Help! I'm Stuck In a Loop!!

By Kerry Sergent
Technical Support Representative

You say your new game just sits there balefully blinking its cursor at you as if in gloating revenge? Or maybe it just keeps asking you to "INSERT DISK ONE". Or worst of all, maybe it displays a cryptic message that says "Unable to Allocate Heap" and calmly returns to DOS.

For those of you who care about your Heap and wish to keep it under control, we at Sierra On-Line's Technical Support are ready to coax some of the most reticent computers to life with answers to almost every conceivable compatibility problem. Although we cannot make claims to be able to solve every possible dilemma, we do care and will try our level best to make your game function within your system constraints. With a few simple diagnostics, we are usually able to offer advice or at least a kind word of condolence if your brand new Neo-Clone Computer complete with The Really Good-Time Graphics Adapter refuses to display a single pixel of your game.

Take the most common problem that occurs in MS-DOS compatible systems: The TSR conflict. A TSR is computer lingo for "Terminate and Stay Resident". These programs, frequently called "Memory Resident Programs," are usually loaded into memory at system bootup and remain resident in RAM. There they reside, available to be called up later at the touch of a key.

Unfortunately, since our programs are quite demanding of your computer system's resources, most TSRs can bring a really enjoyable session of gaming to an abrupt and frustrating end. A number of solutions exist to tame the TSR. You can remove them from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file on your system disk, you can rename your AUTOEXEC.BAT to another file name, you can boot using a plain DOS diskette with no AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or if you have the skill to manipulate your computers memory, you can command most of them to be located out of harm's way. The popularity and convenience of TSRs cannot be denied, but if used indiscriminately they can wreak havoc on other programs.

Of course, if your dog ate your disk, you may still have difficulty getting that game to boot.

This website is © 2010-2011 David Reese. All rights reserved. All images and content, including, but not limited to, the Interaction Magazine logo and articles from the magazine, are the property of their respective owners. Interaction Magazine has been made available to the public on the SierraGamers website, and is considered a part of the public domain. Image hosting provided by Photobucket.