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Freeze / lockups caused by usb network adapter

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Old 05-17-2007, 04:11 PM   #1
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Hello,

I need help with a system freeze/ lockup problem on windows XP.

System:

I have a mediacenter PC in my living room. It is connected only to a Toshiba CRT HD télévision set with DVI TVout (or S-Video if needed). It has a PS/2 optical mouse (Microsoft) and a PS/2 IBM keyboard. (Specifications below)

It is on Windows XP PRO SP2 patched all the way to march 2007 and runs GBPVR htpc software 9912, very little software, no antivirus, ThightVNC server and Sygate firewall.
The install is fresh

Specs:

AMD Athlon XP 2600+ Barton (333mhz)
Soyo K7VME Motherboard with sound and LAN (Micro ATX)
1 GB Kingston (2x512mb) DDR DIMM PC2700 (333mhz)
ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb
Hauppauge WintTV PVR 250 hardware capture/tuner card
Ultra 350watts Power supply
Netgear WG111 USB Wireless Network adapter


Description of the problem:

The system works perfectly fine but for one thing. When left idle for many hours (overnight usually) it locks up completely. No BSOD, No error message, nothing, the screen is black. No mouse, no KB, no LAN (I can't access it remotely from my main PC) A hard reboot is then necessary. It rebbots fine and works well after that until the next freeze.

It never freezes when in use, encoding,videopalyback, etc...never. Locks only when left idle for many hours.

What I have done to fix it:

I used a very long process of elimination. I tried other Graphics cards. 2 other models, ASUS Radeon 9600XT/TVD and Geforce4 Ti 4200. Replaced the PSU, tested the memory and the CPU, replaced the HardDisk, reinstalled Windows and the whole system. tried SP1 only, and then SP2. Tried S-video out and DVI and VGA on a standard monitor. I monitored my CPU, Board and GPU temperature and they are normal.

I was stumped because none of those things fixed the problem. It only eliminated them as the cause. Until I read a post in a forum where a USB LAN adapter caused a similar problem and it is then I found the culprit: My Netgear USB adapter (Old or newest drivers installed make no difference)

I unplugged it and the problem completely went away. If I connect it again, problem comes back.

All my periperals look fine in the Device Manager and when connected the network works fine. I can browse the WEB fine and control it from my Main PC trought my Wireless router using ThightVNC.

To fix the problem I must phisically remove the adapter. Only disabling or closing the connection does not work. Using the netgear software or XP own Wireless manager changes notheing either.

My questions is what can cause this. Is it a USB controller problem, the adapter? Can this be fixed or must I purchase a new adapter? It would be a shame because it works fine and never did this on the previous system it was on in the past.

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Old 05-17-2007, 08:55 PM   #2
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Try this fix maybe ?
http://kbserver.netgear.com/release_notes/D102534.asp

Quote:
3. Fixed the utility handle increase that cause the memory add up and freeze the system

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Old 05-17-2007, 10:49 PM   #3
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You just might be on to something here. The driver is beta but this might just be what i needed.

Thanks. I'll post back with the result.
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Old 05-21-2007, 08:40 AM   #4
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Any luck with that ?
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Old 05-21-2007, 03:40 PM   #5
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Nope..Tried the new drivers.

Froze again yesterday. I gave up and ordered a Dlink Usb wifi adapter From TigerDirect.ca. 35$ (tax and shipping included) after mail-in rebate.

Thanks for your help. I'll keep the NetGear adapter for my Linux laptop. I have a feeling it won't freeze with Unix drivers, Hahaha!
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Old 05-21-2007, 04:58 PM   #6
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Too bad...

I had a similar problem with my linksys PCI wireless adapter. There was a memory leak with the provided software. The solution was not to install that bundled software and only use the wireless-zero configuration service that's included with XP. But I see you've already tried that...

If you want the end of the story we can try some other things, but it would be just for the fun of it since your new adapter is on its way. By the way, if you have a free PCI slot, you'll have less trouble with a PCI wireless adapter than with an usb one.

Have you tried using that adapter with XP's default drivers ? Uninstall the device then let XP redetect it at startup and don't insert the drivers CD. Xp may not recognize it but if it does, might be worth trying.

With your symptoms the problem could come from a memory leak but maybe it's caused by another process than the ones related to your network adapter. Open the Task manager and check whether there's a process which memory usage is constantly increasing. You may want to add the virtual memory and memory usage delta columns from view => select columns.

When your computer is left idle for several hours, does it go in standby or hibernate state ? Maybe the USB controller has a bad wakening. You could try to go to the device manager and prevent that the usb controllers get shut off in their power management options. This picture is self-explanatory :
http://www.daisymm.com/l/en/images/W...Management.jpg
Or try to disable your power management options and leave the computer on for several hours to see if the problem is linked to that feature.
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:05 PM   #7
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Xp does not have is own set of drivers dor this adapter unfortunately.

I disabled both power management features in the BIOS and OS with no result. It's not an APM/ACPI problem.

Your memory handle that keeps climbing idea is good but to observe it I would have to be able to log a whole day of services running and their memory usage and sift trought it afterward. I don't know of any such utility and I am pretty sure from the Netgear fix release that it's the Netgear driver who's memory leaking.

Thanks a bunch for taking the time to help me. I registered on this forum to ask this question and because I am usually more on the answering side than the asking side in forums, hahahaha! Maybe I can help some users here and it's got golden info in it's threads...I'll keep a foot in the door.
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Old 05-21-2007, 06:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steel_j View Post
Your memory handle that keeps climbing idea is good but to observe it I would have to be able to log a whole day of services running and their memory usage and sift trought it afterward. I don't know of any such utility and I am pretty sure from the Netgear fix release that it's the Netgear driver who's memory leaking.
You could use process monitor to create that log if you want to investigate further.

Quote:
Originally Posted by steel_j View Post
Thanks a bunch for taking the time to help me. I registered on this forum to ask this question and because I am usually more on the answering side than the asking side in forums, hahahaha! Maybe I can help some users here and it's got golden info in it's threads...I'll keep a foot in the door.
You're welcome, any little help will be appreciated for its own true worth. But watch out, one day you begin answering other's threads and the next day you wake up a TSF Tech

If you like the infos that are in the sticky threads and the like, be sure to check the Articles, Tutorials & Reviews section.
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Old 05-22-2007, 08:41 PM   #9
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Process monitor..cool...Just put it on my tool cd for future reference.

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