Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 127 / MARCH 1991 / PAGE 90

HeadRoom 2.0. (memory management software ) (evaluation)
by George Campbell

With today's RAM-hungry programs, effective memory management is essential. HeadRoom 2.0000000000000 from Helix Software overcomes RAM cram, letting you make the most of your computer's memory, even if the computer's an XT.

HeadRoom offers two main services. First, it copes with your collection of memory-resident (TSR) programs, swapping them to disk, extended memory, or expanded memory. When you want to use the TSR program, it pops up at the press of a hot key. Headroom saves your valuable memory while it prevents conflicts between these pesky but valuable programs. Second, it lets you swap up to 32 applications to disk or extra memory, returning them to the screen with a keystroke, just as they were before. You might, for example, switch back and forth between a database program and your word processor. Helix even includes a utility that lets you cut and paste text between programs.

The one-step installation program is simple. Configuration, however, is another matter. Even if you're a power user, you'll need to study the manual carefully to make HeadRoom do all its tricks.

Once you've mastered the configuration complexities, however, you'll love Headroom. Fully configured, it takes over when you boot up loading all your favorite programs and TSR utilities. From that point on, your can use hot keys you selected when you configured HeadRoom to pop up a TSR or run any program.

When HeadRoom switches between programs, you'll find them exactly as you left them ready for you to continue your work. If you've chosen to swap the programs to your hard disk, you can even shut off the computer and then pick up any program as it was when you quit.

If you swap your programs to extended or expanded memory, switching is almost instantaneous. Switching between programs swapped to your hard disk takes just a few seconds.

Keep in mind that each program you swap to disk uses up to 640K of hard disk space. You need to be careful when handling multiple programs with HeadRoom to avoid running out of disk space.

You're not limited to hot keys for switching applications. Just press the Alt-Enter key combination to pop up HeadRoom's main menu. Using this menu, you can switch programs, reconfigure HeadRoom, change hot keys for your TSR programs, or add a new program to the current list. You can also display a clear map of your current memory usage.

The HeadRoom program itself takes up about 60K of your valuable RAM, but if you normally use large TSR programs like PC Tools or Side-Kick, swapping them out of memory with HeadRoom can save enough space to run ever memory-hogging programs like Ventura Publisher.

If you use many TSR programs or need to switch quickly among multiple applications, HeadRoom could be the perfect solution, especially if you haven't upgraded to a 386 machine yet.