I got a new laptop a few weeks back, a Dell XPS M1330. It’s a nice laptop; light, a good keyboard and bright screen. I spec’ed it reasonably nicely and it’s got 4G of RAM and a 7200RPM 200G HD.
Despite the high specs, I found that after a week of using it that it started behaving oddly. Basically the keyboard would start being slow and whatever I was typing would start lagging. This was regardless of application (Mail, Notepad, Firefox, etc).
After that it got even worse, with intermittent “pauses” occuring anywhere from 1 second to 10 seconds. The pauses would occur when I was typing or even holding down a key. For instance, hitting the Ctrl key (to do a Ctrl-click on a link in Firefox to open in a new tab) would sometimes cause the machine to “freeze” for 1-10 seconds.
I pulled up a bunch of monitoring tools, but they didn’t show anything interesting. The machine was barely using any CPU. If I left the performance monitor up, normally it updates every second. But if I typed into another window, the performance monitor too would “freeze up” for 1-10 seconds.
So turning to the Internet, I found lots of reports of Vista problems, but nothing that seemed to be specifically like this problem… until I came across this:
The problem description sounded the same. Looking at the update at the end, I pulled up the Dell Mediadirect program, disabled the “Instant Office” feature, rebooted, and suddenly my keyboard is back to actually being useable!
This seems like a serious bug to me. And that post is from September 2007. I can’t believe that every Dell Vista laptop was and still is shipping with this bug?
Update: It seems disabling the “Instant Office” feature wasn’t enough. Over the next day the machine became slow and laggy to keyboard response again. Killing the PCMService.exe process and removing Dell Media Direct does seem to have permanently fixed the problem.