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Strange explorer context menu sluggishness on M200/Windows XP SP2: Kernel bug?

Discussion in 'Tablet PC' started by Daniel Mettler, Sep 25, 2004.

  1. Hi all,

    I have a strange explorer context menu sluggishness on my Toshiba
    Portégé M200 Tablet (using Windows XP SP2). This problem seems to be
    reproducible (at least on my box), although it only seems to appear
    under special conditions. Here's the problem:

    0. Perhaps, this only applies to users of a Toshiba Portégé M200. You
    must have installed SP2 too.

    1. Using explorer, navigate to a folder which is preferably located in
    a rather deep folder tree. In my case, I display the contents of
    "C:\unison_sync\thesis\working\current\text" in an explorer window as
    usual (View/display options don't matter). This directory doesn't even
    need to contain many or large files or subfolders, it can be a very
    common/average directory with about a dozen of subfolders and files.

    2. Now double-click on any subfolder to navigate to this folder (i.e.
    display its contents). Then hit the "back" button in explorer (or
    click the "back" button of your mouse) to navigate back; subsequently
    click your RIGHT mouse button (over white space) to display the
    context menu.

    3. You'll notice that the context menu is displayed extremely slowly
    and that your mouse pointer is hardly moveable anymore (it stutters
    with a latency of first about 5 seconds, later 2-3 seconds). Your
    notebook's fan will immediately kick-in, a sign for an immediate, very
    high CPU load. Windows does not recover from this situation unless you
    either press the "escape" key or "ctrl-alt-del".

    * For this problem to appear it doesn't matter what kind of mouse you
    use (as the M200 has only USB ports I've only tested various USB
    mouses though).
    * The problem does NOT appear if, after hitting "back", you first
    (left-)click on white space using your LEFT mouse button and
    thereafter right-click to display the context menu.

    My 2 cents:

    To me, the described problem looks like a nasty scheduler bug (or
    similar) in Windows XP SP2, causing a live-lock or similar (remember
    the high CPU load and the fact that Windows doesn't recover from the
    problem by itself). Whatever the real reason might be, it's obvious
    that such an issue should NEVER appear under ANY circumstances. For my
    daily work, this is a very annoying problem which bothers me a lot as
    it touches core functionality of Windows.

    I'd be glad to read a statement/opinion of a Microsoft/Windows/Toshiba
    professional on this issue. And of course, as usual, any
    help/suggestion is appreciated as actually, I just want this problem
    to stop bothering me.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Mettler, Sep 25, 2004
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  2. Daniel Mettler

    Chris H. Guest

    Dan, in all honesty, I'm not seeing the issue you are on my M200. I have
    many nested files, including several about 12-15 levels down. My response
    is instantaneous and without hesitation.

    How much RAM are you running on the machine? Mine has 1 GB. With the
    mouse, are you using "common" drivers or those like perhaps IntelliPoint
    which come with a Microsoft mouse? There are no IntelliPoint drivers (5.2
    version) for some now available.

    Which graphics drivers are you running, too? That could also make a
    difference. Have you called Toshiba support?
    Chris H., Sep 25, 2004
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  3. Chris, thanks for checking this on your M200! I conclude that the
    problem observed on my M200 probably isn't a general problem of SP2 on
    the M200. The amazing thing is I don't remember observing this issue
    when using SP1 or SP2RC2.

    Regarding RAM: I have 768 MB of RAM installed which should be plenty
    actually (never had any issues with RAM)

    Regarding the tested mice: I've tried 5 different pointing devices:
    - my new Logitech MX510 performance optical mouse using native
    Logitech drivers
    - my Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer (using default Windows XP
    - my old Logitech Pilot mouse (using default Windows XP drivers)
    - the touchpad of the M200
    - the pen of the M200
    The problem is observable with any of these pointing devices (that's
    why I was assuming a more general problem of Windows)

    Regarding graphics driver: I've installed the latest NVIDIA driver

    Regarding Toshiba support: I didn't call them (yet). To be honest, I
    think looking for help in user groups such as this one is more
    promising in general.

    Perhaps something is wrong with my hard disk as the mouse/pointing
    device stuttering also appears during heavy hard disk access (e.g.
    searching files, synchronizing folders etc.). Usually I can't use my
    M200 for doing other tasks during heavy hard disk access.

    * recently defragmented the disk
    * ensured that DMA is enabled for the hard drive
    * deleted old Windows restore points
    * currently doing a "disk cleanup" (I seem to have 850 MB of temporary
    files which is pretty much IMHO)
    * total disk fragmentation now is 13% (not too much actually, but I
    will do a defragmentation again)

    I'll report back if these steps solve my problem.

    Best regards,

    Daniel Mettler, Sep 26, 2004
  4. Daniel Mettler

    Chris H. Guest

    Dan, this may sound weird, but try going back to the 45.91 Nvidia display
    driver and see if that makes a difference. I've seen some really weird
    things with the latest driver, and found 45.91 really steady.
    Chris H., Sep 26, 2004
  5. Thanks for the hint, Chris. I installed Nvidia's 45.91 driver (BTW not
    available in Nvidia's official archive
    [http://www.nvidia.com/object/winxp-2k_archive.html], but at
    .. Unfortunately, the problem didn't disappear.

    Nevertheless I'm a bit closer to a solution as I found out that the
    problem does not appear when running Windows in safe mode, suggesting
    rather a kernel-mode driver problem than a problem of the kernel core
    itself (i.e. scheduling, mm, etc.).

    Now I'd need to find out which driver is causing the troubles. Is
    there a passable way a) to find out all 3rd party drivers running in
    kernel mode and b) to selectively disable them (preferably dynamically
    at runtime, avoiding rebooting after every single driver load/unload)?
    If I could display a list of unsigned, installed drivers, that would
    probably be helpful too.

    I've already checked and cleaned my "run" registry entry (with the
    help of http://www.windowsstartup.com/wso/search.php), but couldn't
    find anything suspicious (unknown programs were mostly TabletPC
    specific Toshiba tools)

    Best regards,


    P.S. The steps I mentioned in my last posting (cleaning up and
    defragmenting the hard disk etc.) didn't solve it either.
    Daniel Mettler, Sep 27, 2004
  6. Daniel Mettler

    Chris H. Guest

    Dan, take a look in Control Panel/Administrative Tools/Event Viewer. Tap
    the Application listing in the left pane and it'll reveal system events in
    the right pane. Look for yellow triangles with black exclamation points or
    red circles with white X's in them. Those are error messages and can be
    right-clicked to reveal a portion of what's happening.

    I suspect you need to pay close attention also to any issues which may be
    listed in Device Manager. If there is any correlating information between
    Event Viewer listings and problems in Device Manager, it may take a
    reinstall of specific drivers - even if they're showing "okay" in Device

    Chris H., Sep 27, 2004
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