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Old 05-27-2009, 05:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Bold Heavy CPU Utilization?

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I've had my Bold since the AT&T U.S. launch back on Election Day in the fall and been through four OS versions, I think. Started with .167 and was at .244 for quite awhile until jumping to .266 a few weeks back.

Anyway, in the past week to 10 days, I've noticed some new and odd behavior that I've never noticed (at least so severely) on the Bold or any of my previous devices (Curve 8310, 8700c, 7100g, and back to the pager-class days). Things will be working fine, then, without any new activity or application launches, navigation will become noticeably slower -- sometimes to the point of being painfully slow (30 seconds for a menu to come up), but usually just noticeably slower, but still usable.

At the same time, when this starts, the battery gets very warm and begins to drain quickly. I'll go four or five hours and consume less than 20% and then in an hour, it will drain completely.

The combined symptoms (sluggishness, warm and quick-to-drain battery) seem to clearly indicate something utilizing the processor heavily. It's worth noting that available memory will range between 10- and 20-MB when this is happening, which is the same amount I have when things are operating normally. If this were my PC, I'd use one of a number of utilities to monitor CPU utilization by process and likely be able to quickly identify the culprit and either "kill" the process and/or completely uninstall the offending application.

So... a couple of questions:

Has anyone seen this sort of behavior on any BlackBerry or Bold with this (.266) or any OS? I don't think this started right after my most recent upgrade and I can't think of any application in particular that was installed just prior to seeing this problem.

Does anyone know of any *good* process monitoring applications for BlackBerry OS? I've seen some good ones for memory usage, but even those don't go to the per-process level. Is this some limitation of the BB OS, or even the way the JVM manages resources that makes it difficult or impossible to get process-level granularity? I can see the list of running applications a few ways, but there's nothing unusual or different there as far as what's running. And even though the list of running programs is easy to get to, nothing I've found shows any metrics for CPU or memory usage.

All in all, a very frustrating problem, especially with a strong suspicion of what the problem is but not having a way to confirm the suspicion and take some action. Any thoughts are appreciated.

Joe
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Old 05-27-2009, 06:41 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I don't know of any good apps to monitor CPU operation, though there are no shortage of those claiming to show memory statistics.

The only suggestion I have is one you've likely considered: kill (or if the app doesn't allow that, uninstall), one-by-one, any app that runs persistently in the background. More than likely an application has developed a fault and is looping. It's not out of the question for it to be the OS, but until you've stripped it bare of apps...

To simplify your life I'd suggest following the instructions in one of the stickies about backing up 3rd party apps.
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Old 05-27-2009, 09:45 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by roid View Post
...kill (or if the app doesn't allow that, uninstall), one-by-one, any app that runs persistently in the background. More than likely an application has developed a fault and is looping. It's not out of the question for it to be the OS, but until you've stripped it bare of apps...
Yeah, that's what I'm trying now. The only application running persistently in the background, other than "home", phone, messages, and the browser, is the newest version of TellMe -- which is a little strange because earlier versions didn't start in the background automatically with no option to terminate, and it also didn't stay resident once explicitly closed. Since the new version can't be closed and starts at boot-up, I'm uninstalling it.

So we'll see. Have to give it a couple of days to see if uninstalling it makes any difference. Beyond that, though, I believe there are other 3rd party applications that can run in the background but not show an icon.
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:06 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Can you list the 3rd party apps you've installed? Are you on a BES?
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Old 05-27-2009, 10:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Can you list the 3rd party apps you've installed? Are you on a BES?
Yes, I'm on a BES. But listing *all* of my 3rd party applications would take quite awhile. If you're just asking which ones are showing up in the task list, the only 3rd party one was TellMe, but I've uninstalled it and am waiting to see if it makes a difference.
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Old 05-28-2009, 06:02 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Well, I uninstalled the only 3rd party application that was running other than the core OS applications, Microsoft's "TellMe", last night and, knock-on-wood, so far so good. Twelve hours since being recharged and still have 70% battery life and no slowdowns or hot battery either. Too early still to call the problem solved, so I'll continue to monitor.

I hate having to play trial and error, would really love a nice process monitor application, but it is what it is. Out of curiosity, does anyone know if it's even possible to build a decent process monitor, or as I asked originally, is it a limitation of how the BB OS or even the JVM manages "process" that makes this something that can't be done?

What also is odd is that I've had this version of TellMe for at least a month, but only recently noticed this issue, so if it indeed turns out to be TellMe, I'll be a little surprised and may try a reinstall to see if I can reproduce it at some point. At the same time, the fact that TellMe wants to be an always running application along with the fact that it does an index of the contacts databases (in order to do quick lookups using voice recognition) makes me see that it could be an issue with TellMe.

So we'll see. More to follow.
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Old 06-01-2009, 11:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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You might try booting in safe mode. This will prevent third party apps from loading or running in the background, including those that don't appear in the app switcher. If you continue to have the problem you'll likely need to wipe and reinstall your OS.

Safe mode
To startup in safe mode (via Knowledge Base):

Remove the BlackBerry battery and reinsert it

Hold down the Escape key after the red LED goes out and keep holding it

To exit safe mode just remove the battery and reinsert again
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Old 06-01-2009, 04:57 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for the tip, I had forgotten about safe mode. I ended up uninstalling TellMe and so far, so good, after several days of no slow downs, warm battery, and good battery life.

Not one to let well alone, I'll probably try reinstalling TellMe to see if the problem comes back, and if so, I'll officially write the app off. At least until they release an updated version.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:37 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I have a company issued Bold and have had the same symptoms.....battery draining rapidly, etc. Several of my co-workers have had the same issue. We're all running stock at&t .167 firmware.

I am not convinced that it's the battery getting warm, although it might be. A few times when it's happened it seemed to me that the battery wasn't all that warm, but rather the handset itself was generating the heat.

I only have a couple of company specific applications installed and I can't remove them. But I've found that if I notice the handset getting warm and I turn the power off for 10 minutes or so, until it's completely cool again, that seems to stop the problem. At least temporarily, which lets me get normal usage out of however much battery charge remains when I discover the problem.

I'll go weeks at a time without the problem, and then it just happens. I'm not running any particular application(s) when the fire lights off. Last time I was just sitting watching TV and happened to notice the Bold was getting hot.

I'm thinking this is a known Bold issue. I hope that RIM is working on a solution and that at&t will offer an upgraded firmware with a fix some time soon.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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So I found the processor monitor I was looking for... there's one in the RIM "Engineering Screens" or eScreens. Not sure if forum rules allow me to say anything more about how to get to the eScreens, so I'll leave that to Google, but once in there, go to "JVM Engineering Screens" and then "Processes" and it will show a breakdown of the CPU consumption, by percentage, of each of the running modules. The screen also allows for a running process to be killed. It's interesting to see a couple of third-party applications listed there that I didn't expect to be running all the time and which don't show up in the Task Switcher application as running apps, e.g. vlingo, Google Sync, and a couple of others.

Of course the eScreens have all sorts of good information, but pertinent to my thread here with regards to troubleshooting a slow device/heavy CPU utilization/short battery life/warm unit, another useful thing to look at, starting from the main screen, is "OS Engineering Screens" then "Battery" then "Core Frequency Screen", which will show the various processor cores (apps, radio, and DSP) and their current clock speed. For example, the Bold has a 624-MHz CPU, but when the device is under no load, it shows as running at 156-MHz, but it can operate at other frequencies: 156-, 208-, 416-, and 624-MHz, as needed. I assume this is similar to "SpeedStep" on an Intel CPU (not suggesting Intel invented it, so before anyone has a conniption, I'm just using it as an example!)

I removed TellMe a long while ago now, but I may reinstall now to see what I can discern from these screens. Interesting when the phone first comes up from a battery pull or restart, the file indexing process (net_rim_bb_fileindexservice) consumes about 80% of the CPU, which corresponds to going straight into the Media Player and seeing the blue "Scanning..." bar across the bottom of the screen. When it goes away, the CPU usage by that process drops, too. For the most part, total CPU utilization seems to stay below 10%.

All of this does beg the question, if the information is available on the eScreens, it's surprising that no one's developed a slightly more user-friendly version for the uninspired.

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