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Guest abulaafia

FSX goes 'Not responding' for 7 minutes and then resumes?!

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Hi fellow captains!I have a very frustrating problem when flying online on IVAO and I tried getting help in there but unfortunately no one could help me and I was told probably the problem is somewhere in my Windows installation rather than in their online pilot client so now I'm taking my chances that someone in here might be able to help or have experienced the same problem.What happens is that all of a sudden during a flight FSX will simply freeze on me and I get the small circle you get in Vista when a program is not responding and the FSX window either goes dimmed or all white with the message 'Not responding' in it's title bar. Then it stays like that for about 7 minutes and then all of a sudden once again FSX resumes just like nothing has happened and all is fine again. Also worth mentioning is that when this happens the rest of my PC and all other applications etc continue to work just fine. Normally this happens once or sometimes a couple of times during a flight and as you can imagine it's very annoying especially since you're online and not alone in the sky...Personally I'm pretty positive this must have something to do with IvAp (the pilot client used on IVAO) because I have NEVER seen this problem when flying offline but only when flying online with IvAp running. I have also tried different aircraft, not starting other applications like ASX, FS Realtime etc but that doesn't do any difference - I keep getting this problem somewhere along almost all flights but only when flying online with IvAp running.Is there any way I can activate some kind of debugging mode or similar in FSX or Windows which could help find out what is actually causing FSX to enter this 'Not responding' state and what is going on "behind the scenes" during these approx 7 minutes it usually takes before FSX resumes again? I have checked all event logs etc in Windows when this happens and I have also checked in Task Manager and Performance Monitor but haven't been able to find anything related to FSX hanging like this for a couple of minutes and then all of a sudden resume like nothing happened. Looking at the runnings processes in Task Manger when FSX hangs like this FSX uses no CPU time and the Idle process somewhere between 95-100% so my computer in no way seem to be over-stressed.I'm running Vista Ultimate 64-bit SP1, FSX SP2 and the latest version of IvAp and I have also seen this problem before when I was using the 32-bit version of Windows so it doesn't appear to be a 64-bit related problem and I had this problem right after the clean install of Windows Vista 64-bit so I don't think a bad Windows or FSX installation is the cause.Thanks in advance for any help solving this!!

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"Is there any way I can activate some kind of debugging mode or similar in FSX or Windows which could help find out what is actually causing FSX to enter this 'Not responding' state and what is going on "behind the scenes" during these approx 7 minutes it usually takes before FSX resumes again?"I would try Process Monitor: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb896645.aspx or Process Explorer: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sysinte...s/bb545046.aspxJim

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Hello!Well! I have observed the same problem with my FSX. I do not fly on-line, so from my perspective, IVAO may not be the issue. In my situation, I have had a couple of instances where FSX just freezes (the whole computer freezes) for several minutes and then, magically, things resume on their own. I have a quad core processor and when this has happened and I have done the "Ctrl/Alt/Del" and taken a look at what's going on with the processors, 3 processors are like totally free, and the thrid processor is like pegged to 100%. Obviously FSX does not take advantage of multi-processors, so it looks like one of the cores is taking the brunt of the load all the time.My rig is a Pentium Quad Core 2.6 - overclocked to 2.84GB of RAMNviDia 8800GTX with 500mb of video ramI've learned to live with this issue since my FSX is so customized that starting over is out of the question for me.Hope this helps!Sincerely,Dennis D. Mullert

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Web/Dennis, I am guessing you have on-board sound or graphics that are helping to overload the CPU. Can you post or email me the top 1/3 of a DXDIAG report? If you don't care to do that and you know you have one, or the other (on-board sound/graphics) then you probably already know how to fix it?Probably it's sound related. Vista has a completely new sound API and it's not anything like XP was. In general terms you are better off adding more expensive hardware, and with audio that means a sound card that has a very small CPU requirement. Most of the cheaper Sound Blaster cards hit upon the CPU heavily. Having on-board video would be even worse.Having said that have you fallen into the trap of listening to gamers on how to set the page file? At one time one of the leading gamers websites even suggested turning off the page file. Ridiculous! If that's the case the simple fix would be to turn it back on. Minimum size should be RAM size times 1.5 and maximum should be RAM size times 3. You can always give it more, but remember it takes hard drive space for the page file.Also, it is never a good idea to have a full hard drive. In fact, your hard drive should be at least 1/2 empty for best performance. Anytime it starts to spread over the half way mark regularly, it's time to get a bigger hard drive or a second hard drive.Since, you expressed regret over starting over with installing FSX, (as a person that has 100 GB devoted to FSX I sympathize) then I should tell you that you can use a migration tool like Acronis Migrate Easy to copy your entire partition to a larger drive.Well, I hope your answer is somewhere on this page. Let me know if none of this is pertinent.Smooth Air...

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Hi Jim and thanks for your tip!Actually I used to have both those programs you mention but if my memory serves me I belive I had trouble running them in 64-bit Windows but maybe there are special 64-bit versions - I will try to find that out and give them a go if I find any version that will run on my 64-bit installation.

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Hi Dennis,I know what you mean by not be willing to start all over with FSX again once you have it all set up and configured the way you want.However I'm not sure if we have the very same problem since you say in your case the whole computer freezes because here when this happens my computer continues to work just fine...it's just FSX that goes either dimmed or all white and stops responding for a couple of minutes - all other applications work just fine during this time.Thanks anyway!

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First of all, thanks for your interest in our problem!As for the paging file like you said there have since as long as I can remember always been a debate on how to configure the page file in Windows. Currently I've been using a fixed 4 GB sized pagefile located on my D: partition and I also have 4 GB RAM installed so guess I should add another 2 GB to the page file to follow the recommendation of 1.5 times your physical RAM. Do you see any problem not having the page file or a part of it on your C: partition (where Windows is installed and also FSX in my case)? Another thing I've been thinking about now after I already have FSX installed is if it would have been a good thing to have FSX installed on my D: partition instead of like now when I have FSX on the same partition where I have Windows but guess it's very hard to change that afterwards changing the paths everywhere?Then about the sound/graphics cards...for the sound I'm using an integrated card but only for TeamSpeak to communicate with ATC then for everything else I since some time ago changed from a SoundBlaster Audigy II I belive the name was to a new sound system from Altec Lansing called FX5051 where you don't need any sound card...you just plug it in using USB and then it pops up in Windows like a 5.1 sound system and I'm very happy with it since the sound is great and I don't need any extra sound card...but now after reading what you say I wonder if this sound setup having a USB connected 5.1 setup maybe could cause any problem with heavy CPU load etc...?

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Absolutely! I tested a lot of setups when I first moved to Vista 32 and then Vista 64 (which I use today and prefer). The Sound Blaster Audigy II was better then the USB headphones (I think mine used CMedia), but both use far too much CPU. If you insist on sticking with Creative they do have a sound card that uses very little CPU, but it is a little more expensive. I am talking about the XiFi Fatality Titanium or for even less CPU the BlueGears bEnspirer or the very least CPU user is the high end Xonar by Asus. I got a little miffed with Creative for the lie that their card was a true 24 bit sound card (not the one I listed but a lower end Audigy), and the one I was using not only crashed Vista regularly, but was proven to be a mere 16 bit. So, I bought the bEnspirer which is a true 24 bit card and has much better sound quality then any Sound Blaster. A short word about sound and Vista: You may have gone looking for the hardware acceleration slider in Vista and discovered it is gone. Sound in Vista is a very different animal, so you have to be careful about the drivers you load. In fact, if you switch out devices you may leave behind a form of time bomb. You definitely want to use a driver cleaner anytime you change sound drivers in Vista (especially if you have an NVidia chip set). The same goes for video drivers. Concerning video: Always get your drivers from the manufacturers web site and NOT Nvidia themselves. If you have an eVGA video card go to eVGA for drivers. NVidia updates their drivers on a generic basis and have and will optimize their drivers for the benefit of newer cards and ignore the effect upon older legacy cards. When removing older sound or video devices always remove the device, clean the drivers, and then install the new device and drivers. It's never a good idea to remove device add device and move on. Vista will have problems after that. Concerning page files: I read everything that was said on the web about page files and Flight Simulator. I could not believe what I read! Especially from people that are supposed to be hardware and software experts! So, if you want to know what the best way to approach page files is, then go straight to Microsoft. That's what I did and how I came up with my recommendation. I highly recommend that you go through your active services and shut down the ones you don't need (blackviper.com is a good resource for services information). I could go on and on about security and other issues that may be tying up your CPU, but this is a great start and more then most people care to read. I hope that helps you.Smooth air...

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WOW, thanks alot for your very thorough reply with lots of good info!!One follow-up question, is there an easy way for me to find out how much CPU time is used by my sound system? It wasn't that long ago I bought this new sound system and at that point I found it very nice I wouldn't need a separate sound card so honestly I'm not that tempted to buy a new one if I'm not certain that is the only way to solve this problem I have with a non-responsive FSX from time to time.What I find strange is that when FSX hangs like this no CPU time at all is used by it when I checked in Task Manager so for that reason I honestly don't understand why having a sound setup that uses CPU time would be related to this problem or what am I missing here...?

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You can look for the sound process in Task Manager (ctrl-alt-del and then click on Processes tab). Sort the Processes by CPU usage (arrow head pointing down), so that the highest usage is at the top. Start FSX and window it (alt-enter), so that you can see the Task Manager (I suggest using a saved tower view with lots of AI running, but cockpit view will work also). While FSX is booting it should stick to about 48% CPU usage, but will go higher once it starts. Usually, FSX settles to about 82% usage while in flight, which is bad once you realize that some sound cards (programs in case of USB devices such as yours) will go as high as 28%. The bEnspirer I use typically uses 0% of the CPU, but I don't think that's possible with a USB sound system.Now, what you should look for are other problems. Is SideBar running? Bad, bad if so! If you see an application process that is running that should not, then you need to find out why that is happening. Are you running anti-virus apps that are hanging, printer services that don't unload, etc.? Processes that are using 0% are not likely to be a problem. Open browsers may contribute to CPU loading if you are accessing a page that automatically refreshes like Drudge or has running animation advertisements like AVSIM. They may lower your frame rate but should not cause the program to hangup.You are sure you aren't using AMD are you? AMD has a multi-core issue that can be patched.

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I know how to use Task Manager to look for processes using up alot of CPU time but thanks anyway. What I've done now is I have created a Data Collector Set in Reliability and Performance Monitor and I will then start it before starting a FSX and when I encounter the problem next time I will make a note of the exact time and then go back to my Data Collector Set and try to find any info for that specific time when the problem occured. Talking about CPU utilization is your theory regarding this problem that it might be caused by the CPU utilization reaching 100% and that this might cause FSX to enter the 'Not responding' state?And no...I don't use AMD and I don't have the Windows Sidebar running ;-)Will keep you posted on my progress trying to solve this problem and will do my very best to succeed because this problem is really bugging me!!

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I'm thinking your sound program/driver is reaching for more processor when it's not available causing FS to appear to be dormant when it doesn't have any execution room. I'm guessing that as you are changing traffic controllers or hearing nearby traffic (additional audio tracks) while also getting weather/terrain changes the problem results, so it appears to be random to you?

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I haven't thought about my sound devices taking too much CPU until you mentioned it, however in this case I still think the culprit is the IvAp client. I posted this question over at my VA's forums as well and one guy there said:"Although not a big user on IVAO I had that same problem. Moved back to Vatsim and problem has now gone away. So will wait for next version of IVAP before trying again on IVAO."Also lately I've been flying mostly in South America where there hasn't been that much ATC around and I've still seen this problem many times and also I have all ATC sound handled by my built-in soundcard and all other FSX sound handled by my USB connected speakers so they are separated. And...I ONLY see this problem when flying online, I guess if it had to do with my sound devices I would at least have seen this problem some time also when flying offline but I haven't.To say the least this is a tricky one but it will be interesting to see what happens on next flight now that I've created a 2 GB page file on my system partition and also still have the 4 GB page file left on my D partition and I will also start logging using the Data Collector Set I created and see what I can get from that info if the problem happens again...which I'm pretty sure it will.

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Well, actually the additional load of network traffic could make a difference, but let's hope for the best.Smooth air!

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You mean the additional load of network traffic when you're flying online?What I find strange is that there are so few people reporting this problem, it's just me and a couple of more people who seem to have this problem and there are thousands of people flying online on IVAO with the IvAp client every day without this problem so obviously there is something in our setups that are triggering this problem...just have to find out what it is and that is much easier said than done...

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Precisely what I meant!After this discussion I can see that I will be taking up with IVAO. I am betting, since you say thousands, not many are Vista users with the latest technologies and your type of sound system, but I could very well be wrong.

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Maybe you're right it's not that strange after all since like you say many of those flying aren't using Vista etc.I wish I had one of those sound cards you recommended above just to try if it would do any difference. Like I said I would be more than willing to pay those $ for such a sound card if I knew that would solve this problem but likewise I'm not that tempted to spend those $ if nothing changes and the problem remains.

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I suspect the issue is more driver related. The hourglass (circle) in Vista only indicates that the process is either waiting or stuck.Things I would check:- Make sure your video card isn't resetting itself in the middle of the FSX session. It could be caused by overheating and the symptoms you describe could well be explained by this. I would monitor the stats of your video card using ATI Tools (works with ATI or Nvidia and all flavors of Windows XP or Vista, including Vista 64). This will let you verify that the video system is working properly.- The issue can also be caused by a read error on the disk, which may or may not give you an event log. Procmon from SysInternals would let you know if your application is waiting on an IO read. This can happen if your system is configured to use the auto-correct features of some of the newer drives.- If I read correctly, a post in this threads mentions FSX is not multi-CPU able. FSX is in fact multi-threaded except for the main rendering pipeline, and can use up to 3 cores on my system. The affinity can be set to a single processor as well in the CFG file. - A network I/O may be the issue, but in most cases, network clients will have a timeout on packets and you would get some kind of connection error. Just to throw this out, ensure your ISP is not blocking you, a subject of recent lawsuits on the subject. A year ago playing Battlefield Europe, people in Sweden would get blocked because of a dispute between ISPs. The symptoms were random delays and occasional little or no connectivity, yet few errors reported on the client. Again, unlikely that your PC would go out to lunch for 7 minutes, some kind of error should pop up on connection with FSX online clients (IVAO or VATSIM).- just for grins and giggles, try FSX without sound. Do you still have the problem?Cheers,Etienne

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Thanks for your input Etienne, I'll keep troubleshooting this issue and keep you all posted on my progress.As for the temperatures I don't think that should be an issue here since I have both my CPU, GPU and Northbridge water-cooled. Haven't checked the temps for a while now though so might be worth a try just to make sure everything still is fine in those areas.Doing a flight without sound is also a good idea I might try on some of my next flights.

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Richard - Two things. Have you gone into Device Manager and to each USB port - or at least to the one used by the speakers if you can identify it - and unchecked the option to allow the computer to turn off power to the port? And, don't you have integrated onboard sound that you could use as a cross check to see if using the USB port is the source of the problem, avoiding for now having to buy a separate sound card? Hope you solve it.-Doug

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Hi Doug!As for disable the power consumption for the USB root HUBs I've already done that but thanks anyway.It's true I also have a built-in soundcard I could try but if my memory serves me right I belive I noticed this problem also before getting my USB speakers so I honestly still doubt the sound devices are really the problem here but rather the IvAp client...especially now after others have reported the same problem and with the same experience as me that the problem will only exist when you have IvAp running.Anyways I've done some changes to my system making use of many of the tips in this thread (thanks again to all for that!) and tomorrow I hope I will find some time for experimenting and do some flying and see what happens. What I've done so far is to create a page file also on my system partition making it 1.5 times my RAM which is what is recommended and I have also disabled some more programs that I had running but that really don't need to be running all the time. Then if these thing don't do any difference and I still have the problem I will try to disable the sound all together in FSX on a flight and/or try to only use my built-in sound card and see what that will do to the problem. I will also have my Data Collector set collecting performance info plus using both Process Explorer and Process Monitor in the background so...I hope all this logging will not kill FSX now instead ;-)Will keep you posted...

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Unfortunately, I have already run into the same problem with on board sound and USB myself. I'm totally against using both at the same time by the way. I had a similar issue myself. Not in FSX but another online game that hits the CPU just as hard. It's the very reason I went to a sound card that uses very little, if any, CPU. Network traffic is a lot heavier in that program, so perhaps it isn't your problem.Once again, page file initial size should be 1.5 times your RAM and maximum size 3 times your RAM (although for maximum you can go higher). You could also remove drivers for both sound systems, clean your system of sound drivers and turn off on board sound within the BIOS as a final test, but hopefully before you get to that point your data collection approach will reveal the problem nicely.

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So...just ended a test flight and nothing has changed...experienced the problem maybe half an hour into the flight and like so many times before it happened when I switched out to the Desktop for a while and then when I tried switching back to FSX it went 'Not responding' and this time for 4 minutes until it resumed again.For some reason my data collector set only ran for a couple of minutes and then it stopped for some reason so I wasn't able to check what things looked like when the problem occured. When FSX was in it's 'Not responding' state I checked in both Process Monitor and Process Explorer but wasn't sure exactly what to look for and couldn't see anything special - all the FSX related processes were still there just like before the problem occured including IvAp and well...like I said I couldn't see anything special. Did notice (like I already have done before) that FSX didn't use up any CPU time compared to when it's running normally when it usually is in the range between 50-80% CPU time. Also looked while FSX was running normally how the load was spread over the cores and one core was almost at 100% constantly where the other 3 cores were somewhere between 50-60%.I'm getting real sick of this problem, maybe I should join my son and have a good time in front of our PS3 instead...less problems there ;-)If I find the time for it I will give this one more shot tomorrow with no sound devices enabled at all and if that would make the problem go away maybe I'll then pay a visit to our local PC store and invest in a new sound card. I checked their range of sound cards and they seem to have a number of different brands and models to choose from, what would you recommend that won't burden the CPU but still not cost a fortune?Also since I like to have the ATC communication in my headset rather than having that sound mixed up with all other sounds in FSX I guess I would also need to buy two sound cards or is there a better solution how to separate the ATC comm from the other FSX sounds? For ATC when flying online I use TeamSpeak where I can choose what sound device should be used both for input and output. Thinking about it I'm not even sure if I have two free PCI-E slots in my PC so if that is the case I will have to find another solution and hope there is one...how do you guys handle your sound when flying online with voice ATC in FSX?

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Just to let you know I am never flying online and I have had the exact same problem you describe on my PC since day one. Very infrequent it is, sometimes I fly a month without it occurring, but once in a while it happens. I have had FSX be "not responding" for more than 15 minutes though, and as little as 20 seconds. I reinstalled everything 4 times, switching from 32 bit to 64 bit twice, no luck. I have no clue what to try next ... the sound issue recommendations mentioned above seem very far fetched to me. It only happens with SP2 installed, not SP1, so I guess its the usual: a Microsoft bug.

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Thanks for your input and letting me know.Yes, this indeed is one tricky problem to solve and must say I'm also running out of ideas...which is too bad since I really want to be able to fly again without having the fun spoiled by this annoying bug!!

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