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Thread: A5 crashes - solved???

  1. #1
    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default A5 crashes - solved???

    To all
    I noticed several posts about the A5v45 crashing and 2 updates to dll's.
    I am printing to a HP LaserJet 2100 on a Novell Network.
    I made the upgrades and made sure thav all mc*.dll files in Alpha were the same date in Windows system.
    That reduced the amount of crashes but still had a few.
    Finally I moved all of my menu items that I had after the printing up so they would be exceuted before the printing instead of after the printing.
    Has not crashed for two weeks.
    Here's hoping that it will last.
    Must have something to do with the HP 2100.
    Charlie Crimmel

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Charlie, what are mc*.dll files in Alpha?

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Tom:
    They are Ms files instead of mc files.
    sorry
    In Program FileA5V4 there are numerous dll files. Most start with a4 or a2.
    4 files are found in many dirctories.
    seems like many programs use the same file names.
    do a seacrh for ms*.dll
    find the ones in the A5V4 directory and where they are in other directories.
    Make a backup and then try to get everything to the same date.(especially the windows and windows system directories.
    I tried to make the Alpha dll's the standard in the windows directories.
    The 4 file are
    Mfc40.dll
    Msvcirt.dll
    Msvcrt.dll
    MsVcrt40.dll
    If you use ProComm Plus-do not change their dll.-ProComm will not run and you will have touse your backup copy of the dll's.
    Charlie Crimmel

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Charlie,

    I would be grateful if you could share your experiences with me. I am desperately trying to narrow down the cause of upredictable crashes. Ideally, I would like to create a crash scenario that I can present to Alpha Tech but this is proving difficult because the crashes are so unpredictable.

    I have an application that runs perfectly on my computer and on most other computers, however with certain printer drivers these unpredictable crashes are making it very difficult to distribute my application. I would be pleased if you could share your experiences with me and confirm similar scenes or add to my list of known causes. This way I can be certain that it is not my application design that is at fault.


    By using exhaustive tests, I have so far established the following:-

    1. The crashes only occur with certain printer drivers. I know of at least three but there are obviously a lot more.
    2.The crashes never occur on my development machine only on certain other machines.

    4.The crashes always occur after performing a 'print preview', not during the print or preview. The preview is always successful. The crash occurs when performing another action after the preview such as opening or closing a form with a button.

    5.The crash is not caused by any single named preview it can be any saved layout, report, letter etc.

    6.It does not happen with any particular action, it can be opening a form with no event sripts attached, or simply fetching another record after performung a preview of a report..

    7.The fault is not within the layout's properties for printer selection etc.

    8.The Alpha version has no effect whether V4.03 or V4.5

    9.The fault has nothing to do with networks.

    10.I have also established that by switching the default printer on the host, the crash can be eliminated, however this obviously is not practical, I cannot expect a client to replace their printer.

    11. Sometime ago, I thought that I had narrowed the problem down to colour equations in the column properties of browses. I removed all trace of those equations and the problem seemed to disappear. However, it is back again so I would be grateful of any light that you may be able to shed.

    I am certain, that this has nothing to do with specific printers or drivers but is a conflict of how Alpha looks for the default printer and what it does with that information.

    If you can confirm any of your experiences that appear in my list or if you can add to my list, it will help me in my quest to build a test program that forces the crash so that I can present the problem to Alpha.

    Be very grateful for your contribution.

    Below is an assortment of error messages that are invoked but are meaningless to me.

    ALPHA5 caused an exception 10H in module MSVCRT40.DLL at 015f:1023b3ae.

    ALPHA5 caused an exception 10H in module A2ENGINE.DLL at

    ALPHA5 caused an invalid page fault in
    module MFC40.DLL at 0167:5f8012b6.


    Michael

  5. #5
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Michael:
    1. The crashes only occur with certain printer drivers. I Only on my HP 2100 laser Jet

    2.The crashes always occur after performing a 'print preview', not during the print or preview. The preview is always successful. The crash occurs when performing another action after the preview such as opening or closing a form with a button.

    The above is exactly what was hapening to me. I moved all of my buttons for this application to be executed before the print preview.
    seems to have helped.

    Charlie Crimmel

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Michael,

    Things to try either individually and collectively;

    1. Change the fonts used on your forms to a true-type (e.g. arial) and see if the problem comes back.

    2. Try with a simple layout as opposed to a complex one. See if any of these parameters are the issues.

    3. Watch for overly small fonts and overly large fonts as a potential issue.

    4. Change the printer setup options to print fonts as graphics

    Report back your results.

    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design & Associates
    csda@mediaone.net

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Charlie,
    Don't know if you caught my previous post, so I'll include it here; A little history. I was running v3.0 in Win98 with no problems in my app. I installed v4.5 (upgrade for v3.0)from disk, and that's when the fun began. I started getting dll error messages. Then I bought a new computer with WinME as the OS. I reloaded both versions from disk and copied my files to those folders. Still got the dll error messages, only in WinME the reference is to the sh31w32 & mfc40 dll's, which are different than the dll's named in Win98. This problem (so far) only occurs in fields that contain simple lookups, and it happens when I add or change data from the lookup choice I've selected, particularly when adding a lot of characters (but still well below the defined length of 200). It doesn't matter if the fields are always required or not required, and the field rules are set to "allow any". I've tried removing indexes, removing field rules, compacting, and consulting a psychic, to no avail. I've also gotten an occasional a2engine...blah, blah, blah message, lockups, a5 crashes, and periodic crashes of the entire system.
    I noticed in one of your later posts that you mentioned updating your dll's. Where did you get them and what is the procedure? Would appreciate detailed explanation as I am, at best, of intermediate ability in all things computer & A5. Thanks, Bill

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Ira,

    It would seem from Charlie's experience and other message boarders that I have been in contact with that the two key issues are, rogue print drivers(lots of), and performing a print preview.

    I downloaded a known rogue printer driver for test purposes(Common HP Deskjet 690c) and stripped my application piece by piece. Below are two definite causes but I have not been able to re create the situation in another app such as the Alpha Invoice sample.

    Cause 1.
    On my main form I had a date variable set global via the form properties and the value was set to / /. After I gave the variable a default value the crash was cured. But why, what is the connection between certain print drivers and a layout preview?

    Cause 2.
    I opened a form using a simple action script. The form contained an embedded browse showing a few fields, two of which were previous value character fields. I switched from using an embedded browse and place the fields directly on to the form. Once again the crash was cured. Problem solved, but why, will it return with other print drivers.

    3. I still have one other form that when opened after a report print preview, crashes. This form also has an embedded browse and when removed cures the crash. Unfortunately, the form is useless without the embedded browse.I have deleted this form and completely rebuilt and named it but as soon as the embedded browse is added, the crash returns. I have stripped out all actions and calcs but still no luck. (I have loads of other forms containing embedded browses, no problems here)
    What can be a possible connection between a report print preview and afterwards opening a form containing an embedded browse?

    I will make further tests, with fonts as Ira suggests.

    Michael

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    "I moved all of my buttons for this application to be executed before the print preview."

    Charlie, could you please explain this phrase in more detail? I don't understand what you are doing and I would like to know in case I run into similar trouble. Certainly you're not closing the app after printing so I would assume that other buttons will be pushed after the print job is completed. Are you saying that some of the scripts have the print operation in the middle of the script and additional actions were occurring in the same script?

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Michael,

    Excuse me for suggesting the obvious. Alpha does not get along with certain printer drivers, period. Particularly, newer HP drivers. Try using geneic WIN drivers instead. I don't know of any work arounds other than stripping your application down to barebones - and even that might not help. The exact problem you are having, I had - and made go away by switching to Generics. If you want a list of some substitute drivers let me know.

    Peter

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Cal and Bill:
    Cal -
    I use Procom Plus to download payroll files from jobsites.
    I have an A5 application that imports these asc text files and checks control totals and prints reports to verify the files going into our Unix accounting program.
    Then I saved all the asc text files and the tables to a iomega internal zip 250. The user selects the jobsite and the payweek ending date from look up fields in tables. These selections are passed to variables and the the variables are used to create the directories on the zip 250 drive. some of the reports are printed and others are just previewed.
    The user goes down the menu items in order 1-2--3-4-5
    When the save to zip button was after the print routines it crashed. When the save to zip button is before the print routines it does not crash.
    Bill- Sorry to make you read all of this to get to your answer.
    1. I downloaded the 2 dll updates from the alpha board-techinicqal help
    2. I looked in the program filesa5v4 directory for all .dll files
    3. I did a search in the windows explorer for those dll files. made back up copies of the dll's. checked the dates of all the dll's and replaced all the older dll's with the ones from the a5v4 directory.
    Charlie Crimmel

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Thanks Charlie.

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Hello Michael,

    >>On my main form I had a date variable set global via the form properties and the value was set to / /. After I gave the variable a default value the crash was cured. But why, what is the connection between certain print drivers and a layout preview?

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Peter,
    Thanks for your input but I have no problems on my computer, it is the clients computers that have certain printer drivers that cause the crashes. I cannot expect them to switch drivers.

    Michael

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    "Certified" Alphaholic
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Jim,

    You wrote
    'I've had the exact same issue as above. In my case the global variable was the first field to receive focus when the form opened up.'

    By strange coincidence the form giving me trouble has an embedded browse that causes the crash. I checked out Xbasic explorer and the first object in the list is the browse object. I will be making tests later, could be on to the cause here but have said that before.

    Michael

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Michael,
    Are they willing to shut off the math co-processor? That will work - at least in my own experience.

    PS Alpha must solve this problem. It must be very tough for a professional developer to explain this away.

  17. #17
    John De Jong, Jr.
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    I have been watching this message thread with some interest. A5 intermittently crashes on me and it appears to be more frequent since upgrading to version 4.5. There is no pattern to when it will crash and I get the very generic message “This program performed an illegal operation and will be shut down.” I then just shut down the program and restart A5 and continue until the next crash.

    This is annoying but since it only happens to me on my machine, I have just been living with it, hoping Version 5 will be more stable and not have this problem. I was hoping version 4.5 would fix it bit it seems to have made it worse.

    I am just curious if others are getting this generic message and/or if anyone has figured out what “illegal operation” is being performed and causing the crash.

    I am running WIN98 second edition and have an HP DeskJet 1120C. In my case it doesn’t appear to be related to the print driver. I will crash when I haven’t done any printing or at some point after printing. It has no identifiable pattern.

  18. #18
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    John, I did a quick search of this board for '1120' and found several message threads discussing conflicts between the hp driver for this printer and Alpha Five. If your crashes are not self-inflicted (i.e. erroneous scripts created during development) I'd switch to another printer driver as others have recommended. Some recommend going with an older HP driver (for earlier model printer that's compatible with yours... the HP web site lists these); others recommend going with the default driver from Windows itself.

  19. #19
    ROBERT SULLIVAN
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    I have had problems off and on with HP deskjets and not just in ALPHA. It seems the more graphics and more fonts on a report the more problems. HP printers are nice but if you look at the many print cartridges and the many many drivers it makes you wonder what HP is doing.
    In many cases the only difference in the print cartridges (for the inexpensive 500,600 series) is a physical nipple arrangement -not the electronics.
    A few of my associates are now only recommending certain printers to their customers and are not supporting any other printers. They program in visual fox, access and other RDB's. The printer issues may be more frequent in ALPHA but there are issues with the other RDB's that pertain to HP printers.

    Bob Sullivan

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    John,

    I am trying to build a dossier on these crashes. The tendancy is to blame the printer drivers but I am convinced that the problem lays closer to home.

    Can you confirm if your crash experiences are when opening selected form after performing a print preview. In other words does your app run OK until you do a print or preview of a layout. Does the form being opened contain an embedded browse?

    Michael

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Peter,

    I doubt if I would be allowed access to their motherboards. My application is just a small part of their computer usesage.

    I am at the stage now where I can predict and force the crash, in fact I think I may have solved the problem (said that before). The crunch will come tomorrow when I do a reinstall on a client's computer with a known rogue driver.

    I will report my result if I am successful.

    Michael

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Hi Michael,

    Sorry I didn't speak clearly. You don't need to access the motherboard, this is a windows software "switch".

    To disable the Numerical Processor:

    Control Panel/System Properties/System Devices/Numeric data
    Processor/properties

    Selwyn was the one who had recommended this a year or two ago. It does seem to work. I don't know if there is a real downsize to this. It probably would slow down programs like Autocad whose graphics are math intensive.

    Peter

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Hi Ira and everybody,

    I was interested in Ira's list of suggestions because I had just had to reinstall a (monster Xerox, forget the number) network printer on one of my office machines. The way this works, you find the printer and it automatically installs its driver. I think I got an updated driver because I started getting crashes after previewing and printing reports. These reports had worked on the same printer for years and still worked flawlessly on my local printer in my office and at home--two different printers. So the finger did rather point to the network printer--or, rather, to its driver as the printer had not changed.

    Ira had written:

    1. Change the fonts used on your forms to a true-type (e.g. arial) and see if the problem comes back.

    I was already doing this.

    2. Try with a simple layout as opposed to a complex one. See if any of these parameters are the issues.

    Ditto

    3. Watch for overly small fonts and overly large fonts as a potential issue.

    I wasn't using either. My most basic report--a simple class list--created the crashes.

    4. Change the printer setup options to print fonts as graphics

    This is a complex printer with many, many options on many tabs but there was a "print TT fonts as bitmaps" option deeply buried in the driver's options.

    This has completely eliminated the problem.

    So I want to thank Ira (again) and suggest that anyone with print-related crash problem to try varying this setting.

    The number of options on this particular driver (never mind their combinations)is so huge I would probably never gotten to this by trial and error.

    Bill

  24. #24
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Bill,

    Just to be complete, I'll add one more thing to try for unexplained problems.

    Turn down the graphics performance (see dispaly properties advanced settings) a notch or two. A slow graphics card can cause problems here if the settings is too high.

    Regards,

    Ira J. Perlow
    Computer Systems Design & Associates
    csda@mediaone.net

  25. #25
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Where's Jim Rowlen?

    He was recently saying that he can't break A5-V5 and that it's as solid as a rock.

    My question to him would be, did he have a chance to play with A5-V4.5 before he began using V5, and if so, did he experience the problems listed in this thread, and again if so, how'd he fix it. That info may be helpful to those of you that are having a hard time with this problem.

    I believe that I read that he's in charge of a big shop of A5 users. Maybe somebody can email him to see if he's encountered any of these problems???

    Mike

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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    I have a situation where I can produce the following error every time no exceptions:

    ALPHA5 caused an invalid page fault in
    module MSVCRT40.DLL at 015f:1021d7f3.

    I posted a thread "xbasic curiousity" a while ago. The bottom line was that I would run a script that called acrobat reader to open a pdf file. It ran successfully.This is the parallel to this thread's discussion. It sounds like the first print preview always runs successfully. Then I would exit the acrobat reader. When I ran it the second time it bombed with the above. All problems went away if the first line of my script was a variable dimension ( dim john as c ) or I used a redim instead of a dim on a certain array. Interestingly, others took my script and it worked on their computers without the above fixes. I still think (never proven) it is a confilct with Alpha and the video driver's use of memory, which wouldn't be impossible in the case of print previews (the print driver is going to affect what goes on the screen during a print preview).

    If anyone has a 100% reproducable situation that gives them an error:
    1) If it's on a button script is the crash on a variable reference or a form preview line?
    2) If it's loading a form when it crashes could you exit that form that normally produces the problem and run the same form from the control panel after the preview.
    3) I know it sounds dumb, but you might want to try dimensioning a variable as the first line of the script loading the form. A single reference to a variable seemed to have shut off the ill effects of the prior event.












  27. #27
    "Certified" Alphaholic Stan Mathews's Avatar
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    "3) I know it sounds dumb, but you might want to try dimensioning ..."

    not so dumb, wouldn't this dim statement affect (reseerve)memory?

  28. #28
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    This will either bore you to death or save you some very frustrated hours trying to trace a crash cause.

    I am not a techy, far from it.

    After weeks of testing and elimination, I have finally cured the crash problems caused with selected print drivers. The crash always occurred when opening selected forms after print previewing a report or letter etc in the current session. The layout being previewed was not at fault, I stripped my reports and letters down to default settings. Selecting another printer as default via Windows will usually cure the problem on your own computer but this is not an option for distribution. The tendancy on this message board is to blame the print drivers when in fact we should be looking closer to home.

    I have an application that I distribute in runtime. The app runs perfectly on my development computer and on most other computers but it was repeatedly crashing on selected machines. At first I thought it may be down to older versions of Win 98 and 95, but this was a false trail. I finally narrowed the cause down to selected print drivers, three to my knowledge but far more via similar problems posted on this board. I downloaded a rogue driver onto my computer and was then able to force the crashes but finding the cause was a different problem. Anyone who has gone through the steps of rebooting and loading apps after elimination tests will know, it has taken hours on hours.

    I finished up with three separate causes

    1. I had a date variable set global at form level on my main form that had an intial value of // and each time the form was activated following a print preview it crashed. I gave the variable a default value and crash No 1 was cured.

    2. I had a form with an embedded browse that crashed on entry but only when a print preview had been activated previously in the current session. The embedded browse contained character fields set as previous values under field rules. I removed the browse and placed the fields directly onto the form and crash No 2 was cured. This layout was acceptable though I did prefer the browse.

    3. I had another form with an embedded browse (I have many others, no problem) that crashed following print preview of reports etc. If I removed the browse the crash was cured, but I needed the browse. I rebuilt the form time and time again, renamed it deleted it to no avail. Each time I did this I dragged the embedded browse onto the form and crash. I renamed the browse from the default Browse1 to D_Browse1, this placed it further down the list in the Alphabetical Xbasic explorer tree and crash No 3 was cured. (This may have been the reason for Crash No 2)

    Now by this time I had made so many changes to No3 that there could have been other reasons for the cure but I am convinced that it was because the browse was first on the Explorer tree and likewise some variables that I name beginning with a V always appear at the end of the Explorer tree. This I am absolutely convinced is the root cause of the crashes with certain drivers. I am also convinced that the tab order, and object Tab stops on forms are also part of the equation.

    I have tried to replicate the problem in a smaller app but have had no sucess.

    NOW AFTER ALL MY HARD WORK, Peter Greulich suggested that I disable the Maths Processor and Bingo!, this also cured the problem even if I reloaded my original app before the above changes. I don't thing disabling was the cure, it was more to do with Windows system files being reconfigured on reboot after the change.

    None of these conclusion bear any logic to me but hopefully Alpha Tech or someone out there will perhaps learn more from my tests and hopefully create permanent fixes.

    I see that Ira is now on to something that was causing my No1 crash.

    Hope this is helpful to others


    A Very Relieved Michael

  29. #29
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    St. Michael the crash killer:

    Bravo, bravo, bravo.

    #1. The data variable crashes the form on open if there has previously been a print preview from another form.

    I got that and your fix cures it. That is, I gave an otherwise unnecessary default value of 01/01/2001 in form design and the crashes stopped.

    The printer is a Xerox DocuPrint N32. It's a big printer which you will likely see only in a large office.

    By the way, my date variable was declared as session so it would appear that the empty (that is, / /) date variable rather than its scope is the problem. I did not try removing the "//" to see if that alone would solve the problem.

    Micheal, everybody who is reading what you wrote can perfectly understand (and empathsize with) how much time you must have spent on this. At least you figured something out.

    Regards,
    Bill

  30. #30
    John De Jong, Jr.
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    Default RE: A5 crashes - solved???

    Michael:

    Sorry for the delay in responding. I haven't been monitoring the message board very closely the past few days.. other projects keeping me busy.

    As for the crashes, I must admit that I have not been keeping a detail log so I can't report on what has happened historically. I will pay closer attention and let
    you know my findings. As of now, I had one crash when opening a form. This was after a print preview.

    John

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  4. Barcodes problem solved but another.
    By Bob Tuttle in forum Alpha Five Version 4
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 09-10-2000, 02:08 PM
  5. duplicate records solved but why??
    By john carrio in forum Alpha Five Version 4
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 04-09-2000, 09:06 PM

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