Our ms-dos program keeps giving us "not enough file handles"  error boxes

Posted on 2003-03-10
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2006-11-17
We are an insurance agency.  We purchased an agency accounting software called AMS Prime in 1997.  Though a dos based program, it was designed to operate in both dos and windows 98.  When the program needed more file handles to operate, it automatically changed the config.sys in Windows 98 to conform to 151 files.  This allowed the program to operate without error boxes coming up.  When we purchased two new computers with updated Windows ME and XP, we started having problems with error boxes stating not enough file handles.

In starting the program in both Windows ME and XP the program called for more file handles and tried to change the config.sys.  But nothing happened.  The error box continued to state there were not enough file handles.

In researching this problem, we found that the system help screen addressed the issue with running dos based programs where they called for more file handles.  It required going into the msconfig and adding another environmnet called "files".  We did this and indicated the appropriate number of files being 151.  We started the dos program; and it was unable to read that there were 151 files available.  So, the error box continued to state "not enough file handles".  

The agency system that we are currently on works very well for our agency.  As a matter of fact, the manufacturer of the program has come out with a full working windows version.  But quite frankely, the older version works far better for us in what we do.  The newer version does not provide us with the same flexibility as the older version.  Hence, we do not want to upgrade to the newer version of AMS Prime.  We are hoping we can solve this problem and continue to use this older version.
Question by:nealdundas
Welcome to Experts Exchange

Add your voice to the tech community where 5M+ people just like you are talking about what matters.

  • Help others & share knowledge
  • Earn cash & points
  • Learn & ask questions

Expert Comment

ID: 8107759
there is a couple of solutions for this

go to the propertis of the sortcat of ms dos based program
go to the program tab
use advanced buttons and do whatever u wona do in the config sys and autoexec bat specialy for that shortcat

LVL 41

Expert Comment

ID: 8107868
You did reboot after the changes?
is this what you did?
WinMe has combined the autoexec.bat and config.sys as one file called environment which has put into the registry. You can go to Start-run, type msconfig and OK to open the system configuration utilities.
At the environment tab, it contains the lines contained in autoexec.bat.
In extra control of your system to override some defaults settings in Io.sys of WinMe, you can add the lines which you originally intended to put into either autoexec.bat or config.sys in the environment.
(1) Go to Start-run, type msconfig and OK to open the system configuration utilities. At the Environment Tab, Click New button to enter New Variable:-

Variable Name: [LASTDRIVE]
Variable Value: [Z ]
Restart computer.
It is now showing like this in the Environment Tab : -
Variable Value

after making the changes, reboot and then check to make sure msconfig reflects the changes

Expert Comment

ID: 8107875
Here is how I believe you can fix the problem in Windows XP (should work in Windows 2000 as well).  I do not have your software so I can't test it... but these steps should be worth a try.

Go to Control Panel
Double click on System
In the box that appears (System Properties) click on "Advanced" tab
Click "Environment Variables" button
Under System Variables, Click "New" button
for Variable Name, type FILES
for Variable Value, type 151
Hit OK until all of the windows are closed

Let me know if the software works after these steps.

psikic <http://cs.atu.edu/~bryan/>
Free learning courses: Active Directory Deep Dive

Get a firm grasp on your IT environment when you learn Active Directory best practices with Veeam! Watch all, or choose any amount, of this three-part webinar series to improve your skills. From the basics to virtualization and backup, we got you covered.

LVL 49

Expert Comment

ID: 8107955
I'd make it more than 151 files.  Try 300 or so to compensate for Windows doing stuff you don't want.

Accepted Solution

psikic earned 1000 total points
ID: 8108266
Sorry that didn't work... here is another thing you should try.  Add the line


to the [386Enh] section of the %windir%\System.ini file.

Source: http://www.windows-help.net/windowsMe/tip-0106.html

psikic <http://cs.atu.edu/~bryan>/
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8108360
Hi Neal,

Also, keep in mind that on WinXP your DOS emulation environment reads from the CONFIG.NT and AUTOEXEC.NT files rather than the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.

These files can be found in C:\WINNT\SYSTEM32


Expert Comment

ID: 8108389
OK.. thanks pbarrette... Neal, just change files=40 to files=151 or files=225 in the C:\windows\system32\config.nt file... that should work...

Give him the credit, I think he is right.

psikic <http://cs.atu.edu/~bryan>

Expert Comment

ID: 8285764
nealdundas has emailed me and told me that the solution:
PerVMFiles=225 added to the [386Enh] section of the %windir%\System.ini file is correct.  Could this question be closed and the points awarded?  Thanks.

psikic <http://cs.atu.edu/~bryan/>
LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 8285833
Hi psikic,

Normally I'd say no. You can understand how people could abuse the system by saying "So and so emailed me saying I was right. Give me the points." Yet there is no proof nor is there input from the user.

In this case, however, we have written confirmation that your answer was correct for his WinME configuration:

Put in a request at "Community Support" or in "Cleanup" and I'll back you up.

LVL 10

Expert Comment

ID: 9635722
Hi Pasha,

Recommend points to psikic.

See this link for clarification, if needed:


Featured Post

Veeam Disaster Recovery in Microsoft Azure

Veeam PN for Microsoft Azure is a FREE solution designed to simplify and automate the setup of a DR site in Microsoft Azure using lightweight software-defined networking. It reduces the complexity of VPN deployments and is designed for businesses of ALL sizes.

Question has a verified solution.

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please ask a related question

The following is a collection of cases for strange behaviour when using advanced techniques in DOS batch files. You should have some basic experience in batch "programming", as I'm assuming some knowledge and not further explain the basics. For some…
Being a system administrator some time we require to do things remotely, one of them is installing software. Here I am going to tell you how to install software through wmic (Windows management instrument console). I am not at all saying that this i…
NetCrunch network monitor is a highly extensive platform for network monitoring and alert generation. In this video you'll see a live demo of NetCrunch with most notable features explained in a walk-through manner. You'll also get to know the philos…
This tutorial will teach you the special effect of super speed similar to the fictional character Wally West aka "The Flash" After Shake : http://www.videocopilot.net/presets/after_shake/ All lightning effects with instructions : http://www.mediaf…

752 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

Join & Ask a Question