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Windows Vista and Windows 7 – USB Audio Device or USB Headset can cause High CPU Usage and you may notice skipping in the sound playback

If you use a USB Headset, USB Speakers or USB Sound Card under Windows Vista or Windows 7 you may notice that the CPU Usage is very high when you are listening to sound, music or gaming.  You may also notice that the audio lags or skips as a result, this will normally occur every 10-20 seconds and may get worse over an extended period of time.

This is most likely to occur when the device is connected to a USB 2.0 EHCI (Enhanced Host Controller Interface)

The issue is caused by a problem with the usbport.sys driver that is part of Windows

The issue can be addressed in Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 by upgrading to “Service Pack 1”

The issue can be addressed in Windows Vista – Service Pack 2 or Windows Server 2008 – Service Pack 2 by applying the hotfix from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/981214 which includes an updated version of usbport.sys