copy your video files to that disk and play those copies of the files in iTunes or QuickTime Player.

Additionally, manipulating or incorrectly changing the time setting on your computer can cause iTunes movie rentals to stop playing on Windows. See this article for more information:

iTunes: Movie rental stops playing on Windows Vista for more information

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Sep 3, 2014
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  • Last Modified: Sep 3, 2014
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