Sunday, January 2, 2011

Sony Vegas Movie Studio HD Stuck During Startup

Recently, I had been using Movie Studio off and on for a couple of days on a project, and then for no immediately obvious reason, it wouldn’t start up.  The splash screen would come up, and it would get to the step “Initializing external monitoring…” and would freeze.
(Note: I didn’t get a screenshot of my PC doing this, so I borrowed the above shot from another forum that was having problem with the same issue, hence the version 8)
Task manager would cause the splash screen to go away, but the process would never die, short of a full reboot.  Subsequent tries at launching the software would yield slightly different results, but in the end, it would never launch.
I began by trying all of the obvious fixes
  • Uninstalled some recently installed software.
  • Uninstalled and re-installed the Vegas software.
  • Deleted the software keys from the registry in HKLM and HKCU.
  • "Plugged a USB headset that had recently been removed back in.
  • I tried to do a system rollback to a restore point, but found that my periodic backups hadn’t been happening (a topic for another day).
  • Stopped the real-time anti-virus scanning.
None of these alleviated the problem.  Many others were reporting the problems on the forums, but no one had any fixes.

Using the SysInternals Process Monitor, I was able to determine that just before it locked up, the software seemed to be loading or enumerating “Media Interfaces”.  That got me to thinking about a problem that I had a few months ago with my sound card.
I had already tried with and without my USB headphones plugged in.  The next step was to disable my SigmaTel High Definition Audio CODEC from Device Manager.  (Open Device Manager, find the sound card in the list, right-click on it, and select Disable).
A few months ago, I had a similar issue with another piece of software, whereby the software wouldn’t run correctly, because the SigmaTel wasn’t registering that the microphone had been plugged in early enough in the boot process.  This made sense as it’s well documented that many people are having problem’s with their Dell-installed SigmaTel audio cards after end-users have upgraded their PC’s to Windows 7 (apparently not a manufacturer-supported configuration). 
I rebooted, held my breath, and alas, it got stuck again…
As a last-ditch effort, I left the SigmaTel disabled, unplugged the USB headset, and ALSO my Logitech webcam (which has a built-in microphone).  Essentially, every single audio-device on my system was either un-plugged or disabled.  Another reboot and voilĂ , IT WORKED!

I’ve since plugged the USB headset back in, and Vegas is still working.  The webcam seemed to be the culprit, although after all of the problems that I’ve had with SigmaTel drivers, I plan on leaving it disabled and installing a Creative Labs sound board.

I hope that helps someone!