3 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2011 12:43 PM by Kmo4233

    Strange menu transparency issue with XP and CS3


      Hello all,


      I am a new participant to the forums but am really hoping someone can help me out. I have been searching every phrasing I can think of on the web with no results for my partilucar problem.


      I am having a bizzare transparency issue with my system. It does not appear to be restricted only to the CS3 suite but it is definitely the worst in the CS3 programs. I use Illustrator and Photoshop the most and this problem makes them very difficult and sometimes almost impossible to use.


      As best as I can tell there is some kind of transparency glitch that is causing certain programs to "black out" areas of the menu that are supposed to have transparency of some fashion in a programs menu or interface. For example in Illustrator the tools menu and the contextual menu that runs atop the screen appear to be OK when you first open the program. They will function normally and will respond to all menu choices. However if you move the mouse over the AI logo on the top of the tool menu or run the mouse over the small bar to the far left of the top screen menu ALL the menus on the screen will turn into a solid black bar. You can move the mouse over tool icons etc and almost all of them will reappear, but with a black border around them. Most of the top contextual menus will also appear once again on a mouse over, or if they change due to making a tool choice that modifies what this menu contains. They also have this black box around the entire meny as well. There are a few other small places on the menus that I can't pin point that will make this black box appearance happen as well.


      Also a second and even bigger issue is with the tool pallettes such as layers, character, transparency and swatches etc. I use a dual monitor setup and have my palettes moved to the second screen. Within in seconds of loading all the top gray bars on the pallettes turn transparent and you can not select them to move them around, change the focus of the palette or to select "more options" or other modifications. The palette itself is still there, it's the top poriton that is missing. The system does not respond to any attempt to select this area, it's as if they weren't there, however you do see the drop shadow that surrounds the palette, including the part that is missing. I can open the window menu and remove and then add a pallette back onto the screen and it will have the top portion once again. At this point I can drag this "fixed" window over the other top portions and they will appear again (I am assuming because the program is enganing the dock palette together ability). This will sometimes fix it for the rest of the time I'm using the software or sometimes for a long time and then it will suddently make all the top portions of the pallette transparent again and I'll have to repeat. This happens in Illustrator or Photoshop and any of the CS3 products as best as I can tell. I have been able to get around it so far, but it's very difficult to work with and some of the options and ways I work are really affected by this. It's also nearly impossible for me to miss not mousing over one of the areas that trigger this issue as they are in common mouse path areas.


      I have completely reformatted my computer because of this, I have tried reinstalling video card drives, installing older video card drivers. I have installed my CS3 suite from the desktop per the Adobe troubleshooting guidlines as opposed to the DVDs. I completely removed the plug-ins I was using (only using 1, Font Agent Pro). I do not have any non-standard fonts installed on my computer, I deactivate all fonts other than system fonts every time I exit Font Agent Pro. I have had this issue with an older set of video cards as well as my current ones (both Nvidia). I have upgraded my system since it first started happening to almost completely new hardware (the only pieces of hardware still in use is the old hard drive, everything else in different from when the issue first showed up).


      The only vague ideas I have so far are that maybe is has something to do with my Nvidia cards? I am running a dual video card setup because I use the system for games from time to time as well. I have tried uninstalling a card and using just a single card to see if that helps with no improvement though. I have also noted that while 90% of the rest of my software works without a hitch, I also use Quicken and notice that some of it's menus and opening graphic display a similar black box issue. All software seems to function fine as long as I can actually find a way to select the missing tools. It also does not effect the actual artwork. No transparency settings or playing around with any kind of artwork, even complex art, causes my actual work to display black boxes or have transparency issues, it's only the menus of the programs.


      I realize that this is most likely not a CS3 specific issue, but I am really hoping someone else has come across something like this and can help. I can't find anything at all on even what to try next. After I wiped and then re-installed the video card drivers the problem seemed to be fixed for about the next 3 times of starting Windows. Then on the 4th time it suddenly blanked the menus out on Photoshop and ever since it's been back to the same old thing. Because of this I am suspecting problems with bad video drivers or settings, but can't find any information on what can be done about it. I can also turn the hardware accelration bar down to almost nothing on the troublshooting section of my video card properties and make the problem go away (to the point where it says Disable all Direct Draw and Direct 3D accelerations). My system is not really usable at this level though and many programs will not start or give errors so I can't use this as a solution.


      I aplogize for such a lengthy post, thanks to anyone who took the time to read this. I can attach a screen shot if someone needs to see the issue. If anyone has any info at all please let me know. Even if it's just leads on where to look. I am having a hard time getting some client work done because of this issue and it has me worried that my software might become unusable at a critical moment. Just for the record as well, I am using the CS3 Master collection software and it is fully registed and legitimate. Thank you for you assistance in advance!

        • 1. Re: Strange menu transparency issue with XP and CS3
          Wade_Zimmerman Level 6

          I would suspect Quicken as the conflict remove it and see if that helps!


          The video cards do they match once you have things corrupted it might still cause the problem if you remove the one of the cards.


          It could be hardware.


          Since this is aggravating you why don't you invest in a new hard drive you might need an extra anyway. Remove the old one computer install a fresh new system the new hard drive and boot and install the CS3 suite. Don't do anything else, no other software of any kind, not even the ones you are positive
          do not have anything to do with this. Use only one card.


          Now see if the symptoms return, if so then probably hardware.


          If it does not return add the second card if it returns either one of the cards or the combination of the two cards.


          But by now you should know if it is hardware especially if the problem did not return to make certain then add Quicken. Perhaps Quicken and CS3 plus the Video Drivers have an issue.

          • 2. Re: Strange menu transparency issue with XP and CS3
            Ravenant211 Level 1

            Hi Wade,


            Sorry about the long delay. I had been trouble shooting and testing things out as I was able. I didn't want to reply further until I had something meaningful to post.Well, I have resolved my issue but not in a direct way. I tried removing Quicken but that did not seem to effect the issue. Quicken appeared to be a co-sufferer of the issue rather than a cause. I also tried removing the second video card (as well as disabling it first) and that also did not fix the issue.


            After playing around with several things I believe that the most likely cause of the issue was using SLI mode for my Nvidia cards in Windows XP. That in and of itself most likely wouldn't have caused the issue, however I also use a dual monitor set up. XP is incapable of using a dual monitor setup with SLI enabled. I would turn SLI off and on as was needed for whatever I was doing at the time and at some point one of these switches would evidentaly introduce the error. I am 90% sure this is the cause, but since the glitch was not predictable in it's onset I am still not 100% ceratin yet.


            One thing that I think reinforces that this was the cause is that I had used a previous video card setup that was also SLI but of an older model of video cards and that is when the problem first appeared. I had assumed at the time that my system was simply showing signs of bugs in general and needed to be formatted. After I upgraded several components (including video cards) I did a full format and found that the problem was still there even with new hardware.


            I don't know if it's specifically a video card driver problem, a Windows XP problem or just a coincidental clashing of the two that caused this but I suspect it's an issue with the SLI implimentation in the Nvidia drivers. The nView software that lets you switch between SLI mode and dual monitor mode in XP seems to be harsh on a system and would occasionaly fail to initialize one mode or the other and only a restart of the system would put it back on track. Because of this I suspect video driver issues albeit in a unique situation.


            My final solution was to upgrade my system to Windows 7. I invested quite a bit of money into my setup and did not want to lose any functionality of my system. Since switching between SLI mode seemed to be the problem, the OS was the handicap that prevented a quick solution. Vista and Windows 7 CAN run SLI along with dual monitors and so I just upgraded to save the headaches. Windows 7 handles SLI very well (the screen didn't even black out when I enabled SLI). Best of all I nevert have to turn SLI off which has neatly sidestepped the issue. I have had no problems so far with any of the Adobe programs or Quicken since I upgraded.


            Thanks for the efforts to resolve this. Hopefully someone will come across this post if they are having a similar issue as it's been nearly impossible to find any info about this.


            Oh yeah, I also didn't need to try the new hard drive idea. I already have 6 of them, 3 internal drives and 3 external drives... plus an Iomega Ego portable drive! I learned a long time ago that you need to keep important files seperate and safe. After a back up hard drive from a reputable national retailer failed on me and nearly lost some customer files, I now keep my design work on a "current" internal drive seperate from the OS and back up to two exteranl drives, each from a different manufacturer. This way I always have 3 copies of everything and the odds of three drives from 3 manufacturers failing at the same time is almost non-existant outside of a lightnening strike or massive line surge. I won't lose any work ever again LOL! When I installed this last time I switched around some drives internally that's why I knew it wasn't a hard drive issue. Thanks again!

            • 3. Re: Strange menu transparency issue with XP and CS3

              I have this same exact issue with Photoshop Elements 9.  I have:

              Intel Quad

              GeForce 8800gtx

              Matrox triplehead2go digital version running in triplewide screen setting instead of multiple video cards

              Windows 7 ultimate 64 bit


              The only thing I can offer is that the problem goes away in a single monitor config.  I've tried resizing, compatibility settings, etc., and the only good fix is unplugging my multiple monitors and using my one favorite monitor for photo editing.


              I love the mulitple monitors for FlightSim, other games, and I can tolerate the "transparent menu" issue when doing light editing, but if I'm processing lots of photos, I'm getting to the point of frustration that drives me to unplug and just use one monitor.


              I've found other discussions out on the web that say others are having trouble using multiple monitors in Elements and other Photoshop family products, but can't find any fixes or specific discussions that might help.