Screensaver Causes My computer to Freeze

Questions and Answers : Windows : Screensaver Causes My computer to Freeze
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John McLeod VII
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Message 848494 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 3:30:28 UTC - in response to Message 848484.  

Unfortunately, even with the latest version of Seti, I'm still experiencing "freezes/crashes". I have my screensaver timer set to start after 7 minutes of inactivity so, when 7 minutes has passed, the screensaver starts again and I'm able to turn it off. This is just too frustrating for me. I am interested in helping to process data so I guess I'll go to the boinc options and see if I can figure out how to allow my processor to crunch seti's data without running the screen saver. Such a pity that there aren't technically savy folks able to figure out what's wrong with the program. I am sure that it's not the fault of anything but the seti program itself. I was running it fine until 6 or so months ago when the freezes began and had done nothing to my computer to alter its behavior. Based on what others are saying, I'd say that Seti (BOINC) need to get themselves a few people who could sort out the problem or more and more of us will be dropping from the ranks of Seti users.

Mike Stolting

The screen saver is just a pretty picture. BOINC runs in the background, and does not require the screen saver to run at all.


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Message 848575 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 8:12:10 UTC - in response to Message 848484.  

Unfortunately, even with the latest version of Seti, I'm still experiencing "freezes/crashes". I have my screensaver timer set to start after 7 minutes of inactivity so, when 7 minutes has passed, the screensaver starts again and I'm able to turn it off. This is just too frustrating for me. I am interested in helping to process data so I guess I'll go to the boinc options and see if I can figure out how to allow my processor to crunch seti's data without running the screen saver. Such a pity that there aren't technically savy folks able to figure out what's wrong with the program. I am sure that it's not the fault of anything but the seti program itself. I was running it fine until 6 or so months ago when the freezes began and had done nothing to my computer to alter its behavior. Based on what others are saying, I'd say that Seti (BOINC) need to get themselves a few people who could sort out the problem or more and more of us will be dropping from the ranks of Seti users.

Mike Stolting


In addition to what John said, its quite hard to pinpoint this problem as the screen saver runs fine on most systems. It is quite hard to diagnose a problem with all the unique configurations out there, including all running software that may conflict with the screen saver software. The most common solution is to make sure you have the latest graphics card driver.

We seem to be getting less and less users coming in looking for a screen saver, while more and more are coming in who are interested in doing science with the screen saver just being a bonus. I don't think this user-quiting is as prevalent of a problem as you'd like to make it out to be.

Such a pity that there aren't any technically un-savvy folks who know how to turn off the screen saver and let it run in the background without it.
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Message 848662 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 12:31:57 UTC - in response to Message 848484.  

I am interested in helping to process data so I guess I'll go to the boinc options and see if I can figure out how to allow my processor to crunch seti's data without running the screen saver.

You do know you were answering to my previous post in which I posted detailed steps how you can turn off the screen saver, right?

I was running it fine until 6 or so months ago when the freezes began and had done nothing to my computer to alter its behavior.

You never checked the amount of dust that has built up inside your computer and is coating fans and heat sinks on the CPU and GPU and any other fans and heat sinks, have you?
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Michael Stolting

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Message 848791 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 18:45:24 UTC - in response to Message 848662.  
Last modified: 3 Jan 2009, 19:39:24 UTC

In response to some rather defensive posts:

1) I have the latest driver for my graphics card.
2) I have cleaned out the inside of my computer recently and do so on a regular (every couple of months) basis.
3) I appreciate the advice that I can simply turn off any screensaver (properties>screensaver>none) which I've done and still allow Seti to crunch numbers.

My original enthusiasm for the project stemmed from the inspiration I received from viewing "Cosmos" and reading some of Sagan's books. Although the odds that we might detect and recognize signals from intelligent extraterrestrial organisms are not in our favor given the variables involved, as an interesting (but, in my opinion, not immediately relevant) experiment, I, for one, remain committed to search for intelligent life outside our solar system.

However, my previous thought regarding those of us who enjoy the colorful screen saver and might drop the program because we can't see it is still valid.

I still think that there will be quite a few folks out there, whose help Seti could very much use, that will simply delete the program. That is why I think that a bit more energy should be expended in trying to pinpoint the cause of the "freezes/crashes" on some machines. Just my humble opinion.

Mike Stolting
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John McLeod VII
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Message 848847 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 20:10:24 UTC - in response to Message 848791.  

Another possibility, which does not appear to be the case here, is insufficient RAM for everything that you have loaded. This causes a bunch of page swaps when you are trying to get the attention of the screen saver.

I also have a couple of machines that don't like recovering from lids closed with the blank screen saver. It takes some blind typing (and a guess as to whether the logon screen will show up or not).


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Message 848914 - Posted: 3 Jan 2009, 21:47:33 UTC - in response to Message 848791.  

In response to some rather defensive posts:


That's what happens when you offend us "technical" folks who dedicate our time and energy to the help of others for free.

However, my previous thought regarding those of us who enjoy the colorful screen saver and might drop the program because we can't see it is still valid.

I still think that there will be quite a few folks out there, whose help Seti could very much use, that will simply delete the program. That is why I think that a bit more energy should be expended in trying to pinpoint the cause of the "freezes/crashes" on some machines. Just my humble opinion.


Sure, there are a few that really like the screen saver, like myself. But it is no longer necessary or important. Its just an extra feature that works 99% of the time.
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Message 849009 - Posted: 4 Jan 2009, 1:05:51 UTC - in response to Message 848914.  

OzzFan wrote: "That's what happens when you offend us "technical" folks who dedicate our time and energy to the help of others for free."

I certainly didn't mean any offense. I guess you took it anyway. Please don't assume that I meant anything other than what I said. My hat is off to all of you who take the time to try to solve these problems. I think it's at the foundation of the seti program screensaver that the problem lies and, yes, I will continue to let seti run on my computer, screen saver or no.

Regarding John McLeod VII's suggestion that it could be lack of RAM causing the problem, I have 8GB on my machine and running fine. I doubt that's the problem but thanks for the suggestion.

Mike Stolting



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Message 849168 - Posted: 4 Jan 2009, 7:59:47 UTC - in response to Message 849009.  

Other problems that may lay at the base of a stuttering screen saver:

- Windows Indexing... turn it off if you don't mind waiting a bit longer for searches on your computer.

- Anti virus/other anti-malware programs that actively check the BIONC Data directory. Either omit the BOINC and BOINC Data directory from being scanned, or only scan the computer when you've got BOINC suspend.

- Defragging... Only defrag the hard drive when BOINC isn't running.

- Video card... make sure it's up-to-date on its drivers and DirectX version. Make sure the motherboard chipset driver are also up-to-date.

- When using an onboard GPU (embedded chip on the motherboard), add as much RAM to it as the BIOS can appoint. This still may not work sufficiently on some chipsets. There are also some chips/GPUs out there that still don't support OpenGL natively. In that case, the Seti screen saver will revert to using DirectX 3D, so again make sure your DirectX is up-to-date (9.0c).
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Message 849211 - Posted: 4 Jan 2009, 10:58:50 UTC - in response to Message 849009.  

Regarding John McLeod VII's suggestion that it could be lack of RAM causing the problem, I have 8GB on my machine and running fine. I doubt that's the problem but thanks for the suggestion. --- Mike Stolting

Well UNFORTUNATELY I have some VERY bad news for you..IF you have INSTALLED 8 GB of RAM in your machine YOU have WASTED some money... From what I am seeing I can ONLY assume you are speaking of your P4 running XP 32 bit.. which can ONLY utilize about 3.6 GB of RAM until you install a 64 bit OS. Not that ANY of this is relevant I just thought you might like to know. If your machine IS running fine though you shouldn't be having freezes or crashes.

Now SOMEONE else earlier in this thread was having issues with HIBERNATION.. and THAT could be either WINDOWS fault or the MANUFACTURER. IT is a COMMON problem and typically there are fixes for it either in Microsoft's Knowledge Base or on the Manufacturers own site. You will have to do a search for it. I believe that may be his specific issue with it though and even possibly for others as well.

My hat is off to all of you who take the time to try to solve these problems

THIS is a WONDERFUL thing there are some GREAT people here ATTEMPTING to help everyone and doing it out of thier own KINDNESS, GENEROSITY and a DESIRE TO ACTUALLY HELP PEOPLE.. IT certainly ISNT for the accolades they receive (as I dont think most even get a thank you) which I personally believe SEVERAL should! THERE REALLY ARE SOME BRILLIANT MINDS AT WORK HERE.. I am not including myself in ANY of this I just happen through occassionally and attempt to share what I know when I can.. most of my knowledge lies outside of the SCOPE of this project.
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Message 849217 - Posted: 4 Jan 2009, 11:15:29 UTC - in response to Message 849211.  

RQ wrote:
I am not including myself in ANY of this I just happen through occassionally and attempt to share what I know when I can.. most of my knowledge lies outside of the SCOPE of this project.

Don't put yourself down, RQ. You probably excel in other areas that we are totally hopeless in. :-)


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Message 862377 - Posted: 5 Feb 2009, 18:32:46 UTC

I have the same problem as others have mentioned. I set my screen saver to two minutes so the longest I have to wait to recover is 2 minutes. All I do is wiggle the mouse, type my password (you can hear the beep of the window popping up), press return. Then after about 2 mins the screen saver starts running and I can exit normally. The thing is the computer is running normally, what happens is a frozen image appears on the screen at some random point. Once you use the computer, that causes the screen saver program to stop and return to the computer. You do something. Then when the screen saver kicks back in, things are normal again.

I suspect the people who have freezes are NOT really frozen but have long cycle settings (15/30/60 mins) and if they tried the above trick they'd be okay.

It's really, really, irritating that nobody can fix it. But as a former programmer I understand how finding a bug that only affects SOME computers can be. This happens only on the stupid Dell Dimension in my office. I hate Dell, God hates Dell, why shouldn't Boinc? Oddly, we have another Dell Dimension in my office that works fine.

I will tell you that it doesn't matter if it's a regular unit or Astropulse. That I can state for a fact. It happens on either.

I run the Seti@Home Boinc only and that only. All of our PCs also exhibit a weirdness where it flickers between the screen-saver graphics and the generic logo. Just odd. For various reasons we can't use "go to black screen" here. We need to know the computer is still running as they control various processes. (The Mac client ALSO has bugs but not related to the screen saver -- it just decides to refuse to quit and locks up the entire system.)







Visit my website where you can see my Seti page, my blog, and anything else of interest. Write me at darsys at aol dot com if you want. My blog is at http;//www.darsys.net/quagmire.html
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Message 862401 - Posted: 5 Feb 2009, 19:33:41 UTC - in response to Message 862377.  

I am also having the same problem on multiple computers. It seems to occur mostly after the screen saver has been running for awhile and when I try and move my mouse to dismiss the screen saver it freezes. It seems that everything is still responding system wise but the screen is frozen on the screen saver image. I have not tried waiting until the next screen saver cycle to see if this recovers as mentioned by another post but I suspect that it will. I agree that this is most annoying and the responses of "don't run screen saver then" is even more annoying. Reminds me of the old joke "Doctor it hurts when I do this" Doctor responds with "Don't do that then!" *smile*

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Message 864714 - Posted: 12 Feb 2009, 17:43:50 UTC

Let me also join in. I also have multiple computers and am experiencing the same symptoms. Yes one of my computers is older and I have been getting blue screens on that video card..., but I also have a brand spanking new computer that just hung about half an hour ago with the Astro-Pulse screen saver frozen.

Interesting note to whoever drew the short straw and is trying to debug this, when my older video card blue screens one of the more common errors refers to a "terminal loop"... that might describe all these symptoms!
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Message 866696 - Posted: 18 Feb 2009, 8:21:14 UTC

Hi,

running BOINC 6.4.5 on Asus F3E series,
Windows Vista Business
6.0.6001 Service Pack 1 Build 6001
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Duo CPU T7300 @ 2.00GHz
Family: 6h, Model: F, Stepping: A
Type: T7300, Stepping: E1, Cores: 2
Speed: 2 GHz, Busspeed: 800 MHz

Screen is set to go off after 10 min of inactivity (no screensaver), and everything works normal.
If left for several hours -overnight-, attempts to reactivate sometimes fail: no response from keyboard, mousepad and short power button pressure (should hybernate system) so my only option is to hold the power button to force shutdown.
On reboot, system prompts for normal startup or safe mode.
Normal startup works fine.

Not only do I find this annoying, but I am afraid of damaging the system because I hear abrupt shutdowns are not good for our systems.

I just installed a logging program to understand if boinc is actually active when system does not respond.

I would like to add that this is not necessarily caused by BOINC.

Thanks
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Message 866698 - Posted: 18 Feb 2009, 8:27:57 UTC - in response to Message 866696.  

I would like to add that this is not necessarily caused by BOINC.

No, it could also be caused by:

- Hibernation setting in Windows.
- Power settings in Windows.
- Separate hardware power settings in Windows.
-- Video card powering down. (What kind of video card are we talking about?)
- Power settings in the BIOS set up wrong.
- A simple lead on the motherboard being plugged in the wrong side around.

etc. etc.
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Message 869098 - Posted: 24 Feb 2009, 17:29:45 UTC

For everyone with screen saver problems (and systems freezing), could you please test BOINC 6.4.6, which does have lots of fixes towards the screen saver included in its code.

BOINC 6.4.6 32bit
BOINC 6.4.6 64bit

This version is to be released later today or this week as a replacement for 6.4.5

Rom Walton wrote:
Change Log:

- client: add <no_gpus> config option

- WINSETUP: Fix the problem introduced where Enable Application execution wasn't working.

- MGR: Don't convert strings to ANSI juts to have to reconvert them back to Unicode. Fix several help link issues.Fixes #826

- WINSCR: Fix the BOINC text displayed is the screensaver control panel applet

- WINSCR: Get rid of the 'Up to 5 second wait' for the data thread to terminate. Force terminate the thread and clean up the graphics app in a clean-up routine. Forcing the user to wait when they return to the system isn't a good idea.

- WINSCR: Fix screensaver issue where the screensaver locks up when the graphics application deadlocks for one reason or another.

Create two new threads:

1. Monitor system for keyboard and mouse events.
2. Shuffle window z-order positions if needed.

The keyboard/mouse event monitor is isolated from either the core client getting stuck in a loop and not returning the results of an RPC or the window shuffling code which can get stuck if the graphics application dead locks.

The window shuffle code is isolated due to the BroadcastSystemMessage?() API using something akin to SendMessage?() which waits for a return value from the target windows winproc. If a graphics application deadlocks for one reason or another it'll cause the thread to stall. This isn't terminal and so we just wait for the next time the data thread chooses a new application and terminates the old one which will cause the thread to resume.

This should resolve all outstanding issues with the screensaver not exiting when the mouse or keyboard is used.


Please report any problems you have in this thread.

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Message 869265 - Posted: 25 Feb 2009, 8:39:35 UTC - in response to Message 866696.  

Hi,

Problem's gone now, and I would like to update everyone on my situation.

The freeze problem had gone from frequent to regular until yesterday, when after an attempt to restart windows normally from the safe mode prompt had led to system behaving oddly and no wireless connection.

I then tryed to use the system restore point and used SRP created before the freeze problem arised.

Apart from the problems created by Vista trying to catch up with it's numerous updates, everything looks to be working so far.

I just installed the latest version 6.4.6 but everything seemed to work prior to that, so it might just have been some other program (or MS!) setting that was causing the trouble.

Thanks, I hope this helps
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Message 872362 - Posted: 5 Mar 2009, 8:35:28 UTC - in response to Message 869265.  

Hi,

Once again an update.

With installing Vista updates after a while the problem is back.

Will try to install the latest version of BOINC hopefully something will change.

Bye
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Message 890026 - Posted: 1 May 2009, 0:54:53 UTC - in response to Message 864714.  

new machine came with old display device drivers. Uploaded newest ones and CUDA turns on and the machine blazes. Left Dell website and found newer drivers directly from manufacturer for that older card too. No freezes since. Also, SETI is only sending me AP workunits so the CUDA isn't running...<sigh>

S
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Message 890033 - Posted: 1 May 2009, 1:24:25 UTC - in response to Message 890026.  

new machine came with old display device drivers. Uploaded newest ones and CUDA turns on and the machine blazes. Left Dell website and found newer drivers directly from manufacturer for that older card too. No freezes since. Also, SETI is only sending me AP workunits so the CUDA isn't running...<sigh>

S

AND, the latest development versions have fixes for the problem - making it even rarer.


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Questions and Answers : Windows : Screensaver Causes My computer to Freeze


 
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