Crazy CPU usage only at one wireless location
May 22, 2007 6:13 AM   Subscribe

Why does my ThinkPad z60T freeze as soon as I go online - but only in one particular location.

I connect regularly to the Internet on my Z60t from many locations: at work via ethernet cable, at home via the embedded wireless card and an Airport Extreme, at a second location via an Airport Express, and at various hotels using whatever access they have.

It works fine in every location except the one with the Airport Express, where, as soon as I connect to the Internet, the CPU instantly goes to 100% and stays there indefinitely. As soon as I disconnect, CPU usage drops down below 5 %. But only at this one location. At all other locations it's always ok.

I don't do anything different to connect to the Express and the Extreme,and both use 128 WEP key encryption.

My wife also connects wirelessly at all the same locations I do with her Apple laptop, and she has no problems at the location with the Apple Extreme. I also have an HP desktop that connects to the same Apple Extreme, and it has no problems.

This is new behaviour that started about 6 weeks ago; before that I had no problem.

The CPU usage seems to jump around randomly among many different processes. For example over the last few minutes the following have all been recorded with 20-80% CPU at different times.


I don't have Help currently running. Killing the helpsvc.exe process is successful, but has no effect on CPU usage. When CPU is high this process is not necessarily running anyway.

I run Spy Sweeper, Super AntiSpyware, Spybot, adaware, and AVG regularly - but remember this is only at one location, so I'm not sure it has anything to do with spyware. The ISP at that location is Optimum Online.

I ran RATT process tracking, but don't know what to do with the results or whether they are helpful. The items with the highest count in the latest log are SYMTDI.SYS, TDI.SYS, and NDIS.SYS.

Any ideas or troubleshooting tips?

posted by lockedroomguy to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hmmm... I had a svchost.exe maxing out my CPU (Z60m) whenever I went online - but that was every time. That was caused by a bug in the auto update, which I turned off and it went away.
posted by strawberryviagra at 7:15 AM on May 22, 2007

I guess we're the only ones with IBMs (Lenovos?) - I strongly suggest (if you haven't already done so), fucking off all the bloatware and installing either linux or a clean Windows XP.

In the absence of anything more interesting or valuable to add.
posted by strawberryviagra at 6:33 AM on May 24, 2007

I also have a z60t that has been behaving obscenely lately.

I thought Windows XP had turned bad from crap I had installed, so I blew that away and did a "reset to factory" re-install + all updates, including IE7. Terrible performance. Disabled Automatic Updates. Still terrible performance.

So then I used a clean copy of Windows XP and only installed necessary drivers + Lenovo Rescue & Recovery + disabled auto-updates. Terrible performance.

I downloaded Sysinternal's Process Explorer (free from Microsoft) and it appears all the CPU usage is going to Hardware Interrupts and Deferred Procedure Calls. Then I downloaded RATTV3 (also free from MS) to monitor those interrupts and DPCs. It appears NDIS.sys is having a major freak-out. And that is where I am now. I'll update you as I find a fix.
posted by fourstar at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2007

So yeah, I isolated the poor performance to the wireless network adapter, a Thinkpad 11a/b/g Wireless Mini PCI Express Adapter (manufactured by Atheros). I disabled/enabled the device, which seemed to fix it, then went one step further and rolled to the driver version Seems to be behaiving normally again, even after a couple of powercycles.

Hopefully you've already figured this out, but if not, give it a try!
posted by fourstar at 1:19 PM on May 28, 2007 [1 favorite]

I was really hoping the clean install of WinXP minus all the Lenovo bloatware would be a godsend. I was just about to do that. I guess there's no real advantage (just takes so long to go through all of this - 2 days last time, restoring and installing everything).
posted by strawberryviagra at 3:32 AM on May 31, 2007

Actually, my system is back to terrible performance. I have disabled the internal wireless and opted for an external card for the time being. I might replace the internal with the Intel one Lenovo offers (their BIOS limits you to using their components) ... I already made one botched attempt at it
posted by fourstar at 12:18 AM on June 4, 2007

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