Author Topic: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?  (Read 996 times)

Pete

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Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« on: March 15, 2018, 08:22:13 pm »
Hi All

That was weird... and I think I need to document it somewhere.

I had been using ArcaOS5.0.0 for a couple of hours when my son phoned and asked if I could put a bootable usb stick together with clonezilla - http://www.clonezilla.org/ - on it. I downloaded tuxboot for windows (no, no os/2 version) - https://tuxboot.org/ -  as that looked to be the easiest way to create the required bootable usb stick, booted into windows7 and soon had the "bootable clonezilla" usb stick prepared and tested.

I then booted back into ArcaOS without any problems.

My son turned up about 3 hours later to collect the usb stick and asked if it was possible to create a bootable usb stick to install windowsxp from. I rebooted from ArcaOS into windows7 and we then downloaded and installed various software to help in the process and finally found something called Rufus - https://rufus.akeo.ie/ - that did the job.

Having finished preparing usb sticks for son I rebooted into ArcaOS. Then son asked if he could have a copy of the windowsxp cd. I used the DVDTools Burn Disc Image to perform the copy. All went well until the cd had completed. The disc draw opened to eject the completed cd - and the system hung, no reaction to mouse or keyboard, clock stopped, no cpu movement.

I pressed the Reset button and rebooted ArcaOS but boot stopped shortly after ifx had slowly run - took a couple of minutes rather than the usual few seconds - and the system gave up trying to boot with pmshell.exe being the last line on screen and all disk activity having stopped. I left it for about 10 minutes with no change, Ctrl-Alt-Del did not work so I pressed the Reset button to reboot. ArcaOS gave up booting at the same point as previously.

I then tried booting eCS2.2b2 which stopped booting at the same place as ArcaOS ie with pmshell.exe being the last line onscreen; dmt (earlier version of ifx) had run slowly as well.

I also have eCS2.1 installed on this computer so tried that with identical results.

Windows7 still boots and runs fine of course - at least that proves it is not hardware failure.

After a phone call to a mate who works in system support I turned power off to the pc and removed the graphics card. I reinserted the graphics card around an hour later.

No change to any of the above: no OS/2 based system gets further then the pmshell.exe line, windows7 boots and runs fine.

I then tried booting from ArcaOS install dvd and thought that was not going to get to the graphical installer window - boot had been going fine but almost stopped when switching from text to graphic mode, took a couple of minutes.

Seems there is something not quite right with ArcaOS/eCS (snap)graphics drivers and my card - but they have been working reasonably well together - for a couple of years in the case of the eCS installations - and, as windows7 boots without problems and no nasty graphics glitches, I am sure the hardware is not at fault.

I booted ArcaOS to a command line using Alt-F1, F2 and had a look at size of ini files including the ifx backups which all looked about right.

I then thought it might be worth rebooting and using ALT-F1, F3 to reset graphics to VGA. That seemed to go fine - although I seem to recall last time I had to resort to this many years ago the system immediately rebooted following vga driver install which this install had not - but again boot stopped with pmshell.exe the last line on screen.

I rebooted ArcaOS to a command line using Alt-F1, F2. I entered pmshell at the command prompt and the Desktop started but the mouse was extremely jerky - a little movement went a very long way. However, I managed to open the config.sys file for a quick check and could not spot anything wrong.

Being aware that using ALT-F1, F2 uses a different config.sys file -  \os2\boot\config.x - I was not surprised that this desktop was using snap rather than the vga drivers that had been installed using ALT-F1, F3

Well, at least we know graphical mode is possible so I rebooted the system - took a minute or 2 to get the jerky mouse into the correct clicking place - and tried booting ArcaOS in the hope that the problem had now "gone away". Boot stopped with a message about not being able to find sddhelp.sys file. That suggests to me that switching to vga from the ALT-F1 screen does not work in ArcaOS5.0.0 as the snap file sddhelp.sys should not be needed by the vga driver. The interesting bit was that we had gone further than the pmshell.exe line...

Out of interest I booted eCS2.2b2 which booted to a working Desktop with no problem now.

No problem booting eCS2.1 now either...

As the snap files were still in place I edited the ArcaOS config.sys and reinstated a couple of missing snap related lines - probably removed during the failed (?) vga install - then rebooted into ArcaOS. No problem booting to a working Desktop. As a precaution I reinstalled snap from the ArcaOS install dvd and rebooted without any problems.

OK, I have battered my head trying to work out what happended: For some reason all 3 of my os/2 based systems installed in this computer failed to boot at the point when switching from text to graphical display - and the ArcaOS install dvd also had problems at this point and that uses Panarama so not just a Snap problem. Being able to boot and run windows7 indicates that it was not a hardware failure.

The "cure" seems to have been booting ArcaOS to a command line using the \os2\boot\config.x file and starting pmshell from the prompt although I totally fail to understand how this could be a "cure"...

The question is: What was the problem?

I think the hang at the end of cd burning is probably involved but I have used the Burn Disc Image app several times previously without any problems and there have not been any hardware or driver changes since last use around 2 weeks ago.

I suspect something windows related, possibly buggy software/undetected malware installed when creating usb stick for son but not sure how this would cause graphics problems in OS/2 based systems.

Any thoughts on this anyone? - I would just like to understand what happened.


Regards

Pete


ivan

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2018, 08:52:09 pm »
Hi Pete,

What graphics card is it?  I had something like that a couple of years ago where some malfunctioning program wrote to the graphics card and fixed a particular mode.  One of my technicians at the time fixed it by forcing it to VGA mode after that it worked again but we never trusted that card and dumped it a couple of months later.

As to what caused it, I would suspect some interaction with DVD Tools, at least from my experience using it (it generally didn't write a full dvd) - I get faster reliable results using cdrecord2.exe and dvddao.exe.  I may be biased in this because it might be hardware timing problems with dvd tools being more critical than dvddao.exe. 

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2018, 11:05:42 pm »
Hi Ivan

The graphics card is an ATI Radeon X550.

Whatever the problem was only affected OS/2 based systems so I have some doubts as to whether malfunctioning software had set a particular mode.

I must admit to not using DVDTools very often but the few times I have used the software previously it has not caused any problems. I guess there could have been some random timing issue but fail to see how that would cause os/2 based systems to not be able to switch from text to graphics mode without affecting windows7 at all.


Regards

Pete

ivan

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2018, 11:53:20 pm »
Hi Pete,

It was just a possibility, remember we also have some network cards that do strange things but are quite happy with windows, in fact you need win to reset them.

My reason for considering dvd tools as a possible culprit is basedmore on what it doesn't do on my various systems - those based on ITX motherboards it doesn't see the dvd writer, on the mini ATX boards it doesn't finish writing a dvd.  Again that is my experience on my home built equipment so is neither a vote for or against dvd tools since it works for a lot of people.

I was talking to one of my old techs this evening who thought it would have been a good idea to have a look in \os2\drivers\snap to see if there was anything strange in there but since you have several systems on the same hardware that wouldn't show anything, at least I don't think so.
 

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2018, 12:13:37 am »
Hi Ivan

I must admit that I did not think of looking in the \OS2\DRIVERS\SNAP\CONFIG\GRAPHICS\graphics.log at the time - will have to remember to do that if this problem happens again.


Regards

Pete

roberto

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2018, 08:22:37 am »
Hello Pete
I would have deleted the fat32 from the config.sys, many strange problems have been solved for me. Then find another version of fat32 more suitable
saludos

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2018, 04:29:00 pm »
Hi roberto

I must admit that I had not even considered fat32 as a possible "culprit" but you may have a valid point as the iso file that was burnt using DVDTools was stored on a fat32 formatted drive.

I guess I should consider changing from the ArcaOS installed version 0.10.r204...

Should I install and try the latest "stable beta" 0.10.r338 or install the last stable release 0.9.13 from 2008?


Regards

Pete

roberto

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2018, 10:50:34 pm »
I'm sorry, but I can not tell you, if the machine uses you, and you know that those errors are for the fat32 in beta, put the last one. If it is a work team put the most stable.
I can say that I do not have the last one installed yet. And that two programs have given me similar problems of hanging the system, the DVDtoys, and the Zippy

PD: For Ivan, you can unpack the *.iso files with zippy.  I have read another message from you and commented that you unzip iso in windows. About memdisk ... Thanks.
Saludos

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2018, 03:50:32 pm »
Hi All

I decided the only way to test if the installed fat32 and/or DVDTools was the cause of the problem was to risk burning another disc to see if the problem re-occurs.
I started DVDTools Burn Disc Image and selected the same iso file from the fat32 drive.
Result: No problem burning the disc, no crash on eject, no problems rebooting to a working Desktop. There was no problem performing a cold boot, about 10 hours later, after the pc had been powered off overnight.

There are 2 differences between the above test and the original burn:-
   1] I had not been running windows7, downloading and installing possibly "dodgy" windows software prior to this test
   2] I did not have another blank disc of the same brand

While I realise the above test does not conclusively prove that neither DVDTools and/or fat32 were the cause of the problem it does tend to make me think that some of the windows software that we installed and tried was more likely the cause of the problem - either buggy software or malware that was not detected.

I guess I'll never know the answer...


Regards

Pete

roberto

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2018, 04:33:30 pm »
There are 2 differences between the above test and the original burn:-
You sure were not 3 differences?
You run firefox prebious to start dvd?
or you start de pc and run dvd

Quote
I guess I'll never know the answer...
I hope so, because if not it will be a bug not repaired.
saludos

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2018, 08:52:07 pm »
Hi roberto

No, I did not run Seamonkey - firefox not installed - prior to using DVDTools. I had just rebooted from windows7 and my son asked for a windowsxp cd copy just as the Desktop loaded so DVDTools was the first app manually started after boot.


Regards

Pete



roberto

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2018, 12:28:47 am »
Thanks Pete, I was thinking about the browser, but no, the problem was in the RAM Disk, which had it as fat32, and apparently is incompatible with the new versions of the FAT32 driver. Modify the ram disk to hpfs, and all ok. Even the computer works colder, because I had a problem of overheating.
Can you confirm is you are run with a ramdisk with fat32?
Saludos

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2018, 02:42:03 am »
Hi roberto

Not using a ram disk at all.


Regards

Pete

Pete

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2018, 02:35:02 am »
Hi All

I discovered a really simple way to recreate this problem: add the virtualbox driver to config.sys ie DEVICE=J:\PROGRAMS\VBox\VBoxDrv.sys

On rebooting after adding the above line boot stops at the ifx ini file check. I REM'd the ifx line in config.sys and boot stops with pmshell.exe onscreen and no sign of booting continuing after several minutes.

I tried the trick of booting to a command line and starting pmshell which worked as before. However, on a standard reboot I could not get ArcaOS to boot past the pmshell.exe line.

Both eCS installations boot fine - even though eCS2.2b2 has virtualbox installed with the driver active in the config.sys file.

I REM'd the DEVICE=J:\PROGRAMS\VBox\VBoxDrv.sys in my ArcaOS config.sys and had no problem booting ArcaOS.

I tried this several times and with that driver active in the config.sys ArcaOS cannot boot. With the driver REM'd ArcaOS boots fine.

I installed the ArcaOS snap driver to eCS2.2b2 to test if it was an interaction between snap and VBoxDrv.sys - eCS2.2b2 boots fine. I tried running virtualBox and was rewarded with a fail message:-

   Failed to create the VirtualBoxClient COM object.

   The application will now terminate.


   Details: Callee RC: NS_ERROR_ABORT (0x80004004)


As VirtualBox was working fine with the eCS supplied version of snap I can only guess that the ArcaOS snap and the VirtualBox driver, VBoxDrv.sys, do not work together - at least on this system. The question is do I report this to the virtualbox people or ArcaOS or both?


Regards

Pete

Andreas Schnellbacher

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Re: Not a graphics card failure - but what happened?
« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2018, 06:39:08 pm »
Pete, that reminds me of a problem I had years ago with Virtual PC on an OS/2 host and a Windows 5.1 as guest.

The guest trapped hard, as always when a resource was running out. That time was special: It caused OS/2 not to boot anymore. It took me several days to find the problem. I haven't thought before that a defective (and that time irreparable) guest system could have such an impact on the host.