What is this process?

There is a new audio component in Vista (hosting the audio engine) which is called audiodg.exe. It is a part of the Windows program, although it is run externally from the usual Windows audio service. Also, it hosts the Audio Device Graph, isolating it from the Windows Audio Service.

Why use an externally run process?

There are two reasons for using a process separate for the audio engine, these being the following:

  1. There exists a third party code which gets loaded into the process. Namely, those trading with audio hardware can install Audio Processing Objects (hereinafter: AOPs) into the audio pipeline. However, it can happen, and there are several reasons for this (such as serviceability, for example) that third party codes are not allowed to be loaded into svchost These processes, on the other hand, are generic host processes for the services which are used in Windows). In effect, what needs to be done is the following: the code which interacts with the third party AOPs which are found externally from the audio service need to be moved, so that if the AOPs crash, the other vital elements of the system will not fail.
  2. The second reason is the Digital Rights Management (hereinafter: DRM) system in Vista, which demands the processing of audio samples within a process that is protected. It is relevant to mention that, for a multitude of reasons of a technical nature, it is impossible for a svhost hosted service to be run in a process that is protected.

What is the purpose of audiodg?

The original name of this process was DeviceGraph.exe. At its initiating, it was thought that the binary names need to be limited to 8.3, and the long names that were initially chosen had to be shortened to 8.3. The creator of this process considered, however, that it was very important to have the word ‘audio’ in the beginning to make it clear there was audio functionality involved. However, it was not easy to shorten this particular process, although a solution was found in the end.

audiodg.exe img

Are there any problems with using this process?

One of the possible problems may be problems with CPU use and surplus memory consumption. It seems it can happen that audiodg can use between 14 and over 20 percent memory, which is a very high CPU usage (and it can also leap to 99 percent when playing music in iTunes). Another possible problem is that there can occur a regular sound of ‘ding’ or beeping as often as every three seconds.

What are the possible solutions?

The excessive CPU consumption while in audiodg may be the result of a driver problem. In regards to the memory issue, it is best to disable the system effects. After this, it is imperative to restart the audio service in order to free the wasted memory or reboot the computer. In other words, it is necessary to restart the audio drivers.