Recently I upgraded to a new machine, an A7V133 with a 1.2G Athlon and 768M of PC133 DRAM. I did a fresh install of all my software. Now I find that incredibly, ME refuses to let me open the MS-DOS command prompt window! It gives me an errors about "not enough memory, close some applications and try again" - useless twaddle, in other words. I can run memory-hungry apps like IE or Office no problem, and obviously there's tons of physical memory. I tried tweaking the virtual memory settings but no joy. I believe at one time during the installation the DOS box was working, but somewhere along the way, possibly after installing the driver for one of my devices, I lost it. Has anyone seen this? Anyone know the cause? The cure (besides putting a bullet through this piece of @#$% OS)?
My system became so unstable with all the driver patches etc. that I was forced to reinstall. This time I was careful to install the drivers one by one, checking the DOS box each time. Since I suspected the Creative SB Live! driver, I installed that one last. Sure enough, as soon as it was installed, I lost the ability to open the DOS box. Disabling the device gives me the DOS box back again. Will repost this on the sound card forum.
Bizarrely, it may be because you have too much memory.
The following is from MS Knowledge Base article Q253912.
You can of course prove this one way or the other by removing some RAM.
The Windows 32-bit protected-mode cache driver (Vcache) determines the maximum cache size based on the amount of RAM that is present when Windows starts. Vcache then reserves enough memory addresses to permit it to access a cache of the maximum size so that it can increase the cache to that size if needed. These addresses are allocated in a range of virtual addresses from 0xC0000000 through 0xFFFFFFFF (3 to 4 gigabytes) known as the system arena.
On computers with large amounts of RAM, the maximum cache size can be large enough that Vcache consumes all of the addresses in the system arena, leaving no virtual memory addresses available for other functions such as opening an MS-DOS prompt (creating a new virtual machine).
Very interesting. Initially I thought the problem might be something like this. I tried everything I could think of, including manually changing my virtual mem pagefile size, etc., but no joy. I did not try removing memory strips. Thing is, at this point even with the default VM settings and my full load of RAM, the DOS box is working fine - as long as I keep the SB Live! driver disable. The SB Live! driver has to factor into this somehow...
Well, dude, you nailed it. I pulled one strip of RAM from the system, reducing it to 512M, and now both the SB driver and the DOS box are happy. Bizzaramundo.
I'm going to report the problem to Creative tomorrow. I spent some time on the phone with them Friday and they at least tried to help me, and they said I could call back if their suggestions didn't work (they didn't). If I can get them to enter this problem into the support database, maybe someday they'll patch the driver, or get Microsoft to fix the problem if it's their fault.