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1020 - Why did my file suddenly stop working?

by - Joseph Ganci

I have been working on a course for 3 months and everything was going along fine. Now, all of a sudden, I am unable to open the file. It can't be read and locks up my machine, so that I have to hard boot to get back on. All I was doing the last time I was in it was to review what was done because it was completed. I was checking for any changes that may need to be made, but had not made any at the point I left it. Has any one else had this problem and were you able to fix it? I am at my wits end, because that is a lot of work to lose and try to rebuild.

Unfortunately, I backed up the file everyday and the same thing is happening with my backup. I have never done a compact, because I didn't know there was such an animal. The course and backup are on jaz disks and the message I get when I try to open it is insert the disk. I am able to read the other courses off these disks, just not the important one that is due now of course. I hit the escape key to try to get out and have to do this several times. Eventually, I get can't write to file and my PC gets totally locked up and I have to hard boot to get up and running again and also to be able to remove the jaz disk.

I hate to say this but you may have learned an extremely painful lesson. Media like Jaz cartridges are not very reliable in the long term. I have had the same problem before and thank goodness I had been using them only as a back-up device and not my main form of storage. It's always best to store backups on a different medium than your original file.

On the off chance that it's not the storage medium, consider something else that may be happening. As Authorware users, we are taught to save often just in case something goes wrong. This is a very good idea. Authorware lets you save just about any time you want. This also means that Authorware will let you save while the presentation window is open and running. I make it a habit every time I run (and while the presentation window is closed) to hit Ctrl-S, Ctrl-R to save my changes, and then run the file. If I hit Ctrl-R, Ctrl-S, though, the file starts to run, then it gets saved and the file keeps running. This means that if I close the file then and reopen it, it's going to start running right away. If by chance the code at the start of my file is such that it does something funky, I won't be able to get in.

For instance, in several of my courses, I have an arrangement where I have a menu file and a lot of lesson files. The menu file jumps to the lesson files using JumpFileReturn and passes login information to the lesson file. I have code in each of my lesson files that checks to see if that login information has been passed. If it has not, that means the user tried to run the lesson file directly (which the client does not want). At that point, I put up a message that says "You must run this lesson from the menu" and then the file quits.

If I save my lesson file in authoring mode while running it, every time I try to open it after that it's going to give me the message and quit. I have to be very very quick with my fingers to hit Ctrl-J as soon as the file opens to stop it from running. Is there a chance that this might help or does the file just not open period? I think you have the latter problem (darn) but maybe just maybe you don't.

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