13 Replies Latest reply on Dec 8, 2009 9:41 AM by SmallTown

    Flicker Problems



      Flicker Problems


      Using FMServer 9 Adv w/Windows 2003 SP2, WorkStations FMPro 9.0v3 w/Windows XP SP3 Monitors Dell 3008 30" NVIDIA Quadro NVS290 Video Card. Main layout covers the full monitor and has Three different tab control area's. The first tab control area has three tabs with one portal per tab and they expand the full length of the display. The second tab control area has three portals on the first tab and four portals on the second tab. The third tab control area has four tabs and one portal per tab. This file is used by four workstations 24/7. Any time data is changed or entered in one position the others update correctly in the portals but the view sometimes refreshes several times, or flickers. Original layout design was viewed at 150 zoom level. I redisigned the layout to be larger so the zoom level is at 100 and this cut down the refresh or flickering by 75%. The flicker is still there, any idea on how to reduce the flicker even more? My thought was just the portals would refresh but not the whole view.

        • 1. Re: Flicker Problems
             Make sure you are using the latest video drivers on each machine. That has helped some but not all who have encountered this problem.
          • 2. Re: Flicker Problems
               Try turning down the graphic card acceleration. Also dont forget to play with the stack order of the layout objects. ( sending to back, behind, etc. )
            • 3. Re: Flicker Problems

              I have tried all the settings on the video card, even did the newest driver and for some reason FM would not display

              the layout correctly, it just came up with a dark gray box that did not match any object on the layout. I guess using

              FM on the large displays will take some strategic redesign on the layouts. I did split up the layout into three different

              windows and this helped a lot but did not stop all of it. I will try some different ideas but the amount of data needed

              to be visible is the catch. Thanks for the help.

              • 4. Re: Flicker Problems
                   I have the same issue when I have lots of other programs running in the background. try just running filemaker and see what happens. I spoke to Filemaker about this and they confirmed it happens when system memory gets low.
                • 5. Re: Flicker Problems

                  I developed a CAD program for the Dispatch Center but they always have four to seven programs running at the same time. The memory is maxed on the workstations of 3GB. I viewed task manager and the memory total is 3405392 and available 2764652 and usages 1154580. Can We increase the amount of memory allotted for FM to help reduce the flicker? and if it is possible how do I do it?

                  • 6. Re: Flicker Problems
                    Steve Wright

                    Filemaker has suffered this problem for years on windows now starting from Version 7 (if I remember correctly) and getting worse in 9

                    Memory is definatly not the cause, I can replicate the issue with very low ram & cpu usage with no background applications running


                    Turning down hardware accelleration can help, if your graphics driver allows such options, which im betting the majority of aftermarket graphics cards do not these days or at least all the nvidia ones I have owned dont.


                    On Vista, setting 'Disable desktop composition' in compatibilty options helps a lot but I see you are not using Vista (and rightly so)


                    As mentioned above, you can also reduce the effect by strategically arranging layout elements not containing data (i.e portals etc) by ensuring they are sent to the back, then bring the portals and other data elements which are being calculated / evaluated to the front using the arrange tools. 


                    Making elements which do not need to evaluate anything draw a lot quicker since they become 'first in the que' for drawing so to speak, leaving just slow loading portals / data to draw last.


                    Altough it still doesnt get rid of the problem completely.  Im hoping that filemaker will finally resolve this for us windows users, there has been posts about these issues for years all over the internet


                    Its frustrating especially when deploying shrink wrapped solutions and having your customers think your solution is poor based on severe flickering issues when compared to competition.



                    • 7. Re: Flicker Problems
                         Thanks for the information. In further testing I found that stripping all tabs and removing most of the portals but three on the layout with no color just data that the flicker was still there. Reduced but still there. I tend to believe that it is something in FM and hopefully will be resolved in future releases.
                      • 8. Re: Flicker Problems
                        Steve Wright

                        "Can We increase the amount of memory allotted for FM to help reduce the flicker? and if it is possible how do I do it?"


                        you can increase the cache size by going to


                        Edit > Preferences > Memory


                        I didnt find any improvements in doing this myself...

                        • 9. Re: Flicker Problems
                          Steve Wright

                          Ive also noticed that flicker can occur in the following situation


                          Draw (using native filemaker tools) a rectangle

                          Add a field on top of the rectangle (fully enclosed so no overlapping edges)

                          Fill the field the same colour as the rectangle

                          Add a number of records

                          Ensure both of the elements are anchored top & left


                          Scroll through the records and the display is fine.


                          Now, set the anchors to either top & right, or just top, infact any other combination and scroll through the records

                          The field will flicker.


                          A lot of people claim its a double buffering issue, video card drivers, hardware accelleration, windows fault etc etc when the reality is, that its a poorly optimised additions they have added in, not to mention the half finished job of anchoring which doesnt let you anchor relative to other objects.


                          Also, a tab element, containing a few fields with data (one tab for example) will flicker and not refresh data at the same rate
                          as a rectangle, with the same data when scrolling rapidyly through the records


                          Since Tab Controls & Object Anchoring, The flicker is becoming unbearable and Im finding myself thinking of migrating to another platform so at least my solution can look a little more robust and not have to dumb down the interface and spend 1/2 my time working to fight flicker, rather than script's processes etc.

                          Sample File : filemaker_flicker_effect.fp7


                          • 10. Re: Flicker Problems
                               I am going to try and get my hands on a Mac and run the same program. If the flicker problems goes away I will try to purchase more macs. Not the best solution but having inhouse support out ways cost of new cad programs and the warranty support fees. :(  I was repairing a script the other day and each time I closed the script window FM flickered a complete refresh of the screen three times. I found that interesting as 3 seems to be a magic number, I had a dispatcher update a file and it refreshed the window three times on my work station.
                            • 11. Re: Flicker Problems

                              I borrowed a MAC Book over turkey day and ran the the CAD program I developed and it was perfect. It was sharp and very fast with no FLICKER at all. I compared several tests with two other stations on windows and 1 on the MAC. WOW what a difference running on the MAC. I need to check out a couple more programs and if we can run at least half the programs needed on the windows platform than it looks like purchasing Macs is cost affective!

                              • 12. Re: Flicker Problems

                                I do not know if this will really help you, but I swapped my video card from a NVIDA to a ATI radeon 3800. This eliminated the flicker problem and the screen refresh problem that I experienced.


                                The problem started when I upgraded the NVIDA video drivers, rolling back the driver did not stop the problem. So I swapped out the video cards.


                                You can try your application on a computer that has different video card. See if it helps



                                • 13. Re: Flicker Problems

                                  In the beginning I updated the drivers for the NVIDIA Quadro NVS290 Video Card. Flickering got a lot worse. I took your idea and purchased a new video card before I purchased a MAC. Difference is unbelievable!!!!! I purchased the Matrox P960 Plus LP PCIe X16 Video Card From CDWG# 1327517 and installed it yesterday. It made the FLICKER PROBLEM DISAPPEAR :)  I would not normally replace a video card as one of the positions had the same card NVIDIA and it did not have as bad of flicker as the other consoles did. But now the test position that has the Matrox P960 Plus LP PCIe X16 card in it has no problems at all. The only flicker is just the fields being updated ( which is normal ) and not a redraw of the entire FM window as before. The flicker from the field updates to me appears normal, so I don't think it is a FM Programming Issue. For now all my future PC's purchased will have a Matrox Video Card as we use FM on all the workstations. Thanks again for suggesting a different video card.