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First post, by blackmasked

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Hi there
I have a really annoying issue with my Sound Blaster 64AWE ISA (CT4390). It randomly freezes up my machine while running Creative Plug and Play Configuration Manager at startup.
It is so bad that all I can do is hard reset. The odd thing is that it seems to be completely random whether it will start up or not.

I've tried few different ISA and PCI sound cards and they work fine which makes me think that maybe my AWE64 is a bit sick. However when the drivers decide to load everything works just fine. I've run DIAGNOSE.EXE multiple times without any issues. No conflicts, etc.

My autoexec.bat and config.sys setting are as follows:

AUTOEXEC.BAT
[code]
@ECHO OFF
PROMPT $p$g
PATH C:\DOS;C:\UTILS\NC
SET TEMP=C:\DOS
GOTO %config%

SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 E620 T6
SET SOUND=C:\DRIVERS\AWE64\SB16
SET CTCM=C:\DRIVERS\AWE64\CTCM
C:\DRIVERS\AWE64\SB16\AWEUTIL.COM /S
C:\DRIVERS\AWE64\SB16\MIXERSET.EXE /P /Q
[/code]

CONFIG.SYS
[code]
DOS=HIGH,UMB
FILES=40
BUFFERS=40
LASTDRIVE=H

DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS /TESTMEM:OFF
DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE RAM
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DRIVERS\AWE64\CTCM\CTCM.EXE
[/code]

My hardware config is as follows:
Gigabyte GA-586T2
P200 MMX
64MB RAM
S3 Savage4 32MB PCI
Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold (CT4390)


I am really running out of ideas.


Last edited by blackmasked on 2017-05-05, 23:12. Edited 2 times in total.

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 1 of 12, by cyclone3d

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Not sure if this has anything to do with it but:

1. C:\DOS should not be the temp folder. It should be something like C:\temp

2. You have an extra \ in the HIMEM line.

What version of the drivers are you using?

Have you updated the firmware on the AWE64?

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Reply 2 of 12, by blackmasked

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As far as I can tell I am using newest drivers available, downloaded from Creative's website.
AWEUTIL - 1.35
CTCM.EXE - 1.08
DIAGNOSE.EXE - 4.05

Changing TEMP variable to C:\TEMP made no difference.

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 5 of 12, by dr_st

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derSammler wrote:

Try loading CTCM.EXE using DEVICE instead of DEVICEHIGH.

I would even suggest not to load it in config.sys at all, but just run it from autoexec.bat. It is not a TSR program. It just runs to initialize the card and exits.

Still, the randomness of the freeze makes a hardware issue (card, board) a primary suspect.

Did you try changing ISA slots?

Last edited by dr_st on 2017-05-06, 08:26. Edited 1 time in total.

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 6 of 12, by blackmasked

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derSammler wrote:

Try loading CTCM.EXE using DEVICE instead of DEVICEHIGH.


I tried both DEVICE and DEVICEHIGH, it still hangs.

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 7 of 12, by blackmasked

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Jorpho wrote:

Do you have a "PnP OS installed" option in your BIOS? Have you tried changing it?


I tried enabling and disabling 'PNP OS Installed', setting up DMAs and IRQs to both 'Legacy ISA' and 'PCI/ISA PnP', but it made no difference.

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 8 of 12, by blackmasked

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dr_st wrote:
I would even suggest not to load it in config.sys at all, but just run it from autoexec.bat. It is not a TSR program. It just ru […]
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I would even suggest not to load it in config.sys at all, but just run it from autoexec.bat. It is not a TSR program. It just runs to initialize the card and exits.

Still, the randomness of the freeze makes a hardware issue (card, board) a primary suspect.

Did you try changing ISA slots?



I tried second and third ISA slot, I cannot use the first one as the cpu cooler retention clip is in the way.
DEVICE=CTCM.EXE is something that driver installation program adds to config.sys. Anyway I have tried running it from autoexec.bat and config.sys, but it made no difference.

Possible hardware fault crossed my mind, but as I said before when the card finally decides to initialise it will work fine. The only thing I have not tried yet is different version of CTCM.EXE. I'll give that a go and report back.

cyclone3d wrote:

Have you updated the firmware on the AWE64?



Sounds like a fine idea, but firmware for AWE64 is not available on Creative's site and I don't really want to take my changes by downloading it from some fishy website. ;]

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 9 of 12, by derSammler

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If it definitely hangs on CTCM, try ICU instead. Unlike CTCM, ICU is a complete PnP solution for DOS and Win3.x and only takes 2 kb of RAM. If you still get freezes with that, it's not a software issue.

I would even suggest not to load it in config.sys at all, but just run it from autoexec.bat. It is not a TSR program. It just runs to initialize the card and exits.

No, it's correctly placed in the config.sys. Just like EMM386.EXE, SMARTDRV.EXE, and similar, it behaves different depending on how you load it. It may work when called directly, but that's not how it should be run. (for me, it gives checksum error on Vendor ID when loading outside of config.sys)

Reply 10 of 12, by dr_st

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derSammler wrote:

No, it's correctly placed in the config.sys. Just like EMM386.EXE, SMARTDRV.EXE, and similar, it behaves different depending on how you load it. It may work when called directly, but that's not how it should be run. (for me, it gives checksum error on Vendor ID when loading outside of config.sys)

That's very interesting information. Up until your example, I never encountered a case where it failed to initialize the card when run as an application from AUTOEXEC.BAT. (Provided that it was a standard Creative PnP card).

Do you know the actual differences in behavior between running it as an application and loading it as a device driver?

https://cloakedthargoid.wordpress.com/ - Random content on hardware, software, games and toys

Reply 11 of 12, by blackmasked

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It works with CTCM version 1.06 that I have lifted from AWE64 driver CD. Not sure why CTCM version 1.08 downloaded from Creative's website would be causing problems, but it does. It could be the information within CTCM.INF file, but SET CTCM is still pointing to the folder where version 1.08 is. I'll have to compare both .INF files and see if I can find anything as at the moment that's the only reasonable explanation I can come up with. This or maybe CTCM v1.08 is a bit buggy. ;]

Update:
As far as I can tell there is nothing in the .ini files that could cause problems. I have tried CTCM v1.08 from 3 different sources and unfortunately it freezes randomly. CT4390 combined with CTCM v1.08 simply does not work for me.

DOS build: Gigabyte GA-586T2, P200 MMX, 64MB RAM, Tseng ET6000 4MB, Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold, Roland SC-55mkII, Yamaha MU-80
98SE build: MSI MS-6163 Pro, PIII 650MHz, 256MB RAM, Voodoo3 3000, Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Platinum, Yamaha SW1000XG

Reply 12 of 12, by HunterZ

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I'm having the same issue with an AWE64 Gold. Freezes inconsistently at "keyboard control disabled" during AUTOEXEC.BAT portion of boot in DOS 7 - until I tried switching CD-ROM drivers, and now it seems to be freezing 100% of the time.

CTCM is being loaded as a TSR in this case, which is needed to provide General MIDI support for real mode (16-bit) games that do not have native AWE32/64 support.

I did download updated versions, so maybe rolling back to 1.06 will work for me too.

Edit: Actually, it's AWEUTIL 1.35 that's freezing.

Edit: AWEUTIL 1.20 seems to not freeze.