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Problems with the GPS Software ?

Updated Tuesday 22nd November 2011 UK time

Registration and Ctrl-R process is at the very bottom of this page

Many people have no problem installing and running GPSS - but problems CAN happen.
Please read below before asking Robin for help via his email address on the CONTACT page.

can't download GPSS.ZIP ? Maybe NPL.COM is down ?

Download links to GPSS.ZIP are on so Robin can collect statistics. Very occasionally NPL.COM may be down.
But you can download from

Problems finding a page or EXE download on ?

ISP and Web space hosting may fail, so we have several copies of as "mirror sites". is hosted on and and

Easily is now used to forward to our hosting on - shown on your browser.
if a page fails to respond, please go direct to or

If Robin emailed you a page or EXE that started and it does not respond, maybe Enom has failed,
so try changing the to or or

Please try a mirror site below if any link above gives a problem.
Home GPS Download Business Partners Contact Family AVL Links History AsOnTV you are now on This Site
Home GPS Download Business Partners Contact Family AVL Links History AsOnTV hosted on Force9 host. Unlimited.
Home GPS Download Business Partners Contact Family AVL Links History AsOnTV hosted on Easily host - up to 5GB space.
Home GPS Download Business Partners Contact Family AVL Links History AsOnTV hosted on - unlimited. Jim's site is

Problems with the 64-bit version of Vista or Windows 7 ?

Over the years, many thousands of people have downloaded and run GPSSA.EXE, to self-extract the files, and then used the GPSS.EXE program under many versions of Microsoft Windows. This includes Windows 7, Vista, XP, Millenium, 2000, 98 and 3.1.

However, it seems that the 64-bit versions of Vista and Windows 7 are not capable of running other than 64 bit applications. We have no plans to convert GPSS to 64 bit. Instead, we suggest you use a different Windows OS able to run 16 bit applications.

Problems understanding how to download and instal GPSS ?

Installation of GPSS on the download page now uses GPSS.ZIP, but here is the old method ....

Old method since 1997: GPSS installation from GPSSA.EXE:

Making GPSS Maybe the picture on the right will help.
Please follow these instructions carefully:

  • create a folder such as c:\gpss (right-click, New, Folder).
  • download or copy GPSSA.EXE into c:\gpss
    do NOT run GPSSA.EXE from your Internet browser. Exit your browser now.
  • run GPSSA (e.g. from File Explorer) to self-extract files including GPSS.EXE.
  • move the GPSS folder onto your Laptop PC or Pocket PC. e.g. CD/DVD or Activesync.
  • run GPSS.EXE from full Windows, or GPSSPPC.EXE from Windows Mobile.
If you do not understand the instructions above, please get help from someone who does.
The download may be 10 minutes on a slow modem, or 1 minute on broadband.

Download GPSSA.EXE ( 6,466,290 bytes) from NPL site
if the link above does not respond, try downloading GPSSA.EXE from this site

Problems downloading GPSSA.EXE Baseline ?

Alternative GPSS Baseline links are:

Download GPSSA.EXE from Easily site

Download GPSSA.EXE from F9 site

Download GPSSA.EXE from NPL site (this is usual first choice)

The EXE download links use http protocol, and have done so for years.
The GPSS Baseline link below use ftp protocol and may help:
Download GPSSA.EXE from NPL site (FTP protocol)

Lots of Icons over your desktop ?

Every so often, someone does not follow the instructions above carefully enough, and Robin sends an email reply similar to this:
Sorry to hear you've made the mistake that's easy to make.
You've not installed GPSS yet.
To install GPSS you just create a gpss folder of files.
To deinstall it you just delete the folder.
Your problem is that by running the EXE before it was put in the folder all those files have gone into the default Windows desktop folder.
I hesitate to give you advice that might make you dig a deeper hole, but suggest you could spend some time very carefully deleting icons that should not be on your desktop. When you think they have all gone, you will need to do a "re-arrange" icons to pull in the icons that were put outside your visible screen - so you can delete them too.
But be careful not to delete any icons that SHOULD be on your desktop.
If unsure about this, please get some local help.

Problems installing GPSS Baseline (i.e. running GPSSA.EXE) ?

This should not be a problem, now you use GPSS.ZIP.

  • Cannot run GPSSA.EXE under XP without an error message ?
    XP failure

    e.g. "C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32\AUTOEXEC.NT. The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows applications. Choose 'Close' to terminate the application"

    Robin is grateful to Eric Jeppersen for solving this rare problem created by installing other software:

    "I was able to fix it by editing the AUTOEXEC.NT and CONFIG.NT files and restoring them back to their original "fresh install" condition. It seems they had been modified slightly by a bit of software I had installed previously... The files reside in the \Windows\System32 directory and if you can't fix them by commenting out the offending lines, simply retrieve them from your WindowsXP CD and presto! "
    and "The following lines were installed by the Novell Netware Client 4.9 for Windows 2000/XP:
    REM Install network redirector
    lh %SystemRoot%\system32\nw16
    lh %SystemRoot%\system32\vwipxspx
    I simply REMmed them out and everything worked fine. These are not needed unless you specifically require IPX in DOS, which almost noone does anymore."

  • problems running GPSSA.EXE from 64 bit version of Vista or Windows 7 ?
    Thanks to Clive for reporting this problem of Vista Business in which running GPSSA.EXE gave an error message "...version of the file was not compatible with the version of Windows..." Clive reports "... Having checked around the net it seems that 64bit Vista won't run 16 bit programs although the standard 32 bit version will.  However I have solved the problem by installing Virtual PC 2007  (free from Microsoft) which sets up a separate operating system within Vista.  I happen to have a copy of XP and loaded this up and successfully run GPSS in the virtual environment.  Problem solved! "

Problems finding GPSS.EXE with Vista ?

problem finding an EXE with Vista ? Very large numbers of people have used GPSS on Vista without problems in recent years, but here is a new problem - easily solved - that some may encounter. I'm grateful to David in reporting it, and providing the picture here. You will see that the Windows Vista file explorer is not showing all the file name for some files, including GPSS.EXE which you see here highlighted. This is a similar problem as the restriction in Microsoft Windows Mobile which prevents the file explorer showing ANY of the file name extentions. That's why some people use third party software on their Pocket PC. This picture should help you see which file GPSS.EXE is on your system. Robin welcomes feedback from anyone who knows if this is a Windows Vista restriction, as in Windows Mobile, or simple a Vista setting that can be changed.

Problems running GPSS.EXE ?

properties of GPSS.EXE must have correct 'Start in'

"MAPS.DIR contains an entry called THEWORLD but the image file THEWORLD.BMP is missing" error message ?

  • Running GPSS.EXE results in GPSS stopping, saying a map is missing ?
    Is the shortcut to GPSS.EXE is correct ? e.g. 2nd page properties, under right mouse click on GPSS icon. Under XP: may need to create the shortcut and then pin it to the Start Menu. Correct folder specified (e.g. c:\gpss) ?

"cannot open COM1" then "bad file name" error messages ?

Maybe GPSS is trying to open a COM port that does not exist on your PC.
Use Windows Notepad to open file GPSS.CFG in the GPSS folder, and change COM1 to NULL.

"..system file is not suitable.." error message ?

GPS not detected...
GPSS says "I'm not receiving GPS data" then gives a demonstration ?

This is the most common problem reported to Robin: the GPS not being detected by GPSS, which then gives a demonstration instead of showing your position - typically on the World map.

GPSS searches from COM1 to COM20, first at the standard NMEA 4800 baud rate, and then at 9600 baud. This is done after a minute of demonstration, or if you hit the = key

The questions and answers below should help you diagnose and fix this problem.

using a GPS plugged into a USB port, or not plugged into COM1 9 pin D serial port ?

  • use = key to make GPSS search for GPS on COM1 to COM20 at 4800 then 9600.
  • you can also use experimental controls under Ctrl-C on keyboard.

using a handheld GPS such as a Garmin etrex or Magellan 315 ?

  • have you switched ON the NMEA Interface on your GPS ? e.g. on an Etrex use menu SETUP-INTERFACE.

Using a Delorme GPS such as a LT-40 ?

  • use the DeLorme software to switch GPS to standard NMEA at 4800 baud.
    - you may need to downloaded the serial port emulator software from DeLorme.

using a bluetooth GPS operating NMEA but at 32400 baud?

  • Try GpsGate on
  • or try COMDOOR.EXE in the GPSS folder before running GPSS. You can download from comdoor1.exe self-extracts into comdoor.exe and mscecomm.dll. This is an experimental tool for those in contact with Robin.
  • or try old 32 bit version of GPSS.EXE on oldnew page - old and not supported.

still have problems ?

  • does your GPS support NMEA ? e.g. Garmin with USB may not. Try GpsGate on
  • GPS Speed at 4800 baud (the NMEA standard) ?
  • Testing outside the house ? (some GPS do not output unless they have good GPS signals).
  • Using an OLD serial Delorme EARTHMATE ? <- get the driver software.
  • Using a NEW Delorme USB Earthmate ? Have you switched it to NMEA output ?
    This from John in Taylors,USA who solved this problem: Robin; I downloaded the Delorme Serial Emulator from their website listed under lt-20 downloads Its called the LT-20 Companion Disk it contains a serial emulator and a virtual serial driver, During install I chose to install Earthmate to work with Streets Atlas and Third-Party Software. Once installed and rebooted the serial emulator provides the device on com2, Come or Come at 9600,N,1 works great. The Earthmate now works with GPSS and Microsoft streets and maps as well as the Streets Atlas it came with.
  • Using a NAVMAN E Series ? - ask for the NMEA driver from
  • Using a Tom Tom bluetooth GPS under XP ? set it to standard 4800 baud ? on COM7 ?
  • BU303 Tip from Robert in Oz: The BU303 didn't work until I found the xp driver on under USB 1.1 to serial bridge controller.
  • GPS on COM11 or higher: use v5.6 of GPSS (or later), or these tips kindly supplied by Mark Viehman:
    "I remapped COM11 to COM1 which also solved the problem:
    To determine serial port number:
    1. Start>Settings>Control Panel>System>Hardware (tab)>Device Manager
    2. Select "Ports (Com & LPT)
    3. Note number next to Communications Port (such as Com9)
    Changing Port Number within Device Manager:
    1. Start>Settings>Control Panel>System>Hardware (tab)>Device Manager
    2. Select "Ports (Com & LPT)
    3. Note number next to Communications Port (such as Com9)
    4. Select Properties>Advance>
    5. Reselect Com Port Number. If port shown as in use and you know that is not then select it anyway
    6. Click OK

use of Garmin Spanner ...

Thanks to Peter Bennett wrote to me in an email:
Here is a link to the Garmin Spanner download site:-
Although the site says that the software only works with Garmin GPS 18 receivers, it appears to work with other Garmin GPS receivers including the GPS 20x, GPSMap 60cx, 76CS, Colorado series (software version 2.51(beta) or later is needed) and Oregon series. Hopefully this will be of some use to other people.

plugging in the GPS makes the mouse cursor go crazy ?

Few report this problem, but many thanks to Eric for providing us this:
On many laptops plugging in a usb receiver causes the laptop mouse cursor to go berserk. It flies all over the screen and is almost impossible to control from the touch pad on most laptops. The problem is caused by windows deciding that the serial information coming through the usb port is coming from a Microsoft serial mouse. Solving the problem is simple but difficult. With the gps receiver plugged in and the cursor going crazy it is necessary to navigate to Start-Control Panel-System or Start-Settings-Contol Panel-System. When the System Properties window opens click on the Hardware tab and then click on Device Manager. Expand the Mice and other pointing devices heading by clicking on the plus sign. As well as your laptop touch pad you will also see listed a Microsoft serial mouse or Microsoft serial pointing device. Right click this entry and then click on the Disable button. Your cursor should immediately settle down. Now close all open windows and do a restart with the usb gps receiver still plugged in. It should show up quite happily on reboot and there should be no more crazy cursor. Disabling the Microsoft serial mouse device will be permanent until you go back through the above path to re-enable it if you should ever need to plug in a Microsoft serial mouse. Simple because it is, difficult because doing all that with a mouse cursor virtually out of your control and prone to sudden erratic jumps is very very difficult. There is a downloadable registry fix for this problem apparently but I have never found it despite much Googling. I hope that this information is useful.

GPSS detects the GPS but shows wrong position

A few people contact Robin to say that GPSS has detected the GPS but the position is not where it should be. e.g. at the equator west of Africa or in the far east.

This is usually because they are testing inside the house, where the GPS signals are not strong enough to work. Some GPS output a lat/lon at zero/zero (the equator) or near the factory (often in the far east). Some output nothing.

The solution is to test outside the house, in a good position far from houses and trees, but here is a tip which may help you confirm that this IS the problem:
Hit ^ (shift 6) to display GPS Engineering information.
If you see garbage, then the GPS is not giving NMEA data at 4800 baud.
If you see a line with $GPRMC, look for ,A, or ,V,
,V, means that the GPS is not tracking. e.g. weak GPS signals.
,A, means the GPS is tracking - and you should see a good lat/lon.

Other Problems when GPSS runs ?

    blank screen
  • Getting a blank grey screen in North America ?
    - hit Z key until you see a map. Problem will go if you are in USA when you add the free USA street mapping.
    Sorry - this was a bug in the first v5.96 of GPSSA uploaded. Now fixed. Check startup date is 14th December.
  • on an IBM Thinkpad ? There are known problems with the IBM BIOS/software for COM port - see where IBM will tell you how to fix it.
  • Strange symptoms ? - did you copy between PC using a CD Writer ? If so, you must clear the "read only attributes" with >ATTRIB -R *.*
  • Strange symptoms ? - Are you running a version of Windows with bugs (old NT or '98r2 from 1999) ? - try GPSS running on another PC under '95, later '98 or 2000. An unsupported 32-bit version of GPSS.EXE is on the OLD Page, which you can use to confirm that it is this bug in the (old) O.S. related to running 16-bit applications. It also explains the good reasons why GPSS.EXE is still 16-bit :-)
  • General Protection Faults or other strange symptoms on a Networked PC ? This is probably also a bug in the O.S. software, rather than GPSS. Try another PC.

problems with the Ctrl-R Registration Form ?

Robin needs GPSS Ctrl-R details to give you a free key code for full Windows GPSS

press Ctrl-R Ctrl-R Form

Few people have problems with this, but some do. To use the GPSS Control-R Form you run GPSS and press Control-R to get the registration form. Instructions are on the form, but here they are:

  • change "reg text" to your full name.
  • remember "reg text", "date ends", "PCID" and "reg code".
  • or press [COPY] button to record these details to file REGFORM.TXT
  • send these details to Robin as part of your step 2 Quiz.
  • Robin will send you a matching key code.
  • repeat above process to display same reg text, date, PCID and reg code.
  • enter key code in box provided and click on [OK].
If it is a new month, and the "date ends" has changed (e.g. from 200508 to 200509) then change it to the value you sent to Robin (e.g. 200508).

If you've already done the Quiz, but forgot to give Robin the Ctrl-R details just send Robin the Ctrl-R details with something like his reply to you, so he can see you've already done the Quiz.

new button page

registration with GPSSppc on the Pocket PC ...

GPS Software on Pocket PC Pocket PC registration is MUCH simpler: you do not need to do the Ctrl-R process :-)
GPSSp experimental buttons Robin will give you a key code, matched to your registration text (your name):
Fred Bloggs

You simply find the maintenance buttons page under the "spanner" button, use the soft keyboard to set up these two lines in the controls provided, and tap on the [REGISTER] button. You should get a message to say it was accepted.

other problems ?

Have you tried contacting Robin, after step 1 and 2 (free registration) on DOWNLOAD page ?

No reply from Robin ? He normally replies within 24 hours or less.
See if they are away on holiday, from front page of Emails sent then could have been lost.
Check your spam filter is not blocking and check the contact page.