||Soliving the GURU|
One of the greatest worries of using any computer system is the seemingly random crashes that sometimes occur. On the Amiga, most of us are familiar with the flashing red or yellow alerts that appear from time to time. It's those times when you immediately start thinking to yourself...When did I last save this project?
What causes a computer crash?
If your computer mysteriously starts crashing while using applications that used to work okay, consider whether you have recently installed a new program or updated one. If so, it is possible that this new software is the culprit.
What is a GURU Meditation Error?
When the operating system progressed beyond v1.3, the GURU Meditation Error was retitled as a Software Failure (flashing red). Perhaps it sounded less technical to the general public; but, the title change did not make the problem go away.
What do the GURU numbers mean?
Is a Recoverable Alert a good thing?
If you encounter a Recoverable Alert the safest thing to do is reboot. But, If you are worried about losing your work, use SAVE AS with a new project name. That way, if the save does fail, at least you still have the previously saved work. It is also a good idea to save the project to a different hard drive or partition. If you can, it's helpful to have a partition just for temporary files and for when these problems occur. After you save your work reboot the computer.
Don't let the Recoverable Alert fool you; it's a bad thing, indeed.
What can be done about this?
A good watchdog for these problems is a program called Enforcer (aminet: dev/debug/enforcer.lha), or Cyberguard (????). It is generally considered a programmer's tool, but anyone can benefit from its use. Before testing a new application, start Enforcer like this:
While it is active, Enforcer protects the most important memory areas, and if it detects a memory problem it will open a window and give a report like this:
LONG-WRITE to 00000102 PC: 085FF746 USP: 088847C8 SR: 0014 FLSW: 00810200 TCB: 088836F0 Data: 00000000 DDDD1111 DDDD2222 DDDD3333 085FF6E2... Addr: AAAA0000 AAAA1111 AAAA2222 AAAA3333 AAAA4444... ----> 085FF746 - "LawBreaker" Hunk 0000 Offset 00000086 ----> $085ff746: MOVE.L D0,$0102.W Name: "LawBreaker" Hunk 0000 Offset 00000086If that looks like total gibberish to you, do not worry. You need only be concerned by the last line, which tells you what program caused the problem; in this case, "LawBreaker". If the first line indicates a WRITE operation, as this one does, you can expect trouble. If it is a READ operation, things are not as bad; but, not great either.
If Enforcer detects a bad program, you should try to contact the author and report the problem. Unfortunately, that isn't always possible, particularly if a programmer has stopped developing the program. It is a good rule of thumb to avoid using programs that generate Enforcer hits.
Enforcer can be started from your user-startup to be on-guard all the time. Doing this may slow down your system a very small amount; but, the protection it offers might be well worth it. It is not a complete solution; but, Enforcer is a very good tool to troubleshoot mysterious system crashes.