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Troubleshooting BOINC

Problems installing BOINC

(Windows) In rare cases, installation may fail because of an existing installation of BOINC. If this happens:

  • Quit BOINC if it's running, and uninstall BOINC using Start/Control? Panel/Add? and remove programs. Install the new version again.
  • If that fails, reinstall the version of BOINC you were previously running (you can get an older version from the download page). Uninstall it, then install the new version.
  • If that fails, download the Windows Install Clean Up utility from Microsoft and run it. The old BOINC version shows up as either BOINC.msi or as a corrupt icon .msi (it'll be the top option). Click on it to select, then click Remove and Exit. Reboot your computer. Install the new version. (Warning: leave all other .msi files as they are, otherwise you will have problems uninstalling other programs).

Problems attaching to a project

If you try to attach to a project that's down, you'll get a Project temporarily unavailable error. Wait a while, then try again.

If you get a Network communication failure, it means BOINC can't do any communication at all. The likely problems are:

  • Connectivity: you don't have a network connection. Check your network or modem connection (if your web browser can get to outside sites, this is not the problem). See this information on Windows networking troubleshooting from Microsoft website.
  • Personal firewall software (ZoneAlarm, Norton Personal Firewall, McAfee, etc.) is blocking BOINC.
    • The first time you run BOINC, your personal firewall will bring up a dialog asking if boincmgr.exe and boinc.exe should be allowed to communicate (say yes).
    • If this dialog doesn't appear, bring up your personal firewall program and add an 'exception' entry allowing BOINC to communicate. If it already has an entry for BOINC, delete it. Detail vary between firewall packages.
    • You may have accidentally installed more than one firewall. Uninstall or disable all but the primary one.
  • Proxy server: there are two kinds of proxies, HTTP and SOCKS. You may be using one or both. Most home computers do not use proxies. To find out if you're using a proxy, look at the Internet settings of your web browser. (Firefox: Tools/Options/General/Connection? Settings; Internet Explorer: Tools/Internet? Options/Connections/Settings?). Copy the settings there (server, port, etc.) to the BOINC dialog.
  • (Windows) SETI@home: if it appears to attach OK, but the Messages tab has repeated shared memory error messages from the server: uninstall BOINC and delete the install directory (typically C:\Program Files\BOINC). Reinstall BOINC, but in a different directory (such as C:\Program Files\BOINC2).
  • Some DSL customers in the UK report needing to set MTU=1492 in their modem/router and rebooting it.

Problems while running BOINC (Windows)

  • If screensaver graphics aren't working, make sure you have the latest driver for your graphics adapter.
  • If BOINC applications are repeatedly crashing on your computer, it's possible that you need to upgrade to the latest version of DirectX? (9.0c or later).
  • If you repeatedly see
    '''Can't delete previous state file; Access is denied.''' 

in your message log, you're probably running a program that is accessing files and keeping them locked for long periods. Try using Microsoft's FileMon utility to discover what the offending program is, then configure it to not access files in the BOINC directory. Known problems: TSVNCache (part of TortoiseSVN).

  • (Vista) If BOINC applications fail each time you shut down your computer, copy the following text and paste it into the Notepad window, called WaitToKill.reg:
    Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

The 20000 is 20 seconds. Increase/decrease to your liking. To add this to the registry double-click the file. The UAC will come up, press continue, press Yes on the next window and OK on the one thereafter. You need to reboot to make the changes have effect.

N.B. The shutdown and restart crashing of the science applications ending Tasks in "computation error" is well and truly resolved in BOINC version 5.10.35 and upwards.

Workaround for AOL problem

On 20 December 2006 we investigated a problem with the following symptoms:

  • The BOINC client connects to some projects but scheduler requests return an error message saying
    Project encountered internal error: shared memory
  • The BOINC client fails to attach to other projects, giving the error message:
    The URL you supplied is not that of a BOINC-based project.

We believe that this problem only affects people connected to the Internet using AOL, and that it is caused by the AOL software. We were able to work around the problem as follows:

  • Reinstall BOINC. When asked what directory to install in, select
    C:\Program Files\BOINC2
    (or any name other than BOINC).

Note: you must install to a new directory. It doesn't work to rename BOINC to BOINC2, then install.

Problems while running BOINC (Linux)

  • If the web site buttons in the Manager don't work, make sure your $BROWSER environment variable is set.
  • If BOINC produces as error message of the form
    boinc_client: /lib/ version 'GLIBC_2.2' not found (required by ./boinc_client)

then you need to install a newer version of libc.

Problems while running BOINC (all platforms)

  • If you get repeated 'bad checksum' or 'wrong size' errors on downloaded JPEG image files, check the 'Skip image file verification' checkbox in your General Preferences?. Typically this means your ISP is using something called UMTS, which does extra compression of JPEG files.
  • If you have a problem with a particular project, go to the 'Questions and Answers' area of the project's web site. You may find the solution to your problem. If not, post it there, and you'll get help from other users. If the problem persists, use the BOINC Manager to 'reset' that project. This will erase any jobs in progress and start from scratch.
  • If you see an error like
    2007-06-08 14:33:56 [---] Can't delete previous state file; The file or directory is corrupted and unreadable. (0x570)

then back up your BOINC directory and run chkdsk (Windows) or fsck (Unix) on the drive containing it. If files are irretrievably lost, create a new BOINC directory and reattach all projects.

Further Help

If these tips don't solve your problem:

Report a Bug

If all else fails, you may need to report a bug. Bug reports are not for general troubleshooting. Please discuss the bug on the BOINC message boards and gather as much information as you can before submitting your report.