Microsoft Says Janet Jackson’s ‘Rhythm Nation’ Music Video Could Crash Laptops

Microsoft’s chief software engineer Raymond Chen has identified Janet Jackson’s 1989 pop hit “Rhythm Nation” as a cybersecurity vulnerability that could cause some laptops to crash. The song is said to contain a sound that crashes the hard drives of old laptops.

According to Chen, an unnamed “major computer manufacturer” found that some of their computers crashed when they tried to play the song, and playing the song on one laptop could even crash another computer nearby that was just playing with its own. minding his own business.

The manufacturer also discovered that the problem also occurred on laptops from other companies.

What Microsoft’s Software Engineer Says

Announcement of the discovery in a blog post, Chen said, “A colleague of mine shared a story about Windows XP product support. A major computer manufacturer discovered that playing the music video for Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” would cause certain laptop models to crash. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in the lab they should have set up to research this problem. No artistic judgment.”

“One discovery during the investigation is that playing the music video also crashed some competitors’ laptops. And then they discovered something really weird: playing the music video on one laptop caused a nearby laptop to crash, while the other laptop didn’t play the video!” he added.

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Why this is happening?

Chen explains the reason behind the crash: “It turns out that the song contained one of the natural resonance frequencies for the model of 5400 rpm laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers were using.

“The manufacturer worked around the problem by adding a custom filter to the audio pipeline that detected and removed the offending frequencies during audio playback.”

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“And I’m sure they put a digital version of a ‘Do Not Remove’ sticker on that audio filter. While I’m concerned that in the many years since the workaround was added, no one remembers why it’s there. Hopefully their laptops don’t still carry this audio filter to protect against damage to a hard drive model they no longer use,” he said.

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