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Dell Precision M4500

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Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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October 14, 2010 1:25:11 PM

Hello, I just got a brand new Dell Precision M4500 laptop with docking station + dual monitors from my employer. From what I understand, this is a pretty high-end laptop, with an i7 dual core processor and Quadro FX 1800M graphics. Its running Windows XP SP3. The issue I am having with it is that it runs like absolute garbage when I load pretty much any program. For example, when I start up AutoCAD (which this laptop is supposedly tailor-made for), for like 2 minutes the computer is borderline unresponsive as it loads the program, and once it finishes loading it still doesn't run great at all. Another frustrating experience is loading anything with java in internet explorer or firefox. It slows the computer down significantly while the java document or program is loading. I just installed the blackberry desktop software and that slows the computer down for 45 seconds or so while its starting up too.

To sum up, pretty much anything besides internet explorer seems like it is stretching the limits of this computer, which should not be the case at all. The computer does have full hard disk encryption, which I was wondering if that could slow it down, but I was assured that it doesnt. This computer is running as slow or slower than my old computer, which was like 1/10th the power of this one.

Does anyone have any ideas of what could be wrong? Is it configured improperly? I know I could turn to my IT dept but I kind of prefer to solve problems myself if possible.

Thanks for your help!

More about : dell precision m4500

October 15, 2010 12:47:05 PM

alright, to give myself a bump and maybe increase my chances of getting a response, i'll add a bit more information. I've been doing some drilling into the computer, with some help from google, to try to get to the root of it. I was looking at my laptop at home, and when it is sitting idle, task manager shows pretty much zero CPU usage (though to be fair I have disabled a ton of software on it to get it to run faster). On my work computer, when the computer is sitting idle, it shows CPU usage of about 27%. This seems way higher than it should be. The culprit seems to be the process "system," which I dont think I have on any of my home computers. I downloaded Windows Process Explorer to try to look inside this "system" task and see whats causing it to hog a quarter of my processing power all the time. Process Explorer does show System using 27% of my CPU, but in all the subheadings under it, nothing is using anywhere near that much processing power. I should expect all the subheadings' CPU usage to add up to the total usage of System, right?

Any ideas?
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October 15, 2010 12:54:38 PM

OK, drilling EVEN DEEPER into Process Explorer, i think I have found the culprit. When I looked into the System Process, I found a list of "threads" running under it. There is a thread with a start address ntkrnlpa.exe!wctomb+0x7b3 which is using roughly 25% of the CPU, nonstop. Any idea what this is, and if I can stop or kill it?

Thanks
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October 21, 2010 5:15:08 PM

bump, no one has any ideas?
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Best solution

October 21, 2010 9:09:05 PM

I have the same sytem with a similar configuration. I can make the problem go away if I boot up with the lid open. I am not sure why this works but its a work around until someone can figure out the root issue.

I hope this helps.
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October 21, 2010 10:21:48 PM

I will try this tomorrow at work. If you are correct, you will be my hero. its been maddening trying to solve it. Do you boot with the system on the docking station, or off the docking station? Are you running XP?
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October 21, 2010 10:35:35 PM

Yes, I have a docking station with two monitors and am also running WinXP sp3.
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October 22, 2010 5:56:10 PM

cannot believe it was as simple as this, but you are right. Started it up this morning with the lid open and it runs perfectly. Got AutoCAD drawings up on both monitors, and its running smooth as can be.

Thanks very much for your help
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October 22, 2010 5:57:20 PM

Happy I could help
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October 22, 2010 5:57:37 PM

Best answer selected by eocoolj.
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November 8, 2010 2:14:13 PM

Solution worked for me too!
I'll investigate this further!
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November 8, 2010 6:05:02 PM

would love to hear if you come up with the root cause. Problem could be related to video drivers?
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November 11, 2010 12:33:16 AM

Problem is related to the video driver.

1 - Uninstall version A07 of your nVidia driver in device manager
2 - Reboot
3 - Then go to support.dell.com and install the A06 version of nVidia Quadro FX 1800M. (When you click on Video Driver and then the hyperlink for nVidia - Driver, on the next page there is a link next to the version "Other Versions." Select the top link for A06 and then select the hard drive link for the driver. )
4 - Save and then run. That should install the driver for you.

Note:
If it tells you it had a problem installing the driver, you will need to point the device to the driver folder. http://pcsupport.about.com/od/fixtheproblem/ht/updatedr...
1 - Open Device Manager
2 - Right click on the Video driver with an ! and select Update Driver
3 - No, not this time radio button and then click the Next > button.
4 - From a list or specific location (Advanced) radio button and then click the Next > button. Click the Browse...
Include location C/Dell/Drivers/R267779 (select the + and choose Video instead of Audio)
5 - Continue with the installation
6 - Reboot

This solution is for Windows XP only.
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December 15, 2010 2:33:10 PM

New release A08 fixes the problem for me.
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!