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  1. #1
    EarlMorton
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    System pauses every couple minutes

    I recently upgraded from Win95 to Win98 SE, first at work and then at home. On both systems I've noticed that every couple minutes the whole system pauses for a couple seconds: if I'm typing it stops showing my text; if I'm moving the mouse, the pointer freezes. After a couple seconds the system wakes up and my typed text or mouse movements catch up. It's as though some process is running in the background and regularly takes over the system for a couple seconds. It's annoying because, for example, when I notice that the letter I have just typed wasn't displayed, I think I just didn't hit the key hard enough and I retype it and continue. But then suddenly I have two letters and I have to stop and backspace over the extra one. If I'm doing some precise painting in Photoshop, it's even worse when the mouses freezes.

    At work I thought it was probably the network doing some kind of polling, but when I installed Win98 at home and found it doing it there also--with no network involved--I decided Windows must install something else by default that is causing this.

    I've searched the MS Knowledge Base but haven't found anything. Does anybody have any ideas on what is causing this and what I can do about it?

    Thanks!

    Earl Morton

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    My first guess is not enough RAM, matched to a relatively slow hard disk. You didn't mention your system configuration so I'm just guessing. Win98 with less than 64Mb RAM does put a fair load on the disk drive.
    Granville

  3. #3
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Further to Granville's post - if it is a memory problem, you are likely to be seeing a lot of HD activity when everything freezes.
    If this is the case, (and probably anyway) it's a matter of dumping as much as you can that could be using up your precious resources - wallpaper, fast-find etc. Cntrl_Alt_Del should tell you about some of what's going on.

  4. #4
    EarlMorton
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    That sounds like a good guess, seeing that I neglected to mention such helpful details. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15> However, I have 192 MB of RAM at home and I believe 256 MB at work. So that shouldn't be the culprit. I've probably got some kind of utility that would say how fast my hard drives are at home, but I really don't think they're to blame, either. The pauses don't seem to correspond to HD activity, they do seem to be quite regular (every two minutes +/- 5 seconds (if my informal timing was at all accurate), and my computer at work was new just before Christmas, so it should have a recent and fast hard drive.

    I should also mention that I have a 300-Mhz Pentium II (at home) and a faster Pentium (700+ MHz) at work. Actually, the fact that the same thing happens at both home at work leads me to suspect Windows 98, because it started on both systems when that was installed, and the two systems have virtually nothing else in common.

    Any other ideas?

    Earl

  5. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Right, the first thing to do is to totally ignore my last post.
    Next, how similar are the effects with your two pc's - i.e. are they both exhibiting the problem every 2 minutes?
    Next, you want to try and isolate what might be causing it. After a re-boot, and with nothing started, can you see your system freeze just by continuously moving the mouse round the screen? If not, start something like Word where you can see when it has come into effect.
    If it has not started, then startup the other app's you may normally have running (e.g. Outlook ?) until it does.
    If it starts from boot-up, run "MSINFO32" from Start | Run - this should list everything that starts automatically.
    Then it's deerstalker-on time while you try and work out what may be causing it.

    BTW - are you on a network?

  6. #6
    zeus
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Pretty odd, not common to win98SE,
    in my experience.

    I would bet that you have an OEM with odd stuff
    loaded.

  7. #7
    ileacy
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Did you happen to re-install office? If so, did you get FindFast installed?

    This is the number one culprit for this symptom.

  8. #8
    EarlMorton
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Thanks for all the ideas! To follow up, I am on a network at work, but not at home. I have Office 97 at work, but not Office at home. (I'm a Lotus SmartSuite user when I have a choice!) At work, I don't believe they installed FastFind with Office. The 2-minute timing seems to hold true on both systems, and I timed that by watching my watch while constantly moving my mouse around in circles to keep it moving. (The behavior is actually a little more complicated than I mentioned before. After the initial pause it works again for about 10 seconds, then pauses again, then another 10 seconds, then another pause. Then at the two-minute mark, the cycle repeats.)

    I'll try starting up with nothing both the bare minimum, but Windows has so many background tasks going that I can't control and don't know anything about, it might be hard to pin it down to one of them. Again, since it happens on both systems, and since there is no commonality between the two systems in the startup software that I can control, I suspect it's something built into Windows or some default setting in Windows, rather than my software. But I'll look into that further.

    Earl

  9. #9
    ileacy
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    This really sounds like a background task of some sort. You can use Start|Run|MSINFO32|+Software Environment to get more information on your system.

    "Running Tasks" provides a good report of what is running on your system

    "Startup Programs" tells you which programs are loaded at startup and how they are loaded.

  10. #10
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Earl,

    Try this and see if it helps any.

    Run MSCONFIG (START -> RUN -> MSCONFIG)
    Edit SYSTEM.INI and add the following values:

    [386enh]
    ConservativeSwapFileUsage=1

    [vcache]
    MinCacheSize=4096
    MaxCacheSize=8192
    ChunkSize=512


    You might also consider going to the system applet in the control panel and chaging the Virtual Memory settings so that the swap file has the same Minimum and Maximum value. Experiment to find the best size but a starting point is 2.5 times physical RAM.
    -Mark

  11. #11
    EarlMorton
    Guest

    Re: System pauses every couple minutes

    Thanks, everyone for all the helpful information! I seem to have gotten it fixed. (I won't know until tomorrow if the same solution works at work.) In MSCONFIG I went through the list of Startup programs, and realized that both systems have McAfee's VirusScan going, and it has a number of background tasks. It was easy to turn off as a test (start with the easy ones, right?), and the pauses went away. To confirm this, I contacted their tech support, and they said it was an activity-logging program (ALOGSERV) that really isn't very useful (except maybe in a corporate environment), and told me how to turn it off in MSCONFG.

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction!

    Earl

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