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Guest Lindy

FS2002, here is one cure for lockups

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I'm been running FS2002 for about six months on a computer with a 1 ghz PIII and an ASUS PB3-F (Intel 440bx chipset) motherboard, Geforce 2 MX400 Video, Soundblaster Live Value audio, low spec Quantum Bigfoot UDMA2 IDE hard drive. Running FS with the latest drivers on all hardware components I've alway experienced unexplained lockups at different times and have never been able to pin down the source. After trying every conceivable Detonator Video Driver sets, treaking this and that, lowering DirectX sound acceleration, taking the cover off my computer and directing a housefan into my case (to rule out overheating), boosting the core voltage on my slightly overclocked CPU (but also running at normal clock and voltage and still having lockups), uninstalling all third party modules and software, gasp, I have never achieved total stability. Weird thing was that for whatever reason I did experience periods of uncompromised bliss and lockup-free stability that I also could not explain. During these times I could literally do anything imaginable to lockdown FS, using tons of 3rd party stuff, running with sliders maxed, even mocking my computer and daring it to seize up. Nothing doing, order from chaos ruled during these times.Then on a full moon or bad Karma day, who knows, the lockups would return and with them my endless frustration. That is, until now.I have solved my intermittent lockups dear reader and have set up several controlled experiments to completely validate my theory. This solution is hardware specific to my setup of course but I hope others might glean some insight if they have a similar system.My problem: Using DMA in Windows98SE with my IDE hard drive. It's the culprit, no doubt about it. I suspect that enabling DMA in windows device manager is somehow conflicting with my Soundblaster PCI audio card but I'm not super sure about this. I can however guarantee that I will experience lockups with IDE DMA enabled and rock solid stablity with IDE Hard Drive DMA disabled. On my system I really can't tell any performance hit running the system without IDE DMA, but your mileage my vary with your computer. It sounds goofy, both IDE channels should automatically have discreet DMA channel access that do not conflict with any other device, including soundcards or bus mastered PCI cards that can also utilize DMA. Again, for whatever reason, it certainly made my computer stable. The reason I experienced intermittent lockup periods was that every so often I would poll my Windows 98SE and tweak performance settings, sometimes going into device manager and finding the IDE DMA's disabled and 'reabling' them. The lockups returned of course at that time but I have never put 2 and 2 together until now. Enabling IDE DMA should logically increase hard drive and CD-ROM performance and not conflict with anything else but by golly it's not the case with my computer. If anyone else is experiencing unexplained lockups with FS2002, give this a shot and see what happens with you. Enabling and disabling IDE DMA in Windows device manager shouldn't mess anything up and it's easy to switch back and forth to experiment. Just be sure and reboot your system with each setting change for it to take effect. Stably yours,Jonas

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It's always kind of satisfying to locate and correct the cause of a computer problem. Thanks for sharing your discovery, Jonas.-Lindy :-wave

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