Article ID: 896256 - View products that this article applies to.
Expand all | Collapse all

On This Page


Computers that are equipped with multiple processors that support processor power management features, such as Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) processor performance states, require Microsoft Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2). Additional updates are available to optimize performance and behavior on computers that are running Windows XP SP2. Without these updates, computers that are equipped with these power management-capable, mobile, dual-core processors may experience decreased performance or unexpected behavior.

Note This problem also applies to x64-based versions of Microsoft Windows Server 2003. However, this article and its associated private hotfix are not intended to resolve timing problems in games and other applications that run on AMD dual-core computers. For more information about performance issues on dual-core computers, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
909944 Game performance may be poor on a Windows XP-based computer that is using a dual-core processor


Update information

The following file is available for download from the Microsoft download center:

Collapse this imageExpand this image
Download the WindowsXP-KB896256-v4-x86-ENU.exe package now.

Release Date: December 19, 2006

For more information about how to download Microsoft support files, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
119591 How to obtain Microsoft support files from online services
Microsoft scanned this file for viruses. Microsoft used the most current virus-detection software that was available on the date that the file was posted. The file is stored on security-enhanced servers that help prevent any unauthorized changes to the file.


No prerequisites are required.

Restart requirement

You must restart the computer after you apply this update.

Update replacement information

This update does not replace any other updates.

File information

The English version of this update has the file attributes (or later file attributes) that are listed in the following table. The dates and times for these files are listed in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). When you view the file information, it is converted to local time. To find the difference between UTC and local time, use the Time Zone tab in the Date and Time item in Control Panel.
Collapse this tableExpand this table
File nameFile versionFile sizeDateTimePlatformSP requirement


Microsoft has confirmed that this is a problem in the Microsoft products that are listed in the "Applies to" section.

More information

Windows XP SP2 is required on computers that have multiple CPUs that support ACPI processor performance states. This requirement includes computers that support the following items:
  • Multiple physical sockets
  • Multiple-core designs
  • Multiple logical threads, such as Intel hyper-threading technology
Because Windows XP was not originally designed to support performance states on multiprocessor configurations, changes are required to correctly realize this support on multiprocessor systems. Windows XP Service Pack 2 includes the required changes to the kernel power manager. These changes make sure that Windows XP correctly functions on multiprocessor systems with processor performance states.

This hotfix also addresses the following issues on computers that have multiple processors that support processor performance states:
  • A possible decrease in performance on single-threaded workloads when processor performance states are using demand-based switching.
  • The synchronization of the processor Time Stamp Counter (TSC) registers across processors when you use the ACPI Power Management timer on multiprocessor systems.
  • ACPI C-state promotion and demotion issues in the kernel power manager.

Update details

Possible decrease in performance during demand-based switching

Demand-Based Switching (DBS) is the use of ACPI processor performance states (dynamic voltage and frequency scaling) in response to system workloads. Windows XP processor power management implements DBS by using the adaptive processor throttling policy. This policy dynamically and automatically adjusts the processor’s current performance state in response to system CPU use without user intervention.

When single-threaded workloads run on multiprocessor systems that include dual-core configurations, the workloads may migrate across available CPU cores. This behavior is a natural artifact of how Windows schedules work across available CPU resources. However, on systems that have processor performance states that run with the adaptive processor throttling policy, this thread migration may cause the Windows kernel power manager to incorrectly calculate the optimal target performance state for the processor. This behavior occurs because an individual processor core, logical or physical, may appear to be less busy than the whole processor package actually is. On performance benchmarks that use single-threaded workloads, you may see this artifact in decreased performance results or in a high degree of variance between successive runs of identical benchmark tests.

This hotfix includes changes to the kernel power manager to track CPU use across the processor package. These changes enable visibility into the true activity level of a CPU complex and therefore help correctly calculate an increased target performance state.

Note This solution favors performance gains over power savings. Although benchmark performance scores may improve, battery life could be negatively affected. Accordingly, this kernel policy change may be disabled by a registry key to allow for maximum flexibility.

How to disable the new performance state policy behavior

Important This section, method, or task contains steps that tell you how to modify the registry. However, serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Therefore, make sure that you follow these steps carefully. For added protection, back up the registry before you modify it. Then, you can restore the registry if a problem occurs. For more information about how to back up and restore the registry, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
322756 How to back up and restore the registry in Windows

After you install the hotfix that is described in this article, you may use registry settings to disable the new performance state policy behavior.

To have us disable the new performance state policy behavior for you, go to the "Fix it for me" section. If you prefer to fix this problem yourself, go to the "Let me fix it myself" section.

Fix it for me

To fix this problem automatically, click the Fix it button or link. In the File Download dialog box, click Run and then follow the steps in the Fix it Wizard.

Fix this problem
Microsoft Fix it 50608

  • Please install the hotfix that is described in this article before you run this package.
  • This wizard may be in English only. However, the automatic fix also works for other language versions of windows.
  • If you are not on the computer that has the problem, save the Fix it solution to a flash drive or a CD and then run it on the computer that has the problem.

Then, go to the "Did this fix the problem?" section.

Let me fix it myself

To use registry settings to disable the new performance state policy behavior, follow these steps:
  1. Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
  2. Right-click HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager, point to New, and then click Key.
  3. Type Throttle for the new key name.
  4. Right-click Throttle, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
  5. Type PerfEnablePackageIdle for the value name.
  6. Right-click PerfEnablePackageIdle, and then click Modify.
  7. In the Value data box, type 0. Make sure that Hexadecimal is selected in the Edit DWORD Value dialog box, and then click OK.

    Note You can type 1 in the Value data box to enable the new performance state policy behavior.
  8. Quit Registry Editor.

Did this fix the problem?

  • Check whether the problem is fixed. If the problem is fixed, you are finished with this section. If the problem is not fixed, you can contact support.
  • We would appreciate your feedback. To provide feedback or to report any issues with this solution, please leave a comment on the "Fix it for me" blog or send us an email message.

Correct TSC synchronization

On some operating systems, the processor TSC may change the rate at which it counts. Additionally, the processor TSC may stop counting when specific processor power management features are used. On computers that have multiple processors, the TSC is typically the operating system hardware timer that supports calls to the kernel KeQueryPerformanceCounter function. When TSC does not increment monotonically, system components that use the kernel KeQueryPerformanceCounter function may not work correctly. To address this problem, Microsoft makes it possible for the ACPI Power Management Timer to be used as the operating system timer that supports the kernel KeQueryPerformanceCounter function. However, some programs may directly access the TSC by bypassing the Windows timer APIs. The multiple-processor Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) makes sure that the TSC registers on all processors on a multiple-processor computer remain closely synchronized. Therefore, access by system software that may be directed to different processors does not return different results. This change makes sure that the multiple-processor HAL continues to correctly synchronize the TSCs across all processors on a computer, even if the ACPI power management timer is used as the operating system hardware timer.

Correct C-state promotion and demotion

This change corrects issues in the kernel power manager to correctly handle processor ACPI C-state promotion and demotion on multiprocessor systems.

More information

For more information about a related topic, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
835730 Sound may play slowly or music may not play continuously in Windows XP or Windows 2000
For more information about the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates, click the following article number to view the article in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:
824684 Description of the standard terminology that is used to describe Microsoft software updates
The third-party products that this article discusses are manufactured by companies that are independent of Microsoft. Microsoft makes no warranty, implied or otherwise, about the performance or reliability of these products.


Article ID: 896256 - Last Review: May 22, 2013 - Revision: 8.0
Applies to
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard x64 Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise x64 Edition
atdownload kbwinserv2003sp2fix kbqfe kbHotfixServer kbfix kbbug kbfixme kbmsifixme KB896256

Give Feedback


Contact us for more help

Contact us for more help
Connect with Answer Desk for expert help.
Get more support from