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How to Change the Buffering Speed on Windows XP

Updated on January 8, 2018
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Tamara Wilhite is a technical writer, industrial engineer, mother of 2, and a published sci-fi and horror author.

Introduction

Buffers are used to hold information that is either overflowing the existing process or is being captured in a stream and held in the buffer until the user is ready to use it. Altering buffering speed can prevent interruptions in streaming video and audio. This article discussed several ways to change the buffering speed on Windows XP machines to improve their performance.

Windows XP may be more than a decade old, but it is still used by around 20% of all personal computers.
Windows XP may be more than a decade old, but it is still used by around 20% of all personal computers. | Source

Overview

The Microsoft Windows XP operating system does not have a control to change the buffering speed. The buffering can only be changed in Windows XP by the application, such as Windows Media Player.

To improve buffering speed in Windows Media Player for videos, select the “Buffer 5 seconds of content” option. This causes the computer to store several seconds of video in its memory. If there is an interruption in the Internet connection or a sudden spike in memory processing, the computer can use the information in the buffer to keep showing the video or play the song.

Warning:

Microsoft Windows has a known vulnerability with worms placing their malicious code in the buffer only to be run when the buffer is overwhelmed with information. Worms have been designed to place their malicious code in the buffer looking like excess data. When too much data overloads a full buffer, the malicious code is extracted from the buffer along with all the other data. The program then executes the malicious code. If a user is having prolonged trouble with buffer overflow, they need to run a scan for malicious software.

Windows XP may be old by Operating System standards, but it is still used by a sizable fraction of PC users.
Windows XP may be old by Operating System standards, but it is still used by a sizable fraction of PC users. | Source

How to change the memory buffer count to improve buffering speed

Memory buffers are used to handle tasks that require more memory than what the computer has at the moment. It is essentially an “I’ll think about this later” storage location. However, the memory buffer performance degrades if the buffer gets too big. The work around is to increase the number of memory buffers.

1. Go to “Start”, “Programs”, “Accessories”, “Command Prompt”.

2. Click on the top left hand corner of the Command Prompt window. Then select “Properties”. 3. Click on the “Options” tab.

4. The Command History section in the middle left will have a buffer size and number of buffers.

5. Increase the number of buffers. This will speed up the buffering speed of the computer.

How change the buffering speed in Windows Media Player in XP

  1. Open Windows Media Player.
  2. Go to “Tool”, “Options”.
  3. Click on the “Performance” tab.
  4. Click on the “Detect Connection Speed”. Windows Media Player should then detect your connection speed and adjust its feed rate.
  5. Select “Use Default Buffering”
  6. In the “Buffer for xxxx seconds” field, enter a buffering time. This value can be as high as 60 seconds. Change it to 30 seconds.
  7. Save the changes.
  8. Exit the settings windows.
  9. Try to view the video or listen to the music file again.
  10. If buffer still causes delays, go back and change the value to an even lower number.

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