Running Chronotron on Windows 11

There’s something addictive about software updates. Every now and then users tend to open a random app and check for its updates, be it a web browser, a development tool, the Microsoft Store or Windows itself. While this behavior may reward us with the latest and greatest features and security fixes, there are also risks involved especially when updating systems that we depend on for work or leisure. The result is what I called in a previous blog the post-software-stability world.

As many of you have noticed, Windows 11 is out in the wild. An Operating System is a really complex piece of software so it’s inevitable that a first major release comes with its share of bugs and, as we’ll see, Windows 11 is unfortunately no exception.

The Issues

I quickly installed Windows 11 on my HP Envy x2 convertible, not just to play the early adopter game, but also because I wanted Chronotron to be ready for prime time and I was curious to see how the app performs on the new OS. And it turns out that two app features are adversely impacted by Windows 11 bugs:

The first thing I noticed is that downloading YouTube videos in Chronotron gets stuck when progress is nearly 100%. After closer inspection, I identified that it happens in cases when the audio and video streams have to be downloaded separately and then muxed (i.e. merged) together to produce the final clip. The actual hang is caused by aggressive CPU throttling, but the muxing process could never succeed anyway because Windows 11 is unable to parse the video-only stream.

The second issue is that the media libraries in the app may appear empty. This is because Chronotron relies on the Windows indexing service to enumerate library media. For whatever reason, the Windows 11 indexer doesn’t work as it should when invoked through the media enumeration API – at least not on my test system.

The Workarounds

As these are Operating System bugs, unfortunately there’s not much I can do to address the root causes aside from reporting to Microsoft. However, the good news is that Chronotron Release 179 has a couple of tweaks in the Settings pane that help mitigating these issues – if you must absolutely stick to Windows 11 that is.

The setting Disable YouTube™ HD adaptive video addresses the first issue by avoiding adaptive content altogether. The default value is Off, so you should turn it on to activate the workaround. Note, though, that enabling this setting will result almost systematically in degraded resolution and/or quality of the clips you download, since most HD content is only available through adaptive streaming.

The setting Do not use the media library indexer, as its name suggest, bypasses the indexing service. Enabling this setting causes Chronotron to scan the file system every time you search for media in the Media Library, which is of course slower than using the indexing service. Like for the above setting, you should explicitly turn it on to activate the workaround.

While not perfect, I hope these workarounds allow you to enjoy Chronotron on your brand-new or upgraded PC, while waiting for future OS fixes.

Have you noticed other issues with Chronotron on Windows 11? Please let me know through the comments or the usual support channels.

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