Virtual PC 2007 Beta: Keyboard Problems (repeating keys)

Last weekend I took the challenge of installing Windows Vista and Office 2007 on my main laptop (Toshiba Tecra M4 Tablet). The installation of Windows Vista went quite smooth, the only problem that I had was an issue with my wireless network at home. I'm using a Belkin router which has a setting called "Turbo Mode" and it seems that Vista doesn't like that one. Luckily I also had a wired connection because it took a while before I figured that one out. :-)

For all my development tasks and my presentations I rely on Virtual PC images, my host operating system only runs Vista Ulitmate, Office 2007 and some tools (but no Visual Studio). So I had to get at least VPC running in a stable state. If you want to run VPC on top of Vista, the latest beta version is the way to go, you can find it on MSDN Connect. Unfortunately there are still some issues with Virtual PC 2007 Beta: when I entered some text once in a while one keypress would be translated into 5 to 10 key presses. Very annoying when writing code of course! In the Feedback section on Connect I discovered that lots of people are having the same issue (in fact it's the number one bug). The status of that issues (ID 225211) is set to "Resolved" so in the next versions it will probably be fixed, but that didn't solve my problem of course. :-) Luckily there's also a workaround posted by a user named DanP1. "Setting the "idle_thread" option in the options.xml file pins the CPU at 100% but does avoid the repeating key problem. Likewise using something like RightMark CPU to execute HLT instructions on idle also causes the problem to go away."

Since I'm running the RightMark RMClock utility to undervolt my CPU (to save some precious battery juice and to keep my laptop cool), I activated the "Run HLT commands when OS is idle" option in the Management section and the keyboard issue went away! If you are wondering what a HLT command is: "It's a command that replaces the idle cycles (which generate heat) with a suspend mode. In advanced CPUs, this command can be executed when a certain percentage of the CPU is idle." (source). The task monitor will show 100% cpu usage but the monitor of RMClock will show the correct values.

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