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Technical Note 06
"Out of Memory" Error Message

This Technical Note will attempt to explain how to deal with "out of memory" problems with old versions of Windows (such as version 3.1). These problems can be difficult to troubleshoot. This is partly due to the fact that Microsoft Windows uses the "Out of Memory" message for several totally different problems. For example, Windows reports "Out of Memory" whenever there are not enough system resources even though plenty of RAM is available.

BassBox is a large program and both it and X•over require a lot from Windows. We do not recommend that the user run other programs at the same time that either of them is running.

This technical note will begin with a more obvious solution and work toward the less obvious. It is very technical and should only be undertaken by an experienced person.

Use "Virtual Memory" to Expand the Apparent Amount of RAM
If the computer system has less than 8 MBytes of RAM, the following step should be taken first. Systems that have 8 or more MBytes of RAM can skip this step.

Ideally, BassBox should be run on a PC with 8 or more MBytes of memory. However, the program can be run on a computer with only 4 MBytes of RAM if additional "virtual memory" is available. For example, a PC with 4 MBytes of RAM and 4 MBytes of "virtual memory" would appear to have a total of 8 MBytes of memory.

The "386 enhanced" mode (rather than the "standard" mode) of Windows is required for "virtual memory." If you type "win" at the DOS prompt to run Windows, it will try to run in the "386 enhanced" mode unless there is not sufficient RAM. Note: It is unfortunate that Microsoft chose to call the two operating modes of Windows "standard" and "386 enhanced" because it causes confusion. The "standard" mode is really not the standard one. It is intended for very low-end systems with 286 processors or less than 2 MBytes of RAM. The "386 enhanced" mode is the real standard mode because it is the normal operating mode. And it applies to 486 and Pentium processors—not just 386 processors.

Virtual memory is not real memory. It is a trick that Windows plays to make the system think that part of the available hard disk space is memory (RAM). With "virtual memory" enabled, systems with only 4 MBytes of RAM can appear to have much more and run large programs like BassBox. Consult the Windows User’s Guide for more information.

You must switch to the "386 enhanced" mode and enable virtual memory if Windows is not presently configured this way. Usually, there will be a line like "win /s" in the autoexec.bat file which runs Windows in "standard" mode (the optional parameter "/s" forces Windows to use the "standard" mode). Simply remove the "/s" option from the end of the line to allow Windows to run in the "386 enhanced" mode. You can force Windows to load in this mode by substituting the "/3" option (example: "win /3"). Use the 386 Enhanced control panel program in the Windows Control Panel to enable virtual memory after Windows is running in the "386 enhanced" mode.

Increase the Amount of Free Windows Resources
Every program that runs in Windows uses some of its "system resources." When Windows reports that it has run out of memory, it usually has run out of resources instead. The resources are three 64 KByte segments of lower memory that are set aside to keep track of objects on the screen such as windows, buttons, check boxes, scroll bars, menus, text fields, graphic objects, etc. Some programs do not release all of them when they are closed. This means that running and closing these programs repeatedly will cause fewer and fewer Windows resources to be available to other programs. To refresh the Windows resources, exit Windows and restart it before running either BassBox or X•over and then make sure that there are no other programs running in the background when you start one of them.

We recommend that you have at least 50% free Windows system resources before attempting to run either BassBox or X•over. Windows can begin to behave erratically and crash if the resources drop below 20%. To find out what percentage of Windows system resources are available, select the "About..." command from the Help menu of either the Program Manager or File Manager. (This can also be done from the Norton Desktop for Windows.)

Reinstall BassBox and/or X•over
If neither of the above solutions has corrected the problem, it is time to reinstall BassBox and/or X•over. The purpose for doing this is to make sure that the correct versions of the various DLL and VBX files are installed on the computer.

Important: Before reinstalling the program, first search the hard drive for all copies of the DLL and VBX files used by BassBox and X•over. These files and their sizes and dates are listed at the top of page 2 of the Installation Instructions. (The files are: commdlg.dll, msaes110.dll, msajt112.dll, msajt200.dll, vbdb300.dll, vbrun300.dll, cmdialog.vbx, msgblast.vbx, threed.vbx.) Move all copies of these files to a temporary directory that is not in the system path of the computer. The reason they should be moved and not deleted, is that they may need to be restored later in case the problem is not corrected.

The first place to look for these files is the Windows\system directory. The second place is the Windows directory itself. All other directories in the system path of their computer should also be searched.

Finally, reinstall BassBox and/or X•over.

Obtain an Updated Video Driver
Windows has a long reputation of having weird problems with various video drivers—especially with suped-up high-performance ones. If the user is still receiving "Out of Memory" error messages and all of the preceding steps have been taken, have them contact the manufacturer of the video controller in their computer and get an updated driver. Most video controller manufacturers frequently update these drivers and have bulletin boards so users can easily download them.

Hint: You can test your video driver to see if it is really causing the problem. To test it, temporarily eliminate it by selecting the standard VGA driver that ships with Windows. This is done using the Windows Setup program and it may require you to have the original Windows installation disks handy. Microsoft’s VGA driver is known to be very stable. If you can run BassBox and X•over with no problems, then you can assume that the video driver is the problem.

If the Problem Persists...
We have no more suggestions beyond those listed above. If the problem still persists, we can only assume that something in their system is not compatible with BassBox and/or X•over. Both programs were developed with Microsoft Visual Basic 3.0 Professional so we have to defer to Microsoft regarding system incompatibility.


Technical Notes for
all of our products:

BassBox 6 Pro
BassBox 6 Lite
X•over 3 Pro
Typeface Collection
BassBox 5.1
X•over 1.0-2.x

Technical Support for the Woofer Tester 2
by Smith & Larson Audio:

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