Hey, maybe we're not using the same terminology here.
When you say Touch 'wedges', do you mean it totally freezes and you can't interact with the UI at all? You are forced to restart it, right?
This is different than the case you just sent where the nodes go into error and don't come out of it when the node the chop() expression is looking for comes back into existence, right?
For the issue with nodes going into error and not coming out of it, I'm looking into this right now. Ben's suggestion to Force Cook the erroring nodes is the workaround in the meantime.
For your hangs, the problem isn't the size of the .toe file, its the amount of memory that it takes up in RAM when it's running. Even if we added the ability for DATs to store their contents externally, that would only reduce the size of the .toe file. The DATs data would still need to be loaded into RAM when the app starts up, so the RAM usage will be the same. This is what a 64-bit OS, or using the /3GB switch on XP 32-bit will help with. This is true even if you don't physically add more RAM to the system.
Saving the DATs data out to a separate file would help with the corrupt file saving issue you were having (which I think is also caused by running low on RAM), but won't stop other issues that running low on RAM can cause, like the app completely freezing.
I'll try to get an error to come up when you run out of RAM, so at least this error is easier to detect in future.