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?
Post Reply
varghesesa
Posts: 90
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 (LocalSystem)

Double check your Windows user accounts and permissions. Specifically, BI runs best under a local admin account, not as LocalSystem.
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.

Static IP Address
If you setup Remote Access using port forwarding, always good to assign a static IP address to your server.


Ad blockers
Ad blockers can have an adverse affect on remote access.


Power savings

I like to start with the easiest checks first. If you are noticing No Signal issues or gaps in recording only when away from the computer, make sure there are no Power saving settings such as Battery saver mode etc. The monitor can go to sleep. The PC needs to be running at full power. Users have reported No signal issues due to power savings mode.

Response from a user with incorrect power savings and getting No signal from his USB camera. Issue applies to USB & IP cameras.
At last, sorted. I said it would probably be my fault and something daft. Well it was, Ken. When I set up the pc I adjusted the power options for the screen to shut down after 10 mins. Also, to sleep after 10 minutes of no activity. This I did not know shuts off the camera even thou the program is running, active. So I did not bother to check that the pc was going to sleep even thou this was running.
Laptops are notorious for having power saving modes that can affect access to system resources such as CPU. In this case, BI was stating 100% CPU usage in the lower right corner of the application. However, the CPU utilization from Windows Task Manager was hovering at 33%! Power savings was throttling BI.
Hey thank you for your help, turns out it is a windows issue not allowing my cpu usage over 40% (capped at 39% as seen on resource monitor). Blue iris is running on a laptop and seems a battery/ac adapter driver/process is malfunctioning. I have not isolated it yet but I confirmed by unplugging and then plugging back in the ac power adapter, now my machine is able to run at 100% cpu when needed. Found this out down a reddit rabbit hole.

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 or storage on USB drives, make sure those devices are excluded from a folder perspective AND a firewall perspective.
  • Note bvr file types are excluded
Exclusions with deepstack.png
Exclusions with deepstack.png (34.34 KiB) Viewed 5064 times
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.

firewall.PNG
firewall.PNG (15.8 KiB) Viewed 11748 times

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.

BI no internet access.png
BI no internet access.png (11.82 KiB) Viewed 10066 times

Storage

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:

Many users do not realize the settings in the Alerts folder affect content stored in the Alerts folder AND content stored in the Alerts table in the database. 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. In below image, 30 days effectively tells BI to store Alerts in the database for 30 days. Alerts older than 30 days will be deleted and will NOT appear in the Alerts list.

database clip age.png
database clip age.png (38.99 KiB) Viewed 9901 times

BI will tell you how many alert records are stored in the database. Similarly, the clips list will also tell you how many records (files) are archived.

windows tuning_database count.png
windows tuning_database count.png (14.96 KiB) Viewed 6537 times

A good benchmark is less than 100,000 records. If you need to store more files, simply increase the file size (4 GB default) in Camera settings -> Record tab for all your cameras, thus reducing the number of files created moving forward.


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. See Antivirus section above for details.
2. Make sure the username/password used to access the NAS exactly matches your Windows login credentials.
3. Use the UNC name in BI, not a drive letter.
For example, \\ip address\path\to\write\to or \\server name\path\to\write\to

Storage Troubleshooting

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

windows tuning_storage log.png
windows tuning_storage log.png (29.38 KiB) Viewed 7542 times

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.



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.

Many users get confused when running BI as a service initially because the console is not up (nor should it be). It's a client server implementation. When you want to view the console, simply click on the application icon in the Windows menu. The console (client) will connect to the server and you see the cameras. When done, CLOSE the console to free up resources (especially GPU resources). The server is still running in the background!

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.
localsystem.PNG
localsystem.PNG (5.06 KiB) Viewed 12198 times
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.


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.

bind exclusively.png
bind exclusively.png (10.26 KiB) Viewed 10297 times
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.

service_delay.PNG
service_delay.PNG (16.15 KiB) Viewed 11570 times


Windows Errors

The Service errors section documents known errors associated with running BI as a service.



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 on a thumb drive/cloud folder.
    If you change settings or add a camera and you have BI running perfectly, SAVE a copy of your BI registry settings again on a thumb drive.
    This way if your PC crashes, your BI settings are still accessible.
    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. This assumes Auto export is enabled. Global settings -> About tab (highly recommended).
Run as a service
If you are seeing instability, many users run BI as a service.  By doing so, BI automatically restarts if it crashes.
See Running as a Service section in the Help file.

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
Many issues / tickets can be alleviated by just looking at the Status button and alleviating any known problems. 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.

status button.png
status button.png (11.29 KiB) Viewed 10360 times

Log tab
The Log tab is NOT the log file. The log tab aggregates events since the server started or restarted.

windows tuning article_log tab aggregate.png
windows tuning article_log tab aggregate.png (65.82 KiB) Viewed 4145 times

In the image above the highlighted error, YARDPOOL Clip: Disk not ready did not occur one time. This error happened 6,897 times since the last restart! A major issue.

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.

status log restart.png
status log restart.png (117.75 KiB) Viewed 11606 times

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.

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.

Another common issue is your Push alerts stopped firing. The log tab is a 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 Trigger or Alert settings.

Status -> Cameras tab
Are the camera streams healthy. You MUST know your camera stats. Help button in Cameras tab 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.

Log files
Always good to review the log files monthly and when facing instability.




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