Muting/Unmuting on Windows

  • So right now is our busy time period, and today has been fairly busy for me. That's why, like any good geek, I was sitting here playing with Windows's sound control, turning the volume up and down and whatnot.

    When doing this, I found some odd behaviour. I don't have access to any other computers, so I can't test if this is possible to replicate, but I can consistently do it on my Windows XP workstation.

    You know what you click that speaker icon in the bottom-right corner and the little volume slider comes up? Well, if you mute or unmute the sound through that checkbox, a green OSD-style volume adjuster pops up. This will pop up in front of any windows, yet behind the mouse cursor.

    That behaviour seemed odd to me, so I wanted to see what it would look like if I dragged a window across it. I was busy, so what else was I going to do? Work?

    So I hit mute and try to drag a window. But it's stuck, I can't move it! So I wonder what the deal is. Then I unmute the sound and try to move it, and it moves fine. So I mute it again, and the window is stuck. And repeat enough times that I'm sure it's not a coincidence.

    so then I realize that I'm using Gaim's window, and Gaim is a little funny some times, on account of being GTK-based. So I restore another window and try it again. I can move the folder perfectly whether or not I'm muting the volume! So it's Gaim's fault, right? Nope...

    Next, I tried closing Gaim's window and doing it with just the other window (a folder in Explorer). When the folder is the only window on the screen, the behaviour is back: it's stuck while muting and unstuck while unmuting.

    So to summarize: If you mute your sound, and you have a window that is the *only* window visible on the screen, you can't move the window while the volume OSD is visible. At least, I couldn't. But if you unmute the sound or have multiple windows open, it works fine, for me.

    Can anybody else replicate this?

  • I've never seen a green OSD volume control on any of my XP machines, but we have Dells at work with no fancy software on them for extra volume control, and my computers at home are custom built with nothing fancy on them whatsoever.

    What might be happening in your scenario is when that OSD comes up, it's not really a "window" in that sense, but an screen-scrape with the OSD display overtop of it.  A quick way to test this... If you can leave the OSD on for long enough (or at the right time), see if the clock moves or not. 

  • I gave it a shot in Windows 2000 build 2195. The popup volume thing disappears when it loses focus, and other windows move around fine muted or unmuted. I'm going to give it a shot in Vista and XP when I get home.

  • The OSD thingy might have been installed by another software. I used to have a fancy wireless keyboard whose software added this feature.

  • Ah, so there's a good chance that this is caused by a weird driver, not by weird Windows. Maybe. 🙂

    And the screen definitely updates, I can move the mouse and ads blink and stuff (not that I see ads, but they would). It's only while muting that I can't move a window..

    <edit> Here's what it looks like:

    Is that a software thing or a Windows thing? It only comes up with I actually mute or unmute, not when I'm adjusting volume, which is kind of weird...

  • It is just a funny driver thing, not Windows XP standard.

  • Ah, cool. Then it's a WTF in the driver's behaviour, then. How's it break window moving if and only if I'm muting? 🙂

  • @rbowes said:

    How's it break window moving if and only if I'm muting? 🙂

    Easily enough:

    while (true)
       getTopMostWindow()->Lock( this->GetIsMuted() );

  • On my ThinkPad, the controls for the OSD can be found by looking in the display properties form (either from the control panel or a right click on the desktop & choose "properties")

    Then, on the "Settings" tab, choose the "Advanced" button.  On this new form, there is an "On Screen Display" tab.  It doesn't quite look like a Windows standard it may be something added by IBM on this laptop.

  • @rbowes said:

    I have the exact same OSD on my Thinkpad. It comes up for me when i use the volume controls on my keyboard...

    ...and, as you mentioned, when i use the mute in the software volume control. Weird. I haven't noticed any of the effects you mention, but it seems to break cleartype on the text on the same rows of pixels as it for me.

  • I can't replicate it because my OSD is different than yours and goes away really quick. Mine only appears when I use the volume controls on my Microsoft Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000, not when I adjust the volume or mute/unmute through the speaker in the system tray. Here's what the OSD looks like:

    Edit: I'm using a Dell Dimension 9200 here at work. I haven't investigated the sound hardware.

  • @Renan_S2 said:

    The OSD thingy might have been installed by another software. I used to have a fancy wireless keyboard whose software added this feature.

    Same thing here. I had a fancy keyboard with drivers and it had an OSD for volume.. my laptop has extra drivers for windows too. My money is on sh*tty 3rd party software. 

  • Those ominous on-screen displays are caused by some driver usually installed by computer manufacturers whose laptops or keyboards have special keys to up/down/mute/unmute the speaker volume in addition to the functionality provided by working your mouse over the lower-right speaker symbol. That speaker symbol can also be configured away in the control panel, in which case those special keys are the only immediate means to do these things. The purpose of the OSD therefore is that you can use those special keys and get visible feedback of what the results are.

    How such an OSD is implemented is up the the programmers. Some may fxck up normal window behavior, others may not. Actually, frankly, I couldn't care less. 

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