Missing menu bar when running Go-oo Office 2.4.1 on Windows 98 with VBEMP
Recently when installing Go-oo Office v2.4.1 on my old laptop that is running Windows 98 with the VBEMP 9x driver (for higher graphics resolutions), I noticed that the menu bar has gone missing. I tried to reset Open Office settings, which did not help. Interestingly, opening the Menus tab from the Customize Toolbar dialog (activated by clicking the down arrow on the first toolbar row) will cause Go-oo office to crash. The Go-oo application is still working well and functions can be activated via the toolbar and shortcut keys, just that the menu is not visible.
The official version of Open Office 2.4.1. has no such issues (during my tests). I deduced from this that the issue must have been introduced by the Go-oo office developers, maybe they tweaked something in order to display Chinese (Unicode) on the menu bar? But then again, I had already modified the resources to show English text. And why would clicking on the Menus tab of the Customize Tool bar dialog cause the app to crash?
After uninstalling the VBEMP 9x driver and use the official Windows 98 driver for my laptop graphics card, which can only provide a resolution of 640×480 (instead of 1024×768 from VBEMP), the menu bar is back! I concluded that the issue must have got to do with VBEMP and Go-oo Office. VBEMP website states that its driver does not support 3D acceleration, so maybe Go-oo used acceleration to display the menu and failed? I tried to adjust various display acceleration settings under Windows, only to end of with an ugly-looking Windows 98 but the Go-oo menu bar is still hidden!
In the end I gave up and decided to just be happy with Go-oo Office with a hidden menu bar since the higher screen resolution is critical for me. As I can always add extra icons for the feature that I want to use by customizing the toolbar, the missing menu is more of an annoyance rather than a hindrance. If you have any ideas what could be causing the missing menu bar, I will be happy to hear from you in the comments section.
On a side note, if your MS-DOS prompt complains of lack of available conventional memory after installing VBEMP, try to limit Windows 98 to 384MB or even lower. Try to use a version of VBEMP that consumes less memory, for example 32MB instead of 128MB. Also try to set a lower screen resolution, e.g. 800×600 instead of 1024×768. In my experience, depending on your hardware, VBEMP could be finicky, and only certain combinations of RAM limits, VBEMP memory and screen resolution settings would work well.