Borland Pascal Runtime Error 200 problem

There is a problem in the CRT unit of Borland Pascal 7 and Turbo Pascal (for DOS) which manifests itself as...

Runtime Error 200 - Divide by 0
...immediately upon startup of a program created with these compilers when run on a Pentium-class computer faster than about 180mhz.

Borland (now Inprise) has no officially-supported fix for this but several unofficial fixes have appeared on various Pascal programming forums and newsgroups. Some are to patch the CRT unit in your compiler (so you can produce programs free of the problem) and others are programs to patch executable programs that have the problem (in which case you do not need the source code or the means to re-build the problem program).

A patcher for existing problem programs written by Andreas Bauer <> appears to work.

I have used it on a 233 mhz Pentium II and have heard of others using it on up to 400mhz machines. The ZIP file contains documentation in English (shown below) and German, and the patch seems to work as described.

The patch used to be on Klaus Hartnegg's pages at...
...but as is often the way with sites at universities, Klaus' directories are gone now.

I have placed the file here. (9,623 bytes)

Here is the English version of the documentation...

TPPATCH does fix a bug appearing in all programs that have been written using Turbo Pascal when such a program is run on a Pentium Pro 200MHz or a faster computer.

This bug causes a runtime error 200 when the startup code of Delay() is executed. The bug appears when a DIV instruction is executed and the result does not fit into the destination register.

With this bugfix you can patch all files that have been compiled with Turbo Pascal, for example Crosspoint. This procedure does also work with applications compiled for the protected mode.

To patch software without having the source of it, you can apply better methods, for example replacing Delay() if you have the runtime sources, and a unit has been posted in some newsgroups that will circumvent this with various low-level tricks.

With this patch Delay() does run correctly on all slower machines, likewise on a Pentium Pro with 200MHz. But if there are even faster processors one day, Delay() will wait a bit to short on them. But the programs patched with TPPATCH will never hang again because of the bug.

Here comes the explanation:

           530B:0087 E83C02         call   02C6
           530B:008A F7D0           not    ax
           530B:008C F7D2           not    dx
           530B:008E B93700         mov    cx,0037
           530B:0091 F7F1           div    cx
           530B:0093 A35C00         mov    [005C],ax

This division on CS:0091 or CS:0099 causes exeption #0, and this causes a runtime error 200. The first procedure (here it is on CS:0087) detects how long the cpu can decrease a counter within a time of 55ms. The following two NOT instructions negate the value of the counter and divide it then by 55. (37h=55d)

The result is saved in a variable (here [005C]) und is used by Delay() later to wait exactly one millisecond.

I've changed it as follows:

           cs:007E E88501         call   ....
           cs:0081 F7D0           not    ax
           cs:0083 F7D2           not    dx
           cs:0085 B93700         mov    cx,0037
           cs:0088 3BD1           cmp    dx,cx
           cs:008A 7205           jb     0091
           cs:008C B8FFFF         mov    ax,FFFF
           cs:008F EB02           jmp    0093
           cs:0091 F7F1           div    cx
           cs:0093 A35C00         mov    [005C],ax

This prevents the result to grow larger than a word. Of course I had to insert some instructions, so I optimized some laxities done by the programmers of BP/TP and circumvented the need to move the code completely.

before the changes:

           cs:0062 33C0           xor    ax,ax
           cs:0064 A25100         mov    [0051],al
           cs:0067 A26100         mov    [0061],al
           cs:006A A26200         mov    [0062],al
           cs:006D 40             inc    ax
           cs:006E A25000         mov    [0050],al

after the changes:

           cs:0062 33C0           xor    ax,ax
           cs:0064 A36100         mov    [0061],ax
           cs:0067 40             inc    ax
           cs:0068 A35000         mov    [0050],ax

The program (TPPATCH.EXE) examines the file it is commanded to patch exactly, so no exe file will be "patched to death". The position of the variables are scanned automatically, so the patch should work with *all* versions of TP7/BP7. But I haven't tested it with TP6. Of course it is possible that it also can patch those files.

Of course, the whole thing is only necessary if the unit CRT is used in the program.

It is possible to make a batch run TPPATCH on all executables on the hard disk, because TPPATCH does a bunch of tests with every file, so not a single wrong file will be patched.

Of course, compressed files have to be uncompressed before patching, for example with UNP.


I'm not responsible for any action that is performed by TPPATCH, nor do I give any waranty about the function of it. Before you go and patch foreign software you should take a look into a LICENSE.DOC file or anything similar.

Andreas Bauer <