Checking the Amount of Lower RAM Memory

NOTE: Due to the ever-increasing compatibility problems with newer printers and newer versions of Windows it is strongly recommended that you upgrade to one of the Windows versions of The THERAPIST. Check out the comparison page to see what is the same and what is different. You can also download a free evaluation of either The THERAPIST EZ or The THERAPIST Pro or contact customer service to free evaluation CD.

Computer memory usage is a highly technical and confusing subject. Managing this memory, unfortunately, often falls to those who have insufficient knowledge to understand the complexities needed to do the job right. It is well beyond the task and ability of this web page to impart all of this knowledge but we can point you in the right direction.

Computer Memory 101


Computer memory is comprised of several distinctly different types. ROM is an acronym for Read-Only Memory. It is memory that is never changed. It contains programs that allow the computer to start just far enough so that it can find some other program to complete the process. ROM also has programs that operate hardware such as video, network, and disk drive adapters.


RAM is another acronym. It stands for Random Access Memory. This is the working memory into which Windows and all programs are loaded when they are running. The contents of RAM are constantly changing and they go away completely when you turn off or restart your computer. If you don't have enough RAM, your computer will run slower or some programs may be unable to run at all. You can add RAM to your computer easily and it is relatively inexpensive to purchase.

In the early days of the IBM-PC and compatibles, the engineers at Microsoft and IBM decided that 640K of RAM was more than anyone would ever need. There was a physical limits where memory could only be addressed up to 1024K and addresses between 640K and 1024K were allocated to hardware ROM. As DOS got bigger, it ate up more and more of that 640K so the available RAM for programs like The THERAPIST got smaller and smaller.

With the advent of Windows and newer microprocessors that limitation was ignored by running everything above the 1024K physical limit of the earlier computers. Unfortunately, DOS programs are limited by the operating system to that same shrinking 640K. What that means is that it doesn't matter how much physical memory you have installed, The THERAPIST can still only run in the first 640K.

How Much is Really Available?

To find out how much memory is available to The THERAPIST, open a DOS Prompt (or Command prompt) window. You can open a DOS Prompt window (or Command prompt) by going to:

Start > Programs > Accessories > MS-DOS Prompt (or Command Prompt)

When you get the prompt, type MEM and press Enter. The number you are interested in is the free conventional memory. The THERAPIST needs around 570K of available memory to run.

You can close the prompt window by typing Exit.

Increasing Available RAM

It is impossible to give you specific instructions for increasing the amount of available RAM. DOS is only one memory user. Other programs that get loaded when you start your computer or start a DOS program, can also steal needed memory. Look in AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS for commands that load programs you may not need. Old CD-ROM drivers and sound card drivers are the primary culprits. Disable these lines by adding the word REM at the beginning of the line, save the file, then restart your computer to see if everything else still works.