Change notifications not working intermittently

[ Split from Folder Directory not auto refreshing ]

I've been having this problem as well, apparently ever since I upgraded to the prerelease of Windows 11 22H2 back in August, and I'm afraid I am still experiencing this issue after I performed a refresh install of 22H2 a couple days ago.

For me the issue is intermittent: Usually after I boot my PC, Directory Opus performs as expected in terms of refresh and then, after some time passes, and possibly after the PC has been gone to sleep and back a few time, Directory Opus seems to completely lose folder notification altogether, regardless of the drive (local, network). Sometimes refresh will be coming back, but most of the time, it's pretty much gone until I fully reboot the PC (fully quitting Opus and restarting it doesn't seem to work for me).

What's even more annoying is that this issue seems to affect search as well, in which case Directory Opus search for files is unable to return any result (e.g. search for *.txt in a directory that does contain .txt files returns nothing!).

I have validated that, when Directory Opus is experiencing these issues, File Explorer is fine. Furthermore, I have followed the steps at Changes to folders are not being detected and I can hereby affirm that Directory Opus appear to get properly notified of the changes as far I can see.

For instance, this is the DebugView output I got after enabling notify_debug and shellchange_debug when creating the folder New Folder in C:\tmp:

00000143	13.14203739	[13324] [13488] dopus: Notify 0000022E2D190660 Returned 40 bytes, error 0	
00000144	13.14219189	[13324] [13492] dopus: Change added    on C:\tmp\New Folder	
00000145	14.14135075	[13324] [13488] dopus: Notify 0000022E2D190660 Returned 18 bytes, error 0	
00000146	14.14156342	[13324] [13492] dopus: Change modified on C:\tmp	
00000147	15.45284176	[13324] [13488] dopus: Notify 0000022E2D191B80 Returned 386 bytes, error 0	
00000148	15.45296669	[13324] [13488] dopus: Notify 0000022E2D191B80 Returned 386 bytes, error 0	

Yet, the Directory Opus window of C:\tmp (from a Dual folder tree lister) remained resolutely unchanged, and the New Folder directory never appeared until I hit F5 :frowning:

I'm quite hoping this is an issue with the Directory Opus application that can be identified and fixed, because it's become a major annoyance for me over the past couple of months, and while I had hoped that this was due to having applied an unpolished release of Windows 11 22H2, the fact that I couldn't get rid of it after a proper 22H2 refresh, along with the DebugView notify output, appear to hint at a Directory Opus application error...

That suggests that either:

  • You have filters applied to the file display which prevent the matching files being displayed.

    Assuming the default status bar configuration, you should see a red "Hidden" indicator and count in the status bar. Clicking it will reveal any items currently hidden by filters.

  • Or, something is blocking Opus from listing directories properly.

    The usual culprits are antivirus/malware/ransomware tools which are more paranoid about Opus than, say, File Explorer. Other possibilities include bad NAS devices, but those shouldn't affect the C drive.

    Running Opus as administrator (or another user) can also affect which files it sees, as well as break change notification in general.

If neither of those seems to be the issue, please post a screenshot showing the folder and search results in both Opus and Explorer.

Hi Leo, thanks for replying!

Unfortunately this doesn't make sense with the issue being intermittent. I can vouch that I am not changing any of the Directory Opus options when these issues happen. And I have pretty much been experiencing them on a daily basis since August...

For the record, I re-tested again and made sure there was absolutely no hidden indicator displaying while the issue was triggered.

Well, I'm not using anything besides Defender, and I'd expect that if I had been infected by malware/ransomware since early August, it'd have manifested itself by now (or, if it was a cryptominer, I'd have seen and heard my CPU acting up). While one can of course never be 100% positive, I am pretty sure that malware is unlikely to be the cause here...

Oh, and I am not running Directory Opus as Administrator (but this wouldn't fit the "works fine for a while, then starts to act up" scenario I am experiencing anyway).

I'll try to do that tomorrow.

Oh, and I should add that I went through a full reinstall of Directory Opus a couple weeks ago, but that didn't help either.

Don't discount Defender just because it's part of Windows. It has caused some very strange issues in the past. See the FAQs for how to make Defender exclude Opus.

Not seeing the issue today so far (as I reported it's intermittent), so I can't provide more data for now. But I will do so when it manifest itself again.

One thing I will point out is that the 22H2 refresh I went through seems to have improved things somewhat in terms of how often the issue happens, though it did not eliminate it completely...

Got the issue again today, so I recorded a capture of how it manifests itself, including with search.

You can find it here.

Note that I pressed F5 twice during the recording. Once after I created the new folder and new text file, to make them appear, and once after I deleted those files.

You'll see that the search for *.txt or *.c is returns no hits, even as there should be definite matches (and I will point out that, since I didn't alter search parameters, when the issue does not occur, these searches would have returned the expected results, so I can be positive it's not an issue with the search settings).
You may also be able to see that DebugView does indicate that Directory Opus should have been notified of the changes (unfortunately, I didn't save the log from DebugView, but at least for the initial folder creation and some of the deletions, the notifications should be visible in the screen recording).

Things I didn't explicitly record and that you'll have to take my word for it:

  • File Explorer has no issue with refresh in the same folder while creating and deleting a file, even if these actions are performed from Directory Opus.
  • Exiting Directory Opus altogether and restarting it does not eliminate the issue.
  • Disabling Real Time protection in Defender does not help.

Now, considering that this is probably one of the worst issue to try to troubleshoot for a developer (something that seems to be tied to a specific user environment, and even worse, that only occurs occasionally there), and even though this has become a fairly major annoyance for me (especially losing Directory Opus' extensive search features), I can totally understand if you don't want to expand too much time on it and wait to see if others start to report the same...

As a matter of fact, I only decided to report it after it seemed that I wasn't alone in experiencing this problem, because I'm still more inclined to see it as one of these weird Windows gotchas, that'll naturally disappear if you go through a complete clean reinstall of the system, though it is of course odd that, from what I can tell, Directory Opus does get the notifications but fails to refresh...

Many thanks for the video! That shows the issue very clearly.

It looks like change notifications (the place where there's usually a problem if there is one) are working OK, but when Opus tries to query the directory or details of the new items it is failing somewhere. That's quite unusual.

That a find on the folder is missing the files is very strange, as that would not depend on change notifications at all. It's like the files are (sometimes) being hidden from Opus by the operating system (or some involved component like antivirus).

Would it be possible to make a Process Monitor log of what happens when a new folder and a new text file are created, as in the video? That should tell us if Opus is responding to the changes by trying to check if the new items exist and get their details, and may reveal which operation is failing and which components are in the callstack when it fails.

Regarding Windows Defender, there's also an anti-ransomware side to it in addition to the realtime scanning. They seem to be separate things, so one may still be active while the other isn't. That kind of thing is most likely to be involved if the OS is hiding details of files from (some) applications, although it may (of course) also turn out to be something else.

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Thanks Leo. I sent the ProcMon logs to

I'll look more closely into the anti-ransomware thing, though I'd find it a bit strange that it would only activate after a few hours, since that's typically the time it takes for the issue to start occurring.

Are you using a Windows Insider build? The OS component version numbers look unusual and don't all show up in web searches, but that could be normal as well these days.

I'm not entirely sure what OS version numbers you are referring to exactly, but I should be running a formal release (22H2) with the latest patch applied and winver reports 22621.581 as my build number.

Build 22621.382 is the version you should get when you update to the official Windows 11 22H2 build, which gets incremented to 22621.581 once you install the 2022-09 cumulative update (KB5107321) from Windows Update.

My understanding is that, as of today, anybody who is running Windows 11 22H2 installed from an official release (not insider), and who has let Windows Update apply the latest should be on 22621.581.

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Oh and one thing I should mention is that I am running Windows 11 Pro for Workstations on this specific machine, rather than Windows 11 Pro.

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I’m still waiting for 22H2 on my test machine so I wasn’t sure if it was the same setup.

The ProcMon logs are inconclusive unfortunately. They show that the change notification happens for the C drive but the checks for the new folder which happen afterwards when things are working normally (the second log you sent) aren’t happening for some reason.

We had someone else say they started seeing similar problems after an update, but they haven’t narrowed down which one yet. I’ll send you a private message with the details and installers, if you want to try them to see if the issue only happens with certain versions. If we can narrow it down to one version then we can go through all the changes in it to see if any could affect this.

It’s also possible something more oddball is happening, like a bug in our code or in someone else’s DLL in our process which is messing something up after a while. We can create a build with more diagnostic information to try to track it down that way if the different versions don’t get us anywhere.

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From PMs:

No issue seen using 12.29.2 BETA or 12.30. As far as I am concerned, the problem has been resolved.