Windows Tip Sheet

Brain Drain

A simple fix from a KB article can keep your disconnected Windows XP SP2 laptop running longer.

Realizing that this column is primarily about Windows server tips, I also realize that most of us admin types carry a laptop, and that a lot of us run WinXP on it. That’s why Microsoft Knowledge Base article 918005, "Battery power may drain more quickly than you expect," caught my attention: Listen, battery power always drains more quickly than I expect. In fact, if any of you work for a company like Sony or Fuji that makes those ultraportable, ultra-battery-life notebooks and you’d like a professional opinion on battery life ... drop me a line.

But it appears that Microsoft has something specific in mind. The article specifically references WinXP SP2, which suggests a potential fix. The article says that USB 2.0 drivers leave the asynchronous scheduler in XP running continuously, preventing the processor from entering the deeper idle states it could otherwise. Option 1 seems to be to just disable USB in the BIOS. You didn’t need that mouse, did you? The KB article actually provides a better suggestion in the form of a downloadable software update, meaning this is an identified bug.

So after you’ve taken care of your own laptop, think about getting this update down to your other laptop users. Extra battery life is always appreciated, and for once you can offer them a patch along with good news: Your battery’s about to last a bit longer.

About the Author

Don Jones is a multiple-year recipient of Microsoft’s MVP Award, and is an Author/Evangelist for video training company Pluralsight. Don is also a co-founder and President of PowerShell.org, a community dedicated to Microsoft’s Windows PowerShell technology. Don has more than two decades of experience in the IT industry, and specializes in the Microsoft business technology platform. He’s the author of more than 50 technology books, an accomplished IT journalist, and a sought-after speaker and instructor at conferences worldwide. Reach Don on Twitter at @concentratedDon, or on Facebook at Facebook.com/ConcentratedDon.

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