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MS KB 896256 - XP Kernel update for MultiCore CPUs


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SYMPTOMS

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.

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.

SOLUTION

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.

[KB 896256] updates XP kernel & HAL to version:

  • 28-Sep-2005 23:35 5.1.2600.2765 134,272 Halmacpi.dll
  • 29-Sep-2005 00:02 5.1.2600.2765 2,136,064 Ntkrnlmp.exe
  • 28-Sep-2005 23:35 5.1.2600.2765 2,057,344 Ntkrnlpa.exe
  • 28-Sep-2005 23:35 5.1.2600.2765 2,015,744 Ntkrpamp.exe
  • 29-Sep-2005 00:04 5.1.2600.2765 2,180,096 Ntoskrnl.exe
  • 28-Sep-2005 23:32 5.1.2600.2765 30,720 Arpidfix.exe

I have uploaded the patch in 7 languages. To

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AMD released a program/driver called AMD Dual-Core Optimizer earlier this month. It does a similar fix around the Time Stamp Counter.

Games that rely on this function will have a better frame rate...

This will solve the issue of game that slowdown when they are on a dual core. *clearing voice + picking the bullhorn* Call of Duty 2 seems to be in this crappy developped game list. So the workaroud that required to change the affinity of the game on a dual core system (forcing the game on one core) is not required anymore. (supposed to be)

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Nice finding, Fabrice.

I just found that http://support.microsoft.com/kb/910623 has the latest Kernel fileversion for XP namely

5.1.2600.2868 16-Mar-2006

Can anybody provide a download link?

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Here's what I was able to dig up:

Microsoft KB 896256

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896256/en-us (English page)

This gentleman claims to have it in an updated rollup pack:

http://www.techspot.com/downloads/2932-rya...pdate-pack.html

Which includes the latest kernel build 2885.

Microsoft KB 889816

(XP SP2 build 2885)

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/889816

I'm still looking for an official download link. Regardless, that package RyanVM posted claims to have the latest hotfix.

Oddly, the HAL, at least the ACPI portion named "Halmacpi.dll" has not changed since the KB 896256.

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Interesting, now it would be great for KB889816 to have a download link with international file version, such as german :) , as RyanVM is probably english only (haven't downloaded yet)

Here's what I was able to dig up:

Microsoft KB 896256

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/896256/en-us (English page)

I have posted download links for 6 languages in the first post :)
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I downloaded the RyanVM package, but you can't do a standalone installation. It's designed to be merged with the XP installation disk when you do a new installation or upgrade. Someone else must have that kernel installer.

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:) anybody can provide us the new XP Kernel?

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:) anybody can provide us the new XP Kernel?

Yes, I found a slightly newer XP Kernel plus the latest but only in english.

Important fix: Hibernate mode works properly for 2GB RAM (had trouble with it).

http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=909095

Ntkrnlmp.exe 5.1.2600.2774 2,136,064 12.10.2005

Ntkrnlpa.exe 5.1.2600.2774 2,057,344 11.10.2005

Ntkrpamp.exe 5.1.2600.2774 2,015,232 11.10.2005

Ntoskrnl.exe 5.1.2600.2774 2,180,096 12.10.2005

Unfortunately I only found it in english, german and french.

There's a website called "hotfix share" that has the newer kernels in english. They also have plenty of other hotfixes.

Here's a list of the kb's and the corresponding kernel versions.

We can always try and phone or email MS, apparently they send them out on request.

I hope this helps, a lot of work has gone into this research.

If someone gets hold of a newer german kernel, please post here.

Edited by Zak
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:)

Appreciate the time that went into the creation of this post :P

edit: Hibernation with v5.1.2600.2774 (KB 909095) works here (my Laptop is equipeed with 1GB RAM) :)

Edited by ®®®
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:)

Appreciate the time that went into the creation of this post :(

edit: Hibernation with v5.1.2600.2774 (KB 909095) works here (my Laptop is equipeed with 1GB RAM) :)

I forgot to thanks you for your great post!

:P

It made me search for this stuff in the first place.

But why are you surprised that you're not affected anymore?

1) KB909095 is the one that fixed hibernate

2) The problem doesn't always occur. For me it only happened after I did lots of stuff (i.e. used a lot of ram). Even then this only occured since a few weeks ago. Anyways, it should be fixed now.

The other important fix for laptops may be the "changed battery is detected wrong".

I'd love to get a current kernel for my german windows...

Edited by Zak
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:) i have misread that one sentnece. You're correct :)

I have uploaded KB909095 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2774 (12-Oct-2005) in the given 3 languages (plus i found 3 additional northern european languages elsewhere and uploaded these, too). To

Also i have uploaded KB889816 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2885 (12-Apr-2006) in given English. To

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I dont seem to get it.

The KB889816 patch which contains the latest kernel files was released in April 2006, while the 896256 patch for Multi core cpus was released in June 2006 but it takes the kernel to an older date.

Which patch should i apply? KB889816 with the latest kernel date or kb 896256 for multi core cpus with older kernel date?

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The files date back to sep 2005, i just found these at 8th June by accident available for free in an OEM FTP archive.

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Which patch should i apply? KB889816 with the latest kernel date or kb 896256 for multi core cpus with older kernel date?

The kernel patches have a LONG validation process which means that something developped in september 2005 hit the shelves in june 2006.

Depending on your need apply one or the other... but you are likely to be running on a very old kernel version. I'm typing this on my fully updated... and the kernel version is *drum roll* 5.1.2600.2622 which date 2004.08.04... basically this is the version installed by the SP2 patch that got released later in august 2004.

If your computer have 2 cores AND that has and use power saving profile... you might want to use the the multicore kernel... otherwise stick with the "old newer" version of the kernel.

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Actually I have a Core duo processor.

Wont it be better to just apply both the hotfixes?

Wont the newer kernel have the 'multi core' fix of the older kernel in it anyway??

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If you want to believe that... :) then apply both. :)

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Yes, the multi-core fix contains an extra file, so applying both is the right way to go.

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Corrected Dutch download link in first post (sorry Pieter :) )

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I tried the multicore patch on my system, and whether it was the patch or just my system configuration at the time, I had major problems. I would receive frequent BSOD and finally had to rebuild Windows from SP2. Now that I have the system back up and all the software back on and functioning, I think I'll wait till it moves from a hotfix to a fully tested Windows update available fix just to be safe.

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I tried the multicore patch on my system, and whether it was the patch or just my system configuration at the time, I had major problems. I would receive frequent BSOD and finally had to rebuild Windows from SP2. Now that I have the system back up and all the software back on and functioning, I think I'll wait till it moves from a hotfix to a fully tested Windows update available fix just to be safe.

I may be wrong but I think Microsoft doesn't issue official kernel fixes unless there's a critical security problem with it. Or when a new service pack comes out.

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For KB 909095 i found 3 additional languages (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish) elsewhere and uploaded these. The links are in post 11.

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Guest Leeroy

So much computer mumbo jumbo.

I was just wondering, I want this performance gain, im on a 2.82 pentium dual core, what do i install and i how do i do it? I know thats pretty sad but im a nub when i comes to computer stuff.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Here's a list of the kb's and the corresponding kernel versions.

We can always try and phone or email MS, apparently they send them out on request.

I hope this helps, a lot of work has gone into this research.

If someone gets hold of a newer german kernel, please post here.

What's funny is that the KB numbers aren't in the same order as the kernel versions. If one had all the patches in the folder, one would end up applying in the numerical order 889816, 896256, 909095, 910623, 914882 which would mean you would first have kernel version 2885, then 2765, then 2774, then 2868, and finally 2853. So it seems like if you used the KB numbers in the file to install on other systems, you'll end up in a mess since the lowest number is the newest one and not the oldest one. :)

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That list now needs to be updated - Kernel 2945 is included in update KB917422.

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Updated list then looks like this:

  • kb896256 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2765 (29-Sep-2005)
  • kb909095 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2774 (12-Oct-2005)
  • kb914882 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2853 (21-Feb-2006)
  • kb910623 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2868 (16-Mar-2006)
  • kb889816 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2885 (12-Apr-2006)

  • kb917422 - Kernel 5.1.2600.2945 (12-Apr-2006)

But then after checking i found that KB 917422 includes only an updated kernel32.dll, while the others update the actual kernel files Ntkrnlmp.exe, Ntkrnlpa.exe, Ntkrpamp.exe and Ntoskrnl.exe

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