The Win 16 Subsystem has insufficient resources …

Sometimes, you don’t ever expect to ever see a particular error message ever again.
Error message: The Win 16 Subsystem has insufficent resources to continue running.  Click on OK, close your applications, and restart your machine.

It’s been over 5 years since the last time I saw this error, quite possibly on a Windows NT4 system in 2002.

The problem was reported to me as the  "FooBat" application does not start when the user launches it.  Reading the actual error message, it tells us the actual problem.  And it’s not the “FooBat” application.   The problem is that Windows is unable to allocate any more memory to the 16-bit program handler.

This sort of problem just doesn’t happen anymore.  So I looked at NODDYPC’s Event Log, nothing real unusual there.  So I then looked at the what was running in memory:
C:\Toolbox>pslist \\NODDYPC

pslist v1.28 - Sysinternals PsList
Copyright ® 2000-2004 Mark Russinovich

Process information for NODDYPC:

Name                Pid Pri Thd  Hnd   Priv        CPU Time    Elapsed Time
Idle                  0   0   2    0      0  1333:24:32.750     0:00:00.000
System                4   8  68 1661      0     0:18:49.578     0:00:00.000
smss                572  11   3   19    176     0:00:00.046   674:54:40.395
csrss               936  13  13  705   1868     0:08:33.984   674:54:37.738
winlogon            960  13  19  644  10152     0:03:20.093   674:54:36.707

There is a clue there, and it is the amount of CPU Time the Idle process has used.  1333 hours works out to 55 days of idle-ness.

So how long has NODDYPC been running?

C:\Toolbox>psinfo \\NODDYPC

PsInfo v1.75 - Local and remote system information viewer
Copyright (C) 2001-2007 Mark Russinovich
Sysinternals -

System information for \\NODDYPC:
Uptime:                    28 days 2 hours 55 minutes 46 seconds
Kernel version:            Microsoft Windows XP, Multiprocessor Free
Product type:              Professional
Product version:           5.1
Service pack:              3
Kernel build number:       2600
Registered organization:   Office of the Yellow Taxi
Registered owner:          Toyland
Processors:                2

My advice to our support technician?  Reboot the computer and the problem will be magically solved.  Which is what the last part of the error message states – “… restart your machine.”

“But why 55 days of idle-ness, when the computer has only been up for 28 days?”, I hear you ask.
NODDYPC has 2 processors, and the 1333 hours total is for both processors.

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