VirtualAcorn Technical support:
Problems with third party applications

The VirtualAcorn range of products are exceptionally compatible with RISC OS software, indeed you are more likely to run into problems on a modern "real" machine than on a VirtualAcorn, however problems can still occur occasionally. If you do have a problem with a third party application/program then there could be a number of solutions you could try.

Re-install it

It could be that the copy of the application that you are using has got corrupted. The very first thing you should try is to re-install it. If you downloaded it from the Internet then download a fresh copy. Also make sure you have the latest version. If you know the URL for the applications website then check there in case you have a known problem and the fix is documented.

Software Protection

Some older applications came with software protection, the most common examples we see are Sibelius and Font Directory Pro. These applications need to write some special information to the drive they are being installed to, or the drive you boot from. These applications are unable to write this information to HostFS discs.

So you will need to install them to an ADFS harddisc image. To enable the VirtualAcorn ADFS hard disc image simply double click on !Boot, and go to the discs/drives icon. Set the number of IDE hard discs to 1. Then click on Set. RISC OS will warn you that changing the number of discs is dangerous, but don't worry, just click on Continue. After a few seconds a new IDEDisc4 disk icon will appear on the iconbar. Click on this to open it, you will find three items, !BootADFS, !BootHostFS and ReadME. The Readme file tells you what to do next.

One final point. You may find that the ADFS disc image is not large enough for your purposes (the default size is 200Mb). This Knowledge Base Article explains how to make the drive larger.

StrongARM compatible

If you have a StrongARM VirtualAcorn then it could be that the application that is causing the problem is not StrongARM compatible. The first check you should make is the date of the application (assuming it will load). Press Menu over the applications icon on the iconbar and go to the Info option. The StrongARM processor was launched in 1996. If the application is earlier than this it might not be StrongARM compatible.

This is not a problem. Simply quit VirtualAcorn and then re-start it. Choose the ARM710 processor option from the Model Selection screen. VirtualAcorn will start as normal, now see if the application works. If it does you have found the problem and the solution. If not then something else could be wrong.

If the Model Selection screen isn't displayed then you have turned it off. The flag that controls it is called:

ForceSelect = 1

It can be found in the VA.CFG file located in the VirtualAcorn folder in Windows. The ForceSelect flag needs to be be set to 1 for the Model Selection window to be presented on start up. If it is set to zero then the Model Selection window will not be shown. For more details on editing the VA.CG configuration files see this Knowledge base Article.

Application requires Shared C Library 5.xx or later

The application, as the error suggests, requires a later version of the Shared C Library than you have available/installed in VirtualAcorn. It may be that the application requires a 32bit Shared C Library from Castle Technology. You can download the latest Castle 32 bit libraries as a RISC OS .zip file from here. Once downloaded you will need to open this file from inside VirtualAcorn.


It is worth pointing out that any application that requires a plug in hardware device (normally a Podule) will not work on VirtualAcorn, as the hardware will not be present. Examples include software for Video Digitisers, SCSI interfaces, LaserDirect printers etc.

Some older programs such as Impression II and early versions of ArtWorks 1 had a "dongle" that plugged into the parallel port. These old versions won't work and you will need to get an upgrade to a later version. ArtWorks can be purchased from MWSoftware. Your best bet for a copy of Impression is to try either eBay UK or CJE Micros.

What else

VirtualAcorn are not able to provide technical support for third party applications. If there are other problems then you are going to have to contact the publisher of the software directly. It's possible that the rights to the title concerned have changed hands since you purchased it, so it might be worth doing a Google search to see who owns it now. Then you should contact the publisher explaining what the problem is, what version of the software you have, which version of VirtualAcorn you are using and which version of RISC OS you are using.

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 Copyright (c) 2017 3QD Developments Ltd. All rights reserved. All trademarks are acknowledged. All details are correct at the time of publication, E & OE.
Last Edit Date 01/11/17