Archive for May, 2012

two problems with win7

I finally had enough of two long-standing problems that bugged me in Windows 7, so I fixed them.

1. The ‘System’ process uses a low level of CPU (~6%) when nothing is going on.
2. Chinese characters in the system (e.g. file names) suddenly become boxes.

The first problem caused excessive battery drain along with the CPU fan going on and off all the time. Because Task Manager doesn’t tell you what is under the ‘System’ process, I had to use Process Explorer, which promptly identified the culprit: a revolving series of threads labeled ‘ntoskrnl.exe!KeReleaseInStackQueuedSpinLock+0x1e0′. This would appear to be some issue with a driver stuck on something and aimlessly retrying. It turns out turning off Wifi cured it. An updated driver for the Broadcom 4313 802.11n card fixed the problem permanently. The old version was from 5/2011. The new version that does not have the problem is from 10/2011.

The second problem is caused by a little-known new setting in Windows 7. Under Control Panel -> Fonts -> Font settings, there is an option “Hide fonts based on language settings.” It’s simply broken, so I just turned it off.