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Thread: Strange FSX Loading Issue

  1. Default Strange FSX Loading Issue

    Hi all:
    I didn't know where to post this issue, but it looks more like a problem for this forum than any other. My rig is as follows:

    Win 7 Pro 64
    FSX Gold, sliders maxed except for water 2x low
    Intel 4790k @ 4.5
    NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 ACX 2.0 4Gb
    Memory:8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1866MHz
    Running on:1TB Western Digital Caviar Black SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 7200 RPM (about 50% full), recently defragged with the Win 7 defragger

    Ok, so what happens is I will be flying along and all of a sudden the screen goes black and a small box opens up with a progress bar and quickly finishes, and returns to FSX with no apparent damage to anything. The whole thing may take 3 to 5 seconds. This is fairly new in the last month or so. It is not a show stopper but as we all know, with our hobby things only get worse with time.

    The potential causes I thought of (and believe me, I am no wizard at troubleshooting):
    1. Bad memory stick
    2. Bad disc
    3. Over full disc.

    I'd appreciate any thoughts/ideas.
    Thanks
    Rick

  2. Default

    Hi Rick,

    The dialog box that opens when the screen goes black may have a "Title" indicating what program initiated the event or it could be a .net warning dialog with details about the momentary error.

    You can check for bad memory with "Memtest86+" run as a standalone on DVD (10 Passes) much better than inbuilt OS memory checker. But it is always advisable to reseat your "Memory Modules" (DIMM's) and have them in the correct channel config for testing, one module at a time.
    For Bad disk WesternDigital HDD's, use "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows" download from the WD site.
    For Over-Full disk, you can use the OS File explorer Properties tool, or you can use a comprehensive Program like "WinDirStat" which will give you a comprehensive graphical overview of your Drive's and folder structure to determine if you have enough free space, if you have run out of free space on Drive C: it can affect the Pagefile/swapfile available.

    Just a wild guess, but do you have FSUIPC paid version, and do you have "logging" enabled or the "Autosave" option enabled. If these are enabled there would likely be a short pause during your flight, only thing is that this would happen at regular intervals. Do you notice when the event happens and the dialog opens at regular intervals during your flights. It could also be some other program or process like Antivirus or Weather Update/injection like FSXWX, are you using FSXWX for user defined weather.

    Some food for thought, I'm experiencing an intermittent Blackscreen issue myself atm (no warning event log or dialog indicating the problem), I haven't found the culprit/reason yet, it occurs slightly different to yours, in that I have to open the task manager, where I find that even though FSX.exe is still running in "Processes tab" the "Applications tab does not show FSX as a running application, I press Pause then Alt+Enter to place FSX in window mode, then wait for screen redraw, FSX then magically reappears in Applications and FSX continues as if nothing happened, once again pressing Alt+Enter back into Fullscreen mode I am able to continue my flight.
    Since about a month ago MSupdate in my Win764 .Net 4.8 my issue began, maybe or maybe not the culprit, still investigating all other possibilities. Win update also installs the End of W7 support Telemetry tools which will run processes that interfere with other running applications, also consuming Processor cycles that would otherwise be available to FSX.

    Cheers Jethro
    Last edited by jethrom; 11-20-2019 at 12:04 AM.

  3. Default

    Sounds like a weather update. Or maybe some other addon.
    Since it's just a progress bar finishing normally it sounds like some software simply doing something normal.
    Not a software error, and definitely not a hardware issue.
    Last edited by il88pp; 11-20-2019 at 12:25 AM.

  4. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jethrom View Post
    Hi Rick,

    The dialog box that opens when the screen goes black may have a "Title" indicating what program initiated the event or it could be a .net warning dialog with details about the momentary error.

    You can check for bad memory with "Memtest86+" run as a standalone on DVD (10 Passes) much better than inbuilt OS memory checker. But it is always advisable to reseat your "Memory Modules" (DIMM's) and have them in the correct channel config for testing, one module at a time.
    For Bad disk WesternDigital HDD's, use "Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows" download from the WD site.
    For Over-Full disk, you can use the OS File explorer Properties tool, or you can use a comprehensive Program like "WinDirStat" which will give you a comprehensive graphical overview of your Drive's and folder structure to determine if you have enough free space, if you have run out of free space on Drive C: it can affect the Pagefile/swapfile available.

    Just a wild guess, but do you have FSUIPC paid version, and do you have "logging" enabled or the "Autosave" option enabled. If these are enabled there would likely be a short pause during your flight, only thing is that this would happen at regular intervals. Do you notice when the event happens and the dialog opens at regular intervals during your flights. It could also be some other program or process like Antivirus or Weather Update/injection like FSXWX, are you using FSXWX for user defined weather.

    Some food for thought, I'm experiencing an intermittent Blackscreen issue myself atm (no warning event log or dialog indicating the problem), I haven't found the culprit/reason yet, it occurs slightly different to yours, in that I have to open the task manager, where I find that even though FSX.exe is still running in "Processes tab" the "Applications tab does not show FSX as a running application, I press Pause then Alt+Enter to place FSX in window mode, then wait for screen redraw, FSX then magically reappears in Applications and FSX continues as if nothing happened, once again pressing Alt+Enter back into Fullscreen mode I am able to continue my flight.
    Since about a month ago MSupdate in my Win764 .Net 4.8 my issue began, maybe or maybe not the culprit, still investigating all other possibilities. Win update also installs the End of W7 support Telemetry tools which will run processes that interfere with other running applications, also consuming Processor cycles that would otherwise be available to FSX.

    Cheers Jethro
    Hi Jethro:
    Well, thank you so much for taking the time to respond so fully! You have given me a ton of stuff to think about.
    1. Yes, I use FSUIPC to Autosave the flight. I have it set for 15 minutes between captures. I thought that was a good candidate but did turn it off and still saw the issue. By the way, there is no application name on the box, just the progress band.

    2.I think the Wx update may be the guilty party. I run AS 16 in off line mode. I download the weather before the flight and then switch AS 16 to "manual" so presumably it does not look for the web connection. I never allow my FSX machine to be connected to the internet other than the initial WX download. But I just recently updated to the latest version of AS 16 and that is a good candidate. I need to research this.

    3. I turn off Windows Defender and Windows Firewall right after I disconnect from the web, so they are not running.

    4. I now need to research the hardware/software suggestions you made also.

    Thanks again and good luck with your issue.
    Rick

  5. Default

    Hi TG:
    Thank you for your thoughts. I suspect you are correct on the WX update, as I wrote above to Jethro. I need to research this further as I am not real sure what AS 16 is doing behind my back, so to speak. I certainly agree that it looks like something occurring normally, but this is new and I am always suspicious of something that pops up like this.
    Thanks again,
    Rick

  6. Default

    Hi Rick,

    My pleasure, I thought those may get you closer to a solution.

    I know the time frame 3-5 seconds is short for capturing the progress notice, but if you do see it again maybe click the "PrtScn" key on your keyboard and paste the image in MSPaint save as JPG or PNG, post it here. This might at least identify which programs progress bar is being activated. While I may not have the same programs as you, others may have seen this type of progress bar and ID it for you. It may well be normal but since it is a recent occurrence and you haven't seen it before in connection to a black screen. A progress bar does indicate something is updating or loading while the sim is running, switching focus to the progress bar rather than the sim. If the Normal scenery loading screen is coming up during a flight this is unusual and would suggest a Caching issue.

    Incidentally:
    In FSX settings General options, have you unchecked the box for (Pause on Task Switch).

  7. Default

    Hi Jethro:
    Well, I've been looking at all my hardware and can't find anything broken. I have watched the task manager panes and my memory use, cpu use, and GPU use all look reasonable. I have been trying to capture the process bar but it just happens randomly and it is over so fast I have been unable to capture a screen shot. I have noticed that the are words but I think it says "Loading Complete", or something like that. I do see it less frequently when I use FSX weather themes rather than AS16. Also I think I can correlate the appearance of the box to dense scenery approaching, and heavily congested A/I traffic, although I only run 25% A/I. I do however run the LOD at 6.5.

    I did increase the page file size to 15 G, I think. It was set at 8.5 and the "recommended" size given on that box was 12.

    I'm wondering whether my memory is just too slow. I am running: 8GB (4GBx2) DDR3/1866MHz and I wonder if I should upgrade. I actually have 2 rigs right next to each other and I do not see this behavior on the other rig which has 16GB (4GBx4) DDR3/2133MHz. Both run FSX from hard drives. I ran the memory check on the 1866 with no problems. Your comment "If the Normal scenery loading screen is coming up during a flight this is unusual and would suggest a Caching issue" intrigues me. What is a "caching issue"?

    The rig with the issue drives a 4K HD TV as the monitor and the other rig drives a 1080 TV. Both are 60hz. Looking at the GPU performance though on the issue rig shows the 970 is only running at 30% capacity.
    Anyone have thoughts on the memory issue or anything else?
    Thanks
    Rick

  8. Default

    Not sure, but could it be an addon that does something mid-flight that normally can't be done mid flight without pausing?
    For example:
    -topping up fuel to 100% when fuel reaches 90%.
    -auto save that saves the flight every 10 minutes.
    -Etc.

  9. Default

    Hi Rick,

    I don't believe your issue is hardware related, though having a little extra RAM is always handy for running other utilities and programs outside the Sim environment, ie; Open Explorer windows, Word processor, Web Browser, NAV, Mapping, Flight planning utility, and other utilities a user may wish to keep open whilst simming. 8Gb is more than adequate for the OS environment and a Running FSX, 16Gb is better.
    1866Mhz DDR3 is also quite adequate, 1866Mhz timings are way faster than 2133Mhz DDR3. Heck! my 16Gb (2x8Gb) Dual Channel Corsair VengeancePro 2400Mhz DDR3 RAM has even slower timings.
    Setting a proper XMProfile helps in this regard. Your Hardware specs are better than mine except for RAM, and I have 4.6Ghz OC on a 4770k / GTX770 4Gb OC /16Gb 2400Mhz DDR3.
    You could always try with more RAM, though sourcing 16Gb Kit DDR3 dual Channel RAM Modules @ 1866Mhz, 2133Mhz or even 2400MHz will be like trying to buy Dodo teeth.
    btw you are better off with 2x8Gb Modules - 16GB RAM - 2x8Gb is better than 4x4Gb in Dual channel configuration, just works better where only 2 Dimm Slots are utilized.
    But if your MOBO is Quad Channel then that's another story.

    If you have an AV program scanning every file called by the sim as it loads a new area, then I would exclude the FSX files and folders in your AV program.

    Unfortunately I can't help you with your possible identification of AS16 as a root cause, I don't run that utility. I doubt it is related to default AI set @25%, but if you have another traffic Utility that might be reasonable to suspect the loading notice is coming from there. Unless the Loading notice/dialog can be captured (PrtScn screenshot) I guess it will be hard to ID exactly which program is initiating the BlackScreen/Loading notice.

    PageFile is normally 1.5x the amount of installed RAM the OS will estimate this value in (Mb), Use either "Custom" or "System Managed" pagefile Size. (Never have no PageFile for the system. It is Ok to have no Pagefile for subsequent drives). The Custom Size On Drive C: will be for both (Initial Size (MB) & Maximum Size (MB)) indicated by the "Recommended" value Total Pagingfile Size for all drives. Uncheck the box for "Automatically Manage Paging File Size for All Drives".

    On the subject of Scenery Caching : FSX loads scenery as required but mostly has difficulty releasing that scenery from Cache/Memory when flying to a new location. Some of it will stay in VAS permanently, or until a reset/sim reboot is initiated, or a far distant location is selected. Take for instance, multiple reloads at the same location will duplicate AI for as many times as you reload or consequently run out of available VAS, the same for highly detailed Airports or Cityscapes in close proximity.
    If you add to that a Scenery library which may contain large amounts of Addon PhotoScenery that is loaded into the sim regardless wether you are flying over its location or not, this can also cause Scenery Caching issues. It would be wise to uncheck any unused Addon Photo Scenery for a test. Also make sure you have the checkbox checked for "Empty Scenery Cache on Exit" in your FSX Scenery Library.
    Last edited by jethrom; 11-27-2019 at 05:10 AM.

  10. #10

    Default

    Another thing to look at and I'm not knocking the good advice you have already had, I had something a bit similar and I read on another thread something I never thought about.

    Are any of your fans clogged up with dust, I was surprised when I opened my case, I gave them all a good blast with a blower, one fan was very bad, since then I give them a blast more frequent now.
    Again just a thought and worth a look.

    Col.

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