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Old 09-22-2017, 11:19 PM   #1
phosphenes
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Applications open barely visible, restart required


Hi guys. I've recently switched from Windows 8.1 to Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon. In Windows, when I hadn't rebooted in a while, left and right click would switch, requiring me to restart to fix it. I figured when sometimes I opened an application (folder or program, afai have noticed) and I thought nothing happened, only to realize that it *did* in fact open, but so faint I can barely make it out, it'd be the Linux equivalent.
This also changes applications that had been open beforehand, so when I want to revisit my browser for example, it's just as invisible.

However, the frequency in which this occurs has increased. Eg. it happened last night, and this morning, less than 12h apart (during which I didn't do anything noteworthy).

I've searched for (solutions to) this problem before, and maybe it's in my wording, but I haven't found anything the like. Please help! I activated my firewall, but could this be something virus-like?


EDIT: system details

System: Host: xxx-Aspire-E5-571G Kernel: 4.8.0-53-generic x86_64 (64 bit gcc: 5.4.0)
Desktop: Cinnamon 3.4.6 (Gtk 3.18.9-1ubuntu3.3)
Distro: Linux Mint 18.2 Sonya
Machine: Mobo: Acer model: EA50_HB v: V1.04
Bios: Insyde v: V1.04 date: 05/06/2014
CPU: Dual core Intel Core i5-4210U (-HT-MCP-) cache: 3072 KB
flags: (lm nx sse sse2 sse3 sse4_1 sse4_2 ssse3 vmx) bmips: 9577
clock speeds: max: 2700 MHz 1: 2428 MHz 2: 2387 MHz 3: 2383 MHz
4: 2485 MHz
Graphics: Card-1: Intel Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller
bus-ID: 00:02.0
Card-2: NVIDIA GM108M [GeForce 840M] bus-ID: 03:00.0
Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) FAILED: nouveau
Resolution: 1366x768@60.00hz
GLX Renderer: Mesa DRI Intel Haswell Mobile
GLX Version: 3.0 Mesa 17.0.7 Direct Rendering: Yes
Audio: Card-1 Intel 8 Series HD Audio Controller
driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:1b.0
Card-2 Intel Haswell-ULT HD Audio Controller
driver: snd_hda_intel bus-ID: 00:03.0
Sound: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture v: k4.8.0-53-generic
Network: Card-1: Realtek RTL8111/8168/8411 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Controller
driver: r8169 v: 2.3LK-NAPI port: 4000 bus-ID: 01:00.1
IF: enp1s0f1 state: down mac: <filter>
Card-2: Qualcomm Atheros QCA9565 / AR9565 Wireless Network Adapter
driver: ath9k bus-ID: 02:00.0
IF: wlp2s0 state: up mac: <filter>
Drives: HDD Total Size: 1000.2GB (4.9% used)
ID-1: /dev/sda model: WDC_WD10JPVX size: 1000.2GB
Partition: ID-1: / size: 909G used: 38G (5%) fs: ext4 dev: /dev/sda2
ID-2: swap-1 size: 8.48GB used: 0.00GB (0%) fs: swap dev: /dev/sda3
RAID: No RAID devices: /proc/mdstat, md_mod kernel module present
Sensors: System Temperatures: cpu: 62.0C mobo: N/A
Fan Speeds (in rpm): cpu: N/A
Info: Processes: 248 Uptime: 2:21 Memory: 3174.3/7874.2MB
Init: systemd runlevel: 5 Gcc sys: 5.4.0
Client: Shell (bash 4.3.481) inxi: 2.2.35

edit 2: two exemplifying screenshots, i changed my wallpaper so you could get a better look. my browser is open but barely visible. the menu appears unchanged.
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Last edited by phosphenes; 09-26-2017 at 12:56 PM.
 
Old 09-23-2017, 05:51 PM   #2
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phosphenes View Post
In Windows, when I hadn't rebooted in a while, left and right click would switch, requiring me to restart to fix it. I figured when sometimes I opened an application (folder or program, afai have noticed) and I thought nothing happened, only to realize that it *did* in fact open, but so faint I can barely make it out, it'd be the Linux equivalent.
This also changes applications that had been open beforehand, so when I want to revisit my browser for example, it's just as invisible.
this is voodoo talk.
in gnu/linux, we like to deal with facts.
please define "barely visible".
maybe a screenshot?
is the system usable otherwise?
 
Old 09-23-2017, 09:03 PM   #3
IsaacKuo
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Sounds like a problem with 3d acceleration in the video driver. You could try turning off window compositing (I don't know where to change that in Cinnamon). Turning off window compositing will "fix" this bug, but you still won't have a fully functional video driver.

The fundamental problem is likely that the open source nouveau driver can't handle your NVIDIA chip properly, and your laptop has hybrid graphics which tends to be more complex to get fully functional.

The simpler strategy to getting everything working well is to deactivate the NVIDIA chip entirely - using only the (well supported) Intel graphics chip. Weird stuff may be happening because the hybrid graphics is trying to switch or something, and things go funny. See if there's a BIOS setting to deactivate the NVIDIA chip.

After you get that straightened out, you can see about getting hybrid graphics and the proprietary NVIDIA driver installed/working. I think that installing the proprietary driver in Mint is a simplified process where you just go to the GUI software update/installation thingy and tell it to install the proprietary/closed source drivers. Unfortunately, this may not make everything "just work" because hybrid graphics is more complex. And maybe it might even make things even more complicated.

So, my strategy to start with would be to try and reduce the variables and deactivate the NVIDIA chip in the BIOS. This will essentially eliminate hybrid graphics as well, reverting the system to a more traditional setup that Linux will easily be able to autoconfigure by itself.
 
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:07 AM   #4
phosphenes
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@IsaacKuo, ooooo you sound like you really know your shit! I've meanwhile gone into my driver manager, turns out there's an nvidia driver recommended, i switched to it and restarted (first screenshot). after that, i found an nvidia symbol to my lower right, upon clicking it i see that nvidia is now used in performance mode, intel in power saving mode (second screenshot). does that sound like a solution to you? i don't know why nvidia wasn't originally enabled, i certainly didn't mess with those settings when i first got linux.

@ondoho, should it happen again, i'll take a screenshot. by "barely visible" i mean they're so transparent that i can hardly distinguish them from my background.
is it usable otherwise? uh, i'm not sure how to answer that. at that point, i'm dealing with almost invisible programs. the commands i can graphically locate still have their intended effect, though. i always restart right away.
"voodoo talk" "we like to deal with facts" i appreciate your reply, but i'm not sure if you're here to help or feel superior. i've had linux for about a fortnight, idk why you're talking down to me.
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Old 09-24-2017, 03:44 AM   #5
ondoho
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well i'm guessing you're going down the right path with IsaacKuo's guess.
personally, i don't like to guess but rather get all facts on the table first...

to expand on this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by phosphenes View Post
"voodoo talk" "we like to deal with facts" i appreciate your reply, but i'm not sure if you're here to help or feel superior. i've had linux for about a fortnight, idk why you're talking down to me.
i'm not even sure what you were saying, but clearly you were trying to connect some misbehavior with your mouse with your display problems, because maybe they have the same root...
this is very common in the windows community, because the operating system is closed source, so people who want to fix things themselves are actually forced to this sort of guesswork most of the time.
But Linux is open source, and there's no need to mix facts with suspicion and "maybe it works if you reboot while standing on one leg".
 
Old 09-24-2017, 07:24 AM   #6
IsaacKuo
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I didn't just guess...I mean, it was a guess but it was an educated guess based on clues in this section:
Quote:
Graphics: Card-1: Intel Haswell-ULT Integrated Graphics Controller
bus-ID: 00:02.0
Card-2: NVIDIA GM108M [GeForce 840M] bus-ID: 03:00.0
Display Server: X.Org 1.18.4 drivers: intel (unloaded: fbdev,vesa) FAILED: nouveau
That, and someone else was having problems with hybrid graphics the other day (which I couldn't help much with, since I don't have any such laptop myself).

Sometimes, there's enough detail already described. Sometimes not.
 
Old 09-24-2017, 07:27 AM   #7
IsaacKuo
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phosphenes View Post
@IsaacKuo, ooooo you sound like you really know your shit! I've meanwhile gone into my driver manager, turns out there's an nvidia driver recommended, i switched to it and restarted (first screenshot). after that, i found an nvidia symbol to my lower right, upon clicking it i see that nvidia is now used in performance mode, intel in power saving mode (second screenshot). does that sound like a solution to you? i don't know why nvidia wasn't originally enabled, i certainly didn't mess with those settings when i first got linux.

@ondoho, should it happen again, i'll take a screenshot. by "barely visible" i mean they're so transparent that i can hardly distinguish them from my background.
is it usable otherwise? uh, i'm not sure how to answer that. at that point, i'm dealing with almost invisible programs. the commands i can graphically locate still have their intended effect, though. i always restart right away.
"voodoo talk" "we like to deal with facts" i appreciate your reply, but i'm not sure if you're here to help or feel superior. i've had linux for about a fortnight, idk why you're talking down to me.
From what LITTLE I know about hybrid graphics, this looks good to me. I mean, it looks great. But I don't have any hybrid graphics laptop, I don't use Cinnamon, I don't use Mint (I use Debian), and I don't have any vaguely modern nVidia chips so I don't use the nVidia proprietary drivers (I use noveau, which actually works better on very old nVidia chips).

So you know, considering how I have no direct experience with most of how your system is set up, yeah it looks great to me! Take that for whatever it's worth...
 
Old 09-25-2017, 01:02 AM   #8
phosphenes
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YOU GUYS, IT HAPPENED AGAIN. I have screenshots. you can see the original program opened, the "do i want to save the screenshot?", the browser open, the "do i want to quit" menu open. i wanted to give you different perspectives. the "menu" menu still worked, i thought i took a screenshot of that too, but apparently it didn't work. when i restarted, my wallpaper was switched to the default one.

as you can see, the nvidia settings remained the same.

edit: censored bc idk if i'm allowed to post nudity (and i don't want distracting controversy), but i made sure the windows were still "visible" despite (i dragged the original program over to the side so you could "see" more).

edit 2: i don't know if that's important, but i have three workspaces occupied. my browser always swims in open tabs (there are 19 open ones on WS1, 16 on WS2, 5 on WS3). opera never crashed on me though. that's probably more "voodoo talk," though.
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Last edited by phosphenes; 09-25-2017 at 01:24 AM.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 01:06 AM   #9
phosphenes
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here's the one of what i saw when it rebooted.
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Old 09-25-2017, 01:44 AM   #10
ondoho
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i see nothing "barely visible" on any of the screenshots.
the only extraordinary things i see: the pink square (but i think that's there to "cover nudity"?), and the fact that the first 5 screenshots are pinkish, and the last one gray.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 01:57 AM   #11
phosphenes
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that's the thing, everything i mentioned is there, opened, but you can't see it unless you really squint. look at the left pink side, you can kinda see it there.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 01:58 AM   #12
phosphenes
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do you understand my problem now? when i open an application, it looks like on the screenshots.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 01:59 AM   #13
ondoho
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oh yes.
but why pink and not grey?

anyhow, somwething to do with compositing. try to disable it.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 02:27 AM   #14
phosphenes
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happy to be on the same page now.

why pink? lol because i made it pink. personal preference. (oh wait, you mean the censorship? sorry about the confusion, i consider that purple. it was the site's default, i didn't think much of it)

disabling compositing; most of the links i found date considerably back (think years), i've found a couple people saying that cinnamon is designed to always be composited, as a core feature. blurgh. if i switched to xfce or the like, would that fix it (or could i fix it)? what about if i switched to a different OS? (i've been thinking about trying out peach.)

i also found this: "Muffin is a window manager performing compositing as well based on GTK+ and Clutter and used in Cinnamon desktop environment."
if i uninstall, is that enough? here's a newbie question; is muffin the *only* application that causes compositing?
here's another screenshot, of what happens when i want to mark it for complete removal. cinnamon needs to be removed, too

basically, what the hell do i do?
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Last edited by phosphenes; 09-25-2017 at 02:40 AM.
 
Old 09-25-2017, 03:19 AM   #15
IsaacKuo
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Try switching to "Intel (Power Saving Mode)". That way, you'll be using the (well supported) Intel graphics chip instead of the nVidia graphics chip. It might help if there is a BIOS setting to disable the nVidia graphics chip entirely.

Don't uninstall the window manager. Without the window manager, there will be nothing to manage the windows. You can actually run just a window manager without a full desktop environment, but you can't run a desktop environment without a window manager.

Installing another desktop environment and/or window manager will give you more choices in case things don't work well with cinnamon. You can have many different desktop environments installed at the same time; the graphical login manager will give you a way to change what DE/WM you use when you log in. Historically, Ubuntu and Ubuntu based linux distributions have not made this obvious (Mint is Ubuntu based). Unlike Debian, which has always supported multiple desktop environments/window managers in a straightforward obvious way.
 
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