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Core Duo Power Sapping Bug is Microsoft Issue 109

Posted by Zonk
from the explore-all-possibilities dept.
illusoryphoenix writes "A few weeks ago, Tom's Hardware noted a significant reduction in battery life of the Core Duo processors it tested when USB devices were inserted. Intel claimed that Microsoft had a bug in their USB drivers, while Tom's Hardware was unable to reproduce the same result for any of the other Pentium M microarchitecures. This issue has finally been publicly confirmed by Microsoft to be a USB driver problem which keeps the processor from entering advanced sleep states."
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Core Duo Power Sapping Bug is Microsoft Issue

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  • Oh My God! (Score:4, Funny)

    by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:43AM (#14741936)
    There's a driver glitch with brand new hardware!!! It's already been two weeks and they haven't fixed it yet!! What does this mean for the computing landscape? Is this Wintel's downfall? Will Apple return to their days of prominence? The implications could be enormous!
    • by dlZ (798734)
      There's a driver glitch with brand new hardware!!! It's already been two weeks and they haven't fixed it yet!! What does this mean for the computing landscape? Is this Wintel's downfall? Will Apple return to their days of prominence? The implications could be enormous!

      Didn't you hear??? Apple is switching to MS Windows, I heard it from a reliable source! And Linux costs just too much to run, we're all out of alternatives!
    • Re:Oh My God! (Score:5, Informative)

      by evilgrug (915703) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:08AM (#14742121)
      "There's a driver glitch with brand new hardware!!! "

      Actually it affects Pentium Ms as well, according to Anandtech.

      "It's already been two weeks and they haven't fixed it yet!!"

      Microsoft first identified the issue and published a Knowledgebase article July 12, 2005. That's a little more than 2 weeks.

      In fact, the regedit quickfix they're recommending was also published on that date ... meaning they still haven't resolved it 7 months later.
    • Re:Oh My God! (Score:5, Informative)

      by tpgp (48001) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:09AM (#14742130) Homepage
      I know that you're joking, but I have to reply to the serious parts of your post.

      There's a driver glitch with brand new hardware!!!

      From the TFA
      When a peripheral device was connected to a USB (universal serial bus) 2.0 port, the notebook's battery life plunged at a greater rate than would normally be expected from the use of a peripheral such as a mouse or storage key.
      Nope, not new hardware. USB is not new. The core duos just made the problem more obvious.

      It's already been two weeks and they haven't fixed it yet!!
      From the TFA
      Microsoft published a Knowledge Base article on the subject in July 2005, but made that information available only to PC vendors and partners, a company representative said in a statement.
      So, its actually been over six months and they haven't fixed it yet.

      As usual, Microsoft waits for an issue to become public before bothering to fix it.
      • by cloudmaster (10662) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:45AM (#14742411) Homepage Journal
        From the TFA

        Don't you mean "From the TFA article", or maybe "from the friggin' TFA article"? :)

        FYI information, this post is courtesy of Windows XP, based on NT technology, and transimtted using NIC card features to get the message posted as ASAP as possible.

        just becuase I've nothing more to contribute (except that Tom's Hardware sucks)
      • Re:Oh My God! (Score:3, Interesting)

        by cnettel (836611)
        One could argue that keeping USB2 devices plugged for long in a laptop running on battery is a kind of new scenario. The issue is also aggrevated on a dual core machine, as the need for "deep sleep" on one of the cores is actually a quite common scenario there, whereas the effects on a single-core older Pentium M is less pronounced (especially if you're using the system for anything, like playing a MP3, which will prevent your system from going to that level of power saving most of the time anyway).
    • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:14PM (#14742683) Journal
      There's a driver glitch with brand new hardware!!! It's already been two weeks and they haven't fixed it yet!! What does this mean for the computing landscape? Is this Wintel's downfall? Will Apple return to their days of prominence? The implications could be enormous!


      John Dvorak, is that you?
  • anandtech test (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dionysus (12737) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:45AM (#14741964) Homepage
    According to some testing over at anandtech [anandtech.com], problem was in the way Windows XP polls USB2 devices.
    • In the Linux kernel Dave Jones also found [livejournal.com] a power consumption problem with USB, but it seems (to me) that the USB spec is just f*cked up - i wonder if this microsoft issue is related.
  • This is good news (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:46AM (#14741972) Homepage Journal
    That means its fixable with a minor software patch. Much better then having broken hardware.

    At least we know someones QA is still working.. ( and that wouldnt be microsoft in this case )
    • by KarmaMB84 (743001)
      The fact that it didn't break until a brand new processor hit the scenes tells me their QA was fine. How do you QA for non-existant products?
      • RTFA.

        It existed already for other Intel processors, it was made more pronounced by the new hardware.

        What's the QA for your post?
      • This problem is present on your little Pentium M laptop's also. So, sorry, this problem has been around and known about for over six months.
        • "This problem is present on your little Pentium M laptop's also. So, sorry, this problem has been around and known about for over six months."

          Why wasn't there a pitchfork party over it 6 months ago, then?
      • >How do you QA for non-existant products?

        That's what code reviews are for. A good code review can often (not always) find problems before they show up at runtime. Several years ago, I was doing a code walkthrough (less rigorous than a review) for a new feature that required the brand spanking new IE 4 to work. The code was written to look for the literal string "MSIE 4" in the User-Agent header; when IE 5 came out, the code would have failed to detect it. This was QA for non-existent products. The engi

        • by FireFury03 (653718) <slashdot@@@nexusuk...org> on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:36PM (#14742923) Homepage
          A good code review can often (not always) find problems before they show up at runtime.

          In my experience, code reviews only pick up the reasonably obvious problems - your example was an obvious problem that could be spotted a mile off. Code reviews generally don't tend to pick up problems in intricate algorithms.

          Infact, looking at the user agent string _at all_ is a bug, nomatter what string you're looking for. It is the reason that browsers have to fake their UA strings (IE claims to be Mozilla, Opera often claims to be IE, etc) - if you check UA strings then you have to update the site every time a new browser is released. On the other hand, presumably your UA test was to serve up some specific code needed to work around browser bugs - that makes detecting a later version of the browser and serving up the same code to be an invalid thing to do since that later version which hasn't yet been released may not have the same bugs so you're suddenly serving up workarounds that aren't needed and may potentially break.

          That said, as other people pointed out, whilest MS didn't originally spot this bug (whcih may or may not be a problem with their QA procedures), they _did_ spot it over 6 months ago and didn't bother to fix it - that's the bigger problem. I wouldn't complain too much since under existing hardware this didn't affect people much - the real problem is that they also take this attitude with security bugs, and that's more worrying (only fix the bug when it has public attention... usually coz it's being exploited in the wild)
        • I'm going to take a wild guess here and state that the problem was likely a much more complicated scenario.

          Aside from that, I'm also going to guess that an operating system is a wee bit more complicated than a webapp you reviewed.
      • The fact that it didn't break until a brand new processor hit the scenes tells me their QA was fine.

        It was present in the Pentium M as well. So I would say it's their PR dept that's been working fine, not their QA dept.
        • I would say it's their PR dept that's been working fine, not their QA dept.

          Actually, since they're getting bad PR now, but dozens of Random Q Slashdotters are saying that "tells me their QA was fine.", it means their shills are working hard, not that their PR department's working fine...
    • by tpgp (48001)
      This is good news....That means its fixable with a minor software patch. Much better then having broken hardware.

      Good news for whom?

      I agree that it's certainly good for people unfortunate enough to use Microsoft's operating systems - they'll be able to fix a problem with a software patch rather then a hardware patch.

      However, it's certainly not good news for microsoft - the small amount of trust that people have left in MS's QA processes will be lost in the news that they found this bug over six months ago,
    • Hopefully, Microsoft will have the patch available as part of Windows Update, maybe in an out-of-cycle update (though I doubt this since dual-core Intel CPU's are still not that common yet on notebooks).
  • Tom's was wrong (Score:5, Informative)

    by jamesl (106902) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:52AM (#14742011)
    AnandTech has an in depth analysis. Like most things, the answer can't be found in a headline.
    http://www.anandtech.com/mobile/showdoc.aspx?i=269 3/ [anandtech.com]

    We've spent almost the past two weeks performing non-stop battery life testing on five notebooks with up to 4 different USB devices, testing theories, trying to pinpoint exactly what causes this problem and testing Microsoft's fix. What follows is the process that we went through in our labs when faced with this strange bug.

  • by Potatomasher (798018) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:58AM (#14742039)
    Intel with a dropped e ? That's so like 1970 to end of 2005.
    Get with the times Slashdot.
  • Ok, you can have your choices...
    We can ask Redmond to fix the security vulnerabilities, we can ask Redmond to bring back the Teletubbie Hill with Vista, or we can ask them to fix various USB-related and ACPI power issues. Choose 1.
    Don't be picky.
  • BIOS Fix? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by slashnik (181800) on Friday February 17, 2006 @10:59AM (#14742055)
    From TFA

    Microsoft outlined a fix that involved modifying the registry key for USB 2.0. However, since then the company has realized that this is an impractical fix for most users, and is working on a new fix that could involve a BIOS update patch


    What! Microsift to patch the BIOS
    Not on my notebook
    • Because a BIOS patch is much more pratical for most users? I get annoyed just by having to use a floppy drive to update my BIOS.
      • Bios flashing can be done live on Windows nowadays.
        • Only on some systems...

          But this becomes useless if the old boot-floppy method gets removed as a result, what if you have another os installed? Or you need the bios update before windows will run?

          Bios updates should be useable from multiple types of bootable media, cd, usb, floppy etc...

          Or the bios itself should have an update function, whereby it can read a FAT or iso9660 filesystem from USB, floppy, CD or HD and open the appropriate update program... DEC's AlphaBios did this very nicely, and giving someone
        • Technically, I can do a live update from Windows. But Asus doesn't seem to care enough to write decent software, as it does not recognize that mine is an Asus brand.
    • Re:BIOS Fix? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gstoddart (321705) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:12AM (#14742147) Homepage
      Microsoft outlined a fix that involved modifying the registry key for USB 2.0. However, since then the company has realized that this is an impractical fix for most users, and is working on a new fix that could involve a BIOS update patch

      What! Microsift to patch the BIOS
      Not on my notebook

      Indeed. Microsoft can easily patch their own friggin' registry monstrosity.

      Patching the BIOS of the machine is an outrageously bad suggestion, and a bad precedent.

      How long before MS patches everyone's BIOS into oblivion or DRM hell?
    • Re:BIOS Fix? (Score:2, Informative)

      by ecuador_gr (944749)
      Ok, I might be overboard here, but something does not feel right. MS does confirm that it is their usb driver's fault, but a possible solution would be a BIOS upgrade??? How is not a Windows update able to fix an MS driver bug?
      But if it is not really a driver bug, as the BIOS statement would indicate, why on earth would MS cover for anybody?

      It does not make sense! If Chewbacca lives on Endor, you must acquit!
      • Well, the actual transition between power states is controlled by both the OS and the BIOS. We also have the interesting fact that the actual time spent in C3 is reported incorrectly by the common way to do it in Windows. This is highly hypothetical, but it would be possible that some code checks "am I running in C3 now, if so, poll less extensively" and that the BIOS is responsible for reporting the C3 state incorrectly.
        • Again, if the BIOS implements power saving "as it should", meaning that other OS's with properly implemented drivers don't exhibit the same problem, then we would not have to update the BIOS.
    • and is working on a new fix that could involve a BIOS update patch

      Try parsing that this way: "and is working on a new fix that could require a BIOS update patch from the vendor".

      What! Microsift to patch the BIOS
      Not on my notebook


      You and Bill need to have a sit-down about whose notebook that is. See section 23.4.2 of the XP EULA.
  • So predictable. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by twitter (104583) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:04AM (#14742093) Homepage Journal
    Good thing no one made the Critical error of speciously faulting Apple or Linux without testing [slashdot.org], that would look like FUD when faced with a typical Microsoft problem.

    • My favourite example of this was someone posting "there is NO WAY ON EARTH simply OPENING a jpeg could trigger a virus", about a month before the jpeg buffer overflow vulnerability was found.
      • s/could/should/ and I'd agree with that statement. Hell, I could have made it. Buffer overflows should be painful for the programmer.
        • I know, but I had pointed out that windows had had similar things with gifs before. Heck, libpng had a pretty nasty buffer overflow not so long ago. It's a sorry state of affairs, but assuming any sufficiently complicated piece of software doesn't have security flaws is almost certainly wrong.
    • The problem cropped up on Windows machines, why would anyone fault Apple or Linux in this case?

  • by revery (456516) * <charles@[ ]2.net ['cac' in gap]> on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:06AM (#14742107) Homepage
    Core Duo Power Sapping Bug

    [Starscream holds a press conference]
    Ummmm, yes... we were hoping no one would notice, but it's the fricking Insecticons gathering Energon for Megatron... Again. Microsoft only got involved because they own the North American rights to all acts of evil.

  • by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:11AM (#14742139) Homepage
    I can't get into a deep sleep when someone jabs a USB plug into one of my ports, either. Apparently I'm hot, I'm pluggable, but I'm not hot-pluggable.
    • by Odin's Raven (145278) on Friday February 17, 2006 @02:01PM (#14743703)
      Inexperienced hot-pluggers often feel this way. First, and most importantly - there's absolutely nothing wrong with you - you are hot-pluggable. Don't let a bad initial experience convince you otherwise.

      The realy problem here is with technique - jabbing is never recommended. You want to firmly grasp the peripheral near its end, then gently slide it into the port. Okay, try that a few times - firm grasp - good! - and gennnntly slide it in. Now withdraw the device, and gennnntly reinsert. In and out, in and out, over and over and over again. Excellent, now you're getting the hang of it.

      Although it's sometimes normal to encounter resistance inserting a peripheral into a brand-new port, this friction should disappear with use. Be extra-gentle in these circumstances, and resist the urge to just jab a device into the slot. Again, slow and easy, gently sliding in and out. Yes...yessssss! Getting frustrated and randomly jabbing with your peripheral is unlikely to result in a successful connection, and can damage your peripheral unit or the slot. Overly forceful insertions have even caused the tip of a device to snap clean off - don't let this happen to you!

      Deep sleep is a separate issue. It's normal not to sleep immediately after a peripheral is inserted - the unit is in active use, and sleeping would be undesirable. Wait until interactions with the device have ceased before entering sleep.

      Hopefully this has cleared up some of your concerns. Remember that hot-plugging is a perfectly normal activity, one which anyone can learn to enjoy with a little practice.

  • by jnadke (907188) on Friday February 17, 2006 @11:32AM (#14742312)
    Jesus... if Microsoft fixed every little bug to come along, then who would upgrade to Vista?!?!?
  • Important This article contains information about how to modify the registry.

    Make sure to back up the registry before you modify it. Make sure that you know how to restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up, restore, and modify the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
    256986 (https://premier.microsoft.com/kb/256986/ [microsoft.com] [microsoft.com]) Description of the Microsoft Windows registry

    SYMPTOMS
    Consider the following
    • Re:Here's the fix... (Score:4, Informative)

      by akac (571059) on Friday February 17, 2006 @12:38PM (#14742942) Homepage
      If you read the article, you'd also see that this "fix" also caused stability issues and didn't work after coming out of sleep.
      • Thanks for the info, someone needs to mod you up.

        I thought it seemed suspicious that the functionality was there and easily enabled with a registry setting, but disabled by default. The feature was obviously found to be buggy by Microsoft's QA and deliberately disabled for the release. I guess they figured that it was better to let the USB suck power than to have it fail on wakeup.

      • If YOU read the article you would know there is no such 'stability' issues:

        From TFA:

        "Unfortunately, the solution isn't completely ready for public deployment, as there are apparently still some scenarios where it doesn't fix the problem. There may be issues with the problem re-appearing after putting your system to sleep, which are presently being worked on. However, for the majority of situations, this simple registry modification should, in theory, take care of things. "
        :
        :
        "The problem is that the fix is
  • by scarlac (768893)
    Resumed from hibernation - Now entering Zombie Sleep State(tm)
    *deep and sinister buzzing sounds comming from the harddrive*

    But seriously - if there's one thing I really miss, now that i've been using 99% linux for over 1½ year, it's proper power management features. I've tried a few distros and none of them delivered 100% working power management, such as standby.
    I did, however, manage to get hibernation up and running, but apparently the docs on softwaresuspend aren't perfect, and I did manage to be a
    • It would help if hardware vendors tested their ACPI BIOSes to check that they work with more than the weird Microsoft interpreter, and played nice with proper implementations such as those in Linux and FreeBSD as well. This is predominantly why the PM features of Windows 2000 et seq. work so well "out of the box".
    • It tends to work better if you use APM instead of ACPI...

      Linux implements ACPI according to Intel's specs, while most hardware manufacturers implement it according to what works with microsoft's broken and undocumented implementation.

      APM works really well on my Thinkpad T42, even hibernation to disk works perfectly (and it uses the bios, not the os, software suspend is very flakey) with one caveat, you have to change to a text or framebuffer console before you hibernate (if you hibernate from X11 it sometim
  • Whelp, if the overwhelming volume of ads at Tom's Hardware wasn't enough reason, now there's bad information up there as well? Does anyone remember when Tom's Hardware used to actually be a useful site that one could actually navigate effectively, and that would load in less than one hour per page? I guess it does still feel like I'm browsing it on a dialup, so they haven't changed *that* part...
    • Their big problem is that they're highly incompetent windows dwelling idiots. So there is only so much they can report before they have to make up shit.

      A real hardware site would cover more than custom expensive PCs.

      Like what of servers? rackmountables? cheaper desktops for poorer people? benchmarks of things that aren't games or synthetic? etc...

      All those require them to have two bits of knowledge between the staff.

      Tom
  • My new MacBook doesn't have that problem! Stupid Microsoft and their lack of teSTTgh347%$#ATH0+0+[NO CARRIER]
  • -Knock Knock
    -Who's there?
    -Zonk.
    -Zonk who ?
    -Zonk the guy who has breaking news about the Intel Core Duo
    -Zonk the guy who's always 2 weeks behind CowboyNeal ?
    -*grunt* Yes, THAT Zonk.
    -Well in that case why don't you fark right off mate!

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