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We're writing these answers to the typical end-user. Other computer types will probably find things that they'd describe differently. If you are one of those people, please bear with us and see if you agree that the general idea is correct.

Here's a question that came to us recently and touches on a number of topics:
When using Microsoft Paintbrush 95 it keeps hanging up. I drag a text tool out and nothing happens but the disk light goes crazy. If I try to get out of things pretty soon it comes up and says I've performed an ILLEGAL OPERATION
I am really getting frustrated.
I'm screaming!!!!
Actually, screaming is the accepted response to Windows and most Microsoft software.

We don't think that you have a virus. As it turns out, we get the same problem with PAINT. Seems to be fairly common in fact. You try to do something and nothing happens.

It's tempting to start clicking other things BUT DON'T DO IT! When Paint finally gets through "thinking" it will come back to you but if you've clicked twenty more things you can be pretty sure that Windows will crash.

The safest approach when Paint "pauses" is to just walk away and leave it alone. Come back in a few minutes (LONG minutes) and see if it's done. If it is, you can try to continue.

In some cases we never do get control back. When that happens we throw up our hands and resort the the screaming. Then we reboot the computer.
Note: Reboot a Windows 95 computer as a LAST RESORT ONLY! Windows 3.11 and DOS were pretty good about behaving if you just reboot. Windows 95 can become really unstable if you do reboot without doing a START/SHUTDOWN first.

One thing that SOMETIMES helps the PAINT problem is to add more RAM. It helps most programs. I'm being a little cautious on this one because we run PAINT on a Pentium 166 with 32Mb RAM and se still have the problem. Still, if you have less than 32Mb of RAM, adding more RAM will help everything else even if it doesn't cure your PAINT lockups.

You asked me if you should delete some of your documents from disk to make more room. Probably NOT. Unless you've REALLY eaten up your disk space, deleting those files would be like taking a cup of water out of a swimming pool. Deleting anything less than 20 or 30 MEG won't do anything.

HOWEVER... There is a little secret about FREE disk space. You should have unused disk space equal to FOUR times the size of your RAM. If you have 16Mb of ram you need at least 64Mb of free disk space. If you have less you'll find that W95 "thrashes" between memory and disk a bunch. Can really slow things down!

If you want to know more about RAM and DISK, check out FAQ-0122. We talk about the ILLEGAL OPERATIONS in FAQ-0124.

By the way, if you're unhappy with Microsoft's attitude and lack of response, you are welcome to write to Senator Orrin Hatch. He was holding the hearings into Microsoft.
Send e-mail to MMCC.
Write to MMCC Technical Support at:
MMCC, Inc.
600 W. Midland
Bay City, MI 48708
(989) 686-8860
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