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Add Expanded Memory to Windows Me, with Extreme Caution!

Read this first! | Making an emergency disk | A less drastic method | Adding EMS to Windows Me | Home page

Read this first - then read it again!

Do not even read this page until you have an emergency startup disk for your Windows Me system, and until you have tested your startup disk to make certain that it works. Also, do not read this page unless you know how to copy one file to another at the DOS prompt, and you also know how to use the DOS-based EDIT program or some other DOS-based text editor like WordPerfect's ED.EXE.

If you attempt to use the method on this page, you do so entirely at your own risk. As far as I know, this method has worked successfully on every Windows Me system on which it has been tried, but I do not know what the consequences might be with your specific computer hardware and software. Always keep a backup of your important files, especially when making any changes to your system. Do not attempt this method unless you understand what you are doing.

If you want this method to work, you must follow all the instructions exactly. You must read and understand the note about "alternate addresses" in step (5) below. You must not skip over any step and you must not decide that some of the instructions do not apply to you.

You do not need this method if you are using Windows 95, 98, NT, or 2000. It is only for users of Windows Me who cannot create expanded memory (EMS) on their machines. If you already have EMS memory on your Windows Me system, you should ignore this page entirely.

How to create a Windows Me emergency startup disk

To create a Windows Me emergency startup disk, use Start/Settings/Control Panel/Add-Remove Programs; go the Startup Disk tab, and click Create Disk.

You may want to try a less drastic method first

Instead of attempting this method, you may prefer to try a slightly less drastic method first. Go to this site's general discussion of enabling EMS memory in Windows Me, and try method (a). However, if you have an emergency startup disk, and you don't mind experimenting, it may be easier to try the method on this page.

The brute-force method of creating expanded memory in Windows Me

If you are unable to create expanded memory (EMS) on your Windows Me system after trying the solutions listed in the Microsoft knowledge base or solution (a) suggested on this site's main Windows Me page, do not give up hope. The brute-force method described on this page works with at least some computers (including some Dell desktop machines), and it may work with your machine. However, it may also cause Windows to lock up during startup or when you try to run a program that uses EMS. That is why you must have an emergency startup disk before you begin, because you may need it to restore your system to the configuration it was in before you make the change described on this page.

Read the complete instructions before you begin. You may want to print out this page for easy reference.

The steps to follow are these:

(1) Open a DOS window; navigate to your Windows directory; make a backup copy of the SYSTEM.INI file, using the name SYSTEM.ORG. (Do not name the backup copy SYSTEM.BAK; Windows will overwite any file that you create with that name.)

(2) Using Notepad or a DOS-based text editor like EDIT.COM, open the SYSTEM.INI file in your Windows directory.

(3) Find the section of SYSTEM.INI that begins with the line


(4) Add the following line immediately beneath that heading:


Note that this line includes the characters D-4-zer0-zero (zero, not the letter Oh). All those alphanumeric characters (D400-E3FF) are called an "address." (If the address shown here does not work on your system, you will be instructed to try one of the "alternate addresses" listed below.) Note also that your SYSTEM.INI file will probably already have a line that begins EMMExclude= but remember that you are adding a line that begins EMMInclude=  (make sure that the line you add says INclude, not EXclude).

(5) Check your typing. Check it again. Check it a third time. Save the modified SYSTEM.INI file. Read the important note below, and then go to step (6).

Very important note on "alternate addresses": From this point onward in these instructions, if Windows fails to load, or if you find you still have no EMS memory available, or if WordPerfect locks when it is launched or when it tries to print, edit SYSTEM.INI again,  but make a slight change in the EMMInclude= line that you added in step (4). (If Windows does not run at all, boot up with the emergency disk, go to the C:\Windows directory, and use EDIT.COM to edit C:\Windows\System.ini.) Instead of the address D400-E3FF in the EMMInclude line, replace it with D800-E7FF; if that does not work, restart Windows, and try again with DC00-EBFF; if that does not work either, try E000-EFFF, and then D000-DFFF.  If none of these work, place a semi-colon (;) at the very start of any line in the file that begins EMMExclude= (the semi-colon tells Windows to ignore the line) and change the EMMInclude= line to use  C800-D7FF; if that also fails to work, try C400-D3FF. If absolutely none of these alternatives produces EMS memory on your system, you should probably restore your original SYSTEM.INI (or simply delete the line that you added), and consider installing Windows 98 Second Edition instead of Windows Me.

(6) If Windows loads successfully, right-click on your WordPerfect shortcut (or on the shortcut of any batch file you use for launching WordPerfect), choose Properties/Memory, and see if Expanded Memory is available. If it is available, select the largest amount specified in the drop-down list.

Note: If you launch WPDOS from a DOS prompt instead of from its own shortcut, create or modify a desktop shortcut for the DOS prompt, and right-click it to see whether Expanded Memory is available; if it is available, select the largest amount specified in the drop-down list. You must also create or modify a shortcut for the WP.COM or WP.EXE file in your WPDOS directory by right-clicking on the program file in Windows Explorer and then choosing Properties from the pop-up menu; enable Expanded Memory, if possible, on the Memory tab.

(7) Run WordPerfect from its shortcut. If you are using WPDOS 5.1+ or 6.x,  press Alt-Equals/Help/WP Info, and see if expanded memory is available. (With the original WPDOS 5.1, press Ctrl-F1/Go to DOS, navigate to your WP directory, and enter WPINFO to run the information program that tells you if expanded memory is available; press F if and when you see "Not ready reading drive X" messages; and, when you exit the WPINFO program, enter Exit to return to WPDOS.) If expanded memory is available, print a file to see whether WP locks up during printing. If all goes well, you have expanded memory for use with WordPerfect and other DOS programs.

Important note: If you are uncomfortable using the DOS prompt, you can make the same changes through the MSCONFIG utility in Windows Me. Use Start/Run, enter MSCONFIG; when the program opens, go to the System.ini tab, click the plus sign next to "[386Enh]" to expand this section of the file; clear the checkbox next to any line you need to disable, and use the New button to add the line suggested in step (4) above; remember that you should not add a duplicate version of a line that already exists. Restart Windows when finished.

Read this important note: If you run WPDOS from a batch file or DOS prompt, it is not enough to enable expanded memory only in your shortcut for WPDOS itself. You must also create a desktop shortcut for the DOS prompt or the desktop shortcut for your batch file, and you must enable expanded memory in each shortcut that you create. If you need help, read this site's instructions for creating and modifying a DOS prompt and for creating and modifying desktop shortcuts.

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