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OM4 - Extended Memory Edition

Overview and Benefits

Those running OM4 on 386, 486, or Pentium class computers with 4 MB or more of RAM may want to use the Extended Memory Edition of OM4 (OM4/X) rather than the standard program. This special edition of the program provides the following benefits:

  • OM4/X significantly lowers conventional memory requirements. The main program can easily run in 450K or less conventional memory. Memory requirements increase to 530K only when outputting insurance claims or statements.
  • Disk space requirements for the OM program files are reduced by over 1.6 MB.
  • All aspects of the program run faster provided that enough extended memory is available (approximately 2.6MB) because the entire program can be loaded at the same time. The standard version has to continually swap pieces of itself in and out of memory. Note that initial program load is slower than with the standard edition because so much more is being loaded.
  • Creating batches of insurance claims and statements is much faster because the batch creation program is part of the main program. In the standard version, it is separate, so creating a batch involves moving back and forth from the main and secondary program modules.
  • You can access patient and policy information from the insurance claim and statement selection screens (as you could in OM2 and OM3). At the Patient From and Patient To fields press m to display the Active Patient list. From this list you can access all the patient and policy screens. The standard version provides only a patient lookup list, not the full-function Active Patient list.

Version 4.13 and later installation diskettes contain both standard and extended memory editions of the software. The INSTALL program will give you the option of installing the extended edition if it detects that your computer is a 386 or better and that you have extended memory available. If your system does not meet these criteria or you are installing the software on a network, the standard edition of the software should be installed instead. After initial installation, you can replace the program files with either version by selecting "Non Standard Installation" on INSTALL's main menu.

System Configuration

Program File Differences

The Extended Memory Edition involves replacing the standard OM.EXE file with a new OM.EXE file. This single new OM.EXE contains all the functionality of the standard version's OM.EXE, OM.OVL, and OM4A.EXE.

Environment Settings

No special environment settings are generally necessary, though OM4/X will use your temp directory if one is defined in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file with a SET TEMP= statement. If you have such a setting, be sure that the drive and directory provide enough space to store fairly large amounts of data (up to a couple of megabytes).

Extended Memory Requirements

As implied in its name, OM4/X requires extended memory. This memory may be in the form of XMS, DPMI, or VCPI. Any computer that is able to load Microsoft Windows 3.1 or higher has such memory available. Most often the proper memory format is provided by the HIMEM.SYS driver loaded in the CONFIG.SYS file. The more of this extended memory that is available, up to approximately 3 MB, the faster OM4/X will run. To check on available memory resources, at any C: prompt type the command:

MEM <enter>

In any event, you must have AT LEAST 1.8 MB of available extended memory to use the extended edition. It will run with less extended memory, but program load time will be quite long and you will not be able to print insurance or statements or do any other functions that require executing a second program from within OM (such as Report Writer, backup program, scheduler, etc.)

Adjustments in CONFIG.SYS

The standard version of OM must open and close data files continuously in order to keep memory usage down. This process has a considerable negative impact on performance. OM4/X keeps most files open while the program is in use and therefore may require a higher number of FILES to be specified in the CONFIG.SYS file than the standard version does. To avoid any possiblity of problem, increase the number to at least 120, up to a maximum of 255.

Running OM4/X under Microsoft Windows

Although OM4/X, like the standard edition of OM4, is a DOS program, it may be run from within the Microsoft Windows environment, if desired.

Extended memory is shared among the programs you run under Windows. Some modern Windows software, such as many popular Windows-based word processors, will gladly use up to 6 MB of extended memory if it is available! This makes for rather cramped quarters if you have only 4 MB of RAM on your system. In such circumstances, you will probably find that your programs work much better if you run only one at a time. On the other hand, if you have 16 MB or more of RAM, you can easily run several large applications simultaneously.

When OM is loaded from within Windows, Windows looks for a file called OM.PIF for instructions on how to allocate resources for OM's use. OM4/X has very different requirements than the standard edition of OM, so to maximize performance you may have to modify this file:

  1. In the Program Group MAIN you should find the PIF Editor program. Double click on it to start.
  2. Select FILE, then OPEN.
  3. Enter the filename C:\OM\OM.PIF in the active Program Filename field. If you have installed OM in a different drive or directory, make the appropriate adjustment in the filename you type here. Once the filename has been typed, click OK or press <enter>.
  4. The PIF settings window should appear. Notice the settings for XMS Memory, KB Required and KB Limit. The first of these tells Windows how much XMS extended memory it should have available to allow the program to start at all. This value can be set as low as zero. The second tells Windows to limit the amount of XMS extended memory to the indicated value. If you have plenty of memory and want OM to be able to take as much as it needs, set the XMS limit field to -1 (minus 1). OM actually will use about 2.8 MB. If you have limited extended memory and limit OM to less than this amount, enter the value here in KB. To limit it to 2 MB, for example, you would enter 2048. Do not set the limit to less than 1800K! Also, keep in mind that restricting the amount of extended memory OM can use will force it to use the hard disk instead, greatly reducing the performance benefits possible with OM4/X.













Problems Running OM4/X under Windows

If you can run OM4/X without problem under DOS, but encounter Access Denied errors when trying to load it under Windows, check to see if you are using the 32 bit disk access option. Some computers seem to require that this option be turned on. In some cases, such as if using a portable computer, you should NOT enable this option, but on regular desktop systems it usually results in significantly better system performance. To check the setting:

Open Control Panel in the MAIN program group.

Double click on 386 Enhanced (the computer chip icon).

Click on Virtual Memory.

Click on Change.

At the bottom of this window there is a check box for 32 bit disk access.

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