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Spark slowing down? Major issues

So over the past few weeks several of my WinXP users have complained of Spark slowing down to the point of being completely unusable. It usually starts with chat windows being slow to open, or typed text taking 10 or more seconds to actually appear. It gradually gets worse to the point where Spark is useless, nothing works or takes a VERY long time to respond. They restart Spark and then the roster takes several minutes to actually load, and the same issue is back. These users have really good machines, all patched and updated, latest JRE (1.6u2) and lots of ram. I’m running Spark on Vista and have no issues at all. They have been running Spark 2.5.6 and 2.5.7, all the same issue.

Anyone else have any issues?


Takes several minutes to load? Yikes. By any chance are their rosters in the thousands? I know if you have a couple thousand people in your roster, that spark would try to sort them too much and cause a long loading period. Also, are you installing with the exe or msi?



We only have about 70 users in total on the system, and at any given time there’s usually only about 30 online. Spark has been installed from the .exe (the online version).

It’s interesting to note that this just started happening this past week or two. One change we did make was to join all our computers to our new domain, and we copied their local profile to their domain profile. Everything else works fine, so I don’t see how that would effect just Spark. Also, these issues were being experienced just before that as well.

Other note, I’ll load up into Pidgin and the roster sometimes takes a while to load as well. Everything else is fine in Pidgin, just that initial roster load is slow.

This is all very odd.

Hi Ryan,

is it possible that the server is slow, does the memory usage on http://example.com:9091/index.jsp (assuming that you are using Openfire) looks fine or are there more than 90% used?


Hi LG,

The server appears to be fine, it’s a fairly good box with hardly anything running on it. Openfire reports that it’s using about 30% of its ram (39.17 mb of 126mb). I’m runnning openfire 3.3.2.


Slow Spark never was a wonder to me (WinXP Pro 512MB RAM, Symantec antivirus, lots of programs, Firefox with lots of tabs, etc.). But for some time i’m seeing same problems. Some times it just locks up. I get some message but i cant type anything, cant switch between tabs. This is solved by clicking on the roster window and back to chat window. So to me it looks like something is wrong in Roster vs Chat Window relations.

WinXP Pro SP2

P4 2GHz no HT, 512MB RAM

Spark EXE with JRE installer

My PC was added to domain recently (no profile roaming), but i think this problem started to happen before that.

Spark logs are usually empty.

my old thread http://www.igniterealtime.org/community/thread/27837?tstart=0

I think we’re having the same issue with Spark. This is actually very serious now, I have been having more and more staff report to me of this same problem. So far I have no fix for it, other then to switch away to another client.


Do me favor and let’s do a little test. Exit out of spark, and go to the user.home dir (c:
document and settings
user) and rename the spark folder to spark_backup. Restart Spark and see if the client is running normally. Also, I’ve noticed dramatic speed improvements by using the default look and feel.

Spark | Preferences | Appearance

Check the “Use System Look and Feel” box and restart Spark.



Thanks Derek, I’ll try that out.

One clarification: are you suggesting to turn the “use system look and feel” on or off.

Thanks again.

Have it be checked So I really don’t know what the actual problem could be. It could be something like a native hook, like the jniwrapper.jar in the plugins dir or some ridiculous i/o happening. I would love to find and fix this problem asap though. It’s just tough when I can’t repro it.



Hi Ryan and Oleg,

it may help if you would provide some stack traces which you should take while this problem occurs.

see JVM Settings and Debugging, Tools, StackTrace


ddman wrote:

Check the “Use System Look and Feel” box and restart Spark.

after turning this option on i’m now constantly seeing background (browser, docs etc.) in chat window toolbar. it’s like sometimes Sparks chat window toolbar gets transparent and when that image sticks in toolbar when you move chat window. This is also fixed by clicking on roster and back to chat window.

I cant get any dumps or stacktraces. This is my working environment, i have to talk to people all the time, so no time for debugging…

One more thing. I had never experienced Spark lock ups at home (with Win2000), only at work (with XP). Now i’m using XP at home and for the first time it happened here. I couldnt get my chat window from the taskbar no matter how many time i have clicked it. Then i just clicked once systray icon so my roster came up and then i clicked chat window and it came up too. So it could be OS specific… Not much help though.

Here is how Spark is looking to me time to time:

I have logged in about 8:30 and Spark is set to launch on startup. I wasnt touching it. And then i tried to get my roster window it wasnt reacting. When i minimaized all windows that’s what i saw.

I’m trying to make a thread dump with StackTrace. Dont know which options should be turned on.
spark thread dump.txt (16344 Bytes)
spark dump with force gc.txt (11556 Bytes)

I can also confirm this is happening.

I have a Call Centre with 20 XP machines that has come to a grinding halt since installing Spark 2.5.7. They all started running slowly and freezing. They removed Spark and the problems vanished. I used the exe with java to install.

Now that I am onsite, I can’t get the problem to be reproduced on the only machine they left Spark on.

So, LG, Derek, was there anything useful in my dumps?

I fixed 95% of the issues I’ve been having with slow downs and crashes by doing the following:

I created a spark.vmoptions file in the prgroam files dir for Spark. I then set the “-Duser.home=” option to specify a local folder within my profile’s app data directory. I then copied the Spark folder as well as the .jmf and userdic.tlx items into there. Spark now performs reasonalbly well (for java app). I have had several colleagues implement this as well and it fixed their issues.

The bulk of my company’s spark issues started after we all joined our workstations to the new corp AD domain I rolled out. I have folder direction enabled for the “My Documents” and “Desktop” profile locations and set them to a local file server in each office. It appears Spark determines where it’s profile home is based on the location of the “Desktop” folder, storing in it’s parent path. This puts the data on our file server, which is still accessible by the staff (though not in the best place for it). Once I changed the home location to a local path, the major issues resolved.

It seems spark doesn’t like accessing its home data properties via a network share? Any way we can have it set to store data in the standard location under the user profile’s local app data directory?

Looks like there’s already a bug in the issue tracker for this problem. Hopefully attention can be given to get it resolved, it doesn’t appear to be a very complex fix to me.

See Spark 743

Can any developers comment on the status of this fix? I REALLY need this fixed ASAP as my company executive are having TONS of problems with Spark and are wanting to get rid of Openfir/Spark altoghether.