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[McIDAS #AMA-903084]: error running McIDAS-X on windows

Hi Heather,

I did some research on the error you originally reported:

  Warning: Cannot convert string "10x20" to type FontStruct
  mcimagem: ERROR fork()ing Warning: Cannot convert string "10x20" to type 
  mcimagem: ERROR fork()ing

This error has been experienced infrequently by other users of McIDAS
under Windows XP.  It appears to be related to the Physical Address Extension
(PAE) being enabled in Windows XP.  Here is a quote of an exchange
from SSEC to a user on how to get around this problem:

  We've had a user with this problem once before, although we have never
  seen the problem here.   That user did some investigation on his own
  and found that disabling Physical Address Extension (PAE) fixed the
  problem. He was not sure why PAE was enabled.  It's required only if
  you have more than 4 GB memory, whereas his system had only 504 MB.

  Here is the information he sent to us after he fixed the problem:

  Errors with fork are generally related to memory.

  I noticed in the ïGeneralï tab of ïSystem Propertiesï that
  Physical Address Extension was enabled.

  Physical Address Extension is only required if you have an address
  space larger than 4GB.

  More information can be found about it here:

  I found information about how to disable it here:

  By following the information in the second article I was able to
  disable Physical Address Extensions.

  I did so by adding the text highlighted in bold (/NOPAE
  /NOEXECUTE=alwaysoff) to the boot.ini file:

  [boot loader]
  [operating systems]
  Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NOPAE /NOEXECUTE=alwaysoff

  After rebooting, I was able to verify in ïSystem Propertiesï
  that Physical Address Extension was no longer being used.

  Running McIDAS no longer generated any errors.

So, the first thing you need to do is determine if your problem
resembles the one referenced above.

Aside:  I checked the Windows XP Home SP3 setup on my netbook
and did not see any indication of PAE being active.

Please let me know if disabling PAE on your Windows XP machine
works around the problem you are seeing.


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Ticket Details
Ticket ID: AMA-903084
Department: Support McIDAS
Priority: Normal
Status: Closed

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