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Old 10-05-2012, 06:58 PM   #1
HippoMan
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10.8.2 and screen saver failures

I recently upgraded my MacBook Pro to 10.8.2, after which screen savers stopped functioning correctly. From 10.4.x all the way to 10.8.1, screen savers have always worked perfectly for me. This problem has only started with the 10.8.2 upgrade.

Now, screen savers never pop up automatically, even when my machine has been idle for extremely long periods of time and I have set the time-out to low values, such as 1 or 2 minutes.

However, screen savers still pop up properly if I set them to be invoked via Hot Corners. This implies that the problem is not due to any incompatibilities with the screen savers, themselves; rather, it's likely to be a problem with the method that the OS uses to decide when the system is idle.

I haven't found anything on line about this, so I'm not sure if it's a general 10.8.2 problem, or whether it's something that might be specific to my system setup.

I have checked the Console, and there are no messages at all that seem to pertain to this.

Does anyone know how I might fix this problem? Or if not, could you suggest a plan for diagnosing what is wrong?

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
.
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Last edited by HippoMan; 10-05-2012 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 10-05-2012, 11:24 PM   #2
hayne
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Looking at the occurrences of HIDIdleTime in the output from:
ioreg -c IOHIDSystem
might be a starting point for diagnosis.

Note that often it is malfunctioning/misconfigured external peripherals (even a mouse) that are keeping the system from being idle.

See also the command-line utilities:
caffeinate
pmset
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Old 10-06-2012, 02:29 AM   #3
Fester1952
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Exactly same issue here. All was OK until the 10.8.2 update, now screensaver will not automatically start. I have tried several suggestions from people with the same issue on other forums but without success.
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Old 10-06-2012, 06:51 AM   #4
HippoMan
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Thank you very much for these tips!

I have checked them out, and now I have the following questions:

(1) When using ioreg -c IOHIDSystem are the HIDIdleTime values in microseconds? If so, they look reasonable.

(2) The pmset command seems to relate to power management, not anything that would affect the screen saver. Is that a correct assumption, or am I misunderstanding something?

(3) The pmset and caffeinate commands both refer to something called "display sleep". Is it "display sleep" which is supposed to trigger the starting of the screen saver, or does "display sleep" simply cause the screen to blank out?

(4) If "display sleep" indeed is supposed to trigger the screen saver, is there an option for caffeinate or another utility that does the equivalent of "decaffeinate"? i.e., something which would trigger a display sleep or the screen saver immediately? I'd like to do that to see if the screen saver kicks in.

Thanks.
.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:42 AM   #5
HippoMan
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Well, I think I fixed the problem, but I don't know why, exactly. I was playing with the pmset settings, and finally, the screen saver seems to be kicking in again.

I'm sure that the original problem is related to the 10.8.1 => 10.8.2 upgrade, because the screen saver stopped automatically appearing right after that upgrade.

Also, I've had the same hardware (a USB mouse and a network cable) plugged into my computer both before and after the upgrade.

Futhermore, I tried disconnecting the mouse and network cable before playing with pmset, and the screen saver still didn't automatically kick in. Only after fooling around with pmset did the screensaver start working again.

I forgot to note the original pmset settings, but below are the current values, in the case where everything works. However, I'm almost positive that these were also the original settings. I'm guessing that changing, setting, and resetting these pmset settings cleared some state that was changed during the 10.8.1 => 10.8.2 upgrade, and which was preventing the screen saver from automatically starting.

In any case, all's well that ends well, and thank you very much for your help.

Code:
% pmset -g               
Active Profiles:
Battery Power		-1
AC Power		-1*
Currently in use:
 womp                 0
 halfdim              0
 sms                  1
 hibernatefile        /var/vm/sleepimage
 gpuswitch            2
 networkoversleep     0
 disksleep            0
 sleep                0
 hibernatemode        3
 ttyskeepawake        1
 displaysleep         0
 acwake               0
 lidwake              1
.
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This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
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Last edited by HippoMan; 10-06-2012 at 08:54 AM.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:44 AM   #6
HippoMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HippoMan
(3) The pmset and caffeinate commands both refer to something called "display sleep". Is it "display sleep" which is supposed to trigger the starting of the screen saver, or does "display sleep" simply cause the screen to blank out?

To answer my own question: during my hacking around, I discovered that "display sleep" doesn't trigger the screen saver. It only causes the screen to go blank.
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:34 AM   #7
HippoMan
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Problem came back.

Well, I spoke too soon.

The screensaver was working fine, and I later spent several hours working on my computer without it ever becoming idle. After that, I walked away from my computer, and when I returned a little bit later, I saw that the screensaver was no longer automatically activating when the computer is idle.

I did a "safe boot" and an "SMC reset", and this fixed the problem. Then, after another several-hour computer usage session when the computer was never idle, the same problem came back after the computer finally went idle again.

After more investigation, I realized ...

(1) ... both "display sleep" and screensaver invocation are not being honored. Therefore, I believe that this has something to do with the way that 10.8.2 handles the setting and recognition of the "idle" state.

(2) ... that there are a few other complaints on line about "display sleep" problems in 10.8.2.

I will now try to get the screensaver and "display sleep" recognition to work again. Perhaps a "safe boot" and another "SMC reset" will once again temporarily fix the problem. After that, I'll try to figure out what software or usage scenarios might cause this problem to recur.

To be clear, there is nothing -- and I mean nothing! -- different about my software, hardware, or computer usage patterns between 10.8.1 and 10.8.2. The only difference is the OS version. Furthermore, this problem started immediately after the 10.8.1 => 10.8.2 upgrade.

I will post a bug report about this with Apple, once I have a better handle on what factors might cause -- or at least contribute to -- this problem in 10.8.2.
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
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Last edited by HippoMan; 10-07-2012 at 10:40 AM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:55 AM   #8
HippoMan
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Note the following items in red. Do any of you know what could be causing PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep to be set?

Code:
% pmset -g assertions    
10/7/12 11:51:47 AM EDT  
Assertion status system-wide:
   PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep    1
   CPUBoundAssertion              0
   PreventSystemSleep             0
   PreventUserIdleSystemSleep     0
   ExternalMedia                  0
   UserIsActive                   0
   ApplePushServiceTask           0
   BackgroundTask                 1

Listed by owning process:
  pid 18(powerd): [0x00000005000001d7] 11:24:18 PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep named: "com.apple.powermanagement.delayDisplayOff" 
  pid 12873(helpd): [0x0000000c000002a1] 00:10:34 BackgroundTask named: "com.apple.helpd.sdmbuilding" 

Kernel Assertions: 0x0004 
 * Kernel Assertion ID = 500
   Created At = 12/31/69 7:02:59 PM EST  
   Modified At = 12/31/69 7:00:00 PM EST  
   Owner ID = 0xffffff801bb36000
   Level = 0
   Assertions Set = None (4)

 * Kernel Assertion ID = 501
   Created At = 12/31/69 7:03:08 PM EST  
   Modified At = 12/31/69 7:09:52 PM EST  
   Owner ID = 0xffffff801bb82000
   Level = 255
   Assertions Set = None (4)

 * Kernel Assertion ID = 502
   Created At = 12/31/69 7:04:00 PM EST  
   Modified At = 12/31/69 7:00:00 PM EST  
   Owner ID = 0xffffff801bbfe000
   Level = 0
   Assertions Set = None (4)

 * Kernel Assertion ID = 503
   Created At = 12/31/69 7:04:07 PM EST  
   Modified At = 12/31/69 7:00:00 PM EST  
   Owner ID = 0xffffff801bbbd000
   Level = 0
   Assertions Set = None (4)
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
The last Mac that I owned:
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:11 AM   #9
HippoMan
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I killed PID 18 (see above), and the problem went away (i.e., "display sleep" and automated screensaver activation now work). Now, I see the following. Note that there is no "Listed by owning process" section ...

Code:
% pmset -g assertions
10/7/12 12:03:09 PM EDT  
Assertion status system-wide:
   PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep    0
   PreventSystemSleep             0
   PreventUserIdleSystemSleep     0
   ExternalMedia                  0
   UserIsActive                   0
   ApplePushServiceTask           0
   BackgroundTask                 0

Kernel Assertions: 0x0004
... etc. ...
Of course, killing powerd is like using a nuclear warhead to hammer a nail. Furthermore, this solution begs the question of what causes powerd to set PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep, in the first place.

I'm guessing that this is related to com.apple.helpd.sdmbuilding. What is that? I can't find anything about it via online searches.
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
The last Mac that I owned:
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:43 AM   #10
HippoMan
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The culprit is the 10.8.2 version of "helpd".

OK. I think I now have a somewhat better understanding of this issue. It seems to be caused by helpd. After Lion was first released (not a typo: I indeed mean 10.7), there were numerous reports of helpd-related issues. These had to do with excessive CPU usage, and that original helpd problem eventually seems to have been fixed.

However, now in 10.8.2, it appears that the new-and-improved helpd can cause new-and-improved problems: it now can inhibit display sleep. This "feature" must have been added in 10.8.2, because -- as I have mentioned -- this problem with display sleep and screensaver activation did not occur prior to that OS release.

I can't see any valid reason for why a background process like helpd should keep the screen from going to sleep, and I therefore consider this to be a bug. I will soon report it as such to Apple. My guess is that the Apple programmer meant for that daemon to set PreventUserIdleSystemSleep and he/she accidentally typed PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep ... but who knows what really goes on in the secret world of Apple?

In the mean time, I did the following ...

First, create a file called /tmp/helpd which contains these two lines:
Code:
#!/bin/sh
exit 0
Then, do this in a Terminal session ...
Code:
% sudo -s
# cd /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/HelpData.framework/Versions/A/Resources
# mv helpd helpd.orig
# mv /tmp/helpd .
# chmod +x helpd
# exit
Finally, reboot.

This procedure turns helpd into a no-op, which now seems to prevent this problem.

Yes, I know that this is still overkill, but it's now only like using a sledgehammer to drive a nail, instead of a nuclear weapon.

Perhaps I'll eventually figure out a more elegant and refined solution ... or maybe Apple will fix this in a later OS release.

In the mean time, I can live quite happily without helpd.
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
The last Mac that I owned:
Unibody MacBook Pro, MacOS 10.8.2

Last edited by HippoMan; 10-07-2012 at 12:36 PM.
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Old 10-07-2012, 04:51 PM   #11
Fester1952
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I found a post in another forum regarding the same issue.
1 Open Energy Saver in System Preferences.
2 Uncheck "Wake for Network Access".
3 Shut down computer.
4 Start-up in Safe Mode by holding the Shift Key immediately after pushing the Start Button.

This has worked for me so far, time will tell!
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:59 AM   #12
HippoMan
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A misconception and a refinement.

After still more investigation, I realized that removing helpd does not prevent powerd from entering the PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep state, after all. After several hours of using my computer, I see that this state still eventually gets entered. Once this occurs, that state never gets cleared.

So, I have refocused on powerd, and I have come up with a "wrecking ball" solution (somewhere between a sledgehammer and a nuclear warhead). I plan to use this method until I find something better or Apple fixes this problem in a future OS release.

Here's my procedure:

1. I reinstated helpd.

2. I wrote a script (see below), which repeatedly invokes pmset -g assertions. When it sees a line as follows in the output, it issues a kill -HUP on the powerd process, which causes that daemon to restart with the PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep state cleared.
Code:
pid PPPPP(powerd): [0xXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX] HH:MM:SS PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep named: "com.apple.powermanagement.delayDisplayOff"
3. When my system boots up, I cause this script to start up as user root and go into the background.

Now, powerd never keeps my system in the PreventUserIdleDisplaySleep state for more than a few seconds, and display sleep and my screensaver work fine.

I like the ruby language, so I used it to write that script. Of course, any other suitable language such as perl, sh/bash, AppleScript, or even objective-c can also be used.

Here's the script:
Code:
#!/usr/bin/ruby

$pmset = '/usr/bin/pmset -g assertions'

loop {
  process()
  Kernel.sleep(10)
}

def process
  state = 0
  IO.popen($pmset, 'r') {
    |f|
    f.readlines.each {
      |line|
      if state == 0 && line =~ /^Listed\s+by\s+owning\s+process:/
        state = 1
      elsif state == 1
        if line =~ /^\s+pid\s+(\d+)\s*\(powerd\):.*\bPreventUserIdleDisplaySleep\b/
          pid = $1.to_i
          Process.kill('HUP', pid)
          break
        elsif line =~ /^\S/
          state = 0
        end
      end
    }
  }
end
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
The last Mac that I owned:
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Last edited by HippoMan; 10-08-2012 at 09:10 AM.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:17 PM   #13
HippoMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fester1952
I found a post in another forum regarding the same issue.
1 Open Energy Saver in System Preferences.
2 Uncheck "Wake for Network Access".
3 Shut down computer.
4 Start-up in Safe Mode by holding the Shift Key immediately after pushing the Start Button.

This has worked for me so far, time will tell!

Hi Fester. I'm sorry, but until now, I accidentally overlooked your message, which I thank you for.

I also had found the suggestion you posted. I tried it, and it didn't work for me, unfortunately.

In any case, I have now abandoned my Mac, so this is a moot point for me.

This particular issue isn't the reason for my decision, although it certainly didn't help my Mac's cause.

If any of you are interested in why I'm no longer a Mac user, follow the link in my signature.
.
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I got rid of my Mac for good.
This thread explains why: http://hintsforums.macworld.com/showthread.php?t=168164
The last Mac that I owned:
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:41 PM   #14
gungholady
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fester1952
I found a post in another forum regarding the same issue.
1 Open Energy Saver in System Preferences.
2 Uncheck "Wake for Network Access".
3 Shut down computer.
4 Start-up in Safe Mode by holding the Shift Key immediately after pushing the Start Button.

This has worked for me so far, time will tell!

Fester, is this solution to the screensaver not starting working for you still? I've been having the problem for about a week now. The screensaver will activate when I use hot corner but not automatically. I have tried everything I can find. I tried your solution a few minutes ago. Will see if it is now solved for me.
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Old 12-15-2012, 06:09 AM   #15
gungholady
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I tried Festers solution. It worked for one day. Then after I spent several hours on the mac doing some homework, it quite working again. Has anyone else found a solution to this problem? I have tried everything I can find to solve it.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:35 AM   #16
tonyb
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Speech & dictation could cause displaysleep & systemsleep not to trigger

Speech & dictation could cause displaysleep & systemsleep not to trigger.

I realised this myself after looking through the processes listed with pmset -g assertions

I reset speech and dictation settings so as not listening for my voice 'Commands' and a check to pmset shows displaysleep and systemsleep as 0.

I have a MacBook Air with 10.8.2
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