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MINFILE/pc HelpDesk and Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.)

MINFILE User's Manual Appendices Index
MINFILE User's Manual Table of Contents
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Welcome to the MINFILE/pc HelpDesk and Frequently Asked Questions site! This site lists some of the most common questions, problems, and solutions for MINFILE/pc. The 'Look In' comment links to the appropriate section or additional information in the MINFILE/pc User's Manual. If you can't find what you're looking for, please contact the MINFILE staff. Attempts will be made to update this site periodically.

Common Problems and Solutions

The site is organized according to problem area. Click on one of the choices below to view related problems and solutions.

A: Software Installation and Log On
B: Appending the Data
C: Searches
D: Utilities
E: Data Entry
F: Printing and Report Generation
G: Miscellaneous
H: Contact

A. Software Installation and Log On

Problem: While installing MINFILE/pc I get the message "Bad command or file name" or I get kicked back to the DOS prompt.
Solution: Make sure that DOS is on your path and that the file XCOPY is in the DOS directory. Then try installing MINFILE/pc again.

Problem: While installing MINFILE/pc I get the message "Out of environment space".
Solution: There may be no program running. Add it to your config.sys file with a line that says SHELL=C:\DOS\COMMAND.COM or something very similar.
Look In: Your DOS manual.

Problem: When I load MINFILE in Windows, I get a message: "Out of environment space".
Solution: Increase the environment space in you config.sys file with something like this: SHELL-c:\ /E:2048 /P. You may want to decrease buffers.

Problem: I am running WINDOWS NT 4.0, I open a DOS window and type A:, then install C. The error message is: Loading the MINFILE/pc installation system ... the name specified is not recognized as an internal or external command, operable program or batch file. File write error.
Solution: This is NT's way of saying "Bad command or file name". NT isn't recognizing the install.bat program as valid. Create a MINFILE folder with a subfolder TEMP on your hard drive (e.g. C:\MINFILE\TEMP). Copy the files INSTEXE.ZIP and PKUNZIP.EXE from Disk 1 to the C:\MINFILE\TEMP folder. Then unzip the INSTEXE.ZIP file in the newly created TEMP folder. Use a DOS window and go to this folder and type INSTALL C -T. Follow the instructions and when the install program asks 'Enter Drive letter of Disk #1 of MINFILE Install <A,B;X=Abort>' enter A. You can now delete files in C:\MINFILE\TEMP. To create a 'shortcut', drag C:\MINFILE\MINFLE.BAT to your desktop; under 'Properties' enter C:\MINFILE\WORK as the working folder.

Alternately, the program can be installed on a computer with a Windows 95/98 operating system and copied over to the NT machine.

Problem: How do I install MINFILE/pc in Windows 95.
Solution: Click on Start, Run and type in 'A:\Install c:' in the Open box.  This will launch the intallation routine to place MINFILE/pc on your C: drive; follow the directions. Using Windows Explorer, go to c:\minfile and, in this folder, right click and drag the file minfile (minfile.bat) to your desktop to create a 'shortcut'. Go to the icon created on the desktop and right-click the mouse. Select 'Properties' then 'Program'. On the top line enter 'MINFILE_pc'; on the Cmd line: enter 'c\MINFILE\minfile.bat'; and at working: enter 'c:\MINFILE\work'. You may also change the icon at this point. Double clicking the MINFILE_pc icon should run the program. The font set at 10x20 in the DOS window works well. In some cases, 'c:\minfile' may be required on the path in AUTOEXEC.BAT; and 'files=44' may be required in CONFIG.SYS.
Look In: Your Windows 95 manual or Help system; Chapter I, Section B3: How to Installing MINFILE/pc or Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File

Problem : I don't have enough memory to install MINFILE.
Solution: Try to close other programs and remove TSRs to free memory. You may need to install MINFILE manually. Create a "minfile" directory on your hard drive. Type "pkunzip -d -o MINFILE c:\minfile" from a:\install directory. Modify the "minfile.bat" file as above.
Look In: Appendix O: Computer Memory Notes or Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File (Memory Management).

Problem: MINFILE/pc won't run after I've installed it manually. Or I moved an installed version of MINFILE from one drive to another.
Solution: Use a text editor (either Norton Editor or a Windows program such as Notepad) to edit the minfile.bat program. Change the line which reads "Set D=" to the drive MINFILE is installed. e.g. "Set D=D" if D is the drive.

Problem: When I start up MINFILE/pc, it asks me for a user ID and password.
Solution: Type in "new" "new". DO NOT press "enter" between these words--the cursor will automatically move to the next field when the first is full.
Look In:  Chapter I, Section B4: Logging on to MINFILE/pc.

Problem: How do I change the User ID and password from NEW, NEW to something meaningful to me?
Solution: You can change the User ID and Password by using the Code Table option under the System choice in the Main MINFILE menu.
Look In: Chapter XI, Section C: User Maintenance.

Problem: I get a message "Exclusive open of file is required" while installing MINFILE/pc.
Solution: Do not use DOS's SHARE.EXE in you autoexec.bat.

Problem: I get a message "File does not exist" while starting MINFILE/pc.
Solution: Make sure Set D=to you harddrive is in MINFILE.BAT. Check path statement for C:\MINFILE; if it is on the path, shorten the path to 128 characters.

Look In: Chapter I, Section B: Installing MINFILE/pc and Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File.

Back to the Problems Index

B. Appending the Data

Problem: I can't append the mapsheet files; I get a message "Fail to load occurrences".
Solution: Check out and try these solutions:

  1. There may be insufficient RAM to run PKUNZIP (it needs at least 75K) ; try closing other applications to free up more RAM or remove TSR's.
  2. MINFILE may not be on the path; include c:\minfile on your path in autoexec.bat.
  3. The wrong drive may have been selected to append to or from. Make sure that you have correctly specified both the drive that the data is in, and the drive to which it is being appended
  4. If you try to append a dataset that has an occurrence with the same MINFILE number as one already installed, the entire new dataset will fail to be appended. If you wish to append the new data, you will first have to delete the occurrences with the same MINFILE numbers from your database.

Look In:  Chapter I, Section B5: Installing MINFILE Data or Chapter V, Section D:Append/Delete Data or Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File (How to Load Data and Entities).

Problem: I have problems appending Mines and Exploration data, Industrial Minerals data or Vancouver Island Special edition.
Solution: If you already have MINFILE data in your system, there may be duplicate occurrences. See number 4 in previous problem..

Problem: I would like to appending the from my hard drive.
Solution: Copy the file into a working directory and start MINFILE from that directory. When you are asked which drive the data is on, choose C or your harddrive letter.

Problem: After appending the provincial data set, the files didn't look right when they were unzipped.
Solution: Earlier versions of the data are probable being used of a newer version of the software; use current data.

Problem: I want to replace the provincial data quickly OR I want to replace my current data with newly released map areas.
First delete all your data; then append the new data.
Look In: Chapter V, Section D3: Delete Data (All Deposits) and Chapter V, Section D: Append/Delete Data.

Problem: I'm trying to install all of the released data on a 20 MB drive, and keep getting error messages telling me I'm out of space.
Solution: You need a larger drive. Try using less data (10-13 MB). You need 10 MB of space per 1000 occurrences.

Problem: I get the message "system entities are newer, entities not replaced" when appending data.
Solution: This message is not really and error but a message to state that code tables were not loaded, as the previous disks will have updated them. As long as the number of deposits increases on your system, you should be OK.

Back to the Problems Index

C. Searches

Problem: How do I created custom set of data to extract or report on that cannot created by a search.
Solution: Use a text editor to create a .MIN file with a list of the occurrences you would like; then import the file and run extracts, exports, reports or additional searches. Make sure that the syntax for MINFILE numbers is correct. (e.g. 094E 004 with 2 spaces between 094E and 004). You may also export an approximate list of occurrences and delete or add from the list.

Problem: Where do I find the codes for the search.
Solution: Refer to the Coding Manual. This may be downloaded from the MINFILE web site, or requested for mail order from the MINFILE Project. The tables also occur throughout the User's Manual.
Look In: Appendices C1: Mining Division Codes, C2: Tectonic Belt Codes, C3: Terrane Codes, C4: Physiographic Region Codes, C5: Region Table, D: MINFILE Commodity Codes, E: MINFILE Mineral, Rock and Modifier Codes, F: Stratigraphic Age Codes.

Problem: How do I search an irregular area in British Columbia?
Solution: Use a Quadtree approach: i.e, block out areas with longitude and latitude or NTS; save each file and then add the search files together with the DOS copy command.

Problem: I can't search anything.
Solution: Check to see if Deposits=0 in the lower right of the screen. If so, Reset your deposits or install data.
Look In: Chapter II, Section E: General Comments on Searches in MINFILE/pc or Chapter I, Section B5: Introduction (Installing MINFILE data).

Problem: My longitude/latitude does no work.
Solution: The left column should have the northwest corner and the right column should have the southeast corner of the search area.
Look In: Chapter III: Searching the MINFILE Database (Latitude/Longitude).

Look In: Chapter II, Section E: General Comments on Searches in MINFILE/pc and Chapter III: Searching the MINFILE Database.

Back to the Problems Index

D. Utilities

Problem: How do I get a file that I can use for plotting.
Solution: Any of the exports or extract that have georeferencing can be used. File definitions are in Appendix L.
Look In: Chapter V, Section B: Import/Export Search File or Appendix L: Database Structure of Exported and View Files.

Problem: How do I get a custom data population to begin searches.
Solution: Create your subset through the search menu; export the .MIN file (this file may be edited) or parcel the data into a If you exported the file it may be edited then imported before parcelling data. Delete all your data and append the previously parcelled
Look In: Chapter V, Section B: Import/Export Search File; Chapter V, Section E1: MINFILE Utilities (Parcel MINFILE Data; Chapter V, Section D3: MINFILE Utilities (Delete Data (All Deposits)); and Chapter V, Section D1: MINFILE Utilities (Append MINFILE Data

Problem: I deleted all my data.
Solution: You will have to reinstall data from your original data disks or obtain new data from our download site.
Look In: Chapter V, Section D3: MINFILE Utilities (Delete Data (All Deposits)) and Chapter I, Section B5: Introduction (Installing MINFILE data).

Problem: When I parcel an occurrence using MINFILE/pc on an NT 4.0 platform, it parcels the data but does not zip it to a
Solution: By copying pkzip.exe from the c:\minfile folder to the c:\minfile\work folder solves the problem.

Back to the Problems Index

E. Data Entry

Problem: I don't want to change data, what is the use of Data Entry.
Solution: The Data Entry is useful for browsing data, occurrence by occurrence and screen by screen. A single occurrence can be printed out from here. After a search, the results can be viewed in Data Entry. Occurrences outside the search scope can be called up using the MINFILE Number Select.
Look In:
Chapter VI:MINFILE Data Entry.

Problem: Capsule Geology gets clipped after 70 characters.
Solution: Use an editor that supports word wrap at 70 characters.
Look In:
Chapter VI:MINFILE Data Entry (Capsule Geology).

Back to the Problems Index

F. Printing

Problem: My printer does not produce a clean report.
Solution: If you printer is not EPSON or HP LASER compatible you may have to sent the report to file without control codes and use a word processing software to print. The file may have to be formatted in your word processor. Contact us and we may also be able to send you a printer driver for your printer.
Look In: Chapter II, Section F: Generating Report and Chapter II, Section F3: System Configuration.

Problem: This message shows up: "Insufficient file handles" while printing.
Solution: In your config.sys file (or config.NT in Windows NT), add this line: "Files=44".

Problem: The report does not run.
Solution: This means that MINFILE is not on the correct path.  Add c:\minfile to your path statement in autoexec.bat.

Problem: This message shows up: "Printer unavailable".
Solution: The printer may not be turned on or you may not be able to print in DOS. Check printer connections and ability to print from a DOS window.

Problem: How do I generate a report on a random selection of occurrences.
Solution: Do a search, export the .MIN file and edit the list. Import and then print the report. Or, use a text editor to create a list.

Problem: Message "Record is out of range".
Solution: This is a FoxBASE+ message. Choose "Pack/reindex" from Utilities to bring the indexes in line with the data.
Look In: Chapter V, Section D3: MINFILE Utilities (Pack/Reindex).

Problem: Message "Run command failed" or "Formatting report ...DOS/16M error [6] Insufficient memory to load program" followed by "Calculated field 'SCANNING' must be edited".
Solution: This may be due to running out of base RAM memory and problems with extended/expanded memory while running the report writing routine (R&R). You may have to remove some device drivers or increase RAM. Remark out DP2 in MINFILE.BAT (this is the table lookup routine used in Data Entry).
Look In: Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File (Memory Management) and Appendix O: Computer Memory Notes.

Problem: My printer is connected to my serial port COM1 or LPT2.
Solution: Set modes in autoexec.bat as: mode Com1:96,n,8,1,p and mode lpt1:=Com1. Contact us and we will send you a new configuration file with your port properly configured.

Problem: I get a message "Look-up failure from E01->MINFILNO record 1 into R08" while running the Production Report or "Look-up failure from MASTERDB->MINFILNO record 1 into E01" while running other reports..
Solution: A blank line or incorrect MINFILE number may be in a imported file (.MIN or .SDF), which were custom created in an editor.

Problem: I get a message "Cannot swap out to c:\minfile\work\rr.swp" while running a report.
Solution: Disk space is less than 500K; increase space.

Problem: I get a message "Cannot open file: View4040.idx" while running a report.
Solution: View4020.idx is a dynamically created file when the report writer kicks in. Try any of the following: You may not have enough files open, try putting the statement 'Files=44' in your config.sys. This will also happen if disk space is low (<1MB).  If you are running Windows NT, this OS is not kind to DOS programs. Some NT machines need config.fp (in MINFILE directory) to be in the directory you start MINFILE (e.g. MINFILE\WORK).  Try pack and reindex under MINFILE Utilities.  Make sure MINFILE is on your path; i.e. add c:\minfile to path.  Make sure your data is current.

Problem: Is there any reason why, on Menu2000 (Reports) that Minfile Master, Production and Capsule Geology choices are "shadowed out", and I can't select them?
Solution: Yes there is a reason for those reports unavailable. You are probably reporting a file in dbf or spreadsheet mode. Only tabular reports can be printed to these file types. Use your settings to File Type - Incl or Excl codes (i.e. printer codes).
Look In: Chapter II, Section F3: Operating in MINFILE/pc (System Configuration).  If you are looking for more comprehensive .dbf extracts, try the Mineral Data BC extracts under Utilities, Import/Exports. See Appendix L2, Mineral.dbf, Reserve.dbf and Product.dbf Extracts and Chapter V, Section B8: MINFILE Utilities (Extract Mineral Data BC files (dBase)).

Back to the Problems Index

G. Miscellaneous

Problem: What type of text editor can I use with MINFILE/pc?
Solution: The text editor must be smaller than 50K. Refer to the Readme.doc for more information.
Look In: Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File (Installation).

Problem: My text editor does not work in Windows NT.
Solution: Try copying the config.fp file in c:\minfile to c:\minfile\work (assuming this is the folder you start MINFILE from).
Problem: I get a message "File access denied".

Problem: I get a message "File access denied".
Solution: MINFILE may not be on the path.
Look In: Appendix M: The MINFILE/pc Readme.doc File (Configuration).

Problem: The F9 key does not shell me out to DOS.
Solution: may not be in the root directory or on the path.

Back to the Problems Index

H: Contact

If the above problems and solutions have not helped you, or if you need more information, please any member of the MINFILE Project at:


Appendix L: Database Structure of Exported and View Files
MINFILE User's Manual Appendices Index
MINFILE User's Manual Table of Contents

This page last updated: April 12, 1999. MINFILE Home Page


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