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Old 08-02-2003, 07:55 AM   #1
Trying to Learn
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Registered: May 2003
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Is Linux more suseptible to memory errors than Windows?

I"m running New Cat Linux 2.1 (based on Slackware 2.5) on an old 486. I can run it without the partitioning the disk so I can boot to Windows 3.11 or Linux from the Autoexec.bat file. When I boot to Windows 3.11, it works just fine - no problems. When I boot to Linux, the screen freezes after 10 or 15 minutes. The keyboard is dead; the only thing I can do is a RESET, and then everything is fine again. This feels like a memory problem, but why would LInux be susceptible when Windows is NOT? Or is it something else? Thanks for any response. (I'm very new at LInux, so I would appreciate VERY simple comments!!) Thanks again.

Well, I just ran Memtest86 and my 486 passed, so it's not memory. So what else could cause Linux to just hang and not respond???

Last edited by Trying to Learn; 08-02-2003 at 11:32 AM.
Old 08-02-2003, 11:39 AM   #2
Registered: Apr 2003
Location: Netherlands
Distribution: SuSE (before: Gentoo, Slackware)
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Well, linux has a little different philosophy about memory usage.

MS-DOS uses only very 'low' parts of your memory. MS Windows tries to have as much free memory as possible. Linux uses all your memory because you have it.

In my case (512 MB), I have no swap space in use, and the remaining 300 MB of free ram are being used as disk cache.!! (seriously!) When linux requires more memory, the disk cache seams to shrink instantly. I really noticed a big difference when I upgraded my machine from 256 to 512 MB ram.

So maybe you have memory errors, only haven't noticed them under MS Windows (yet). The memcheck tool could be useful in this case.

Please remind yourself that something else could be wrong too, because you're using an old 486. What information does linux reveal during the boot process? Where does it stop?

Last edited by yapp; 08-02-2003 at 11:40 AM.
Old 08-02-2003, 10:21 PM   #3
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Jette, Brussels Hoofstedelijk Gewest
Distribution: Debian sid, RedHat 9, Suse 8.2
Posts: 446

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How much memory do you have on your system?

If you do not have enough memory and have not set up a swap partition, it could be that while you are running X, and you then startup a memory hogging program like mozilla, that causes your machine to freeze.

I have seen mozilla try to use 98% of CPU when it gets into a bad state (almost always on a page with animated gifs).


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