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Troubleshoot system errors or freezes in Atmosphere (Windows XP)

What's covered

Beginning troubleshooting

Intermediate troubleshooting

Advanced troubleshooting

This document can help you resolve system errors that occur while you use Adobe Atmosphere in Windows XP. System errors can manifest themselves in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following:

-- A blank or flickering dialog box

-- A frozen cursor or screen

-- An error, such as one of the following:

"This program has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down. If the problem persists, contact the program vendor."

"Atmosphere caused a General Protection Fault in module [filename]."

"Atmosphere caused an Invalid Page Fault in module [filename]."

"Application Error."

"Unhandled exception detected. Application will be terminated."

"Illegal Instruction."

Different factors can cause system errors, including conflicts among device drivers, software, and hardware, and corrupt elements in specific files. Although a system error may occur only when you work with Atmosphere, Atmosphere may not necessarily be the cause--it may be the only application that is memory- or processor-intensive enough to expose the problem.

To benefit most from this document, perform the tasks in order. Keep track of the tasks you perform and the results of each, including errors or other problems. Adobe Technical Support can use this information to better assist you, should you need to call.

Note: The procedures in this document are based on the default interface of Windows XP. If the interface is customized, some procedures will vary.

Beginning troubleshooting

The tasks in this section can help you resolve the most common system errors. Before performing any of these tasks, back up all personal files (for example, Atmosphere files you created). Always restart the computer after a system error occurs to refresh its memory. Continuing to work without restarting the computer may compound the problem.

Note: Some of these tasks require you to locate files by their filename extensions (for example, filename.ini). By default, Windows Explorer hides filename extensions it recognizes. To display hidden files, hidden folders, and all filename extensions in Windows Explorer, see the documentation included with Windows.

1. Make sure that the system meets the minimum requirements for Atmosphere.

Atmosphere may not run correctly on a system that doesn't meet the following requirements:

-- Intel Pentium III or faster processor

-- Microsoft Windows XP Home or Pro, or Windows 2000

-- 128 MB of available RAM (256 MB recommended)*

-- 50 MB of available hard-disk space

-- 1,024 x 768 screen resolution

-- 16-bit color (32-bit color recommended)

* To check how much RAM is installed on the computer, choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click System. The amount of RAM is listed on the lower half of the General panel in the System Properties window.

2. Re-create the Atmosphere preferences file.

Re-create the Atmosphere preferences file to eliminate problems a damaged preferences file might cause.

To re-create the Atmosphere preferences file:

1. Quit Atmosphere.

2. Rename the PrefFile file (for example, to PrefFile.old) in Documents and Settings/[ user ]/Application Data/Adobe/Adobe Atmosphere.

3. Start Atmosphere. Atmosphere creates a new preferences file.

If the problem continues, the preferences file isn't the cause. To restore custom settings, delete the new preferences file and restore the original name of the previous preferences file.

3. Run Atmosphere while no other applications are running.

Some applications may cause system errors or freezes when running concurrently with Atmosphere. Before starting Atmosphere, disable other applications, including startup items (items that start automatically with Windows).

To disable startup items:

1. Quit all applications.

2. Choose Start > Run, and type msconfig in the Open text box. Click OK.

3. Click the Startup tab, and select Disable All.

4. Deselect any startup items that are essential for testing the problem. If you are unsure if an item is essential, leave it selected.

5. Click OK, and restart Windows.

6. Right-click to close or disable any items in the Notification Area (called the System Tray in earlier versions of Windows).

Then, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem doesn't recur, one of the startup items conflicts with Atmosphere. Reenable startup items one at a time, testing each time until you determine which item conflicts with Atmosphere. Then contact that item's developer for an update, if available.

-- If the problem recurs, startup items aren't the cause and you can reenable them:

a. Choose Start > Run, and type msconfig . Click OK.

b. Click the Startup tab, and click Enable All.

c. Click OK, and restart Windows.

Intermediate troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't solve the problem, try the following intermediate troubleshooting tasks.

4. Repair and defragment hard disks.

System errors can occur if hard disks contain damaged sectors or fragmented files. Repair and defragment hard disks, either by using the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter utility included with Windows or by using a third-party disk utility (for example, Symantec Norton Utilities). You should run such utilities on each hard disk or partition. More information about the Error-checking tool and Disk Defragmenter appears below; for more information about a third-party disk utility, refer to the documentation for the utility.

The Error-checking tool repairs bad sectors, lost allocation units and file fragments, cross-linked files, and invalid filenames. To access the Error-checking tool, choose Start > My Computer, right-click the desired hard disk, and choose Properties. In the Local Disk [ disk name ] Properties dialog box, click the Tools tab, and then click Check Now in the Error-Checking section.

Note: To prevent Disk Defragmenter from moving files to bad sectors of a disk, run the Error-checking tool before running Disk Defragmenter.

Disk Defragmenter rearranges the files and free space on your computer so files are stored in contiguous units and free space is consolidated in one contiguous block. To access the Disk Defragmenter utility, choose Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Disk Defragmenter.

5. Reinstall Atmosphere in Safe mode.

Device drivers and software that loads automatically with Windows (for example, screen savers, virus protection utilities) can conflict with the Atmosphere installer and cause problems in Atmosphere. To prevent conflict, reinstall Atmosphere while Windows is in Safe mode. In Safe mode, nonstandard device drivers and startup software are disabled.

To reinstall Atmosphere in Safe mode:

1. Move any personal files out of the Atmosphere folder and its subfolders.

2. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel, and double-click Add Or Remove Programs.

3. Select Adobe Atmosphere, and click Remove. Follow the on-screen instructions to remove Atmosphere.

4. Restart the computer, and press the F8 key as Windows starts.

5. Select Safe Mode from the Windows Advanced Options menu, and press Enter.

6. Log in as Administrator of the local machine.

7. Insert the Atmosphere CD into the CD-ROM drive, and install Atmosphere.

8. Restart Windows.

6. Update the video card driver.

Many video card manufacturers frequently update their software drivers. If you haven't recently updated the video card driver, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver, or download one from the manufacturer's website. (To determine the manufacturer of a video card, view the card's properties in Device Manager.) You can often determine if the video card driver is outdated by changing the color-depth and resolution of the video card or by disabling graphics hardware acceleration.

To change the color-depth and resolution used for Atmosphere:

1. Choose Start > All Programs, right-click Adobe Atmosphere, and choose Properties.

2. Click the Compatibility tab.

3. Select Run In 256 Colors.

4. Select Run In 640 x 480 Screen Resolution.

5. Click OK, and then restart Atmosphere.

Note: This change affects other applications that run at the same time as Atmosphere. When you close Atmosphere, video settings return to the defaults in other applications.

To disable graphics hardware acceleration:

1. Choose Start > Settings > Control Panel.

2. Double-click Display, click the Settings tab, and then click Advanced.

3. Click the Troubleshooting tab.

4. Move the Hardware Acceleration slider to None.

5. Click OK to accept the new setting, and then click OK to close the Display Properties window.

6. Restart Windows and Atmosphere. If the problem no longer occurs, contact the video card manufacturer for an updated driver.

7. Configure Atmosphere to recognize the video card.

If the Atmosphere Player displays Software as the Active Renderer on the Display tab of the Preferences palette, Atmosphere doesn't recognize the video chipset (the graphics processor on the video card) and renders slowly. You may be able to configure Atmosphere to recognize the video chipset by manually entering the video card into the list of devices Atmosphere supports. Refer to Appendix A of the Atmosphere User Guide for instructions for configuring Atmosphere to recognize new cards.

8. Verify that other device drivers are compatible with Windows XP.

If updating the video card driver doesn't resolve the problem, verify that all other device drivers are compatible with Windows XP. Device drivers are software files that allow Windows to communicate with devices such as scanners, mouse devices, and keyboards. Contact the device manufacturer to make sure that you are using the latest driver for it.

To check for device driver problems:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel, and then double-click System.

2. Click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of each device type.

4. If a device appears with a black exclamation mark (!) in a yellow circle, right-click that device, and choose Properties.

5. Note the properties for the device:

-- Check the Device Status field: If the device isn't working properly, information in this field can help you troubleshoot the problem.

-- If the Properties dialog box has a Driver tab, click it. If the Driver tab doesn't indicate the driver provider, click Driver Details. If Microsoft is the provider, a generic driver is probably installed; contact the device manufacturer to obtain the most recent driver they provide.

9. Set the virtual memory paging file to the default size.

Virtual memory allows the system to use hard disk space to store information normally stored in memory (RAM). Windows XP manages virtual memory by using a paging file; you define the minimum and maximum sizes of this file. If a size is different from the default in Windows XP, applications may return errors. Some applications, however, may require a nondefault size for the paging file, so change the size only if other applications aren't adversely affected.

To set the paging file to the default size:

Note: You must be logged on as an Administrator to change the size of the paging file.

1. Quit any open applications.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel, and then double-click System.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Settings in the Performance section.

4. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Change in the Virtual Memory section.

5. From the Drive list, select a hard drive that has free space equal to at least three times the amount of the computer's installed RAM. To determine the amount of space available on a drive, click the drive letter; the amount of space available appears in the Paging File Size For Selected Drive section.

6. In the Initial Size text box, enter a value equal to one and a half times the amount of the computer's installed RAM.

7. In the Maximum Size text box, enter a value equal to twice the amount of the Initial Size value.

8. Click Set, and then click OK to close the Virtual Memory dialog box.

9. Click OK to the alert "The changes you have made require you to restart your computer . . ."

10. Click OK to close the Performance Options dialog box, and then click OK to close the System Properties dialog box.

11. Click Yes in the System Settings Change dialog box. Windows restarts.

10. Optimize the handling of temporary files in Windows.

Windows and applications store working data in temporary (*.tmp) files that they create on the hard disk. Excessive or outdated temporary files can interfere with the system's performance. Delete temporary files, and make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which they are written.

To delete temporary files:

Note: Repeat this procedure periodically. Windows deletes temporary files when Windows and applications close normally. When Windows or an application crashes, however, temporary files can accumulate on the hard drive.

1. Exit from open applications.

2. Choose Start > Search, and then click All Files or Folders.

3. Type *.tmp in the All or Part of the File Name text box.

4. Choose Local Hard Drives from the Look In menu, and then click Search.

5. After the search results appear, choose Edit > Select All.

6. Choose File > Delete. Click Yes to confirm that you want to send the files to the Recycle Bin.

7. Remove any files you don't want to delete from the Recycle Bin, and then empty the Recycle Bin. Windows deletes all temporary files not in use.

To make sure that at least 50 MB of free space is available on the hard disk to which temporary files are written:

1. Exit from open applications.

2. Choose Start > Control Panel, and then double-click System.

3. Click the Advanced tab, and then click Environment Variables.

4. In the User Variables For [user profile] section, locate TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder listed in the Value column. If the complete pathname for the folder isn't visible, double-click TEMP in the Variable column, and note the folder name in the Variable Value text box.

Note: If a TEMP variable doesn't exist, contact your system administrator for assistance.

5. In Windows Explorer, verify that the folder you noted in step 4 exists on a noncompressed drive that has at least 50 MB of free space:

-- If the folder doesn't exist, create it: Right-click the drive, choose New Folder, and type the folder name you noted in step 4 (for example, Temp).

-- If the drive doesn't have enough free space, create additional space by removing unnecessary files. To determine the amount of free space, right-click the drive and choose Properties.

11. Disable hard disk compression.

Disable hard disk compression, which can interfere with an application's ability to store and access files and resources. For information about disabling hard disk compression, see the documentation for the compression software that you use.

12. Scan the system for viruses.

Use current anti-virus software (for example, Symantec Norton AntiVirus, McAfee VirusScan) to check the system for viruses. Virus infections can damage software and cause system errors. For more information, see the documentation for the anti-virus software.

13. Identify the file that causes the problem.

If an error indicates which file causes the problem, reinstall the application to which that file belongs. If that file is damaged and causes problems in Atmosphere, reinstalling the associated application can correct the problem.

If an error indicates a Windows file, contact Microsoft for help replacing that file.

Advanced troubleshooting

If the tasks in the previous section don't resolve the problem, hardware may be conflicting with Atmosphere, or you may need to reformat your hard disk.

Disclaimer: Adobe doesn't support hardware and provides these tasks as a courtesy only. For further assistance, contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller. If you troubleshoot hardware problems yourself, you may void the warranty for your computer.

Note: Before you remove or rearrange hardware, turn off the power to the computer and any peripherals.

14. Reformat the hard disk, and reinstall only Windows XP and Atmosphere.

Reformat the hard disk, and then install only Windows XP and Atmosphere from the original installation media. Reformatting a disk erases all files it contains, so be sure to back up all personal files first. Also make sure that you have all application and system disks.

Note: Don't install additional software or hardware until you are sure that the problem is resolved. Don't back up the hard disk and restore Windows and Atmosphere instead of reinstalling them; if the problem is caused by an application or Windows, and either one is restored instead of reinstalled, the problem may recur.

After you reformat the hard disk and reinstall Windows and Atmosphere, try to re-create the problem:

-- If the problem no longer occurs, install other applications one at a time, and try to re-create the error after each installation. If the problem occurs after an installation, the recently installed application may be the cause.

-- If the problem occurs when only Windows and Atmosphere are installed, the cause is hardware-related, and you should contact the hardware manufacturer or an authorized reseller for assistance. Before contacting the manufacturer or reseller, however, you may want to try one or more of the following tasks.

15. Check for SCSI problems.

If you have a SCSI card for internal or external SCSI devices, verify that the settings for the card are correct, ensure that the SCSI chain is properly terminated, update SCSI drivers, and check for hardware or cable damage. For instructions, contact the SCSI card manufacturer.

You can also check for SCSI problems in the System Properties dialog box:

1. Choose Start > Control Panel, and double-click System.

2. Click the Hardware tab, and then click Device Manager.

3. Click the plus sign (+) to the left of the SCSI and RAID Controllers line.

4. For each adapter listed, right-click the name, and then choose Properties. If the Device Status section indicates that the SCSI adapter isn't working correctly, reinstall SCSI device drivers. Contact the SCSI card manufacturer for further help.

16. Check for problems with RAM SIMMs or DIMMs.

Ensure that the RAM SIMMs or DIMMs are installed properly and are not the cause by doing one or more of the following:

-- Change the order of the installed SIMMs or DIMMs.

-- Remove all but the minimum number of SIMMs or DIMMs needed to run Windows and Atmosphere, and test to see if the problem persists. If it does, replace the SIMMs or DIMMs you removed and remove the others, testing again to see if the problem recurs. If it doesn't, one or more of the removed SIMMs or DIMMs are the cause. For assistance, contact the RAM SIMM or DIMM manufacturer.

Related Documents

Document 328375
Last edited - 02/08/2005


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