With the recent release of several new viewers and the server software updates, many people are having lost inventory problems and avatars not rez’ing. There are some basic fixes that correct apparent or perceived lost inventory. There is a difference between apparently lost and really lost inventory. I’ll cover the ‘apparently lost’ and how to restore your inventory. Read the entire article before you start doing things.
Updated 2010-08-06 & 3/2012 – References to the sidebar are from SL Viewer 2.x. There is no sidebar in SL Viewer 3.+. The sidebar references indicate opening Inventory.
Simple Lost Inventory Fix
First we’ll assume your inventory is just ‘apparently’ lost. So, you are not seeing any of or some parts of your stuff in inventory. Linden Lab (LL) is changing how inventory works client side. Some of these changes seem to be confusing to older viewers and various versions. So, if you are switching back and forth between the 1.23.x and SL 2.x viewers you are very likely to have some inventory problems. If you just updated, you may have some problems. If you are an Emerald user you are very likely to have inventory issues.
Before you reach a point where you will feel totally …Duh!… dumb… Did you check your filters? Try selecting Reset Filters and see if that helps. Often using the ALL button in filters can fail to reset all the filters. In an older style inventory click File -> Reset Filters. In SL 2’s go into the Suitecase and at the bottom click the gear, Show additional options then Reset Filters. If that fixes it… you don’t have to tell anyone.
Third party viewers (TPV) are using different versions of the LL code making it harder to know which version one is actually using. Also, LL has been rolling out 1.40 server software from July 20 to 28. That seems to have caused more inventory problems. Also, Emerald’s newest release seems to be having more inventory problems than the SL2 series. Emerald has had some inventory issues since October 2009. Too few people are using Kirsten’s Viewer to know if it has similar problems. If one has updated or used various viewers during the server update, they have probably run into some problems. But, any number of things can cause inventory problems.
Many of these problems come from the viewer cache getting corrupted/confused. Your viewer keeps a copy of the inventory ‘list’, not the actual objects, in the cache. The general fix is to clear and reload the cache thereby forcing the removal of a list with any broken parts and a full rebuild of it. Depending on which viewer one is using, there are different ways to clear the cache. However, they all reload the same way.
You need to log into SL and do some setup work before clearing your cache. Find a Linden region that is ocean only or any region with few prims and avatars. You are looking for a low lag area. You can try Linden’s Ahmadi ocean region. http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/Ahmadi/245/12/24 Teleport there, or your choice location, create a LM for future use, and stay there.
While you are there press Ctrl-Shift-1 to open the Statistics console and check the Packet Loss value. It needs to be 0% but 1% may be tolerable. Any more than that and you should try another location. If your Packet Loss stays high, that is the likely source of your problems. You need to fix that problem with your Internet Service Provider (ISP). See: Troubleshoot Your #SL Connection.
The controls to clear the cache are in the top menu Me -> Preferences -> [Settings]. The [ ] denote a tab in my writing. There are Browse and Reset buttons that can be used with the cache. See image. The old version’s Clear Cache button is gone (See JIRA VWR-19562). The Reset button will clear the cache. It also resets the location of the cache, which can be a problem if you use both the 1.23.x viewer and SL 2.1 viewer as it sets the cache to the default location they share. Both old and new viewers will then use the same cache and you will likely have future problems. There is a solution. Read the ‘Complex Fix’ section if your interested.
With Emerald and some other viewers (pre 2011 and V1 interfaces) the controls are in Edit -> Preferences -> [Network] and there is a Clear Inventory Cache button. It works. This is the preferred method for clearing Emerald’s inventory cache since build 1101.
Once you click Reset or have checked Clear Cache, close the viewer. Then open it and select Last Location. If you don’t have that choice showing on your logon screen, open Me (Edit) -> Preferences -> [General] and in Start Location check the box labeled Show on Login. Close Preferences, select, and login. If that is a problem just login and use your land mark to tp to the region you picked.
To reload your inventory: open your inventory. In the SL 2.1 viewer it is in the side bar. (SL 3.3 Use the suitcase icon. At the top is a search window. Some think it is best to use the ‘Vowel Load’ process, or whatever they call it. Type in an ‘a’ and wait. You will see a count above the search window as your inventory items are ‘fetched’. When the count stops, enter the next vowel. Repeat. After ‘u’ enter ‘xx’ and then ‘zz’. This is supposed to load all your inventory items.
In the image you can see I used the word ‘glamour’. There is nothing special about that. It was just what came to mind. That caused my entire inventory to load in one pass. Typing vowels after that and other combinations did not load any additional items to inventory. The single word seems to have reloaded everything.
While your inventory is downloading, press Ctrl-Shift-1 and again check and watch Packet Loss. This should stay at 0% or at least very low, 3 or 4% is high.
Once the download completes you should be good to go. If you are still missing items, you will likely need to contact LL and file a trouble ticket as the items are ‘really’ lost. Before wasting your time with LL you may want to try another viewer and see if it will load items you believe are lost. WARNING! (see update below) But whatever you do when contacting LL, only tell them about using the SL viewer. People report it is LL’s easy out to say it is a TPV problem and blow you off. Update: It seems SL is logging which viewer you log on with… so they know which viewer you are using. Try logging on with the SL 2.x series (now SL 3.3) and trying all the recovery processes. If you are using SL 2 (3 now) series contact SL before attempting to use another viewer.
If you want to avoid this problem in the future, read the next section. It may not totally eliminate the problem but it will reduce it. Plus, below there are other things you can try, if this fix did not work.
Complex Lost Inventory Fix
Above I was trying to help you get your apparently lost inventory back. The problem of lost inventory usually comes up when one is upgrading to a new viewer or one uses more than one viewer. This section is about fixing the problem once and avoiding repeated problems.
For those of us on the beta-viewers-path upgrades come often and there are other concerns, like our viewer settings, Windlight settings, chat logs, and etc. Problems like our avatar going perma-poof-ball and inventory disappearing are frequent annoyances.
One of the more effect solutions is giving every viewer its own cache. (Most third party viewers use a separate cache by default since mid 2011) Even the beta versions should have separate caches from final release versions. Once one goes to separate caches with SL 2.1 that Reset button can be a real annoyance. Also some of what the viewer tells you is misleading. So let’s deal with that.
When one uses the Browse button to set a new cache, you are warned this will clear your cache. The popup is misleading. It does not clear your cache. It creates a new folder, unless you pick an existing folder. When you create a new cache all the old stuff is left behind in the old one. If you reuse a cache, thinking the viewer will clear the cache, it’s not going to work, because it really doesn’t clear the cache. So, if you reuse an older version cache, you can have problems unless you manually clear it. Some versions of Emerald also may not clear the cache. You can look in the cache and check the date of tiles to see if a cache really cleared.
UPDATE: Viewer 3 and recent TPV’s handly the cache clear better and most actually do clear the cache. But, may a manual inspection to be sure.
When you manually clear a cache remember some viewers save their settings in the cache. Those settings need to be saved or you have to redo your viewer settings. SL 2.1 has their settings in a separate folder. Typically:
So for SL 2.x losing the settings is not an issue when you clear the cache at:
Everything in the SL cache folder can be deleted. If you are using a viewer other than SL 2.x, look through the folder for folders named cache, beams, beam colors, [avatar names], and user settings. If those are there, copy them out and save them somewhere then delete everything in the SecondLife cache folder or manually just delete the other stuff. Copy user settings back after you empty the folder then you are ready to login and reload inventory.
UPDATE: The previous paragraph is in part out of date. The dark text is obsolete.
Large Inventory Problem
There is also a problem from having too many things in the ‘root’ inventory folder, named My Inventory. This is the folder you see when you select the sidebar’s Suitcase and then Additional Options, Close All Folders. When you buy things that give you a folder, this is the folder in which they are often placed. When you open things, this is often the folder to which they go. If you do not organize your inventory, there can be lots of things in it. At some point it is too many and contributes to inventory problems.
Having a massive number of things in the Objects folder can also cause problems. I suspect having a massive number of things in any folder can cause problems.
The fix is easy. Create a folder, let’s say, in My Inventory folder and name it Clothes. Move all your clothing items from My Inventory folder into the new Clothes folder. Repeat this making folders and moving things into them until all that is left are the basic SL folders and the new ones you have made.
You can do a similar process with the Objects folder.
This is not about how many things you have in inventory. It is about how many things you have in a single folder. If you have a million things in a folder, it can be a problem. If you put those million things into several folders, even inside the original folder, you get rid of the problems. The suggested top limit is 300 items per folder, and a folder is an item too. I suspect limiting your self to 250 (256 a binary and programming magic number) is probably a better choice.
UPDATE: The newer Inventory API handles more items per folder. The ‘practical’ limit system-wise is now 10,000 items per folder. There is no hard system limit. From a people practical point 200 or 300 items per folder becomes tedious.
In SL an inventory with 20,000 items is not all that large in the mind of residents. LL thinks 10,000 is large and that one should have fewer then 10k items. Somewhere around 65,000 items is gigantic. Builders and store owners use multiple Avatars to avoid having gigantic inventories. Recover what you can of your inventory and then clean out the stuff you can do without. Delete it. Empty your trash, but be careful and check that lost items are not hiding there. Once you have done some cleaning repeat the recovery process and see if you get more stuff back. If so, repeat until you have recovered your treasures.
UPDATE: All the limits in the previous paragraph have been upped. Having 60 to 80 thousand items is not uncommon now. Still the larger the inventory the slower and more like to have problems.
Archiving Stuff – One can archive things and reduce their inventory item count. Create a prim, say a cube. Edit it and open the Content tab. Drag inventory stuff into it. You can’t put folders in prim content, so no folders in Content. You can use a prim like a folder and put a prim in a prim. Delete the moved stuff from your inventory. Name the prim something meaningful, use the General tab. Take the prim into inventory and put it in a folder named, may be, Archive. You can place most anything in a prim, other than a folder. I have heard a prim will hold 149 items. Because of the way SL works this is an effective way to reduce inventory and not have to delete things. …have you seen Horders on TV? Was that you?
UPDATE: I am updating this just as Direct Delivery is being released. Leaving things in the Received Items folder is a bad idea. Move them out of Received and into your inventory.
Beta Grid Recovery
LL has a recovery process that involves the beta grids. See: Inventory Loss Several people say it does not work. For others it did the trick. The basic idea is to clear your cache and log into the Beta Grid rather than a main grid ocean area. Allow your inventory to completely reload on the Beta Grid. Log off and log into the main grid, pick an ocean region. Check your inventory. With any luck it will be restored.
UPDATE: This ADITI dance is now more difficult. It can take 24 to 48 hours for your inventory to transfer and WORK in ADITI. I’ve had problems during the Pathfinding Open Beta. So, use this only as a Hail Mary last resort desperation measure.
One suggestion is to reinstall the viewers. Remove all viewers. Delete the folders they were in. Install just one. Login and check inventory. Very seldom is the viewer program corrupt. So, this idea just clears all settings, caches, and logs. You can do everything but replace the programs by signing on to your computer as a different user. That forces the viewers to create a new set of files for the new computer user. Login using your new avatar and if it has problems or fixes the problem, it is a good indicator their is a caching problem with the viewer. Clean up those caches using instructions here. If there is still a problem, you can try a reinstall or reinstall all as a last resort.
If all these are failing, check the JIRA SVC-5902 – Client gives up before finishing to load full inventory due to packet loss. Vote for the fix while you are there.
These fixes should get your ‘perceived lost’ inventory back. Using separate caches for each viewer and version should reduce problems, if not eliminate them. However, there are other causes of inventory problems. LL servers can hic-up. Watch SL Grid Status to see what is going on with LL. If there are transaction, asset, logon, or similar problems, avoid working with inventory or trying to reload it. Wait for the all clear.
Network problems can corrupt the cache and mess with inventory. There are web sites where one can test their Internet connection. A speed test is good to run as slow connections cause problems too. Use one of the test sites. Once you know your download speed you can set your SL speed to half that value. In SL 2.1 the the setting is in Me ->Preferences -> [Settings] and is labeled Maximum Bandwidth. In old style viewers if is in Edit -> Preferences -> [Network] and is also labeled Maximum Bandwidth. Also press Ctrl-Shift-1 (it is a toggle, press again to close) and look for PING. Times of more than 250ms can cause problems. Speed and ping problems have to be handled with your ISP.
UPDATE: See Troubleshoot Your #SL Connection
Slow Loading Inventory
If you have to wait for inventory to load every time you login you can try changing the Debug Setting FetchInventoryOnLogin. Some viewers may not have the value. Set to True to load inventory at each login. If you log into a crowded region, that adds to the lag and may add to your problems, so use it wisely.
UPDATE: With the new Inventory API this is much less of a problem. Also, the new API by-passes the region servers and goes directly to the Inventory servers.
Avatar Fails to Render
A somewhat related problem is avatars failing to render/rez and remaining a ghost/gas ball/poof ball, or whatever you like to call it, for an extended period, like 20 minutes to days and even after multiple logins. This problem is often corrected by patience and waiting 30 minutes or so before attempting a relog. It’s annoying.
UPDATE: Much of the following information is completely out of date. Changing to a Ruth/Roth is now a last resort sort of thing. To rez your avatar try these steps first:
- Change your group or group tag. This will often rez you and those around you.
- Press Ctrl-Alt-R to rebake once per minute for 3 minutes.
- Change your bald.
- Change your shape.
There is a process to clear the avatar and let you start over. Basically remove all attachments and layers of clothes and return to a Ruth/Roth avatar. There is a command that does that. See Ruth/Roth below. There is also a Debug setting to force an avatar render. Before using either of those try setting draw distance to zero. Some viewers won’t let you do that. But, if you can, setting it to zero for a minute and then may be 5m can get the avatar rendered. It’s easy to do. In Emerald just type dd 0 in local chat. In SL 2.1 open Preferences -> [Graphics] and set the draw distance.
Ruth/Roth: Ctrl-Alt-Q to open Developer Menu, Develop -> Avatar -> Character Tests -> Test Female/Male – Some viewers have this in the Advanced Menu, Ctrl-Shift-D. You will have to rebuild your avatar afterwards. As you add skin and clothes you may find a problem attachment. Clearing the cache can fix that and some avatar problems.
Another possibility is to change a Debug setting labeled RenderUnloadedAvatar. Set the value to TRUE.
There are additional related tips in: Kirsten Viewer Install Tips. UPDATE: Kirsten Viewer is no longer being developed.