This Song From The 1980s Could Crash Your Laptop If You Play It

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While many people enjoy Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” some PCs are not fans.

Some older Windows XP-era laptops computers/ might crash when playing the music video for the Jackson song, according to Microsoft chief software engineer Raymond Chen’s blog, The Old New Thing.

According to the blog, an anonymous “large computer manufacturer” discovered that some of their PCs would crash while playing the song. Furthermore, the song playing on one laptop may cause a nearby computer to crash.

“One discovery during the investigation is that playing the music video also crashed some of their competitors’ laptops,” Chen writes. “I would not have wanted to be in the laboratory that they must have set up to investigate this problem. Not an artistic judgment.”

Chen claims that the company detected a sound in the song that caused a specific type of the laptop’s hard drive to crash. The soundwaves would vibrate the hard disc, causing the device to crash. So the manufacturer rectified the problem by making that computer model incapable of playing that exact frequency.

“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 explains.

Unfortunately, Chen does not specify which computer or hard drives were affected, nor is there a video of the incident. However, I t would be interesting to explore what additional sounds could cause a laptop’s hard drive to fail.

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