Parallels 6 screen flicker

Discussion in 'Windows Guest OS Discussion' started by Jeremy Bernstein, Sep 17, 2010.

  1. Jeremy Bernstein

    Jeremy Bernstein Bit Poster

    Messages:
    38
    Since updating to Parallels 6, I am seeing a fairly regular screen flicker within the app I use the most (ChessBase, free version available here: http://chessbase.com/download/cblight/index.asp). This is a) annoying and b) new. Disabling 3d acceleration appears to NOT solve the issue. To reproduce:

    0. Windows XP SP3 with ChessBase Light installed
    1. Launch the app, a fullscreen window will open with a list of databases and games
    2. Wait about 30 seconds. You'll see the screen flicker eventually. It gets worse if more windows are open.

    Thanks for any information/help on this.

    Jeremy
     
  2. Jeremy Bernstein

    Jeremy Bernstein Bit Poster

    Messages:
    38
    followup

    Seems to mainly happen if the main window is in fullscreen (Parallels in fullscreen as well, but it doesn't actually matter), and a game window is open. I'm seeing a regular flicker, once a minute or so. I've sent a support ticket in, but it's driving me nuts. Thanks,

    Jeremy
     
  3. Jeremy Bernstein

    Jeremy Bernstein Bit Poster

    Messages:
    38
    a further followup

    If I go to the Displays control panel and make a change (DPI, for instance), but don't apply, revert the change (back to 96) and then hit "apply", the screen flickers exactly the same as what I'm seeing. I'd guess I'm seeing a graphic driver issue, but I'm not an expert.
     
  4. Jeremy Bernstein

    Jeremy Bernstein Bit Poster

    Messages:
    38
    After changing my RAM and VRAM settings for the Nth time, I was asked to re-re-install the application (which I'd already done, as I told the gentleman) which,
    I have a clear, reproducible issue here (I've tried it on 2 boxes in 2 VMs with multiple configurations before moving on to support). It wouldn't kill support to try to reproduce my steps and pass the issue to a developer when they see it in front of them. I am 99.9% sure that this is a bug in the Parallels Video Adapter. In fact, deinstalling the Parallels Video Adapter makes the problem go away.

    So, once again, if anyone is paying attention, here's what you do:

    1. Start with Windows XP (Home) SP3. My VM is 1-core, 768MB, 256MB VRAM, but it doesn't matter, AFAICT (I've tried other configurations). It makes no difference if 3D-accel or Vertical Sync are on or off.
    2. Get a free copy of ChessBase Light: http://fritzserver.org/download/CBLightSetup.exe
    3. Install it and run it
    4. Watch the screen. About once a minute it will flicker badly while redrawing.
    5. Want to make it worse? Hit ctrl-N to open a new window and watch the screen.

    The flicker looks like a graphics driver reset, or like the window is getting resized and redrawn. However, it only affects open windows for this application (if other application windows are present, they are untouched). And, as mentioned, the flicker ONLY happens when Parallels Video Adapter is present.

    I've reverted to Parallels 5 (where there is no problem) until this issue is solved, though. After spending a frustrating half workday on the horn with support, I really can't invest any more time in helping you.

    Jeremy
     
  5. Slartibartfast

    Slartibartfast

    Messages:
    2
    Jeremy, I've exactly the same issue with CBLight using Win7 as guest. The problem appears also when running Fritz 10. Strangely I've absolutely no problems on another VM using WinXP SP3 as guest, where I've installed Fritz 9 together with CBLight. On Parallels 5 there were no issues at all.
     
  6. TimoM

    TimoM

    Messages:
    1
    coherence mode flickering

    I see the flickering when using coherence mode with Win7 Pro (MBP i7). The displays moves down one row and back every 30sec? I can not use coherence mode. Anybody facing the same issue?
     
  7. BryceW

    BryceW

    Messages:
    3
    Flickering Screen

    I am having the same issue with the flickering screen. I have a Macboook Pro 2009 running on 4GB RAM, I am running Windows 7 Professional, and all of the issues started when I upgraded to Parallels 6, there were no issues in Parallels 5 which I wish I never changed. My issues started first when I connected my monitor to the laptop and I started to get the flickering screen, which would go on for a few minutes before it finally adjusted itself to a resolution that was completely distorted. So I then did a reinstall of the parallels tools to see if that would correct the drivers as this is what I thought might be the issue. This did not do anything to correct the flickering screen, and my machine completely crashed and I have been spending the better half of my day trying to make a new machine and install Windows 7 but the parallels keeps giving me the blue screen of death and the "prt" driver (I think, as I was not able to capture the whole message before it restarted) is referenced.
     
  8. ace

    ace

    Messages:
    1
    Exactly the same problem here since the upgrade to parallels 6. Windows mode, iMac 27'', 2.66ghz, 8gb RAM, ATI Radeon HD 4850. Parallels uses 1.5gb RAM and 256mb for the graphics adapter.

    Adjusting the several options for windows or 3d tuning doesn't help.

    Ciao

    Achim
     
  9. jim3ex

    jim3ex

    Messages:
    4
    Same problem for me too!

    The app I am using is 3Dgraphics. Flicker kicks in straight away.

    Need a fix for this!!
     
  10. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
    Full Screen + OpenGL window glitch

    Seeing this here too, with software that I'm the author of.

    What appears to be happening is that if you have a window with an openGL context on it, AND that window is sized to the entire "screen" size, then Parallels 6 is insisting on pushing this window frontmost. It may be forcing "HWND_TOPMOST" ? Not clear. What happens though is that if you try to put any other windows in front by setting HWND_TOPMOST, you get weird flashing behavior and the two windows seem to conflict.

    This didn't happen under Parallels 5 and it doesn't happen on any of my Physical PCs, so I'm pretty sure this is a Parallels-6-specific bug in the Aero drivers. (Note: the problem goes away if you disable Aero Glass).

    Happy to help you guys (e.g. parallels programmers) debug this if you contact me via PM.
     
  11. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
    I think a relevant thread is here:
    http://www.opengl.org/discussion_boards/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=270672

    Vista (and Win7, I believe) have an auto-detection feature which is supposed to help OpenGL performance when the window is full screen, and topmost and a popup (in which case, the app is really trying to take over the screen entirely).

    From what I'm seeing, this feature may be getting triggered accidentally in Parallels 6.

    My theory : a window which is full-screens-sized, but is NOT set topmost nor WS_POPUP, is being mis-detected by the drivers, and then "hilarity ensues".
     
  12. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
  13. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    777
    xmd,

    check your private messages
     
  14. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
    Done, and I uploaded a sample app with a readme file.
     
  15. serv

    serv Parallels Developers

    Messages:
    777
    xmd,

    Thanks, we'll check the app on monday.
     
  16. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
    thanks serv.

    For others -- it sounds like P6 is using some heuristics to detect a full-screen OpenGL window, and when it detects this, it assumes that the app will run better if the full screen is captured. For the app I wrote, this is not the case.

    After some discussion, I'm arguing to Parallels that they should make this "OpenGL auto capture" function optional, and should default to OFF.

    My reasoning is that there are two possible error states:
    False Negative: P6 fails to detect an app going into full screen mode that could benefit from it.
    False Positive: P6 mis-detects an app and forces full screen capture when the app doesn't need it.

    In general, I think the false positive case is worse : apps flicker terrible or are unusable. In the false negative case, the consequence is generally not so bad (you see a minor performance hit, but the app is still usable).

    So my argument is that the next version of P6 should make this feature optional, there should be a user-settable preference, and this feature should default to OFF. Or, if it's going to automatically default to ON, then the first time it triggers it should pause the VM and put up a warning message, advising you how to turn it back Off...
     
  17. xmd

    xmd Bit Poster

    Messages:
    11
    serv - I sent you 2 PMs also, not sure if you received them.

    Can you guys clarify what the plans are? At least, can we get a hidden preference to disable this feature?
    Thanks!
     
  18. Michael Becker

    Michael Becker

    Messages:
    4
    Not solved in 61288

    Hi all.

    Issue also not solved in the newest build.

    My system: Macbook Pro i5, Parallels 6 with Windows 7.

    Flickering happens with Chessbase, Fritz, MS Money.

    Regards (and holding my fingers for the Parallels team to solve this issue)
    Michael
     
  19. Jeremy Bernstein

    Jeremy Bernstein Bit Poster

    Messages:
    38
    For what it's worth, Fritz 12 and ChessBase 11 (the ones with the 'ribbon' interface) don't exhibit the issue. However, it's really annoying for the software it affects and I hope that Parallels gets around to solving it at some point.
     
  20. Michael Becker

    Michael Becker

    Messages:
    4
    Anything new on this topic?
    Or any work-around?

    It is really annoying, because working with two or more windows is virtually impossible, because every 30 sec or so you have to klick into each of the windows: one after another, the windows turn blank, and you have to klick to force rebuildung the window content.

    Still hoping ...
    ... regards,
    Michael
     

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