Monitor only shows up in the Task Bar, not on the desktop

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Dan AE9K Dan AE9K
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Monitor only shows up in the Task Bar, not on the desktop

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If the monitor launches but doesn't display except for the icon in the Task Bar and possibly one or two preview windows that show up white or black when hovering the mouse over the Task Bar icon - there are a couple of possibilities:

First, the monitor may have saved erroneous main window position coordinates to the configuration file.  Versions through 1.5.2 (current at the time this was written) do not validate the sanity of the numbers being saved.  Somehow for reasons yet identified a handful of users have had really large negative numbers as the x,y coordinate of the upper left corner of the main monitor window.  These values should be positive offsets from the upper left corner of the screen so the x,y values should be positive and not exceed the width and height of your monitor (in pixels).

Second, monitor versions prior to 1.5.2 did not check that the saved COM port was actually still available when the monitor was launched at some point in the future.  If the amp power was unplugged or the USB cable to the amp was unplugged or even moved to a different USB jack, the original saved COM port is either no longer available or the COM port is different.  In either case, it's not usable by the monitor yet the monitor tries blindly to use it ... and fails.  This was an issue only if the monitor was configured to autostart.

The easiest way to determine if one of these is the cause, simply close the monitor so it no longer appears in the Task Bar (right-click, Close) then rename the configuration file.  When the monitor is launched thereafter, it will start fresh with default values (no COM port specified and no saved window positions).  If this fixes your issue but you don't want to re-enter all the tune/load values, you can rename the file back to 'Alpha Monitor Configuration.xml' and edit the file manually to fix the offending values.

To do this, open the configuration file in a text editor like Notepad.  The file is in one of two paths depending on whether your PC is running Windows Vista/7/8 or XP:

Vista/7/8:  C:\Users\<your_account>\AppData\Local\AE9K\Alpha Monitor Settings.xml
XP:  C:\Documents and Settings\<your_account>\Application Data\Local\AE9K\Alpha Monitor Settings.xml

The main monitor x,y coordinates are near the top of this file:

If the number between <X> and </X> is negative, remove the negative sign.  If the number is larger than your screen is wide, make the number something like 400.  If the number between the <Y> and </Y> is negative, remove the negative sign. If the number is larger than your screen is high, make the number something like 300.

While you're in the file, check the COM port. If you're not 100% sure the value between <ComPort> and </ComPort> is correct, replace it with "None" (without the quotes).  

Once your changes have been made, save the file and launch the monitor.  It should now appear and the COM port will not yet be set in the Config page so launch the Config page and click the drop-down for the COM ports. Only active COM ports show up in the drop down so that eliminates the possibility of starting the cycle over again.

The layout of an XML file may be new and odd to some but it's very common format that is easily parsed.  If you manually edit the XML file, just be sure to leave intact the start and end delimiters (e.g. <X> and </X>) and just change the values in between.

The next monitor version will do sanity checking on the window location values so this is a short-term issue.

Update (8/6/2013):
The odd x,y values for the monitor window position is most likely due to spanning a desktop across multiple monitors and that span setup changing after the monitor has recorded a position on another display.  The origin (x=0,y=0) is always the upper left corner of the primary display.  If the desktop span to a display above or to the left of the primary display, those screen coordinates are negative with respect to the primary screen's origin.  So, I need to verify when the monitor launches whether the display to which the desktop was spanned is still present.  If not, set the location to be the center of the primary display.