WindowServer Crash - Forced User Logout

aconte
New Contributor

Hey all! I'm at my wits end with this issue and I'm hoping that someone here may be able to solve this.

Our company is experiencing an issue that is affecting both our Mac Minis (conference room use) and Macbook Pros (end-user machines). We have run into this issue on Sierra (10.12), High Sierra (10.13) and Mojave (10.14) all while ensuring we are on the latest builds as they are released (we update these machines frequently). We have done reformats and clean installs of each OS only installing what we absolutely need to each time. These machines are all managed (DEP) and configured using JAMF configuration profiles and policies. All of our settings (Energy Saver/Display/Screen Saver/Sleep) are correct. These machines are not bound to Active Directory and only utilize local user accounts.

The Mac Minis are being used to run a video conferencing application called Zoom (www.zoom.us) in our conference rooms. We have 48 conference rooms, 24 of which are running on dual TVs in an extended display configuration. This issue is only occurring in the dual TV rooms, it is completely random/intermittent and I can not reproduce it on demand.

The Macbook Pros (2016, 2017) are being used with CalDigit docks and various monitor brands (LG, Dell, ASUS) all of which have seen this issue occur in a dual monitor, extended display configuration. BUT, we have also seen this issue occur without anything plugged into the laptops, including their charger.... which makes it even more boggling as we were convinced it was limited to extended dual display configurations. It happened to my own machine while plugged into a single 4K LG monitor through a CalDigit dock recently.

When the issue occurs, the local account that is logged in/running immediately logs out and the login screen appears. JAMF management history provided me with a timestamp of these logouts. Using this time stamp, I was able to find a crash report for a process called "WindowServer" that is apparently crashing. This crash report has ALWAYS been present each time we've experienced this issue a crossed all of our machines. Currently, as a last resort, we have configured a Mac Mini cleanly, out of the box, no DEP and no JAMF enrollment. So far (two weeks), the issue has not occurred. This makes me believe JAMF is causing this issue somehow but I can't be certain because rooms have gone a month without the problem occurring. Apple Engineering has been involved with our issue for two months - They have come up with nothing so far.

Any ideas πŸ™‚

8 REPLIES 8

aconte
New Contributor

Bumping this.

This problem is still on-going. Apple still hasn't provided us with ANYTHING, it's actually quite sad especially because we have their engineering teams involved.

We have since grown a bit adding an additional 18 conference rooms. When we did this, we decided that we would remove all of these machines from JAMF (66 Mac Minis) and redeploy them over a weekend. While this seemed to help the issue, we have now run into it again in multiple rooms. Same WindowServer process is crashing, same forced logout to the login window when this occurs. We are about to install Intel NUCs in place of our Mac Minis in all 66 conference rooms and I would really prefer not to. Does anyone have ANY idea(s) that may help resolve this issue/discover a root cause?

mm2270
Legendary Contributor II

Couple of questions for you. Does this logout occur right in the middle of using the system, or is it happening when it's been sitting idle for a little while?
If it's only the latter, have you checked to make sure you don't have a Loginwindow Configuration Profile applied that has the "Log users out after: [x] minutes" option checked?

617e1b64dc8e46f6a9b215754f7bdd53

For reasons that I still don't comprehend, when a new Loginwindow Config Profile is created in Jamf Pro (even in the latest version of 10.10.1), that option is automatically checked. It should not be, in my opinion, but, it is. I'm wondering if that's part of what's going on here.

Even if that option isn't checked, I would start by taking an affected machine and removing all config profiles from it, except of course for the main MDM profile. See if the problem persists. You already discovered that only enrolled machines exhibit this problem, so something from Jamf is likely causing it, but start taking things away systematically on one affected machine, until the problem goes away. This would include any policy scopes. If the machine is in smart groups scoped to policies, add it to the Exclusion tab in each policy to make sure it's not going to run on that system. Once the problem stops, you'll at least you'll have something to focus on for further investigation.

aconte
New Contributor

@mm2270 Appreciate the suggestion, but we completely removed all of our Mac Minis from JAMF (see follow up post). They are literally running clean installs of Mojave with nothing other than Zoom installed and this is still occurring. 😞

I believe for the most part they are sitting idle when this occurs, but I've also seen the issue happen while in use.

thebrucecarter
Contributor II

@aconte I have only anecdotal information at this time. We (Notre Dame) use Zoom heavily on desktops and in conference rooms and "enclaves" (multipurpose work areas) and have not seen this issue. I've passed it on to our help desk, though, just in case it crops up. If I find out anything, I'll post it.

aconte
New Contributor

@bcarter5876 Thank you! You're running Zoom Rooms on Late 2014 Mac Minis? If so, what OS are they on? I'm concerned it's in-line hardware at this point, but what we use is pretty basic and changes depending on the room.

jared_f
Valued Contributor

It must be something in the environment that is causing this issue. My quick research on Google shows that this is an issue to do with the video card/drivers. I am assuming the machines having this issue are plugged into a screen? How about the MacBook Pros experiencing this? Are these users working off an external monitor?

In addition, others are saying it may be related to the Safari browser. There has to be a commonality between all of these machines experiencing this issue. Any idea?

thebrucecarter
Contributor II

@aconte We have it on all kinds of Mac hardware, including Minis and all sorts of MacBooks. We're running mostly High Sierra on staff/faculty machines, with some early adopters or new equipment owners on Mojave.

The stand alone Macs don't have any additional hardware involved, but I will check on how the conference/enclave rooms are set up. We use Zoom a LOT for dispersed meetings.

ideoforms
New Contributor

@bcarter5876 I'm experiencing exactly the same WindowServer crash on two different computers (Mac Mini and Mac Pro both running Mojave). No JAMF installed on either though! Have you made any progress with this?