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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Epson Printer Driver Crashes, Mac OS 9 RAM, and Finder Delays
November 26th, 1999

Gobble, Gobble!! I trust everyone overate, overstuffed, overdrank, and overslept for this fine holiday of thanks and decadence? And, might I guess that a few of you awoke from your tryptophan-induced stupors with a question or two? Well, I'm here to answer them! You can e-mail your questions to me directly, or ask away in our ever-popular Ask Dave! Forums, where EVERYONE will try and help you out! With that out of the way... onward to the questions!

Farmer5 writes, "My husband faxed something using Fax STF 5.0. Then he could not print a document-the File Menu still had Fax on it and not Print!? This has never happened before and we have faxed many things.

So I call the local Mac store, they say pick the printer in the Chooser. My printer Epson Stylus Color 740 was not in the Chooser, so they said reinstall printer software, so I did. Now I get an error -2 or a freeze up when I try to go to Chooser?"

Well, Farmer5, I've seen this problem MANY times with Epson's drivers. First of all, make SURE you're using the absolute latest drivers (5.5 DE is available for download from Epson). Secondly, you need to make sure you delete ALL Epson-related preference files from your System Folder before reinstalling. Do a search for "Epson" and remove anything that is found inside your System Folder (the rest of the hard drive isn't as important, and unless you know you don't need something, I'd only trash the stuff from the active System Folder). Then reboot, and reinstall. Most often, that will do it!

Christian Brahmstedt writes, "To quote from your upgrade to OS 9 words, "...SO LONG as you have enough memory to spare. With Virtual Memory off, I found Mac OS 8.6 was taking up about 34 MB of RAM at bootup. Mac OS 9 takes up about 42 on the machines I've worked with here. So I wouldn't recommend doing it unless you've got at LEAST 96 MB of RAM, and preferably more... like 160." Hey man, I just ordered OS 9 for my Mac Powerbook G3 which has 64 MB of RAM. If I need 160 to run Apple's newest OS I am in a world of hurt. I can't believe that I need 160 MB RAM to use an OS...heck I had 32 MB of RAM for OS 8.5 and OS 8.6 and Powerbook worked fine. I just upgraded RAM to 64 so my Photoshop files would process faster... are you telling me I need more RAM or was this just your MAXED OUT advice."

Ah yes. Well, I really don't like to be forced to quit my e-mail app to run my web browser, and vice versa. Plus, with memory fragmentation such as it is with the Mac OS, I have found that Mac OS 9 running with anything less than 96 is destined for many reboots -- especially if you open and close a lot of applications. So, 96 would be my absolute minimum recommendation for anyone who wants to use their system without frequent interruptions. But, as you've stated, you can probably run with less than that and be OK.

Ben Campbell writes, "I have a very annoying problem with my Performa 6400/200 (48meg) O.S. 8.6. Frequently, when dragging folders or files in any sub-folder or desktop, my hard drive spins for about 30 seconds and only then I am able to drag the file...I have zapped the PRAM, optimized my hard drive, played with the disk cache...can't stop or figure it out."

While I'm not entirely certain on this (are you? if you are, let us all know!), I think that the Mac OS is scouring the desktop file to find all of the available options for "drag-and-drop" for the selected file(s). It needs to know whether it can highlight an application or not when you drag your document over it, and the only way to find out is to read through the desktop file(s) and check to see. You can try rebuilding your desktop (use Techtool from Micromat instead of Cmd-Opt on reboot), and see if that helps. It might not -- you might need to remove all the unused applications from your hard drive to speed this process up.

That's all for this week folks. Visit the Ask Dave! Forums, or e-mail me here at [email protected].

P.S. Have a Nice Day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....

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