I am not sure which terms to search for this with, perhaps you can help. Sometimes when I move around my emacs window, some grey clutter emerges on the left hand side. The file that I am working on is growing in size (82 Kb), but is not that huge (I would expect). I also have gradually added a bunch of things to the .emacs startup, but again, not that much. The computer is not overloaded with other apps either. I'm working with Windows 7.

The clutter is purely visual and apart from hiding the some letters briefly does not obstruct the use in any way. The clutter is easy to get rid of with some scrolling or looping through buffers, which works sometimes. Writing on the clutter also forces the cluttered part to be updated with the proper contents.

Any idea which problems I may be facing? And could it increase with file size? It looks like this:

This is how it looks like

The image of how it looks like does not seem to work with google drive, but it should be visible here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-vbd3c7HrSJS240aUMxaV9xZmc/view?usp=sharing


This is how it looks like

The problem persists when starting up with emacs -Q (noinit), and with no open files.

  • This looks like emacs for windows, am I right? Did you have an opportunity to test this behavior on other systems? – T. Verron Mar 11 '15 at 11:45
  • Thanks, I am using Windows 7, updated the post. Unfortunately I don't have easy access for them, it is quite probably Windows related though, as it seems to be purely a visual issue. – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 14:22
  • Don't assume that it is Windows related. I use Emacs on Windows 7, and I see no such problem. Consider reporting the symptoms using report-emacs-bug, so that Emacs developers can take a look. They will let you know, if they think it is a Windows problem etc. – Drew Mar 11 '15 at 14:37
  • For future reference, I'll add the answer to the bug report: "I see nothing Emacs-related in the snapshot you've shown. I'm pretty sure it's a problem with your system's setup. Two things I suggest to try is (a) disable ClearType if you enabled it, and (b) try switching your video driver to lower level of optimization." I haven't tampered with ClearType, so it should be off as default on Win 7 Emacs 24.4, and unfortunately my driver does not allow these changes to be changed easily (i.e. I don't know how). Thus, still unresolved, but luckily this does not inhibit regular use of Emacs much. – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 18:50

I'm not sure what I'm looking at in your screen shot. Do you have a wide left fringe? What effect does

(set-fringe-mode '0)


  • Thanks a lot for the idea! It might help practically, but I am curious as to what is causing the lag. Some scramble seems to occur also on the bottom buffer toolbar, so I guess it is not only dependent on the fringe. – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 14:31

What you show in that image seems like a redisplay problem. Does that gray noise go away if you use C-l?

Also report here about anything particular you might be doing, such as using Emacs remotely or via a particular window manager.

And let us know if this happens only with particular kinds of files - not just the size, but in particular the mode of the buffer. When a buffer is in a particular mode, different code is used to set up your editing environment. This info can be important to helping you find the problem.

More importantly, what happens if you start Emacs without your init file: emacs -Q? If the problem goes away then recursively bisect your init file to find the part that is problematic. You can use command comment-region to comment out blocks of the code (use C-u to uncomment). Comment out 1/2 of the file, then 3/4, 7/8, 15/16, etc. until you see what's causing the problem. If the solution then is not obvious, report here just what is causing the problem.

  • Thanks! This advice is very helpful. It seems that starting without init, and with no open file buffers, it behaved the same way. C-l did not help either, on occasion, it also scrambled the buffer info bar. I'd guess that it may be a Windows / Graphics driver issue. – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 14:28
  • If you can reproduce the problem when you start with emacs -Q (no init file), then consider filing an Emacs bug: M-x report-emacs-bug. That will collect info from your session, to be included in the bug report (which you send by mail). Emacs developers will let you know whether they think this is an Emacs bug. And they will let you know about any other info they might need about your environment etc. – Drew Mar 11 '15 at 14:35
  • Correction, looping through buffers seems to help sometimes, but not all the times. It has definitely something to do with failing to update those spots, however not sure what is causing this. Haven't seen it for any other software, but the graphics hardware and drivers are definitely old and quite weak to begin with. Probably some issue with Win 7 then... – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 14:37
  • In that case it sounds like it might be a problem with the Emacs redisplay code: the visible portion of the buffer seems not to be refreshed when it should, or not refreshed properly. – Drew Mar 11 '15 at 14:38
  • Thanks, I've sent out the bug report as you described. I've added a link here too. Maybe they'll have an idea. Any idea, what I could describe with redisplay? The issue remains luckily mostly cosmetic. – puslet88 Mar 11 '15 at 14:49

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