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Fixing Frozen Viewports on Dell Laptops
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Frozen Viewports in Rhino after latest Windows Update/Refresh

(February 2018)

The Problem:

A recent problem has come to our attention regarding Rhino and certain laptops (as of this writing it’s currently only the Inspiron 15” 7000 series using an NVIDIA GeForce 940MX graphics card and a Lenovo laptop with a GeForce 1060). The commonality so far is that laptops with dual graphics cards are the ones being affected.  It seems that out of the box the laptops and Rhino work just fine, but after the laptop is updated with the latest Windows Update, Rhino’s viewports will have become unresponsive and appear to be “frozen.”  You can run commands, but there is no feedback drawn. You can try rotating the view(s), but nothing updates. Only forcing Rhino to draw its viewports by either resizing the window or clicking on the viewport titles, will reveal that drawing was actually occurring, it just wasn’t updating in real-time.

The Cause:

After extensive research, we have determined that this is not a problem with Rhino at all, but rather something with the way the laptop’s pre-install has configured the dual video cards (GPUs) on the system, and that this configuration is somehow causing major conflicts with the two video drivers within the latest Windows Update … We have confirmed this with other OpenGL based applications, as well as in-house test applications we used to reproduce the problem. No amount of driver updating or installation will solve or eliminate the issue.  We have been able to come up with a “workaround” to fix the problem in Rhino, but that fix will only work for Rhino V6, and it won’t address the real underlying issue, nor will it fix the problem for other applications on the system.

That being said, we have come up with a series of steps, which can be carried out by users, that completely fixes the underlying problem across the entire system for all applications and not just Rhino.  This document tries to outline those steps in detail below…

The Fix:

As mentioned, simply trying to update the drivers to their latest version doesn’t remove the underlying problem, which means the problem will continue to exist regardless of which driver is installed. Uninstalling the drivers using the standard “uninstall” mechanism in Windows also will not fix the problem. We have found that the only way to completely remove the problem and have both video cards up and correctly running is by following a very specific process.

A brief explanation of the process will hopefully make things clearer as you go through each step… Basically, both of the video drivers (one for each GPU) need to be completely wiped off the system, and it needs to be done in a way that will prevent Windows’ or any other kind of automatic update system from trying to re-install or update the drivers again once they’ve been deleted. If either of those two things occurs during the process, the problem will remain. The connection to the Internet must be severed (temporarily) at the proper time to prevent auto-updates from happening.  Here are the steps in their simplest form:

  1. Download the latest NVIDIA video drivers
  2. Disconnect the laptop from the Internet (both Wired and Wireless connections).
  3. Completely uninstall and delete both of the video drivers
  4. Reboot the computer (making absolutely sure you’re still NOT connected to the Internet).
  5. Install the NVIDIA video drivers you downloaded in step 1
  6. Reconnect to the Internet
  7. Force Windows to install/update the drivers for the Intel GPU
  8. Reboot
  9. Problem solved!

The most critical parts of the whole process are steps #2 and #3… You must make sure the laptop is not connected to the Internet in any way, and you must make sure that the drivers are completely removed off the system (note: Uninstalling drivers doesn’t necessarily delete them, Windows keeps them around for future device discoveries)…  Please follow the procedure exactly as shown in the next section…

The Process:

  1. Download the latest version of NVIDIA’s video drivers for your video card

Go to: https://www.geforce.com/drivers

NVidiaDriverDL.png

 In the “Manual Driver Search” section, fill out all of the fields appropriately. As of this writing, the only laptop we’ve been diagnosing this problem on is one that has a “GeForce 940MX”, so that’s what you’ll see in the pic above. But, if that’s not the card you have, then make sure you choose the correct settings before moving on to the next step… Once you’ve filled out all of the fields (#1), click the “Start Search” button (#2)… see pic:`

Note: Please select the notebook version for your specific card…it will say “Notebook” and name will be followed by the letter “M”…i.e.GeForce 940 Mx.

NVidiaDriverDL2.png

After clicking the “Start Search” button, you should see results appear just below and labeled “Results”... see pic:

Just select the latest, up to date “WHQL” driver version. They’ve been blurred out in the image above so as not to confuse you with any specific version…just click the latest version…which is most likely the one at the very top of the list.

NVidiaDriverDL3.png

Once you select the latest driver, another screen will appear, which will be NVIDIA’s End User License Agreement… Just click the “AGREE & DOWNLOAD” button… see pic:

FileSaveAs.png

Clicking the download button will hopefully bring up a “Save As” dialog box, prompting you for where you want to save the downloaded file. We highly recommend you save the file to your Desktop (see pic), as it will be much more convenient in later steps…. and after the entire process is over, you’ll be deleting this file anyways, so don’t worry about taking up disk space…

If you are not prompted to select a location, please (and this cannot be stressed enough), please take note as to where the download is/was saved… You will be rebooting the computer before having to install these drivers, so you will need to know and remember exactly where you saved them so that you can find them later on in the process. Once the file has completed downloading, go on to the next step…

  1. Disconnect the laptop from the Internet, both wired and wireless connections.

For a wired connection, this is easy…simply unplug all network cables attached to your laptop.  

For wireless connections, it’s a bit more involved…

DisableWireless.png

In the Windows “Task tray” at the lower right corner (usually), you will see a “Wireless Network” icon …  Left-click the network icon to bring up the Wireless connections menu… see pic:

Note: Only do this if your Wi-Fi adapter is currently enabled…

Once the Wireless menu is up, left-click the square “Wi-Fi” panel to disable it (see #2 in the pic above)… That will completely turn off the wireless feature on the laptop.

Note: Do not simply click the “Disconnect” button; all that will do is cause Windows to connect to another possible wireless network, and is also just a temporary disconnect as Windows will automatically connect again once you reboot…so you need to completely disable the wireless device.

DisableWireless2.png

Once disabled, the menu will change to something like the pic above…

Make sure that “Manually” is selected for when to turn Wi-Fi back on, and also make sure that things are indeed disabled; the network icon in the Task Tray will change to something like in the pic above.

  1. Completely remove and delete both video drivers from the computer.

This is more involved than just simply uninstalling the drivers, and requires the use of the Windows “Device Manager” (DM). The first thing you need to do is to start up the Device Manager…

DM-access.png

Start the DM by “Right-clicking” the Windows taskbar icon in the lower left corner of the screen (#1) and then select “Device Manager” from the popup menu (#2)… see pic:

DM.png

Once the Device Manager is up and running, expand the “Display adapters” section to reveal the two video card devices… see pic:

This is where you will be removing all drivers for both devices… Start with the Intel Graphics GPU…

UninstallDriver.png

Right-click the “Intel UHD Graphics” device to bring up the context popup menu for that device, and then select “Uninstall device”… see pic:

That will bring up the “Uninstall device” dialog box…

UninstallDriverOptions.png

This next step is very important…please make sure that “Delete the driver software for this device” is CHECKed (#1) (Note: it’s not checked by default, so you will have to manually check it)…then click the “Uninstall” button (#2)… see pic:

At this point Windows will start removing, uninstalling, and deleting all files associated with the Intel GPU… Your screen may go black or flicker and may even beep a few times; it may even remain black for long periods of time…do not panic, this is perfectly normal…just wait it out…it can take up to 5 minutes depending on your system (maybe even longer)… Just wait until your screen comes back and you’re looking at the Device Manager window again.

Note: DO NOT REBOOT YOUR COMPUTER at this time. Windows might prompt you telling you that a reboot is needed to complete the driver uninstall…do not let Windows reboot at this time (i.e. select NO if/when prompted)…you will be rebooting later, after uninstalling the other graphics device…see below…

UninstallNvDrivers.png

Once the Intel device is removed, you need to do the same thing again for the NVIDIA device… Right-click the NVIDIA device, select “Uninstall device”, make sure “Delete the driver software for this device” is CHECKed, and then click the “Uninstall” button…see pic:

Again, just wait for Windows to do its thing and return to the Device Manager… We have noticed at this point that the NVIDIA drivers seem to uninstall faster than the Intel, but experiences may vary…and again, do not panic if you see prolonged periods of black screens or flickering screens, everything should eventually return to “normal” after a short time.

  1. Reboot the computer.

Before going on, please make sure that your computer is still not connected to the Internet and that your wireless network has been disabled…and then go ahead and follow the next step.  Also, before rebooting, make sure you’re not running any other programs or have any kind of unsaved data lying around…otherwise, it may interfere with the restart process.

After everything seems to have settled down, the next step is to reboot your computer… If at this time Windows prompts you to reboot the computer, then it is safe to go ahead and do so (i.e. Select “Yes”).

Note: This is not a “soft reboot” or “sleeping” the computer… You must perform a hard reboot of the system…If Windows did not prompt you to reboot, then you will need to do it manually…It’s basically a simple 1, 2, 3 step process…see pic:

  1. Left-click the Windows icon
  2. Left-click the “Power” icon
  3. Left-click the “Restart” menu item.

…your system should begin rebooting…

5) Install the latest NVIDIA video drivers.

After your system finishes rebooting you need to then install the latest NVIDIA video drivers… Since your computer should NOT be connected to the Internet at this point, you cannot go out to the Internet to get them…which is why you were instructed to download them earlier in the very first step in this process. If you saved them to your desktop, then you should have something like the following icon on your desktop:

SaveToDesktop.png

If you were unable to specify where to save the downloaded drivers, then hopefully you wrote down or took note as to where you did save them.  Once you’ve located the drivers installer (either on your desktop or elsewhere), double-click the installer to launch it.

Windows will first interrupt the process asking for Administrative privilege…just allow it and continue…

NvDriversInstall1.png

The installer will prompt you for where you want to unpack all of the installer files needed to install the drivers…Just accept the default and click the “Ok” button…(see pic):

NvDriversInstall2.png

The installer will start unpacking all of the files, and may take some time to complete…just give it time and watch the progress…

Note: The driver version used in the images is irrelevant, so do not be concerned if you’re using a different or newer version…

NvDriversInstall3.png

Once everything has successfully unpacked, the NVIDIA installer will startup, and the first thing it does is check your system for compatibility…Just let it do its thing and complete.

NvDriversInstall4.png

After a moment, you’ll be presented with NVIDIA’s “End User License Agreement” … just click “AGREE AND CONTINUE”… see pic:

NvDriversInstall5.png

The next screen will just ask what level of install you want…just accept the default “Express” option and click “Next”…

The drivers will now start to install…this can take some time as well…and again, you may see flickering or black screens appear…just wait for it to complete.

NvDriversInstall6.png


After the drivers finish installing the last screen has a couple of check boxes that we just recommend UNCHECKing …they’re not necessary… then click the “Close” button…

At this point the NVIDIA video drivers are installed and your NVIDIA graphics card will be 100% functional… But please do NOT try to run anything at this point…please continue to the next step.

6) Reconnect to the Internet.

It is now time to re-enable your network(s) and reconnect to the Internet…If you had removed/unplugged any network cables, plug them back in now. If you disabled your Wi-Fi, please re-enable it now…You do so the same exact way you disabled it… Left-click the network icon in the Task Tray, then click the “Wi-Fi” square…Windows should then enable your Wi-Fi and then automatically connect to the network you were connected to before.  Whatever steps are necessary for you to get back onto the Internet, just take them and make sure that you do have a valid network connection before continuing on to the next step.

7) Force Windows to install the drivers for the Intel Graphics device.

Since you should be connected back to the Internet at this point, you can force Windows to get and install the latest drivers for you, rather than try to download them manually. This requires the use of the Device Manager again, so bring up the Device Manager and expand the “Display adapters” section like you did in Step #3… here are the pics again for a quick reminder…

DM-access.png

AfterReboot.png

Things should look pretty much the same as they did before…

However, you may see “Intel UHD Graphics” device or something like “Microsoft Basic Display Adapter” … Whichever one it is isn’t important, you just need to make sure you select that device in the next step and not the NVIDIA device.

UpdateIntelDrivers1.png

Right-click on the non-NVIDIA device (i.e “Basic Display Adapter”), to bring up the device popup menu as you did before… Only this time you’re going to select the “Update driver” option…

UpdateIntelDrivers2.png

Selecting “Update driver” will then cause Windows to prompt you for “where” it should look for the updated drivers… Select the “Search automatically for updated driver software” option… see pic:

UpdateIntelDrivers3.png

Windows will then start searching for the latest Intel drivers…and it should find them online somewhere…

UpdateIntelDrivers4.png

Once Windows finds the appropriate drivers, it will automatically start to download them….

UpdateIntelDrivers5.png

…and then Windows will start to automatically install them…

Once again, you will begin to experience flickering screens, solid black screens, beeping, followed by prolonged sessions of what feels like nothing is happening. We have found that this part of the process seems to take the longest out of all of the steps…but again, do not panic….please be patient and just let Windows do its thing and your system will eventually return to you…

UpdateIntelDrivers6.png

When everything has successfully completed, just go ahead and click the “Close” button.

8) Reboot your computer.

At this point everything should be good to go… we highly recommend that you reboot your computer, no matter what Windows thinks or says.

After having rebooted, both of the graphics devices should be 100% fully operational, using their latest drivers and all Rhino versions should now be working as expected, as well as any other applications that were experiencing similar problems.

Note: You can now safely remove/delete the NVIDIA drivers file you downloaded  and saved in the very first step…you will no longer need it.