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mouse and programs lag

I recently created a home network between my desktop and laptop. My cable modem is connected to my desktop through a NIC, and the connection is shared with my laptop via CAT5 and the intigraged network card on the desktop's motherboard. Both PCs are XP.

When the internet is being used on the laptop, my mouse (and my programs to a certain extent) lag. Why? Should I try another NIC in the desktop and not use the integrated one?

1 Solution
Are you using a cross-over cable between the two machines?

LAG in apps is usually caused by CPU usage not Network usage.  Check for viruses, perhaps one machine is infected with something that is creating connections to the second machine and causing the lag.

Invest in a simple Cable/DSL router, for $50, they do woners and offer you basic firewall protection out of the box.
So it ONLY lags when you have your laptop on the network as well?

I've never used Window's ICS, but I'd assume its implementation is reasonable enough to not take up THAT much CPU... Another idea could be to try this:

Open regedit.exe and goto:
Change or add the following DWORD value:
DisableTaskOffload 0

This is apparently supposed to offload network computations to the network card (I've never seen a difference, but it doesn't hurt).

Or take the conservative route and start by opening up task manager (right click explorer bar->task manager) and check out whats taking up CPU time when its lagging.
 I agree with aindelicato, the router is a good idea for any home network and always check for viruses/adware/spyware.  Besides routers are so cheap and so useful.  If you were about to purchase another NIC for your Desktop, just get  4 port LinkSys instead.  The onboard NIC should be fine. No need in taking up an open slot.
  I also agree with SciGuy, Network usage (even with ICS running) should not hurt mouse performance. Usually you can find some process in TaskManager that is hogging the CPU.  If the mouse driver and hardware is fine, some process is pegging the CPU close to 100% to make your mouse act up.
  If ICS is the culprit, the Router will solve the issue. The LinkSys works great right out of the box.  It's as simple as connecting your Cable modem to the router and connecting your Desktop and Laptop to open ports.  Make sure you change the Routers Admin password (there is an internal admin website on the router).
  If you really need or like to use ICS, you could use your Desktop (with its 2 NICs) as a firewall/proxy/ICS server.  By connecting your Cable modem to your 1st NIC, enabling all your goodies, connecting your 2nd NIC to the Router, and connecting your laptop to the router you should be able to share your Desktop's connection.
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DHTAuthor Commented:
Ok. Sorry for the delayed reply.

aindelicato: I have Trend Micro (up to date) on both pcs. I also use ad-aware, spybot S&D, and spysweeper on both pcs. (the real time scan is not enabled on any of them, so that thats not a factor). No malicious code running.

Sciugy: My desktop only lags when the laptop's brower (any browser) is open and downloading data. I tried the reg tip, but no luck. Also, using the task-manager to take a look at CPU usage, at no time is it ever above 7%.  I''m clueless.

The "lag" isn't trivial, its substantial. My mouse cursor will freeze for 5 seconds at a time. I suppose I'll get a router tomorrow and see if that does the trick. If so, I'll be awarding points then.

Thanks a bunch for your help so far.

I still dont see how ICS can make a mouse lag.  Since your CPU usage isnt high or anything, it could be a processor scheduling issue.  Or maybe a crappy mouse driver that can have its refresh rates affected somehow?  So, heres two more suggestions

1) A couple more things u can try (although probably still a long shot) is changing processor scheduling:

right click my computer->properties->advanced tab->Performance settings->advanced tab

under "adjust for best performance for" check "programs".

2) Update your mouse drivers.  Although I've never experienced bad lag, I do notice that optical mice can sometimes get slightly better responsiveness when using updated drivers instead of the stock windows ones.

good luck,
DHTAuthor Commented:
Well the hardware router solved the problem, so points were awarded to the first to give me that tip. However I'd like to thank all of you who took the time to help me out.

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