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Freezing when running "big" programs

Posted on 2003-12-10
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
Hi :)

I have a problem computer that freezes up when running programs like MapInfo and the only way to make the computer move again is to switch it off and log back in again... Another symptom is when printing something like a 300kb pdf file, it takes it an extrememly long time to print as opposed to under minute from another PC. The specs for the PC are:

Dell OptiPlex GX240
Intel P4 1.6G
Level 2 Cache 256 KB Integrated
BIOS version A01
1G RAM
and 40G Hard drive

Memory Information:
Installed system memory  1024 SDRAM
System memory speed  133 MHz
AGP Aperture   64 MB

CPU Information
CPU speed   normal
Bus Speed   100MHz
Clock speed   1.6G
Cache size  256 KB
Process ID  F0A

We've tried reimaging the computer, running virus scans, changing the harddrive.. and so far none of these have fixed the problem...basically I can't run anything at the same time as MapInfo and doing things in MapInfo just freezes the PC. We will be upgrading to XP at some stage, but that won't happen until at least mid next year and the problem is making work on that PC fairly difficult.  Does anyone have any ideas on what we can do to fix this problem? Would it be a virtual memory problem or spyware or something???
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Question by:pikapi
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by:briancassin
ID: 9917845
What version of MapInfo are you running ?


also in your title you say big programs and in your description you say other big programs like map info could you also tell me the other programs that are locking up....

Prior to the lockups or slow printing are you using Microsoft Word or printing from the internet ? (this is a very important question please think about this one), If you are printing from Microsoft word or the internet do you ever turn your computer off at the end of the day or does it just go into standby mode.

Also are these applications installed on this system or are they on a server or another computer and you are accessing them through the network ?

I would like to also know what your system resources are at to find this out right click on my computer go to properties then the performance tab it should give you a percentage of system resources that are free, please post the results here.

What other applications are you attempting to run when running MapInfo ?
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Author Comment

by:pikapi
ID: 9917911
Version of Mapinfo: 7
Other programs: Well just Mapinfo really and CData2001, other things are a little slow but they won't freeze the computer (sorry when I said big programs I was actually implying MapInfo, I should have said that)
Prior to lockups: not using Word or the internet, but printing from MapInfo, also it's printed over the network (so it's not an independent printer)
Applications: The programs are all installed onto that computer, and the files used with it are also saved onto the computer (ie. not on a network etc, but on the PC's own harddrive)
System resources: when MapInfo is started (without doing anything) it's at 44% but then when you start to work on it, it becomes 81%
Other applications: At the moment nothing, because so far there isn't a single application that can be run with MapInfo that won't freeze up the computer

thanks :)
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LVL 21

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by:briancassin
ID: 9917952
Have you tried clearing out your temp directory ? It is my understanding this program creates a lot of temporary files which if it does and they have never been cleared out they could potentially render a system useless.

Also is their any specific error messages such as "MapInfo" this program has performed an illegal operation and must be shut down" then when you click on details it says "Mapinfo.exe has caused an invalid page fault in module kernel32.dll" ???????


try this to clear out the temp files...

restart in msdos mode at the c:\windows prompt do the following

cd.. "hit enter"

you will now be at c:\

type in CD TEMP

the directory should exist

now it should say C:\TEMP

type DEL *.TMP    and hit enter

now type CD WINDOWS

c:\WINDOWS

type CD temp

C:\windows\Temp

type DEL *.TMP

hit enter

restart and see what happens

Also you said version 7 is that MAP Info "Professional" version 7 or a different type other than "professional"
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Author Comment

by:pikapi
ID: 9918038
Yup, all the temp files have been cleared out and the error messages we're getting are:

Unable to allocate memory. unable to read application file
and
Ninety percent or more of your system resources are in use. To free up system resources, quit programs that you are not using. If you do not, your computer may stop responding

and it's MapInfo Professional version 7...
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by:BillDL
ID: 9918109
As an aside, although I'm not sure what motherboard you have, you may find that the Intel Application Accelerator makes a difference to access and handling times.  Your system seems to be not unlike one of mine that I noticed a measurable difference with ie. P4 1.7  512MB RAM, 40 GB 7200 rpm hard drive.

Check if your chipset supports it, and download here:
http://www.intel.com/support/chipsets/iaa/

You maya also want to remove MS Office Fast Find Indexing, which can slow things down dramatically.

Go through the motions of uninstalling MS Office from Control panel > Add/Remove Programs, but stop when it offers you the choice of Repair, Add/Remove Components, or Remove Office.  Select Add/Remove components, and uncheck "Fast Find".  Reboot and ensure that it hasn't started  (Ctrl + Alt + Del Task Manager).

It would be helpful if we could inspect what processes are running on your system when this occurs.

Use the Start Menu as follows:

1. Start > Run > and type MSINFO32
2. In the left pane, find "Software Environment"
3. For each of the following sections, click on it and then use the menu as follows:
    Edit > Select All > Edit Copy
4. Paste each into NotePad and save by the name of the section in MSINFO32
5. Copy and paste the details here if they are brief enough

Software Environment\
                                  Running Tasks
                                  Startup Programs
                                  System Hooks

Your list of startup programs will help us decide what you need and don't need to run automatically when Windows boots.  You could disable them using "Start > Run"  > and typing MSCONFIG.  The checkboxes are in the "startup" tab, and the only one you usually require is the System Tray.  You could restore them again one at a time again, rebooting between, and test until you find the culprit.

A helpful page to assist you in identifying Startup items is:
http://www.answersthatwork.com/Tasklist_pages/tasklist.htm

Another useful program for finding things that take over your system is "HiJack This" from:

http://www.spywareinfo.com/downloads.php#det
http://www.spywareinfo.com/~merijn/files/hijackthis.zip

It will run from any folder without needing installation.  Just unzip it, launch Hijack This, then press "Config" > "Miscellaneous Tools", and press "Generate Startuplist Log"

This will generate a text file that will list all running processes, all applications that are loaded automatically when you start Windows, and more.  Maybe this would be better to post here.

Download, install and run the freeware personal version of "Adaware" from Lavasoft.  It will identify any rogue Advertising Software or components on your system and allow you to get rid of them.

http://www.lavasoft.de/software/adaware/

Download, unzip, and run (no need to install) the freeware "BHO Demon".  Browser Helper Objects (or BHO's) are small programs that run automatically when you start your Internet Browser, come in many forms including the legitimate Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Norton AntiVirus, but also can be malicious or just a plain nuisance.  This program allows you to enable or disable them.  Take for example Go!Zilla, the downloading utility, which installs a BHO created by Radiate (formerly Aureate Media).  This BHO tracks which advertisements you see as you surf the Web, which may not bother you too much, but it is using up resources.

That said, there is no restriction on what a BHO can do your system.  It can do anything any other program can do ie. read or write (or delete) anything on your system.  Usually, software is installed on your system explicitly by you, but BHO's have a history of being installed without the users knowledge.

With BHO Demon, BHO's are disabled by simply renaming the DLL that houses them.  By renaming the DLL, instead of deleting it, you have the option of enabling it later if you wish.

Info:
http://www.definitivesolutions.com/bhodemon.htm

Download (v. 1.0.0.3 25 June 2002)
http://www.definitivesolutions.com/files/bhodmon1.zip
or
http://www.spywareinfo.com/downloads/bhod/bhodmn.zip

You should also run a Full virus scan of your system after updating your AntiVirus software with the latest definition download.  Scan ALL files, memory and boot sector where these are options.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 9918117
Oh yes, and use the Start > Run option to show MSCONFIG, and uncheck "LoadQM" if it shows in the "startup" tab.  Installed with MS Messenger, it uses up resources unnecessarily and doesn't really serve any useful purpose, except perhaps to Microsoft.
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Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 9918127
********************************************

Oh damn.  I completely missed the amount of RAM you have installed.  Windows 98 has great difficulty using more than 512 MB of RAM unless limited in MSCONFIG's "Advanced" options.

********************************************
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Author Comment

by:pikapi
ID: 9918172
When you say has difficulty using more than 512MBof RAM... does that mean I should upgrade to XP as soon as possible? or can i do something about that in MSCONFIG's advanced options?
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Expert Comment

by:rayt333
ID: 9920118
Select the limit option and set it to use 512MB in the MSCONFIG advanced section.
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LVL 38

Accepted Solution

by:
BillDL earned 35 total points
ID: 9921174
If you have Windows XP, then perhaps now might be the time to use it, but personally I don't really like the Windows XP "upgrade" over Windows 98.  I have seen a lot of problems.

It seems a pity to have 1 GB of RAM (which would make XP really sleek), and not be able to use it with Windows 98.  I have full versions of both, but my preference is Windows 98 due to its simplicity when things go wrong.  XP is very much better at coping with new hardware and usb devices, but I'll live with that for now while it works perfectly for me.

With XP, you have to be prepared to do some immediate critical security updates before venturing near emails and the Internet.  Of course, Win98 also has critical updates that should be installed, but there are far more risks with XP because of its extended functionality.

The choice is yours, but there will come a stage where you will probably decide to move over, and have to create all those backups to migrate.  Do you want the headache now or later??  :-)

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Expert Comment

by:Stevejones123
ID: 9921557
You can use 1024 MB of memory with Windows 98 with no problem. All you need to do is to limit the Vcache. The easiest way to do that is to download cacheman from www.outertech.com or from cnet downloads.

However the problem as far as I can tell is system resources. If Mapinfo uses up 81% of your system resources when you start to work with it, then you are already close to locking up your machine.

My advice would be to junk mapinfo, as a program that uses that high a proportion of system resources is clearly very badkly written, but if you can't then you should do a clean install of XP, since NT based OS's such as W2000 and Win XP don't have the system resources problem.
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Assisted Solution

by:Auriclus
Auriclus earned 20 total points
ID: 9921802
Hello Pikapi,

BillD is correct in that Win98 does not like more than 512 of RAM.  Having more RAM than this slows down your system rather than helping it.  This is likely the cause behind your problems.  If you have more than one stick of RAM, take out one (such as a 512 module) and then run the computer for a few days with 512 and see if you notice a difference.  

As BillD says, the best way to upgrade to XP is DON'T.  Meaning, don't take an existing Windows 98 system with all programs and perpheripals installed and then upgrade.  Microsoft intended to make the upgrade work in this respect, but to ensure you do not run into too many problems or conflicts, it's not recommended.  Rather, back-up your data, wipe your hard drive, re-partition, reformat and reinstall Windows 98 again.  Once Windows 98 has been set-up, immediately install the XP upgrade, without installing any more features or programs to Windows 98.   You should first check your system with the utility found on the XP CD which checks your system for compatibility with XP.

Once you're up and running, install all programs again.  If some do not work under XP, try running them in compatibility mode.

Of course, this will be a lot of work.  You don't need to do it yourself, of course.  Any computer repair shop and perform this task for you for a fee.  The other alternative is to take out RAM (or purchase a 512 stick if you have a 1024 module).

Regards,
Auriclus
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Expert Comment

by:Stevejones123
ID: 9924172
Sorry but noway does more RAM slow Windows 98 down as long as you remember to limit the VCache. At worst it has no effect.

And no way is this the source of his problems.

Look at the error messages he gives:

"Unable to allocate memory. unable to read application file
and
Ninety percent or more of your system resources are in use. To free up system resources, quit programs that you are not using. If you do not, your computer may stop responding"

All of these are to do with system resources, even the unable to allocate memory message. It looks like he should either get rid of mapinfo or install XP or Win 2000.
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 9925743
More than 512 MB of memory will either freeze your system up completely, or will issue what seem like the opposite messages ie. "not enough memory" errors.

MSCONFIG's Advanced option to limit RAM to 512 MB should create an entry in System.ini:

[386Enh]
MaxPhysPage=1FFFF

(or perhaps 20000)

See here for more information:

http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/windowstips/story/0,24330,3337233,00.html
Read the error messages listed about "not enough memory"

http://www.buildorbuy.org/win98help.html

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;138788

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;EN-US;181862

As mentioned by Stevejones123, the other alternative is to limit Vcache.  The simplest way, rather than downloading a 15 day shareware trial to manage things, is to add an entry to System.ini under the [vcache] section.  This is explained in the links above.
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Expert Comment

by:Stevejones123
ID: 9927966
You can use Cacheman indefinitely as freeware. Check out the web page. Whether you prefer to directly edit system.ini is your choice.

The point however is that his problem is SYSTEM RESOURCES. Indeed "not enough memory" messages nearly always refer to system resources and not to memory; they are confusing error messages even by Microsoft's usual standards of confusion in error messages.

Look at his figures. When he starts using mapinfo, he finds that he as 56% of system resources left. As he would have started with 85% left on a clean boot with nothing running at start up, that is already 30% taken. Then the first time he uses it he is down to 19% left. That is already running the risk of crashing. He starts another file and the program will crash.

This sounds like a horribly written program (I can run the whole Office suite, Netscape and the full Corel Draw Suite without coming close to those figures) but there is nothing he can do about it in Win 98. He has one choice. INSTALL Win2K or WinXP
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by:BillDL
ID: 9928116
There's one more thing you might like to try.  Windows 98 is very guilty of keeping .dll's in memory even after the need for them has ceased.  You can force Win98 to release them from memory by adding a new registry entry.

Do it manually
------------------

1. Start > Run > and type REGEDIT > "OK"
2. Maximise the window, then navigate down the left-hand pane until you get to the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer

3. Click once on the "Explorer" sub-key to select it.
4. Use the menu option "Edit > New > Key" and it creates a new sub key of "explorer"
5. While this sub-key is highlighted, type the name "AlwaysUnloadDLL".

NOTE:  Observe the Title case and don't leave spaces.

6. If you have clicked elsewhere and the new sub-key "New Key #1" isn't highlighted ready for nenaming, then just righ-click on it, select "Rename", and type the new name.
7. Click on "AlwaysUnloadDLL" and you will see a "value" in the right-hand pane (A StringValue with a white icon and a red "ab") named [Default].
8. Right-Click on "Default" and select "Modify".  Type in the value of 1 in the "Value Data" field.  OK.
9.  Exit Regedit, then shut down and reboot normally.

Using a .REG file to automate it
---------------------------------------

1. Copy the following text and paste it into NotePad
2. Backspace up to eliminate any extra blank lines after the last bit of text, and backspace on each line to eliminate blank space after the end of each line
3. Save the file as "AlwaysUnloadDLL.txt" to somewhere like your desktop
4. Right-Click the file and rename it to "AlwaysUnloadDLL.REG".  Accept the warning about changing file types
5. Right-Click the .REG file and select "Install".
6. Accept any prompts
7. Shut down normally and reboot.

------------ start of text to copy (don't copy this line) -----------------------
REGEDIT4

[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\AlwaysUnloadDLL]
@="1"
------------ end of text to copy (don't copy this line) -------------------------

This could also be done in DOS after booting to a Win98 boot floppy then changing to the Windows folder, using the command:

REGEDIT  /S  c:\windows\desktop\AlwaysUnloadDLL.REG

If you ever want to remove this registry entry, Right-Click the .REG file > Edit > and amend it to this:

------------ start of text to copy (don't copy this line) -----------------------
REGEDIT4

[-HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\explorer\AlwaysUnloadDLL]
------------ end of text to copy (don't copy this line) -------------------------

The minus sign inside the [ and before the HKEY tells it to delete the sub-folder after the last \

Run the .REG file as stated above.
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Author Comment

by:pikapi
ID: 9954724
Hi, sorry it's taken me a while to respond.. (have been away from the office) .. I'm giving some of those ideas a try.. I'll get back to you all when I've figured out which one(s) work... thanks :)
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LVL 38

Expert Comment

by:BillDL
ID: 10049979
Thank you pikapi.  Which suggestions worked?  Or did none work, hence the B Grade?
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