Confessions of a Windows Enthusiast

Where I rant about Microsoft products, computers and technology, and much more.

Workaround for LSM.EXE Handle and Memory Leak

Consider the following scenario. If you have a computer that uses a high definition audio device, which is running Microsoft Windows Vista, and you are using Windows Media Player 11, handles and memory may be lost because of a leak in the Lsm.exe process.

As you fast forward through your Windows Media Player library, or have a playlist set to repeat, you may lose a large amount of handles in a short amount of time. This can lead to performance degradation and in some cases, "out of memory" error messages and other unexpected behavior. If you review the Task Manager you may notice that Lsm.exe is consuming a large amount of memory.

This issue only occurs if the following statements are true:

  • Your computer utilizes a High Definition Audio Device
  • You are running Windows Vista, or Windows Vista 64-bit.
  • You are using Windows Media Player 11 to play back audio files.

There is a hotfix available from Microsoft to resolve this issue, however in some cases this may not resolve the issue. The following workaround is a method that I have tested on several systems that exhibit this issue and have found that it does indeed resolve the issue.

  • Click on Start, and then click on Control Panel.
  • Click on Hardware and Sound.
  • Under Sound, click on "Manage audio devices".
  • Select your output device in the list that appears (the default output devices is commonly labelled "Speakers")
  • Right click on the device and from the context menu click on Properties.
  • In the "Properties" window, click on the "Enhancements" tab.
  • Tick/check the option box for "Disable all enhancements".
  • Click on OK to dismiss the properties window.
  • Click on OK to dismiss the "Sound" window.
  • Close the Control Panel window by clicking the Close ("X") button at the top right of the window.

NOTE: You will have to restart your computer in order to reclaim previously lost memory and handles.

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