Internet Service Providers forum

General discussion

Ugh! YouTube video playback always stuttering and stopping, please help

by Lee Koo (ADMIN) CNET staff/forum admin / August 6, 2010 7:06 AM PDT

Ugh! YouTube video playback always stuttering and stopping, please help

I have a question regarding stuttering YouTube playing. I have a Dell machine, Windows Vista Home Premium, 32-bit, Service Pack 2, Intel Core 2 CPU, 6,600@2.40 Ghz, 2.39 GHz, 2GB RAM, TimeWarner Roadrunner Cable modem service standard, and I am protected by Microsoft Security Essentials and Malwarebytes' Antimalware.

I am wondering who/which is the most likely culprit slowing down YouTube "high-definition" and other resolution (like 360p) playing, resulting in temporary stoppage and stuttering and those dynamic dotted circles indicating loading? Is it my system, my cable broadband service, what?

It really gets on my nerves viewing a classical or Flamenco or Latcho Drom = Gypsy concert being constantly interrupted by reloading. Is there anything I can do on my part to help me solve this problem? Thank you so much for any help/advice I may/hope to receive from members in the know.

--Submitted by: Wolfgang D.

Here are some featured member answers to get you started, but
please read all the advice and suggestions that our
members have contributed to this question.

Could be several different things --Submitted by mjkittredge

Video "Buffering" --Submitted by IamKevin24sevin

For streamed media, the internet connection should be... --Submitted by Flirkann

Are you using wireless of Ethernet? --Submitted by Igiveup2

Change Flash player storage setting --Submitted by goose1970

It's a combination of things... --Submitted by amirat

YouTube stuttering/stopping --Submitted by C. Scott Jackson

Thank you to all who contributed!

If you have any additional suggestions or advice for Wolfgang, please click on the reply link and submit away. Please be detailed as possible in your answer as it will help out tremendously! Thank you.
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Ugh! YouTube video playback always stuttering and stopping, please help
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Ugh! YouTube video playback always stuttering and stopping, please help
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Could be several different things

1. Could be your cable internet. In simple terms, the more people who live near you who use the same cable at the same time, the slower it becomes. Even without that, cable can slow down occasionally.

2. Could be Youtube. Their site slows down due to a variety of reasons from time to time. Heavy usage, server troubles, site being attacked by hackers/viruses ect, software updates having snags, server maintenance.

3. Could be your computer. You may have too many programs running in windows that suck up too much memory. Try closing everything you're not using. You may also have multiple browser pages open simultaneously with stuff going on with each one, that can dramatically slow down everything.

One solution I use, is to click on the video to play, then immediately hit pause. Why do I do this? Because hitting play starts the process of buffering (loading). What you are describing can occur when the video plays faster than your internet and computer can buffer it - essentially the player is trying to read something that hasn't loaded yet, and stops until more is downloaded, and the process gets repeated. By pausing the video right after hitting play, and leaving it for a little bit, the buffering can get ahead to a point where the speed of playing can't overcome it.

I went to the youtube site and saw a light red bar filling across the bottom of the video - that's the buffering progress, give it a little time before you start playing.

Collapse -
Re: Could be several different things
by christinawatkins_76116 / August 13, 2010 1:27 PM PDT

I'm with mjkittredge. I let the video pre-load (or "buffer") first, too. I have a Dell Studio 1749 laptop with an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM and FIOS internet, and mine does the same thing so I don't think it's your system either. Good luck!

Collapse -
Could be your Computer Software Manufacturer
by linuxfanatik1 / August 13, 2010 11:18 PM PDT

Sometimes the problems start with the software provider on your machine. I moved from Microsoft to Linux (Ubuntu) after some years of problems (including being jumped on by viruses, web-kits and malware). Under Microsoft you are at the mercy of some 30,000 viruses, Malware and shady people trying to screw up your machine, whereas, on linux there are something like less than 50 such viruses and the like that can screw up your Linux machine. The way that Linux works is to methodically loads your software in a proscribed way and doesn't need things like a Registry that Microsoft does (and often screws up). I've never been so happy since i moved to Linux - no worries of Malware, Viruses, or crap formatting of software that doesn't corrupt or stop working if you don't work within a given time period. Of course, it could be a Transmission fault (from the telephone company) but this is unlikely as most of the software used by firms like Firefox, You Tube, and Google come from Linux or it's derivative, Unix. You will find a lot of firms such as Intel and other computer software or hardware manufacturers are moving to Linux rather than through Microsoft, because of dependability, simply put. linuxfanatik

Collapse -
by rhsurvey / August 14, 2010 7:09 AM PDT

Linuxfanatik1 -
Your suggestion sounds like paradise against underground...!!
How DOES ONE switch to OP Linux when the laptop comes preloaded with XP or WS7 ?

Collapse -
no need to uninstall in favour of...
by weedfreer / August 15, 2010 8:24 PM PDT
In reply to: Linux

I wrote something similar to this in reply (probably further down - probably not as technically detailed as this though i have to admit)...although i highlighted the fact that i'm not a Linux Fanboi. How so, i hear you say, if you have Linux installed??

Well the simple solution is to dual boot...i.e. install something like Ubuntu as a secondary operating system. That way you can choose which O/S you want to use on bootup.

Collapse -
Another way to run Linux on a Windows system...
by Doh_1 / August 16, 2010 8:54 AM PDT

You can make a Linux Virtual Machine (VM) and run it on Windows with VMware Workstation, or one of the other free VM products. That way, when you're running Windows you have Linux available, and when you're running Linux, Windows is also available. I have a dual-boot system, and very seldom use that feature, it is just too painful to have to reboot to go from Linux to Windows and Windows to Linux. You lose context every time you reboot, and you may also forget why you're doing it *smile*.

So I use VM's to use more than one OS so that I don't have to reboot to change OS's.


Collapse -

You didn't say if you have integrated video (on your mobo) or a dedicated video card. If the former, maybe it's not up to the job of streaming videos. If the latter, maybe it's time to upgrade to a better card.

Collapse -
Video stutter? Use WIndows 7
by pauly1651 / August 13, 2010 10:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Video

1. Go with Windows 7. (Vista is part of the problem).
2. Upgrade the RAM in your machine.
3. Disable any services running in the background.
4. Upgrade to a fast video card.
All of these steps will help.
It could be a YouTube issue, as some have said, but most likely not.

Collapse -
Windows 7? Read 'Old' Vista refreshed!
by linuxfanatik1 / August 13, 2010 11:32 PM PDT

Windows 7 is simply a Vista-fix with all the bugs and loop-holes that were in Vista Ultimate plugged up and ready to roll like it should have been when it was first rolled out!

This is a practice (releasing a product that is only half-finished, from a security standpoint) that has been done from Microsoft 1.11 through Windows 286, 386, 486, Windows 95, Windows 2000, and Windows Vista et al. The problem lies with the manufacturer - which is why you are reading about that firm having major problems with the American Judicial System in California in the past and at the moment! History repeats itself when things don't get fixed or put right! linuxfanatik

Collapse -
also on video suttter
by peppersugar / August 14, 2010 2:26 AM PDT

don't forget to update powersupply, you really should have at least a 400W PS to power the video upgrade. That is waht stopped my video stalling

Collapse -
It's You tube
by frazank1 / August 16, 2010 9:05 AM PDT

I think it's just YouTube.

1. I have windows 7 Ultimate.
2. I have 12 Gig ram
3. I have everything but the necessities disabled.
4. I have a 2 Gig Geforce GTX 285 video card.
5. I have 20MB download speed fiber optic.

And I still get terrible stutter on you tube. I just installed Netflix on my TV through my wireless Wii and it destroys YouTube. I've watch over 100 tv shows or movies on it and I have never had it lag or stutter once, ever and it only buffers for maybe 5-10 seconds before it starts.

I think YouTube needs to upgrade their servers.

Collapse -
ahhhh, but
by skigirlchar / September 4, 2010 7:48 AM PDT
In reply to: It's You tube

ahhhh, i too have gone to netflix to watch tv & movies vs. youtube for the exact same reason this feed started....

however, i do NOT have a game system to stream to - i watch on my desktop or my laptop.

Depending on the time of day, and the popularity of the movie/show, i too get buffering issues to the point of stalling of netflix if using my wireless router. in those situations if i disconnect the wireless and hook directly to the modem (i have CommieCast's high speed because it's the only option in my apt complex - though, i have to say they are much better in the philly region than in the baltimore region) the problem disappears - but ONLY FOR NETFLIX. I still have massive stalling on youtube.

YouTube = NoTube these days in my home. unfortunately my boss wants us to watch training clips on it all the time and we all work from home!

Collapse -
Choppy Video
by cbglover / August 13, 2010 9:57 PM PDT
In reply to: Video

An good graphics card add on is a must for good video, keeping the drivers updated and Direct X is a must. Connection speed of your internet service all make a big difference. "Weakest link in the chain" is what you will get...

Collapse -
Video Playback stutterin and stopping.

Check your download speed with a number of websites that offer a meter, such as My guess is that your speed is slow. You might be able to buy more bandwidth from your provider. Or, your router may be faulty or poorly placed with respect to the location of your computer and adaptor.

Collapse -
May Be Your ISP's Streaming Policy
by pottyperson / August 13, 2010 4:28 PM PDT

I've not had time to read all the posts, so apologies if a similar answer already appears.

In the UK at least, this is a problem with some ISPs reducing the streaming speed (as opposed to the download speed). I have BT (Britsh Telecom) broadband. The download speed is adequate at all times. However, it is BT policy to reduce the streaming speed at peak times (weekday evenings) typically to around 2Mbps. This is below the 3.5Mbps required for HD video, though it should be OK for normal definition.

You may be able to test this here:

Normally, this gives me readings of around 5Mbps for download and streaming. On weekday evenings, the download speed may drop slightly but the streaming speed is usually comfortably less than the 3.5Mbps needed for HD viewing.

Collapse -
For streamed media, the internet connection should be...

...the 1st item checked, especially if you're getting those loading circles when it happens - if the video isn't being received as fast or faster than your computer is playing it, the video will stall while it buffers the next section into memory to play.

If you pause the playback at the start once the video starts to play initially and hover the mouse cursor over the scrubber, in the case of YouTube, you will see the white line be gradually replaced from the left by a reddish line - the red line indicates how much of the video has been downloaded from YouTube, when this crosses the entire video part of the screen the clip is fully loaded.

Depending on your internet connection speed; congestion on the network (which includes any updates/downloads running on your machine); the load on the server(s) hosting that particular clip; and the size of the clip...this can be relatively quick and allow you to watch the video as it down loads; or slow in which case you'll have to either pause every now and then to let the download buffer some more before you get rudely interrupted, or download the clip in full before watching.
You can imagine the difference in load time between the ~10MB Clip of Van Canto's "Last Night Of The Kings" and the ~120MB Full HD Clip of "The Muppets - Bohemian Rhapsody" even over a fast connection.

It's worth noting that the more sound and image changes (such as finicky music and lots of motion) present in a clip, the larger it will be.

Cheers, Flirkann

Collapse -
Just pause the playback and wait

You could spend a lot of money and effort speeding up your connection and your computer - and you might want to plan to do that anyway. But there's a much simpler solution in the meantime. When the video first starts to play, click on Pause (Lower left corner, looks like "||") Now wait and watch as the video downloads into your computer's cache, which you can monitor with the faded red line. Once the faded red downloading line gets well ahead of your viewing, press Play and it will play smoothly and flawlessly. Pay attention, and if your viewing catches up to the downloading, you'll have stuttering again. You will need to experiment around to find how far ahead the downloading needs to get before you can play it smoothly, but this method will work no matter how slow your connection is - even on dialup.

Collapse -

You did not indicate what internet service you have, but it is a combinations of things.

For example - if your internet provider has too many people on the same server you are gong to see a slow down specially during hours when most people log on to the net.

You can call your internet provider and tell them you are experiencing severe slow downs on your internet connection in general and asked them to move you to a different server.

There is a little hiden gem, that MS throtles down your connection a bit through Windows - but there is a reason for this.
The reason is to manage your computer resources as best as possbile so that your entire computer does not slow down with procesess going on in the background that you don't even noticed.

Believe it or not, even though your Ethernet Card or Wi-Fi card is the one that handles most of the internet communications - the digital information still has to go through the processor and the video card in order for you to see the proper results on your screen.

That is why under Windows there is 2 specific settings that I know MS manipulates - TO PROVIDE EVEN PROCESSING to your computer.
Not because they are at fault - after all, MS is not a Internet Provider.

There is also the issue of YouTube - while Google owns YouTube and they have the funds to put faster servers for YouTube, there is a heavy traffic going through those servers.

Try other sites like, if the problem continues, then it could be your internet provider.

But to help you a bit, I can give you the following steps that you most follow carefully because the change in Windows is done at the register level. By your post detail, it appears you know a bit about computers, but keep in mind - while the change is simple to improve your transmission of information between severs on the net and your computer - I can't take any responsibility if you make mistakes and end up with other problems. Dealing with Windows Register has to be done carefully.

The steps.
On a administrator account.
1 Click on start menu - on the search box type - regedit.exe. it will appear on the top of the list.
2 Click on the program - a windows with 5 register tree keys opens.

PLEASE BE CAREFUL AND NOTE THAT EACH HAS AN ARROW THAT EXPANDS EACH TREE. A double click expands the entry that I am naming before - if you get lost look at the top of the window where you will see the full path of where you are.
If you get lost and can't get back - close the Window and start from item 1.
3- Expand the tree named - HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE
4- Double click on Software.
5- Double click on Microsoft. -- Scroll all the way down to Windows NT.
6- Double click Windows NT
7- Double click on - CurrentVersion
8- Scrool down to - Multimedia.
9- Double click on - Multimedia.
10- Double click on - SystemProfile ---- STOP.

Now look on the right pane, there are 2 entries.
NetworkThrotlingIndex - is set to 20 by default.

11- Double click it
12- Select Decimal
13- Change the value to 40 or 50 - DO NOT GO HIGHER THEN THAT.
14- Click OK - to allow the new value.
15- Close the Register Window and reboot your pc.


This will help somewhat - but you are still limited to the bandwith provide by your internet provider and the server you are on at their end.
Sorry about any typos.

Good Luck.

Collapse -
by GEO2003 / August 6, 2010 6:26 PM PDT

Sorry I did not noticed that you mentioned Time Warner.
I can tell you that I used Cablevision, Verizon Fios and my sister uses Time Warner.

I have speed test all 3 services and even though Cablevision under a one year contract was offering me more speed then my sister, the speed test I ran where very close.

When I change to Fios, I have never experience buffering problems.

The tips i gave you on my previous message - had not been changed on my computer when using Fios.

So i can tell you that the setting helps somewhat, but based on your computer specs, i feel is more a Time Warner issue.
Call them and complain, they can even help you set your modem/router for best performance.

Before you call, do some speed test on the following sites
Repeat the test about 4 times on each site and at different hours and write that information down, so that when you speak to them you can give them the testing information you acumulated.

Some speed testing sites i have used are :

Again, i hope you solve your issues.

Collapse -
YouTube Heavy Traffic
by skelax / August 15, 2010 9:00 AM PDT

I used to watch YouTube smoothly without any problem before. But more people watch it more today than ever before thereby creating heavy traffic. Alexa ranking for YouTube is now no. 3 behind Google and Facebook that sometimes you cannot even connect to its server and when I am able to connect, the video becomes unstable.

Collapse -
by Cephpaul / September 1, 2010 5:09 PM PDT

I Tried and followed yr instruction but after clicking Current version, i couldnt find multimedia. Please help.

Collapse -
Ugh! YouTube video playback always stuttering and stopping,
Collapse -
Ugh Vista

your problem is most likely caused by one or more of the many inferiority's inherent in the worst operating system ever to leave (and it never should have) the programing desks at macrosuck (read microsoft) Do your self a favour and get rid of Vista. Windows 7 (which was released before most users had even had a decent chance to get sick of vista which should tell us something about what microsoft thought about vista) seems to be fast and stable, it's unlikely to be perfect for every user but nothing is, either that or roll back to xp.

It could also be your internet connection speed, you might want to check your network settings on your modem to make sure it's set to the highest possible speed (ie. make sure your own modem isn't choking your bandwith). You shouldn't be having any serious latency with a cable connection but some YouTube files can be cumbersome and slow to upload if they haven't been filmed (or converted) in a format suitable for web upload (big files are slow).

Quick (& free) fix, pause the video player until the wee red progress bar has a big head start and the stuttering should no longer be an issue.

Collapse -
Utube stop starting when viewing

I have had this problem also and had some success by adding more ram to my system also cleaning all the cash and internet temp file area also a defrag may help. The connection speed can also be a problem. Or just download the Utube file and watch it when you want. Sometimes if you just let it run to the end then re run it it will play better.

Collapse -
Sadly nobody can prevent this...

This is sadly a case of internet bandwidth choke-points. I visit someone that has a backbone(See framework of the internet) fiber drop in his back yard for the local area distribution node allowing UP TO 75MB download speeds, but even there YouTube will occasionally slow down and stutter and even time out.. The key here is there are always going to be several 'HOPS' or routers that relay the data and any one of them can suddenly reach their maximum capacity of throughput and become a choke point.

The point is, get use to it... its called life on the internet and EVERYONE is to blame...

Collapse -
wolfgang, dude!

you need high speed ISP to play those videos properly!

Collapse -
Are you using wireless of ethernet?

There are a number of online test sites if you want to be sure your broadband speed is up to snuff. If there is another computer available, run an online speed test with it over the same connection and see if you get a similar result. If they are similar, the problem is either the broadband service or modem performance. If they are not, you have a problem with connectivity related to that specific computer.

If you have traced the problem to the computer:

Is there an event that you can correlate with the diminished performance, such as an update? If there is, try a system restore. If the problem goes away, reinstall the updates incrementally and monitor performance to see if the problem returns.

Poor connectivity with ethernet can be as simple as a loose or bad plug. It is a good idea to check the drivers for your NIC and your wireless to be sure they are up to date. In my experience, the correct wireless driver can make a huge difference to connectivity.

If you get poor broadband speeds:

Sometimes a cable modem will have its performance impaired if there is an interruption of the server connection. Try rebooting the modem and see if that solves the problem.

Monitor the broadband speed. Contact customer service at your ISP and describe your situation. If you are paying for a quality of service you are not receiving, it is their obligation to help.

Collapse -
that damn internet
by cam_romeril / August 6, 2010 12:21 PM PDT

Yeah it also pays to bear in mind that no matter how fast your internet connection may be you will only ever be able to view anything at the highest speed that the source webserver can upload it (this is also dramatically affected by the other ignorant buggers trying to view things from that same server right when you want to, the cheek of it)

Collapse -
by ccsvideoflx / September 20, 2012 6:06 AM PDT
In reply to: that damn internet

there is a completely different solution to youtube streaming problems. just download the video to your computer and play it locally. go to and follow instructions.

Collapse -
Change Flash player storage setting

Right click on a video and select "settings." Move the space indicator to "Unlimited" to change amount of onboard storage the flash player utilizes. I think you'll notice some improvement.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 51,912 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,498 discussions
Laptops 20,411 discussions
Security 30,882 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 21,253 discussions
Windows 10 1,672 discussions
Phones 16,494 discussions
Windows 7 7,855 discussions
Networking & Wireless 15,504 discussions


Meet the drop-resistant Moto Z2 Force

The Moto Z2 Force is really thin, with a fast processor and great battery life. It can survive drops without shattering.