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Need Help with Memory problem


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JavaJunky
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I'm trying to help my friend fix her laptop. I'm a PC person so I don't know enough about Macs. Here's the problem:

She was having memory problems so she changed her "Memory" setting hoping to fix it. She set the VM from 986 to 990, RAM Disk from OFF to ON set at 100%.

When it restarted, everything became extremely slow. Now it doesn't have enough memory to do anything. What we are trying to do is reverse the process by going back to Memory and setting it back. The problem is that everything is so slow and it takes like 15 seconds to display a drop-down menu. Then, when we finally click on Memory in the menu, it takes like two minutes to startup. Then, it gives a warning saying something like "Unable to run Memory. Memory not found." I can't remember the exact wording of it. I know that she didn't move any files or anything. The computer is too slow to do anything like that.

One thing weird that she noticed is that now, there is an icon on the desk that say RAMDISK. I told her that it is probably there because she turned it on in the Memory settings, but I don't know for sure.

The annoying thing is that she has this program called Roadrunner Medic (some monitoring app from her ISP) and AIM launching at startup that slows everything down. Roadrunner Medic starts first then AIM trys to start but an error pops up saying something like "Not enough memory to start AIM. Need zero K of memory to run...Try quitting Roadrunner Medic." That doesn't really work. We tried quitting roadrunner, but it freezes the computer when we try that.

I did some search for how to start up in different modes, but I have no idea which mode to use. These are the 2 sites I was looking at:
http://www.silentway.com/tips/mac/shortcuts.html#start
http://compserv.uark.edu/softserv/ma...9_ENG_HTML.htm

I have no idea what mode to boot in. All I want to do is to load up only what I need to get to the Memory settings and change them back.

These are the specs of her laptop:
Powerbook G4
256 RAM
OS 9.2

Can anyone help??? This is all the information that I know. At least, what I think would help. I going to help her try to fix it Sunday night. So any info would help.
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technologist

 
Member Since: Mar 30, 2004
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Mac Specs: 12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)

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Ugh. Where to start?

Memory management under OS 9 is as much art as science.

First, some definitions.

Virtual memory you know. It's a trick that uses the hard disk as additional memory.

A RAM disk is exactly the opposite: a trick for using the memory as a super-fast disk. You can "save" files to this "disk" and read from them very quickly. The files are only copied to disk when the system is shut down; it's not a very safe place for your files. (It was once possible to load your OS on this disk, and have an extremely fast system that never touched the hard disk..)

RAM disks are for people with lots of physical memory that need absolute speed. This is not the case for your friend. We need to turn that off.

Now, with respect to the virtual memory size...900+ is almost certainly too big. In general, with the classic Mac OS, you'd never go above twice the physical memory size (256MB). Set it to 512MB at most.

So now we know where the problem is. [Continued in next post]
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technologist

 
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I must admit, this is a tricky problem, which is made worse by the fact that I don't have an OS 9 machine to play with and am working from memory (no pun intended.)

At this point I would suggest you try to start the Mac with extensions off by holding down the Shift key at startup. This will disable almost all unnecessary system add-ons. (Like "safe mode")

After starting up this way, try to open the Memory control panel (It should be in [Your hard drive]: System Folder: Control Panels: Memory) to turn off the RAM disk and lower the virtual memory settings. Then restart and see what happens.

Again, I'm working from memory, and this is a fairly bizzarre situation, so this might not work. But it'd be my first shot.
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technologist

 
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My second shot (in case you can't do what I posted above) would be to restart while holding down the spacebar. This should bring up the Extensions Manager, which will let you switch each extension individually. From this screen, I would switch on only the Memory control panel and then continue to try and turn the RAM disk off.
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JavaJunky
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Quote:
Originally Posted by technologist
My second shot (in case you can't do what I posted above) would be to restart while holding down the spacebar. This should bring up the Extensions Manager, which will let you switch each extension individually. From this screen, I would switch on only the Memory control panel and then continue to try and turn the RAM disk off.
Ok, I'm gonna try both of those methods. The thing I'm confused about is when exactly I should hit SHIFT/SPACE. I see those sights that when you start holding down the key changes what mode you go into. Should I hold it down before I hit the power or right after?

Thanks for responding, by the way. You already helped a lot.
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deus_ex_machina

 
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right after...hold it down through the starting chime
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JavaJunky
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Quote:
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right after...hold it down through the starting chime
thanks, deus
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JavaJunky
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If you guys have any other suggestions, please post them. I like backup plans...
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technologist

 
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Mac Specs: 12" Apple PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JavaJunky
If you guys have any other suggestions, please post them. I like backup plans...
Third suggestion, in case the above don't work.

Maybe...look in YourHD:System folderreferences: for a Memory preference file and trash that, and then restart.

Years ago, I probably could have told you exactly what to do in my sleep. OS X changed everything.
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