Program interactions with Generations

Tip version: 39.15

Modified date: 25 August 2004

Versions: v5.2 and above (as noted)


Section I - Other programs interfering with Generations

Microsoft Home Publishing Suite 2000

Microsoft Xmouse

Staroffice Suite


Alps Pointing-device Driver Version

Omnipage (v9 - v11 at least)

Appian Graphics Hurricane Desktop

nVidia graphics programs (* updated 6 May 2004 *)

Wacom graphics tablet driver

Mouse drivers


Pop Up Stopper


Media Face 4

Freeserve dialer [U.K.]

NetZero high speed (browsing accelerator)

Section II - Generations interfering with other programs (solutions available)

Generations Grande Suite v5.2 and Microsoft Windows NT 4

Generations Grande Suite v5.2 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 5

Generations Grande Suite v5.2 and E-Safe anti-virus software

Section III - Disappearing Data Syndrome

Data "disappears" when editing or merely traversing fields

SECTION I - Other programs interfering with Generations

There are several programs with known negative interactions with the Generations software. The programs which are known to cause problems are listed below. There are some other programs which may cause problems (these are being investigated).

Microsoft Home Publishing Suite 2000

Note that this is a different program from Publisher 2000 which is part of the Microsoft Office 2000 packages. One user has reported that there were only minor problems with this package and Generations, when the Microsoft Home Publishing Suite 2000 was installed BEFORE the Generations software. Another user has reported major problems (family group sheet printouts badly disrupted, etc.) with this package when Microsoft Home Publishing Suite 2000 was installed AFTER the Generations software. They also had problems in getting back to proper operation after the Suite was removed from the system. Further input from users of this package is desired.

Microsoft Xmouse (part of the unsupported Microsoft Powertoys package)

Operating system: Windows 95 (not necessarily limited to that operating system)

Symptom: Easytree would randomly "lockup" when editing Notes fields and it was impossible to recover from this with Norton Crashguard.

Solution: Problem disappeared when the Xmouse program was removed from the Startup menu.

StarOffice Suite (v5.0, other versions not checked)

Operating system: Windows 95 (not necessarily limited to that operating system)

Symptom: When a Person Card was in the Edit mode and one proceeded from field to field in the names, the given name or surname would be erased! This is described as the 'Disappearing Data Syndrome' in discussions below.

Interim workaround: If one did some typing in the field, the name would be preserved. This typing could be as little as adding a space at the end of the name. Solution: Problem disappeared when the StarOffice Suite was uninstalled from the system.

Note that this does NOT apply to the related OpenOffice program suite (tested with v1.0.1)


Operating system: Windows 98 (not necessarily limited to that operating system)

Symptom: Random crashes when editing Notes fields.

Solution: Remove encmontr program from Startup menu or run the "msconfig" program to disable it (check the Startup Tab under msconfig). Note that msconfig.exe is a Windows 98 program not found in Windows 95.

Alps Pointing-device Driver Version

Operations system: Windows 2000

Symptom: Disappearing data syndrome. It is not known if this behavior occurs with this driver under operating systems (this particular driver version may just be for Windows 2000)

Solution: This Alps driver was removed and a similar Synaptics touchpad driver (Synaptics, Inc. - Progressive Touch Version 5.0.56 20JAN00) was installed, curing the "disappearing names" problem.

Omnipage 9.0 (possibly other versions also)

Symptom: RTF files do not show the proper data but rather the names of the fields or symbols in place of the data. Solution: Omnipage runs the ocrawr32.exe program in the background. This program attempts to parse rtf files and causes this problem. Go to the task manager and turn off ocrawr32.exe

Omnipage Pro 11.0-12.0 (possibly other versions also)

Symptom: Disappearing data syndrome. [A thank you to Doug Price for reporting this problem and running tests.]

Solution: This can be fixed by uninstalling Omnipage, but that is not convenient for many users. A more useful solution here is to use 'msconfig' to make sure that the opware32.exe program and the s3tray.exe programs are not run at startup (see below). This leaves most Omnipage feature functional, just turning off some of the automation between tasks.

Appian Graphics Hurricane Desktop

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. Uninstalling the software solved the problem. [A thank you to David Pierce for reporting the problem and finding the offending software on his system.]

nVidia graphics programs (* updated 6 May 2004 *)

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. This showed up with an unspecified nVidia graphics card driver. Solution: Use the msconfig program (see below) and stop the nvidia.dll program from running at startup. More specific details on this would be appreciated.

The Nwiz.exe program is used on some nVidia drivers to manage virtual desktops, multiple screen displays, desktops larger than the display size, etc. This can also result in the disappearing data syndrome. The solution is the same. Either use msconfig or set this program's options itself so it is not run.

Wacom Graphics Tablet driver

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. Uninstalling the driver solved the problem. [This has been reported for the Windows XP version of the Wacom driver. It would be useful to know if it happens for other versions.]

Fancy mouse drivers

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. There have been reports that several different mouse software drivers with 'fancy' features cause this same problem. Solution: Uninstalling the fancy driver software and letting Windows detect the mouse and use standard mouse drivers fixes the problem.

Hotbar utility for Internet Explorer-Outlook Express

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. Uninstalling the software solved the problem. Information on this program is available at [A thank you to Marilyn Wilson for reporting the problem and carrying out the test which confirmed that Hotbar was the problem.]

Pop Up Stopper, by Panicware

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. Simply closing the program from the icon in the taskbar fixes the problem. One can also uninstall it for a permanent fix. [A thank you to Don Morton for reporting the problem and the fix.]


Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. I don't have much information about this but it is apparently a configuration/management utility for SBC (Southern Bell Communications DSL service with Yahoo). Reported on the Sierra mesasage board

Media Face 4

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. This is a CD label design program. [A thank you to Trevor Rix of the U.K. for passing along the report.]

Freeserve dialer [U.K.]

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. This is a dialer program for a free Internet service in the U.K. [Another thank you to Trevor Rix on this one.]

NetZero browsing accelerator (a/k/a NetZero high speed)

Symptom: The disappearing data syndrome. This is an accelerator to compress web pages and email for greater throughput on dialup connections. Note that there are several software houses producing this type of product for various Internet Service Providers. The Netzero accelerator is the only one for which we have this symptom reported (one person so far - further confirmation requested). The accelerator software developed by Slipstream Inc does not appear to cause this symptom.

SECTION II - Generations interfering with other programs

Problems caused by Generations v5.2 (original release) [These problems do NOT occur with the v6 software.]

Windows NT install problem

Operating system: Windows NT [IMPORTANT!]

See the seperate Generations Tip 32 addressing installation and program operation under Windows NT. Note that the Generations software is not officially supported by Sierra on the Windows NT operating system.

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5

Operating system: Windows 95/98/NT (see note above for NT)

Symptom: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 not operational after reboot.

Cause: The very first release of Generations Grande Suite (v5.2) installs the "comctl32.dll" support file for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4 without checking to see if a later version (for Microsoft Internet Explorer 5) is already installed. This prevents Internet Explorer from working after the system is rebooted. When this problem was discovered, a revised installation CD was used where the version of this file is checked and the user is warned of potential problems if installation is allowed to continue.

Solution: Two possible solutions.

(1) Get the "ggspatch.exe" file from the Downloads and Patches section of the Generations web site. This is now also listed on the Sierra website as the update for Generations. Run this program AFTER installation of Generations Grande Suite v5.2, but BEFORE rebooting the system.

(2) Copy the "comctl32.dll" file for Internet Explorer 5 to a safe location. Recopy this file to the original location with the original name, again AFTER installation but BEFORE rebooting the system. This file is installed in C:\windows\system under Windows 95 and in C:\winnt\system32 under Windows NT (assuming that C: is your Windows boot drive).

E-Safe anti-virus software

Anthony Kaplan had reported some time ago that there was a program interaction between Generations and the E-Safe anti-virus software which required that software to be temporarily disabled in order to run Generations. Further experimentation by him has shown that the solution is to set up a desktop or start menu shortcut directly to the Easytree program (Tree5.exe) and to avoid the Generations graphical shell program (gen5.exe). Thanks to Anthony for reporting the problem and for finding the solution. (My apologies for not including this interaction problem in earlier versions of this tip.) For versions of Generations after the 5.2 release, subsitute the appropriate vesion number into the file names shown above. Additional user input on whether or not this interaction with the E-Safe anti-virus software is present with the later versions would be appreciated.

SECTION III - Disappearing Data Syndrome

Some users have reported symptoms where the data disappears from fields as one traverses through the person editing screen. This has been reported from most Windows releases and for all versions of Generations from 5.2 up. Many people mistakenly believe that this is due to a conflict between Generations and Windows XP. Rather this is due to the software bundles or particular drivers included with these computers.

There are number of programs and drivers which have been identified as causing this symptom. Please review the entries in Section I for additional details. Some of the most common sources for conflict are the additional 'helper' programs used with OmniPage Pro, and also 'fancy feature' drivers for some graphics tablets, touchpads, and mice.

A useful Windows utility for diagnosing the source of this problem is the 'msconfig' utility. This is started from the 'Run' command in the Windows Start menu. Click on the Startup tab at the top of the MSConfig screen. One may selectively disable programs here so that they are not run at Windows startup. This is much more convenient than using the Add/Remove programs control panel application, as this simply stops the program from running instead of actually removing it from the system. A bit of patient experimentation may often identify the source of the conflict.

Windows XP note. A few users who have had the disappearing data syndrome on Windows XP systems, but who had no readily-identifiable sources of the problem, found that installing Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1) fixed their problems. Note that the problem is NOT a general conflict with Windows XP, rather something specific on their systems (some users had the problem on only one of several XP systems they had). We do not know where their conflicts were located, but it is most likely that these were with some specific device drivers.

It is expected that this list will be updated as further information becomes available. Information from other users regarding confirmed or possible conflicts between other programs and Generations is a vital information source. Please contact Mike Hobart or Don Weymouth with any new discoveries.

Regards, Mike Hobart

Copyright © 1999-2004 Michael A. Hobart, commercial reuse restricted.

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