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How many times does your computer lock up in a day?


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Being the Editor of the Northern Neck Region, I've run into this problem! Since I am printing all my newsletters myself to get good color, I finish up composing half my newsletter while printing the other half. At times the computer will lock up and even quit the printing job. I know you'll probably say I'm doing too many jobs at once, but is there a better way? I print about 800 pages an issue, 8 1/2 x11 on both sides. This computer is only 9 months old, so I don't think the memory is maxed out. Any ideas? Wayne confused.gif

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Hey Wayne,

When you power up your computer, one of the first tests performed is the Memory Test. Read the test results on the screen... you should have at least 256K. Some manufacturers only put in 128K to help keep the price down.

Another possibility could be printer spooling. When you order a print job, the computer spools all the data to be sent to the printer and dumps it into the printer's memory and the excess in the computer's memory. The more copies requested and the more graphics on the page, the longer the spooling process takes. While spooling is taking place, the computer can't do other tasks and can appear to be locked up.

I used to have problems with an older version of my desktop publishing software locking up. After installing Norton Utilities which includes Crash Gaurd, I have had fewer problems and have been able to unfreeze the program when a problem did pop up.

Don't know if any of this will help, but keep us posted.

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Wow... hope you plan to purchase a new printer every couple years! With the price of memory being so low right now, there no reason not to max out the RAM available in your PC to eliminate the possibility of "low memory" being your problem. Another problem could be the fact that your PC is overheating. I find so many folks lately that leave their PC "on" 24/7. Still don't understand why. Even if your on DSL or cable modem, there's no benefit to leaving the PC on all the time. This too enhances the possibility of overheating of the main processor depending on where it's located and airflow into the case. Certain "home' printers do not have much on board memory (usually 128k) and rely on the RAM in the PC to act as a spooler to buffer the printing process. Another reason to max out the RAM in the PC. God forbid you are running Windows Millenium ... it has some problems handeling graphics in some instances. It was definitly not designed for graphics manipulation or digital camera work. Just a couple ideas and observations from over the years as a tech for a local communications company. wink.gif

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HeyPop, You're talking over my head about "spooler and buffer", but I am using a Windows Me unit, so I guess I can expect some problems. With this month's newsletter issue, I did manage to keep the lockups down to two thru my printing run. I can still do tasks, if I slow down my commands, which is very important! By the way, I bought, or at least our club bought, a five year warranty on the printer. I'm very happy with the printer color photos, so I'll put up with the down side. That's about it guys. Wayne

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I also use Windows ME (ME is a version of an operating system.. not the type of "unit ") on my system. My computer is an HP with a 700Mhz processor and 64 Mb of RAM.

I also use an HP 1220 Professional Series printer that also has a 5 year warranty. An HP 1220 is more of a printer than most home systems need but the cost of the printer was about the same as the club was paying for a one year renewal on a service contract for a black and white copier. If the printer lasts 5 years before needing replacement, it will have cost the club about $400 instead of $2,000 for the same time period.

I have not had any lock up problems even though I often use lots of color graphics and photographs. Each issue of the newsletter is 10 pages and I print out 90 issues each month for a total of 900 pages. Likewise, I have had no problem with graphics or digital camera images using the Milliniem Edition operating system. I use Photoshop for editing and enhancing the quality of graphics and get very good results.

I agree with Ron that you should check the RAM on your system. The RAM is the temporary memory that allows the system to perform its processes. The higher the RAM the quicker the system can operate and less chance of hanging up. Just because your computer is relatively new doesn't neccessarily mean it has lots of RAM. Often systems that sell for under $800 or so have a huge multi Gigabyte disk for data storage but a low amount of RAM. Check your system and see if you can add to the RAM. Newer software always seems to need more RAM capability to work. By today's standards, my system doesnt have a large amount of RAM but I am lucky that it does the job quite well without problems.

Good luck.

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Just a side note here. Even with larger amounts of RAM if you open say program A,B and C and they are consuming most of your RAM then you close program B and open program D, you can run into a problem also. If program D needs more RAM than there was left with A,B and C running or more than B was using, it can lock up the computer. Each program uses a consecutive area of RAM. So if program D needed more then was availble in a consective "slot" where B was running or at the end it can be a case of lock up. One tip is to start all your programs you are going to use the whole time first, (starting with the ones using the most RAM) then open and close the others. Don't forget any files you open are included in the RAM. So again, open the big ones first. This way your RAM doesn't become fragmented. The same basic thing happens with your hard drive that is why under your system tools there is a disc defragmenter program.

Hope that made sense.

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Ok Novaman! You actually used a computer term I understand! We defrag our computer at least once a week . Now as for the Ram. How do I check that on start-up as Fordee9er suggested? Then, I assume that if the Ram is short, I need to go to a computer store and install more memory of Ram, Right? My club's former editor wanted to know how I find time to print all 720 pages. I start the printing process and then go do something else, even leave the house for a couple hours after making sure the paper tray and ink cartridges are full. I'll run it through the night. I might get up every 3 or 4 hours to refill everything. By the way the wife just found my memory on the computer. It has available; 420kb physical memory, 1.73gb virtual memory, and 1.73gb page file space. Does any of that make any sense guys? Waiting to hear from you. Wayne

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420kb physical memory = 420kb ram (although this sounds more like was is available and not the total unless your computer was originally bought with windows 3.1 or DOS on it. I believe you need 8MB for Windows 95)

1.73gb virtual memory makeshift way of utilizing a segment of your hard drive's permanent memory as RAM. (Slower than using RAM because you are now read/writing to the hard drive.)

1.73gb page file space = I'm not really sure but, I think it pertains to the virtual memory.

My laptop which is also on and I'm looking at reads: Total Physical Ram 63.45MB (have 68MB chip), Available Virtual memory 368.00KB (Have 21 programs running right now) (With Windows hit ctrl+alt+del at the same time. pop up window will show everything running. Click cancel) Total virtual memory 2.00GB (space allotted on hard drive for "RAM" use) Available Virtual Memory 1.83 GB (so I'm using some of the hard drive) Page file Space 1.94GB

From your post it sounds like we need a little computer memory class. (I'm not trying to belittle anyone) this is for anyone it may help to understand memory a little better.

The only thing your computer knows is electrical impulses. Any character you type into your computer (remember: programs had it be typed by somebody too) is recognized by the computer as a series of 8 off - on signals. 0=off 1=on. So a letter "a" might look like 01101101 and a "b" look like 10010100, etc. That 8 off - on signal is called a Byte. So everything basically works off of multiples of 8.

So:

8 - 10101010 = Byte

1,000 bytes = 1 KB (kilobyte)

1,000 KB = 1 MB (megabyte)

1,000 MG = 1 GB (gigabyte)

Now you say wait a minute I thought you just said it was based on multiples of 8. It is. The above is the values most people know but the true vales are KB=1,024 bytes, MB = 1,048,576 bytes, GB=1,073,741,824 bytes

Most computer RAM chips are like 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256MB in size. Like I was saying about the virtual memory being slower the bigger the RAM the better. Matter of fact I never took note as to what my laptop was. Since it is only 64MB, and I'm using virtual memory, I think I'm in the memory need market. shocked.gif

Hope this has helped.

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  • 1 month later...

Whew!, Finished my Nov.-Dec. issue after starting last weekend. 16 full pages by 120 issues, lot of ink, lot of paper. Yes, it locked up 6 times. I've gotten used to that, but it crashed yesterday in the middle of typing my last page. Lost that page, plus half of another one. Got pissed and took a nap! Luckily I had saved everything else. Anybody interested in exchanging newsletters, e-mail me with your address. It'll be our Christmas gift exchange program. grin.gif Happy Holidays, guys! Wayne

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  • 2 months later...

IBM Thinkpad A20m with 256 Mb of RAM locks up 2 to 5 times a day. I am at the point where I will backup everything to another computer reformat the hard drive and completely restore the operating system to original state. Big pita, can't find the time to do it though.

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EDBSO, Don't know anything about your system. I got this month's newsletter in the mail last week with 1 crash and 2 lockups. I've noticed if I keep working on my newsletter while printing, everything is fine although slower while printing. But, If I leave the computer for a while,say 30 minutes, and come back, as soon as I move the moose?, no-mouse(Mickey Mouse)Gesh!!,and then lockup, crash, reboot. I'm not complaining guys, just reporting. It must work alright, I got a Master Editor award at Philly. I'm a little high yet. Attachment coming. Thanks for the help. Wayne

Attachment posted!

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R W Burgess, sounds like what one of my computers was doing. Check that you do not have a screen saver running. also, try going to your settings-control panel and click on display. then click the screen saver tab. Down at the bottom is an area for energy saver. click settings. Make sure the settings for the hard drives is never. try that and if you still have problems make sure the sleep and hibernation are set to never.

Hope this might help you.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 5 months later...

Hi Guys! Finally gave up and took my computer to the "shop" for repair. Almost didn't get last month's newsletter printed out on time, many problems. Tried to attach my computer repair bill, but as the $283.72 supports, it was too big to put in here. My PC guru(the one with the Porsche)had to take my hard drive out and back out all the information onto another computer to enable him to reset my PC back to the original seetings. It seems my computer had picked up several "spyware?" programs on the hard drive. At that point he found a memory problem wherein my machine did not run well at "133MHz clock rate", so he used the "100MHz" memory, if any of that means anything to anyone. My machine's an HP Milennium, remember. While I'm at it I'd like to thank John Chapman of California for his e-mailed help with deleting "internet files", which was helpful. Anyway the guru installed a 8x4x32 CDRW(System Pull) to upgrade the memory?? I brought my computer home Monday and have spent 2 days reinstalling my Publisher, e-mail setup, digital camera programs, and other stuff I don't know anything about. Just wanted you guys to know how much fun computers are. I'm now going to take a demerol and go to bed. Ugk!!! Wayne

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wayne,

Glad to be of help. I'd not even thought of 'spyware' programs, which is a hoot, because they've caused me problems in the past. A fix is to download a program called "Spybot" ( http://www.safer-networking.org/index.php?lang=en&page=about ) which will: Hunt down/remove spyware, clean up your internet browser files and eliminate cookies that you don't tell it you want to keep (called 'Excludes'). A valuable tool if you spend much time on the internet.

Second point... Man, if you're printing 800 newsletters/month on your printer, it's gonna cost you a fortune. My wife's business does a monthly newsletter of about 250 count, 6-8 pages. Once the master copy is printed, we use a local, small printer that charges about 1.5 cents/page, duplex print (both sides), collated and stapled. Eight (four double sided) pages on 20# paper will just make one ounce in a legal envelope with a stick on label. Best I could figure it cost me to print that many on a laser printer (HP 1100) using a high capacity toner (30,000 pages) cartridge and figuring a four year sevice life on the printer was three cents a page. That didn't include staples and aggravation. Collating 800 copies has to take a while. Look around, you might find an easier answer!

Yep, the memory could have been a problem, too. Sometimes the faster clock speeds don't work well with the motherboard, or more likely don't like your software... or, your software doesn't like the memory. Anyway a slower memory might solve the problems. Hope so!

One final thing... if the printer 'freezes' sometimes the only way to correct the problem is to turn it off/unplug, if necessary, for 10-15 seconds to purge the memory. Sometimes the printer memory gets all constipated and needs a good dump, which just deleting the job from the print control window will not accomplish.

Cheers,

John

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  • 7 months later...

I wanted to bring this back to the top to again thank John Chapman for his help way back when. I now delete my cookies, my internet files, and turn my screen saver off before printing my newsletter. As my other forum post told you about getting a new printer pretty much free of charge, I'd also like to say the new printer pictures and text are much sharper then the old one. I guess all of the ink buildup may have had an effect too. Happy Newsletter Production guys. Wayne

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Wayne...just last Tuesday, I turned in a spent ink cartridge to our EDP gurus for a new one at work. Vin Lu started talking about how costly the cartridges are and how cheap the printers are in comparison. His mindset is the manufacturers make a killing on the cartridges and the printers are a disposable item. Just thought I would pass this on...

Regards, Peter J...

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I hadn't thought of that, Pedro. They must have screwed up when they left the new cartridges in my new printer. And, you're right about the expense of running the thing. I use on an average of 8 cartridges per newsletter run @ $37.99 each. <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> My "fans" tell me to keep it up though! <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> <img src="http://www.aaca.org/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> Wayne

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