Mac OS X 10.4 bug with fast user switching and display profiles: More information

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
September 14th, 2006 • 3:43 pm

Yesterday, I posted an item about the long-standing bug in Mac OS X 10.4 with fast user switching. I also submitted a report to MacInTouch, which was posted on that site yesterday as well (scroll down to September 13).

It now looks like some people are unable to reproduce the bug even after making the input menu visible on their machine, and I also have one comment on this blog of someone who experiences the bug even with the input menu not visible. So things are more complicated than expected.

However, after further testing, I have been able to establish that, on my machine at least, in order to make the problem occur, I need to both make the input menu itself visible (by checking the “Show input menu in menu bar” option in the “International” preference pane) and make the input source name visible next to the input menu icon in the menu bar (by selecting the “Show Input Source Name” command in the input menu itself).

If I make the input menu visible but keep the input source name invisible, then the bug does not occur on my system, i.e. I can use fast user switching to switch to another user environment and then switch back to my main user environment without experiencing the color/brightness shift when returning to the main user environment. (For those trying to reproduce the bug, I want to stress that the color/brightness shift occurs not when switching to another user environment, but when returning to the original user environment).

The good news is that this means that I can use Spell Catcher X with the input menu visible without having to endure the bug. All I have to do is to make sure that the input source name is not visible, which is a minor inconvenience.

Now, this does not explain the report of the person who is experiencing the bug even without having the input menu visible. And it doesn’t guarantee that the bug occurs on every machine that has the input menu and the input source name visible in the menu bar. (I cannot determine this, simply because I only have access to a couple of machines.) But it looks like we’ve narrowed down the bug even further.

If you have any additional information, please post a comment on this blog item.

UPDATE: It gets better all the time. I have now determined that, in order to reproduce the bug on my machine, I need to have both the input menu with input source name visible and the AirPort menu extra with the “time connected” displayed. The bug only occurs if all four of these things are visible in my menu bar (input menu icon, input source name, AirPort signal icon, and “time connected” for AirPort). So it’s definitely not just the input source name by itself.

This might also explain why someone is reporting that he experiences the bug even without the input menu visible. Maybe it is certain combinations of menu extras that cause the bug to appear. I am talking about Apple-only menu extras here, not about third-party menu bar hacks. Apple provides the following menu extras:

  • clock (Date & Time pref pane)
  • volume (Sound pref pane)
  • AirPort (Network pref pane)
  • input menu (International pref pane)
  • Bluetooth (Bluetooth pref pane)
  • Displays (Displays pref pane)
  • Eject (when more than one CD/DVD drive is installed)
  • Classic (Classic pref pane)

and possibly more than I am forgetting right now. And some of these menu extras have their own options, which can change what is actually displayed in the menu bar.

At this stage, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were several possible combinations of menu extra settings that caused the bug to occur. My combination (input menu + input source name, AirPort + time connected) certainly does on my machine. But it might not be the only combination that does.

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