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Microsoft accused over power drain issues for XP laptops

By Alun Williams

Posted on 17 Feb 2006 at 11:56

Microsoft is facing controversy over claims that it didn't publicly disclose a problem involving USB 2.0 drivers and their adverse effect on battery life in laptops running Windows XP SP2.

The accusation, reported by news.com, is that a KnowledgeBase article (KB899179) was made confidentially available to manufacturers back in July, but the wider public was left in the dark with the issue not fully resolved.

With the apparent discovery of the article - via the websites TG Daily and Tom's Hardware - it has been reported that the drivers can prevent a mobile processor from saving battery consumption by entering advanced sleep states. The net result is that users unexpectedly lose power. Intel's new Core Duo chip is among the processors affected.

Following the issue being taken up with Intel, the spotlight was then trained on Microsoft when the problem with the drivers was identified...

It is believed Microsoft is working on a BIOS update patch to resolve the problem, but a company spokesperson was unable to confirm this and was awaiting a full response from Redmond, when the West Coast awakes.

Intel, meanwhile, has confirmed that it is working with Microsoft to investigate the issue, and an Intel spokesperson said they have been able to address it with a solution that requires modifications to the registry key and updates to system BIOS.

'However, both companies are still actively validating this fix,' said the spokesperson, 'and both will work with our customers to implement the fix once have internal testing is completed. Intel expects that, once properly validated and implemented, this fix will help prevent significant battery-life impacts in systems connecting to most USB2.0 peripherals.'

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