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Janet Jackson crashed my computer

by on18 August 2022

Weird windows bugs

The music video for Janet Jackson's 1989 pop hit Rhythm Nation is a cybersecurity vulnerability.

According to Microsoft, the video has been known to crash certain models of laptops.

Apparently, several manufacturers' machines also crashed and playing the video on one laptop would crash another nearby.

Like most Jackson songs, Rhythm Nation might be overrated by music historians, but apparently, no one reviewed any song’s effects on PCs before. It would appear that rather than play it, they would rather switch themselves off.

Investigation revealed that all the crashing laptops shared the same 5400 RPM hard disk drive.

The song contained one of the natural resonant frequencies for the model of 5400 RPM laptop hard drives that they and other manufacturers used.

The manufacturer that found the problem apparently added a custom filter in the audio pipeline to detect and remove the offending frequencies during audio playback.

It is pretty much a non-problem. Few modern machines have drives which run at 5400 revolutions per minute and hardly anybody listens to Janet Jackson anymore.  Still, it is a pretty odd bug. We have found that if you play her brother’s songs at 5400 revolutions per minute they sound better, but you have to scrape pedophiles off the testing lab door afterwards.


Last modified on 18 August 2022
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