I'm having a very specific problem, with no idea as to what may be causing the issue. Here is a description of what I'm seeing:

  • I have a CD of PDF/Audio files that are generated by a third party.
  • Up until yesterday, I've never had any issues playing the audio files on this CD (or any past CDs from this third party).
  • Today, I tried playing the audio on the CD that worked just yesterday with no luck.

Additional Details:

  • I've tried a number of other PCs in the office where I work. The audio on the CD will work on some PCs, but not on others.
  • I've printed a list of audio codecs from both working and not-working PCs. The working PC has nothing that the non-functioning PC doesn't. The versions all match up.
  • The common denominator for the PCs where it no longer works seems to be those PCs with a 64 bit operating system which our tech department did maintenance on last week. I've asked, and aside from updating some non-media related software, they didn't do anything that may have affected how the audio files are played.
  • The really confusing part is that it still worked yesterday. I've checked, and there were no windows updates applied overnight.
  • Other media files from other sources play just fine. I've called the third party where we get these audio files from, and they say that they use a really old .wav codec which has been compatible with everything since windows 97 (though they don't know the exact codec).
  • None of the CDs from this specific third party play either.

What I've tried (with the permission of our tech dept.):

  • I've tried reinstalling a number of media players (Windows Media Player / VLC / DVD viewer) The files will not play in any of these players.
  • I've tried rolling back to a few weeks ago.
  • I've tried installing a number of codec packs hoping it was just a faulty codec.

Our tech dept. are busy and are at a bit of a loss as to what may be causing this. Can anyone think of anything that might have happened to make these file stop playing overnight?

Answers to questions in comments:

1) How is it 'Not Playing'?

With Windows Media Player, it gives an error stating that it is unable to play the file. It doesn't give any indication as to why. With VLC, the audio file just won't open. I open the file, and VLC acts as if nothing happened.

2) Was this the first time you've rebooted since the upgrade?

No, I've turned off my PC every night since the upgrade, which was about a week ago.

  • 2
    How exactly are they "not playing"? Does the player report a broken or unsupported file? Is the file silent? Is it only 0 seconds long? – Der Hochstapler Feb 28 '12 at 16:52
  • One way an IT update could cause delayed effects on Windows is when the systems are upgraded and not rebooted. At reboot, some delayed effects from the upgrades might show up. – nik Feb 28 '12 at 17:04
  • Have you checked the event Viewer for any exceptions that may have been thrown by WMP at the time of when you tried to play the file? – Sunny Molini Feb 28 '12 at 17:35
  • 1
    Does this third party generate them daily? Have you tried playing the old ones? Maybe somethign changed in the generation of the files? Just a thought – sealz Feb 28 '12 at 18:12
  • 1
    File extension of the audio files that do not play would be helpful. – Moab Feb 28 '12 at 19:09

Have you considered that perhaps the CD has gone bad? Rewritable CD/DVD media can acquire bit errors just from age+light. As they go bad, some drives will have better luck reading them than others.

Go to a computer where you can play the audio files and copy them to a USB drive. Then try to play them off the USB drive on your computer.

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