Broken Audio & Video

Oct 26, 2014
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I want to upgrade from XP (to benefit from improved memory handling, DX10/11 etc. etc.), but am currently prevented by two serious problems affecting all later Windows versions:

1) The Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) has been altered to prevent Nvidia span modes from working. This ostensibly removes a potential security hole that has never been exploited (ie. it's a redundant 'fix' for something that wasn't broken), while eliminating the single most useful function of my machine (multi-display functionality).

Please note that span modes are not the same thing as extended Desktop, and that the WDDM is part of the Windows operating sysem published by Microsoft, and not the responsibility of the graphics cards manufacturers. Also, i'm aware that later high-end Nvidia cards have a 'Mosaic' mode that restores this functionality, however it's not available for my GTX 470 and i can't afford the £200+ for say, a GTX 770 in order to benefit from this workaround. I need my current machine to work - any OS upgrade must offer the same minimum functionality as XP.

2) The audio mixer introduced with Windows 7 removes direct hardware control from the user, and replaces it with a rolling 'mixer sample' - this adds the functionality of allowing the audio outputs from all open applications to be adjusted individually, at the expense of allowing global H/W volume adjustments as found in previous WIndows versions - so MIDI, Wave, Line-In, Mic etc. etc. are no longer directly controllable by the user. Compoundung this problem further, the parameters of the mixer sample are hidden from the user, hence there's no way to adjust its properties. The deal-breaking issue this causes is that the Line-In audio signal is delayed by around 250 ms. While most users will be oblivious to this, anyone making regular use of Line-In monitoring is subjected to an atrocious and completely unacceptable degree of latency. There's a simply appalling echo between the sound input and output times.

Please note, that the Windows mixer is a part of the Windows operating system produced by Microsoft, and is nothing whatsoever to do with audio drivers produced by soundcard manufacturers.

So these are the two killer issues keeping me marooned on XP - with which my system works perfectly. However when i boot into Windows 7 i find the OS is totally unusable for the above two reasons. As far as i've been able to enquire, they've also carried over into WIndows 8 and 8.1. It thus seems a safe bet that Windows 10 will be equally dysfunctional.

Does anyone here know if there's any plans at Microsoft to re-introduce the working audio and video systems from XP into any of these newer operating systems? Given that audio and video are so central to a computer's purposes it seems the least they could do is provide the newer, broken systems as easily switchable options, with the tradeoffs clearly explained.

I NEED span modes and latency-free Line-In. But i also need to upgrade my OS, and Linux isn't going to offer me the latest DirectX compatibility. So i depserately need MS to patch these problems...

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