The background geoprocessing in theory is a great feature, but I'm finding some inconsistencies which is making me skeptical of it and I'll probably just turn it off. I'm wondering if others are seeing the same things, and I'm hoping someone from ESRI comments on this.
First, sometimes the progress percentage isn't visible. You see the name of the tool running (e.g. clip... clip... clip...) and every so often you get a percent progress, but it appears and disappears so fast you can't see what it is. This doesn't seem consistent though. Sometimes you don't see any progress at all. Right now I'm running clip and the percentage progress is showing up after every "clip" (clip1%... clip 1%...clip 1%...).
I also just don't trust what the scrolling percent progress is telling me. Right now I'm clipping a rather large dataset, and "clip 1%..." keeps scrolling across the screen. What happens sometimes is that the interface will keep saying that the tool has run say, 20%, and it will stay there; then after a while the tool will just be done and the geoprocessing has successfully completed, even though the percent progress was "stuck" at 20% most of the time. In cases when it's taking a long time to complete and the interface keeps reporting the same percent progress, this makes me question whether it's just the interface or if the actual geoprocessing tool running is simply hanging.
This is what is happening right now as I am clicking this large dataset - it's been stuck on 1% progress for about 30 minutes, and I've worked with this data before in 9.3. It doesn't take this long to clip, so I suspect the actual clip tool is hanging. Once I suspect that the tool is hanging, as far as I know I have to quit ArcMap to stop it. I've let it continue to run as I'm writing this, and it finally reported the error 999999.