A Mind @ Play

random thoughts to oil the mind

Tag: Troubleshooting

Laptop

CPU Throttling

Over the past few weeks I’ve had a niggling suspicion that my machine was running slowly. Things felt a little sluggish, sites were less responsive, switching between applications took longer than usual. My machine was showing signs of ageing, despite its relative youth.

Then I tried launching Heroes of the Storm, a game I hadn’t played for a few weeks and which had been updated in the meantime. After getting through the menus and starting a game, the performance gradually plummeted, with the frames per second dropping from around 20 at launch to just 1 when there were a few moving characters on screen at once.

Since other games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive didn’t exhibit the same unplayable jerkiness, instead reacting rather more like the rest of my system in being generally lethargic, I assumed something in one of the patches had ruined my settings. After rooting around on the forums I found a variety of potential solutions, including running the 32-bit client, verifying the installation, reinstalling the game, reinstalling drivers, changing resolutions, running the game in windowed mode, forcing Nvidia’s hand in the control panel, and many more.

In reality, however, the problem had nothing to do with the game itself, but something had instead gone horribly wrong with my power management settings. Although I hadn’t touched them myself, somehow my CPU was stuck in first gear, being throttled down to 5% instead of dynamically altering to cope with the demands of the system at any particular time.

The solution on Windows 10, in case anyone should have the same problems, was simple:

  1. Navigate to the power options in the Control Panel (or for a shortcut, hit WIN + R and type powercfg.cpl).
  2. Verify that you’re using the default Balanced power plan.
  3. Click Change plan settings then Change advanced power settings.
  4. Scroll down the list to Processor power management and check the entry for Maximum processor state.
  5. Normally this should be set to 100%. If it isn’t, either do so manually, or if you haven’t otherwise changed anything about your power management settings, click Restore plan defaults.

Kindle 4 WiFi Frustrations

Just had a maddening time trying to work out why a Kindle 4, which was to replace a Kindle 3, refused to connect to the family wireless. After trying all of the obvious – resetting devices, checking passwords – it was off to scour the web for a solution. All kinds of suggestions cropped up, relating to passwords or SSIDs with special characters, or wireless networks using channel 13, but none of them applied to our situation. Finally I hit upon a post which hinted that the Kindle 4, unlike its predecessor, doesn’t support WPA2 with AES encryption. Switching the router over to accept WPA/TKIP and WPA2/AES together didn’t make a difference, but the device finally logged in when I turned AES connections off altogether!

Just to paraphrase the post, Kindle 4s won’t connect to a wireless network if it:

  • uses WPA-Enterprise or WPA2-Enterprise
  • is an ad-hoc network
  • has data encryption set to AES only
  • is set to 802.11n only

Further settings that might cause problems include if the network:

  • has data encryption set to TKIP+AES (even though TKIP is available, it might not connect)
  • is set to broadcast on channels 12, 13 or 14, or it is set to automatically choose a channel and lands on one of these (USA only uses channels 1-11)
  • has a pre-shared key containing special characters

Quite why Amazon release an upgraded device with downgraded hardware is beyond me. WPA2 is hardly a recent development, and is pretty much a requirement to be fully compliant. I’m only surprised that there weren’t more users having problems and complaining. Worse is that it isn’t detailed anywhere, nor do Amazon employees themselves seem to have much clue about what their device does and does not support, judging by the number of flummoxed users on the forums. Just one more reason I’ll be sticking with paper.

Another WordPress Blank Page

There are plenty of examples out there of WordPress installs suddenly displaying blank pages—on admin pages as well as frontend posts—after changing themes, adding/removing plugins or updating the WordPress backend. Whilst there is plenty of good information out there covering most of the usual suspects, I just came across another which was fairly difficult to track down given the lack of information, though pretty easy to solve once I’d found it. If like me you’ve at any point tried to streamline your WordPress install by cutting down on a few unnecessary services, and reducing the number of calls to the database, you may have added some lines to your wp-config.php file like so:

define('TEMPLATEPATH', '/path/to/theme/directory');
define('STYLESHEETPATH', '/path/to/theme/style.css');

Fairly innocuous, until you actually change your WordPress theme, in which case those long forgotten about resource savers will leave you with little more than a blank page to diagnose your problem. If this is the case though, just updating the lines or commenting them out will leave you with a workable system once again.

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