Boinc no longer connects in protected (service) mode

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Kurt Ergen

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Message 39712 - Posted: 18 Aug 2011, 21:33:17 UTC
Last modified: 18 Aug 2011, 22:27:13 UTC

I'm having an odd problem I can't explain for the life of me and I'm looking for some input.

I've had Boinc running in Protected Application Execution mode on my current system for about a year with no problems. Last week I was updating my system (Windows updates & ATI Drivers). I got bored waiting for the updated to complete and opened Boinc manager to take a peek, but got a windows notification window asking if it was okay for the program to make changes to the computer. I just clicked No because I changed my mind and never seen that before when opening Bonic Manager. I also got some other weird boxes popping up saying something about not being able to connect as well.

I ignored it and finished my updates then rebooted my system. After that Boinc Manager would no longer connect. I tried everything: Turned off security, firewall, virus scanner. Attempted to reinstall Boinc with the latest version, but nothing worked. Other odd issues I noticed was I could not stop the service via services in computer management. It would only stop if I would close boinc manager and and check the box to stop running science applications, windows would pop up a window asking if the program can make changes to the computer and only if I clicked yes would it stop.

Nothing worked until I installed it without Protected Application Execution mode checked. I did however lose all current running tasks at the time to computation errors, but appeared to be running just fine, so I let it finish all remaining tasks (without errors). I came to the conclusion that it must be some sort of problem I created by playing with it while updating. Possibly some sort of raised privilege issue of running the service as it seemed to run no problem under my account, just no longer as a service. I decided to go ahead with a full re-install of Windows thinking this would solve the issue for sure.

After reinstalling everything, nothing was solved... Same issue still endures. It just refused to connect when running as a service, but appears to run no problem as a program under my account.

What could cause this? Hardware? or did Windows or ATI release an update that would cause such issues, any input would be helpful.

System:
Gigabyte 790GX Motherboard
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T CPU (Running @ 4.0GHz)
8GB G.Skill RAM (2x 4GB)
ATI Radeon HD 4890 Video Card
Windows 7 Ultimate 64bit
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Kurt Ergen

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Message 40001 - Posted: 4 Sep 2011, 17:54:52 UTC

UPDATE:

I was able to track the problem down to the latest ATI Video Drivers. I'm able to run Boinc in Protected Application Execution mode with the generic Windows 7 Radeon HD 4800 video card driver and the official ATI version 11-6 drivers. Version 11-7 & 11-8 both block Boinc from running in Protected Application Execution mode from some unknown reason.
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DigiK-oz

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Message 40010 - Posted: 5 Sep 2011, 9:40:56 UTC - in response to Message 40001.  

I have the exact same problem on one system since the ATI 11.7 drivers. Running as a service, or as a scheduled task at startup, BOINC starts, but does not start any tasks and boincmgr cannot connect. Using procmon, I see that BOINC is reading some registry keys apparently pertaining to the ATI video card over and over again.

WIN7 64 bit. Other similar systems with no ATI card have no problems at all.
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Profile Jord
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Message 40011 - Posted: 5 Sep 2011, 11:27:22 UTC

Which BOINC version(s) is this with?
And what do you mean with "BOINC Manager would no longer connect", or "boincmgr cannot connect"? Is that the error where BOINC Manager reports it cannot connect to a client, or do you mean BOINC won't connect to the internet?

Do know that BOINC Manager is only a graphical user interface that allows you to easily give commands to the underlying client. It doesn't do any of the connecting to the internet as such, that's the work of the client (BOINC). The client can easily run without any BOINC Manager. Hence why I ask what the "won't connect" part is.


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Kurt Ergen

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Message 40014 - Posted: 5 Sep 2011, 13:48:53 UTC - in response to Message 40011.  
Last modified: 5 Sep 2011, 14:04:03 UTC

I was using version 6.10.58 when this all started, but I'm now using 6.12.33. I've also tested the legacy version 6.10.60. Same problem with all of them.

I mean that the manager doesn't connect with client. This is not a networking problem with the internet or something. I fully understand that the manager is just the interface for the client, but it appears to me that the newest ATI drivers are preventing the client from communicating with the manager not because of a connection issue, but the client its self is in conflict. It appears that no science work is being done at all.

Here are some screen pics:



Above is Boinc running with no problems with ATI's 11-6 version of the display drivers.



Above you can see the latest version of the drivers, 11-8 is shown here, but I get the same problem with 11-7 as well. Just sits there saying Connecting to localhost, and the icon in the notification area has a red symbol and the message "Reconnecting to client" (not shown in image)



Here I just wanted to show that the client isn't doing science work in the background. This is not merely a simple manager to client connection problem. The client isn't working at all. Although I should note that boinc.exe is running in the process tree.

One final note: The problems only start/stop after a reboot. It's not like boinc stops running as soon as I install the 11-8 drivers, it's only after the reboot. The same goes when I remove 11-8 and install the older 11-6 drivers. It won't start running again until I restart the OS. Thus I'm guessing the newer drivers are preventing the client from starting in the first place.
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Message 40016 - Posted: 5 Sep 2011, 15:10:12 UTC

I have tested this and see that it isn't so much a problem with the manager or client, but with the boincsvcctrl.exe (BOINC Service Control) program. Why that has a problem, I don't know. I have forwarded all my tests and conclusions, plus this thread, to the developers. Something for them to figure out.
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DigiK-oz

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Message 40034 - Posted: 6 Sep 2011, 12:24:41 UTC - in response to Message 40016.  
Last modified: 6 Sep 2011, 12:25:56 UTC

Is this service control program also involved when BOINC is NOT installed as a service (PAE)? Since I have the same issue if I have a non-PAE install, and try to start BOINC (BOINC.EXE itself) as a scheduled task (at startup, or at a certain time of day). Maybe some session 0 issue?
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Message 40035 - Posted: 6 Sep 2011, 13:05:19 UTC - in response to Message 40034.  

The only issue that normally comes up when BOINC is installed as a service on Windows 7 and Vista, is that since BOINC runs in its own limited user account, it won't be able to detect whether the system has a GPU on board or not. This is because the drivers for the videocard run in a different session than the user accounts do.

When BOINC is not installed as a service, it runs in your admin/user account, which normally runs in the same session as the drivers, and as such BOINC can then detect the GPU.

I run BOINC through a shortcut from my desktop (Right click desktop->New->Shortcut->location of item is in my case "C:\Program Files\BOINC\boinc.exe" --detach (with quotes)->Next->Named BOINC->OK.), which works without a flaw. The "--detach" command closes the DOS box window that otherwise would have to remain open for the client to run.

One way why it wouldn't work as a scheduled task would be a permission problem, as far as I can see, where you installed it as admin and try to run it as someone not in the boinc_admins or boinc_users groups. Another way why it wouldn't work is that you close the DOS box without the --detach command.
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DigiK-oz

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Message 40050 - Posted: 7 Sep 2011, 14:57:40 UTC - in response to Message 40035.  
Last modified: 7 Sep 2011, 15:11:08 UTC

I am aware of the differences as far as GPU detection goes with PAE versus non-PAE. I have the described problem when BOINC is installed as a service (PAE).

But, I ALSO have the same issue when simply running BOINC.EXE as a scheduled task, which also has been working fine until the ATI 11.7 drivers (even though when using the scheduled task method, no GPU was detected either, as with PAE). The scheduled task is configured to run under the userid I also use to logon and start BOINC manually, which then runs fine.

What I mean is, the problem definitely exists with PAE, but not ONLY with PAE. That's why I asked if the Boinc service control you mentioned was also involved when running BOINC from scheduled task.

In PAE/scheduled task cases, using procmon, I see BOINC.EXE reading some registry keys over and over again. It also reads (some of) those keys on a normal (succesful) startup, but with PAE/Scheduled task startup it seems to loop there somehow.

I found a (probably) related thread :
http://aqua.dwavesys.com/forum_thread.php?id=629&sort=5#8535
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dcdc

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Message 40081 - Posted: 9 Sep 2011, 8:53:02 UTC

Hi

I spent an hour last night installing and uninstalling BOINC, clearing the registry etc, until I found this thread! I imagine there must be quite a lot of people affected by this? I guess a lot of people don't keep their graphics drivers up to date or don't run BOINC in protected mode...

Anyone know whether this is a BOINC issue to fix or an AMD one? Sounds like it's a BOINC issue due to an AMD driver change!

Danny
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Message 40088 - Posted: 9 Sep 2011, 13:07:15 UTC - in response to Message 40081.  

I've had a chat with the BOINC developers on this one. The cause is this: "Basically the client stalls during initialization while attempting to detect CAL devices. Originally the API just errored out. Now cal_init() hangs."

Now, the only workaround they can think of is to "just skip GPU detection altogether when BOINC is installed as a service on Windows". But this will mean that when BOINC is installed as a service on Windows XP, that there the GPU detection will be disabled as well. To date the detection of the GPU while installed as a service would only not work on Windows 7 and Vista, XP would do it (since in XP the drivers are still in the same session as the limited user account).

So that would mean that either BOINC has to detect on which Windows version it's installed in before it decides to check whether a GPU is present and only do so when it's installed as a service... Or the developers will just disable the GPU detection all-together when installed as a service. I don't know which one they choose, let that be a surprise. ;-)
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skilledbachelor

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Message 40093 - Posted: 9 Sep 2011, 16:04:01 UTC

I've noticed a similar problem updating BOINC in an NVIDIA system. I note that while Administration Services is looking for C:\Program Files (x86)\BOINC\boincsvcctrl.exe boincsvcctrl.exe has been installed in C:\Program Files\BOINC\

That should be easy to fix.
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skilledbachelor

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Message 40107 - Posted: 10 Sep 2011, 9:01:42 UTC - in response to Message 40093.  

Yes

Copying everything from C:\Program Files\BOINC\ to C:\Program Files (x86)\BOINC\ solved the problem.
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Message 40108 - Posted: 10 Sep 2011, 9:26:07 UTC - in response to Message 40107.  

Uhm... This implies that you now use a 32bit BOINC, where before you used a 64bit BOINC. Windows will automatically install 64bit programs into the C:\Program Files\ main directory, whereas 32bit programs go into the C:\Program Files (x86)\ directory.

Normally you cannot install 64bit programs to the 32bit directory, or run them from there, as Windows itself will not give that permission. While you may not see that now, you may run into it after a reboot.

You can check which BOINC version you have by checking the installer's name:
Boinc_6.12.34_windows_intelx86.exe is 32bit.
Boinc_6.12.34_windows_x86_64.exe is 64bit.
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Duff_Moss

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Message 40168 - Posted: 13 Sep 2011, 23:46:52 UTC - in response to Message 40088.  

I've had a chat with the BOINC developers on this one. The cause is this: "Basically the client stalls during initialization while attempting to detect CAL devices. Originally the API just errored out. Now cal_init() hangs."

Now, the only workaround they can think of is to "just skip GPU detection altogether when BOINC is installed as a service on Windows". But this will mean that when BOINC is installed as a service on Windows XP, that there the GPU detection will be disabled as well. To date the detection of the GPU while installed as a service would only not work on Windows 7 and Vista, XP would do it (since in XP the drivers are still in the same session as the limited user account).

So that would mean that either BOINC has to detect on which Windows version it's installed in before it decides to check whether a GPU is present and only do so when it's installed as a service... Or the developers will just disable the GPU detection all-together when installed as a service. I don't know which one they choose, let that be a surprise. ;-)


Thanks for the info. I suspected it must of been the ATI drivers, as it was the only thing that changed on my system. Any word on when they expect to have something ready for testing?
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Message 40172 - Posted: 14 Sep 2011, 9:05:44 UTC - in response to Message 40168.  

Any word on when they expect to have something ready for testing?

If all is well, 6.12.36 will be available for testing this weekend. I found another critical bug in something else that needs urgent squashing first, so that's something that the developers have turned their attention to first.

They love me there in Berkeley. ;-)

The bug in question is one where projects that use the VirtualBox application and vboxwrapper, do not follow the Network activity settings and preferences set by BOINC. When you suspend the network in BOINC through whatever means, the network activity continues in the VBox virtual machine. This could cost people who live with a bandwidth cap at their ISP dearly. Up till yesterday it wasn't even documented. So that's a "drop everything, find immediate solution" case.
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Message 40300 - Posted: 22 Sep 2011, 19:29:09 UTC

BOINC 6.12.37 is available for testing for Windows.
6.12.37 32bit
6.12.37 64bit

You may still have problems with the service installation. On 6.13.4 I encountered the same service installation problems, Rom and I are looking into it. I haven't tested what the service installation of this version did. Will do that tomorrow.
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Message 40303 - Posted: 22 Sep 2011, 21:20:47 UTC

No, the service installation doesn't work for me for 6.12.37 either. Still working with Rom to see what could be causing this. Stay tuned. :)
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Message 40305 - Posted: 22 Sep 2011, 22:15:38 UTC
Last modified: 22 Sep 2011, 22:34:13 UTC

All right, we have made progress.
The problem is still with the ATI 11.7 (or 11.8) catalysts, which break the detection of the card. If you do not use your GPU, you can get around this with a cc_config.xml file that contains the following lines:

<cc_config>
    <options>
        <no_gpus>1</no_gpus>
    </options>
</cc_config> 


This will require a restart of the client.

If you do use your GPU, you shouldn't install as a service on Windows 7 and Vista anyway due to the session 0 problem.

In the mean time, Rom is including a fix that will disable the GPU detection. It'll be in the forthcoming 6.12.38. This will however break GPU detection when installed as a service on Windows XP as well. Sorry for that, but it's either, or. That will get fixed in a future release, until that time, go complain at ATI/AMD that they need to fix their drivers! And please report back when they said they did. ;-)
But don't sweat it, I will test that one before you have to. I just threw a boat load of work overboard (again) anyway... :-)
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Message 40324 - Posted: 23 Sep 2011, 18:43:27 UTC

BOINC 6.12.38 is now available for testing for Windows. See its change log.

6.12.38, 32bit
6.12.38, 64bit

Now then, this version has the temporary workaround/bugfix for ATI GPUs using Catalysts 11.7 or later. Something in these newer Catalysts prohibits BOINC from starting up when an ATI GPU is in the system. This is something ATI has to fix.

A side-effect of this workaround is that even when you install BOINC as a service under Windows XP, that the GPU detection is now disabled. Up to 6.12.38 this was still possible under XP. Sorry for that. Let's hope ATI fixes their drivers ASAP.

Another side-effect for users running Windows Vista and 7, is that you will have a pop-up each time that you start and stop BOINC Manager. This is caused by the Boincsvcctrl (BOINC service control) program, which is started from BOINC Manager. This program asks Windows if it can start and stop the BOINC service, thus it's UAC that flags this as a warning that the program tries to make changes to the system. The only (not recommended) workaround here is to disable UAC.
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Message boards : Questions and problems : Boinc no longer connects in protected (service) mode

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