Android - Help - How to use all CPUs at maximum frequency?

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Jacob Klein
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Message 86946 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 13:25:44 UTC

Can anyone please help me figure out how to keep CPU Clocks up on my Pixel 2 (Android 8.1.0, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835) ? The big cluster's frequencies make it look like they're not even being used by BOINC :(

My little cluster (4x Qualcomm Kryo 280 LP @ 1900 MHz) ==> Shows 4 CPUs at 1900 MHz (their max, I believe)
My big cluster (4x Qualcomm Kryo 280 HP @ 2457 MHz) ==> shows 4 CPUs that are typically at 345 MHz (with a range of 300 MHz to 2457 MHz)

- I have BOINC set to crunch 8 CPU tasks at once, and it's not cycling between running/suspended for any reason
- Temps are good to my knowledge
- Settings > Battery > ... > Battery optimization > All Apps > I have changed BOINC from "Optimizing battery use" to "Not optimized"
- Settings > System > Developer options > Stay awake > I tried setting this and restarting, but didn't help

Surely this isn't normal behavior? I want this phone to crunch through these tasks, but not sure what I'm missing.

Does anybody have any ideas on what's happening right now, and how to make it better?

Thanks,
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Message 86947 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 13:41:10 UTC - in response to Message 86946.  

Hi Jacob,

This is a restriction that's in Android itself, which you cannot get around.
From how the Samsung Galaxy S6 uses its octa-core processor (as a direct comparison):

The Exynos 7420 is an ARM based processor which uses a system known as Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP), which means that not all the cores are equal (hence, heterogeneous). The Galaxy S6’s processor has a cluster of Cortex-A57 cores and a cluster of Cortex-A53 cores. The A57 is a high performance core, while the A53 has greater energy efficiency. This arrangement is known as big.LITTLE, where “big” processor cores (Cortex-A57) are combined with “LITTLE” processor cores (Cortex-A53). This is very different to the 6 or 8 core desktop processors that we see from Intel and AMD, as on the desktop power consumption isn’t as critical as it is on mobile.
and further down:
On the Exynos 7420 (and on the Snapdragon 615) cores 1 to 4 are the LITTLE cores (the Cortex-A53 cores) and cores 5 to 8 are the big cores (the Cortex-A57 cores). The graph above shows that the Exynos 7420 is favoring the little cores and leaving the BIG cores idle as much as possible. In fact the little cores are hardly ever idle were as the BIG cores are idle for between 30% to 50% of the time. The reason this is important is because the BIG cores use more battery. So if the more energy efficient LITTLE cores are up to the task then they are used and the big cores can sleep.

That's essentially what happens here. All the background chores are done by the 'LITTLE' cores, everything that then needs more CPU, is done by the 'big' cores. But because these eat a lot more battery, they're used sparingly and will clock down immediately, even run at idle. It doesn't matter here if you have your device on a loader and the battery is full, Android will not let these cores go at it out loud.

My day-to-day Huawei P9 lite smartphone does also have 8 cores, 4 of which are pegged at max, the other 4 do the science in bursts.
I'd also be very worried if that phone was lying on my nightstand without adequate cooling.
Please do not private message me for tech support. Use the forums for that. Tech PMs will be ignored!
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Message 86948 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 14:18:08 UTC - in response to Message 86947.  
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 14:19:30 UTC

Thank you for replying!

Regarding the cores:
Is it possible that, when user selects 8 concurrent tasks, all 8 tasks are bouncing on the 4 little cores, and none are processing on the big cores? I wish there was a way for me to find this info out, but I think recent versions of Android prevent cpu usage detail access on rooted phones. What proof is there that the tasks are on the big cores at all? Would it be better to set BOINC to use 4 instead of 8?

Regarding temp:
The phone is in a case on the desktop, battery temp is fine, 31*C while fully charged with BOINC running. Battery, when rapidly charging, heats to 41-45*C, and per the safety regulatory documentation, phone's operating conditions mention two limits: 35*C and 45*C. I have set BOINC to 45*C max, and will monitor it.
https://support.google.com/pixelphone/answer/7486047?hl=en
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Message 86950 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 15:58:52 UTC - in response to Message 86948.  

Is it possible that, when user selects 8 concurrent tasks, all 8 tasks are bouncing on the 4 little cores, and none are processing on the big cores?
I use CPU Monitor and CPU-Z to check what happens on my devices. The first for load on individual cores, the latter for CPU temperatures.

Running just 4 cores has CPU Monitor show that just the first four cores run at a constant 1709MHz, with the other 4 cores showing disabled. When I run more work to a total of 7 cores, the other 4 cores show a speed alternating between 1402MHz and 1805MHz with bursts up to 2016MHz.

That's comparable to early Intel Xeon CPUs. Would you want to run such a CPU at 2016MHz without cooling? I wouldn't! :)

Regarding temp:
The phone is in a case on the desktop, battery temp is fine, 31*C while fully charged with BOINC running.
While it's good to keep an eye on battery temperatures, the CPU or SoC temperature is also something to keep an eye on. I find when I run with 4 cores on my phone, that the temperature stays at around 38C, but with 7 cores it's 50C max. (I leave one core free for the phone, and to keep temperatures reasonable)
On my old Huawei phone that's even more interesting, as there temperatures when I turn on the screen rapidly rise from the first visible 38C to over 60C, I attribute that to the GPU being either built into the CPU, or in close proximity. Although, having read about the SurfaceFlinger service...

Then there's an Archos 70d Titanium tablet that I have, it uses all 4 cores and that's all the info I have on it. Neither CPU-Z nor CPU Monitor manage to find what temperatures it runs at. Something that Archos did to their Android 7.1.1, I think. But it's scorching hot to the touch. So hot that it lies on top of two tie wraps on a 200mm fan. Just to keep cool.
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Message 86951 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 16:59:13 UTC - in response to Message 86950.  
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 17:17:11 UTC

That's interesting. My findings are a bit different, on my Pixel 2, running Android Oreo 8.1.0.

For me, when running BOINC with 1 CPU, the first 4 cores all go to their max of 1900 MHz. In fact, I think they cannot scale independently, and so, when only 1 task is running, they all will be at 1900 MHz. Furthermore, the last 4 big cores bounce between frequencies, usually low ones( like 345 MHz - 650 MHz), but do not shut off entirely or become disabled.

So..

- When BOINC is suspended, first 4 little cores bounce at low frequences, and last 4 big cores bounce at low frequencies.
- When running BOINC with 1 CPU, first 4 little cores are at 1900 MHz, and last 4 big cores bounce at low frequencies. CPU Temp per CPU Monitor is 38-41*C.
- When running BOINC with 4 CPUs, first 4 little cores are at 1900 MHz, and last 4 big cores bounce at low frequencies. CPU Temp per CPU Monitor is 38-41*C.
- When running BOINC with 8 CPUs, first 4 little cores are at 1900 MHz, and last 4 big cores bounce at low frequencies. CPU Temp per CPU Monitor is 38-41*C.

On my system at least ... I suspect that the Android scheduler reserves the big cores for GPU activity (I see all 4 cores spike together, up to 2457 MHz, when using the Task Switcher, for instance), and possibly also for main-thread-tasks (whereas BOINC tasks seem to be treated as background tasks relegated to the first 4 slow cores).

I wish I had a way to find out more, like which CPUs they are running on, or better yet a way to set them :)

It sounds like I may end up setting BOINC to use 4 instead of 8, until I can get proof that they're running at all on the big cores.
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Message 86952 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 17:28:43 UTC - in response to Message 86951.  
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 17:34:06 UTC

I don't use CPU Monitor to monitor temperatures as I find it's not very accurate. Instead I use the Thermal tab in CPU-Z for that and then only look at soc_thermal or mtktscpu.

For instance on my Huawei P9 lite, which I connected to a powerbank, the soc_thermal says it's running at 48C, while CPU Monitor says 37C. Just 11 degrees difference, puh.

(And for that matter, the past hour I've been looking at my Archos 70d Titanium. According to the various sites, it's a 32bit ARMv7 CPU (Cortex A7) with a Mali 400 GPU. Seti however tells me it's got an AArch64 v3 CPU with a Mali T720 GPU. When I look that up on the Archos site, I get to an Archos 80 Oxygen, so I suspect that I have that device but with the wrong outer cover. I'll have to open it one time...)
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Message 86953 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 17:35:20 UTC
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 17:36:36 UTC

Ah, sorry I didn't think to mention this before, but ...

For my non-rooted Oreo 8.1.0:
CPU-Z Thermal tab, for me, says "No Thermal data". But its Battery tab says "Temperature: 33.0 *C"
Even AIDA64 Thermal tab says "Battery: 33.0 *C" only.
CPU Monitor is the only app of the 3, that shows a "CPU Temperature" of 37 *C.
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Message 86954 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 17:40:51 UTC - in response to Message 86953.  
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 17:43:36 UTC

CPU-Z Thermal tab, for me, says "No Thermal data". But its Battery tab says "Temperature: 33.0 *C"
Yes, that's what my Archos does as well. Something they did to the OS so it won't find the info. I doubt there's no thermal sensor on these.

So then your only option is by touch (*), on the back of the device. Slowly feel around and when you find some place that's radiating some heat, consider it's hot. What CPU would run at full blast without getting quite hot without active cooling?

(*)Edit: or thermal camera.
Edit(2): My Archos seems to have a Cortex-A53 CPU (quad core). So those 'big' from the Samsung S6 that run only sporadically....
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Message 86955 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 17:44:39 UTC
Last modified: 9 Jul 2018, 17:57:30 UTC

I'm told that rooting the phone may unlock the ability to see cpu usage for tasks, again.
I may investigate that option at some point.
This is my source (Release notes info for Simple System Monitor)
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Message 86958 - Posted: 9 Jul 2018, 19:39:58 UTC - in response to Message 86955.  

Hope you can root it. The Archos, I cannot. I've tried 4 different rooters, none of them are able to finish.
I had the biggest problems getting BOINC to run on it, and only managed after removing and disabling a lot of preinstalled apps. Even now it's still reacting slowly when I try to do anything on it.
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Message 87004 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 20:41:09 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018, 20:42:58 UTC

I made a little progress, I think. Basically, I'm able to connect to the device from windows, using adb (Android Desktop Bridge), and then do a "top" or "top -H" to see some stuff. Instructions at bottom. What I found, though, I did not like.

Basically, look at the "nice" values below, and also the "%CPU" values for the tasks.
They make it look like, the BOINC threads are ACTUALLY limited to just 2 of my 8 CPUs - not even 4! Regardless of being set to 2, 4, or 8.

This leads me to believe that I should set BOINC to 2 on this phone, as that's all the OS will end up using. Do you agree?

Here's what my Pixel 2 looks like, when running:

8 BOINC tasks:
800%cpu  17%user 194%nice  13%sys 565%idle   4%iow   5%irq   2%sirq   0%host                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  PID USER         PR  NI VIRT  RES  SHR S[%CPU] %MEM     TIME+ ARGS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
18541 u0_a163      39  19 347M 185M 5.7M R 24.3   5.0   0:32.64 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
18245 u0_a163      39  19 379M 221M 3.0M R 24.3   6.0   1:07.79 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
18232 u0_a163      39  19 373M 187M 6.0M R 24.3   5.1   1:06.30 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
17999 u0_a163      39  19 244M  86M 1.2M R 24.3   2.3   1:32.07 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
17995 u0_a163      39  19 244M  86M 1.3M R 24.3   2.3   1:33.66 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
17986 u0_a163      39  19 244M  83M 1.6M R 24.3   2.2   1:25.48 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
18882 u0_a163      39  19 157M  32M  20M R 24.0   0.8   0:02.55 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
17988 u0_a163      39  19 244M  86M 1.3M R 24.0   2.3   1:24.47 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...


4 BOINC tasks:
800%cpu  13%user 188%nice  24%sys 565%idle   2%iow   4%irq   4%sirq   0%host                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  PID USER         PR  NI VIRT  RES  SHR S[%CPU] %MEM     TIME+ ARGS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
19642 u0_a163      39  19 157M  32M  20M R 65.0   0.8   0:04.72 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
19567 u0_a163      39  19 194M  68M  22M R 55.6   1.8   0:23.21 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
19636 u0_a163      39  19 160M  37M  21M R 37.0   1.0   0:06.40 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
19639 u0_a163      39  19 160M  37M  21M R 36.0   1.0   0:06.38 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...


2 BOINC tasks:
800%cpu  23%user 195%nice  16%sys 558%idle   2%iow   5%irq   2%sirq   0%host                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  PID USER         PR  NI VIRT  RES  SHR S[%CPU] %MEM     TIME+ ARGS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
19639 u0_a163      39  19 377M 229M  10M R 96.0   6.2   0:55.71 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...
19636 u0_a163      39  19 380M 231M 9.2M R 94.6   6.3   0:55.49 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...


1 BOINC task:
800%cpu  51%user 121%nice  37%sys 582%idle   3%iow   5%irq   1%sirq   0%host                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
  PID USER         PR  NI VIRT  RES  SHR S[%CPU] %MEM     TIME+ ARGS                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
19639 u0_a163      39  19 385M 235M  10M R  100   6.4   1:21.36 rosetta_android_4.10_arm-android-linux-gnu...


Instructions:
I personally used this link, which a software "SystemPanel2" recommended to use to get its app able to read additional info on Nougat and Oreo.
http://sp.nextapp.com/
Then I used this link to learn a little about top:
http://adbshell.com/commands/adb-shell-top
...
So I:
- Downloaded that zip and extracted it
- Connected my phone
- Opened Command Prompt (Admin) on Windows 10, and used "cd" to change directory to the folder of the extracted contents
- Ran "adb shell"
- Ran "top"
- Used Ctrl+C to exit top
- Ran "exit" to exit the shell
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Message 87007 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 21:05:20 UTC

Holy crap. I found out something important just now.
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Message 87008 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 21:11:53 UTC - in response to Message 87007.  
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018, 21:16:15 UTC

BAD / SLOW / RESTRICTING:
When BOINC has "Autostart" turned ON, and the phone is restarted
- The child threads run using "bg" (Background) scheduling policy
- This places them all on CPUs 0 and 1
- This leaves CPUs 2-7 all idle.
- This leaves my "BIG" CPU cores idle.
walleye:/ $ ps -A -o PID,TTY,TIME,CMD,CPU,PCY,PPID -P 5928
  PID TTY          TIME CMD             CPU PCY  PPID
 6732 ?        00:00:46 rosetta_android   0  bg  5928
 6996 ?        00:00:40 rosetta_android   1  bg  5928
 7037 ?        00:00:45 rosetta_android   1  bg  5928
 7253 ?        00:00:44 rosetta_android   0  bg  5928
 7379 ?        00:00:39 rosetta_android   1  bg  5928
 7380 ?        00:00:04 data_collect_v5   1  bg  5928
 7480 ?        00:00:38 rosetta_android   0  bg  5928
 7485 ?        00:00:38 rosetta_android   0  bg  5928
 7514 ?        00:00:38 rosetta_android   1  bg  5928


GOOD / USING ALL CPUS:
When BOINC has "Autostart" turned OFF, and the phone is restarted, and the user manually starts BOINC:
- The child threads run using "fg" (Foreground) scheduling policy
- This places them originally across ALL CPU CORES, with sometimes having them double-up.
- This keeps my "BIG" CPU Cores at full frequency, and mostly loaded.
127|walleye:/ $ ps -A -o PID,TTY,TIME,CMD,CPU,PCY,PPID -P 3975
  PID TTY          TIME CMD             CPU PCY  PPID
 4724 ?        00:00:11 rosetta_android   2  fg  3975
 5191 ?        00:00:10 rosetta_android   7  fg  3975
 5384 ?        00:00:13 rosetta_android   1  fg  3975
 5561 ?        00:00:07 rosetta_android   7  fg  3975
 5730 ?        00:00:07 rosetta_android   6  fg  3975
 5731 ?        00:00:00 data_collect_v5   6  fg  3975
 5893 ?        00:00:11 rosetta_android   3  fg  3975
 6128 ?        00:00:09 rosetta_android   0  fg  3975
 6341 ?        00:00:06 rosetta_android   6  fg  3975


Instructions:

Window 1:
top
Window 2 (replace the BOINC_PARENT_PROCESS_ID with the BOINC parent process ID):
ps -A -o PID,TTY,TIME,CMD,CPU,PCY,PPID -P [BOINC_PARENT_PROCESS_ID]
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Message 87009 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 21:26:57 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018, 21:41:19 UTC

... but then when BOINC is suspended and the BOINC app is closed, later when BOINC is opened, the tasks get created as background again. Hmm, I'm still missing understanding something I think.

This has something to do with ... the parent BOINC process running as "fg" versus "bg", and I think it relates to it being spawned from the UI or UI being closed when it is spawned. I'm still missing something.
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Message 87013 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 22:23:12 UTC
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018, 22:49:40 UTC

I think it boils down to this, for me, on my Pixel 2:

If BOINC starts via "Autostart": The process and tasks start running as "bg" (limited to 2 little cores)
If BOINC starts via user launching BOINC: The process and tasks start running as "fg" (limited to all 4 little cores and 2 of the 4 big cores)
If BOINC is ever suspended while the UI is dismissed, then the BOINC process transitions to "bg" (limited to 2 little cores), and the tasks will later start running as "bg"... and the only way to get it all back to "fg" is to use Settings > Apps > BOINC > "Force Stop" and restart BOINC.

Does that accurately describe the behavior of the program right now?
Furthermore, does that accurately describe the behavior that we want? :)

Personally, based on ability to use CPUs, I think we'd want to use "fg" (while keeping 'nice'). I know I'm going to go out of my way to do that, at least, but BOINC should do that by default in my opinion.

Useful commands to watch the behavior:
top -o PID,USER,PR,NI,VIRT,RES,SHR,S,%CPU,%MEM,TIME+,PCY,CPU,CMDLINE
top -o PID,USER,PR,NI,VIRT,RES,SHR,S,%CPU,%MEM,TIME+,PCY,CPU,NAME
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Message 87018 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 23:14:29 UTC - in response to Message 87013.  

I don't think that that's BOINC doing that, I think that's Android doing that. BOINC doesn't tell the OS what priority it wants to use, it'll be the OS's scheduling service that does that. But to be sure about that, you'll have to write in on the BOINC Dev email list with a CC to Oliver Bock and perhaps Rom Walton (if you can ever get him to answer you). Or perhaps put this in Github Issues.
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Message 87019 - Posted: 10 Jul 2018, 23:18:07 UTC - in response to Message 87018.  
Last modified: 10 Jul 2018, 23:20:48 UTC

Yeah, I'll think about it more. Seems likely to be another silly limitation of the operating system. I might craft an email to the dev group.

Can you maybe please do some tests on your devices, using adb and top and ps, using the commands I gave, to see if you can repro the behaviors, especially how it may affect your phone with 2 clusters of different sized cores?

PS: 46*C running 8 tasks on 6 cores, according to the app "Cpu Monitor", which is the only app that gives me CPU temp.
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Message 87042 - Posted: 11 Jul 2018, 7:52:31 UTC - in response to Message 87019.  

I had tested it on my Huawei P9 lite just prior to falling asleep on my phone, but didn't see any change between automatic and manual starting of BOINC.

I use the CPU Usage Overlay from Developer Options to quickly see what the load is that the CPU has (green bars for low load, red for high load). I didn't see much difference in those, plus CPU-Z still showed my big cores doing their 1402/1805/2016 mega dance.

So therefore I still feel that this is done by design, because you have very powerful CPUs in a small package with nowhere for the heat to go when they do their thing. To make sure Google/Android/the device maker isn't liable to pay for damages due to the device having burst into flames, I'm pretty sure they've built something in that prevents this from being utilized as you want to. With the thought behind it being that if you want that, you best buy an actively cooled laptop.
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Message 87045 - Posted: 11 Jul 2018, 12:27:23 UTC - in response to Message 87042.  
Last modified: 11 Jul 2018, 12:40:09 UTC

Thanks.

I really don't think this is heat related, as much as it is performance related. For instance, I think that, even when BOINC is running 8 CPUs as fg, cores 4 and 5 are STILL reserved by the system, probably for things like GPU responsiveness.

Also, you mentioned a "CPU Usage Overlay". I probably don't have that here on Oreo, but could you tell me exactly where it is on your system and what version it is? Thanks.

Are you able to use adb? That might help you see what's really going on, like I was able to. It's pretty straightforward, if your device supports USB debugging (have to enable it in developer options) and then on Windows you use "adb shell".
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Message 87048 - Posted: 11 Jul 2018, 13:04:03 UTC - in response to Message 87045.  

Also, you mentioned a "CPU Usage Overlay". I probably don't have that here on Oreo, but could you tell me exactly where it is on your system and what version it is? Thanks
You have to enable developer mode for that, usually done by tapping the build number in About Device in rapid succession.
Then in the main Settings menu, go to Developer options and it's some place at the bottom. I have it in Android 4, 6 and 7, so I wouldn't know hy it wouldn't be there in 8. .

Are you able to use adb? That might help you see what's really going on, like I was able to. It's pretty straightforward, if your device supports USB debugging (have to enable it in developer options) and then on Windows you use "adb shell".
Ah see, you do have developer options already enabled.
I'll see tonight if I can work my way around that. Am busy defrosting my freezer. Also something that needs to be done some times. :)
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