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

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Daniel Mettler

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Sep 25, 2004, 5:45:55 AM9/25/04
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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".

Notes:
* 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,

Dan

Chris H.

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Sep 25, 2004, 12:02:06 PM9/25/04
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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.
Microsoft Windows MVP/Tablet PC
Tablet Creations - http://nicecreations.us/
Associate Expert
Expert Zone - www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone


"Daniel Mettler" <mett...@icu.unizh.ch> wrote in message
news:ddae5fc5.04092...@posting.google.com...

Daniel Mettler

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Sep 26, 2004, 6:09:30 AM9/26/04
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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
drivers)
- 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
(v61.77)

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,

Dan

"Chris H." <winx...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<OnS#DkxoEH...@tk2msftngp13.phx.gbl>...

Chris H.

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Sep 26, 2004, 10:30:31 AM9/26/04
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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.

Daniel Mettler

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Sep 27, 2004, 9:13:04 AM9/27/04
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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
http://members.driverguide.com/driver/detail.php?action=download&driverid=111474&from_ums=1)
. 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,

Dan

P.S. The steps I mentioned in my last posting (cleaning up and
defragmenting the hard disk etc.) didn't solve it either.

"Chris H." <winx...@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<emlvjV9o...@TK2MSFTNGP10.phx.gbl>...

Chris H.

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Sep 27, 2004, 10:10:42 AM9/27/04
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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
Manager.

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