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View Full Version : Weird and really annoying problem with Windows 3.11...



6885P5H
October 12th, 2015, 11:00 AM
Hello. Yesterday I installed IBM PC-DOS 6.3 and Windows 3.11 on a computer, and graphical glitches that might actually be caused by faulty hardware aside, it worked great. But now there's a problem with it. Everytime Windows starts, one or multiple program groups will be missing from Program Manager because they're apparently "invalid or damaged". This is where it gets weird... Let's say GAMES.GRP is the "invalid or missing" program group. Well there's a chance that after restarting Windows GAMES.GRP will be back to normal, and another program group will be the invalid or missing one... The weird thing is, it's totally random what program groups will be there after restarting Windows and what won't be there. There is no pattern either, just pure randomness... And from what I've seen, ACCESSOR.GRP (Accessories) and MAIN.GRP (Main) are the most likely to be "invalid or missing" after a restart.

Here's something else about this problem that's random. If let's say MAIN.GRP is "invalid or missing" and I try to recreate the "Main" group, (by clicking on File, New, Program Group...) one of 3 things can happen after naming the group, using MAIN.GRP as the group file and clicking on OK... First thing that can happen is it will say again that the group file is missing or invalid and I won't be able to create the group, second thing that can happen is Windows will change the group's filename on its own without asking to MAIN0.GRP, and if I change that to MAIN.GRP it will change it to MAIN1.GRP, and if I change it back to MAIN.GRP again it will be back to MAIN0.GRP, and if I try again it will be back to MAIN1.GRP, you see the pattern... And the third thing that can happen is the group will actually be successfully created and everything will be back to normal, until I restart Windows again... I tried messing with PROGMAN.INI to fix the problem, I write-protected it, I write-protected the GRP files, I write-protected every INI files... Nothing worked.

I've looked online and I saw that other people have been haunted by this almost sentient problem before: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.os.ms-windows.misc/cCz315dXNqU
https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/demon.tech.pc/coSvloxUE1Y


...Well hopefully someone more knowledgeable about Windows than me will be able to tell me what's going on and how to fix this problem!

Stone
October 12th, 2015, 11:18 AM
Not that will solve this problem but it can't hurt to run a disk diagnostic on the HD in case there's some bad areas on the drive. Bad sectors can do strange things.

SomeGuy
October 12th, 2015, 11:19 AM
This sounds like a general system stability problem. Try running something like check-it, Norton diagnostics, etc or some other program that can be left running as a burn-in test. Test the RAM, I/O, disk, etc.

What kind of computer is? Do you have anything odd loading at startup?

ibmapc
October 12th, 2015, 08:36 PM
I've had the same problem with my 486 system. I believe it had something to do with the video driver that I was using at the time. I think it was not an exact match for my video card and when I would change video resolution, the exact problems you mentioned would occur. When I finally found a better driver the problems went away. But I had to completely reinstall windows 3.11 to make the system stable again.

6885P5H
October 13th, 2015, 10:34 AM
The computer is an IBM Aptiva from 1994 (one of the first Aptiva made). I don't think there's anything odd loading at startup... Only thing I added to config.sys after having installed DOS and Windows was a generic CD-ROM driver to use my CD-ROM drive. I also installed drivers to use my sound card so there's some stuff about that written in autoexec.bat.


I've had the same problem with my 486 system. I believe it had something to do with the video driver that I was using at the time. I think it was not an exact match for my video card and when I would change video resolution, the exact problems you mentioned would occur. When I finally found a better driver the problems went away. But I had to completely reinstall windows 3.11 to make the system stable again.

That's interesting... I did install some shady drivers to use my onboard Cirrus logic CL-GD5430-QC-B graphic adapter and I just found out that the bug is way more aggressive when I use them than when I use one of the VGA driver that came with Windows 3.11. But, the graphical glitches are way more aggressive when I use a generic Windows 3.11 VGA driver than with the shady drivers I installed... One thing I found out is that when running Windows MEM.EXE says that there is only 1489KB of RAM available, As if Windows took 30MB of the 32MB of RAM there is in the computer...

So uhhh I still don't know what to do... There is definitely something funny going on in the computer to cause all those graphical glitches though... They appear in DOS programs, they appear in Windows, they appeared in Windows 98, they even appear in the PC DOS graphical shell... And I thought I'd mention that... When I use the generic Windows 3.11 VGA drivers and I open paint, the "drawing" area will be filled with graphical glitches and I can actually erase them with the eraser tool, I can save the picture and the glitches will appear on it, the fill tool actually goes around the glitches... So they aren't just over the drawing area, they're actually part of the drawing...