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I have a problem with an Acer Aspire 1640 with WinXP SP3. The OS was very slow, with the SYSTEM process taking much of the CPU cycles. After some quick Google searches I found that taking the battery out and running only on the wall socket could help. I did that and indeed Windows started performing normally again. Apart from the obvious solution of replacing the battery, is there a hotfix or some other solution to prevent the system from hanging when the battery is plugged?

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migrated from serverfault.com Jul 30 '09 at 13:34

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apparently, the problem is caused by a buggy battery driver - when the battery starts to die, it causes a flood of DPCs, which brings Windows to a crawl. –  user8682 Aug 27 '09 at 9:48
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2 Answers

This is probably an issue of cooling more than an issue of a software based fix. As computers get hotter, they tend to become less efficient and they also tend to have more processing errors. When a system gets too hot, it can cause errors and crashes. The operating system has the ability to manage these types of errors but as they increase in incidence, the actual useful CPU cycles goes down.

That is the short answer for you. I have seen computers lock up completely under these circumstances.

Just another thing I would like to note for you is that these types of problems can also be caused by an out of spec power supply. If the input power signal to the computer is not conditioned properly, it can cause hiccups in the processing ability as computers are very much dependent on being able to reliably detect low and high states within the digital circuitry.

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Could it be that Windows doesn't throttle down while the hardware is getting too hot? In that case it IS a (partial) software issue –  Ivo Flipse Jul 30 '09 at 13:46
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The battery could be heating up, increasing the laptop temperatures and causing the processor performance to trickle down. Most Intel and AMD processors are wired to lower performance and protect themselves when overheated (the voltage is reduced and frequency scaled down).

You could check this out with some simple benchmarking tool to see the CPU performance is actually dropping with the battery and heating.

Check also if the battery is the hottest part in these conditions -- that would confirm heat by battery.

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