Windows Tuning

This forum has articles regarding decisions and implementations surrounding BI that need to work.
What hardware is needed to run the BI server?
How should the network be set up?
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varghesesa
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

Windows Tuning

Post by varghesesa » Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:16 pm

Introduction

The Blue Iris status log webinar walks through this article if you prefer to listen instead.

If you are a new user or just installed BI on a machine, it's always good to go through this article just to confirm Windows settings are not in conflict with BI functionality. If you are experiencing instability or crashes, it's also good to revisit this article.

BI can be run either as a regular Windows application or as a Windows service.
The first section is applicable to both deployments. It walks through anti-virus software exclusions needed for BI to run properly.
The second section is applicable to deployments where you run BI as a service.


Windows settings

Local admin account

Double check your Windows user accounts and permissions. Specifically, BI runs best under a local admin account.
Follow the Windows instructions to create a local windows account with admin privileges.

If you log into your Windows machine as a non-admin user and then start BI it is very possible the BI application will not have the proper permissions to write to the storage drives specified in Clips and archiving.


Antivirus software

Your Security Software (Windows defender, McAfee, BitDefender etc) or a Security Software update is interfering with Blue Iris.
Symptoms: Performance issues, Crashes, Software will not start, Auto-update is blocked, UI3 is not connecting are all symptoms due to improper software security exemptions.
It seems like either the last update to BI or an update to windows 10 has stopped the ui3 from showing anything on the screen. All I am getting is a Spinning Circle.

It was the dang SOPHOS anti virus. I figured it out
Below is an example of robust Software Security Exemptions for Windows Defender. Similar exemptions need to be provided for your Security Software.
  • Note the BI executable is excluded: BlueIris.exe
  • Note ALL the BI folders (New, DB, Stored, Alerts etc) for storage are excluded.
    In my case, all these folders reside under G:\BlueIris so only one exclusion was needed to cover ALL my folders.
    If you have a NAS device, make sure the NAS device is excluded from a folder perspective AND a firewall perspective.
  • Note bvr file types are excluded
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See help file topic "Security Software Exemption" as well. This section provides additional details associated with other vendors (McAfee, Malware Bytes etc). If you are experiencing instability, the easiest step to take is to just turn off your security software and observe over time if the issues go away.

Windows BitLocker is another security measure provided with Windows 10 which allows encryption of the hard drive. BI performs constant reads/writes to storage. Most users have not enabled BitLocker.

Quote from another user.
I figured it out. Somehow the check box for allowing blue iris in bitdefender was turned off. Not sure how that could have happened.

Firewall Settings

There is no way BI can talk with your cameras or the web interface or the mobile apps unless BI is allowed access to the network.

Windows allows the ability to categorize networks as public or private. My server running BI is connected directly to my switch containing all the cameras and does not move. I'm not concerned about whether I categorized my network correctly since I know it is physically safe on my private switch. Thus I keep Firewall settings simple and allow access to all networks, the public and private network as seen below.

You may have BI running on a laptop that you use at Starbucks and other networks. In those cases, labeling networks as private / public and allowing BI access to private networks is more of a concern that should be addressed.

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If you receive the below error at startup, it could be the internet service is down, your network equipment (switches/routers) or cables went bad etc. Definitely check those components first. It could also very well be your firewall is blocking BI.

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Database/New folder

The database folder is often on the SAME drive as the New folder because we recommend both folders to be on your fastest local SSD drive.
Keep in mind the drive needs to have enough free space for the BI database functions to operate. In particular, make sure there is enough free space on the drive containing the database to duplicate/copy the Database folder at all times. If the db folder is 200 MB, than BI will need at least 2x or 400MB of free space on the drive.
Best practice is to NOT use all the storage space available on SSD drives. Many vendors recommend leaving 25% of a drive empty for optimal performance. Maintaining this convention should suffice for BI needs.

Database Gotcha:

Do not uncheck Limit clip age in the Alerts folder. By doing so, you effectively told BI never to delete Alerts in the database causing the database to grow indefinitely.

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NAS Storage

If you use Network storage there are three important steps to make the storage work with BI.
1. Make sure the NAS drive is completely exempt from your anti-virus software.
2. Make sure the username/password used to access the NAS matches your Windows login credentials.
3. Use the UNC name in BI, not a drive letter.
For example, \\ipaddress\sharepoint

Any time there are problems with NAS devices, it almost always has to do with permission issues or the NAS stopped communicating with the BI server. The issue unfortunately typically manifests itself with the drive containing the New folder (often the C: drive) filling up and crashing the server. The logs will show the write errors well before filling up the C: drive, but this requires users paying attention to the Status button when it turns red or occasionally monitoring their logs for errors.

The tell tale errors are MoveFile Errors as seen in the below log snippet. See Log Files - Storage/Record Issues article for details on how to uncover storage issues on your BI server.

Code: Select all

0 	7/19/2021 7:32:01.679 PM	New                 	Move: 2 items 3.66G [602.1G/600.0G, 326.2G free] 126 locked
0 	7/19/2021 7:32:01.788 PM	Stored              	Delete: 2 items 4.24G [2.93T/2.92T, 1.99T free]
0 	7/19/2021 7:32:01.791 PM	Alerts              	Delete: nothing to do [1439/4800 hrs, 895.5M/100.0G, 329.9G free]
1 	7/19/2021 7:32:01.860 PM	Clips               	MoveFile Error 2: F:\BlueIris\New\FrontDoor.20210719_080000.bvr
1 	7/19/2021 7:32:01.925 PM	Clips               	MoveFile Error 2: F:\BlueIris\New\FrontDoorStation.20210719_080000.bvr
The above errors are stating BI had errors moving files to the F: drive (NAS drive).

The Fix:
Use the exact same Windows username/password on your NAS device to provide the easiest chance for BI to access your NAS storage.
Check the Storage tab in the Status button to see whether BI recognizes your NAS device. Pay attention to log errors also, as mentioned above.

Second, you need to make sure your NAS is working properly. The Log Files - Storage/Record Issues article mentioned above is a case where the user's NAS would run correctly for 21 straight days before denying access to BI and causing BI to crash a few days later.
Below is a quote from another user that decided to replace his NAS storage.
I went to the Status page, which showed the overallocated storage, and clicked on Repair DB. Then slowly the data migrated to NAS storage. Maybe it lost contact with the NAS and needed a kick to restart it. All is well, now.
I'll download the NAS logs and give you more information shortly.
I tried to dump the logs on the NAS, but it hung up and now won't boot. Probably too much log. So it looks like the NAS just wasn't responding like it should.

Storage Troubleshooting

The logs are the first place to look for Storage errors.
First make sure you have Storage events recorded to the logs.

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Next, check the logs for Storage errors.

As mentioned above, the Log Files - Storage/Record Issues article/webinar is a case study on how to uncover storage issues on your BI server.


System Restore

Starting with Microsoft Windows XP and still available in Windows 10 there is a recovery tool called ‘System Restore’. Essentially this tool takes snap-shots of critical files at certain points in time (e.g. software installations, system updates, etc. as well as at your request.) These system restore points are accumulated and if needed will often (but not always) return a PC to its operating status at the selected point-in-time.

Since it is part of the Operating System and easy to use, we highly recommend using it. See Windows Tools article for details.



Running BI as a Service

Running BI as a service is a very popular feature. Running as a service means BI is always running in the background. Windows will automatically restart the service if the application crashes. The "Running as a Service" topic in Help explains all the details associated with setting up BI to run as a service. Below are known issues based on past tickets.

Running Service as LocalSystem
While discouraged, it is possible to run a Windows service under the account "localsystem" by leaving username/password blank when selecting to run BI as a service (image below). LocalSystem may not have the access rights for certain functions. A common issue is alerts to run batch files or MQTT commands may not get executed when the service is run under the LocalSystem account. Running BI as a Windows service under the account "LocalSystem" can also cause instability because localsystem may not have the needed privileges for NAS devices or sending alerts. See Help file, Topic "Running as a Service" for details.
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Follow steps below to fix:
  • Basic idea: Disable and re-enable the service to run under a Windows account instead of localsystem.
    Create a local windows account with admin privileges.
    Global settings -> Startup tab ->Run as a Windows service. Uncheck selection. Restart BI.
    Go back to Global settings -> Startup tab -> Run as a Windows service. Re-check the selection.
    Enter your own local Windows account (w/ admin privileges) in pop-up dialog
    Restart BI once again as a service.
  • If you are using a NAS device for storage, the Windows username/password used to run the service has to be identical to the credentials on the NAS device otherwise writing to the NAS device will not work.


1057 Error
If you get the 1057 error, i.e. “Failed to install service (1057)”, the username chosen above to run the service does not exist or is invalid. Follow instructions above to create a local Windows account with admin privileges. Run Windows Services -> Right click Blue Iris Service -> Properties -> Log on tab. Specify username / password.



1069 Error
The 1069 Windows error occurs when the password associated with the Windows username associated with the service has changed. Run Windows Services -> Right click Blue Iris Service -> Properties -> Log on tab -> reset the password.
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Auto-update fails because update program cannot stop the service. Following error message appears.

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  • Stop the Blue Iris Service manually. From the Windows search bar, type services and bring up the Services console.
  • Select the Blue Iris service.
  • Select "Stop service"
  • Start BI.
  • Return to BI. Global settings -> Startup tab -> Run as a Windows service. Check the selection.
  • Restart BI. BI should start as a service.


Auto-update fails because update program cannot stop BI. Following error message appears. (Similar issue as above)

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  • Stop Blue Iris manually.
  • Restart the machine.
  • Find where you downloaded the update or just go to blueirissoftware.com and download the latest version.
  • Install/start the latest version and you should be good to go.


Web server has incorrect IP Address
On rare occasions, Windows will start the BI service before initializing the network card/stack. This results in the BI web server binding to a random ethernet interface even though you told BI to bind exclusively to a particular ethernet interface.

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The temporary fix is to restart the service. The permanent fix is to configure Windows to delay the start of the BI service. This should provide Windows the needed time to configure all the available ethernet adapters before starting the BI service.

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Routine Maintenance

Miscellaneous
  • Know your license key. The easiest way to store your license key is to mail your support info to yourself.
    This way you will always have a copy of your license in your email.
  • When your BI is running perfectly, SAVE a copy of your BI registry settings.
    If you change settings or add a camera and you have BI running perfectly, SAVE a copy of your BI registry settings.
    FYI, BI automatically saves your settings from the last 3 days. Go to your program installation directory, usually "C:\Program Files\Blue Iris 5". You will find 3 settings: backup.reg, backup2.reg and backup3.reg from newest to oldest.
Status alerts
After you have your system setup, you still need to monitor BI is running well on an ongoing basis. Fortunately, doing so is easy in BI.
Setup your Status Alerts. Status button -> Log tab -> Status alerts.
Users can create alerts (push, email, sms) when there are system log errors to catch an issue early.
All the different types of alerts are located in Status -> Log tab. Select "Status Alerts" button. Hit the Help button in the dialog for details.
The Status Log Errors article (work in progress) provides some more level of details.

Watchdog alerts
Furthermore, users can also create alerts for each and every camera that is causing issues (e.g. no signal).
Camera settings -> Watchdog tab has details.

If you tend to be near the BI server, this allows you to examine the machine near the time of errors in order to gather clues to instability prior to a possible crash.

Many users just open their BI in the morning, select the current day and play back events across all cameras using the timeline view or per camera using the clips list. Doing so, tests a lot of functionality at once and makes you aware when cameras are not monitoring correctly, e.g. no alerts came from one camera all night.

Server Health
Log tab
The Log tab is NOT the log file. The log tab aggregates events since the last crash or start.
Aggregation is beneficial when you are in front of the console and have the log tab open.
As BI performs functions based on your settings, you see the events pop up in the logs. It's a great way to understand what BI is doing based on your settings. The aggregation helps you digest the info.
Otherwise the logs would scroll too fast.

Use the Status button (button with chart and arrow in top left of console) to access the Log tab.
Any time the Status button turns red, the BI server encountered an error. Check errors as soon as you can.
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Errors (e.g. crashes) are easily identifiable by the Red X. The Help button in the Status log dialog has additional information. See Status Log Errors article for error details also.

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The Log tab is also a wealth of information when you are trying to figure out if something new you are trying to build is working.

For example, Group triggers and Alerts can get complicated and hairy especially if the Group has more than two cameras. First recommendation, get Group triggers working with two cameras before adding to the group. Understand the log events associated with the simple use case so when you add cameras to the group, you can figure out what is going on or breaking.

If your Push alerts stopped firing, the log tab is great way to know if the BI server is firing Push notifications. If so, the problem resides with your network or mobile app. If not, something is wrong with your BI settings.

Status -> Cameras tab
Are the camera streams healthy.
See Camera Stream Optimization article for details.
Help button in dialog has additional information.

Status -> Clip Storage
Any red errors? See corresponding Help file by pushing Help.
The Storage and Recording section of the Checklist has details.




Last bumped by varghesesa on Fri Sep 17, 2021 5:16 pm.
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