Microsoft reveals why playing Janet Jackson’s mega-hit song crashes laptops


New Delhi: Tech giant Microsoft has explained why playing the mega-hit music video for popular US-based singer, songwriter, actress, and dancer Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” would crash certain models of laptops. According to Raymond Chen, Senior Software Engineer, they discovered something bizarre. Playing the music video on one laptop caused a laptop sitting nearby to crash, even though that other laptop was not playing the video.

“It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used,” Chen said. “The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback,” he added.

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Chen mentioned that he is sure “they put a digital version of a ‘Do not remove’ sticker on that audio filter. The mega-hit “Rhythm Nation” was released as the second single from Jackson’s fourth studio album, Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814” in the year 1989.

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The accompanying music video for “Rhythm Nation” was directed by Dominic Sena and choreographed by Jackson and then-unknown Anthony Thomas.

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