Screen Saver - Windows 7

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deesy58

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Message 33349 - Posted: 14 Jun 2010, 7:25:41 UTC

I upgraded my XP machine to Windows 7 last week. Now, I seem to be having a lot of problems with the BOINC screen saver. I have noticed two bothersome anomalies:

1. When the Rosetta dynamic protein molecule structures display, they seem to be in slow motion, with a new structure being displayed only once per second. The animation was much, much faster under XP.

2. Often, my screen will simply blank out and display the Windows 7 "loading" icon of a small blue circle. This will remain on the screen for a lengthy period of time, and nothing else will be displayed unless I deactivate the screen saver by moving the mouse or striking a key on the keyboard.

"Blank Screensaver after:" is set to "Never."

"Run BOINC screensaver for:" is set to "10."

"Run project screensavers for:" is set to "1hr."

"Switch between project screensavers every:" is set to "15."

"Power Saver" is unchecked, Preferred Power Plan is "Balanced," and the screensaver activates after 30 minutes.

Are these anomalies being caused by an incompatibility between BOINC and Windows 7, or are some of these screensaver settings incorrect?

Thanks!

deesy
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Message 33350 - Posted: 14 Jun 2010, 7:52:07 UTC - in response to Message 33349.  

Drivers make or break the screen saver. What videocard drivers did you install?
The ones that Windows installed, or did you install the ones from the videocard manufacturer as well? Did you update DirectX?
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deesy58

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Message 33367 - Posted: 14 Jun 2010, 22:50:54 UTC - in response to Message 33350.  

Latest and greatest of both.

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deesy58

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Message 33372 - Posted: 15 Jun 2010, 1:16:57 UTC

Clearly, the BOINC screen saver is not working properly with Windows 7 on my machine. It activated more than an hour ago, and during the past hour, my screen was perfectly blank and black. Power saving was not activated. The screen saver was just displaying a blank screen.

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Message 33377 - Posted: 15 Jun 2010, 7:59:03 UTC - in response to Message 33372.  

You never said, but what brand and model videocard are you using?
What projects are you attached to and have work from?
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deesy58

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Message 33382 - Posted: 15 Jun 2010, 17:26:13 UTC

NVIDIA GEForce GTX 295. Rosetta, only.

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darwincollins

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Message 33389 - Posted: 16 Jun 2010, 5:49:09 UTC

Do you really need the BOINC screensaver enabled? I run boinc 24/7.

I just set the screensaver to all blank.(which I have to remember everytime I update boinc)

That way, I don't waste any cpu % on a screen saver.
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Message 33399 - Posted: 16 Jun 2010, 10:48:06 UTC - in response to Message 33398.  

Do you really need the BOINC screensaver enabled? I run boinc 24/7.

I just set the screensaver to all blank.(which I have to remember everytime I update boinc)

That way, I don't waste any cpu % on a screen saver.

Why would you have to remember to set it to all blank when the installer has a field to opt to NOT set the BOINC SS.

And even if you install the screen saver, you can disable it way easier and quicker in Windows, by setting the screen saver to None.
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deesy58

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Message 33408 - Posted: 16 Jun 2010, 17:59:14 UTC

Hmm. Well, since the BOINC SS is clearly not working properly, I DID turn it off in Windows 7. It is unfortunate, however, that I can't show others what the project is trying to accomplish because the graphics are no longer displaying the tasks.

The real questions are: Is this a known problem, and are there any fixes for it in the works?

deesy

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Profile Gundolf Jahn

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Message 33410 - Posted: 16 Jun 2010, 18:38:52 UTC - in response to Message 33408.  

Did you try the Show graphics button in the Tasks tab? (You'll have to highlight a running task first.)

Sometimes it works better than the screensaver.

Gruß,
Gundolf
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genes
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Message 33411 - Posted: 16 Jun 2010, 19:15:44 UTC

Hi Deesy,

The latest driver for your card is 257.21, from the NVidia site. I mention this since Windows 7 will download and install a driver for your card automatically, but it's not going to be the latest. The GTX295 is a formidable-looking card, and should have no problems with Rosetta. I have a Quadro FX1800 in one of my Win7 systems (197.90 driver, BTW), nowhere near as powerful, and it has no problem with Rosetta screensaver. Right-click the desktop, select "Nvidia control panel" and then click "system info" to check what your version is.

That being said, I've seen Rosetta tasks get into a state where they don't advance, and they won't show graphics then either. At that point, I have to suspend then exit BOINC mgr (using 6.10.56) and then restart it and un-suspend.

Another thing -- since you are running only Rosetta, check your system memory usage with the Task Manager. Rosetta tasks can use a LOT of memory, and if you have multiple cores, you can easily run low on memory.

Another useful point to remember is that Microsoft changed the Display Driver model in Windows Vista and 7, and in addition to being generally slower, if you run the Aero desktop, it uses a lot more of the GPU resources just to display the fancy desktop. You can try the "Classic" theme to see if it helps. (I know, it doesn't look as pretty.)

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deesy58

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Message 33416 - Posted: 17 Jun 2010, 2:15:29 UTC - in response to Message 33411.  

I visited the NVIDIA Web site, where I downloaded and installed the very latest drivers for my video card. I did that a couple of days ago. I doubt that there is a newer driver available. I also visited the Microsoft Web site and installed the latest version of Direct X.

The screen saver seemed to work okay under Windows XP, but not under Windows 7. The "Show graphics" button for Rosetta has never worked on my machine. I haven't tried it with Windows 7, but if it doesn't work in the screen saver, I would be surprised if the button would be any different. I will, however, try it.

The Rosetta tasks that get into a state where they don't advance is not a factor in this issue. I have observed that anomaly to be a relatively common problem with Rosetta tasks, and it is annoying to abort so many tasks and lose the "points" therefrom. I have aborted about 8 or 10 Rosetta tasks in the past two months when they "crashed." It is interesting to note that, when the tasks enter this state, they stop using CPU cycles all together. If I suspend, exit, reenter, then resume the task, I lose progress on the task, and it is likely to "crash" again, so I simply abort the task. Somebody needs to look at this problem and fix it. Why would that be so difficult?

Right now, running Rosetta tasks on both CPUs, my machine is using 1.1 GB out of 2.0 GB total. It doesn't look like memory is a problem.

I'm not running the "Aero" desktop. I don't like it. Everything is plain vanilla. It looks very much like the XP desktop.

I'm also not trying to run anything in XP or virtualization mode. As I said, plain vanilla.

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Profile Gundolf Jahn

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Message 33417 - Posted: 17 Jun 2010, 9:57:01 UTC - in response to Message 33416.  

Did you check the Rosetta forum for hints? The problem might be specific to the Rosetta application.

Gruß,
Gundolf
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deesy58

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Message 33427 - Posted: 17 Jun 2010, 18:28:25 UTC - in response to Message 33417.  

Hmm. That's an interesting idea, but why would I do that? When I look at my "Screen Saver Settings," I see an entry for BOINC, but none for Rosetta. If I right-click on the icon in my Service Tray, I am asked if I want to open the "BOINC Manager," not the "Rosetta Manager."

So far, I haven't gotten much help from either organization (Rosetta or BOINC), as they seem to be fond of pointing fingers at each other. How professional is that?

It sounds like I am not the only contributor who is experiencing problems with the BOINC screen saver. Does anybody really believe that "ostrichism" will solve any problems anytime soon?

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Message 33429 - Posted: 17 Jun 2010, 20:20:39 UTC - in response to Message 33427.  
Last modified: 17 Jun 2010, 20:20:58 UTC

Do know that we're all volunteers here trying to help one another. If you want to yell at the developers, there's another place for that.

Anyway, since today I am the owner of a 64bit Intel system and I have been busy all day installing it. Put Windows 7 Pro 64bit on it, even have BOINC running on it already.

And with that I just tested the screen saver. I left the screen saver settings on default, it kicked in after a minute and is now showing the Einstein screen saver. So I don't have any problems.

I have the manufacturer's drivers installed (ATI HD4850 w 1GB), haven't even updated Windows yet, haven't even updated DirectX. And yet it works.

So the first thing to look at is the graphics application. This one is released by the project. Yes, BOINC has a screen saver. It's that black screen with the BOINC logo telling you how much you've done for the project. Yet when a project has a graphics application, this one is used for the screen saver. Not all projects have one and you better not run it together with your GPU doing CUDA or CAL calculations, but that aside.

The "Show graphics" button for Rosetta has never worked on my machine.

Which means there is either a problem with the drivers (OpenGL isn't activated), or there is a problem with the graphics application. You do need to select a running task for the button to activate. But it won't work if you use optimised applications (such as on Seti), or when there is a problem with the videocard, its drivers, or its capability to do OpenGL 1.1
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deesy58

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Message 33433 - Posted: 18 Jun 2010, 5:27:13 UTC

I understand completely! We are all volunteers. All of us who are contributing our computing resources to any of the various grid computing projects are volunteering. We are contributing our machine time, the electrical energy required to run the machines, and the energy required to remove the heat generated by our hardware. As far as I am aware, none of us is getting paid for any of it, so I guess everybody on this forum is a volunteer.

I tested the "Show graphics" button in the BOINC Manager for my Rosetta tasks. It is now working, after a fashion. Unfortunately, the display updates only once every 2 seconds or so, so it really looks unimpressive.

From what research I was able to complete, it might very well be the case that OpenGL is not running on my machine, and the graphics lag might be caused by DirectX. If this is the case, I have no idea how to activate OpenGL. It is not available as a separate package, and I have installed the very latest driver software from NVIDIA. The Windows 7 Device Manager confirms that I have the latest version of the video drivers.

I am not running CUDA because it is not supported by the Rosetta Project, which is the only one I am interested in contributing to at this time.

If there is some method of activating OpenGL that is independent of the NVIDIA drivers installation, I would certainly be happy to learn of it.

BTW, the fact that some software program works on somebody's computer (with different hardware and OS software) does not mean that it will work on anybody else's computer, right?

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Message 33436 - Posted: 18 Jun 2010, 6:10:13 UTC - in response to Message 33433.  
Last modified: 18 Jun 2010, 6:33:33 UTC

From what research I was able to complete, it might very well be the case that OpenGL is not running on my machine, and the graphics lag might be caused by DirectX. If this is the case, I have no idea how to activate OpenGL. It is not available as a separate package, and I have installed the very latest driver software from NVIDIA. The Windows 7 Device Manager confirms that I have the latest version of the video drivers.

Normally by installing the drivers from the GPU manufacturer's site, you activate OpenGL. The drivers included in and maintained (updated) by Windows, do not activate it as it goes against their own DirectX. OpenGL is an open source method of showing 3D graphics, and with that a direct competitor for DirectX.

Your GTX295 is in the least OpenGL 2.0 compliant, probably even later.
There are tests out there to see if OpenGL can run, such as FurMark.

BTW, the fact that some software program works on somebody's computer (with different hardware and OS software) does not mean that it will work on anybody else's computer, right?

You're right. Even if you have two identical systems, with regards to hardware and all software, you'll find that they both do things differently. Minute differences in parts used, gremlins and cosmic rays will take care of that. :-)

But in your case... it could also be that the drivers just didn't install correctly, that you're missing the motherboard chipset drivers, that some small corruption on disk happened, that a bit sat wrong when you installed the drivers.

Here's what you can try: Completely clean out your GPU drivers, then reinstall them. Reinstall or update your motherboard chipset drivers. Update DirectX afterwards. (Yes, weirdly enough: even though Microsoft say they don't support OpenGL, some of their DirectX drivers activate OpenGL parts. Want it stranger? :-))

(Later edit: You can also check if there's dust and gunk living in the heat sink and fan on your CPU and GPU. Dust attributes to extra heat, which will make things slow).
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Message 33438 - Posted: 18 Jun 2010, 11:34:01 UTC

I have just attached my new system to all the projects I am attached to on other systems. This resulted in the download of one task from all those projects, including one Rosetta. I'll start that one in a bit and post about what it does with a screen saver on my system.
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Message 33439 - Posted: 18 Jun 2010, 12:13:11 UTC - in response to Message 33438.  

I don't see any problem with the Rosetta screen saver. The only little thing I see between switches to other projects and the BOINC screen saver is a note saying 'There was an unspecified problem with the BOINC Screen saver'. It works though, so not a clue there. ;-)
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deesy58

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Message 33444 - Posted: 18 Jun 2010, 18:38:55 UTC

I downloaded and ran FurMark. Here are the results.

SCORE: 5849 points (60000 ms)
MAX GPU Temp: 77 C
FPS: Min=19 Max=163 Avg=98

The graphic looked quite good while the benchmark was running. Motion was smooth and detail was fine.

Does this mean that OpenGL is working okay on my machine?

Remember that, before I upgraded my machine from Windows XP SP3 to Windows 7 Home Premium (64 bit), the screen saver appeared to be working well, but the "Show graphics" button would display only a black screen. Now, the screen saver produces a black screen, and the "Show graphics" button displays a graphic of the protein being processed, but it only updates about every two seconds, resulting in a very jerky, stop-action motion.

This is quite frustrating.

deesy

BYW, I live in a very dry, dusty environment, so I regularly open my computer case and thoroughly clean the heat sinks (CPU and GPU) with high-pressure air, and an anti-static 3M technician's vacuum cleaner. Right now, the GPU is just idling. It isn't getting hot, and the fan is not running very fast. When I was running Windows XP, I also ran CUDA on the Collatz Conjecture Project for a couple of weeks, and the GPU was definitely working hard and running hot. Not anymore.

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