I’ve been having some audio issues with Windows 10 for the past couple of months, they consist of occasional clicks and pops which appear to get worse the longer the uptime of the system. After extensive digging and quite a bit of testing involving installing and uninstalling software, verifying all of the hardware connections, replacing the discrete audio card (Asus Xonar Essence STX) with an external USB DAC and amp, as well as reinstalling the operating system several times, there was still no significant improvement.
The only data I was able to gather that was much beyond trial and error testing was that there seemed to be excessive CPU usage by the “System and compressed memory” service which could spike as high as 100% at times when I was experiencing more serious audio problems. These more severe audio glitches were definitely correlated to heavy CPU utilization, but after extensive research I was unable to determine any plausible course of action beyond the usual random suggestions on popular tech forums.
I was getting to the point of exasperation and even considering just giving up and replacing the computer.
But I was thinking about the problem this afternoon and I started thinking perhaps this was a result of antivirus software, Bitdefender in particular. It has somewhat of a reputation of being fast, effective and a bit buggy so I’m surprised I hadn’t thought of this sooner.
After a bit of digging I did come across some evidence that Bitdefender has been associated with excessive system interrupts. This could be a possible root cause. I’ve removed Bitdefender from my system and, though it required a reboot which tends to clear the problem temporarily, I haven’t heard a click in the past 2 hours.
I’ve grabbed a trial of Kaspersky Internet Security and I’m going to run that through the 30 day trial to see if the issue has resolved itself. I’ll post again if there is any change and whether or not this test is successful.
Below are my system specs for anybody who is interested:
- Intel Core i5-4670
- Gigabyte Z87MX-D3H
- Gigabyte GTX 980 G1 Gaming (GV-N980G1 GAMING-4GD)
- 32GB Mushkin Enhanced Stealth DDR3 SDRAM
- 512GB Samsung 840 EVO SSD
- Schiit Bifrost DAC