Mon Jan 5th 2009 23:46:00: Greetings Workshop - "I am having trouble with a database" solution

Greetings workshop is very old bit of software that I still use for making a calendar once per year. If I remember correct it came free with Encarta 98, so it must date back to the mid 90's!

Anyway at some point it stopped working on my computer and rather than faff, I just used it on an old computer where it seemed fine. Anyway this year, I didn't have that old computer so I had to work out what the problem was!

The error message on start up is "Sorry!" and "I am having trouble with a database". Not very helpful. Also if you try and run the Greetings Workshop Reminder Service you get "Could not initialize GWUTIL.DLL".

After some digging Google I found that it's caused by having too much RAM. In fact if you have more than 768Mb, then it won't work. To fix this on Windows XP, you don't need to take the lid off you computer and remove sticks... instead you need to add a new windows boot configuration with a RAM limit. To do this (take care here... you could mess up you computer if you don't pay attention):

  • Goto Control Panel and click on System.
  • Click the Advanced Tab
  • Click on the "Startup and Recovery" Settings button.
  • Click on the "System startup" Edit button
  • You should see a "[operating systems]" section with a line saying something like "multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn"
  • Copy that line and paste it in on a new line. Change "Microsoft Windows XP Professional" to something like "XP for Greetings Workshop" and add "/MAXMEM=512" on the end. (it will probably work with 768 as well, but I've not tested that).
  • Now close the text file
  • Make sure the default operating system is set to the original line without the Maxmem switch. I'd also set the "Time to display list of operating systems" option to something like 5 seconds.
  • Click ok a couple of times to get rid of those windows.
  • Now reboot and just before you see the windows boot screen, you should have a menu pop up (be quick - it will only stay there for 5 seconds). Use the cursor keys to navigate to the new Greetings Workshop option and hit enter. Windows should now boot as normal and Greetings Workshop should run normally.

Of course each time you want to use Greetings Workshop you will have to reboot with the different Windows XP configuration, but I'll survive with that seeing as I only need it once a year!


I spy with my little eye something beginning with "you need to look at virtualisation like virtualbox or VMWare server or somesuch"

Comment by Andy Allan at 1:03 on Tue 6 January 2009

Ahh... I tried Virtual PC first and got as far as "missing operating system" and decided it was going to take far too long to install Windows on a virtual PC!

Comment by Gary at 8:44 on Tue 6 January 2009

This does work. Well Done

Comment by Zane at 14:34 on Wed 18 February 2009

Works and is a nice easy solution. Thanks

Comment by Steve at 12:40 on Sat 14 March 2009

Thanks for this solution, works perfect, Microsoft never show any solution for this problem

Comment by Ray Cuevas at 1:38 on Mon 30 March 2009

I thought I was doing a friend a favor by adding some RAM to his system. Stopped Greetings Workshop in it tracks. Since I had upgrade XP to Service Pack 3 too, I thought that was the issue. I never would have thought that the RAM increase was the culprit. Thanks a million.

Comment by Tom Campbell at 2:19 on Fri 1 May 2009

What a very simple solution to the problem. Thank you for sharing it with us, it sure did solve my problem and I am now able to use Greetings Workshop again. Many thanks to you.

Comment by Tony at 2:31 on Tue 3 November 2009

Only solution I've found that works short of going back to an old PC/operating system. Who would have thought too much memory was a problem Thanks!!!

Comment by Bill at 22:15 on Mon 21 December 2009

Many thanks! Your solution was simple and worked great. I used /MAXMEM=768 and all is well!

Comment by Bill E. at 3:56 on Wed 20 January 2010

Thanks for this tip, BTW I used /MAXMEM=768 and it works fine.

Comment by David W. at 0:44 on Tue 23 February 2010

going to try it now. will get back to you!

Comment by karen at 13:45 on Sat 19 June 2010

Hello, i am working with Vista (which i have recently had updated to 4GB from 1GB. Do you have any ideas for me to be able to use the old greetings workshop on this system please. I know the cd is really old, but i really love it!

Comment by Barbara at 21:16 on Sat 15 January 2011

I have bo experience with Vista however I'm sure the solution is the same - limit the amount of RAM vista uses and Greetings Workshop will be fine.


Comment by Gary at 19:05 on Mon 17 January 2011

Thanks Gary, this worked like a charm in Windows XP Home and was a great help since I use Greetings Workshop to send Birthday Cards to inmates all over the country as an outreach with Operation Re-Entry.

Comment by Donald at 19:09 on Fri 18 February 2011

WORKED!!! so simple!!

Thanks very much

Comment by Joanne at 12:00 on Wed 23 February 2011

I got a new computer so i down loaded Greetings Workshop i followed your instructions until i got to System startup there was no Edit button. What do i do now i love this program

Comment by Rena at 15:13 on Fri 16 December 2011

Didn't work at all. Either of them. Still the same old error message, not matter what I do, cajole, sod all. All those projects, lost. This SUCKS. I've been jumping through bloody hoops for three months with an old laptop (which also won't connect to the internet at all now, 'lost' all it's network adapters being upgraded to Win7 then back to WinXP Pro, and can't find them again): I've just about sung hymns to this lump of shit. I give up. Thanks Hallmark, but you SO need to upgrade this software so it freakin' RUNS.

Comment by Dee King at 15:39 on Wed 15 August 2012

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