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Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...

By Andrew Pollack on 10/08/2008 at 12:55 PM EDT

This is something that's getting increasingly reported in several forums. Among them are the Firefox Q&A forum, and some of the deeper tech Domino ones. Switching between applications -- particularly Firefox along with either Notes 8, DDE, Photoshop, Visual Studio, or other highly graphical applications -- seems to produce screen redraw problems after a while. The screen only partly re-draws, leaving the application that was last up "ghosted" on the screen.

I've been searching and reading and testing, and one of the most common threads is people using multiple monitors. That threw me for a while, because you'd think it has to do with a driver conflict. Its not that at all. People with multiple monitors tend to run multiple complex programs at the same time. Thus the commonality of the symptoms.

People reporting on this problem say "when I shut down 'x' it gets better" -- then a day later say "nope, that wasn't it." That's because no one thing is causing the problem. Its the combination of everything that is causing problems.

When you next see this happening, bring up your windows Task Manager (crtrl-shift-escape) and scroll to the column marked "GDI Objects". You'll find that there are a LOT of them. You can click the column header to sort and see that Firefox, Notes2.exe, nlNotes, and so on are using a lot of them.

I believe the reason for the ghosting is because you're running out of these handles. If that's true, the following fix should help:

NOTE: Try this at your own risk. If it works, let me know. If you destroy your system, don't tell me about it. If you try this and break something, you own all the pieces. This is a patch to try IN TEST ONLY and on NON PRODUCTION data.

1. Back up your registry files. If you don't know how to do this, you shouldn't go any further. This fix is over your head.

2. Edit your registry via "regedit" to change the following settings:

In: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\System\CurrentControlSet\Contro l\Session Manager\SubSystems\Windows

Change the value from:

%SystemRoot%\system32\csrss.exe ObjectDirectory=\Windows SharedSection=1024,3072,512 Windows=On SubSystemType=Windows ServerDll=basesrv,1 ServerDll=winsrv:UserServerDllInitialization,3 ServerDll=winsrv:ConServerDllInitialization,2 ProfileControl=Off MaxRequestThreads=16

To:

%SystemRoot%\system32\csrss.exe ObjectDirectory=\Windows SharedSection=2048,8192,1024 Windows=On SubSystemType=Windows ServerDll=basesrv,1 ServerDll=winsrv:UserServerDllInitialization,3 ServerDll=winsrv:ConServerDllInitialization,2 ProfileControl=Off MaxRequestThreads=16

In: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\GDIProcessHandleQuota

Change the value to: 16384 * Do not exceed this value, and make sure you enter this in Decimal

In: HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\USERProcessHandleQuota

Change the value to: 18000 * Do not exceed this value, and make sure you enter this in Decimal

3. Reboot your system, and keep your fingers crossed.

I'd like to hear from your here, if you're having this problem -- and also if it (a) worked, (b) didn't work, or (c) scared you too much to try.


There are  - loading -  comments....

Haven't tried yet...By Jerry Cater on 10/08/2008 at 01:40 PM EDT
... but I was thinking on this just moments ago. Not this solution per-se, but
around the idea that with more memory, more code running, there is going to
need to be some give somewhere. This looks to be a brilliant approach.

I do plan to try this at home as soon as possible. I don't run multiple
monitors there, but it's common for me to run FF along with Notes 802 and
sometimes also Paint.NET. All told, some pretty intense graphic usage. More
handles should definitely help. I wonder if this fix also provides more memory
for pointers to the handles. That would be the next thing, I think, in line to
run into issues. (As I'm typing this comment I can't review the solution again
to see any hint of that in your posting :-)

Nice digging!
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Keith Brooks on 10/08/2008 at 02:17 PM EDT
Happy Birthday and I will try this, after the holiday.
I have wondered why Notes seems to hang for 5-10 seconds when I swap between
monitors or twirhl for instance.
That's different.By Andrew Pollack on 10/08/2008 at 02:19 PM EDT
The hang is probably memory swapping. Watch your drive light.
re: That's different.By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 10/09/2008 at 07:02 PM EDT
Also, try to tune the jvm.properties file as documented by Andrew:
http://www.thenorth.com/apblog4.nsf/0/BB5DDB03611B2BB1852574D7005FF852

Made a big difference for me. You need to have adequate RAM and swap though.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Phil on 10/08/2008 at 06:32 PM EDT
I run multiple monitors and get screen redraw problems all the time. I'll try
out your suggestion.....despite it being a production PC ;-)
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Dwight Wilbanks on 10/08/2008 at 09:16 PM EDT
Just curious, could it be a video card RAM size issue? I usually go pretty
cheap on video cards, and have had the issues you describe, but, assumed my
cheapness was the issue.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Andrew Pollack on 10/08/2008 at 10:04 PM EDT
I've got a pretty good -- though not really high end video card in this
machine. Its got 512 megs of ram onboard which is enough for some fairly high
end gaming.

Also, when the problem surfaces, it doesn't affect all programs. Only some.
I'm pretty sure that means its a framework commonality at a much higher level
than hardware ram would deal with.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Lars Berntrop-Bos on 10/09/2008 at 07:30 PM EDT
Just so y'all can make informed decisions, this is what Microsoft says about
this key:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/126962
more specific:
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/184802/
choice bits of info:
The system allocates desktop heap from a system-wide 48-MB buffer. In addition
to desktop heaps, printer, and font drivers also use this buffer.

So heed the warning about increasing the heap too much, and read the second
article for a specification as to which processes allocate what. It also points
us to another line of inquiry for misbehaving Windows: check the number and
quality of installed fonts and printer drivers.

Cheers!
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By moto on 10/13/2008 at 04:00 PM EDT
I tried this out on my laptop, and it seems to have fixed the issues i was
having with firefox3. There seem to be no side effects so far. Thanks for the
info.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By moto on 10/25/2008 at 02:03 PM EDT
Actually it didnt help. I went back to firefox 2.
I think it is related to GDI.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By anon on 10/16/2008 at 02:45 AM EDT
See also:

http://vidmar.net/weblog/archive/2005/05/09/1408.aspx
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Ty Williams on 11/16/2008 at 10:50 AM EST
Many thanks for this! It has worked on my multiple monitored XP system and has
sped up access too. I had already tried the latest graphics card drivers, to no
avail.

I am running the ITC Bridge Project constantly (Keith Clark's pioneering system
for viewing pictures over radio waves) and it worked well for some time and
then after a Firefox update gave redraw problems. Thank you so much for the fix
which has sorted it out. The project is on the url below if anyone fancies a
look, you are all most welcome :-)

thanks again,

Tyrone

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/itc-bridge-radio-project
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Tim Smith on 12/08/2008 at 12:14 AM EST
Alas, this didn't fix the problem on my machine. Which is a shame, because it's
incredibly irritating!

My symptoms may have been a bit different, though -- Firefox is the only app
that fails to redraw properly.

Thanks for your post.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Seb on 01/31/2009 at 04:04 PM EST
I have the same problem: this fix didn't work, and the problem ONLY happens
with Firefox 3.

I'm running dual monitors, laptop external off an Nvidia Quadro 512MB video
card.
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Markus on 12/11/2008 at 04:23 AM EST
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=434602
Set MOZ_DISABLE_IMAGE_OPTIMIZE=1 as a system variable and the problem is gone
;)
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Eric Bloch on 01/20/2009 at 10:09 PM EST
This didn't work for me :(
re: Screen redraw problems with Firefox & Notes 8 -- or other big GUI apps? Here's a possible bandage...By Gilles Duboscq on 02/04/2009 at 02:33 PM EST
Looks like this was finally fixed in FF 3.0.6 (
https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=434602 )


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