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Contents : Support : FAQ
FAQ: Troubles, bugs, and errors in SuperMemo 2000

It may happen that you will not be able to edit material if you use a wrong template!
Outlook Express hangs up on e-mail functions

Some Library collections may display harmless compatibility warnings

Prohibited access error may indicate deleting registry objects that are still in use

Your math formula or Japanese texts can suddenly get swapped!
There is no millennium bug in SuperMemo!
Remember to make a backup!
Prohibited access error may indicate deleting registry objects that are still in use

Your collection can suddenly appear empty!
Disappearing material

You can restore an empty backup

Use Copy or Move instead of File : Save as
You can backup learning in large collections
There is a chance you can recover from a virus attack!
If SuperMemo is unstable ... check your computer first
Rich text components need special steps to be printed
You may have problems displaying MS Equation formulas in SuperMemo
SuperMemo can be getting slower!
Wrong A-Factor distribution
Errors in counting operation progress are harmless

UsedInterval<1 at GetRepetitionData message may be a result of a bug

Use import/export repetition history to resolve corrupted repetition history
Error setting text selections is harmless

If you believe you found a bug not mentioned here, write to bugs(AT)supermemo(.)com


It may happen that you will not be able to edit material if you use a wrong template!
(Glenn Fraser, Japan, March 16, 2000)
Question:

When I choose Add new I cannot edit the texts! Until recently, I was able to work without problems. What might be happening?
Answer:
You must have saved an empty element as the default template (e.g. by pressing Alt+Ctrl+s upon deleting all components). The simplest solution is:

  1. go to any of the correctly looking elements
  2. choose Template : Save as default (Alt+Ctrl+s). This will save the element as the default template
  3. choose Add new (Ctrl+A). This will add a new element with the same looks as the saved element
  4. delete texts, sound or images saved in Step 2
  5. choose Template : Save as default again (Alt+Ctrl+s). This will save the template with the right looks but without any content

Outlook Express hangs up on e-mail functions
(Dr. Prateek Mishra, India, Nov 6, 2000)
Question:
Outlook Express hangs up when I use e-mail functions
Answer:
See: Minimum Requirements


Your math formula or Japanese texts can suddenly get swapped!
(Dimitri Linde, USA, Nov 11, 2000)
Question:
Some of the answers disappeared in my collection and were replaced by other entries instead (so some of the answers are duplicated, and some are deleted). My collection uses MS Gothic font which can be downloaded from Microsoft by selecting Japanese Encoding in Internet Explorer
Answer:
Unfortunately, text registries in SuperMemo use ASCII encoding. All differential rich-text formatting is not enough to make two texts different. If you learn Japanese, two differently looking phrases may have the same low-level ASCII encoding and will be treated as the same entry. There is only one workaround: make the text entries different (e.g. you could add a Latin label, prefix, explanation or even an extra space at the end). This is a low-level technical problem that would be solved if SuperMemo relied on Unicode, which it does not.
Hint: you can see low-level encoding of your rich text with Ctrl+K (Link : Registry member) of the active text component. Text registry list-box on the left will display the text as it is stored for low-level binary searches. Very often, your Japanese texts will simply show as ?????????????


There is no millennium bug in SuperMemo!
(Lassi Kaleva, Finland, Feb 1, 1999)
Question:
Is SuperMemo Y2K compliant? Does it work correctly in Windows 98 and in Windows 2000?
Answer:

  1. Millennium bug: See Millennium Bug in SuperMemo
  2. Windows 98: Although we currently develop SuperMemo in Windows NT 4.0, we are not aware of any Windows 98 or Windows 2000 specific problems. We will officially provide full Windows 2000 support once we recompile the program with Delphi 6.0 (Delphi 5.0 has been released before Windows 2000)

Remember to make a backup!
(Marcin Piekarniak, Poland, Dec 2, 1997)
Question:
How can I easily back up Advanced English 97? In Advanced English 94 the entire system could be compressed to a 1.4 MB file!
Answer:
It is possible to back up the learning process without backing up the contents of Advanced English (the contents is backed up on your original Advanced English CD-ROM). This way only the data pertaining to items in the learning process will be stored (not items themselves). Use File : Tools : Export : Learning process to export the data. Later, upon reinstalling Advanced English 97, you can restore the learning process with File : Tools : Import : Learning process


Your collection can suddenly appear empty!
(Michael Duggan, Canada, Nov 2, 1998)
Question:
I was cleaning up my hard drive and attempted to move SuperMemo from one folder to another folder. In the process I lost the data for a number of collections. Can I retrieve these data files and place them back in my collection? How do I do that?
Answer:
It is always recommended to move collections with File : Copy collection in SuperMemo. Otherwise, a frequent mistake is to copy the kno file without the folder that contains the actual collection files (see: Files used by SuperMemo).
Some customers also fall victim of the following scenario:

  1. user moves the whole SuperMemo folder to a new location using Windows tools
  2. user starts sm2000.exe from the new location
  3. SuperMemo inspects supermemo.ini for the location of most recently used files and looks for them in the old location
  4. SuperMemo displays Cannot find <collection name> at <old location>. Create new files?
  5. User responds with Yes
  6. SuperMemo creates empty files with the old name
  7. User is convinced he lost his data while intact collections are safely stored at the new location

The simplest remedy is to answer No in Step 5 and open collections at the new location with File : Open


You can restore an empty backup
(Przemek S, Poland, June 8, 2000)
Question:

I used to regularly back up my Advanced English on a second hard disk. Today I tried to restore my backup and ... it looks as it is empty! Only one element inside! Help!!!
Answer:

There is a frequent mistake users make. To backup a collection, you need to copy both the kno file and the associated folder (e.g. file ae.kno and the folder [ae])(see: Collection files). Some inexperienced users copy only the kno file which is just 20KB of data! If you try to open an orphaned kno file, SuperMemo will reconstruct an empty folder structure.

To avoid this problem: Always back up collections with File : Copy collection or File : Tools : Quick backup. Do not use external tools unless you understand Windows, files, folders and SuperMemo very well!

To resolve the problem: it is possible the original folder associated with the kno file still exists on the hard disk! You can search for some files characteristic for SuperMemo (e.g. burden.dat or sm8opt.dat). Make an inventory of all kno files (search for *.kno) and all SuperMemo collection folders (search for burden.dat) on your hard disk. Once the inventory is made, try to carefully match up knos and folders and copy kno files to match the folders. Chances are that File : Open on one of these files will restore the lost backup. Note that you can easily find empty collections by checking the size of burden.dat. This file contains repetitions and is zero-sized on collections with no learning process


Use Copy or Move instead of File : Save as
Question:

Why isn't there Save As on the File menu?
Answer:
Because File : Copy collection does exactly what you would expect of Save As. The different name indicates, however, that the collection is not stored in memory but is updated on the hard disk on-the-fly. Therefore, instead of saving it under a new name, you just have to copy it to the new location. Collections are kept on the disk due to their often huge size (for example Advanced English is 700 MB large; of which the primary storage takes nearly 50 MB)


You can backup learning in large collections
(Michal Grodzki, Poland, Aug 20, 1998)
Question:
You advice the users of Advanced English 97 to make back-up copies with File : Tools : Export : Learning process. However, this does not back up the material introduced by the user. What is the best solution in a case when I want to add lots of my own items to Advanced English?
Answer:
You might try one of the following:

  1. Keep your own material in a separate collection. You can back such a collection by compressing the <collection name>.kno file and the <collection name> folder into a single archive (e.g. with WinZip)
  2. If you prefer to add your items to Advanced English (e.g. in order to be able to search all material in one go), you might back up the contents of a single branch by transferring it into an empty system with Tools : Transfer branch on the contents pop-up menu or by exporting it as text with Tools : Export as text (also on the contents menu). You can later restore your back-up after reinstalling Advanced English with Tools : Transfer branch in the opposite direction or with File : Tools : Import : Text in the latter case

There is a chance you can recover from a virus attack!
Question:
My computer was hit by a virus and SuperMemo reports integrity problems. What shall I do?
Answer:
Try File : Repair collection. If this does not help, you will need to use your latest working backup


If SuperMemo is unstable ... check your computer first
Question:

What should I do if SuperMemo displays strange error messages, aborts frequently, and File : Repair collection does not work?
Answer:
Make sure that your Windows is stable and you have no hardware problems. If the messages are displayed by Windows rather than SuperMemo itself (e.g. modules such as Kernel, User, Ctl3D, etc.), the problem is probably not with SuperMemo. Some hardware problems are a frequent reason for such situations, esp. if similar events happen with other application. Check your memory, hard disk, system setup and the mainboard in the first order.
In case you are sure File : Repair collection is unable to recover your collection for reasons related to SuperMemo, write to SuperMemoMail


You may have problems displaying MS Equation formulas in SuperMemo
(Tomasz Szynalski, Poland, Dec 2, 1998)
Question:
When I create an MS Equation formula in the OLE component, the equation is unnaturally large and distorted. How can I go around this bug?
Answer:
Rendering of the OLE object is done by the server application, MS Equation in this case. You have to fix the problem in MS Equation by adjusting display attributes (e.g. reducing the size of fonts in this case)


UsedInterval<1 at GetRepetitionData message may be a result of a bug
(Jiri Pik, 12/19/2001 8:07:02 PM)
Question:
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: "UsedInterval<1 at GetRepetitionData[1]"
Answer:
There were three similar reports. This is probably a still existing bug in SuperMemo 2000. It would occur if you managed to execute the repetition of the same element twice on the same day. It could have resulted from an earlier bug in Topic-Item conversion where you could begin the repetition cycle of an element which was an item, execute the item-2-topic conversion in the middle of the cycle, and complete the repetition with an element already being a topic. Luckily, there is a trap set against this bug that sets UsedInterval back to one. There were a number of changes around this code that could result in this bug being resolved in future releases. The problem is still being studied


SuperMemo can be getting slower!
(Pawel Galecki, Poland, Feb 10, 1998)
Question:
I have created my own collection that contains 700 items in the root. The system loads for nearly 60 seconds each time I open it! How can I speed this up?
Answer:
For performance reasons, you should limit the number of elements per branch to 50-100. For this purpose, set a lower value at Tools : Options : SuperMemo : Children limit per hierarchy node. To break up your 700-item category, run Tools : Arrange in folders on the contents window pop-up menu


Wrong A-Factor distribution
(Tomasz Szkopek, Nov 8, 1999)
Question:
I upgraded Advanced English 97 to SuperMemo 2000 and received the following error: Collection files access error ! Wrong A-Factor distribution. Is it dangerous?

Answer:
No. This is a harmless warning.
After upgrading all collections to SuperMemo 2000, you will always need to run File : Repair collection with Basic recovery checked. This is needed to calculate new values of A-Factors as the interpretation of A-Factors has changed slightly from SuperMemo 98 to SuperMemo 99


Rich text components need special steps to be printed
(Ronn, Tuesday, August 28, 2001 4:26 AM)
Question:
I have been trying to print out the questions and answer element. I click on print and all I get is a blank sheet of paper
Answer:
Rich text components do not get printed along the element content. You can work around this problem in the following ways: 

1. Using Text : Print on the rich text component pop-up menu (right click) 

2. Copying questions and answers via clipboard (e.g. Ctrl+C

3. Using plain text components instead of rich text components (e.g. apply Classic template

All this trouble results from a bug in Delphi VCL library (SuperMemo development tool) that fails to print RTF texts on form printouts


Prohibited access error may indicate deleting registry objects that are still in use
(Xavier, Tue, Jul 17, 2001 17:13)
Question:
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: "Font registry access error! Prohibited access Position=1 LastPosition=0"
Answer:
Most likely cause of this error is that you have registered a font with an element in your collection and then you have deleted that font. If you later try to access this font, the above error will be displayed. It means roughly "You are asking for font #1 while there are 0 fonts in the font registry"


Some Library collections may display harmless compatibility warnings
(Hammerl, Harald, Thu, Aug 02, 2001 15:24)
Question:
I bought General English yesterday. I use SuperMemo 2000. The system asked me to convert to sm2000 format and then I got the following error message: 
"Template registry access error! 
Prohibited access. 
Position=6. 
LastPosition=2
"
Answer:
This is a harmless compatibility problem. For maximum compatibility, library collections are stored in SuperMemo 98 format that gets upgraded upon opening the collection with SuperMemo 2000. The problem comes from the fact that SuperMemo 2000 cannot find predefined templates that were not in use in earlier versions. This warning is suppressed in Built 10.08 which you can download from supermemo.com downloads section


Use import/export repetition history to resolve corrupted repetition history
(Jiri Pik, Czech Republic, 12/1/2001 5:59:25 PM)
Question:
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: "Wrong repetition history record found. Writing Item #145428: NOM DE GUERRE"
Answer:
SuperMemo 2000 does not verify repetition history. Repetition history record is kept only for your information and does not take part in scheduling repetitions. If the repetition history has been corrupted (e.g. due to an aborted learning data transfer), you can try the following procedure: 

  1. back up your collection 
  2. use File : Tools : Export : Repetition history 
  3. run File : Tools : Reset parameters : Repetition history 
  4. use File : Tools : Import : Repetition history (with the file created in Point 2) 

Important! Do not turn off repetition history in options as repetition history will play an increasingly important role in future versions


Disappearing material
(hojinil, South Korea, Wednesday, April 11, 2001 4:29 AM)
Question:
I used Add New and I added lots of stuff but next time when I opened collections I couldn't find any of them. It was gone!
Answer:
Please make sure the following two conditions are met: 

  1. You are not copying or moving files behind the back of SuperMemo (e.g. with Windows Explorer) 
  2. With File : Open collection, you go to the exactly same location where you last left your collection 

If some files are moved or deleted behind the back of SuperMemo, it will often attempt to recreate missing files and open the collection regardless. Unless you delete your collection or delete its folders, your learning material should remain safe


Errors in counting operation progress are harmless
(JoSzwarc, Sat, Aug 11, 2001 23:20)
Question:
SuperMemo has just displayed the following error: "Done>TotalItems in TProgressBox.ShowDone: 8711>8693"
Answer:
This message crops up when SuperMemo makes a wrong estimation of the size of a particular job (e.g. searching the collection). Otherwise than indicating an estimation error, this bug message should be considered harmless. In case you know more about its context or can hypothesize on its causes, please write to bugs(AT)supermemo(.)com


Error setting text selections is harmless
(Jason Mauney, Fri, May 24, 2002 3:14)
Question:
I received the following error: 
Error setting text selections 
Selection requested=1383 
Selection received=768
Answer:
This is a harmless error which indicates SuperMemo could not set the text selection where it wanted to (e.g. due to an error in an RTF text control). A simple solution is to set the read-point in the place you want it to be set or to clear the read-point (Ctrl+Shift+F7). This error does not occur in SuperMemo 2002