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Coloured Bullet Importing STRAUS Graphics
Coloured Bullet Super VGA Displays
Coloured Bullet Colour Contour Display
Coloured Bullet Printing to Canon Bubble Jets
Coloured Bullet Importing and Exporting DXF and Other File Formats
Coloured Bullet Running STRAUS on a Network
Coloured Bullet Decreasing Solution Times
Coloured Bullet Doublespace
Coloured Bullet Running STRAUS from Windows
Coloured Bullet Running STRAUS on Pentium Pro

Importing STRAUS Graphics into Windows and Word Processors

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STRAUS images can be saved at any time by pressing the ! icon at the bottom right of the screen. This displays a pop-up menu which allows you to save the image in STRAUS's own internal format, to print the image, or to save it to a PCX format. PCX format files may be imported into word processors and other graphics programs for further manipulation or inclusion into reports.

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Super VGA Displays

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STRAUS includes support for Super VGA displays up to 1024x768 resolution for a number of popular graphics cards including support for the VESA standard. Most new cards have a VESA compatibility mode although on some, you need to install a memory resident VESA driver (sometimes called

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Colour Contour Display

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For colour contour displays, STRAUS can plot up to 40 different shades. The default is usually 29. If you find that consecutive colours are difficult to distinguish on the display, you can eliminate many of the intermediate shades by reducing the number of contours drawn. For example, if you set the number to 4, you will get 4 very different colours whereas at 29, consecutive shades vary only slightly. Selection of this is via the OPT function by setting the Number of Contours box.

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Printing to CANON Bubblejets

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The STRAUS Print Driver, includes two drivers suitable for the Canon BubbleJet printers; one for colour and another for Black and White. The drivers assume that your printer is set to Epson Emulation Mode. This mode is usually selected by means of a dip switch. Make sure you have selected this mode on your printer before you attempt to print from STRAUS. If you do not have a printer which is supported by STRAUS, you can still obtain colour prints of the STRAUS images by using the PCX conversion facility in the View Frames/ Animate option. Any STRAUS saved image can be converted to the popular PCX format. The PCX format is supported by most graphics programs such as PaintBrush, CorelDraw etc.

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Importing and Exporting DXF and Other File Formats

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The STRAUS system is composed of a number of executable programs which are run by the main menu. One of these is a program which Imports and Exports ASCII files such as AutoCad's DXF. In order to run this part of STRAUS, you may need to made some adjustments to your CONFIG.SYS file. If you get an error message trying to Import or Export, you are probably running the EMM386.EXE memory manager. If so, then add the directive NOVCPI to the appropriate line in your CONFIG.SYS file. It will typically look like this:


Other directives such as NOEMS may also be present.

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Running STRAUS on a Network

Many users now have networks in their office. If you are running STRAUS on a network, it is best to install the STRAUS software on the server rather than on a specific workstation. This allows any workstation connected to the network to access STRAUS, provided the workstation has the STRAUS Hardware Lock attached. It is also advisable to keep your model files on the local hard disk on the workstation. Running STRAUS with the model residing on a network server will be too slow.

Decreasing Solution Times

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It is very difficult to predict how long a finite element model will take to solve on a given computer, but usually there is some tweaking that can be done to improve performance. Apart from obvious things such as processor speed, the amount of available RAM is the most significant parameter.

The FE solver needs to work on large matrices which often cannot be held completly in memory. This slows down the solver because the matrix is stored temporarily on relatively slow hard disks. Furthermore, to work on a particular part of the matrix the solver needs access to many other parts. This constant swapping of data between disk and main memory can make solutions very slow.

By clever scheduling of the operations performed by the slover, it is possible to save a matrix on a computer with limited memory, in almost the same time as on the same computer with unlimited memory. The STRAUS solver declares the minimum amount of memory required for this at the beginning of the solution phase. The message is:

Minimum RAM for InCore Solve = xxxx

If the solver can find this much RAM the solution will be quite fast and increasing the available RAM above this amount will have only a small effect on the solution time. If the above RAM cannot be allocated, the solver will still continue, but the solution will take much longer. A mesh consisting of 400 Brick20 elements, generating 7000 equations was solved as a Linear Static problem on a 60 Mhz Pentium PC with various amounts of RAM. The Minimum InCore Ram requirement was 6MB, but we must add 2MB overhead (approx.) for actually loading STRAUS into memory and other requirements. The table below presents the results.

RAM (MB) Time Taken (mm:ss)
1 53:52
2 33:53
3 21:31
4 11:07
5 10:16
6 8:47
8 8:22
10 8:15
Unlimited 7:20

The STRAUS solvers run in 32 bit (protected mode) on PCs. In order to do this, and gain access to all the memory available on the computer, the solver uses a DOS extender (Phar Lap). If you are using EMM386.EXE (the DOS expanded memory manager), you may experience a time delay between the time you press SOLVE and the time the solver actually starts. You can tell when it has started because some text scrolls on the screen. If this delay is more than about two seconds, then you should look at your CONFIG.SYS file to see if EMM386.EXE is loaded. If it is loaded (and you actually need it for something) then add the NOVCPI directive as described in Importing and Exporting DXF and Other File Formats. Note that the delay experienced at the beginning of the solver will also be experienced between each phase of the solution process (ie. setting up the matrix, assembling forces, assembling beams, assembling plates, solving etc.) and hence the cumulative delay can be quite substantial.

Disk Caching
Disk caching is a term used for the process of temporarily storing in RAM, information which is usually held on the hard disk. The idea is that when a program requests certain information from the disk, the caching software holds this information (and additional nearby information) in RAM, just in case the program requests this again in future. The program SMARTDRV.EXE which comes with DOS, does this. It is of benefit to have this installed when running STRAUS since the loading time of the STRAUS runtime modules is significantly reduced. In particular redraw times will be reduced considerably.

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If you are using the DOS 6.0 disk compression utility you may find that the solver will run out of disk space during the solution, despite the fact that STRAUS initially reports that it has sufficient space to proceed. This is because the amount of free space reported by DOUBLESPACE assumes a given compression ratio for all files. However, not all files compress by the same amount, so it is possible that eventually a STRAUS temporary file which does not compress as much as expected, exceeds the physical space available.

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Running STRAUS from Windows

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STRAUS can be executed from both Windows 3.1x and Windows95. The easiest way to do this is via a PIF file.

Download the PIF files from the Utilities page.


Windows 3.1x

  1. Copy the STRAUS1.PIF and STRAUS1.ICO file into your STRAUS directory. (The following assumes your STRAUS directory is C:\STRAUS)

  2. From the program manager select FILE/NEW/PROGRAM GROUP and generate a new group called STRAUS.

  3. From the program manager select FILE/NEW/PROGRAM and enter:

    Command Line: C:\STRAUS\STRAUS1.PIF
    Working Directory: C:\STRAUS

  4. Now press CHANGE ICON and select C:\STRAUS\STRAUS1.ICO



Simply copy the file STRAUS.PIF (not STRAUS1.PIF) into your WINDOWS\DESKTOP directory.

Note that the STRAUS.PIF file assumes that STRAUS is located in the C:\STRAUS directory. If not, you will need to change the properties of the shortcut.

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Running STRAUS on Pentium Pro

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The current release version, STRAUS, does not run on the Pentium Pro, so we have a new version developed specifically for the Pentium Pro. If you have one of these machines and are a supported user, please contact us for a set of upgrade disks.

For more information please contact us by e-mail:

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