In this case, a Softimage user reported that on a machine where Softimage had worked on consistently for years, XSI.exe was now crashing at startup with the “Failed to save scene before system failure” error. He’d done all the troubleshooting steps, but still hadn’t found a solution.
It’s hard to resist a challenge like that, so I got my hands on the Process Monitor log, and it turned out to be a bit of an easy case. I went through the Process activity, and just before the crash (you can tell the crash point by where XSI.exe does a ProcessCreate on senddmp.exe), I took a look at the DLLs loaded by XSI.exe. Usually you’re looking for something that doesn’t belong, and when I saw Microsoft, Autodesk, Flexera, Apple, Apache, and…Sendori??? I thought I might have something.
The Google results for Sendori were a bit sketchy (a DNS redirector, yikes), so we removed it, and that fixed the startup crash.
Here’s something I noticed when I started up Softimage 2014 SP2 for the very first time. It spent about 26 seconds writing some cachedat and cachehdr files in my User folder:
During subsequent startups, Softimage just reads in the cachedat, which takes a lot less time (eg < 0.005 seconds).
I looked back at my previous versions of Softimage, and it seems these cache files were new in 2014. There's actually two cachedat files, each with an associated cachehdr header. You'll find them in your %XSI_USERHOME%\Cache folder:
One cache is read at startup. The other is updated when you first drag an ICE node into an ICE tree (and then if you start a new XSI.exe session and drag the same node into an ICE tree, Softimage will read from the cache). Running strings on these cache files showed lots of ICE node/compound names, so they seem to be strictly for some sort of ICE-node caching (eg ports, layouts, logic, …).
The other day, I noticed that the Maya Help was using Chrome instead of my default browser (currently IE). I didn’t see anything in the docs about specifying a specific browser, so I figured it must be something about my system.
So, like I often do, I fired up Process Monitor to see if I could figure out why. And it was pretty simple.
I found that
was set to
even though my default browser was IE.
So I changed it back to htmlfile, and voila, Maya 2012 opened the online help in IE again. There are other, similar keys, but I didn’t touch them:
Here’s a video walk through that shows how Process Monitor can be used to diagnose and troubleshoot this kind of problem.
In this video, I take a look at what to look for in a Process Monitor log from a satellite rendering computer. If you don’t see what I’m showing, then the master is not connecting to the satellite.
To use Process Monitor to confirm whether the master connects to the satellite:
- On the satellite machine, download Process Monitor.
- Extract Process Monitor from the downloaded file, and start procmon.exe.
- On the master machine, start Softimage. The master connects to the satellite at startup.
- After Softimage starts up on the master machine, go back to the satellite machine and stop capturing events in Process Monitor.
- Review the Process Monitor log (see the video for more info).