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Memory leaks can cut into resources


© St. Petersburg Times, published August 3, 1998

Q. In a July 6 answer about low system resources, you indicated it was a problem mainly with Windows 3.1. I have Windows 95 v. 4.00.950 and quite often I have to shut down because my system resources falls to around 15 percent. When I reboot, the resources are at about 88 percent.

A. Unless you are running an inordinate number of programs simultaneously, the mostly likely cause for the system resources to fall this low is a program that "leaks memory." "Buggy" video and/or printer drivers are notorious for this. Check that you have the latest version of these drivers installed. Poorly behaved screen savers can also do this. Some other possible causes: Windows does not free system resources abandoned by Windows 3.1-based programs until all Windows 3.1-based programs have been closed. Only when there are no Windows 3.1-based programs running can Windows safely release abandoned system resources. Referencing a large number of fonts can also use up system resources. There is also a known problem with the Windows 95 Kernel (Kernel32.dll) that prevents the proper freeing of certain small data structures associated with Windows Socket processes and allocated sockets (part of TCP/IP). If your Kernel32.dll is less than version 4.00.951 (right click on file, properties, version tab), you can find the update at:http://support.microsoft.com/download/support/mslfiles/Krnlupd.exe

Q. When I access the media player, I get an error message, Program making an invalid dynamic link call to a .DLL file.

A. This is a known problem with some older Number 9 video cards. To correct it, follow these steps:

1. Use any text editor (such as Notepad) to open the System.ini file in the Windows folder.

2. In the [Drivers] section of the System.ini file, change the line that reads
to read: ;DCI=RFMDCI

3. In the [Display] section of the file, change the line that reads DCI-Support=On
to read: ;DCI-Support=On

4. Save and then close the System.ini file.

5. Shut down Windows 95 and restart your computer. This problem can also occur with a MIRO 12SD video card. If this is your card, comment out the line that reads: dci=mirodci in step 2. Some other cards that are known to cause this problem (follow the above steps to resolve): Cirrus Logic 5434 PCI video card; Creative Labs 3D Video Blaster video card; Diamond Stealth 3D 2000; Matrox Millenium; S3 Vision 968 video card; Siig Aurora 4000 PCI video card; and Venus 1 MB video card.

Q. When installing Windows 95, my desktop shows: Cannot find a device that may be needed to run Windows or a Windows application. The Windows registry or SYSTEM.INI file refers to this device file, but the device file no longer exists. If you deleted this file on purpose, try uninstalling the associated application using its uninstalled or setup program. If you still want to use the application associated with this device file, try reinstalling that application to replace missing file. audiosh.vxd Press a key to continue.

A. Drivers with a .vxd extension are found in the registry. Use Registry Editor to delete the StaticVxD value in the audiosh subkey under the following registry entry:

Note that you should make a backup copy of the registry files (copy System.dat and User.dat to a temp directory) before you edit the registry.

Q. I'm running Windows 95 and all my .log file icons have changed to a WinDAT icon. When I try to read them I get an error message.

A. There may be two things going on here - .log files should have a file association to something other than what is currently trying to open them. Click once on any .log file to select it, then right-click while holding the shift key and select "Open with" from the pop-up menu. This will bring up the "Open with file association" dialog window. Scroll down to select Notepad.exe (or Wordpad.exe) and click the "Always use this program to open this type of file" option box. That should fix your .log file problems. To correct the WinDAT error, rename the "windat.ini" (located in the WINDOWS directory), restart Windows, and re-enter the WinDAT program.

– Send hardware and software questions to techtimes@sptimes.com, or Tech Times, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. Questions will be answered only in the column. John Torro, a systems engineer for a software company in Tampa, is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and Microsoft Certified Solution Developer.

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