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When running The Magnifier... system hangs system slows down
...I see strange images sometimes

The Magnifier relies heavily on the video sub-system, and underlying capabilities of the Windows Operating System. The Magnifier has been shipping since 1997, is on countless thousands of systems, and it is highly unlikely problems such as these are related to The Magnifier software. This is one of the reasons we always recommend that interested parties download and work with the software before committing to the purchase. If the particular system you want to use does not perform properly with The Magnifier running, there is little we can do to fix a hardware or hardware driver issue. The following information may be helpful to you in resolving the issue, or may explain in sufficient detail why you are experiencing an issue with our software that is, in fact, not an issue with The Magnifier software - it is only a symptom, not the cause.

The following outlines the steps you should address to make sure your system is up-to-date, and give it the best chance to run The Magnifier (and potentially remove any problem you are experiencing).
  1. Make sure you have the best video driver for your system
  2. Run at a lower color depth (16-bit color is sufficient)
  3. Make sure Windows is up-to-date
  4. Reduce (or eliminate) other software running that may sap system performance
  1. The reality of video drivers (the untold story) A modern day computer system is an amazing piece of technology - the industry is constantly moving forward providing more features, faster operation, and additional capabilities. Some people may be old enough to remember monochrome screens, and the video capabilities of the hardware (and the supporting software that connects a particular manufacturers video adapter card to the operating system) are in constant flux. One real issue with new features on a video card is that the software guys can't develop/integrate new features until they actually have a physical piece of hardware to work with. So what comes first? The hardware. (Important point #1 - the hardware is available before the optimally tuned supporting software (I.e. hardware driver software) is available). Now look at a manufacturing plant making video cards/adapters. When it comes time to make the new one, do they also continue to make the older ones? No - there typically is not enough capacity, so when the new cards start being manufactured, the old ones have reached the end of their life. Therefore, when the older adapter inventory runs out, the only thing left are the new ones. So now move on down the road to the computer manufacturer, who gets the video adapters, and builds them into their new computer systems. When the video factory stops delivering old ones, and starts delivering new ones, they don't stop what they are doing, they keep building computers, and they keep delivering computers. So what happens all too often is new video hardware is matched with older video driver software. In many cases, new improvements are a superset of the existing capabilities, so the older software may work just fine - just maybe not as fast, etc. But this may very well describe the computer you are using - a newer video adapter with an older video driver. (Important point #2 - many systems (yes, even brand new systems) are not using the best/optimal video driver software) Since it works for many situations, you may think everything is fine. So when you run The Magnifier, which relies heavily on the underlying video system (hardware AND software), and may push things to the limit in terms of speed and memory usage, problems may result only when running The Magnifier. The solution is to update your video driver (or at least verify it is the correct match for your video hardware). (Important point #3 - brand new systems are at a great disadvantage to have the manufacturers correct video driver software - due to the inability to test/debug/verify operation on a specific set of hardware as quickly as that hardware ships. Also, since the vast majority of users do not realize this (plus it is not in the best interest of the manufacturers to let on that you aren't getting the best system possible), along with the fact that optimized software lags shipping hardware, it is often the case that the video driver sofware is NOT the best match for the actual video hardware.) Therefore, if you experience any problem in your system with software, it is always a good idea to verify you are using the most up-to-date video driver for your system.
    You can update the driver in various ways
    1) Use Control Panel | Display | Settings | Advanced | Adapter | Driver | Properties | Update Driver? (or something similar based on your version of Windows)
    2) Check with your computer manufacturer's website, and follow any instructions or review any available downloads
    3) Identify the actual manufacturer of the video adapter (either through Windows or from your computer manufacturer), and then go direct to the video adapter manufacturer's website for further information. It is difficult to know if option 2 or 3 is better (much depends on the computer manufacturer and their level of customer support), but typically option 3 is recommended.
  2. Resolutions and Memory usage The larger the color depth (i.e. 16-bit or 24-bit or 32-bit), the more memory it takes to fill the display. Also, due to the 2 dimensions of height/width, each increase in color depth geometrically expands the amount of video memory required. Once you get to 16-bit color, the average person cannot distinguish color differences in sufficient detail for it to matter. So on systems where video memory is limited (i.e. most systems), selecting a lower color depth may make all the difference. You can go into Windows Control Panel | Display | Settings and try different resolutions or color depths (e.g. 16-bit color vs. 24-bit color, etc.) and you may find a setting that improves performance, or eliminates any problem you are experiencing. For virtualized systems, checking video settings, 2D or 3D acceleration, or adding memory to the Virtual Machine (VM) settings may help with video performance. Note for VMs you now may need to optimize the host hardware/supporting system AND the VM system for best results. On desktop systems, you can buy a more powerful video adapter with more memory that can make video updates invisible to the human eye. On older systems, laptops, or systems with stock video cards, the video display may not be able to perform at a satisfactory level, especially when operating a video-intensive application like The Magnifier. As a software program, we have no real control over the physical hardware you have - it can only perform as well as the operating system and hardware allow it to.
  3. Windows and Updates Windows continually gets updated, and when things finally work correctly, they rewrite everything again, so people keep buying Windows. This approach works great for certain things, but what it means in reality is that there may be issues that have nothing to do with The Magnifier, and only by getting the latest & greatest version (with bug fixes and fixed problems), can you be sure that you have the best system for running The Magnifier trouble-free. There are different settings available for Windows Updates, and you can refer to Control Panel for the specifics available for your version of Windows.
  4. Other programs and system resources The Magnifier constantly refreshes the magnified image, and this constant updating means it uses system resources unlike other types of programs. Because of this, if you already have limited resources, or are running many programs all at once, system resources may be in high-demand. Often this is not the case, but if you are experiencing slow downs or problems, it may be helpful to review the Task Manager (right-click on a blank area of the Task Bar, and select Task Manager... to open the Task manager, and review the tabs available to see programs running, what is using CPU time/system memory/resources. This may be helpful to you (or a system administrator) to identify what is using resources in the system. If possible, close or make sure other programs aren't automatically run, to make more resources available to The Magnifier.
Category: UsingType: Information Product: The MagnifierVersion: 1.50


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