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Cannot undervolt with either ThrottleStop or Intel XTU

marc_oc

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Hi, I had been using ThrottleStop for some time to undervolt my laptop's CPU to reduce its temperature, but some time ago I noticed that ThrottleStop had a strange behaviour it did not have before.
- When going to the FIVR menu the Turbo ratio limits are greyed out and can't be changed
- Changing the offset voltage for the CPU or the cache seems to have no effect
- The set multiplier option doesn't show the turbo frequencies
- As soon as ThrottleStop launches, my CPU doesn't go over 2.2 GHz (Base clock), even after closing ThrottleStop
- If I open ThrottleStop again, it shows that the current frequency is 0.00 MHz

Thinking that a windows update might have stopped ThrottleStop from working I tried to download Intel XTU. But when I launch XTU I get the following error:
"Unable to start Intel XTU. If there is another performance tuning application running, you must close it before trying to start this application".

I saw that some people had issues with a microcode update disabling undervolting capabilities, but my laptop shouldn't be affected as it uses a Broadwell CPU. Since I am running the insider preview of Windows 10 I tried to create a Windows To Go USB drive with an older version of Windows, and ThrottleStop seems to be working properly on the older version. This makes me think that there might be a bug with the preview build of windows, but I looked around and I didn't see anyone report any issues recently, so I am not sure if that is the problem.

Has anyone had an issue similar to this and have you been able to fix it if that is the case? If it's of any help I can provide the logs that intel XTU generates when I try to launch it.

My laptop is a Lenovo Thinkpad X250 with a Core i5-5200u running the 19619 Insider Preview build of Windows 10.
 

unclewebb

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ThrottleStop does not work correctly on many of the Windows 10 Insider Preview builds. Microsoft would like to block it from running. When an official version of Windows 10 is released, they count up the complaints, change their mind at the last minute and allow ThrottleStop to run after all.

ThrottleStop runs on the latest official Windows 10 1909 Build 18363. Will have to wait and see if it continues to work on the next official version 2004 Build 19041.

- If I open ThrottleStop again, it shows that the current frequency is 0.00 MHz
This usually means that Windows is blocking ThrottleStop from reading one of the CPU registers.
 

marc_oc

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Yeah, thats what I figured, I guess we will have to wait until the official release of the update.

Thanks for answering!
 

unclewebb

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Unable to start Intel XTU
Another user had this same problem recently while running the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview version. He found that the new Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) feature was the problem. This uses a VM which prevents ThrottleStop and Intel XTU from accessing your CPU registers. XTU does not start up and ThrottleStop does not work correctly. He was not even using this feature but it was still active. Disabling WSL solved his problem.

Disabling "Virtual Machine Platform" (required for running WSL 2) brings back expected functionality.
 

marc_oc

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That seems to have fixed after disabling Virtual Machine Platform and Hyper-V. I hope they fix it so we can use WSL 2 and Throttlestop at the same time since WSL 2 brings some nice improvements but i'll stick to WSL 1 for now. Thanks for following up!
 
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So it is better not to update windows 10 after 1909 until further notice?
my configuration is rock solid thanks to ThrottleStop and I don’t want to ruin it.
 

unclewebb

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Not sure if WSL 2 and ThrottleStop will ever be compatible. ThrottleStop and Intel XTU need direct access to the CPU's registers. That is why ThrottleStop does not work in a VM.

So it is better not to update windows 10 after 1909 until further notice?
Sounds like a wise choice to me. Let other users go first and be the guinea pigs. I am pretty sure that ThrottleStop will work OK in the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 20H1 release. It might not work at all if you need to use WSL 2. Have to wait to see what Microsoft comes up with.
 
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Sounds like a wise choice to me. Let other users go first and be the guinea pigs. I am pretty sure that ThrottleStop will work OK in the upcoming Windows 10 May 2020 20H1 release. It might not work at all if you need to use WSL 2. Have to wait to see what Microsoft comes up with.

Fine, but do you mean to disable Windows Update entirely ?
 

bodayw

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Hi, just registered in order to post here.

I would like to add that ThrottleStop is still not working on the "stable" release of Windows 10 2004 build 19041.264. Basically the issues are the same with OP: turbo ratio limits cannot be changed, undervolting has no effect etc.

I'm on a Surface Pro 7 with a i5-1035G4. When I was testing ThrottleStop on Windows 1903 yesterday it worked just fine.

Strangely, none of these are enabled in Windows Features on my machine: Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Platform, Windows Subsystem for Linux.
 

unclewebb

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Windows 10 2004 includes firmware (BIOS) updates for some computers. After the update, CPU voltage control and turbo ratio adjustments will be locked.

ThrottleStop is not the problem. It is your BIOS that has locked your CPU. Going back to 1903 will not help. You can try going back to the previous BIOS version but Microsoft usually locks going back.
 

bodayw

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Thanks
Windows 10 2004 includes firmware (BIOS) updates for some computers. After the update, CPU voltage control and turbo ratio adjustments will be locked.

ThrottleStop is not the problem. It is your BIOS that has locked your CPU. Going back to 1903 will not help. You can try going back to the previous BIOS version but Microsoft usually locks going back.
Right...I'm aware that there are some BIOS updates recently locking down CPU voltage control from a few brands, but didn't think that could be the case for me.

Feels like undervolting has become too popular such that they started to take actions against us now?

Anyway thanks for the quick reply. Have been always appreciate your work.
 

unclewebb

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Feels like undervolting has become too popular such that they started to take actions against us now?
Intel released a microcode update last December which blocks CPU voltage and turbo ratio adjustments. It is not about the popularity of under volting. Intel is trying to prevent Plundervolt security hacks.


More and more BIOS updates are going to contain this fix. No more software voltage control. If your laptop does not offer voltage control in the BIOS, you are out of luck.
 
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garyliu

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Hi, just registered in order to post here.

I would like to add that ThrottleStop is still not working on the "stable" release of Windows 10 2004 build 19041.264. Basically the issues are the same with OP: turbo ratio limits cannot be changed, undervolting has no effect etc.

I'm on a Surface Pro 7 with a i5-1035G4. When I was testing ThrottleStop on Windows 1903 yesterday it worked just fine.

Strangely, none of these are enabled in Windows Features on my machine: Hyper-V, Virtual Machine Platform, Windows Subsystem for Linux.
Exactly the same laptop brand and the same issue. Surface pro 7 (i5-1035G4 version) is really bad in heat control, and I have to resort to CPU undervolting. XTU does not support the CPU brand, and ThrottleStop cannot work ("could not open winring0.dll") because of the recent update. And my last resort got ruined...
 
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Intel released a microcode update last December which blocks CPU voltage and turbo ratio adjustments. It is not about the popularity of under volting. Intel is trying to prevent Plundervolt security hacks.


More and more BIOS updates are going to contain this fix. No more software voltage control. If your laptop does not offer voltage control in the BIOS, you are out of luck.

Does this mean that Throttlestop is basically dead on systems with Thunderbolt?

edit: disregard my nonsense
 
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Does this mean that Throttlestop is basically dead on systems with Thunderbolt?
why are you referring to Thunderbolt ?
The vulnerability seems to affect Intel® 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th Generation Core™ Processors, with no reference to the presence of Thunderbolt.
BTW, basically any Intel CPU "patched" will lose the possibility to software control over voltage parameters.
TBH last BIOS upgrade by Dell still gave me the voltage control, but we don't know about the future.
 
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why are you referring to Thunderbolt ?
The vulnerability seems to affect Intel® 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th & 10th Generation Core™ Processors, with no reference to the presence of Thunderbolt.
BTW, basically any Intel CPU "patched" will lose the possibility to software control over voltage parameters.
TBH last BIOS upgrade by Dell still gave me the voltage control, but we don't know about the future.

You're 100% right, thanks for the correction. So many bloody vulnerabilities with people trying to give them cool-sounding names that it all gets very confusing...

I guess my question is to @unclewebb - where to from here for ThrottleStop? If undervolting is going to be locked down for more and more people due to BIOS updates and Hyper-V and WSL and and and... are you still going to continue to support and develop this software? Particularly when most of that support is likely to be answering repeated "why doesn't ThrottleStop work on my machine" questions like this one?
 
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You're 100% right, thanks for the correction. So many bloody vulnerabilities with people trying to give them cool-sounding names that it all gets very confusing...

I guess my question is to @unclewebb - where to from here for ThrottleStop? If undervolting is going to be locked down for more and more people due to BIOS updates and Hyper-V and WSL and and and... are you still going to continue to support and develop this software? Particularly when most of that support is likely to be answering repeated "why doesn't ThrottleStop work on my machine" questions like this one?
you are right.
My solution so far has been to avoid any BIOS update after last January, but that doesn't apply to new laptops. As usual a very poor job by Intel regarding those "hot fix". :shadedshu:
 

unclewebb

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ThrottleStop cannot work ("could not open winring0.dll") because of the recent update
What recent update? What version of Windows are you using? Other users are running ThrottleStop in Windows 10 2004. The only known issue at the moment is the Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits feature might not work in Windows 10 2004.

Did you unzip the ThrottleStop folder? Did you try right clicking on ThrottleStop.exe and selecting the Run as administrator menu option?
 

SnakeX

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I face an issue with ThrottleStop after Windows update, version 2004, that cause BSOD with error PAGE_FAULT_IN_NONPAGED_AREA. This blog refers that this is because "Disable and Lock Turbo Power Limits" (RwDrv.sys) is checked, as unclewebb mentioned, which really seems to be the reason in my case. Strangely, this happens randomly to me whenever I run ThrottleStop with RwDrv.sys enabled. I mean at a first-run of throttlestop I will get the BSOD and then after two BSOD restarts, it will work just fine even with RwDrv.sys enabled. However, I will always get BSOD whenever I make ThrottleStop scheduled to run at windows start, thus, I had to run it manually now.

I have checked the undervolting and the other settings on those random cases where ThrottleStop works without BSOD, it works fine and everything was set according to HWiNFO64.

Following some suggestions, I have set virtual-ram/automatic-paging to no paging at all, so far, it works but not sure if it is really effective.

I have Dell XPS 9550 with i7-6700HQ, 16GB RAM
 

TheNetAvenger

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Windows 10 2004 includes firmware (BIOS) updates for some computers. After the update, CPU voltage control and turbo ratio adjustments will be locked.

ThrottleStop is not the problem. It is your BIOS that has locked your CPU. Going back to 1903 will not help. You can try going back to the previous BIOS version but Microsoft usually locks going back.

Neither of these statements are entirely accurate.

BIOS updates are from the OEM, not Microsoft, and they must conform to the UEFI BIOS updating mechanisms. Even in this tightly integrated update method, rolling back a previous BIOS is a 'requirement' by Microsoft, and can often be down through rolling back the System Firmware Bios version Device Manager. Microsoft is fun to blame for crap, but this is one thing they get right, and try to enforce properly. (Locking and UEFI locks are something Microsoft doesn't like - so much that it is easier to unlock a Microsoft Surface Laptop/Tablet and install Linux than it is to 'unlock' most Chromebooks.

OEMs can lock BIOS regression, but this is a pre-UEFI BIOS lock. However, even tightly locked BIOS (notebooks) often have a BIOS option allowing for BIOS downgrades. (Due to enterprise sales and customer requirements.)

-Windows 2004 works just fine with Throttlestop and XTU.

The last thing to mention here, is that many times users THINK a BIOS or OS update has locked their system from using XTU or ThrottleStop. 99% of the time these are not locked, and instead the BIOS needs to be retrained to identify the microcode and control firmware changes properly. Thus, these features will remain locked for stability reasons. This is often fixed with a simple: ('Load System Defaults') in the BIOS (NOT BIOS Defaults)

For example there is a Dell G7 brand of notebook, and the 'rumor' is that all later BIOS updates lock ThrottleStop and XTU from undervolting. However, the functionality NEVER changed. This isn't true, as the latest June 2020 1.13 BIOS works just fine with XTU and ThrottleStop.

The reason changing to an older BIOS 'seems' to work, is that users rollback will do a 'Load System Defaults' when rolling back - or the rollback process of the BIOS itself runs the retrain boot feature. This also requires the current Windows EFI boot be selected as the retrain/boot information is added to that boot loader's EFI. (So if you have Dual Windows Installs for testing, 'Load System Defaults' when booting (after the Windows Boot Manager Selection Screen)

The option is usually 'Load System Defaults' -as BIOS defaults just loads settings but does not force any hardware retraining. If the BIOS doesn't seem to retrain, there is often a Power Button combination (Hold Power Button 45 Seconds) that will force the retraining - see OEM manuals. Ultimately, the user can also pull the CMOS and/or system battery for 30 seconds, this will force a full RAM and CPU/Microcode/Boot/Firmware/UEFI retraining.


I didn't want to dig this thread back up, but if I can add even one bit of information that helps someone, I think it is worth it.
 
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Neither of these statements are entirely accurate.

BIOS updates are from the OEM, not Microsoft, and they must conform to the UEFI BIOS updating mechanisms. Even in this tightly integrated update method, rolling back a previous BIOS is a 'requirement' by Microsoft, and can often be down through rolling back the System Firmware Bios version Device Manager. Microsoft is fun to blame for crap, but this is one thing they get right, and try to enforce properly. (Locking and UEFI locks are something Microsoft doesn't like - so much that it is easier to unlock a Microsoft Surface Laptop/Tablet and install Linux than it is to 'unlock' most Chromebooks.

OEMs can lock BIOS regression, but this is a pre-UEFI BIOS lock. However, even tightly locked BIOS (notebooks) often have a BIOS option allowing for BIOS downgrades. (Due to enterprise sales and customer requirements.)

-Windows 2004 works just fine with Throttlestop and XTU.

The last thing to mention here, is that many times users THINK a BIOS or OS update has locked their system from using XTU or ThrottleStop. 99% of the time these are not locked, and instead the BIOS needs to be retrained to identify the microcode and control firmware changes properly. Thus, these features will remain locked for stability reasons. This is often fixed with a simple: ('Load System Defaults') in the BIOS (NOT BIOS Defaults)

For example there is a Dell G7 brand of notebook, and the 'rumor' is that all later BIOS updates lock ThrottleStop and XTU from undervolting. However, the functionality NEVER changed. This isn't true, as the latest June 2020 1.13 BIOS works just fine with XTU and ThrottleStop.

The reason changing to an older BIOS 'seems' to work, is that users rollback will do a 'Load System Defaults' when rolling back - or the rollback process of the BIOS itself runs the retrain boot feature. This also requires the current Windows EFI boot be selected as the retrain/boot information is added to that boot loader's EFI. (So if you have Dual Windows Installs for testing, 'Load System Defaults' when booting (after the Windows Boot Manager Selection Screen)

The option is usually 'Load System Defaults' -as BIOS defaults just loads settings but does not force any hardware retraining. If the BIOS doesn't seem to retrain, there is often a Power Button combination (Hold Power Button 45 Seconds) that will force the retraining - see OEM manuals. Ultimately, the user can also pull the CMOS and/or system battery for 30 seconds, this will force a full RAM and CPU/Microcode/Boot/Firmware/UEFI retraining.

I didn't want to dig this thread back up, but if I can add even one bit of information that helps someone, I think it is worth it.

Not to call you a liar, but I have never heard of "re-training" associated with BIOS/UEFI except in terms of memory. Please can you provide a source for this information?
 

TheNetAvenger

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Not to call you a liar, but I have never heard of "re-training" associated with BIOS/UEFI except in terms of memory. Please can you provide a source for this information?

I'm using 'retrain' as a generic term. As for how the BIOS updates hardware information and applies these settings to the Windows Boot Loader is a bit more indepth.

Test it.

If you want to understand what is happening, you will need a deeper dive into Intel microcode, how bios hold specific updates to the microcode, and how they are applied through EFI to the booting operating system.

TL:DR - And I'm being very vague here to make this digestible for average readers.

The OS's UEFI load must be coordinated with the microcode/firmware changes and settings in the BIOS. If not, the BIOS microcode is used, and Windows is locked from loading additional microcode or managing the CPU from inside Windows. By resetting factory defaults, on the next boot, the BIOS will present the Windows UEFI boot with the new information so that it may coordinated and store it in the bootloader.

When this is out of sync, the BIOS microcode and settings are absolute, thus preventing Windows loading the full microcode in 'genuine' - and Windows along with all software on Windows is prevent from adjusting, changing, or managing CPU features as they are locked in the basic BIOS microcode that first loaded.

I don't mind explaining things or providing basic references; and I am always open to being wrong or mistaken.

The best references would be specifically in the: Windows UEFI firmware update platform, sections on the Microsoft site from: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows-hardware/drivers/bringup/boot-and-uefi

(Intel also provides information on how microcode is loaded though bios/firmware updates with the expectation of a more adaptive/performant version to be loaded by the operating system.

Just trying to help.
 
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