ID:ST Stacker: Optimize/Stacker Troubleshooting
Quarterdeck Technical Note #214 Filename: STACKER.TEC
by Robert Gaustad CompuServe: STACKR.ZIP
Last revised: 2/05/92 Category: SW3
Subject: Using Stac Electronics' Stacker disk compression utility (in versions
previous to v. 3.0) with Quarterdeck products. Notes on how to deal
with Optimize and the SSWAP utility.
**** IMPORTANT NOTE ****
Recently, Stac Electronics released version 3.0 of Stacker. This update along
with the earlier release of version 2.01 detects the presence of OPTIMIZE and
allows you to run it without having to first edit your CONFIG.SYS and
This technical bulletin deals only with version 2.0 of Stacker. If you have
version 2.01 or 3.0 of Stacker, and have questions regarding those versions
you may obtain Quarterdeck Technical Note #104, STACKER3.TEC.
Quarterdeck Q/Fax 310-314-3214
Quarterdeck BBS 310-314-3227
For those who have version 2.0 or earlier versions of Stacker, you must
contact Stac Electronics for the update.
QEMM-386 AND STACKER GENERAL INFORMATION
1. This troubleshooting guide is designed to help the individual who has
QEMM-386 (or QEMM-50/60 or QRAM) and STACKER version 2.0 installed on his or
her machine, and has run, or wants to run, OPTIMIZE. If you have not yet run
OPTIMIZE, please read this General Information section and then proceed to
Step 4 in the troubleshooting section.
2. If STACKER's SSWAP.COM device line in the CONFIG.SYS file has NOT been
disabled, and if all drive names in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file have NOT been
reversed before running OPTIMIZE, OPTIMIZE will become confused by SSWAP.COM
swapping drive names during bootup and fail to perform a complete OPTIMIZE of
the system. If you do not use SSWAP.COM, OPTIMIZE will work without any
special handling, and you do not need to use this technical bulletin.
3. Throughout this document we will refer to QEMM-386. With the exception of
QEMM-386's Stealth feature, the same solutions presented for QEMM-386 will
also apply to users of QEMM-50/60 or QRAM. The OPTIMIZE program is the same
for all three products. Note that the STEALTH option exists only with
4. To avoid confusion, we will refer to COMPRESSED and UNCOMPRESSED drives
whenever possible. The COMPRESSED drive will always be the one that STACKER
creates to hold most of your programs and data. The UNCOMPRESSED drive will
be the smaller BOOT drive.
5. The information below is relevant if the following assumptions are true:
A. You have STACKER Version 2.0 and are using SSWAP.COM
B. You had a ONE partition drive before STACKER was installed.
C. Your STACKER (COMPRESSED) drive is C: (AFTER bootup - SSWAP does this)
D. Your BOOT (UNCOMPRESSED) drive is D: (AFTER bootup)
E. You have already run OPTIMIZE. If you have NOT run OPTIMIZE, follow the
TROUBLESHOOTING GUIDE instructions below, beginning with Step 5.
6. Your UNCOMPRESSED drive is always drive C: during bootup. When
STACKER.COM is activated from the CONFIG.SYS during bootup, a large COMPRESSED
drive is created. This is actually just a large hidden file that is given a
drive name, usually drive D:. If you are using SSWAP.COM, which is the
default, it is also activated during bootup. SSWAP.COM swaps or reverses
drive names. Drive C: becomes D: and vice versa. An easy way to tell which
drive is your COMPRESSED drive is to type:
at the DOS prompt. Most likely, one of the lines of information displayed
on your screen will read as follows:
DRIVE C: WAS DRIVE D: AT BOOT TIME [ D:\STACVOL.DSK = X MB ]
7. If before you installed STACKER your hard disk had more than one
partition, i.e., a C: and D: partition, then Stacker selects the next
available drive name which would be E:. SSWAP.COM would then swap C: with E:.
The troubleshooting guide below is based on a one partition drive. If your
drive has multiple partitions, then you must determine what drive C: swaps to
and use the appropriate drive name.
8. If you have installed version 2 of STACKER on your system, are using the
STEALTH parameter with QEMM-386, and have configured STACKER to use EMS, you
MUST add the parameter "DBF=2" to the QEMM-386 device line in the CONFIG.SYS
file. For example, your QEMM-386 device line might then read as follows:
DEVICE=C:\QEMM\QEMM386.SYS RAM DBF=2 ST:M
9. If you are using the STACKER XT/8 Coprocessor card, you will need to place
an exclude statement for the card's RAM address on the QEMM-386 device line.
When installing the STACKER XT/8 coprocessor card, you are prompted, by
STACKER, to select a base address for the card. If you select CC00-CFFF, and
complete the coprocessor installation, you would then edit your QEMM-386
device line to read something like this:
DEVICE=C:\QEMM\QEMM386.SYS RAM DBF=2 ST:M X=CC00-CFFF
If you are installing STACKER after installing QEMM-386, and are using the
XT/8 card, remove the RAM parameter from the QEMM-386 device line before
selecting the RAM address for the card. This will prevent any problems in
finding the card's address. Once the address has been configured and excluded
on the QEMM-386 device line, replace the RAM parameter.
If you are using the AT/16 coprocessor card or the MC/16 microchannel card, no
exclusion is necessary.
THE FOLLOWING INSTRUCTIONS WILL TAKE YOU STEP BY STEP THROUGH
OPTIMIZING WITH STACKER ON YOUR SYSTEM. TO BE SUCCESSFUL, YOU MUST
FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ONE STEP AT A TIME.
BEFORE FOLLOWING THE TROUBLESHOOTING INSTRUCTIONS BELOW, PLEASE FOLLOW
THESE SIMPLE STEPS TO CREATE A BOOTABLE FLOPPY DISKETTE
To create a bootable floppy, format a floppy disk with the DOS system on it
and copy the following files to it: COMMAND.COM, QEMM386.SYS, STACKER.COM,
SSWAP.COM, CONFIG.SYS AND AUTOEXEC.BAT. Edit the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
files and delete any path statements from the device lines. For example
DEVICE=C:\QEMM\QEMM386.SYS to DEVICE=QEMM386.SYS
This will now allow you to boot up your STACKER system even if you lose your
CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files on the hard disk. NOTE: If you cannot find
a text editor, Stacker provides one called SEDIT.EXE in the \STACKER
POST OPTIMIZE TROUBLESHOOTING WITH STACKER
1. The worst problem that can occur after running OPTIMIZE with STACKER
installed on your system is that, upon bootup, your system cannot find
COMMAND.COM and therefore cannot complete the boot procedure. You will see
the message: "BAD OR MISSING COMMAND INTERPRETER."
NOTE: IF YOU ARE NOT ENCOUNTERING THIS MESSAGE, PROCEED TO STEP 2.
The above error message is a very rare occurrence and only happens if a couple
of conditions are true:
One, you had placed a line in your CONFIG.SYS file FOLLOWING the SSWAP.COM
line, AFTER installing STACKER on your computer, that reads:
Two, if you installed QEMM-386 AFTER installing STACKER, and did not copy
necessary QEMM-386 files to directories on both the UNCOMPRESSED and
COMPRESSED drives. (If you installed STACKER after QEMM-386, it automatically
copied the proper files to the COMPRESSED and UNCOMPRESSED drives for you.)
If the QEMM-386 files are NOT on the UNCOMPRESSED drive, then during OPTIMIZE,
QEMM-386 places a LOADHI statement in front of the STACKER.COM line. When
OPTIMIZE reboots your system, the LOADHI statement cannot find LOADHI.COM and
fails. This prevents STACKER.COM from executing, and therefore the drive that
the SHELL statement is looking for, the COMPRESSED STACKER drive, does not
exist. When the system cannot find COMMAND.COM, the boot procedure fails.
To correct this problem, you must boot your computer with a floppy disk, then
copy COMMAND.COM from the ROOT directory of the UNCOMPRESSED drive to the DOS
2. If you have run OPTIMIZE and rebooted the computer, only to find that you
no longer have a COMPRESSED drive (where most of your files are), a similar
event to the above problem has occurred. To correct this problem, you must
find a CONFIG.XXX file that will allow you to boot up your COMPRESSED drive.
You should have at least 2 or 3 different backup CONFIG.XXX files created by
either QEMM-386 or STACKER. These files should be found in the root directory,
and will be called either CONFIG.QDK, CONFIG.STC, or CONFIG._SB. CONFIG._SB
is probably the best to use.
Copy one of these files, using the DOS COPY command, to CONFIG.SYS and reboot.
For example, type:
COPY C:\CONFIG._SB C:\CONFIG.SYS.
to copy the CONFIG._SB to CONFIG.SYS. This will just overwrite the current
CONFIG.SYS with the new one.
If at any time STACKER prompts you to update the CONFIG.SYS file, press N for
no, otherwise you may replace the usable CONFIG.SYS with an unusable one.
Finish the reboot, then look at the contents of the CONFIG.SYS files on
the root directories of both the COMPRESSED and UNCOMPRESSED drives. The
CONFIG.SYS on the COMPRESSED drive, most likely C:, should have the QEMM-386
device line on it. If so, copy it to the UNCOMPRESSED drive and reboot your
3. Now, find a good AUTOEXEC.BAT file the same way. A good AUTOEXEC.BAT
file will be the same as the one you had before running OPTIMIZE and will have
no LOADHI statements in front of any lines. This file may also be found on
the root directory of either the COMPRESSED or UNCOMPRESSED drive. If you
can't find a good AUTOEXEC.BAT file then look for: AUTOEXEC.QDK,
AUTOEXEC.STC, or AUTOEXEC._SB. Once again, AUTOEXEC._SB will probably be your
These files may be found on the root directory of either drive. Once you
have found the one you like, copy it to AUTOEXEC.BAT. Now, you should have a
good CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT on your C: drive and are ready to proceed.
To avoid complications at this point, you should try doing all of your work on
the C: drive which should be your COMPRESSED drive. BE ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN
THAT YOU KNOW WHICH DRIVE YOU ARE EDITING FILES ON. LATER YOU WILL COPY THOSE
FILES TO THE OPPOSITE DRIVE.
4. Make sure QEMM-386 is installed in a QEMM directory on both the COMPRESSED
and UNCOMPRESSED drives. If this is not the case, you must copy the following
QEMM-386 files to the drive and QEMM directory that does not currently have
LOADHI.SYS MCA.ADL (if a microchannel machine),
If you do not have room on the UNCOMPRESSED drive, you must change the size of
that drive to accomodate the QEMM-386 files. This is accomplished by using
the program STAC.COM found in the STACKER directory. Information on how to do
this can be found in your STACKER manual.
5. At this step, you have a working CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
You have gotten here either by the above steps, or because you have NOT yet
6. Now, you have to do a little editing of both the CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT files. If you don't have a text editor available to you on
either drive, STACKER includes one called SEDIT.EXE in its directory.
You can bring up the editor and the CONFIG.SYS by typing
Once you have brought up the CONFIG.SYS file, you must cursor down to the line
DEVICE=C:\STACKER\SSWAP.COM C:\STACVOL.DSK /SYNC
NOTE: The /SYNC parameter is only for STACKER 2 and later versions, and makes
sure that the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are always the same on both
the COMPRESSED and UNCOMPRESSED drives. To avoid confusion, this technote will
have you manually copy edited files to both drives. Once you find the SSWAP
line, place a REM and a space BEFORE the line, i.e.:
REM DEVICE=C:\STACKER\SSWAP.COM C:\STACVOL.DSK /SYNC
If you are using a version of DOS earlier than 5.0, you will get an error
message that reads: "INVALID LINE IN CONFIG.SYS" when booting up.
If there are any DEVICEs being loaded AFTER the SSWAP line, they must have
their drive designations reversed. For example:
you must reverse to read:
NOTE: In the CONFIG.SYS file, only those DEVICE lines that come AFTER the
SSWAP line must have their drive designations reversed. Remember, this is
only a temporary change. Our recommendation is to put the SSWAP line as the
last line in the CONFIG.SYS.
7. Now, save the CONFIG.SYS file by typing:
ESC, Y and
Now, load the AUTOEXEC.BAT file into your editor, by typing:
Reverse all drive designations. For example, if a line designates a C:\,
change it to a D:\, and vice versa. This is necessary because once STACKER
with SSWAP has been invoked, the AUTOEXEC.BAT executes and looks for files and
programs on a certain drive. Once you have disabled SSWAP, the AUTOEXEC.BAT
must reverse the drive names it currently points to. Place a REM statement in
front of any line that invokes a menu program such as DOSSHELL, PCSHELL,
WINDOWS, etc. This will make your optimization of the system go a lot
quicker because you don't have to go in and out of these programs each time
OPTIMIZE reboots the system.
Once you have made these changes, save the AUTOEXEC.BAT file and exit SEDIT.
8. Copy both the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to the other drive. For
example, if you edited the C:\CONFIG.SYS and C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT files, copy both
of them to the D:\ drive.
9. NOW, REBOOT THE COMPUTER. To make sure that you have disabled SSWAP.COM,
type VOL D: and
now your C: drive is your UNCOMPRESSED drive and D: is your Stacker COMPRESSED
Copy your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files to a floppy diskette for
safekeeping. After doing this, rerun OPTIMIZE, by going to the \QEMM
directory and typing OPTIMIZE
When you receive the message:
The Optimize process has completed successfully.
Hit Enter to Return to DOS
this means that OPTIMIZE has completed its job.
10. Once you have determined that OPTIMIZE has been successful, reverse your
editing procedures as described above in steps 6 and 7. For example, in the
C:\CONFIG.SYS file, remove the REM statement and space before the SSWAP.COM
line and reverse any drive designations you changed AFTER that line. Edit the
C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT file and reverse the drive designations in that file. Copy
both the C:\CONFIG.SYS and C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT files to D:\.
11. Reboot the computer and check to see if the C: drive is the COMPRESSED
STACKER drive and the D: drive is the SMALLER UNCOMPRESSED drive. If you are
prompted to let STACKER change your CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files because
changes have been made, say NO and continue the boot procedure. This probably
means that you forgot to copy the C:\CONFIG.SYS and C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT files to
D:\. Since SSWAP.COM has once again been executed, the drive names have been
swapped. After bootup, read the contents of both the D:\CONFIG.SYS and
D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT files and make sure that they are the same ones you edited
after running OPTIMIZE. You will probably see QEMM-386 LOADHI statements in
the files. Also, the REM statement will have been removed from the SSWAP.COM
line in the CONFIG.SYS file. If this is the case, copy both the D:\CONFIG.SYS
and D:\AUTOEXEC.BAT file to C:\. If those files are not correct, check on the
C: drive. After making sure that the correct CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
files are on both drives, reboot your computer.
After rebooting, everything should be working correctly. That is, your
COMPRESSED drive will be the C: drive and your smaller UNCOMPRESSED drive will
be D:. That's it! You have successfully run OPTIMIZE with STACKER.
*This technical note may be copied and distributed freely as long as it*
*is distributed in its entirety and it is not distributed for profit. *
* Copyright (C) 1993 by Quarterdeck Office Systems *
************************* E N D O F F I L E *************************