First of all, this is my first post so greetings to everybody! I've just spent the last hour or three searching and reading through sound issue threads but haven't found a solution to mine. System: Gateway M505X laptop (old, I know) Realtek AC'97 (will post specific chip when i get home) Windows 7 RC Problem: When listening to MP3s/Wmas/Lossless Wmas/MP4s with Windows Media Player 12 & 11, there is a pop/glitch at exactly T-20 seconds at the end of each song. For example, with a 3 min song, this glitch will happen exactly at 2:40 into the song. Sometimes it's just a subtle pause. Other times, the damn song halts with a loud pop/scratch and silence for a second or two before resuming. On rare occasions (<5%), there doesn't seem to be any glitch at all. There doesn't seem to be any correlation with media type/CPU load. By the way, yes I did the downgrade from WMP 12 to 11. 12 is buggy and slow and doesn't have that "Recently Added" view under 11. The glitch did NOT happen after switching to 11. It was present with 12 from a fresh install. Attempted Solutions: 1. Use any other media player - Winamp, itunes, media player classic 6.4, etc All play PERFECTLY. But believe it or not, I actually like the library mode of WMP 11! Maybe even love. Winamp is the closest alternative. iTunes just sucks in terms of overall speed. Unacceptable solution. But this does establish the cause as Microsoft related. 2. I took ownership of mfpmp.exe under windows/system32 folder. Then renamed it to mfpmpsucks.exe. Windows Media player can no longer play WMA/WMA lossless files, which bites because WMA lossless is what I use for ripping lossless music. Result - NO MORE POPS/GLITCH WHATSOEVER! But WMP can no longer play WMA/WMA Lossess files, even if the files are unprotected (my own rip from CDs). Unacceptable solution. But this establishes that mfpmp.exe is the retarded cause of this problem. I suppose I can stop using lossless and use MP3 for all my music. But I like lossless. Main reason for sticking with WMA lossess? So it works seamlessly in WMP's library! If Flac or any other format works just as well, please let me know. 3. I have a Creative Audigy 2 NX usb soundcard. Using this and with Mfpmp.exe active, there is NO POP/GLITCH! I can play my WMA lossless files perfectly! However, the CPU utilization jumps to near 100% and so if I even browse the web, playback suffers random pop/glitch due to slow CPU (1.4GHz pentium m Banias). This is an old laptop so upgrading is out of the question. But this establishes that the problem is also related to the RealTek Ac'97 codec. 4. I bought an Echo Indigo PCMCIA soundcard (hasn't arrived). Hopefully this can let me bypass the RealTek and have perfect audio playback with WMP 11. Yet to be verified. Summary: Realtek AC'97 + mfpmp.exe (stupid MS built-in DRM scheme) = unbearable pop/glitch Realtek AC'97 only = can not play WMA/WMA Lossless files Audigy 2 NX + mfpmp.exe = perfect playback but near 100% cpu utilization (can't do anything else) Switch from windows media player to another player = works but I like the WMP 11 library very, very much Get a new laptop = can't afford it right now Stay with XP Pro = boring Use PCMCIA soundcard = in progress, yet to be verified Question for you all: Is there an easier (software) solution for this problem, one that will allow me to use the Realtek Ac'97 to play everything including WMA lossless without the dreaded 20sec pop/glitch?? Yes the PCMCIA soundcard might work, but it might not. I don't know yet. It would be nice if I don't have to use it! Help...?