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19th Aug 2022

Microsoft reveals Janet Jackson song had the power to crash laptops even if it wasn’t playing

Kieran Galpin

Microsoft reveals Janet Jackson song had the power to crash laptops even if it wasn't playing

The power of music!

Microsoft has revealed that one of Janet Jackson’s songs had the innate power to crash laptops regardless of whether they were streaming the track.

In a blog post released last week, Microsoft’s principal software engineer, Raymond Chen, said that a colleague recently shared a story from his time working as support for Windows XP.

“A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation would crash certain models of laptops,” wrote Chen.

Jackson’s Rhythm Nation is still widely considered one of the best music videos of all time and even won a Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video. Currently, it boasts an impressive 28 million views on YouTube.

Strangely, the power of Jackson’s track was also affecting Microsoft’s competitors, and the song didn’t even need to be playing to wreak its havoc. If someone were to play the song, nearby laptops began experiencing technical difficulties and could eventually crash.

“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,” explained Mr Chen, comparing it to an opera singer shattering a glass.

Each object, be that inanimate or living has its own vibration known as the medium’s resonant frequency. The affected laptops, which were shipped back in 2005, used the same frequency that was featured in Jackson’s video.

But don’t worry, the issue is in the past, and Microsoft has said the manufacturer added “a custom filter in the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.”

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