Sunday, September 18, 2005
Posted by Jason Dunn in "THOUGHT" @ 09:00 PM
"When I log onto the computer that hosts all my media files, I always cross my fingers and hope it's not going to be a "bad Windows Media Connect day". What's a bad WMC day? Today is one - for the past 15 minutes I've had my CPU gunning, with the mswmccds.exe process using up 90-99% usage, and currently consuming 130 MB of RAM. This always happens after login, it's just a question of how long it lasts. On a good day, it will settle down after a few minutes. On a bad day it will last several hours. This is the Windows Media Connect process, presumably scanning for new content and getting snagged on something along the way, then looping endlessly and chewing up CPU and RAM resources along the way. The most frustrating part? There's absolutely no tools in the WMC user interface to tell me what's going on, what files it's snagging on, etc. Talk about frustrating!"
At the time I had written that, all I found in terms of troubleshooting was the WMC log file which isn't very helpful. In fact, it's one of the few log file implementations that I've seen that doesn't seem to actually log the problem. I kept poking around, and I discovered that if you open the Windows Media Connect interface and right-click on the folder entry you can select to see the Status Details. Yeah, it's pretty obvious, but for whatever reason I didn't discover it until lately. Once you have the Status Details, you'll see all the errors.
In my case the problem was several MP3 files - the "Unknown Error" wasn't very helpful, but when I examined each of those files, I discovered the problem: they were zero-byte files. Unsurprisingly, those files were causing the WMC scanner to throw a fit. Or perhaps it is surprising? Why wouldn't the scanner see that it's a zero-byte file and skip over it? Or toss up an actual warning telling me which files it's having problems with? The software should do pretty much anything other than silently go into a death spiral for hours on end. So if you have a similar problem, dig into the status details and find the files it's having problems with and deal with them.
UPDATE: Windows Media Connect 2.0 is a much better product, and less prone to the hangups described in this article. Upgrading should eliminate most of the problems you might be having.
Jason Dunn owns and operates Thoughts Media Inc., a company dedicated to creating the best in online communities. He enjoys mobile devices, digital media content creation/editing, and pretty much all technology. He lives in Alberta, Canada with his wife Ashley.