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Book Explaining GPFs and Windows 3.1x Errors

Posted on 1998-04-04
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hello.
My neighbor is running Windows 3.11. A few weeks ago I was able to get his Netscape
Communicator to run, but only after the Microsoft cryptic message, "An error has occured
in your application.......CLOSE or IGNORE". If he clicks IGNORE once or twice or sometimes
3 times (launching Netscape) the dialog box disappears and Netscape runs.

NOW, his mouse won't work during any Windows session. I worked on this
computer from hell before and I believe it is a memory problem, possibly doing
a "waltz" with a COMM port conflict.

I guess this is 2 questions.

Does anybody have any thoughts on what's going on with either the frozen mouse or the
Netscape error message as described above?

Is there any book LEFT out there in the world which will describe, in gory detail,
what causes G.P.F.s and these other cryptic messages and helps correct these
problems(other than Microsoft's standard answer, "Upgrade to Windows95.") ??

Jim
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Question by:jnowlin
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9 Comments
 

Accepted Solution

by:
doddd earned 280 total points
ID: 1804357
jnowlin,

In gory detail, here is what happens when a GPF occurs:-
(Net nanny may censor this!).

  The kernal of any operating system that operates in protected mode exists in an area that has full priviledge to the hardware.  It can read and write to any memory location and write to any hardware ports.

  When the operating system starts a program, or driver, it assigns that process with the appropriate priviledge level.  For a driver, it is allowed to access hardware, but may not be able to access memory areas outside its range (depending on what the operating system says).  An application may not be able to access any memory outside its own range and may not be able to directly access hardware.

  Under NT for example, apart from drivers and the kernal, nothing is allowed to access the hardware and applications cannot access memory outside their range.  This is why some programs (especially comms and MIDI) that normally work under DOS, or even Windows, do not work under NT.  What happens, is that as the CPU is executing the instruction, it checks the priviledge level of the process that is generating it, and decides if the instruction is legal.  If it is not, the CPU will not execute the instruction, generates an interrupt (can't remember which), and the operating system then decides what to do from there.

  Under NT, it gives an error message like "This program is misbehaving or operating incorrectly."  Under Win 3.1x it generates a GPF.  Windows 3.1x will not give GPFs for attempting to access hardware.  It generates the errors for memory related problems.

  You can get GPFs under Win 3.1x for the following reasons-
- Dud memory causing access to an illegal address.
- Code with a bug in it accessing memory that is 'illegal.'
- Corruption in a driver or program which causes it to access 'illegal' memory.

  If you run HIMEM.SYS with the /TESTMEM:OFF option, disable this.  It is a good test of memory.  Run some diags (if you have any).  If you want to know some good ones, just ask.

  Alternately, try reinstalling the offending piece of software.  If this does not help, it may be worthwhile to completely reload the drive.  If you keep getting GPFs in one program, it is likely to be that program or especially DLLs that it may be using.

  Note: you can get books on this sort of stuff.  Any book on assembly language programming that is 386 and above will tell you about protected mode.  If you want he addresses of some sites, just ask (if you don't want to pay!!).  The best places to buy these books is second hand places.
0
 

Author Comment

by:jnowlin
ID: 1804358
Yes. Relatively high-quality) Diagnostic programs and addresses of sites would
be helpful. Of course, a direct hit by a lightning strike would be preferred!  :)
Some PC just have oh so many ghosts in them, and this one has all of them.

Jim
0
 

Expert Comment

by:doddd
ID: 1804359
Jnowlin,
  have you accepted the answer of Jason, or do you want me to provide you with sites?  I can't tell if you're being sarcastic, or not (don't get the lightning strike bit!).

Dave.
0
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Author Comment

by:jnowlin
ID: 1804360
Hi Dave,

" a direct hit by a lightning strike would be
     preferred!  :)   "

...should have read......
" a direct hit by a lightning strike/hit on this PC would be
     preferred!  :)


The lightning strike bit is my hope that this PC will get hit by
one! It's the *only* way that this neighbor will then go out and
actually buy a NEW and up-to-date computer!

I did accept the answer. I'll pose a new question and that way
you can get some points awarded for your info on sites as I still
want that information also.

I will entitle it:
"WIndows 3.1x Errors and Sites for Further Information"

Jim
0
 

Expert Comment

by:doddd
ID: 1804361
No need to do that I'm not interested in points.  I'll look for the sites for you and post them soon.

Dave.
0
 

Author Comment

by:jnowlin
ID: 1804362
OK. Are you sure?

There have been some rather nasty emotions of late regarding points.

Jim
0
 

Expert Comment

by:doddd
ID: 1804363
Jim,

Yes I am sure.  But you've already created the site and you can't really remove a question (you might rouse some nasty emotions).  I will put the answer in your new question.
0
 

Author Comment

by:jnowlin
ID: 1804364
Sounds good.

"WIndows 3.1x Errors and Sites for doddd"

JN
0
 

Author Comment

by:jnowlin
ID: 7039752
I had no idea this question was still open.

I am truly sorry.

Jim
0

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