Help - Having Trouble Playing and Recording Videos!

5 replies

I'm having trouble watching and recording videos on my desktop. I'm using an old Dell Dimension with Windows XP (wife swiped my laptop...grrr!!!).

I can get some YouTube videos to play, but they're choppy most of the time. I've tried watching other types of videos and it's kind of hit or miss. The videos that don't show the download bar really suck. I'll get through part of one and it'll freeze up.

I've made a lot of videos in the past using Jing Project, Camstudio, etc but now most of them are playing really choppy and garbled, at least they are on my computer. They skip all the way through. It really sucks!

I've been all over YouTube and Google trying to find a solution but nothing I've tried has made any difference.

Has anyone else had this problem? If so, I'd really appreciate any suggestions.


#playing #recording #trouble #videos
  • Profile picture of the author Melkur
    Choppy video probably means the machine doesn't have enough memory available to handle the video, or that the processor is busy with other tasks. Or maybe both.

    You could try closing down any software that is running but not in use, and closing any extraneous browser tabs. That might free up enough resources to help a bit. You don't say how much RAM the machine has, but if it's old enough to be running XP and you haven't added any extra since you bought it, it's probably on the low side. You could probably upgrade it, but it's likely easier just to reposes your laptop
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  • Profile picture of the author mominternet

    I understand...I use an old Dell and last year I got my first Camtasia and I can't record much in the way of video as there is too much of a delay.

    It has a lot to do with the fact that videos take up quite a bit of memory. The more ram the better when watching and/or creating videos. So if you are running lots of program in the background try shutting them off when viewing vids.

    How much ram does your computer have?
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    My computer has 1GB of Ram, but my wife also added a memory stick to it a few years ago. I've had a message pop up a couple times recently saying that my computer is low on virtual memory.

    I'm trying to think of what could be running that's causing the problem. I'm looking at the Task Manager and don't see anything excessive. Jing Project, Firefox, Skype and Dropbox are all running, but it's not excessive.

    Is there a way to tell how much I'm using, if I can safely increase it, etc?

    I appreciate the help. I'm obviously not the most techy individual. lol


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  • Profile picture of the author Melkur
    Virtual memory is space on the hard disk that Windows uses to temporarily store data from physical memory modules, swapping the data in and out of physical RAM as needed - broadly, the less RAM you have, the more swapping is required and the slower the system seems as a result. Usually, it's best to let Windows manage the amount of virtual memory that the system uses (off the top of my head, I think it's about 1.5 times the amount of real memory).

    You can look in Control Panel, double click on System then look at the General tab - that should tell you how much RAM is installed in the machine. 32 bit Windows won't recognise more than 4GB of RAM (actually, it will probably see slightly less than 4GB even if that much is installed) but, if your machine is fairly old, there's a good chance that the motherboard won't accept more than 2GB anyway - you'd have to check the machine's documentation for that. Unfortunately, less than 2GB isn't a great deal by today's standards, though you might be able to get away with it.

    I'd start by shutting down Skype and Dropbox. You could also click on the Start button, click on Run then type msconfig into the Open box and click ok. On the general tab, choose Diagnostic startup and click OK. The machine will want to reboot, and when it does so, it will be running only a minimal set of drivers / software - most things that usually run at startup will not start. See if that makes any difference to the choppy video.

    To reverse that change, go back into msconfig and choose Normal Startup on the General tab, then reboot - the machine should boot normally.

    If it DOES make a difference, you can try going back into msconfig and looking on the Startup tab - work your way down the list, unchecking items that you don't need. If you're unsure, leave it checked! Reboot again and see if things are any better, repeating as needed or until you run out of things to turn off. Again, you can reverse the process just by rechecking the items you UNchecked.

    Hope that helps a bit!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brandon Tanner
    Originally Posted by Joe Stewart View Post

    I can get some YouTube videos to play, but they're choppy most of the time.
    As a few others have mentioned, insufficient RAM is a likely culprit. Another possible cause is a slow or un-optimized internet connection. With a cable internet connection, it shouldn't be an issue, but if you're on DSL (especially low-end DSL), then a lot of videos that you watch online are going to "buffer" from time to time.

    Originally Posted by Joe Stewart View Post

    I've made a lot of videos in the past using Jing Project, Camstudio, etc but now most of them are playing really choppy and garbled, at least they are on my computer.
    What settings are you using when you're rendering the videos? (format, codec, bit rate, frame rate, video dimensions, etc). Those settings can make a HUGE difference as to how smoothly your videos will play back on yours (and others) computers.

    Also, regularly defragging your hard drive and using a good PC optimization program (like CCleaner) will ensure that your computer always runs as efficiently as possible. <-- If you haven't done that in a while, you may be surprised how much of a difference it makes.

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