Everyone has seen how ultrasound breaks glass, but now it became known about a case where music disabled hard drives. Janet Jackson’s song Rhythm Nation once crashed Windows XP-era laptops. This story was shared by Microsoft’s chief software developer, Raymond Chen.
According to him, an unnamed “major computer manufacturer” discovered that some laptops were crashing while playing the song. A failure could occur even on those laptops that were simply working nearby. The manufacturer discovered that laptops from other companies also suffered from the song.
Here's our first video from our new series with Raymond Chen, @ChenCravat.
We asked him to tell us about the mystery wherein some music would crash a laptop!!?? pic.twitter.com/BRgfsWEaaC
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In the end it turned out that the song has a sound that resonates with a certain model of hard drive. During playback, sound waves from the laptop’s speakers caused the hard drive to vibrate, causing it to crash. In the end, the manufacturer found a simple and not elegant solution to the problem – it made its laptops not play this frequency.
The story does not say exactly which laptops and hard drives failed. Video evidence is also not provided. With all that, the story could well have happened with any laptop, as there are known experiments where hard drives were caused to fail with shouting or special program, which reproduced a certain frequency.