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Full screen DirectX applications and games resize background windows


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Arken77's Avatar
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12-Mar-2008, 12:59 AM #1
Angry Full screen DirectX applications and games resize background windows
Hello!

I consider myself somewhat experienced with computers in general and Windows in particular (been using computers since the DOS days), but there is a thing with windows that rather baffles me.

The thing is that since some time ago, whenever I start a game or any other DirectX program in full screen it resizes all opened windows to that programís screen resolution. Even dxdiag full screen tests seem to cause it.

Once the full screen program exits or if I alt-tab out of it, all mine previously maximized windows are resized to fit in whatever resolution the DirectX app was running but they seam to think they are still maximized (2 squares instead of one on the maximize button and I need to press it twice to actually maximize them again, and also their size when not maximized seam to be changed to the appís resolution as well).

I normally run my desktop at 1280x1024 resolution (native resolution of my LCD monitor) and usually am running multiple windows in background when playing games (Firefox most of the time), so itís irritating when switching back from the game to find those windows resized to smaller size, especially with older games that donít support resolutions larger then 1024x768.

I could swear that this was not the way full screen under DirectX worked before. It might be my memory failing me, but Iím almost sure that I used to run games in full screen at resolutions as low as 640x480 (before I bought the LCD monitor) without it resizing windows in background in any way.

Also, this is not just a problem with this computer. I also got a server machine and a laptop, both running Win XP with all the updates. Both my desktops have nVidia graphics (NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS on this one and NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420 on my server) but the laptop only have built in Intel Graphics and all 3 shows the same irritating behavior.

So what I wonder is, is there anyone else but me who remember that full screen games and DirectX application didnít use to resize all windows running in the background? If so, what is the cause of this behavior now? Is it a new ďfeatureĒ installed with some Microsoft update? Can it be disabled in that case? Any help would be appreciated

Thanks in advance.
Arek ďArken77Ē Lubniewicz
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12-Mar-2008, 06:36 AM #2
Hello & Welcome to Tech Guy Forum?

Which version / SP of XP Pro?

Which video card?

Which version of DirectX?

It does not happen on my XP Pro SP2 computer, XFX Graphics 7600 GT, DirectX 9 computer.

RF123
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12-Mar-2008, 07:30 AM #3
Hello and thanks for the welcome!

In my gaming computer I have NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS and in my server computer an old NVIDIA GeForce4 MX 420 as Iíve said in the original post. My laptop is a Dell Inspiron 640m with an onboard Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950.

All 3 systems run Windows XP Pro SP2 with all the latest updates from Microsoft Update. DirectX is 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904) according to dxdiag.

I was about too say that I didnít think it was graphic card or graphic card driver related, since the same thing happened on 3 different computers with 3 different GPUs (although 2 of them are both nVidia), but Iíve decided to test it before Iíve posted, just to make sure.

My gaming PC and the laptop both experience this problem, exactly as described in the original post. My server however doesnít seem to have the same problem. Background windows on it are NOT resized when running dxdiag full screen tests.

I have recently reformatted and completely reinstalled windows on both my server and my gaming PC and now all 3 machines run exactly the same version of windows, same updates and same DirecX. Only difference between them is the GPU and itís drivers (beside all the other hardware that is). Server runs older version of nVidia drivers, since its older GPU isnít supported in the newest drivers I run on my gaming machine.

Perhaps this is a driver issue (or ďfeatureĒ) after all? But both the new nVidia and Intel GPU seam to be affected while older nVidia is not...

I hope this was at least somewhat helpfulÖ
Arek ďArken77Ē Lubniewicz

PS: Sorry if this was somewhat longwinded, I havenít slept at all tonight and the sleep depravation seem to be catching up with me.
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12-Mar-2008, 12:10 PM #4
A:
Please do NOT apologize for your response, which I find to be pleasantly complete and well composed.

Too often, people reply using text message grammar, without addressing questions which have been asked.

Do you have old drivers?

Have you tried to roll back the drivers?

Was the problem present prior to your "I have recently reformatted and completely reinstalled windows on both my server and my gaming PC"?

RF123
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12-Mar-2008, 12:44 PM #5
Nice to hear that you could understand my responses. As Iíve wrote before, I didnít go to sleep at all last night and since I donít want to sleep during the day, Iím feeling more or less like a zombie since some time now.

And about the text message grammar, I personally never use it. Even when text messaging with my girlfriend we both write full words and proper sentences. I guess weíre both a bit pedantic.

Iím using old drivers for the server computer only because the GPU in it is rather old (donít usually play any games on it, just serve my files and record TV shows with Beyond TV) and I know from previous experiences that newer drivers are either unstable with this particular card or donít even have any support for it.

On the other hand, the card in my gaming PC is much newer and those older drivers have no support for it either (been written before the card was created).

As for graphic drivers for the laptop that also show same symptoms, Iíve been using at least 3 sets of Dells display drivers on it since Iíve bought it and the problem was the same on them all. Also on my gaming PC the problem was the same ever since Iíve built it last year.

I thought that I had same problem on server PC until Iíve tested it today. Iíve did a clean reinstall of windows on the server last Friday (unrelated to this problem, the PC was just running everyday for almost all day since close to 2 years and was getting rather slow and unresponsive for it). Iím not actually sure if the problem was there before reinstall, but I used exact the same version of graphic driver before as after the reinstall (the last one working with the GPU).

As for Gaming PC, Iíve reinstalled it this Monday because Iíve replaced its motherboard. The old one was causing many system lockups while playing games and so I bought a different model. The problem with resizing windows was present on this PC even before the reinstall and on the older motherboard.

So, to sum it up, the problem was present both on my laptop and gaming PC for a while now. Itís not present on my server now, but Iím not sure if it was before the reinstall.

I feel that those answers arenít doing much for helping with troubleshooting. By the way, is the problem present on your computer? Run dxdiagís Direct3D test while having a larger window maximized on your desktop to test it if you want to.

Thank you for trying to help me.
Arek ďArken77Ē Lubniewicz
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12-Mar-2008, 04:35 PM #6
I confess I don't quite know what's going on. That said, there are no "layers" of resolution where windows in the background would be different than say a full screen game in the foreground. Whatever the game resolution is is in force for everything, then when exiting the game, whether you see it or not (typically when the screen goes blank) the resolution is returned to the original pre-game resolution for everything.

Are you saying the monitor is not returning to the original resolution upon exiting? If so are these games rather old? I had many old games that did not return the resolution to previous dimensions and I had to manually reset it. If you are saying that the windows are a different resolution on the screen and yet the screen resolution returned to what it was beforehand (in other words if you had a window resolution of 800x600 on a 1280x1024 screen and then had 1280x1024 windows on a 1280x1024 screen afterwards) then that is a strange phenomenon (to me).
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12-Mar-2008, 05:15 PM #7
Perhaps I can explain it best by showing you examples of my screen as it is normally and just after exiting a full screen DirecX application with resolution smaller then desktops (Direct3D rotating test cube from dxdiag in this example). I’m attaching 2 jpeg files with my screens.

Notice that judging by the look of maximize/restore button on my Firefox window the window seem to think it’s still maximized, even thou it just covers the portion of the screen that was equal to the DirextX app’s resolution.

To restore it to real full screen I need to pres the maximize button twice, first time makes the window a little bit smaller (just under the former app’s resolution) and the second click maximizes it back to the whole screen. Same goes for all windows that were maximized then DirectX application started.

I didn’t really knew how full screen under DirectX worked, but now when you explained it, it seems possible that the screen isn’t returning to the normal resolution at exit of the app and Alt-Tab. Or perhaps it just doesn’t return to normal resolution quick enough for open windows to resize or something.

By the way, there seamed to be one more thing speaking for your “screen not resizing back correctly on exit” theory. Just before I took the second screenshot I’ve run dxdiag test again but this time when test ended and returned from full screen Firefox window was just as wide as on next photo, but its height was all the way to the taskbar. Also the “Spel” icon in top right corner moved to the middle of the screen and could not be placed back.

I could move mouse no problem to the area outside this screen half covered by windows, but I couldn’t drag icons there or right-click, to get to screen properties.

All returned to normal when I changed resolution in screen properties to another one and then back to 1280x1024. Also this was the first and so far only time that happened. Other times I just get the resized windows, but desktop icons don’t change positions and I can get screen properties anywhere on the desktop.

Hope this helps somewhat.
Arek “Arken77” Lubniewicz
Attached Thumbnails
Full screen DirectX applications and games resize background windows-normal-screen.jpg   Full screen DirectX applications and games resize background windows-screen-after-direc3d-test.jpg  

Last edited by Arken77; 12-Mar-2008 at 05:16 PM.. Reason: Minor typos
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12-Mar-2008, 05:20 PM #8
A:
"Have you tried to roll back the drivers? "

Does the same phenomena occur when you run Internet Explorer in full screen mode, then switch to non full screen mode?

Does the same phenomena occur when you run Microsoft Word, or another word processor in full screen mode, then switch to non full screen mode?

Feel free to send us screen shots.
Save the screen shot as a .jpg.
Use the "go advanced" button, for your reply.
Go to the "manage attachments" section.

RF123
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12-Mar-2008, 05:25 PM #9
A:
Great minds think alike!


Try playing pinball, which is a game built into Windows, in full screen mode.
F4 for switching between full screen and non full screen modes.

RF123
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12-Mar-2008, 05:37 PM #10
I haven’t tried to roll back to older drivers, since I have no older drivers to roll back to. On both my laptop and gaming PC the problem was persistent with all drivers I’ve ever used before and also the gaming PC have just been reformatted and reinstalled due to the exchange of motherboard to another model.

I COULD try to dig up some really old nVidia drivers that perhaps would work with my NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GS and try them, but I don’t think that it would help, since older drivers I ran on this computer before I wiped it and reinstalled also showed the same behaviour.

As for other programs in full screen mode, the only one that seem to cause the problem are those that run in real full screen (that is, no taskbar visible, no alert windows from Messenger (for example) visible while running them. Also, the problem only appears when the full screen app changes resolutions. If a game for example runs at my native 1280x1024 no windows are resized and everything looks fine both when alt-tabing out and exiting the game.

I usually try to run all my games at 1280x1024, since it looks best on my LCD screen anyway, but some older game can’t be configured to run at that high resolution.

Also it seems to only affect DirecX full screen mode. When I run City of Heroes (which use OpenGL from what I know) in full screen on lower resolutions it didn’t do anything to my other windows.

I’ve just posted 2 screenshots in answer to fairnooks’ post. Hope they can help you all understand the nature of the problem.

I wonder also if anyone else is experiencing this? I mean it occurs on 2 of my 3 PCs, all on vastly different hardware, but same software (beside drivers). Statistically there should be more people with the same problem, wouldn’t you agree?
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12-Mar-2008, 05:44 PM #11
Just tried to play Pinball and as soon as I’ve entered full screen with F4 and then switched back the Firefox and word windows got resized, like with any other DirectX game so far running at resolution smaller then my desktops.

Again, hope it helps.

PS: also noticed a slight delay when switching back from full screen. Just a couple of seconds when the screen goes black before it switches back. It’s not a long delay by any means, but noticeable if you look for it.
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12-Mar-2008, 06:08 PM #12
Another observation: after switching back from a full screen game of app that causes the problem the resized windows ARE KIND OF maximized.

What I mean by kind of maximized is that the maximize button is in windows maximizes mode (as Iíve wrote in comments to the screenshots), the top corners of the windows arenít rounder as normal with not maximized windows under XP. Also I canít resize the windows by dragging their edges or corner as one normally could.

However the whole not resized windows can be moved freely on the now larger screen by dragging them by the title bar, as any other window. When I press unmaximize button (or whatever itís called in English windows, running Swedish Win XP here) the window returns to normal unmaximized state and can be both dragged, resized and maximized properly.

The windows unmaximizes size is however shrunk too fit whatever resolution the game run at. If I resize it by dragging a corner and then close and reopen it, it remembers the new size, at least until next full screen DirecX game is run with it in background.

All of this is more of an annoyance then a real crippling error. I mean I can just resize my windows after exiting games or not run any background windows when playing (even if itís a pretty cool thing to be able to consult an online guide when stuck in a game and I have memory enough for it (recently installed my 3d gigabyte ram)).

If I run DirectX game once and am able to switch it to 1280x1024 and remember this setting (most somewhat modern games) the game no longer causes this problem. There are however some older games I like to play that canít scale the graphics up that high and with them itís irritating every time I switch out of them or quit them.

I was almost prepared to think that this behavior was by design by Microsoft (I mean both my laptop and my gaming pc experience it with totally different graphic card and drivers), but since today Iíve discovered that my older (but also newly formatted and reinstalled) server PC donít have this problem I think there must be SOME solution or at least a logical cause for it.

And I would be really grateful to you guys if you would help me find it, since Iím fresh out of new ideas.

Now I really need to get some sleep (still havenít slept since yesterday noon and have to get up in about 7 hours). If you need any more information or screenshots of anything in particular, just ask.

Thanks for helping me
Arek ďArken77Ē Lubniewicz
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12-Mar-2008, 11:38 PM #13
First of all, hope you are sleeping now and not standing by for email notification that a response has posted. Everything I've read now sounds like normal behavior EXCEPT the windows do not return to previous resolution when the screen returns to previuos resolution. One of my questions was going to be what if you had the same resolution in the DirectX app as you normally did. No problem. Check.

I'm pretty sure you've determined the answer to non-DirectX screen change resoluions with open windows at desktop or nearly full screen size as well, and it doesn't seem to be the case that you have to run any of the DirectX apps in a compatibility mode other than for XP.

If so then I think you do have an elusive condition with the DirectX layer or something related which I assume has also been updated to the latest compatible version.

Like I said, I used to have this condition quite often where the original state would not be restored after exiting a game with a lower resolution change inbetween but it seems that for about the last couple of years or so the problem went away. I can still see the flash of the desktop screen with the game resolution as its changing back but everything seems to be restored properly.

Sorry we couldn't be of more help (thus far) but its kind of funny that you think things worked fine in the past and I only have the experience that the problem has been solved for the most part recently. I wonder if the European regulatory mandates that were imposed on Microsoft caused changes in the OS integrations to the extent that these perceptions are real or just localized anomolies in our (my) suspicious minds?

Well maybe an expert will catch the thread and know just what's going on, good luck.
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13-Mar-2008, 12:36 AM #14
f:
I don't understand.

I do not experience A's problem on my Vista PC, my Win XP PC [ each with XFX GeForce 8600 GTS cards ] or my Win 2000 Pro SP4 computer running a 32 MB Radeon 9250 AGP card, when I play Pinball.

I have DirectX 10 on the Vista PC, DX 9 on the XP computer, & DX 9 on my 2000 computer.

No problems after running dxdiag's 3 D cube tests, either.

A:
Let us try cleanboot / clean boot troubleshooting.

First, verify that the problem occurs, playing pinball, in normal mode, with full screen.

If that is the case, we have a standard.

Boot to safe mode by tapping the F8 key, once a second, during the boot process.
Use your up / down arrow keys to highlight / select safe mode.
Press "enter"
Log in.
Acknowledge that your computer is in safe mode.

Test, using Pinball. DirectX's 3 D test won't function in safe mode.

If the problem does not occur, continue as follows.

start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".
The system configuration utility will open.
If you are in selective startup, take note of the items which are checked or unchecked. Note specific names, because the order will change, after a reboot. Thus, don't document that the 1st 4, the 9th and 12th items are unchecked.

The following assumes your computer is in normal mode.

Left click the dot to the left of "diagnostic mode".
Left click "ok".
Left click "yes".

Reboot.

Test using Pinball or DirectX's 3D tool.

If the problem does not occur, continue as follows.

Reboot.


start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".

Left click on the "services" tab.
Left click "hide all Microsoft services".
Left click "disable all".
Left click the "startup" tab.
Left click the "disable all" button.
Left click "ok".
Left click "yes".

Reboot.

Test your system.

If the problem does not occur,


start > run
delete contents of long, skinny, white box
type: msconfig
Left click "ok".
In the system config utility
Check the "startup tab" to find out if a program has enabled itself.
If so, make a note & report that occurrance.

services tab
Hide all Microsoft services [ as above ]
Enable 1/2 of the items that are unchecked.
I suggest enabling items in groups, according to manufacturer.
It is MOST important that you keep careful notes.

Add items from the services tab, in groups, rebooting & testing after each addition of a group of startup items.

Reboot.

Test

Continue adding items from the services tab until all services have been added.

Then, add items from the "startup" tab, in groups, rebooting & testing after each addition of a group of startup items.

When the problem returns, go back 1 step, remove 1/2 of the items you just added, reboot, test. If the problem still occurs, remove some more of the items you had most recently added. Eventually, you will narrow it down.

Clean boot troubleshooting in tedious, laborious, and unexciting, but if performed methodically, it will yield good results.

RF123
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