Play back might be interrupted now and then by other programs.
Anti-virus programs polling the internet at high priority for updates are a known source of problems.

Put the task manager or the Resource Monitor on to locate the process.

Look for CPU peaks, heavy disk access or network traffic.
Setting the player priority to high might help too.

The DPC latency problem

Windows is not a real time operating system. All requests to the operating system are delivered on a best effort basis. There are no guarantees whatsoever that requests are delivered within a certain time frame, which are the characteristics of a real-time operating system. That is not a problem for most devices and tasks but this is bad news for audio applications (which are considered soft real-time) because they need to deliver data to the subsystem and the hardware in buffers several times per second. If one or more buffers miss their deadlines and are not delivered in time it has audible consequences which are recognized as dropouts, clicks and pops.

Source: Resplendence

DPC=Deferred Procedure Call

Tools to check your systems latency can be found here.

Power saving

Sometimes power saving modes can result in the audio to stutter.
This can happen when a laptop is powered by battery.
Choose a High Performance setting.

System Service

Sometimes a system service can cause problems.
It might hog an entire system when malfunctioning like MS security essentials.

For those who have this problem and want to see if this solves it for you too:Click your start orb, type "services", press enter, find and restart the "Microsoft Antimalware Service".  Turn real-time protection back on if it's still off and was on before.  Check your sound, and it should be fixed!.


Media sharing

By design the streaming (media sharing) services in Win7 are on.
They can consume a substantial amount of system resource to scan a large collection.
However several days is rather excessive.
Sometime a corrupt file can cause excessive loads.
You can use the Resource Manager to check if any of the processes mentioned here hogs the system.


Well!!!  I have an answer.  Apparently with a large media library (I have several thousand titles and 150 gigs of stuff) it takes forever for the library to index properly for streaming to work.  After several days of 50% usage of media player and the media streaming service...they finally quit! Cpu usage is back to normal...the library is indexed and all is well with the world. I wish someone from Microsoft had answered this long ago....and I truly hope that this helps others with the same problem.