16-Bit DMA May Cause Static or System Hang

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Article ID: 127022 - View products that this article applies to.
This article was previously published under Q127022
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In Windows you may experience any of the following behaviors:
  • When you play a Windows Sound (.wav) file, you hear static.
  • When you play a .wav file, your computer restarts.
  • When you play a .wav file, your computer stops responding (hangs).
  • When you play a .wav file, nothing happens (you hear no sound at all).
  • When you enable a 16-bit sound scheme (for example, Robotz or Utopia), Windows may stop responding (hang).
  • You receive a "Fatal exception 0E" error message when the Windows Start sound event is played during startup.
  • Your computer reboots after playing the Windows startup sound.


This behavior can be caused by a lack of support for 16-bit direct memory access (DMA) on your computer.


If the sound card in your computer is set for a 16-bit DMA channel (5, 6, or 7), use Device Manager to change the card's configuration to an 8-bit DMA channel (0, 1, or 3). If the sound card is set for an 8-bit DMA channel, change it to a 16-bit DMA channel.

You may also need to run the configuration tool that is shipped with the sound card to change its DMA channel to match the Device Manager setting. If no configuration tool is shipped with the sound card, you may need to change jumpers on the card.

How to Change the DMA Channel

To change the DMA channel setting for the sound card in Device Manager, follow these steps:
  1. Click the Start button, point to Settings, and then click Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the System icon.
  3. Click the Device Manager tab, then double-click Sound, Video, And Game Controllers.
  4. Double-click the sound card that is installed in your computer.
  5. Click the Resources tab.
  6. Double-click Direct Memory Access, then change the DMA setting to the setting you want.
  7. Click OK. When you are prompted to do so, restart your computer.

More information

It may be possible to set the sound card to use single DMA mode only, if 16-bit wave files are causing problems. The Sound Blaster family of sound cards is software-configurable and can be set to single DMA mode with Device Manager. To do so, follow these steps:
  1. In Control Panel, double-click System.
  2. On the Device Manager tab, double-click Sound, Video, And Game Controllers, and then double-click your sound card.
  3. On the Resources tab, click the Use Automatic Settings check box to clear it.
  4. In the Settings Based On box, click a configuration that includes only a single DMA setting (such as Basic Configuration 7).
  5. Click OK or Close until you return to Control Panel.
Note that this information applies only to sound cards that support single DMA operation and are software configurable. If not, you may need to run the configuration utility included with the sound card to set it to single DMA mode (if single DMA mode is supported).


Article ID: 127022 - Last Review: October 26, 2013 - Revision: 3.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows 95
kbnosurvey kbarchive kberrmsg kbfatalexerr0e kbhardware kbprb kbsetup KB127022

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