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Aaack!! HELP!

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System Crashes

Not Enough Memory

Running out of RAM is a primary cause of System crashes. RAM (random access memory) is the area in your computer where all information is temporarily stored while you are working on it. When you Save, you send that information permanently to the disk and thus free up that much space in RAM. If you don't save very often, RAM gets full and the Mac just checks out (crashes). If you have a lot of extensions, remember many of those get loaded into RAM as soon as you turn the computer on. Then your application gets loaded into RAM. Then the fonts you use get loaded into RAM. If you open more than one application at a time, they all take up RAM. Then as you work, there is not a great deal of room left. Decide whether you really need all those extensions and fonts and eliminate any unnecessary ones. If you run out of RAM often, buy more (ask your power user friend or local Mac user group).

Extension conflicts

If you use extensions, keep in mind that it is not unusual for them to be buggy, unstable, corrupted, etc., especially the free ones. It's a well-known fact that they can cause problems, including System crashes. Use the Extensions Manager control panel to help discover the source of the problem: If you think one of your extensions might be a problem, turn it off, restart, and see if the problem clears up. Or turn off a number of them at once, then add them back one at a time, using your computer for several days between adding each one.

Text Formatting Unexpectedly Changes

It's not uncommon to open your document on another System and find major formatting changes. If you created a document on your hard disk using the font Baskerville, then gave a copy of the document on disk to a co-worker who opened it up and found it had transmogrified itself into the font Helvetica and all your formatting was thrown off, that's because Baskerville was not in the coworker's System. If the document can't find the font in which it was created, then it has to choose another from what is available. The solution is to make sure both Systems have the same fonts from the same vendors, or make sure you are both using the latest version of ATM from Adobe (see

Printing Doesn't Work

Oh dear. There are a number of reasons why printing sometimes doesn't work. Here are a few of the most common.

  • One of the most common reasons why printing won't work is that the appropriate printer icon wasn't chosen. Go to Chooser from the Apple menu and choose your printer.

  • Make sure the printer is on, that it has paper, and that the paper tray, if there is one, is firmly attached.

  • Make sure any networking cables are connected.

  • If the hard disk that the System Folder is on is running out of space, the Mac cannot print. It needs some free space (always leave at least 10 percent of your hard disk free!) to send over the messages for printing. You may have to free up some space on that disk by removing a file or two.

  • Don't print files that are on removable disks--first copy them to your internal hard disk, then print from there.

  • Rebuilding the Desktop solves a lot of inexplicable printing problems. Rebuild your Desktop and turn off the printer for a couple of minutes. Try again. This often works.

  • Sometimes gremlins prevent printing properly. If you've checked everything and there really seems to be no logical reason for the file not to print, go away for a while, let someone else print to that printer, shut down, come back later, try again. This sometimes works. One never knows.

  • On an ImageWriter, make sure the Select light is on. It must be on in order to print.

  • Also on an ImageWriter make sure the lever on the hand roller corresponds to the way you are feeding paper--that is, friction-feed for single sheets (that's the symbol with two rollers, towards the back); and pin-feed for pin-fed labels and paper (that's the symbol with one roller and little pins, pulled towards the front).

Netscape page prints tiny

When you print a web page in Netscape, the entire thing prints up about one-inch square! In Netscape, go to Page Setup and uncheck the box, "Fit to page if possible." Reprint the page.

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