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Although the game was created when most people only had a few megabytes of RAM, F1GP is one of trickiest games when it comes to memory requirements (even on modern machines). This article covers why the game is tricky and how you can get the game to run in a DOS box in Windows. Covered are Windows 95/98/ME/2000.

By John
20 February 2000

The Technical Part

Your machine may have loads of RAM but the game may still not run because of the way in which memory is divided up in your computer. The RAM is divided into four parts:-

  • Conventional Memory
    This is the first 640Kb of memory. It is used to load the operating system, files, and device drivers as well as for running programs.

  • Reserved/Upper Memory
    This is reserved (hence the name) for use by certain devices (such as video, sound and network cards) to store data so that it can be accessed directly by the CPU.

  • Expanded Memory
    This was invented by Lotus, Intel, and Microsoft to get around the 640K conventional memory barrier. However few programs actually use EMS (The Expanded Memory System).

  • Extended Memory
    This is the rest of the amount of RAM you have in your machine. It was invented because paging (used by reserved and expanded) is inefficient in handling data. Extended memory allows programs to work with all of the machine's memory all at once.

To run F1GP you must have 600,000 bytes (586Kb) of free (unused) conventional memory - otherwise you get the characteristic "not enough memory" error message. However the 640Kb of conventional memory in your machine has to be shared with various drivers/programs as well as DOS its self. To find out how much conventional memory is used (and by which programs) go to the DOS prompt and type MEM /C /P.

Windows 2000

Since Windows 2000 is built on the NT kernel (and not DOS) it uses no conventional memory. However I did not manage to get any sound when in Win2K.

Windows 95/98/ME

Windows 95/98/ME run on a DOS, therefore there are a few drivers that load into conventional memory. A default install does not usually have enough free conventional memory to run F1GP.

To free up the amount of used conventional memory you must prevent certain programs loading into it when your computer boots. To stop them loading you have to edit your autoexec.bat and config.sys files.

If you are unsure about editing your startup files then download the "Grand Prix 1 Memory Enhancer", which will edit your autoexec.bat and config.sys files automatically. You can download the program here.

If you want manually edit your autoexec.bat and config.sys files (found in the root of your C drive) then here are the instructions:-

  • Backup autoexec.bat and config.sys

  • Open autoexec.bat in Notepad
  • Delete the contents of the file

  • Open config.sys in Notepad
  • Delete the contents of the file

  • Restart your computer
  • Run F1GP

If something goes wrong then restore the backups of autoexec.bat and config.sys to the root of your C drive.

Special Case : Non-English Versions of Win95

There is an extra problem when using a Non-English version of Windows 95. The problem is that HIMEM takes up 45Kb of memory (rather than about 1Kb on other versions). From the MSDN Library:-

The increased conventional memory used by Himem.sys occurs because Io.sys occupies more memory in the high memory area (HMA), forcing Himem.sys to be relocated in conventional memory.

Below is a listing of the patches for all the affected Non-English versions of Windows 95. Make sure that you download the correct file. All the files are 283Kb in size.


When you have downloaded it, run the program then follow the instructions on screen.

About Author

This article was written by John. John is the resident programmer ("CGI-Guy") of SimRacingWorld.com. He has designed the site and written all of the code that serves the content.

John has written 36 articles for SimRacingWorld.

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