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Mathematica Hangs on Spurious Dynamic Evaluation

  • To: mathgroup at
  • Subject: [mg121901] Mathematica Hangs on Spurious Dynamic Evaluation
  • From: James Stein <mathgroup at>
  • Date: Thu, 6 Oct 2011 04:22:13 -0400 (EDT)
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This morning I moved from one application to Mathematica,
typed command-N to make a new empty notebook,
typed "IntegerDigits" (without the quotes),
then typed command-shift-F to get the help info about 'IntegerDigits'.

My reward: two alert windows appear:
(a) A "progress window", with a barbershop-pole rotating progress bar,
with the text: "Opening help topic..."
(b) An alert window with the text: "One or more dynamic objects are taking
excessively long to finish evaluating. You may either disable further
dynamic evaluations or continue waiting. Dynamic updating can be re-enabled
using the Dynamic Updating Enabled command in the Evaluation menu."

This latter alert window is BEHIND the progress window, therefore is dim,
therefore its two buttons ("Disable Dynamic Updating" and "Continue") cannot
be clicked. Mathematica appears to be enjoying an infinite loop. Menus are
inactive. My only recourse is to abort the program, losing all unsaved work,
and restart. (It remained in this save for over ten minutes while I wrote
this message, took screen shots, etc.)

But: I *never* use the dynamic features I sometime read about here, and I
have gotten this message in the past merely by opening Mathematica. What
might be happening?

This problem is, to my experience, new with v8 (and v8.0.1).
This problem is similar to one reported previously a few days ago:
[mg121669 problem opening mathematica]

I placed a screen capture showing this problem at

Also, I have placed the Macintosh-reported information after aborting here:

Suggestion: The alert window would be more helpful if it identified the
notebook and cell where (one of) the problematic "dynamic objects" appears.
This would help users and Wolfram experts locate the bug. I suspect the
problematic object is in an internal notebook.

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