maya crashing, something to look for...

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  02 February 2013
maya crashing, something to look for... [possibly fixed]

So recently, after a few frequent crashes and seeing as how I have unconstrained time on my hands, I decided to dig deeper into the problem.

If you have been having any crash... and I mean HARD crash... the kind that doesn't pop up the autodesk support tool, and Windows may even appear to freeze or lag really a moment... You may be experiencing a windows manager "user handle" limit.

It seems that in Maya, there is a widget leak that may be under the hood that isn't releasing this system resource back to even itself.

The kind of errors you may be seeing in event viewer would be like:

Unhandled exception at 0x00000... (ntdll.dll) in maya.exe: 0xC0000005: Access violation writing location 0x0000000...

Something like that... an ugly Access violation. Well, what the hell does that mean?

When I first saw this, I thought it was a memory problem.. bad RAM. That wasn't the case after a couple days of brutal hardware testing and sitting around. It wasn't until after I rolled back an update (KB2756872) that I got this pretty message:

Unhandled exception at 0x000007F8ADE35853 (ntdll.dll) in maya.exe: 0xC00000FD: Stack overflow (parameters: 0x0000000000000001, 0x0000000000BE3FD8).

Unhandled exception at 0x000007F8ADE35853 (ntdll.dll) in maya.exe: 0xC00000FD: Stack overflow (parameters: 0x0000000000000001, 0x0000000000BE3FD8).

Luckily, I have visual studio and could run a debugger and caught this little gem:

QWidget::create: Failed to create window (The current process has used all of its system allowance of handles for Window Manager objects.)

seriously? what the hell.

Anyway, there is no way around this.. its' a code issue. There is absolutely nothing that can be done with the system to workaround the problem... You can't allocate more user handles, each application is limited to 10,000 and no more. Been this way forever in Windows, I'm not sure its' a problem in OSX or Linux.. /shrug.

But quite honestly, this should really be an issue if the program is releasing resources that it doesn't need back to the system or itself.

I would put money on the table to say this affects all versions of Maya and on all versions of windows. I got my unemployment check this week, and have 42$ left over to use.

How can you tell if this is happening? Download a tool call "process explorer" by sysinternals (they're owned by microsoft now, get it from there).... run it before launching Maya. As soon as you launch maya, find maya.exe in the list and double click. Select "performance" and watch the handles grow.

In the images below, you'll see on the left the number of handles in use immediately after launch on my system. ~1300, that's a lot, but maya does a lot too...

on the right you see the crash point and... a robot. (robot not included and added as extra protection).

yes, the program ID's are different... it took me a few times to figure out what was going on.

how to replicate on your system? well, I'm not sure it actually affects everyone.. nor am I certain that it is only relate to me, windows 8, the fact that I have visual studio installed and a bunch of other debugging tools.. or the fact that life hates me sometimes.. no clue on that, but here's how I did replicate it.

Open up a scene... pick a small one if want to spend a few hours.. or a big fat one with lots of materials, lights, and objects. You don't have to get crazy, I was able to replication this on a scene with as few as 6 materials with 3 lights and no textures (a few dozen polys)... up to a scene with 1.2 million polys, 70 materials, and 50 lights.

anyway, open as many windows as you like... or only one, hypershade preferably and begin clicking on all your resources.. check your nodes, attributes, light properties, select a bunch of stuff in outliner.. go crazy. Just do what you would normally do over say, a period of 3 hours of serious work. And watch the process explorer... the "user handles" property will continue to grow.. sometimes maya will do a garbage collection and drop a few, but as long as you do not change scenes or start new.... they're continue to climb to 10,000... and then you crash.

good luck, and have fun!
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Last edited by tswalk : 04 April 2013 at 08:14 PM.
  02 February 2013
oh, btw.. i submitted a ticket and it was accepted; however, since i have no service contract with my student license (which i'm grateful for.. thank you autodesk!).. i do not know if this will be resolved for Maya 2013 users.
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  02 February 2013
Nice catch.
Any idea what module is using the leaky QWidget?

As far as I can place it, QWidget seems to be part of PyQt Python package.
If so, you could try upgrading the PyQt for your Maya version and see what happens.

The latest I have is 4.9.1 for Maya 2013 x64 and 4.8.3-1 for Maya 2012 x64.
I could post them but there's a more fun way.

You can get the 2013 one on the site.
PyQt installation and links to both can be found on the Deex VRay Arsenal site.
Also don't miss the mother lode of related information and links to libraries in Nathan Horne's site (

Happy debugging
  02 February 2013
I have no idea which model is causing the problem... Thanks for the tips.

I just quickly looked at my install, i have Maya 2013 x64 SP2... from what I can tell, it has Qt 4.7.1

I'll dig around some more. I was looking at Cyrille Fauvel's site yesterday, but will check out Nathan's.
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  04 April 2013
just a quick update,

I upgraded to 2014 yesterday and loaded a few scenes... it appears that the handle leak has been fixed... i'll keep an eye on this for a bit, but this is great news as it was causing a lot of problems for me on windows 8 with random crashes.
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  04 April 2013
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