Category Archives: Resolving problems

Posts about tricky problems that i want to resolve or when i manage to resolve them. So others don’t have to go through problem solving nightmares…

Computer freezing with black screen on game exit

I’ve first experienced this with game LIMBO and couldn’t figure it out until today when it happened in Tower Wars game again. And the symptoms were too peculiar to be a coincidence.

Symptoms:

When you exit the game, screen remains black. No mouse or keyboard input seems to do anything as no amount of Ctrl+Esc, Alt+Tab, Alt+F4 did anything. If you had music player playing in the background via music player, music will continue playing (meaning system didn’t actually freeze).

Affected devices and games:

  • NVIDIA GeForce graphic card (GTX 980 in my case)
  • LIMBO (tested game)
  • Tower Wars (tested game)

Offending component/setting(s):

FreezingGamesOnExit.png

Solution:

Change the “Preferred refresh rate” from “Highest available” to “Application-controlled” in NVIDIA Control Panel.

The reason I’ve always changed this to “Highest available” was because I have a 144Hz monitor and I want everything to run at such high refresh. Apparently, with games that enforce own refresh rate (which isn’t 144Hz, but 60Hz instead), this somehow conflicts and causes this lockup with black screen.

Translate text from images using Yandex OCR Translator

I was in a need to translate large amount of text from the image and typing it by hand into Google Translate proved very inefficient and clumsy. Luckily, I’ve stumbled across Russian Yandex πŸ™‚ They seem to offer wider range of translation tools than Google. One of them is translation of text from images using OCR.

Yandex OCR Image Translator
https://translate.yandex.com/ocr

Just drag in an image with text that you want to translate, select languages for the translation, highlight the text you want to translate (you can select large amount of text like you select many files in Windows using dragging selection) and voila!

Example that I needed. Translation from German to English, because my German is a bit rusty and I’m in a need for some new tires for my car πŸ™‚

YandexImageTranslateOCR.jpg

It’s super easy and fast, I got the translation in seconds where I’d need several minutes to re-type all of it by hand. Especially from German which has notoriously long and complex words… Bookmarked this thing because I can just feel it, I’ll need this quite often in the future. And of course posted it here for you guys πŸ™‚

How to fix horrendous Resident Evil 7 performance on PC

I was banging my head against brick wall why the hell performance is so bad with this game. Don’t get me wrong, it looks reasonably nice and works great all maxed out, but it just shouldn’t run as bad when you walk into certain sections of map where it feels like it’s only 15fps for no logical reason. It’s even worse when some sections of levels work super fast one moment and when you reload the game, it’s lagging like insane. I’ve tried everything from monitoring my GPU clocks to even refreshing Windows 10 installation and nothing helped.

But later, fiddling with settings systematically and later talking to someone on TechPowerUp, I came to realization that game is indeed bugged. And for the dumbest reason.

The offending graphics setting appears to be “Shadow Cache”. Not really sure what’s the purpose of it to be quite honest. The thing is, this setting caches shadow maps into VRAM and if you “only” have 4GB like I do on my GTX 980, this game will run like absolute garbage because this cache is taking space in VRAM that needs to be there for other more important things than caching shadows data that works “on-the-fly” anyway just fine. At first I resolved it by changing Shadow Quality from Very High to High, but this appears to be even better solution. It runs just as fast while shading and shadows look way better. The Shadow cache is enabled by default even though it shouldn’t be. In fact I’m not even sure what’s the purpose of it. I mean, caches are usually there to speed things up. If it runs faster with it disabled, what does that tell to you?

Resident Evil 7 PC performance fix:

RE7_PerformanceFix2.jpg

Set Shadow Cache to Off and crank everything else to the max. Wasted like half of the game ranting over idiotic garbage performance just because someone didn’t do his job in QA department. It’s unacceptable and stupid that gamers, who are suppose to enjoy this thing, we have to dissect it instead and figure it out why it’s broken. Ugh.

Well, at least now I’ll be able to enjoy it a lot better… Stupid Shadow Cache…

Strange folders and files appeared on my disk

I’ve noticed an increased number of people asking about strange files and folders appearing on their computer drives. Like this…

cybereason_ransomfree_honeypotfiles

Cybereason_RansomFree_HoneypotFolders.png

These folders and files are named randomly to avoid being targeted or ignored by ransomware writers.

I’ve instantly recognized the pattern with users asking about these “strange” files…

It’s Cybereason’s RansomFree Anti-Ransomware tool, the one I’ve actually wrote about here and I’ve even tested it myself and it’s very effective. You can read more about it here.

Cybereason RansomFree also notifies users about this, but either people click over it quickly or forget about it…

Cybereason_RansomFreeNote.png

These folders and files are called “honeypot” files and they are placed there to trick ransomware into fiddling with them and when ransomware does that, RansomFree pounces on it. Ransomware is captured and you don’t actually lose any of your real documents.

Be aware that if you have such strange files and you haven’t installed Cybereason’s RansomFree or any other security product that uses similar protection mechanism, I suggest thorough scanning of the computer with security software (antivirus).

Windows Update Cache Cleaner

I had my laptop running in circles re-downloading same update over and over again and failing at 95% every single time. Restarting Windows Update only caused download to start at 95% every time and again, failing as well. The solution was easy, cleaning the Windows Update download cache. Update was re-downloaded and installed successfully. But since casual users aren’t in the mood of messing up with files inside Windows folder, I’ve made this simple tool that does that for you, 100% risk free.

WindowsUpdateCacheCleaner.png

The instructions are pretty self explanatory. Just follow them and Windows Update should work again.

Works on Windows XP/Vista/7/8.x/10 and probably future Windows versions since Windows Update cache has the same folder location for years.

DOWNLOAD

Force other Firefox clients to sync current data

Back in the early days of Sync feature in Firefox, we had option to force override data on Sync servers depending on your needs. You could merge the data, force currently used client to be overridden by the server data or current client overriding the server data.

Several updates later, and we have absolutely NO control over sync data. It just syncs up whatever way it feels like it and frankly, in most cases it’s not the way you want it. Things often go bad with Add-ons if you are testing them and you’re adding and removing them before other clients under your sync account receive data from Sync service.

However, I found a way to at least partially regain control in way of “Override other clients with the currently used client data”.

This means, all other Firefox browsers linked to your Sync account will get overridden with data found in client you’re currently using (in which you’ll initiate the override).

How to force re-syncing override

Click 3 horizontal lines menu button (Open Menu) in the top right corner and select Options… Or copy about:preferences#sync into your URL bar…

You’ll see this…

FirefoxSync.png

Now click Disconnect button and wait for few seconds, just to be sure server refreshes the state correctly.

Then just reconnect back and Sync service will think you’re hooking up a new client, force re-syncing data from it to all other clients, effectively force refreshing ALL clients connected to your account.

This should fix all the cases when clients aren’t syncing as they should. A lot easier and faster than reinstalling entire browser clean like I used to do it until I found out this does the trick as well.

Hope this helps πŸ™‚

Laptop screen goes blank when plugged into power

I’ve been a witness of yet another bizarre thing yesterday. Sister brought her HP X360 with her and when she plugged it into a wall, screen went blank. As soon as I’ve unplugged it, screen came back. WTF!? I could clearly see laptop was still running just fine in the background, it was just the screen going all black.

I’ve predicted it has to do something with the power plan, but I didn’t think it would be what I found out later…

The reason for this is the reversed control for screen brightness!

Setting it to maximum brightness when plugged in like so…

HPX360_BlankScreen.png

…causes the screen to go blank when plugged into a wall socket because max brightness setting was actually maximum dimming in this case!

After trying the quick keys on keyboard to adjust brightness, same thing was observed, increasing brightness actually decreased the brightness of the screen and decreasing it actually made the screen brighter. I have no idea why this is happening, must be software or firmware bug or some missing special driver from HP that didn’t get installed with clean Windows 10 installation.

How to fix it?

Move the “Plugged in” slider all the way to the left and “On battery” somewhere closer to the right side. That should stop the screen going full black when you plug in the laptop.

So, before you throw your laptop into a bin or send it to service center, try this. It just might be the same (bizarre) issue. πŸ™‚