Running the Software

Do I have to do anything on a daily basis?

No. Once you have downloaded and installed the agent, there's nothing that you have to do. The agent will run on your device whenever it determines that there is unused processor capacity available. When it finishes with a calculation, it will send the completed work to the grid server and then ask the grid server for more work.

How do I check to see if I have the latest version of the World Community Grid application?

You may check what version of the World Community Grid - BOINC agent you have by right clicking on the World Community Grid, or BOINC, logo in your system tray and selecting the item that says 'About World Community Grid - BOINC Agent' (in some cases it will say 'About BOINC'). This will display a window. The version you have installed is shown next to the text on the window that says 'Version: '

You can check which version of the World Community Grid - BOINC Agent that World Community Grid has currently released by visiting this page: . The version number is displayed below the name of the agent for each operating system. If this number is the same as the version number that you have installed then you have the latest version.

Do I have to leave my device on all the time for this to work? Or always be online?

The software can run only when your device is on. The software doesn't need to be connected to the Internet to work its task, but once finished, it needs to reconnect to return data and to get a new task to work on. We do not ask our members to change their normal habits and schedule for using the device. The software will adapt to your usage patterns and only utilize the device's processing power when you don't otherwise need it.

Will running the World Community Grid Software affect my regular use of my device?

No. Configured correctly, the software will never interfere with your ability to use your own device. Most devices never use all of their resources and it is estimated that up to 90% of the processing power of an individual device can go unused. The World Community Grid distributed computing model is based on the ability to utilize this "idle" capacity from individual devices.

How do I make the software recognize the free space on a separate drive/partition?

The software will only recognize the free space on the partition on which it is installed. If you have a drive/partition with more free space that you want the software to use, you must install the software to that drive/partition.

Why does the software immediately download a large file as soon as it is started?

The task downloaded by your software is comparing small pieces of data against a larger database. In order to make this task effective and to maximize the potential of your machine, it is necessary to keep some data locally. For the time being, this is a one-time download. Subsequent tasks may or may not have an up-front download depending upon the nature of the computational problem.

My computer seems to be running slow since I installed the World Community Grid agent?

If your computer seems to run slower when running the agent, then you may have relatively little memory in your system. Using 100% CPU alone will not slow things down because the agent runs at lowest priority so that it yields to any other work. Otherwise, it consumes the unused CPU which makes the total go to 100%. However, if your system has relatively little real memory (usually about 512 meg or less) and you are running other memory hungry applications, then there might be disk paging delays. To solve the problem, you could set your agent to run in screen saver mode only. Then, while you are actively using the machine, the agent will stay out of the way.

How do I set up the software to automatically start on Windows?

If you find that the software is no longer starting up automatically when you start your computer, then please follow the steps below to set it up to automatically start up again:

  1. Go to C:\Program Files\BOINC using the Windows Explorer
  2. Right mouse click on the file 'boincmgr.exe' and select 'Create Short Cut'
  3. A new file is created called 'Shortcut to boincmgr.exe'. Right mouse click on this file and select 'Cut'
  4. Next go to C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs\Startup
  5. In the folder, right mouse click on some empty space and select 'Paste'. The short cut will appear.

The next time you restart your computer, the software will be started automatically.

How do I set up my system so that the windows agent starts for several or all of the users that log in?

You can place the World Community Grid icon into each of the user's startup folders (in Start Menu->Programs->Startup), which will make the agent start whenever those particular users log on. You can also place it in the startup folder for "All users" which should make it run for everyone. One way to get to these folders is via: My Computer -> Local disk C: -> Documents and Settings -> All Users -> Start Menu -> Programs -> Startup, for example.

How do I keep the software from running while my laptop is only using battery power?

The software is configured so that it will not run while your laptop is on battery power.

I need to completely stop the agent for a while. How do I do it?

If you need to stop your agent for a little while, use the snooze icon (moon shape) on the agent. You can change the default on the preferences page (check icon). If you are running a memory intensive application for a longer period of time and notice slight delays, you might want to set the agent to run only as a screen saver. Go to the preferences window (the one with the check icon) and select "Run only as Screen Saver" and then click on "Apply". This will make the agent only run when your pc is in screen saver mode. Finally, you can completely stop the agent by first minimizing its window, right clicking on its icon in the tray at the lower right, and selecting "Exit". This causes the agent to stop until the next reboot. You can also restart it at any time using the Start menu.

I have a result that the BOINC Manager reports as being "Ready to Report." What does that mean?

The BOINC client returns a completed work unit to the server in a two-step process. The first step is the uploading of the calculated data (called the result file). The second step is for the BOINC client to contact the server and report that the work unit is complete and to provide additional information, including how long it took to process the work unit. The BOINC Manager will report a work unit’s status as 'Uploading' as soon as the work unit has completed. Once the file has been uploaded, then the BOINC Manager will report the work unit as 'Ready to Report'. More information about work unit status messages may be found here.

The software keeps writing "Deferring communication with project for W days, X hours, Y minutes, and Z seconds". What does this mean and how do I get it to connect now?

This message appears when the software has experienced a problem connecting to the server. This may be because of some problem on your local device or because World Community Grid's servers are temporarily unavailable due to maintenance or updates.

The software will delay the attempt to reconnect because during the time that the servers are unavailable, more and more volunteers' devices will try to connect to the servers. Once the servers became available the servers could become overwhelmed if all of the local devices attempted to contact them at once. This delay mechanism reduces the chances of the servers being overwhelmed.

How do I set the software to not run while I am using the computer?

To change your preferences for all computers under your member name, sign on to our website and go to your “Settings” page. Select “Device Manager”, then “Device Profiles" from the left hand Navigation. Click the Profile Name that you want to update and select custom profile. Under "Advanced Options" change your settings as follows:

  • Do work while computer is in use? No
  • Do work only after computer is idle for: XX = Equals the desired number of minutes
  • Select save
The new settings will take effect when the software next communicates with the servers.

Can you explain the screen savers?

You may find an explanation of the various project screen savers under the specific research project name found in the “Overview” section of our Help facility

Will the software run faster if I do not run the screen saver?

Yes. The screen savers divert your computer resources to motion and graphic processing. This is not just for the World Community Grid's screen savers, but for most screen savers.

How do I shut down or change my screen saver?

Click on [Start] [Settings] [Control Panel], and then double click on "Display." Click on [Screen Saver]. Use the drop down menu to either change the screen saver or shut it off by selecting "None."

Do I need to use the World Community Grid screen saver in order to contribute to World Community Grid?

No. You may utilize any screen saver of your choice and still be able to contribute to World Community Grid. World Community Grid runs at the lowest priority and will yield to any other application but will utilize any unused computer cycles available. (Note: World Community Grid screen savers are designed to work with the science applications at lowest priority with resource limitations. This minimizes the impact on your computer's resources. Other screen savers may not be designed to run at lowest priority with resource limitation.)

How can I change the screensaver resource limits on my computer?

You will need to modify your Device Profile on the website. On your Settings page, select Device Manager, and then Device Profiles. Under Profile Name, select which Profile you would like to change (Default, School, Home, etc.). Then select the Custom Profile radio button. Under Advanced Options, scroll down to the Graphics section. The defaults are set to 7 frames per second and 5% cpu usage. If you would like the screensavers to refresh quicker, change the frames per second to 30. If the screensavers are taking up too much CPU power, decrease the percentage from 5% down to 2% to keep the screen saver usage to a minimum. Click Save at the bottom of the page to save your changes. The next time your computer communicates with our website, the preferences will be updated.

I am running SETI@home on my computer? Will I be able to run both SETI@home and World Community Grid?

Yes and no. Any agent, such as SETI@home, will be able to continue to run on your computer after you download and install the World Community Grid agent. However, while you can run both clients at the same time, SETI@home runs at a higher priority than the World Community Grid agent, so SETI@home will receive all the extra available CPU cycles and will starve the World Community Grid agent. Because of this, you should only run one or the other at any given time.

What was the United Devices (UD) Agent software?

The UD Agent software was the software that was initially used by World Community Grid to distribute and run research on members' computers. It has been replaced by the BOINC software. The BOINC Migration Announcement may be found here.