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VUTRAX Technical Support

VUTRAX SOFTWARE ADVICE NOTICE 201 (Issue 2 - 24 May 2000)

VUTRAX 12.0 onwards

DRAFT - GROUNDPLANE Misplaced or with Discontinuities

EMCRITIC - GROUNDPLANE Spurious problem Reports

Both of these features make extensive use of the 'Regions' features of Microsoft Windows for mapping the area you outline for the groundplane. If you experience problems with the DRAFT placement of Groundplanes (in particular fill stopping at arbitrary vertical or horizontal edges), and/or EMCRITIC making spurious error reports relating the groundplane connections, then you may have a problem with the handling of regions on your system.

Because region handling is also an important part of managing overlapping windows, the handling of this feature is often optimised for particular graphics cards. Unfortunately an implementation that is good enough for screen handling, including it's severe limits on the coordinates handled, may be inadequate for critical use on PCB regions when coordinate values exceed 16 bits (samples of failures show discontinuities at the 16 to 32 bit transition).

If you have such problems we suggest the following sequence to try and resolve them. Warning - these are standard Windows procedures, but you perform them at your own risk. You may wish to back up your whole system, or at least make copies of your registry (hidden files \windows\user.dat and \windows\system.dat) before proceeding:-

Disable Graphics Hardware Acceleration
The procedure will vary with operating system, and even revision of the operating system, but will generally take a form similar to selecting [Hardware_Acceleration] from (Control_Panel > System > Performance > Graphics) Note the existing setting, and then select 'None' and OK
  • This Fixes the Problem: Find the highest setting that still work properly.
  • Doesn't Help: Set back the original setting.

Update the graphics Driver
You will generally need to visit your graphics card vendors web site and download the latest driver. Make sure that you download the driver for exactly your card (displayed during part of the next sequence) and operating system. Install as directed with the download.

Revert to Standard VGA Graphics Driver

This can be accomplished by a sequence that is typically [Right Click on Desktop] > Properties > Settings > Advanced Properties > Adapter > Change > Show all devices. On the way through this sequence note your current settings. Now pick Standard Display Types and VGA
  • This Fixes the Problem: You probably need to replace your graphics controller
  • Doesn't Help: Set back the original setting.

Update a System Dynamic Link Library
Not recommended for beginners - make sure you have an MSDOS boot floppy before you do any of this.
A system dynamic link library has been reported as being implicated. You may find that \Windows\System\GDI32.dll is an early or bad version (sometimes installed during installation of some other product). If you can obtain a known good copy from a similar operating system this is how you can try it, Since the file is likely to be 'in-use' by Windows you need to use MSDOS mode (not an MSDOS window or full screen in Windows). Assuming Windows is installed on your default drive in folder \Windows:-
        cd  \windows\system
        ren  gdi32.dll
        copy  <your new one>  gdi32.dll
Restart Windows. If this doesn't help, or Windows now won't start, Boot into MSDOS again and
        cd  \windows\system
        ren  gdi32.dll  gdi32.bad
        copy  gdi32.dll


If none of these schemes helps, or you are not prepared to try them, VUTRAX contains a more rudimentary groundplane generator as part of the AUTOTRAK facility. This makes no use of Windows regions and will work regardless of system problems in this area.

Document History:

  • 18 Dec 1998: Initial Issue
  • 24 May 2000: Issue 2 - Adds mention of the replacement DLL


  • Internet Site.
  • Customers Reporting Problems.