SERIOUS bug (Poptray.ini)

Found a serious/minor bug in PopTray? Tell me about it.

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PierreBe
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SERIOUS bug (Poptray.ini)

Post by PierreBe » Sun Oct 03, 2004 10:39 am

This is the second time I experience this, after a crash (irq less or not equal, probably videocard drivers) the poptray.ini has only a few lines left, all settings and accounts are vanished in the ini. I made a backup of poptray.ini the first time and could restore it without entering the accounts again and all the options. So I suggest everyone to BACKUP the poptray.ini to avoid such problems till there is a fix for it.
I use poptray version 3.1 beta7 RC1.
Actually i'm puzzeled when a crash occurs more than 80% of the lines in the .ini are gone....
I've also read about similar problems from other users in this forum..

Regards Pierre.

Other info: XP Home edition with SP2 /Norton Internet Security
Read also: http://forum.crause.co.za/viewtopic.php?p=7676

antoine
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Re: SERIOUS bug (Poptray.ini)

Post by antoine » Sat Nov 20, 2004 3:23 pm

I second what Pierre wrote. I experienced 2 cases where the .ini file was squeezed to its out-of-the-box version.

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Antoine

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Rdsok
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Post by Rdsok » Sat Nov 20, 2004 5:49 pm

antoine,

You may have missed seeing the responses to this problem. The forum has lost about a month worth of responses due to a server crash. I'm not going to able to recreate the whole thread and its posting for you but I can summerize it for you. This problem will only happen when a computer crashes or is shutdown wrong.

1st - Irq less or not equal errors are almost always caused by bad system drivers, usually it is the video but sometimes it is a different one. Hardware can also cause this problem, but as I said, usually it is the driver that causes it. These type of errors almost always crash a computer system causing you to need to restart the system if nothing else. If you want more info on this error, just search the internet for the error, you will find many references to it.

2nd - The second part of this problem arises when a program (Poptray or any other program also) has a file open while it is running. If a system crash or improper shutdown happens at this point the open file is probably going to get corrupted. When Poptray finds a corrupted ini file, it has no other choice than to create a new version. While there are several programming tricks that limit this happening, no matter what you do at some point the ini file must be opened and updated, if the system just happens to crash or is reset at that point you still have this problem.

Currently, like any program file, there are only a few things that you can do to help minimize the problem. The first and most important is to fix the problem with the computer that made it crash or reset. The second one is the one that no ones seems to do, BACKUP your files. Yeah I know, there is that "B" word. It's funny how it is easy to think of after we have a problem. Ultimately though that is the only thing we can do to safeguard our information and no matter how much we blame the program or computer for causing this, it is our own fault for not taking measures to protect our important files to start with.

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Post by PierreBe » Sat Nov 20, 2004 6:08 pm

Could this be foreseen, I mean poptray could backup the ini by program start to restore the file after a crash if it differs from it?

Would be great....

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Post by Rdsok » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:02 pm

I would agree that there are other methods that can safeguard the files. Just for discussions sake, I would probably recommend a manual method instead of an automatic method of backing up the files. I have seen several automatic methods fail under certain conditions so the most reliable method would be to let the user decide if a backup or restore is needed. I would imagine that all methods still have their own weakness's no matter what is done something can still go wrong. :?

While I think you may already know the following since you have been on this forum for quite some time, I think I'll list the files that would need backed up for others that may read this thread.

Here is a list of the main files for your settings, make copies of the ones you want to keep if they exist. If they don't exist, don't worry about them they are only created if you use certain functions.

PopTray.ini -- PopTray settings and account info
Rules.ini -- Rules that you have created
WhiteList.ptdat -- White List
BlackList.ptdat -- Black List
PopTray.customize -- Toolbar customizations
Preview.customize -- Preview screen toolbar customizations

These files can normally be found in the Poptray directory. The default directory is C:\Program Files\Poptray. Some of the files could be in the users "Home" directory also if it were specified on the startup command. This directory would be different for each user so I can't list where you will find them.

antoine
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Post by antoine » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:07 pm

Rdsok wrote:The first and most important is to fix the problem with the computer that made it crash or reset.
Thank you very much for having taken the time to summarize the information of the initial and apparently lost threads. I suspected indeed a driver problem. After several checks, I suspect a program (my firewall or my antivirus) to be causing, erratically, those rare but actual system crashes.
Rdsok wrote: The second one is the one that no ones seems to do, BACKUP your files. Yeah I know, there is that "B" word. It's funny how it is easy to think of after we have a problem.
You are fully right. I had made a backup of PopTray's ini file, as I had done for other important files, and the system crash didn't lead to that much trouble. Concerning PopTray, I would never dare to blame this software : it is in my humble opinion an _oustanding_ piece of software : it is full-featured, stable, reliable, has intuitive usage and learning-curve, etc and I am most proud of having been able to provide the french localization with the help of Bruno Giroux (homaquebec).

Your contribution and help have been much appreciated, Rdsok, thanks again.

Best regards,
Antoine

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Rdsok
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Post by Rdsok » Sat Nov 20, 2004 7:22 pm

antoine,

Your welcome, one of the reasons I've always liked this forum is because everyone seems to try to help so I try also.

PierreBe has really brought up a good point in this particular discussion. Even a program that is mostly stable can have a weakness when unusual or unforeseen condition happens and our pointing these weakness out and suggesting possible solutions can only help to make the program better.

As usual though, until a problem like this is addressed, all we can do is "back it up" :D

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Post by KY Dave » Sat Nov 20, 2004 9:15 pm

PierreBe wrote:Could this be foreseen, I mean poptray could backup the ini by program start to restore the file after a crash if it differs from it?
Would be great....
The idea to have PopTray make an poptray.ini backup file is a good one.

The part about loading it automatically doesn't seem as good to me.
Once PopTray has started and supposedly made the backup, then if you add or delete an account, it would cause the poptray.ini created at shutdown to be different from the backup ini file.
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Post by Rdsok » Sat Nov 20, 2004 10:36 pm

Obviously I agree with you KY Dave since I also mentioned a manual backup/restore method, but still an automatic method that restored a backup, even with older account info, would still be better than one restoring the default ini without any account info in it I would think.

If I were programming for an automatic method (which I can't do since I'm not a programmer) I would probably do it something like this.

Every time that Poptray would save any file it would also update the backup file, then on startup, Poptray could verify if the working file and the backup file matched, if it found a difference or a corrupted file, it could then ask if the user would like to continue using the existing file if not corrupted or unreadable, restore from the backup or create a new file.

Where that method would fall short, I believe, is in the cases where the user had made changes that were incorrect. Then the backup file would also have been updated and the user wouldn't have a backup to return to. If the backup/restores had been done manually, the user would be restoring a known good backup (well as good as the last one was anyway).

Now that I think of it, a method that would use both methods would be pretty cool. One automatic that would work similar to what I mentioned and then an alternate one that would also create a seperate manual backup that the files could be selectively backed up or restored. This would give you an automatic fall back backup set and also a known good one that had been created manually. If a user had chosen to use the manual restore, the automatic backup would also get replaced.

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Post by KY Dave » Sat Nov 20, 2004 11:09 pm

I wonder why PopTray must write to the ini file at shutdown?
It maybe to save PopTray's location on the screen.

If so, I would think this problem could be avoided entirely, by having a memorize screen location on one of the OPTION tabs.

Then PopTray would only need to write the ini file if an OPTION or ACCOUNT was SAVED.
There would be no problems if a power outage or pc malfuction occured.
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Post by Rdsok » Sat Nov 20, 2004 11:28 pm

KY Dave wrote:I wonder why PopTray must write to the ini file at shutdown?
It maybe to save PopTray's location on the screen.

If so, I would think this problem could be avoided entirely, by having a memorize screen location on one of the OPTION tabs.

Then PopTray would only need to write the ini file if an OPTION or ACCOUNT was SAVED.
There would be no problems if a power outage or pc malfuction occured.
I had been wondering why the file was left open so much of the time also and that would certainly explain it. If that was the only reason, then the solution for this problem would also be easy to fix, create a screen.ini file for screen location info. That way, the main ini file wouldn't be as easily corrupted only the screen ini file would be at risk.

I would still like to see a backup/restore routine added to Poptray so we wouldn't have to do it with the manual copy/paste (or whatever) method.

There were several other backup/restore and import requests that I've seen that I think would be good to implement. I'll leave those choices to Renier, he has done pretty good at picking what to incorperate and what to leave out so far.

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Post by PierreBe » Sun Nov 21, 2004 9:05 am

Ok last question and thanks for the support by the way ;-)
So an automatic backup is not so good as you mentioned
(though it would for most users be best if integrated well)
at least poptray could make a backup file on start of the poptray.ini,
this file is the one which suffers the most from a crash and has the most
important settings, so not an automated backup that heals itself but an automated copy of the ini would be great (aka poptray.ini.old)
So if you forgot to backup manually you still got the old ini to manualy
restore your accounts etc....

Regards, Pierre

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Re: SERIOUS bug (Poptray.ini)

Post by ant » Fri Dec 24, 2004 12:01 pm

PierreBe wrote:This is the second time I experience this, after a crash (irq less or not equal, probably videocard drivers) the poptray.ini has only a few lines left, all settings and accounts are vanished in the ini. I made a backup of poptray.ini the first time and could restore it without entering the accounts again and all the options. So I suggest everyone to BACKUP the poptray.ini to avoid such problems till there is a fix for it.
I use poptray version 3.1 beta7 RC1.
Actually i'm puzzeled when a crash occurs more than 80% of the lines in the .ini are gone....
I've also read about similar problems from other users in this forum..

Regards Pierre.

Other info: XP Home edition with SP2 /Norton Internet Security
Read also: http://forum.crause.co.za/viewtopic.php?p=7676
I just had this problem earlier today! I was wondering why my PopTray acted funny and I had no new e-mails! I had to reconfigure it. I had one of those rare blue screen crashes. I agree there should be an automated back up. Maybe back up every other days?
Ant @ The Ant Farm: http://antfarm.ma.cx

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