This post might be useful in case you’re still using Windows 7 and suddenly experienced problems with audio playback.
I’ve been running Windows 7 on my music production machine for years. Even though I read that Windows 10 was very stable, I didn’t dare upgrading, mainly because everything ran perfect on my Win7 box. Well, until this month, when after I applied a cumulative OS upgrade I experienced CPU spikes every 8-10 seconds during audio playback which made nearly impossible working with audio. After some trials and failures I’ve figured out that if I disable network adapter, I could continue using Cubase.
I first thought the problem occured only in Cubase, but later found out that even if I play a YouTube video in a browser, I can still hear clicks every few seconds. I downloaded Latency Meter that showed nasty spikes every few seconds as long as my Realtek network driver was enabled. Upgrading the driver didn’t help.
The perspective of using Cubase without network didn’t attract me - I often switch to forums and tutorials, listen to some reference tracks on the net, switching network on and off all the time would be quite painful. In the end I made a decision that I’ve been postponing for months: upgrade my box to Windows 10.
Even though everyone recommends doing a clean install, I decided to perform an upgrade. I have many applications and plugins that would require reactivation on a newly installed OS, and I didn’t want to spend another day installing the apps and activating them. I concluded I could always do it later in case I will experience problems after the upgrade. But luckily, everything went very smooth. It took about half an hour to perform in-place update of my OS from Windows 7 to Windows 10, all applications worked properly (I only needed to re-map Steinberg UR44 channels to external MIDI instruments for some reason), and all audio glitches and CPU spikes were gone.