Posted by: Mr Lapin
Date: August 29, 2009 07:08AM
KM 1.5.2, Win98SE / Win98Lite Preview, Asus A7n8X, Athlon 2100XP, 512m ram. The following page fails to load completely :
Hello to all. I've only been using K-Meleon 1.5.3 for three days now and at least two web pages like that one have locked up my PC too, but I've traced the trigger and I've found a workaround to avoid a reboot.
My OS is a Win98/se hybrid (long story) and my video card is an ATI Rage 128, with DirextX 9.0b. My problem seems to be the same as Mr. Lapin's, at least in the way it was described. We seem to have Win98 in common, yet Siria doesn't suffer the same fate.
The manner in which KM locks up is deceptive, I originally thought that Ctrl-Alt-Delete was the only way out, but today I realized that wasn't necessary. What happens is, while a page is loading the whole display freezes up, Explorer itself seems unresponsive, but you can in fact continue to give keyboard and mouse input, you just can't see the results due to the frozen display. I had tried all manner of task switching and shutting down processes (I even made a shortcut to kill K-Meleon) but nothing brought the screen back to life except a double Ctrl-Alt-Delete to reboot.
When the display freezes the tray icons remain animated and responsive for a while (process explorer, modem), and when opening the start menu the icons will draw on the screen though nothing else is visible (no text or window components).
It occured to me to launch something like a fullscreen game that would change the video mode and resolution, to see if that would reset the display. I happened to have a shortcut sitting in my quick launch toolbar and sure enough it worked, the video mode changes reset my display to normal. After deliberately triggering the freeze again I also tried a simple screen resolution changing script and it worked too. So, for those who are plagued by this screen freezing problem, you need to have some easily accessible shortcuts like these that will make your display snap out of it. I would love to see Mr. Lapin try this.
What is triggering it? It turns out to be related to certain website icons and the IconCache.dat file.
Sites that will trigger the problem:
By a process of elimination I figured out that the IconCache.dat file is at the center of this. Apparently, when it comes time to load and/or cache the icon, the display freezes up.
As an aside, I'd like to note that option to disable the caching of icons, on the cache page in the KM preferences, does not work properly - even while disabled it still writes some site specific data to the IconCache.dat. I must also note that the display freezing problem occurs whether images are allowed to load or not, because the display of site icons is independent of such settings.
Frustratingly, before I found the trigger, at some point after locking up the display (after a reboot and restart of KM) the pages would load fine, as if a barrier had been broken down. I realize now that in those instances I managed to shut down KM before doing a hard reboot, which had the effect of writing the IconCache.dat, which meant that the next time the page was loaded it didn't freeze the display.
That is the thing, once the data is written in the IconCache.dat, a visit to the page will no longer freeze the display. But if you delete IconCache.dat you can retrigger the freeze (and if you create a dummy IconCache.dat file and make it read only you will always freeze the display).
If "cache website icons on disk" option is NOT enabled, the screen will freeze again when K-Meleon is restarted, but if it IS enabled the site will be safe, AFTER it triggers a freeze the first time.
Again, even if the "cache website icons on disk" option is turned off KM will still write to the file, which is definitely(?) a bug. And it's during the processing of these icons that the display becomes so fatally corrupted. I don't understand why it happens, but I think it's worthy to note that when my display became corrupted ICONS, and only icons, would still show up on screen (as in the only visible bits of the start menu, or the tray icons). And to be clear, by resetting the display through resolution changes the problem was cleared up and there seemed to be no lingering effects, meaning it's purely visual.
As for why certain pages (or site icons) cause freezing when most do not, I couldn't say. Comparing the two examples I have, along with a quick look at other sites, I don't see anything. Is it css or scripting? Is it file types? To guess wildly, perhaps the answer lies in the image files themselves, bad headers or odd construction that somehow throws off the KM routines, who knows. And why does this only affect certain people like myself? Is it some Win98 related incompatibility with rendering engine components? Is it just the k-meleonW9x executable?
I had tweaked the options in K-Meleon but I get the same results from a fresh instance extracted from the .7z archive and made to work in an isolated, independent folder (using the profile/profiles.ini method), with all options default. And to be clear, this is obviously the k-meleonW9x.exe I'm dealing with.
I hope I've been clear and have given enough info to help. I'd like to say that I first noticed page one of this thread only after writing this and just before posting it. I'm sorry if it's out of place or breaking protocol, I'm not familiar with things here and this is the only place I'll have posted this info, which I've felt compelled to research and report.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 10/26/2009 04:50AM by Doon.