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Old 06-23-2009, 10:29 PM   #1
robnich
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Very Slow Launch for MA3

When I launch MA3 beta10d (as well as 10b before it) it takes 10 full seconds before the aquarium actually appears -- I just see the splash screen until the lovely fish appear. This occurs both when I click on the alias in the Start menu and when I click on Preview in the screen saver settings. This is on a very fast Dell 435MT with Vista 64-bit, 6GB RAM, Core i7 quad processor, ATI 4850 video card.

It always seemed to take several seconds for MA3 to get rolling, but 10 seconds (timed, not approximated) really seems a long time. Is it just my setup, or what could be wrong? Anything to be done?

Bob N.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:17 AM   #2
Jim Sachs
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It only takes about 3 seconds on my old HP, and it's almost instant on my Vista machine. Have you made any changes to your system recently? Drivers, etc.?
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:39 AM   #3
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Yes, I did replace my ATI video driver. After a motherboard and video adapter replacement, my system was extremely unstable until I totally uninstalled the old video driver and all ATI software and installed a known-to-be-stable ATI driver. Since then my system has been rock-solid with no video or graphic difficulties of any kind except the MA3 delay.

I'm not sure what I can do. I certainly don't want to reinstall the video driver again. Perhaps I'll try uninstalling and reinstalling MA3. Or maybe I'll just be patient and wait for the fish to appear.

Bob N.
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Old 06-24-2009, 07:53 AM   #4
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Well, uninstalling and reinstalling MA3 didn't change anything. I thought it might, as when I went to uninstall I saw that there were two entries for Serene Screen Marine Aquarium in the program list and I uninstalled both, but after installing again the ten-second delay remains.

Bob N.
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Old 06-24-2009, 08:05 AM   #5
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Hi Bob,

For now my advice to you would probably be to engender patience and keep an eye on it for the long haul.

No video driver ever works every program perfectly, I don't care if it's ATI or nVidia. It's well known around here that I am a strong nVidia advocate over ATI as IMHO their ATI drivers could use some more work for stability and function. But, if you have pretty much everything else working to your satisfaction and only a slight delay to deal with, you might be as good as you will get with ATI.
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Old 06-24-2009, 09:38 AM   #6
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Yes, I've reached the same conclusion. The delay is irrelevant when MA3 comes on as a screen saver, and I am not so busy that I cannot spare 10 seconds when I feel like watching fish for a few moments.

Bob N.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:04 PM   #7
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You can try to make sure that the MA3 display settings is using the same settings as your desktop. Make sure the resolution and the color depth are the same. You can also force it to match so it doesn't spend time looking for the right settings.
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Old 06-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #8
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That's what first occurred to me, but I dismissed it when I read that the splash screen comes up quickly. The wait happens as all the objects are being loaded. In the past, some drivers have been very slow in unpacking compressed binary object files.
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Old 06-24-2009, 06:53 PM   #9
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A minor but interesting bit of new information: I have two internal hard drives on my Dell 435MT, and I installed Windows 7 RC on one of them a while ago. Today I booted from Windows 7 and installed MA3 beta10d on that drive . The fish swam in just under 3 seconds after the splash screen appeared. Interestingly, Windows 7 uses the new WDDM 1.1 driver architecture, so I'm sure Jim is right that the 10 second delay in Vista is video driver-related.

Another thing I noticed is that in Windows 7, even though I ticked the box in the installer to create a Quick Launch shortcut, it didn't happen.

Bob N.
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Old 06-25-2009, 02:36 AM   #10
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I have noticed that apps which try to auto make a quicklaunch all seem to fail in Windows 7. It's gotta to do with how the squicklaunch has sort of been removed and instead uses apps just being pinned. I did expect that windows would figure that out and add a pinned icon to the taskbar for the user when that box is checked but obviously not!
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Old 07-08-2009, 01:45 PM   #11
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I thought I would revisit this topic for two reasons:

First, I did uninstall and reinstall MA3 beta10, as well as again updating the driver for my ATI 4850 graphics card (after totally uninstalling the previous driver and its registry entries) and the 10 second launch delay of MA3 persists.

Second, I note that when I launch MA3 in windowed mode, the MA3 item in the task bar has an exclamation point preceding the application name. This is also visible for a fraction of a second in full-screen mode just after MA3 exits. There is no explanation for the exclamation point and I wonder what significance it has.

All this is on a Dell 435MT with Core i7 920 2.66GB processor, 6GB RAM, Vista Home Premium 64-bit, ATI Radeon 4850 graphics card with Catalyst 9.4 driver. As I noted in a previous post, MA3 runs without the launch delay on the same computer (different internal HD) under Windows 7 RC 64-bit.

Bob N.
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Old 07-08-2009, 05:28 PM   #12
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I have no idea about the exclamation point. Are you certain you are launching the actual program, and not some sort of alias? When you right-click the icon and look at the Shortcut Target under Properties, what is the path listed?
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Old 07-08-2009, 10:00 PM   #13
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Jim -

Here is the target: C:\Windows\system32\MarineAquarium3.scr

Bob N.
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Old 07-09-2009, 01:44 AM   #14
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Why not just use the newest Catalyst drivers 9.6 instead of 9.4? Also I'm not convinced that this is a driver issue as I have a 4870 and have never experienced these issues.

Why not try defragmenting your hard drive, could be that even if MA3 itself if not fragmented that your drivers or other libraries are (especially since you just installed the ATI drivers).

What I would do:

- Uninstall your 9.4 ATI drivers (use a driver cleaner also)
- Restart computer
- Install 9.6 drivers
- Restart computer
- Defrag (e.g Defraggler, JKDefrag, AusLogics Disk Defrag)
- Test MA3
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:57 AM   #15
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Originally posted by Mikey242:
Why not just use the newest Catalyst drivers 9.6 instead of 9.4? Also I'm not convinced that this is a driver issue as I have a 4870 and have never experienced these issues.  
Several users reported problems with 9.6 on the ATI forum, and performance comparison testing favored 9.4. Also, I don't plan on updating the driver every month. Currently, ATI releases a new Catalyst driver monthly. 9.4 is stable and I won't rock the boat.

Bob N.
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Old 07-09-2009, 02:11 PM   #16
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It sounds like a spyware.
Search google for "exclamation point in the taskbar".
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Old 07-09-2009, 05:39 PM   #17
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Well, it was a good thought, but I really don't think it is malware. Full scans with updated MalwareByte's Anti-Malware, Spybot Search and Destroy, and McAfee Security Center did not find anything. Also, this is not a free-standing yellow triangle with an exclamation point. The exclamation point and warning triangle are part of the MA3 icon (for want of a better term) in the taskbar when MA3 is open. I see it only with MA3 and in no other situation.

I don't know if this has anything to do with the slow launch of MA3 under Vista 64-bit that I am seeing, but at any rate it isn't really a major issue, and I will lay it to rest.

Bob N.
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Old 07-09-2009, 06:17 PM   #18
Jim Sachs
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Could you post a screen-capture of what that icon looks like?
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Old 07-09-2009, 08:05 PM   #19
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Here it is
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Exclamation Point.jpg (35.7 KB, 65 views)
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Old 07-10-2009, 12:27 AM   #20
Jim Sachs
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That's got to be something serious.

Just brainstorming here, but maybe your antivirus program has a problem with the file and has to consider it a long time before letting it run. I wonder if the Aquarium would start faster if the antivirus was disabled.
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