Agonizingly slow startups.

Discussion in 'General Questions' started by Upton O'Good, Jul 31, 2008.

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Are you experiencing this same problem?

Poll closed Oct 29, 2008.
  1. Yes!!! It's killing my productivity!

    8 vote(s)
    72.7%
  2. I don't know what you're talking about.

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  1. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    At first this used to happen once in a while. Now it happens almost every time I start Parallels.

    I start the program, by either clicking the dock icon or double-clicking the desktop icon, and the icon starts bouncing. Then the icon slows waaaaay down, and every open application, including the Finder, starts responding very slowly to inputs. The cursor still moves at the normal speed, but between the time you click a menu and the time it finally drops can take several minutes, assuming the click even registers. Sometimes you wait several minutes and nothing happens, so you have to try again--and wait again.

    Meanwhile, the icon has stopped bouncing, but if you open the "Force Quit Applications" tool, by typing Command-Option-Escape, which also takes several minutes to open, it shows that Parallels is still trying to run, but it is "not responding." Various other programs go from "running" to "not responding" if you sit there and watch it for a while.

    Sometimes Parallels actually starts up, but I usually assume if it hasn't done so after half an hour, it isn't going to, and the way it sets the cooling fan to howling suggests it might not be good for my hardware to wait any longer. But on those occasions where it does complete its startup, incredibly, it actually runs and works normally.

    If you're patient enough, you can eventually force-quit Parallels, but the process takes about a half hour from the time you decide to kill it until you actually have a useful computer again. I usually don't have that long, so I need to shut the machine down by holding the power button down, knowing that I had some unsaved changes in several open apps when I stupidly tried to launch Parallels.

    The only way I can be sure this won't happen is to
    1. Uninstall Parallels using the uninstall application on the install disk image,
    2. Delete com.parallels.Parallels.plist from ~/Library/Preferences,
    3. Run "Repair Permissions" from Disk Utility,
    4. Reboot the computer,
    5. Install Parallels,
    6. Launch Parallels before launching any other programs, and if you anticipate using more than one VM, open them all now because opening them later causes another instance of Parallels to start up and the same issue can occur,
    7. Cross fingers.

    That's a lot of work to launch an application. I'm not using coherence or doing anything fancy. I used to try to change the keyboard settings, but that doesn't work right anyway, and I've had to trash my preferences so many times I've just gotten used to working with the default settings.

    At one point I thought that changing some preference might be corrupting the preferences file, but this is not the case. Whatever gets corrupted does so without any help from me.

    If there is another application that Parallels is conflicting with, I have no idea what that might be. I'm not using anything unusual or anything I don't need for my work.

    I'm using the latest build (5608) in 10.5.4.

    Is anybody else experiencing this, or am I alone being tortured?
     
  2. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    I suppose it is Boot Camp Windows, and thus it is need sometime to start
     
  3. Specimen

    Specimen Product Expert

    Messages:
    3,244
    This is not normal behaviour in Boot Camped Windows.
    Are you running some sort of anti-virus software on the mac side? May I suggest you open Activity Monitor before you start Parallels, click on the CPU column so it sorts processes from the highest CPU usage to the smallest, launch Parallels and watch which process does in fact use more CPU or if there are more than one process using a lot of CPU, and if the Parallels process is in fact the one that's slowing the computer down.
     
  4. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    I mean, Boot Camp needed some time for Parallels Tools to be installed
     
  5. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    I can assure you that Boot Camp is not a factor in this. I don't use it. I have no desire to run Windows natively on my hardware.
     
  6. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    That's a good idea. I'll give it a try next time I have a few hours to kill.
     
  7. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    Check is there VNC or Screen Sharing enabled, this also can slowdown
     
  8. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    Neither. And we're not looking for something that slows Parallels down a little. We're looking for something that not only makes Parallels virtually unusable, it causes Parallels to essentially take over the whole system and render everything else unusable, and it take a complete reinstallation to fix it.
     
  9. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    What is in Activity Monitor?
     
  10. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    While Parallels uses a ridiculous amount of virtual memory, it doesn't use a lot of CPU, but it causes the WindowServer to peg the CPU as soon as it starts. If it hangs, the Window Server continues to use as much CPU as it can grab, and everything slows down to the point at which it can take 15 minutes for a menu to drop or a button to push after you click them. What on earth could the Window Server be doing with all that computing power? I've never seen anything like it before.

    Today this bug cost me 2 hours of productivity this morning. Do you have any idea how much I bill for an hour of my time? I've probably wasted thousands of dollars in productivity because of this, And I haven't been able to access my Keyspan USB Server all this time without uninstalling Parallels and re-enabling the Keyspan drivers. That's so convenient I might as well go and plug the USB device into my computer directly. It just completely defeats the whole purpose of having the device, and the Keyspan USB Server was a great product! It solved a lot of problems and made life a little easier--until Parallels came along.

    And both of these have been known issues for years!

    This has made my decision a lot easier. I've just uninstalled Parallels for the last time. This weekend I'll install VMWare Fusion and import all my VMs. Yes, they now have a Mac program for importing VPC and parallels VMs. There goes your last competitive edge.
     
  11. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
  12. Skiff

    Skiff

    Messages:
    1
    I'm seeing the same behavior on one of my Macs. Parallels starts bouncing in the dock, then "stutters" for a few seconds and then all of my OS X apps appear to not respond. After sometime (15 minutes or so) the dot appears below the Parallels icon, and few minutes later the main Parallels window is open on my Mac. From that point on, everything works fine.

    Very frustrating!
     
  13. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    It is initialization process, and mainly depends on Mac OS power, (including fact how many applications are running at the same time on Mac OS)
     
  14. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    That's ridiculous. What in the initialization process would be causing the window server to use all available CPU resources, to the point at which all other applications become unresponsive and the heat dissipation becomes critical, for hours, if you don't shut it down at some point? Nothing could possibly be using that much computing power for anything useful.

    This is a bug. People have been reporting it for at least six months.

    http://forums.parallels.com/showthread.php?t=19588

    Apparently they don't know how to fix it, just like they don't know how to fix the conflict with Keyspan drivers. When people keep complaining for months, and all they get is double-talk and lame excuses, I don't know what other conclusion to draw, and I don't know of any solution other than switching to VMWare Fusion, which doesn't have either of these problems.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2008
  15. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
  16. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    No, I am not mixing two things. The startup problem is related to the window server problem.

    After I started this thread, you told me to check the activity monitor. I had assumed that Parallels was just hogging all the CPU resources, but when I checked the activity monitor, as I said above, I found Parallels' virtual memory usage excessive, but not to the point where it would affect the performance of other applications, and its CPU usage was minimal. So I looked to see what was using up all the resources, and, lo and behold, it was the window server, which was using about 96-97% of CPU. It would have taken more, but there were other apps running. It basically takes all it can get.

    So then I came back here to see if anyone else had noticed this, and I found that other thread that I linked to above.

    The original post says, "You launch parallels and the whole system seems to slow to a crawl. CPU via top shows windowserv at %100 of one cpu core. This will remain for up to 3 minutes before parallels finally opens its main window and everything is back to normal."

    He is clearly describing the same problem, only in my case you could wait an hour or longer, and Parallels would never finish loading.
     
  17. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    Do you have antivirus on Windows side?
     
  18. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    No, I just keep copies of my VMs so I can replace them if they get viruses.

    Besides, how could the software installed on a VM affect Parallels' startup? We are talking about the initial startup of Parallels Desktop, not starting up a VM.
     
  19. John@Parallels

    John@Parallels

    Messages:
    6,343
    Well, let us try from another side.
    Antivirus on Mac OS?
    Is build installed correctly, in Parallels crash reports what build is shown?
    What is software running on Mac OS side at time Parallels starts?
     
  20. Upton O'Good

    Upton O'Good

    Messages:
    55
    No

    Incredibly, there are no CrashReporter logs for Parallels, but the most recent HangReporter entry (7/16.2008) says, "Version: 3.0 (3.0 Build 5608.0)." Note that this was the last time Parallels itself hung. This is a separate issue from the one we are discussing, where Parallels, in effect, causes everything else to hang. I have not been able to locate any log entries that shed any light on what is going on at the system level when this happens, with one possible exception: the windowserver is creating approximately 2.5 log entries per minute. Most of these entries are similar to the following:

    Aug 22 11:12:05 [67] kCGErrorFailure: CGXDisableUpdate: UI updates were forcibly disabled by application "Finder" for over 1 second. Server has re-enabled them.

    The Finder was the application mentioned most often, but other running applications also show up sporadically, escpecially Dock, loginwindow and SystemUIServer. There were also several errors similar to this:

    Aug 22 10:01:36 [67] (ipc/send) invalid memory: CGXRunOneServerPass: mach_msg (gServiceSet) failed (last RPC: GetPortStreamOutofline)


    It varies, but may include Mail, Safari, BBEdit, SmartCVS, Eclipse, Terminal and sometimes Weblogic Server. It appears to have no connection to any specific application so much as how many other programs are running, but sometimes I have to run other apps to do my job. I don't have the luxury of owning a dedicated computer to run Parallels on, and I should have to. VMWare Fusion seems to launch without incident no matter how many applications are running.
     

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