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Molasses experienced in 4.1.5!


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Some time ago we were witnessing a macro slowdown. The symptom was that the CPU usage would be low and no macros running but everything was in slow motion. Click the start button, wait 10 seconds, expand all programs, wait 13 seconds, expand a shortcut groups, wait 7 second, and so on. Then as soon as one terminates MEP the system becomes responsive again. Launching MEP does not cause the slow down again. Also I noticed that it's often happens a few minutes after rejoining a RD session or bringing a machine out of standby.

 

It was rumored to be fixed in 4.1.5 but I just experienced it again on a SBS 2003 machine. Has anyone else experienced it in 4.1.5?

 

FWIW I had a user that was getting the molasses often so we disabled her clipboard hook and she never had the problem again. But that was in a slightly older version.

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Is it possible that ME is not the root cause? It may be it is an application that is particularly affected by something else. I usually run Sysinternals' Process Exlorer and Filemon to get a feel for what is going on. Regmon often looks a bit like Filemon output (it's amazing how much activity ZoneAlarm has). I've only been able to plot a useful course of action a couple of times but you never know.

 

As a guide for my PC, I see ZA activity all the time. Other applications and Explorer.exe occasionally. Directory Opus continually accesses folders (far more than Explorer) but does not access the Registry very often. In the quiescent state, ME appears in Filemon once in a blue moon, Regmon about once a second.

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Is it possible that ME is not the root cause?

 

John: Depends on how you're defining terms I suppose. But if the problem immediately disappears when you close ME Pro, that's pretty close to the 'root cause' IMO!

 

I find ProcMon/RegMon's outputs extremely difficult to fathom. I'm sure with training I could do better but even after applying filters I still find it virtually impossible to reach firm conclusions. And in the case under discussion a user would really need to start ProcMon just before the slowdown began (!) and record a few seconds of filtered output to have any chance of solid detective work.

 

 

Cory: "...we disabled her clipboard hook..." Can you amplify please?

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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I don't agree that just because the problem disappears when ME is shut down that it must be the root cause. There could be an underlying problem with something else and ME is exacerbating the situation. The straw and the camel? If high ME activity is seen in continual file ops and registry accesses that may lend credence to ME being the problem. If not, there may be another app that is showing excessive activity. Software conflicts are difficult to resolve.

 

As an example, at times my Start menus have been really slow. It felt like the GUI was screwed or that there was some conflict going on. The hdds would chug away and the menus stayed blank for ages. I got suspicious of AVG's resident shield and turned it off. Lo and behold, problem solved. It seemed like it was checking every .lnk every time the menu was opened. I probably have 300 lnks in groups in the Start menu.

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John: Depends on how you're defining terms I suppose. But if the problem immediately disappears when you close ME Pro, that's pretty close to the 'root cause' IMO!

We have been down this road before. Enough of us have seen the symptoms you described, and have awoken their PCs by closing MacExp, to suggest very strongly that MacExp is very strongly implicated in the behaviour.

 

Other people may see slowdowns caused by other software. If closing MacExp doesn't help, then they should look elsewhere.

 

In the meantime, I report that it happened to me today.

 

Treacle in the works. Close MacExp. Sanity restored.

 

The only consolation is that for me at least it happens slightly less often than it used to.

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there may be another app that is showing excessive activity.
Please read my post carefully. One of the defining symptoms is that there is low CPU usage and in general only idle level activity. In the last case here it was 4%. It is possible it's a conflict and in fact I believe RDClip.exe (clipboard in Remote Desktop) and the clipboard hook in MEP are doing something bad. Perhaps one it triggering the other into a feedback loop. I have never experienced the problem with the clipboard hook disabled. But I think the odds are it's MEP.

 

Now there is another issue with the clipboard in MEP that I thought had been fixed but evidently not. When I get a moment I will try to review my emails and such. The problem is that users of Excel get errors about Excel not being able to empty the clipboard. If one disables the clipboard hook the problem goes away. I was just at a user's desk a few minutes ago and witnessed this problem. My point is I think there are some gremlins in the clipboard hook.

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If one disables the clipboard hook the problem goes away.

 

I see that Help says:

Use the Clipboard Hook

This option turns on or off the ability to run clipboard activated macros. Select this option to allow clipboard activated macros to run

I've never focused on this before and am curious to know if many use 'clipboard activated macros', and for what sort of applications?

 

--

Terry, East Grinstead, UK

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I have played with them before but have never used them in a distributed macro. It's a cool feature however and mainly I think I don't use it because it's not at the front of my brain. However I think I am going to try and use more of them. I have many macros that start with someone clipping something from an app and this would save a step and free up hotkeys. Still would probably need a confirmation If Message though. Too many opportunities for false positives.

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Now there is another issue with the clipboard in MEP that I thought had been fixed but evidently not. When I get a moment I will try to review my emails and such. The problem is that users of Excel get errors about Excel not being able to empty the clipboard. If one disables the clipboard hook the problem goes away. I was just at a user's desk a few minutes ago and witnessed this problem. My point is I think there are some gremlins in the clipboard hook.

Note to other forum readers: Per private email with Cory it was discovered that this user was not using the latest version. The clipboard issue will likely be resolved by upgrading.

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Note to other forum readers: Per private email with Cory it was discovered that this user was not using the latest version. This will likely be resolved by upgrading.

Yes, I must say I have not experienced the molasses problem with the latest release.

 

Though I did have problems yesterday. I'm writing a macro which solicits the user for a folder, then types each fully qualified file name into a file common dialog box belonging to a 3rd-party program, followed by ENTER. During development I omitted to insert any delays, resulting in the fully qualified file name being entered without a drive letter, as in ":\dvds\VobOutput1.mpg". This caused the 3rd-party program to issue an error message, which my macro hadn't allowed for. The result was our old friend Molasses, but where I could only press Ctrl-Alt-Del and logoff to recover. I don't think it's worth reporting at this stage, since the addition of a 250ms delay solved the problem.

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Yes, I must say I have not experienced the molasses problem with the latest release.
Please note that the version confusion was limited to the clipboard problem, not molasses. And in the past disabling the clipboard hook fixed the Excel errors and molasses.
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