Serious GUI bugs in OS X?

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2006
400
122
I noticed this almost from day one I got my new Mac Pro.

1) Sometimes windows of applications don't jump to front when you click them. You then have to use e.g. Apple+TAB to choose the app.
2) Sometimes windows don't minimize when I double click them.
3) Sometimes the "close, minimize, maximize" buttons in windows are greyed out.
4) Sometimes the menu line shows that you are in an application (lets just say Safari, for arguments sake) but you can't enter the drop down menus. Seems like the OS is "stuck" between applications, until the application is activated). And right now when I am writing this, nothing except Finder wants to activate the menus. When I choose an app the menu bar changes to show the apps' menus, but they don't work. I logged in and out my user, and everything worked fine again.

Am I alone with this? It is a pretty fresh install of OS X. I did install shapeshifter, which I uninstalled again though, but apart from that, no "funky" applications.

Apart from this things seem to work fine, so I can't blame hardware or anything, luckily.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
What you see (particularly #4) is NOT normal.. I suspect that Shapeshifter did a number on you. What to do? Log in as another user and see if the problem follows you there. Does it? Unfortunately only a reinstall is going to help out. But it's DEFINITELY not normal.
 

WildCowboy

Administrator/Editor
Staff member
Jan 20, 2005
17,209
1,106
That's not normal behavior, and considering that ShapeShifter isn't compatible with Intel-based Macs, I wouldn't be surprised if that's what borked your system.

Edit: Arrghhh...yellow's too quick on the trigger! :)
 

4np

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2005
963
0
The Netherlands
Hmm... doesn't sound familiar. Only perhaps the greyed out buttons; but I only have that when that particular window has spawned a client window which requires your attention (eg. settings in System Preferences do this frequently).
 

waremaster

macrumors 6502
Aug 27, 2006
406
2
Simon R. said:
I noticed this almost from day one I got my new Mac Pro.

1) Sometimes windows of applications don't jump to front when you click them. You then have to use e.g. Apple+TAB to choose the app.
2) Sometimes windows don't minimize when I double click them.
3) Sometimes the "close, minimize, maximize" buttons in windows are greyed out.
4) Sometimes the menu line shows that you are in an application (lets just say Safari, for arguments sake) but you can't enter the drop down menus. Seems like the OS is "stuck" between applications, until the application is activated). And right now when I am writing this, nothing except Finder wants to activate the menus. When I choose an app the menu bar changes to show the apps' menus, but they don't work. I logged in and out my user, and everything worked fine again.

Am I alone with this? It is a pretty fresh install of OS X. I did install shapeshifter, which I uninstalled again though, but apart from that, no "funky" applications.

Apart from this things seem to work fine, so I can't blame hardware or anything, luckily.
I have not experienced any of this strange behavior either.
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2006
400
122
Hmmm, just to be sure nothing was f*cked up, I did a clean install of OS X, and a day after, the problems are back :confused:

This is strange. Haven't installed anything "weird" like Shapeshifter or anything. I don't understand that I am alone with these issues - it can't possibly with my logic of thinking be a hardware problem, since everything else works fine. It is the whole GUI that looses the ability to "register" mouse movements, like title bar menus and drop down menus. e.g. in the "activity monitor", where the items below the mouse pointer don't get highlighted when I move over them, in e.g. the "Processes" button selector.

I wonder what on earth I can do to find a solution for this.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
3rd party RAM or stock RAM? What else is non-stock? What 3rd party apps have you installed? By clean install you mean wipe & reinstall, or did you do an archive & install preserving user data?
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2006
400
122
Roughly, installed these: MS Office 2004, BitRocket, Toast Titanium, Parallels, Google Earth, newest Quicktime and iTunes. 3rd party, Mac Pro "certified" Crucial memory (2x1GB, 2x512 preinstalled by Apple). If it was a memory issue, or, any other hardware issue, shouldn't I expect some CRASHES... Not just this behaviour.

I did an "archive and install", but DIDN'T import old users, since I accidentally renamed my "home" name first time around, and this definitely screwed up a lot of permissions and stuff. So I did everything again from scratch.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,636
0
Simon R. said:
1) Sometimes windows of applications don't jump to front when you click them. You then have to use e.g. Apple+TAB to choose the app.
I definitely see this one regularly. Some apps are better than others at noticing they are supposed to ask to move to the front. It is a lot more reliable to click on an app's top bar than the body, FWIW.
2) Sometimes windows don't minimize when I double click them.
I haven't really noticed this, but I tend to use hiding instead.
3) Sometimes the "close, minimize, maximize" buttons in windows are greyed out.
Depending on the type of window, that could be normal. Examples that look odd?
4) Sometimes the menu line shows that you are in an application (lets just say Safari, for arguments sake) but you can't enter the drop down menus. Seems like the OS is "stuck" between applications, until the application is activated).
Yes, this is a big fat bug, it usually happens more if memory is tight or some process is eating up CPU like mad. How much RAM do you have installed? [Edit: I see in the above that you have plenty of RAM, so I'd be poking around in Activity monitor to see if something is misbehaving. ]
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2006
400
122
iMeowBot, thanks for your answers. It seems it might indeed be bugs in the OS? rather unbelievable. Even Windows, where I come from, won't do this :D .
About 4) I found out its sometimes even worse: You can't get to the menus at all. The only ones that always seem to work is "Finder" - and still you only get access to the drop down menu you click on - when you move your mouse to the next one, it isn't activated. You have to click the mouse twice (to first close the now "stuck" drop down menu and then again to open the new).

A logout/login, or of course restart, fixes all these problems, but it happens rather often. And yes, it might usually be when free memory is low. However it seems OS X doesn't really free the RAM unless it is required by another program. Rather, it's just set to "inactive". So sometimes I can have just one app open, after having done a lot of opening/closing of different programs, and then I have 32MB free ram, but 1.92 GB "inactive". I guess this is normal behaviour. Still, some pretty bothersome issues.

EDIT: Btw I did a RAM test with "Rember" and it passed all tests.
 

waremaster

macrumors 6502
Aug 27, 2006
406
2
Simon R. said:
iMeowBot, thanks for your answers. It seems it might indeed be bugs in the OS? rather unbelievable. Even Windows, where I come from, won't do this :D .
About 4) I found out its sometimes even worse: You can't get to the menus at all. The only ones that always seem to work is "Finder" - and still you only get access to the drop down menu you click on - when you move your mouse to the next one, it isn't activated. You have to click the mouse twice (to first close the now "stuck" drop down menu and then again to open the new).

A logout/login, or of course restart, fixes all these problems, but it happens rather often. And yes, it might usually be when free memory is low. However it seems OS X doesn't really free the RAM unless it is required by another program. Rather, it's just set to "inactive". So sometimes I can have just one app open, after having done a lot of opening/closing of different programs, and then I have 32MB free ram, but 1.92 GB "inactive". I guess this is normal behaviour. Still, some pretty bothersome issues.

EDIT: Btw I did a RAM test with "Rember" and it passed all tests.
I am unable to duplicate these symptoms on my machine.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,636
0
Oh, inactive memory is not a problem. That's memory that has already been paged out to disk, and OS X simply leaves the old stuff in RAM because no other process has asked for it yet.

I will note that the Google Earth release notes warn in particular of the sticky menu problem, but they claim it should only be a problem on slower machines. Lies, all lies, I say!

I wish that I did know exactly what causes the menu problem. I don't see it very often, but it's real all right.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,560
628
Cork, Ireland.
I'd say I've periodically experienced all of those - and another: sometimes two or more windows are "active" (i.e. with the active look, traffic lights instead of greyed out buttons etc.). Gets a bit confusing with you hit Command-W, and the wrong window closes.
 

whooleytoo

macrumors 604
Aug 2, 2002
6,560
628
Cork, Ireland.
Oh, and nearly forgot another - I thought it was Safari only, but now I've seen it in Xcode as well:

Occasionally, the OS loses track of where the cursor is (or else loses track of what it's displaying), meaning to click any link I have to click about 1cm to its right. The same with buttons, their visual position doesn't correspond with their clickable area.

Or in Xcode, at times the same happens: to click the up scroll arrow, I have to click on the down arrow; to click on the down arrow, I have to click on the resize box; and to click on the resize box I have to click outside the window completely!
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
Strange... I NEVER see these problems at all.. and none of my 250+ users have every complained about them either. :confused:

Though.. NONE of them (us) have a Mac Pro yet.
 

Simon R.

macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 25, 2006
400
122
I guess, we can diplomatically agree, that these issues are present in OS X to some extent, but not all of us are experiencing them. I think it is odd that such pretty big GUI bugs can exist in a mature OS like OS X. I can say a lot of bad things about Windows, but the GUI never acted strange on me like that.
 

kalisphoenix

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2005
1,231
1
I haven't had any of these problems either. The "have-to-click-the-titlebar" thing, well, I don't really view that as a problem so much as just a behavior. I'm used to it from Linux. It is irritating that it's fairly inconsistent.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
iMeowbot said:
Even stranger, I've seen it on G4, G5 and Macintel machines. :confused:

I'd be very interested in comparing our installed apps, kexts, etc, to seek a culprit.

Even more mysterious is the fact that the OP says all is well after a restart, but it gets worse over time.. which leads me to beleive that something installed has a memory leak.
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,636
0
yellow said:
Even more mysterious is the fact that the OP says all is well after a restart, but it gets worse over time.. which leads me to beleive that something installed has a memory leak.
Yeah, that matches my experience too, it only happens after the system has been up for a long time. And that of course makes it that much harder to pin down, it's not something I could reliably reproduce :/
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
So bizzare.. most of my users average uptime is 45 days or so.. are we talking longer than that or less than that before the symptoms show up?

Are you folks using any AV software? Remote access software? Anything that hooks deep and early into the OS that might be poorly written (a symantec product, for example :))?

Weird. I love a mystery.
 

rogersmj

macrumors 68020
Sep 10, 2006
2,158
0
Indianapolis, IN
I've had my iMac for a week and haven't experienced any of those things. However, I have experienced a wierd interface bug of my own. When I'm saving a file, for example, if I have the file browser dialog window in that "slider" browser mode -- I don't know what else to call it, the triple pane view, I guess? -- when I create a new folder, I can't select it until I click back up to the parent directory, and then back down onto my new folder. It's really annoying.
 

yellow

Moderator emeritus
Oct 21, 2003
16,033
1
Portland, OR
mrogers said:
When I'm saving a file, for example, if I have the file browser dialog window in that "slider" browser mode -- I don't know what else to call it, the triple pane view, I guess?
It's called "Column View".
 

iMeowbot

macrumors G3
Aug 30, 2003
8,636
0
yellow said:
So bizzare.. most of my users average uptime is 45 days or so.. are we talking longer than that or less than that before the symptoms show up?
Restarts normally only happen when software updates demand them. I've seen this on hardware where the only non-bundled software is Office and a few QuickTime codecs (disappointing, because deep down I really wanted to blame Adobe for this).

I do find it interesting that Google noted the problem. Google Earth is a busy little beast, making me wonder if WindowServer or one of its buddies is simply being flooded with more events than it can handle. It really does feel more like something has lost track of itself than anything else.