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Windows 9x can be Low on Resources if programs use too much of a certain type of memory Windows allocates for its internal management.

I have a problem with Microsoft Word 2001 SR1. It ran ok until recently. On trying to open the program the pc hangs. Pressing ctrl-alt-del brings up a message saying "WARNING SYSTEM IS DANGEROUSLY LOW ON RESOURCES (which it is not) WOULD YOU LIKE TO TERMINATE MS WORD?" On clicking yes nothing happens. Pressing ctrl-alt-del eventually produces a blue screen then a restart. I am running Windows Me and have tried uninstalling/reinstalling several times. No other software has been installed recently.

Well, to begin with, the 95/98/Me versions of Windows can most definition be low on resources even with plenty of memory.

The question, of course, is why?

"Low on Resources" on a Windows 9x (meaning 95/98/Me) machine actually refers to a fixed size portion of memory that Windows allocates for certain objects that it has to keep track of. Since it's fixed size, it's unrelated to the actual amount of memory installed in your machine.

In practice, "Low on Resources" is typically the sign of a program bug. A program allocates many of these objects that Windows has to track, and fails to release them and the memory they consume is the most common cause of that problem.

So my initial reaction is to perform an up-to-date scan for spyware or viruses that may have infected your computer and eaten up resources. These programs are frequently quickly and poorly written, and often riddled with bugs.

You indicated that you uninstalled/reinstalled - those are good ideas. If the spyware / anti-virus check doesn't resolve the issue, that's exactly the tack I'd take. I'd start with a repair install of Office.

Article C2209 - October 21, 2004 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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November 2, 2004 6:02 AM

My experience is that once in a while a problem with word happens when you save a word document over and over. For example, every day you open the same document, make a change to it, then save it. Sometime between the 20th and the 200th save, something happens in the document. I don't know exactly what it is. But on occasion opening that document will cause the out of resources error you describe. If this is the cause, the solution is create a brand new document and start over. Don't open that old document anymore. Simple!

Since the problem is happening when you first open word (I've never heard of Word "2001" version but that is another question), it is possible your "Normal.dat" file is corrupted. Search for it on your disk and rename it. I believe word will recreate that needed file when you start Word again.

One other possibility is viruses and spyware often consume massive amounts of resources. Install Ad Aware and/or Spybot and scan your disk. These can be obtained from .. Also trendmicro/ offers a free online virus scanner that works very well.

November 2, 2004 6:03 AM

TrendMicro free virus scan link is

November 2, 2004 1:34 PM

For the saving word documents over and over again ... make sure that "fast saves" is turned OFF. That can cause the document to grow an grow (among other things).

December 11, 2004 10:22 AM

first, before i start i'd like to comment on the "word 2001" article above, as far as i know there is no such thing as word 2001 lol. Anyhow, I am a music dowloader and video game mostly and i get the system low on resources problem when opening my download programs or while running them. Particularly my soulseek browser ( for those who dont know what that is, its an album/folder at a time download program. i have 92% free system resources free in my system info and have no other programs running. Even after several virus/spyware sweeps and turrning up nothing as well as reformatting my drive and reinstalling windows itself. Any ideas? please email any possible solutions to me at [Email Address Removed] and if your solutions work after i try them i will post them on this sites for others to see. Thanx a bundle :-D

July 24, 2005 4:16 PM

What is your recommendation on how often a user should reboot / restart Windows 98? Especially if it is in high use business application and upgrading Windows is not an option.


July 24, 2005 4:22 PM

It *really* depends on what you're doing on it, and how well behaved the programs you're using are. I'd reboot at least once a day, personally, but like I said, it depends on a lot of things.

September 10, 2005 4:33 PM


since I've had the exact same problem yesterday, and this page pointed me (indirectly) to the right solution, I thought I might as well describe what I did, so that people getting the same problem don't have to search as I had to do.

First, indeed there's no such thing as Microsoft Word 2001 SR1. I expect it was a typo for Microsoft Word 2000 SR1, which happens to be the version I have on my Windows ME computer, and which indeed, after years of working (so so, but working) decided yesterday to freeze at start-up and freeze the entire OS with it, giving when I hit CTRL-ALT-DEL the famous "low on resources" error (while the computer had just started, and is free of viruses or spyware).

It's auctionhugh who directed me at the right solution, although he gave the wrong file name. The file you need to look for is called "", with an O in the extension instead of A. Word indeed freezes when this file gets corrupted, but recreates it if it is erased. So just look for instances of and erase them all. Note that this file has also shortcuts associated which are simply called "Normal" (without extension). Erase them too. Once you've done that, you should be able to restart Word without a problem.

Note that repair install or uninstall/reinstall won't work, as is situated in the Application Data folder of the user, and thus isn't touched when you reinstall Word. You really have to find the file yourself and delete it manually.

September 11, 2005 9:23 PM

Just a note that also holds many of your customizations - so if you blow it away, you may see many of the things you've tweaked in Word get restored to their defaults. Obviously if it's corrupt, you may have no alternative.

May 2, 2006 11:36 AM

Thank you for resolving my problem. I was getting ready to go out and buy a new computer to save my business! You're the best!

October 28, 2006 2:34 AM

I wish above comments will work next time i ancounter with such problem.what i do is just changed version of office.switch to 2000 if you have office xp & to 2000 if you have xp.It works all the time but i need some concrite solution,i think your ones will definitly work.

H. Adeel
June 4, 2009 9:27 PM

i m using MS Office 2003, when i open ms word, my system hangs. my system is very fast, 40 gb hard disk and 224 mb RAM, 2.19 GHZ... problem lies only with ms word opening. others ms excel, access working in a rite manner. i give print command from word and system hangs for almost 10 minutes and prints come out after 15 minutes. pls help me. i have format all my drives and make partitions again but this dont solve the problem. i m usign symentac antivirus

August 26, 2009 7:55 PM

Hello to all,

I have solved the problem with Excel crashing. I did not have to re-install Excel or Windows 98. Here is the detail of the problem, below, and the FIX! I wanted to share this with everybody. Read on!

Note: I have Windows 98, 2nd Edition Q239887 update (latest).

My Problem:
When I open an Excel file and click on the Print Preview button and then click the “Close” button I get the following error message:

“EXCEL caused a general protection fault in module USER.EXE at 0006:000056f4”.

Other times, when I open Excel and then to close Excel, I get the following error message:

“The system is dangerously low on resources. Would you like to terminate the following application?
• explorer"

When I click yes, I repeatedly get the same error message with the following applications listed in succession:
• Imgicon
• Systray
• Adusermon
• Cgmenu
• Cg16eh
• Cg32eh

Upon Google searching on these error messages, I found the following solutions, which I have tried AND IT WORKS!!!!

Problem: EXCEL caused a general protection fault in module USER.EXE at 003:00003d32. (Similar error to mine).

Fix: Open windows explorer. Do a search for "*.xlb" without the quotes. When the file is found, delete this file. Now open up Excel. The .xlb file is your menu settings. When you reopen excel, it will create a new .xlb file.

When I did a file search for *.xlb, only one file turned up, which was found under C:\WINDOWS\. In my case, the file name was “PII 3508.xlb”.

I tried it… this worked! Awesome!

Now, it's on to trying to figure out my music software glitch.


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