How can I stop Remote Desktop continually pausing?

I use Remote Desktop a lot and generally am pretty happy with it. Most of the time it runs consistently from Internet cafes, my relatives' houses etc.. It can be little slow but that's to be expected at times. However, at my partner's house, where I use it most of the time, it will run really well for 60-90 seconds then it will pause, so that even typing doesn't display immediately! The lights on the router stop blinking, and it just sits there for up to 30 seconds, then fires back into life! It is driving me nuts!

I am using a Netgear Rangemax router, and BTOpenWorld is the ISP.. I'm not that impressed with BT, I use Pipex at home and it's much better, but it's OK for normal Internet usage..

Any ideas how to get it more consistent? I am running the bare minimum configuration to try and improve performance..

Dave
Dave_B_CAsked:
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HighTechGeekCommented:
Are you the only one on the network, or are there other connected devices in the house (PCs, XBOXs, TiVos, etc.)? Are you connecting at the house wirelessly or hard wired?
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
There are a couple of other PC's on it, but this happens even if I am the only one on..? It's all wireless, but this isn't a problem for ordinary Internet access, as signal strength is fine...?
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RavenRRCommented:
Try experimenting with you experience settings. Some time you will need to use a lower setting to help with screen refresh. Also what programs are you running over the connection?
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I'm on the lowest posible experience setting, without even bitmap caching, and on 256 colours.. I can't get much slimmer than that..?

I'm just reading and writing emails generally, so not much happening over the connection, but the remote PC is always pretty busy..?
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HighTechGeekCommented:
If you bring up Task Manger on your local PC (not the remote session) and when the remote connection locks up, can you see any processes running locally (virus scanner, windows updater, etc.) that might be slamming the local CPU or the Network in the background?

Are you using the same computer to access it from your partner's slow connection as you are when you access it from a fast connection?
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I'll keep an eye on it..

I use different computer's, the one here is a desktop, and I just use what's available at cafes, friends, relatives etc.. Always back to the same computer, though..
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HighTechGeekCommented:
So it could be the network but it could also be a problem on that particular PC. Have you scanned the PC for viruses, spyware, etc.?

During the 30 second "freeze" are you able to use local functions on the local PC? Or does the entire PC lock up?

Do the lockups occur at a regular interval that could be timed?
Does the freeze occur for an exact time?

The reason I ask, is that it could be some process on the local PC that occurs regularly at a fixed interval. For example, maybe the screen saver is set to kick in after only 1 minutes and it's set for a fancy screen saver that takes time to load and unload in the background. Check the advanced power settings. Make sure none of the settings are set to power down anything after only a short time (the hard drive, network card, etc.).
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
There are no spikes in processing or extra network activity and no extra processes running, that I can see, when it freezes..

I can use all the functions on the local PC, including the Internet. The lockouts don't occur on a regular timed basis, nor are they consistent in their length.. However,  they generally occur every 1-3 minutes and last 10-30 seconds? it's as though it fills a buffer then has to clear it, although that doesn't make much sense to me?

System standby and hard drive are set to never, and monitor to switch off after 3 hours. Screensaver set for 150 minutes. So none of these are a factor?
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HighTechGeekCommented:
Make sure you have the latest video card drivers installed. I have found issues with Remote Desktop and older nVidia drivers
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HighTechGeekCommented:
If your partner's PC is running Vista, disabling Auto Tuning may help:
http://i.nconspicuo.us/2007/04/10/remote-desktop-freezes-when-connecting-through-windows-vista/
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HighTechGeekCommented:
It's been suggested to check your MTU on all devices (network cards, routers, modems, etc.), as well. Most default to 1500 or 1492, but your ISP may be disrupting those sizes (see Jabber below).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maximum_transmission_unit
From the article:
"Jabber is the transmission of a packet on a computer network that is larger than the network's MTU. Such transmissions hog bandwidth and congest the network. Many network switches have a built-in capability to detect when a device is jabbering and block it until it resumes proper operation."

More info:
http://www.velocityreviews.com/forums/t367896-site-to-site-vpn-rdp.html
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
Thanks, I'll check thse out..
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I've now been working more often on the local machine, and it is becoming clear it is a more underlying Internet problem, rather than just Remote Desktop, although this does seem to get hit harder. I have an application that constantly refreshes the screen with data pulled from the Internet, and running this locally I can see frequent pauses when this runs.. It doesn't do this on my own machine using Pipex.

I will try experimenting with MTU parameters and report back.. May take a while as I am not always here..
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
PS I've run anti virus and spyware checks, but no change..
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HighTechGeekCommented:
Do you have the latest drivers for your network card and video card installed? Is there a firmware upgrade for the netgear router? If you ping a site like www.yahoo.com, are there any dropped packets or time outs?
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I have experimented with changing MTU settings but no improvement. I settled on 1490 as the best one..?
The PC is XP, up to date, not Vista..
I upgraded to the latest firmware for the Netgear router. No change. All other drivers are up to date..
Pinging Yahoo is fine.. Avg round trip 39 ms.. No idea if this is good or bad!?

My partner has a much faster PC hooked into the same wirless network so will try that to see if the problem is PC specific..?

Dave
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HighTechGeekCommented:
Sounds like a good plan to try another PC on that network. That test should help determine if BTOpenWorld is doing some kind of throttling or if the router might be the culprit.

 Just FYI, my avg round trip is 62ms (from Florida), so you are doing fine there.
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
Hmmm, very interesting.. My partner Jill's PC flies, and there are no problems with either Remote Desktop or the Internet generally, so I guess that takes my main suspect, BTOpenworld, out of the frame?

This PC has had a bit of a checkered history. It was bought as a budget PC from PC World about 6 months ago and it arrived with Vista Home Premium installed.. This ran like a dog, and it transpired there was only 1 gig of RAM in the PC!  I seriously thought about sueing them for selling something that was unfit for purpose but in the end I got my local PC shop to add 2 extra gig, but this caused problems as it was not a matched set with the first gig, so they had to take the first stick out!? This improved the Vista score a bit but the bottleneck then switched to the graphics card, which was also replaced. Vista was then OK for a while, but then started shutting itself down, to prevent my PC from damage, or so it said..! This happened more and more often and eventually Vista said it needed to repair itself. After it did this it never ran again, dying every time at start up!  I ended up formatting the disk and installing XP which seemed OK, but maybe still has some inherent memory, or other,  problems..?

The plot thickens! :)

Dave

PS I have Everest Ultimate Edition if anyone needs info about the PC..?
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HighTechGeekCommented:
Ouch. I just found a client that got a new vista laptop with only 512MB of RAM - minus whatever was shared with the onboard video card!

What antivirus and spyware scans did you run? What did they find?
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
Absolutely nothing untoward.. I'm at a loss to know what to try next, but if anything things seem worse, with the remote desktop conection now regularly timing out and web sites not being accessed, all the while with Jill's PC simultaneously performing fine.. Very strange..!
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HighTechGeekCommented:
You said it's all wireless, right? Could it be a bad wireless card? Try connecting the computer directly to the router with an Ethernet cable and see if it makes any difference...

If your already using Ethernet, try installing a new 100Mbps network card. You can get inexpensive ones for under 5 quid.
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
Direct connection made no difference.. After more usage, and also trying GoToMyPC, I am now sure the problem is with the actual PC.. I have had many problems with it since buying it cheaply, and it is going to get replaced!

Many thanks to all who contributed but, unless the new PC shows the same symptoms, I think this topic is now closed?
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Brain2000Commented:
I wanted to comment on this, I have the same RDP random pausing problem on my Vista work machine when I connect to it.  The problem is less pronounced when connecting to it on a LAN, and more pronounced on a WAN.  If I RDP to an XP machine at work, I have zero problems.  I then RDP again from the XP machine to my Vista machine [on the same LAN], and then it only pauses about once every 10-15 minutes instead of once every 2-3 minutes.

My work machine has zero connectivity problems.  Also, RDP'ing from the console doens't have any issues either.  I belive there is an issue with Vista RDP in general.  I would install SP1 to see if that resolves the problem, but I only have about 1.5GB free on the C: drive, so I have not been able to do so yet.
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I think my problem is different, as I did manage to improve things just recently.. What I did was swap memory cards around. I had 2 1GB cards and 4 slots.. I just swapped them from the matched black slots to the matched blue slots, and everything miraculously speeded up! :)  It's not perfect but any small delays are, I'm sure, now down to the ISP and are bearable..

As I have no idea at all why this should have worked you may want  to try it, but I suspect you have a different problem?

Good luck!
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Brain2000Commented:
I had suspected the way the nic card was caching packets, or the TCP window (which I tweaked with no success).  However, several weeks ago the Vista system's motherboard died, so I swapped it out.  I went from an AMD 3800 dual core to an AMD 9950 black edition quad core, DDR 400mhz to DDR2 1066mhz, NVidia to AMD chipset, onboard NIC brand also changed, etc.  After getting everything back up and working, RDP'ing into that Vista system still causes the same pauses on the RDP client every 2-3 minutes when connected on a WAN, and about every 10 minutes on the same LAN.

I need to get SP1 on that system and hope that works.
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Dave_B_CAuthor Commented:
I'm afraid I can't help any further, so I'll just wish you Good Luck again! Maybe set up a specific new question..?

Dave
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