You Asked Us-- PC: Heaps of Trouble

by Alan Zisman (c) 1998. First published in Toronto Computes, September 1998

Earl Gately asked:

I have a DX2-66mhz IBM clone.  It had been running with 8 megs, but I was having problems.  I have since upgraded to running 20 meg of memory but I am still having the same problem.

 After running a couple programs on Windows 3.1, I get a message that there is no resource memory available.  I had thought I solved this problem once by adding Drivespace to the Autoexec.bat file, but now it is back and with a vengeance.

 Alan Zisman replied:

System resources is a real limitation w. Win 3.x... It was often commented on prior to the release of Win95-- but while it was noted as a problem as early as the Win 3.0-era, it was only marginally improved upgrading from Win 3.0 to 3.1 to WFWG 3.11.

Win 3.1 uses a number of memory heaps for user and system resources-- icons, fonts, and other resources are shared there. The size of these resource heaps cannot be increased by adding system RAM, hard-drive space/compression, or other methods... they are fixed at 64kb per heap. When these relatively modest heaps are full, you can no longer add resources.

As well, not only are those heaps of limited size, but poorly written programs sometimes fail to clear out the resources they used when you shut the programs down. As a result, you may have no options except to shut down Windows and restart.

Windows 95 significantly improved resource handling—if this remains a problem, seriously consider upgrading.

Wang ( wrote:

We are using a Mac network in the office.  Can I add one PC to the network.  Thanks

Alan Zisman responded:

Yes... the first question is whether your Macs are networking using Ethernet or the original, slower Appletalk networking.

If the cables connecting the machines have what looks like an overgrown telephone plug on the end, then they're Ethernet-- you will need an Ethernet card in your PC-- these are common, easy to find items-- I've had good success with cheap clone cards; others may prefer brand name cards from 3Comm, Intel, or others.

If you're using AppleTalk, you'll need to get an AppleTalk card for your PC-- these are available, but are harder to find.

For software, to connect a PC to an existing Mac network, I'd recommend PC-MacLan. There are different versions for Win95, WinNT, etc... but there's a free trial version available. Check with Miramar Systems for more information: (By the way, if you need to do the opposite, connect a single Mac to a TCP/IP-based Win95/NT network, check out ‘Dave’ software for the Mac from

Johnson Ng pondered:

How do I save a *.mid and *.wav from the Internet to my hard-drive with IE 3.02 and Netscape Communicator 4.04?

In both Netscape Navigator and IE, right-click on the link to the WAV or MID file...
In both cases, a menu will pop up.

In Netscape, choose:  Save Link As...
In Internet Explorer choose:  Save Target As...

James Reed queried:

Is it possible to "catch" a virus from the Internet by just "clicking" on a site and reading the contents, but not downloading?  The reason I don't download, I don't know how and have not found anything that I wish to download - yet.

Viewing an Internet page is GENERALLY safe... I say 'generally' because there is the possibility that Java or ActiveX applets on the page could damage your system behind the scenes.

This is theoretically possible, but doesn't seem to actually be happening 'in the wild', but a commercial product, Cybermedia's Guard Dog, has been released, promising to guard against this, and other Internet dangers.
? for more information on this program, check out

When you do find something you want to download, it’s generally quite easy—typically web pages will have a link to click on, or a button saying Download. If the file is compressed, you will need to get a program to uncompress it before you use it—shareware programs like Winzip for PCs or Stuffit Extractor for Macs are quite popular and easy to use.

BMA wondered:

Help! I made a zip file on 12 disks which contains a lot of small family picture files. My last zip disk is damaged, actually I am shocked to find out the last zip disk is blank. When I attempt to unzip this file,
it always ask for the last zip disk which I don't have as I mentioned early. I tried pkfix for the 11th disk but no luck. Is there any way to recover these picture files from the first 11 disks? Please help.

As far as I'm aware, you're out of luck-- if any of the floppy disks in a multi-disk ZIP file are damaged, the whole archive is unusable.

And as you've had the bad luck to discover, floppy disks are unreliable enough that out of a dozen, it's easy to get a bad one... and PKZIP doesn't give you any warning of that, until you try to open it.

Some people who do this a lot prefer the ARJ compression program-- while less popular than ZIP, it gives better compression rates, and at least is clever enough to comment if a diskette doesn't work when creating a multi-disk archive.

If you keep on using multi-disk zip archives, be sure to test them out by unzipping them before you delete the original files!

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan