Fix for awful audio static while playing full screen video

If you have every had audio static while trying to listen to music or watch a video you know how incredibly distracting/annoying it can be. I struggled with this problem on my Windows Vista computer over a year ago. I thought, at the time, it was related to drivers because I had just done a windows update. Here is are just some of the things I tried that did NOT fix the problem:

  • Reinstalled audio and video drivers
  • Disabled virus software
  • Upgraded to Windows 7
  • Adjusted the position of my audio lines
  • Reverted some Windows updates

I sometimes did get the audio static to go away temporarily, but I was wrong in thinking that it was a problem with the audio drivers or even any software at all. So what was the reason for the problem?

The audio static was being caused by dust in my case.  I just recently opened up my case and removed all of the dust in the between the heat sink fins on the CPU and GPU.  I also took out my entire motherboard and gave it a thorough dusting.  When I put everything back in and booted into windows, it was like I had a brand new computer.  The video played flawlessly without any audio static whatsoever.

I cannot say for sure what effect the dust had on the computer but I think it must have been causing the CPU or GPU to overheat.  When that happened, I guess the computer could not keep up with the audio processing and as a result it caused the static.

The moral of the story is, make sure you open your case and clean out the dust from time to time.  The dust may look harmless, but it certainly is not.  I was probably lucky that I didn't permanent damage to my hardware with the amount of dust in it.  Now I can look forward to gaming and watching movies on my computer for least another few years!