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Problem with certain overlapping windows (hard to explain in 1 sentence)


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#1 vertigoelectric

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 02:29 AM

I honestly didn't know how to search for help on this topic, as it's somewhat hard to describe in brief search terms.

Sometimes, depending on what I'm doing, if I have multiple windows open and one is overlapping another, the one in front will seem to "disappear", but in reality the contents of the window behind it is being "drawn" over the window in front. When the window in front is moved, the "drawn-on" parts stay with it until one of two things happen. The window will be redrawn properly if I drag it off the screen and back, or if something on the window itself changes (such as highlighting a selection or hovering over a button that has a mouse-over effect). Only the parts that change or are dragged completely off the screen are restored to normal.

I notice this most when I'm working in specific applications. In Adobe After Effects, if AE is in the back and I've got something in front of it (even one of its own dialog boxes), this can happen. In Valve's Hammer World Editor software this happens. It can also happen with Media Player Classic if I have a video playing and have another window in front of it.

This problem seems to happen at random.

I updated to the latest video drivers, but the problem persists.

Based on what I know so far, I'm wondering if it's some kind of codec or video rendering issue. Before I go messing with my codecs, I'll wait to see if I get any responses here with other ideas. This problem is extremely annoying because while I'm working on projects I'm constantly having to drag my windows off screen and back just to get them to normal.

Thanks in advance for any help.

I uploaded a video that actually shows this happening. It's here:


It starts happening just after the 2:20 mark. The video is available in 1080p so you can see everything clearly if you go full screen with it.

Edited by vertigoelectric, 02 June 2011 - 02:49 AM.


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#2 noknojon

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:00 PM

Hi -
Just a quick observation. You have about 50 processes open (and running) at the same time - (Bottom of screen)
Can you close the processes that are not being used or required at the same time ? ?
What happens if you only have 2 or 3 items open at the same time ? ?

Thank You -

#3 Furvy

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 07:51 PM

The video drivers will not make a difference for this issue as long as you have them installed.

Cleaning up startup processes will definitely help your computer's speed as you have about 30 of them running in the system tray down below. However, the actual issue appears to be that when you are running any intensive program, it will more or less show itself in that space on the screen instead of a background process such as Windows Explorer because it is far more process intensive.

What exactly are your system specs? Are you running this off of an onboard videocard?

#4 Eyesee

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 08:23 PM

Thanks for posting that video. A picture is worth a thousand words.
When I read this earlier I couldn't figure out what you were trying to say.

I think also that too many processes and items running in the system tray are causing it to choke.
It appears that you have a lot of stuff running. If the system is using an integrated graphics card, my guess would be that it simply cant keep up.

System specs on this would really be helpful.
In the beginning there was the command line.

#5 vertigoelectric

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 11:10 AM

Thanks for the replies! I never got an email saying I got replies, so it's a good thing I checked myself. (Yes, email notification IS checked).

Just a quick observation. You have about 50 processes open (and running) at the same time - (Bottom of screen)

I'd say "50" is quite an exaggeration. If you're referring to all of those icons that run along the bottom starting from the left, that's just a toolbar. Those aren't running programs. The only things actively running would be in the system try in the bottom right.

However, the actual issue appears to be that when you are running any intensive program, it will more or less show itself in that space on the screen instead of a background process such as Windows Explorer because it is far more process intensive.

It usually does happen while running an intensive program, yes, but not only. This will also happen if I'm just playing a video in media player classic. This is one of the reasons I believe it might be a codec or video rendering issue. SO FAR it seems as though this happens when a program could possibly be utilizing a different rendering engine than just what's needed to display the desktop. Not positive what all is involved in this case, but that's where I'm leaning.

Most of the items in the system tray aren't very memory intensive. Perhaps Steam and Avast would be the top two...

I just built/upgraded this system a couple of months ago. Brand new motherboard, CPU, RAM, and GPU...

Here are screenshots from CPU-Z:

Posted Image
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EDIT: I tried reproducing the problem with as many of those system tray programs unloaded as possible. I had practically nothing running. I couldn't reproduce the problem. However, I then loaded up as much stuff as I could... started opening all kinds of programs just to take up as much RAM and resources as I could, and I STILL couldn't reproduce the problem... which kinda leads me to believe it's caused by something else. I only tried AE (After Effects), though, so I'll try Hammer now and see if I can get it to happen...

EDIT 2: I did manage to finally get it to happen in Hammer, but it didn't at first. I started loading up some of the same system tray programs I had on when I made that video... trying to see if it's a particular program.

Another point of interest. Watch the video closely at 2:20. You'll see the whole AE window "shift" momentarily. Keep watching at about 2:30 when it draws over the explorer window. It does the same thing. It's as if the computer is having to redraw the window or make some kind of correction and is redrawing it in the foreground.

Hammer doesn't make this "shifting" effect when it draws over the foreground.

I'll keep trying to narrow down the problem.

Edited by vertigoelectric, 03 June 2011 - 12:00 PM.


#6 vertigoelectric

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 12:52 PM

I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I think I've narrowed down the application to... SetPoint.exe (my mouse and keyboard settings control application). How on earth this is causing the problem is beyond me, but check this out. I opened up After Effects and started a render. I put a window in front of it and noticed that the problem started occurring consistently every few seconds. I took this opportunity to start closing stuff to see if it went away. When I closed SetPoint.exe, it stopped. I waited a while, and couldn't get it to happen again. I reopened SetPoint.exe and it instantly started happening. I tested this on and off several times and each time it consistently occurred when SetPoint.exe was running.

I wasn't 100% surprised at that point, though. See I had been monitoring process activity with a process monitor while running Hammer. I noticed that SetPoint.exe was accessing all of Hammer's folder structure and stuff, and that, at least at one point, it happened immediately before the "glitch". It was so hard to reproduce the glitch on Hammer, though, so I made no conclusions.

Anyway, SetPoint.exe??? I'm going to look into this a bit further. By the way, I'm rendering in AE in the background behind this browser window. Absolutely no problems while typing this... now if I open SetPoint.exe.... yup. Glitched immediately.

How odd.

#7 Andrew

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 01:38 PM

SetPoint may certainly be the culprit, especially if it's sending messages to windows it doesn't own. Window messages are the method by which a program can send a message to window. Common messages are things like WM_REDRAW which tell the target application that it should redraw all or part of the window or WM_QUIT which tells the application that the program should gracefully quit (like clicking the X in the top right corner.) Another common class of window messages are messages regarding mouse actions like WM_VSCROLL for scrolling.

The trouble with programs like SetPoint (which extend and modify the standard mouse behavior, largely by means of window messages) is that window messages can be ignored or improperly handled by the target application. If SetPoint is sending, say, WM_HOVER messages to an application when the mouse isn't actually hovering over the window at all then sometimes strange effects are the result. If this is the case with your problem, it would seem that SetPoint is making certain programs' window redrawing go haywire. (This can also be exacerbated by using certain custom Windows themes that are poorly implemented, by applications that roll there own windowing system like Steam or even by malware spamming the message queue with erroneous messages.)

If you can live without SetPoint then your problem should be solved.

Edited by Andrew, 03 June 2011 - 01:41 PM.


#8 vertigoelectric

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Posted 03 June 2011 - 01:48 PM

If you can live without SetPoint then your problem should be solved.


Well, I like SetPoint's features, however it's good to know it is the cause of the problem because now when I'm working in those applications it happens most in, I can just turn it off.


Thanks for the help, everybody! I still hope to find an actual solution (aside from getting rid of SetPoint altogether), but this is enough to work with so far.




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