Category : BBS Programs+Doors
Archive   : VBBS61A2.ZIP
Filename : VBBS610.DOC

Output of file : VBBS610.DOC contained in archive : VBBS61A2.ZIP


The Virtual BBS/NET
Version 6.10

A Product of Virtual Technologies

Copyright (c) Roland De Graaf 1990-1993

4246 Elisabeth Avenue
Holland, MI 49424


Terms of Use and Registration

The Virtual BBS including VBBS, VirtualNET, VNet,
Vscript and associated files mentioned herein are
Copyright (c) Roland De Graaf, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993

This Virtual BBS/NET software has been made available to you as
SHAREWARE, and is provided to you as such with hope that after
evaluating this software, you will join our growing family of
sysops nationwide.

Your possession of this program entitles you to evaluate it for
a reasonable period of time prior to registration, and in NO
case shall this evaluation period go beyond two (2) months with-
out resulting in either formal registration or discontinuation
of its use. You are encouraged to distribute VBBS/NET to others
in its original form only.

The author makes no warranty, expressed or implied, with regard
to any claims of loss or damage arising from the use of VBBS/NET
or related softwares.

Your use of this software constitutes acceptance of the above



INTRODUCTION ............................................... i
ABOUT THIS MANUAL .......................................... iii
CONVENTIONS USED IN THIS MANUAL ............................ iii
VBBS FEATURES .............................................. v

VBBS INSTALLATION .......................................... 1
Before You Install VBBS ................................. 1
New VBBS Installations .................................. 1
Upgrading Existing Installations ........................ 2

SETTING UP VBBS USING VCONFIG .............................. 4
1. MAIN Configuration -- Screen One ....................... 5
Screen Two ....................... 9
Screen Three ..................... 13
2. CHANNEL Configuration .................................. 17
3. DATABASE Configuration ................................. 19
4. SYSTEM PATHS ........................................... 26
5. DOWNLOAD PROTOCOLS ..................................... 28
6. UPLOAD PROTOCOLS ....................................... 28
7. NETWORKS Configuration ................................. 29
8. EVENTS Configuration ................................... 32
9. CONTROL PANEL Configuration ............................ 33
A. DOORS Configuration .................................... 34
B. VOTING BOOTH ........................................... 36
C. RANDOM MESSAGES ........................................ 36
D. ARCHIVE VIEW ........................................... 37
E. TEXT SECTIONS .......................................... 37
F. MULTI-FEEDBACK ......................................... 38
G. PRINT REGISTRATION FORM ................................ 39
H. VBBS DIAGNOSTICS ....................................... 39


FIRST-TIME STARTUP ......................................... 41
Before You Log In the First Time ........................ 41
Logging In the First Time ............................... 42
Creating the Sysop Account .............................. 42

THE WAITING-FOR-CALL (WFC) SCREEN .......................... 44

NEW USER SIGNUP ............................................ 45
New-User Feedback and Validation ........................ 46

NEW USER DEFAULTS .......................................... 47

THE USER EDITOR ............................................ 48

ONLINE FUNCTION KEYS ....................................... 50

THE DEFAULT MAIN MENU ...................................... 52

MESSAGING FUNCTIONS ........................................ 53
Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Messaging ........ 53
Setting Up Topic Areas .................................. 53
VFSE Full-Screen Editor ................................. 56
Message Quoting ......................................... 57
Message Threading ....................................... 57
Message Search .......................................... 58
Message Sub Validation .................................. 58
Message Sub Moderators .................................. 58
Messaging Sub-Menu ...................................... 58

E-MAIL FUNCTIONS ........................................... 61
Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- E-Mail ........... 61
Addressing E-Mail ....................................... 61
Oneliners ............................................... 62
Prepared Text Uploading ................................. 62
Attached Files to E-Mail ................................ 63
E-Mail Forwarding ....................................... 63
Carbon Copies ........................................... 63
Multi-Mail and Mailing Lists ............................ 64
Account Forwarding ...................................... 64
Automatic New-User E-Mail ............................... 64
Form Letters ............................................ 64
VBBS DIRECTmail Interface ............................... 65
E-Mail Sub-Menu ......................................... 65

FILE TRANSFER FUNCTIONS .................................... 67
Transfer Menu Commands and What They Do ................. 67
Setting Up Topic Areas .................................. 69
Uploading Files Locally ................................. 69
Remote Transfers ........................................ 70
New File Upload Specifics................................ 71
Files Sub-Menu .......................................... 71

Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Subsystems ....... 73
Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Miscellaneous .... 73
Bulletins/Textfiles ..................................... 74
System Info ............................................. 74
Voting Booth ............................................ 74
Defaults ................................................ 75
Autoposts ............................................... 75
Sysop Paging and Chat Screens ........................... 76
Multi-User Teleconference ............................... 76

THE SYSOP MENU ............................................. 77

.QWK OFFLINE READERS ....................................... 78

THE VBBS HYPERTEXT HELP SYSTEM (Optional) .................. 78

THE VBBS QUIZ/TEST SYSTEM (Optional) ....................... 80

THE VBBS CALLBACK VERIFIER (Optional) ...................... 81

CUSTOMIZING VBBS ........................................... 83
Menus, Function Blocks, Scripts, and Mods ............... 83
"Heart-Code ANSI" ....................................... 83
Customizing Menus ....................................... 85
Function Blocks ......................................... 87
The Default START.FB ................................ 89
The Default FILES.FB and SYSOP.FB ................... 90
Scripts and Mods ........................................ 91
Scripts and Mods on VirtualNET ...................... 93
System Taglines ......................................... 93
VGIX -- The Virtual Graphical Interface Executive ....... 94

OPTIMIZING VBBS ............................................ 95
"Defragging" Your Hard Drive ............................ 95
Using a RAMdrive ........................................ 95

SECURITY ................................................... 96

MAINTENANCE ................................................ 97

EXPLANATION OF FILES USED BY VBBS .......................... 100

VNET, VIRTUALNET, AND THE MULTI-NET ........................ 100
VirtualNET .............................................. 100
The Multi-Net ........................................... 101

VIRTUAL TOOLS .............................................. 101
Freeware/Shareware Utilities ............................ 101
Utilities by Roland De Graaf ........................ 102
Utilities by Neil J. Marshall ....................... 102
Utilities by Various Authors ........................ 103
The Virtual Developer's Toolkit ......................... 105

THE FUTURE OF VBBS ......................................... 106

ABOUT THE AUTHOR ........................................... 106

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND CREDITS ............................... 107
Documentation Credits ................................... 107
Programs Mentioned in the Documentation ................. 108

REGISTRATION INFORMATION ................................... 109

APPENDIX A -- QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ........................ 110
APPENDIX D -- RUNNING VBBS UNDER OS/2 2.0 .................. 121
APPENDIX G -- "ALT-KEYPAD HIGH ASCII CHART ................. 127
APPENDIX H -- VBBS CD-ROM DOCUMENTATION .................... 129



I hate tinkering with software.

This may sound like a strange statement for a computer
science major -- especially one who's also a BBS sysop -- to
make, but it's true. When I get a piece of software up and
running, about the only thing I like to do to it is change the
display colors, if possible. My friends often make snide com-
ments about my color schemes for DCOM or for Windows, and can
usually tell when I've been fooling around with them.

"What does this have to do with VBBS?" you ask.

Actually, everything.

You've gotten hold of a copy of what is probably one of
the easiest programs in the world to modify -- VBBS. It's cer-
tainly the most flexible BBS software in existence, and that's
one reason I jumped at it when a friend of mine showed it to me
in late December of 1991. With its QuickBASIC source code, ANSI
graphics support, and VSCRIPT programming language, even *I*
could add features that would make my BBS unique among the many
BBSes here in Tuscaloosa.

But there were other reasons I liked the software, too.
One was that it was young and constantly evolving, testament to
the skill and dedication of its developer, Roland De Graaf.
Here was a guy who was not only open to ideas, but ACCESSIBLE as
well. It was exciting to see his messages appearing regularly
on the sysops' support subs, indicating that he'd taken sysops'
ideas and incorporated them into his software. It was exciting
to see an E-mail reply from "Zargon" or "R de Graaf" waiting in
my mailbox when I logged on.
Another reason I liked VBBS was that it and its network
-- VirtualNET -- were small at the time, and this would give me
an opportunity to actually have some influence in the VBBS com-
munity and to be on the cutting edge of BBS software technology.
As you can see, that's happened; a year ago, I hadn't even HEARD
of VBBS, and now I'm writing the docs for one of its biggest re-
Finally, there was the sense of friendliness and coopera-
tion I found on VirtualNET. Everyone was eager to help a new
sysop with the inevitable questions about setting up the BBS,
receiving networked subs, fine-tuning the software, and making
sure my files were pathed correctly. There was a sense of humor

- i -

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- ii

on VirtualNET, a lighthearted approach to BBSing that was a re-
freshing change of pace from the nearly solemn behavior I'd seen
on other networks.

In the past year, VBBS has gone from version 5.31 to ver-
sion 6.10, and VirtualNET has grown from about 140 systems to
over 1100 systems. With that growth has come a certain amount of
change. For example, Roland doesn't post as often as he used to;
we've inundated him with ideas and suggestions for VBBS, and he's
incorporated LOTS of them into the program. As a result, he sim-
ply doesn't have TIME to read ALL the posts and personally answer
ALL the E-mail he receives; he's too busy programming! 🙂

But the excitement, the feeling of being on the cutting
edge, the sense of community -- they're all still there. Even
long-time VBBS sysops get something akin to an adrenalin rush
when news of an impending new release breaks.
If you can't say anything else about VBBS, you CAN say
this: it never stagnates. Between the dedication of Roland De
Graaf and the desire for excellence on the part of VBBS sysops,
VBBS is constantly evolving, improving to the point where it's
fast becoming the standard by which other BBS softwares are

Congratulations on your acquisition of VBBS, and welcome
to the VBBS community! I hope you'll find this software as much
fun and as flexible and easy to use as I have.

-- Sam Fleming
"O. F."

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- iii

About This Manual

In response to sysop comments and suggestions, the docu-
mentation for VBBS 6.x has been almost COMPLETELY REWRITTEN from
scratch. This hasn't been an easy task, considering the speed
with which Roland keeps adding features -- as someone on Virtual-
NET once said, it's like trying to write for a moving target --
but we're giving it a shot.
I've tried to include as much information on VBBS as pos-
sible, both for new sysops and for long-time VBBS sysops. Alas,
being less than superhuman, I'm bound to have left something out.
If you find that I've omitted something, please drop me an E-mail
at the address below.
Regardless of whether you're starting your first BBS or
have been running VBBS longer than I have, I urge you to sit
down with a few slices of pizza and a soda and read through this
new, improved, lemon-freshened manual. It's been a labor of love
on my part, and I've thoroughly enjoyed working with it and the
people on the Documentation Committee (they're listed in the
"Credits" section at the end of the manual).

This manual was written using the editor in DCOM 3.44, a
combination DOS shell and menu program written by Dave Frailey
of DAC Micro Systems, Inc. My thanks to Dave for writing such a
powerful program and offering it as shareware.

Sam Fleming (alias "O. F.")
Sysop, I.S.U.
#1 @1205500 VirtualNET

Conventions Used in This Manual

There are several typographical conventions that will be
used throughout this manual in order to make up for the lack of
italics, boldface, and other neat font changes (ah, the limita-
tions of straight ASCII):

1) Specific keystrokes to invoke commands, etc., will be desig-
nated using square brackets:

[Enter] [D]efaults [Esc][Esc] [S]can Titles

would indicate to press the [Enter] key, the [D] key, the
[Esc] key twice, and the [S] key, respectively.

2) Filenames and pathnames will be designated in ALL CAPS, as


VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- iv

3) Where more than one possible filename exists, the variable
characters will be represented by lowercase "x" characters
(if it is not necessary to use all the characters, I'll let
you know): DORINFOx.DEF xxxxxxxx.ANS

would represent files like


4) In lieu of using italics for word emphasis, the emphasized
word will be enclosed in asterisks or capitalized:

I just *love* using VBBS. I think it's the BEST soft-
ware around.

5) Watch for the IMPORTANT NOTE sidebars:

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: When upgrading an existing installa-
tion, make SURE you delete ALL occur-
rences of the file CONTROL.DAT from
your hard drive!

6) Watch for the "helpful hints" scattered throughout the man-
ual; they're marked with a large square.

ÉÍ» If you're having problems with messages piling up
Èͼ and your hard drive space diminishing rapidly,
check to make sure you have daily cleanup enabled.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- v

VBBS Features

Below are just SOME of the Neat Things (caps intended) included
with VBBS:

ù EXTREMELY easy setup
ù Scrolling windows for many configuration options
ù Multi-node support for up to 1028 users online is available;
the shareware version supports up to 4 users online
ù Supports up to 999 networks completely transparently at any
one time, including VNETtype, FIDOtype, WWIVtype,
and UUCP-type networks (with more coming).
ù Transparent local network setups based on any network type
ù Integral VXY Zmodem protocol.
ù Built-in FIDO front end mailer (No need for Front Door!)
ù VLIST log/file viewing utility
ù Automatic New Uploads Verification
ù Virtual Multinet Engine automates dialouts for multiple net-
works and tossing of received mail
ù DigiBoard support in channel configuration
ù Automatic subscription/unsubscription to message bases using
ù VGIX (Virtual Graphical Interface Executive) term program al-
lows users to iconize VBBS in VGA from their computer
ù Internal Time Slice Support for Multitaskers
ù Sysop/co-sysop feedback can be set up for any network or
network address
ù Built-in QWK door for offline readers
ù Easy-to-learn VSCRIPT script language programming and
ù Built-in ANSI full-screen editor with 36 text color choices
ù XModem, YModem, ZModem, ZModem-Batch, and HS/Link transfers,
both locally and across the network
ù Automatically adds archive comments to uploads
ù Sysop may allow users to upload directly to directory or
force all uploads to the \SYSOP directory
ù Files may be attached to local and network E-mail
ù Automated offline file requesting, both locally and on the
ù Surveys and voting; voting questions and responses may now
be edited
ù Multi-user teleconferencing with port status, paging, and
separate "rooms"
ù Prepared-text uploads in E-mail and messaging, even from in-
side the editor
ù Easy-to-use quoting feature in E-mail and messaging
ù Configurable new-message scans
ù Easy to set up games and other external online programs, with
nearly unlimited presentation options; scrolling window
in setup routine
ù Save any public or private message to an ASCII text file
ù Send form letters
ù Number of message bases, file directories, games, and other
databases limited only by your hardware
ù User-defined macros

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- vi

ù Built-in user time bank
ù User-configureable new files listing by days back
ù System bulletins and text files across drives; scrolling win-
dows for setup
ù Random messages of up to three lines
ù User phone charge accounting system
ù Up to 20 separate timed events per day
ù 36 user-definable screen colors, including background color
ù File archive viewing with scrolling windows in setup
ù Access coding throughout
ù Unique dual-purpose .MNU files accommodate both ANSI and
non-ANSI users
ù Full support for "heart-code" ANSI
ù Full messaging and file search functions
ù Efficient binary storage of messages and all system text
ù Built-in daily cleanup/maintenance
ù Optional system activity display at logon
ù Fast login from console
ù Highly informational and customizable WFC (Waiting For Call)
screen, saved in .COM format
ù Configurable WFC screen blanking
ù Assignable function-key control panel at WFC
ù Sysop may perform most routine BBS functions from WFC
ù Mail forwarding, even across multiple networks
ù Full CD-ROM or WORM capable databases
ù Configurable user-action log (normal/keystroke-by-keystroke)
ù Macro-capable networking software included
ù Built-in ANSI auto-detection
ù Split-screen chat function available

ù "Pseudo-DOS" allows sysop to perform simple DOS functions
while a user is online
ù Up to 9 multi-mail mailing lists per user
ù Multi-network carbon-copy E-mail
ù Definable moderator (sub-op) fields for message and file bases
ù Takes full advantage of ZModem's upload and log info routine
ù "Heart-code" ANSI taglines, optionally random
ù Built-in BBS diagnostics
ù Definable "function blocks" for totally-configurable hot-key
user/sysop menus
ù "Stacked" menu functioning capable
ù Configurable auto-validation of visiting sysops
ù Supports optional use of FOSSIL driver
ù ASCII, ANSI, and Enhanced ANSI operation with pull-down menus
ù Each message sub and file upload area may use real names,
aliases/"handles", or be anonymous
ù Optional auto-callback account verification
ù Message bases and file areas can either be "flat" or "layered"
ù Minimum allowed baud rate configurable for each channel
ù Optional online hypertext help system(s)
ù Optional online test/quiz system(s)
ù VBBS DIRECTmail interface

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 1


Initial installation of VBBS is quite straightforward. It
is perhaps the easiest BBS software in the world to install!

Before You Install VBBS

Before you install VBBS, you need to make sure you have
copies of the following programs and that they are in a directory
specified in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file's PATH statement:

ù PKZIP and PKUNZIP archive programs
ù ZModem transfer protocol (usually named

Other programs that will probably be useful include:

ù TheDraw 4.50 or later (for creating your own menus)
ù ARJ 2.11 or later (an alternative archive program)
ù DCOM 3.44 or later (DOS shell to speed file moving/copying)

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: These programs are NOT supplied with the
original VBBS archive; you have to get
them on your own. Fortunately, many BBSes
have them available for download.

New VBBS Installations

To install VBBS as a NEW installation, follow these in-

1) Create a temporary directory on your hard drive and make it
your current directory.

2) Using PKUNZIP, extract the contents of VBBS61-1.ZIP and
VBBS61-2.ZIP into the temporary directory.

3) Run INSTALL.EXE; when asked if this is a NEW installation,
answer "yes".

4) As the VCONFIG.EXE program is presented, verify the configu-
ration, particularly in the MAIN configuration and -- MOST
importantly -- in the CHANNEL configuration. All single-
node VBBS installations use the same command line:


This names channel 1 as the primary channel. After this,

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 2

you only need to correctly identify your modem port number
and baud rate in the channel 1 configuration.

Upgrading Existing Installations

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: VBBS 6.10 upgrades VBBS version 6.00 ONLY!
Sysops of previous versions will need to
either upgrade to version 6.00 prior to
moving to version 6.10, or install 6.10 as

To upgrade to version 6.10 from version 6.00, follow these

1) MAKE BACKUP COPIES of the following:

a) files in your database directory (\VBBS\DB)
b) files in your data directory (\VBBS\DATA)
c) your .CFG files

2) Delete ALL occurrences of the file CONTROL.DAT from your sys-

3) Move VBBS61-1.ZIP & VBBS61-2.ZIP into a separate directory
and unZIP them there.

4) Run the INSTALL.EXE program; when it asks if this is a NEW
installation, respond "no", then name the correct path to
your actual VBBS directory. Your .CFG files will NOT be

5) Verify the settings in VCONFIG and change channel 1 in the
CHANNEL configuration to reflect your modem port. Base and
IRQ addresses are set automatically.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: The INSTALL.EXE program for version 6.10,
when used to upgrade existing installa-
tions, copies ONLY the new .EXE file to
your VBBS directory. It does NOT over-
write menus, script files, text files, or
function blocks.

6) Once INSTALL.EXE has finished, you may need to copy or manu-
ally edit some files. Files to consider replacing or editing
are noted in the 610_READ.ME! file. Some are:

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 3

*.ANS *.ASC *.TXT *.PDM *.FB

7) After the upgrade to 6.10, you should go into VCONFIG to
SORT your database configuration and COMPILE network info.

* * * * * * * * * *

That pretty much does it for the actual installation pro-
cess, and as I said earlier, it IS fairly easy. Now comes the
fun part (and a large chunk of this manual) -- configuring your
VBBS installation just the way you want it.

If you're an old hand at running a BBS (especially VBBS),
grab another slice or two of that pizza and another soda and go
right on to the next page to start in on using VCONFIG to set up
the many features of VBBS.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 4


Using the VCONFIG.EXE configuration utility, you can con-
figure the inner workings of VBBS just the way you want them. It
DOES take some time to do this, but the end result is well worth
the time spent. One nice feature of VBBS is that once you're
finished with the configuration, it provides diagnostics to help
you make sure all files and paths are correct.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: MOST of the essential configurations are
properly set at default settings, meaning
they are set up for you already. The fol-
lowing is the ONLY configuration actually
REQUIRED in most installations in order to
effect a first-time startup:

In MAIN configuration: BBS name, sysop
name/handle, system password.

In CHANNEL configuration: set channel 1
to proper modem port and baud rate.

It's easy to use VCONFIG at any time to do additional
setup and further configuration -- adding new message bases or
file areas, changing the limits on existing message bases, etc.

VCONFIG has 17 main functions available at its main menu:

³ ³
³ 1. Main Configuration ³
³ 2. Channel Configuration ³
³ 3. Database Configuration ³
³ 4. Paths Configuration ³
³ 5. Download Protocols ³
³ 6. Upload Protocols ³
³ 7. Network Configuration ³
³ 8. Events Configuration ³
³ 9. Control Panel Configuration ³
³ A. Doors Configuration ³
³ B. Voting Booth ³
³ C. Random Messages ³
³ D. Archive View Configuration ³
³ E. Text Sections Confuration ³
³ F. Multi-Feedback Configuration ³
³ G. Print Registration Form ³
³ H. VBBS Diagnostics ³
³ ³
ÀÄ[ ][ ]Ä[Enter]=[Select]ÄÄ[Esc]=QuitÄÄÄÙ

We'll go through these options one by one through the next few
sections of this manual. Aren't you glad you got that pizza re-
fill? 🙂

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 5

º 1. MAIN CONFIGURATION -- Screen One º

1) BBS Name
This is where you enter your BBS' name, so that VBBS can
display it as needed.

2) Sysop Name
This field contains your name or handle, or the name or
handle of the primary system operator.

3) Timeout
This numeric value determines how long a user may remain
inactive (not typing anything) before being automatically
logged off the BBS. The value is expressed in seconds,
and the user will receive a "beep" warning at the midpoint
of the interval.

For example, a setting of 360 would allow for 6 minutes of
inactivity; the user would receive a warning after 3 min-
utes, and would be logged off after 3 more minutes of in-

4) Start-Up Script
This is the first script that is run after a user logs on.
For the default VBBS setup, this is START, which reflects
the small START.V script included in the VBBS archive.

5) PAUSE string
This allows you to customize your "press any key to con-
tinue" prompt.

6) Idle Modem
This setting defines what, if anything, to do with the
modem when the BBS is busy doing certain offline func-
tions, such as unpacking network mail, running external
events, doing daily maintenance, etc. The choices are
"Modem Off-Hook" and "Do Nothing".

If you select "Modem Off-Hook", then VBBS will "busy out"
your phone line as needed for offline functions. When the
offline function is completed, VBBS will re-initialize the
modem and resume servicing callers. Note that setting the
MODEM off-hook does NOT set an attached PHONE off-hook; if
a call comes in while the modem is off-hook, the phone
will still ring (and this can be QUITE annoying).

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 6

7) Registration #
This is where you enter your VBBS registration number,
when you get one. The only way to get a valid registra-
tion number is to register VBBS with the author (see "Re-
gistration" and the section on VCONFIG's "Print Regis-
tration Form" option for more details).

8) New User Password
In this field, you may specify your system's new-user
passowrd. Leaving this field blank disables the new-
user password entirely. The presence of a password in
this field will require that a first-time remote caller
actually know what the password is.

9) Blank WFC Screen
This setting configures the VBBS automatic WFC (Waiting
For Call) screen blanker. Like the "Timeout" option,
this value is expressed in seconds; a value of 300 in
this field would blank out the WFC screen after 5 min-
utes. A value of 0 in this field disables screen blan-
king entirely.

A) Reserve Space
This setting, expressed in kilobytes (KB), instructs VBBS
to reserve some of your hard-drive space so that suffi-
cient space to operate the BBS is always available on your
hard drive. When the free space on your upload drive
drops below this value, uploads will not be allowed onto
the board; this is for your protection.

A value of 0 in this field disables this feature.

WATCH.COM is a small shareware utility that senses unan-
swered telephone rings to your system and will reboot the
computer after so many rings, or arbitrarily every few

This is a YES or NO setting; if YES, VBBS will issue com-
mands to WATCH.COM as needed. If NO, the feature is dis-

C) Allow Handles
This setting determines whether a user's primary means of
identification on your system is a "handle" or his real
name. Note that some networks and networked message bases
do not allow the use of handles.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 7

D) Daily Clean-Up
This setting specifies the time VBBS will run automatic
database cleanup. The time must be entered in HH:MM for-
mat using military time. A setting of 00:00 disables
this feature, but this is not recommended unless you make
some provision for some kind of cleanup utility as an ex-
ternal event.

ÉÍ» Not setting a cleanup time is a common mistake among new
Èͼ sysops; if you notice the messages piling up and your
hard-drive space diminishing rapidly, this is a good place
to start looking for the source of the problem.

E) Allow 255 Remote
This feature may be used as an extra security measure to
prevent someone from ever gaining sysop access via remote.
If you need to access the sysop functions of your BBS re-
motely, or wish to give a co-sysop or other individual
that privilege, then choose YES for this setting.

F) System Password
This field contains your system password and is an op-
tional level of security. All users with a security level
(SL) of 255, or sysop security, will be prompted for the
system password when logging in.

G) Registration Code
When you register VBBS with the author, you will be sent
a letter with your registration code. Enter that code
in this field EXACTLY as it is shown on the card.
Put the letter in a safe place where you'll KNOW where it
is (trust me on this one).

The combined entry of a valid registration number and your
registration code "unlocks" your copy of VBBS and enables
full operation (see "Registration" for details).

H) Use FOSSIL Driver
This setting lets you tell VBBS to use a FOSSIL driver.
FOSSIL drivers are especially useful in certain multi-user
applications of VBBS, although they are not required. If
this is set to NO, VBBS will use its own internal COM rou-
tines. See MODEMS.DOC for help setting up a fossil driver.

ÉÍ» The FOSSIL driver seems to work best with

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 8

I) Sysop Page Control
This option allows you to select between two different
methods of detecting sysop availability. The most popular
choice is to let the lighted [Scroll Lock] key toggle sys-
op availability. Sysops with non-standard keyboards may
set this to toggle by hitting the [A] key at the WFC
screen. Note that the [Scroll Lock] key may be toggled
at any time anywhere in the system.

J) WFC Drive List
This is the list of hard drives you want displayed on the
WFC screen. The drive letter, size, free space, and per-
centage of space free will be displayed; if free space
drops below a particular percentage, that display line
will change color.

K) # Active Channels
This setting lets you optimize VBBS for the number of si-
multaneous online users (active ports) that you are set up
for on your multi-user VBBS installation. If you have two
lines running into your multi-user VBBS, set this to 2; if
you have four lines, set it to 4, and so on.

Single-line VBBS installations should set this value to 1.

L) Log Detail Level
This defines the level of detail that VBBS maintains in
its BBS.LOG file. There are two settings: NORMAL, which
shows the typical actions of a user (logon time, door
calls, etc.); and EXTENDED, which also shows the indivi-
dual keystrokes the user makes at the various menus within
the system.

ÉÍ» The EXTENDED level is useful for tracking users' progress
Èͼ within the BBS; it can be particularly helpful in identi-
fying users who head straight for the game or transfer

Takes you to the second screen of MAIN configuration.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 9

º 1. MAIN CONFIGURATION -- Screen Two º

1) Net Low Time
2) Net High Time
These two settings let you specify a period of time for
network transfers. During net time, users calling the BBS
will receive the text message you've configured in NETONLY.TXT
(Text Directory) and be logged off. (Note: SysOp imay log in.)
This is a way to open up a busy BBS for network calls,
typically late at night. Use of this feature may be required in
some networks.

The "net low time" is the beginning of the net period; the
"net high time" is the end of the net period. The times
must be entered in HH:MM format using military time; if
both are set to 00:00, the feature is disabled.

3) Net Redial Attempts
This specifies the number of network redial attempts VBBS
should make.

ÉÍ» If you are a "leaf node" (i.e., no one connects to your
Èͼ system for their network packets) and your server's BBS
isn't particularly busy, chances are you won't have to
set this very high (5 attempts usually connects me with
my server). If your net connect is a very busy BBS, you
may need to set this as high as 50 or more. Keep in mind
that while your system is calling out, users can't call

4) Network Poll Delay at WFC
This setting configures how often VBBS checks to see if
it needs to perform some type of automatic network dial-
out. It is expressed in seconds (i.e., a value of 600
would represent 10 minutes).

5) Dialing String
This setting specifies the proper dialing string for your
modem. This will, in most cases, be either ATDT (for tone
dialing) or ATDP (for pulse dialing).

6) New User Security
7) New User Time
These settings define the security level (SL) and time
limit given to a new user on your BBS.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 10

ÉÍ» Make sure that you give new users a high enough SL and
Èͼ enough time to at least explore your BBS for a bit. If
they can't do ANYTHING on their first call, their first
call might be their LAST.

8) Min. Sec. Lvl. Autopost
9) MSL Email Others
A) MSL Email Sysop Attached File
B) MSL Email Others Attached File
C) MSL MultiMail
D) MSL Email Carbon-Copy
These settings define the minimum security level (MSL) a
user needs to access certain functions of the BBS. A
typical BBS might allow a new user to E-mail others, but
restrict the other functions to validated users; some
boards restrict multi-mail and carbon-copy mail to the
sysop and co-sysop only.

ÉÍ» A mistake beginning sysops sometimes make is setting these
Èͼ too high for anyone to access; make sure the MSLs are low
enough for users to access at least SOME of them.

E) Upload/Download Ratio
This setting specifies the optional system upload/down-
load ratio; if enabled, it requires that users upload
files in order to be able to download them. To calculate
the value to enter in this field, use the following for-

decimal ratio = (required uploads) / (allowed downloads)

For example, to require that a user upload 1K for every
5K downloaded (a ratio of 1:5), you would convert the
fraction 1/5 into a decimal and enter the value .2 in
the ratio field. Other values are possible; some of the
more common ones are

.1 (1:10 ratio) .05 (1:20 ratio)
.25 (1: 4 ratio) .5 (1: 2 ratio)

Ratios like 1:3, 1:6, 1:7 and so on are probably better
dealt with through a credits system (see Screen Three
for details); as with some of the other settings, a
value of 0 in this field disables ratios entirely.

F) Allow Auto-Sysop Validation
G) Auto-Sysop Security Level
H) Auto-Sysop Time Limit
This feature is useful to those whose callers include a
good number of other sysops. With it, you can allow them
to boost their own SL and time limit a little.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 11

This feature can either be ON or OFF. If setting (F) is
set to NO, sysop auto-validation is disabled completely.

ÉÍ» It should be noted that there have been instances where
Èͼ non-sysop users have given false information and gained
visiting-sysop status on some systems. There are, how-
ever, several source-code modifications (if you have
registered at the source level) and scripts to combat
this problem.

I) QWK Message Limit
This setting defines the maximum number of QWK messages
to put into one QWK packet. Unregistered copies of VBBS
are limited to 50 messages per packet; entering the re-
gistration number and registration code on Screen One
enables full QWK-limit configurability.

ÉÍ» Suggesting a good number to enter in this field is dif-
Èͼ ficult to do; if you have a large number of active net-
worked message bases, you will probably want to set this
high (say, 500 or so). This is a trial-and-error set-
ting, but easily changed.

J) Enter System Password for WFC Sysop Commands
If this is set to YES, then the system password is re-
quired to access certain functions from WFC. It's use-
ful if your BBS needs to be secure locally -- if you
have a lot of your users dropping by, or if you have
small children lurking about the computer, for example.
It can, however, be somewhat annoying if you make fre-
quent use of the WFC commands when tinkering with the
BBS (in which case you may want to at least temporarily
disable it).

K) Mail Hold Time (Days)
This specifies the time, in days, that E-mail should be
kept active on the system. When an E-mail reaches the
age limit, it is automatically purged from the BBS. A
value of 0 disables this feature, although this is not
recommended (see below).

ÉÍ» Encourage your users to clean up after themselves by
Èͼ deleting (or extracting, THEN deleting) E-mail after
they've read it. Old, read E-mail DOES tend to pile up
on the system and may create problems if hard-drive space
is at a premium. 21 days is probably a good length of
time to hold E-mail, although this may certainly be ad-

L) Max Time Bank
This specifies the maximum number of minutes that a user

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 12

may deposit into her time bank. Setting this to 0 will
disable the built-in time bank.

In addition to the internal time bank, as with other func-
tions, there are several time-bank VSCRIPTS available.

Takes you to Screen Three of MAIN configuration.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 13

º 1. MAIN CONFIGURATION -- Screen Three º

1) QWK Packet Name
This is the name you wish to give to QWK packets being
sent from your system. It is recommended that you give
this field a unique six-character name.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT use a PERIOD or a ZERO within this
field. Softwares tend to "choke" when you

2) Force Filename Entry Before Upload
If set to NO, the user is given the choice as to whether
to enter filenames and descriptions prior to upload or
after it. If set to YES, the user is forced to enter
filenames and descriptions before the upload. When file-
names and descriptions are entered before the upload,
the file bases are checked for duplication.

ÉÍ» You should tell your users that once they're through en-
Èͼ tering filenames and descriptions, pressing [Enter] at
the prompt will get them into the actual upload process.

3) Inverse Bar on Input Fields
If set to YES, an inverse-color bar will be drawn on cer-
tain input fields, to show the user how much space she has
to enter the information. If set to NO, the bar is not

4) Display Network in Subs Listings
If set to NO, minimal network information is displayed
when the user does an online database listing. If set to
YES, then full network information is displayed.

ÉÍ» It should be noted that minimal info displays somewhat
Èͼ faster than full network information.

5) Run LOGOFF.BAT At User Logoff
The possible settings for this option are NO, CHANNEL 1
ONLY, and ALL CHANNELS. This option allows you to con-
figure utilities (virus scans, information updates, etc.)
to be run when a user logs off. Parameters passed to the
batch file(s) are:

%1 -- channel number
%2 -- COM port number

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 14

6) Number of Rings to Answer On
This setting defines how many times the phone will be
allowed to ring before VBBS answers. For most installa-
tions, a setting of 1 is proper.

ÉÍ» If you have Caller ID on your system, you might want to
Èͼ set this to 2 to give your equipment time to display the
originating phone number.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: If you're running WATCH.COM or some other
auto-reboot program, don't forget to keep
this setting BELOW the threshold for re-
booting, else your system will spend all
its time rebooting instead of taking calls.

7) Use Call-Back Verifier
If set to YES, VBBS will look for the ALLOW.CBV and
RESTRICT.CBV files you will have created in your \DATA
directory (see the "Callback Verifier" section for de-
tails). The installed callback verifier will prompt a new
user to put his modem into a waiting-for-call state so
VBBS can place a call to his terminal. VBBS will request
password confirmation from the answering system, thereby
confirming the accuracy of the phone number left for that

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the dial-out nature of this feature,
VBBS sysops assume individual responsibility
concerning its use when activated.

8) Call Back Ver. Security Level
9) Call Back Ver. Time Limit
These settings tell VBBS the SL and time limit to assign
to the new user's account once the callback verifier has
done its work.

A) Force New User to Leave Feedback
If set to YES, the file LEAVEFB.TXT (which you create in
your \TXT directory) is displayed to the new user, and
she is prompted to leave feedback to the sysop.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: A new user may choose to abort the feed-
back, bypassing a "required" feedback.
There are several VSCRIPTS available that
will indeed FORCE a new user to leave the
feedback letter.

B) Automatic New Upload Scanner
If set to Scan & Warn, VBBS will automatically scan
uploaded files for viruses, alert you, and keep the file

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 15

for your inspection. If set to Scan & Delete , a suspect
upload will be automatically deleted. If set to Disabled,
VBBS will not check uploaded files at all. The integral
scanner program automatically identifies the archive
format (ZIP, ARJ, LZH, and ARC) and also tests uploaded
archives for integrity. In addition, it automatically
adds your archive comment (ZIPCOMNT.TXT) and reads file
descriptions provided in FILE_ID.DIZ format. Scanning may
also be called from a script or function block. (Refer to
the UPLOADSCAN function in the VSCRIPT.DOC.) Note that
you should place a copy of your virus scan program in a
directory in your DOS path and name it scan.exe. Since
the virus scan program runs offline after an upload, many
different virus detection programs may be used. An UPLOAD.
LOG in your VBBS directory is available for you to review
the upload scan history.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: You should make a habit of reviewing the
UPLOAD.LOG daily and delete it when it
becomes too large. Also make sure that
you have placed copies of all of the
archivers above in a directory which is
in your DOS path.

C) Modem Test Mode
If you need to run diagnostics on your modem, this switch
may help. It will let you "see" what the modem is doing

D) Auto-Check for New Voting Polls
If set to ON, VBBS checks to see if there are voting
questions the user hasn't answered yet; if new questions
are found, the user is prompted as to whether she wishes
to vote.

E) Allow DIRECTmail
If set to ON, DIRECTmail is enabled (see "DIRECTmail" for
more information).

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: For DIRECTmail to pass between two VBBS
systems, this feature must be enabled at
BOTH ends of the connection.

ÉÍ» If you have a system tagline (see "System Taglines" for
Èͼ details), it's usually a good idea to include the word
"DIRECTmail" in it, to let other sysops know you have
this feature enabled.

F) Credits Awarded per Post
G) Credits Awarded per Upload K
H) Credit Cost per Download K

VBBS Documentation -- 16

This allows you to implement a system in which users "pay"
to use certain features of the BBS. For example, you may
wish to require that users earn credits by posting mes-
sages or uploading files in order to access online pro-
grams or download files (see "Doors Configuration" for
more information).

I) MultiTasker Awareness
If set to Desqview, VBBS and its auxiliary programs will
make best use of CPU time in DESQview environments. If
set to Windows or OS/2, time slices will be optimized for
those environments.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Under the Windows or OS/2 setting, you may
need to alter the Advanced PIF setting in
your Windows PIF files for VBBS to find
optimal Background and Foreground priorities.

J) All Uploads to Sysop Directory
If set to ON, all new uploads are pathed to the \SYSOP
directory, where they sit until the sysop manually moves
them to their proper directories. If set to OFF, uploads
go directly into the directory in which they're uploaded.

ÉÍ» This feature was added to expedite getting new uploads in-
Èͼ to their proper directories. If you use it, please make
sure you have some kind of automatic virus-checking pro-
gram installed.

K) Built-in FIDOnet Detection
If set to ON, VBBS' internal FIDOnet detection is enabled
(see MULTINET.DOC for more information on FIDOnet).

L) VCONFIG Menu Color
M) VCONFIG Background
Allows you to set the screen colors in VCONFIG. Settings
are saved until changed again.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 17


In this section of VCONFIG, you can configure the multi-
user communications aspects of VBBS and define the correct modem
port for single-line installations.

ÉÍ» If you have only one line, you won't spend much time in
Èͼ this section of VCONFIG. You only need to tell VBBS which
COM port to use for Channel 1.

When you bring up the CHANNEL configuration screen, you
will see a long list of channel numbers and their current charac-
teristics. To edit a particular line, use the arrow keys to move
the highlight bar to the channel you want to edit, then press
[Enter]. This will bring up a second screen with the following

1) Serial Port
This setting can range from COM1 to COM8 for communica-
tions ports. Whichever COM port you specify is what this
channel will use.

If set to LOCAL, then no COM port at all is used for this
channel. By using the LOCAL setting, VBBS could be used
as the interoffice mail system on a LAN.

2) Base Address (Hex)
3) IRQ (Hex)
For unique addressing, you may configure the port base ad-
dress and IRQ directly. Both entries should be entered in
hexadecimal format.

4) Baud Rate
This field sets the baud rate of the COM port.

5) Init String
The modem commands needed to properly initialize your mo-
dem for VBBS go here. For initialization strings for sev-
eral of the more popular modems, see MODEM.DOC.

ÉÍ» There are several message bases on VirtualNET from which
Èͼ you can get help in "tweaking" your init string to fit
your exact setup. These include the "VBBS Sysop Support
Sub", "Modem Mania", and "High-Speed Modem Discussion".
See SUBSLIST.NET for the latest listings.

6) Locked Baud Rate
If you are using a standard 2400-baud modem without error

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 18

correction, this should be set to NO; if you are using a
high-speed modem, or a modem with error correction, this
should be set to YES.

7) Hardware (RTS/CTS) Handshake
If you are using a standard 2400-baud modem without error
correction, this should be set to NO; if you are using a
high-speed modem, or a modem with error correction, this
should be set to YES.

Yes, this says the very same thing as 6); I had to check
the original documentation myself to make sure I hadn't
made a typo! 🙂

8) Minimum Baud Rate Allowed
This feature can be used to "lock out" users using slower
modems, should you desire to do so. This can be config-
ured independently for each active channel. For example,
a sysop running a single-channel installation might wish
to lock out 300-baud callers; she would enter a value of
1200 in this field. A value of 0 in this field disables
the minimum-baud-rate feature.

A text file called TOOSLOW.TXT (found in your \TXT direc-
tory) is displayed to the user immediately upon connect
if his modem is at a disallowed speed. This ASCII text
file may, of course, be customized to suit your needs.

ÉÍ» There is some debate as to whether locking out 300-baud
Èͼ callers serves any purpose. In my opinion, it serves no
practical purpose, because 300-baud callers have no more
time online than other users; they just can't do as much
in their allotted time.

ÉÍ» If you're running more than one channel, one of which
Èͼ uses a high-speed modem, you may wish to use the minimum-
baud-rate feature to reserve the high-speed channel for
the exclusive use of high-speed callers.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 19


At the heart of VBBS are the DATABASES. They are used for
such functions as message bases, file directories, and various
other creative functions that might be, for example, part of a
custom script-based application. Databases may be set up or al-
tered in VCONFIG at any time, and the only limit to the number of
databases you can have is the amount of storage space on your
hard drive.

ÉÍ» Most sysops spend the greater portion of their time spent
Èͼ in VCONFIG adjusting existing databases and adding or de-
leting databases, so this section of the documentation is
of particular importance. For this reason, we'll take a
little extra time going over the principles behind data-
bases, topic areas, and their use.

There are three basic types of databases: message data-
bases, file databases, and other databases. All databases may
be set up and grouped into TOPIC AREAS. Each topic area needs
its own DBGROUP identifier, which may be any letter from A to Z.

ÉÍ» I'm holding off on discussing topic areas in detail until
Èͼ after we get through learning about databases and how to
configure them and we know what a "function block" is;
the whole picture fits together MUCH better when you know
more about the individual parts.

When you enter the DATABASE configuration screen, you
are presented a scrolling menu of choices:

ù Message Databases
ù File Databases
ù Custom Databases
ù Sort Database Configuration
ù Compile Network Info

We'll take a moment to describe each option in detail.

Message Databases
Message bases, also known as "message subs" or simply
"subs", are databases in which messages are stored. Subs may be
about a specific topic, or they may simply be "chat"-type subs
in which people can write messages, or "post", about whatever is
on their minds.
In VBBS, message subs are automatically pathed to the
\VBBS\DB directory when you run INSTALL.EXE. If you want to put
them somewhere else (I have mine on the larger of my two hard
drives), you need to specify a separate path using the PATHS
configuration (this is discussed in the next manual section).

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 20

File Databases
The file databases work in much the same way as the mes-
sage bases, except that they store actual files instead of mes-
sages. The major difference between the way file and message
databases are set up is that while message bases are automatic-
ally pathed to the \DB directory during the installation process,
each file database requires a unique, specific DOS path, which
you, the sysop, have to supply.
Like message databases, file databases may be grouped in-
to topic areas by giving each topic a unique letter DBGROUP

Other Databases
This is one of those things that the author, Roland De
Graaf, seems to know more about than he's letting on. 🙂
He hints at using the database structure for custom VSCRIPT-
based applications, but I've yet to actually sit down and write
Here's an idea I've kicked around for a while: using
VSCRIPT and the VBBS database structure as the basis for a sim-
ple online game. After all, what is an online game other than
a skeleton program that makes repeated calls to databases (where
monster, room, treasure, and character stats are kept)? Depen-
ding on how you formatted the data "messages", you could store
quite a bit of information on each room (or whatever) ...

Configuring and Editing Databases in VCONFIG

K) DB Group:
This is a letter from A-Z which designates which database
topic group this database belong to. See "Setting up
Topic Areas" for details.

1) File Name
This is the eight-character-or-less name of the database
file, entered in ALL CAPS. It is also a good practice to
avoid "odd" characters such as "#", "!", "%", and the
like in these filenames, as they might confuse the soft-

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Even though message databases don't have
an actual DOS directory, they have to have
unique filenames; this is for VBBS' data-
base configuration files.

ÉÍ» The importance of giving databases UNIQUE filenames can't
Èͼ be overemphasized. Database entries that have the same
DB name and DB path specify the SAME database! Don't use
a particular filename more than ONCE across all databases
-- message, file, and custom.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 21

ÉÍ» New sysops sometimes forget and use a filename more than
Èͼ once in their configuration; while this doesn't do any
damage per se, it IS kind of embarrassing to have your
file descriptions show up as posts on networked message
bases. This usually generates at least one post from
other VirtualNET sysops. 🙂

2) Files Path
Enter a path in this field only if you are creating a
file database or a custom database that uses messages or
files. If you're setting up a message database, leave
this field blank; VBBS automatically paths message bases
to the \DB directory. Again, avoid "odd" characters and
and lower-case letters.

3) Long Name
This is the longer, more descriptive database name that
is displayed to the user, like "Virtual BBS/NET Support".

4) Private? (Y/N)
This switch is for special uses only; you should set
this to NO when creating public-access message and file

5) Max Entries
Defines the desired size of the database (in messages or
files, not bytes). A value of 0 in this field allows un-
limited message/file storage; a number in this field sets
a limit on the number of messages/files.

When VBBS runs daily maintenance, it will "pack" the
database down to size by removing enough of the oldest
messages to bring the database back to the specified
limit. Beginning sysops sometimes wonder why they have
84 messages in a database they've configured for 50
messages; daily maintenance would, in this case, remove
the 34 oldest messages, bringing the total back to 50.

ÉÍ» For file databases, you should set the limit to 0 unless
Èͼ hard-drive space is at a premium; if you put enough new
files in a limited database to take it over the limit,
VBBS will pack that file database just like any other.
Fortunately, however, the files will NOT be erased; they
will simply become unavailable for download.

ÉÍ» Gauging the proper limit for a message database is largely
Èͼ a matter of trial and error. For "slow" message bases,
you'll want to keep the limit fairly low to keep messages
turning over. For active subs -- like the sysop subs and
the VirtualNET "star" subs -- you may want to set it as
high as 200 or 250. It's NOT a good idea to enter a 0 in

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 22

this field for a message base; for example, on the Vir-
tualNET Sysops' Sub, it would take less than a month to
accumulate over 3000 messages!

6) Read SL
This is the minimum security level needed to access (read)
the database. If the user's SL is less than this value,
the database will not show up in his listing.

7) Write SL
This is the minimum security level needed to write (post)
in the database. If the user's SL is less than this
value, the database will not allow input (or uploads)
from her.

8) Access Flag
This setting defines what access flag (if any) must be
set in the user's account to access the database. This
value may be NONE or a letter from A to Z. If set to a
letter, the user must have a matching access flag in his
account information in order to access the database. Ac-
cess flags are set in the user editor (see "The User Edi-
tor" for details).

ÉÍ» Access flags are useful for restricting access to certain
Èͼ databases to certain users. For example, if you wanted
to have a sysops-only sub, you could enter an 'S' in
this field and give visiting sysops an 'S' access flag;
they would be the only users who could access the data-
base (unless, of course, there were other users who also
had the same flag).

9) Age Limit
The minimum age a user must be in order to access the
database. For example, a value of 18 in this field would
require that a user be at least 18 years old to have ac-
cess to the database.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: A quick word about database access control
and adult-oriented material ... while VBBS
*does* offer a high level of security, NO
software that restricts access to materials
on the basis of age can protect a sysop
from underage users who lie about their age
in order to get adult-oriented materials.

As sysop of your BBS, it is your responsi-
bility to be aware of federal, state, and
local laws regarding the distribution of
and access to adult-oriented material. In
no case will the author of VBBS or the au-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 23

thors of the documentation be held respon-
sponsible for underage users gaining access
to adult-oriented materials on your BBS.

A) Tagline
This instructs VBBS which tagline (if any) to append to
messages posted in the database. If set to zero or left
blank, no tagline is added (see "System Taglines" for
more information).

B) Random Titles
This setting specifies which random title file to use in
messages, and is disabled if set to zero. The range for
this value is 1 to 999; specifying a value here instructs
VBBS to look for the file (where "xxx" is
the entered value, without leading zeroes RNDTITLE.1, not RNDTITLE.001>) in your \TXT directory.
Entries in may be made using an ASCII text
editor and should be made one per line in this file.

ÉÍ» It should be noted that the current line of thinking on
Èͼ VirtualNET (at least) is that message titles should be
descriptive of the contents of the message, not simply
assigned at random. Many users -- and especially other
sysops -- will simply skip oddly-titled messages when
doing a new-message title scan.

C) Name Used
This setting defines the name used in the database. The
possible settings are HANDLE, REAL NAME, or ANONYMOUS.

Note that message bases marked "Anonymous" do not allow
quoting of previous messages, and that the posting user's
real name or handle will show up locally. Remote users
will see "-- ANONYMOUS --" or "-- Guess Who? --" on their
screen. In addition, there is some question as to whe-
ther "Anonymous" posts remain anonymous on networked mes-
sage bases.

D) QWK Conference
This setting defines the database's QWK conference num-
ber as used by QWK-format offline mail readers. The
range for this value is from *2* to 255, and each QWK
conference assignment MUST be unique to the particular
database. QWKable message bases are marked with a "!"
in the subs listing.

When you have configured a database to this point, VCONFIG will
shift to the display of message bases in whichever topic area
the database is included. It will prompt you to tell it where

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 24

to insert the new database, even though there are still options
which may need to be configured. Don't panic. This is an added
level of organization that helps prevent the networks from being
flooded with messages from subs that have accidentally been mis-
configured. It's not infallible, but it DOES help. The addi-
tional configuration options are described below.

E) Database Co-Sysop
Some sysops allow trusted users to moderate discussions on
local message bases; this setting defines the co-sysop,
sub sysop, or moderator for the database. Leaving this
field blank disables this feature; any nonzero value spe-
cifies the user number of the moderator. The moderator
information is displayed in the message sub listing.

ÉÍ» Having a user serve as message-sub sysop can be a good
Èͼ way of breathing a little life to a sub that's been "down
in the dumps", especially if the user has strong opinions
on the topic at hand. Just make sure the user knows about
any policies you might have regarding message content,

F) Req Net Validation
If you wish to review posts before they are transmitted
out to any networks, turn this option ON. Post valida-
tion is handled via the [V] option from the Sysop Menu
within VBBS.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: This switch needs to be set to YES for the
VirtualNET "star" subs (the ones that come
with VBBS as defaults) and support subs
such as the "Virtual BBS/NET Support Sub".
Net validation may also be required for
some VirtualNET "secured" subs; contact the
sub's host sysop via E-mail for specifics.

G) Networks Configuration
Selecting this option allows you to edit the network con-
figuration for the database. If you wish the database to
be LOCAL ONLY, set this to NONE.

If you wish the database to be networked, you must con-
figure the network and network sub/conference identifier.
VCONFIG will prompt you for the network, then for the
identifier. The format of the identifier will vary from
network to network.

For Type 1 (VNET.EXE-based) and Type 2 (VWW4.EXE-based)
networks, the identifier is a number; for Type 3
(VUUCP.EXE-based) and Type 4 (VFIDO.EXE-based) networks,
the identifier is a string. Type 5 (VNET2.EXE-based) net-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 25

works are still in the experimental stage as of this wri-
ting, and more network utilities are in development such

You can configure a database to be on one network or on
several networks. Configuring a database to be on mul-
tiple networks (there is theoretically no limit) creates
a "gateway" between two or more networks (the common term
is "gating").

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Prior to establishing a gateway connection,
you should obtain permission from any con-
ference or message base host/moderator sys-
ops involved.

The networking utilities VWW4.EXE, VUUCP.EXE,
and VFIDO.EXE are freely available to sysops
and are fully operational during the share-
ware trial period. They are automatically
inactivated if VBBS remains unregistered
after this period.

Database Considerations

There are some things to keep in mind when setting up or
reconfiguring databases:

ÉÍ» Setting up more databases is easy -- simply add them into
Èͼ topic area(s) where they belong. Remember that when you
add message databases, you need to SORT and COMPILE your
configurations using the appropriate commands from the
initial DATABASE Configuration screen.

ÉÍ» Plan out your file databases ahead of time; too many file
Èͼ databases can become unwieldy and hard to navigate (trust
me on this one).

ÉÍ» It's a good idea to periodically go through your message
Èͼ subs and cull out the ones that aren't getting much traf-
fic (and there WILL be some eventually). Whether you re-
place them with new subs or just make do with fewer subs
is up to you; just remember to keep your users in mind
when choosing which subs to carry.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 26


This is the section of VCONFIG in which you can configure
and optimize VBBS' use of your hard-drive space.

1) Main VBBS Directory (\VBBS)
The system executables (*.EXE) belong in this directory,
along with WFC.COM and your configuration (*.CFG) files.
This should be your current directory when you are exe-
cuting the program. A typical path might be


2) Scripts Directory (\V)
This is where VBBS expects to find any script and func-
tion-block files:

*.V *.COD *.LIT *.FB

3) Data Directory (\DATA)
Where VBBS expects to find system data files:


4) System Text Files (\TXT)
Where VBBS expects to find system text files:


Note that many online-game programs generate score files
that may be placed in this directory and viewed using the
[B]ulletins option from the Main Menu.

5) CONTROL.DAT Directory
Specifies in which directory VBBS will maintain the tem-
porary system file containing the current user's informa-
tion. Multi-user installations NEED to set up a RAMdrive
for this file; the same is also *recommended* for single-
line installations (see "Optimizing VBBS" for details on
setting up a RAMdrive).

6) Temporary Directory (\TEMP)
This is the directory VBBS will use for temporary storage
of incoming network packets and files. The directory you
specify here should not be used for any other purpose,

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 27

and it is NOT recommended that you use a RAMdrive for this
directory (if the power goes, you could lose an entire net

7) Database Directory (\DB)
This is the directory where VBBS will store ALL database
information, such as messages and file descriptions.

8) Upload/E-Mail Directory (\SYSOP)
Specifies path for storage of E-mail with attached files
and uploads from users (if you have all uploads going to
the \SYSOP directory).

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: You may specify whatever paths you wish for
these directories (and will need to for di-
rectories you wish to place in a RAMdrive),
but it is much less confusing to use the
default paths set up by the INSTALL.EXE

It is recommended that you run the system
diagnostics anytime you alter any of the
settings in this section of VCONFIG, to en-
sure that VBBS can find the files it needs
in order to operate properly.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 28


PROTOCOLS are the means by which files are transferred to
and from your system. The original protocol was XModem, devel-
oped by Ward Christensen; there are many more to choose from now.
VBBS comes "out of the package" preconfigured to handle XModem,
YModem, ZModem, ZModem-Batch, and HS-Link protocols and it own
proprietary VXY protocol. Other protocols may added at your
discretion. Each protocol is configurable by:

1) Which letter the user will press to select that protocol
2) The name and description of the protocol
3) DOS command line to run protocol. Parameters passed are

%1 COM port
%2 baud rate
%3 filename
%4 handshake
%5 UART rate
%6 port base
%7 port IRQ
%8 channel number
%9 upload directory

4) Batch compatible? (Y/N)

For most installations, the preconfigured protocols will
be more than sufficient; should you wish to add other protocols,
consult the protocol documentation for information on construc-
ting the proper command line.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: It is HIGHLY recommended that you use the
FULL path when you specify the filename of
your transfer protocols; these programs are
notorious for their pickiness in this re-
gard. For example, with ZModem, you might
use the following command line to set it up
to receive files (upload protocol):

C:\VBBS\DSZ port %1 ha %4 rz

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 29


Selecting this option brings you to a list of networks,
which is derived from NETWORKS.LST, a master multi-net listing.
NETWORKS.LST is updated periodically as needed and should be placed
in your /NET subdirectory.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: The NETWORKS.LST file is now unencrypted and is
configurable by the sysop.

What happens after you get to the first screen of the NETWORK
Configuration depends on what type of network you're configu-

Type 1 Networks (VirtualNET-Type)
When you select this type of network, you will be prompted
for the following information:

1) Node Number Your system's unique assigned network ad-
dress, expressed as a number (e.g., 2056).
2) Net Directory The network directory to be used by this
VNET-based network; each network you set
up must have its own UNIQUE directory.
3) Protocols Allowed Options are Zmodem, Ymodem, HSlink, and
VXY protocols
4) Protocol Prefer. Protocol that will be used when your
system initiates network transfers.
5) Server Your server's node number.
6) Server Phone # Your server's phone number.
7) Server Call Whether call to server is LOCAL or LONG
8) Server Threshold Number of kilobytes that must be pending
before automatic callouts to a server are
allowed. Between the Server Call and
Server Threshold settings, VBBS deter-
mines if and when to call out to your
server for a network transfer. If your
server is LOCAL, the system will call
whenever the threshold is met or excee-
ded; if LONG DISTANCE, the system will
call, once per day, between the hours of
11:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. if the threshold
is met or exceeded.
9) Server Macro "Macro" file needed to log onto the ser-
ver's BBS, if any. Most of the time this
is not needed, and can be left at .
A) Server Password Network server's password (if used).

B) ZIP Trigger Level Default 50k for prezipping packets before
initiating network callout.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 30

C) Add/Edit/List Used only if your system functions as the
Clients server for other systems. More on this
in a moment -- I can only indent so far.

E. Edit Extended Permits you to designate up to four
Connections different VirtualNET servers to connect

U) Uninstall This Allows you to drop participation in a net-
Network work. VBBS will prompt for confirmation.

If your system functions as server for one or more other systems,
you need to configure each client separately using the C) option
above. When you select this option, you get a screen prompting
for the following information:

1) Client Node Number 6) Client Password
2) Client Phone Number 7) Client Protocol
3) Client Call 8) Client Compression
4) Client Threshold
5) Client Macro D) Delete This Client

These data fields function exactly as do the "server" fields de-
scribed above.

If your system will connect to more than one VirtualNET server,
selecting option E) Edit Extended Connections will bring up the
following menu:

1. Node Number:
2. Phone #:
3. Call:
4. Threshold:
5. Macro:
6. Password:

D. Delete this Extended Connect

Type 2 Networks (WWIVnet-type)
When you select this type of network, you will be promp-
ted for the following information:

1) Node Number Your WWIVnet node number.
2) Data Directory The FULL path to your WWIV \DATA direc-
3) Mode This is either NET (for WWIVnet-style
networks) or LINK (for WWIVLink-style
4) EXE Directory The directory containing the WWIV and
VWW4 executable files.
5) Dialout Init Your modem's init string for calling
String WWIV systems.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 31
Type 3 Networks (UUCP-type)
When you select this type of network, you'll be prompted
for the following information:

1) System Name Your UUCP system address.
2) News Directory Full path to your NEWS directory (for
newsgroup usage).
3) User Directory Full path to your USER directory (for
E-mail usage).

Type 4 Networks (FIDO-type)
When you choose this type of network, you'll be prompted
for the following information:

1) Fido Address Your FIDOnet address in standard format.
2) NetMail Directory Full path to the directory into which
incoming FIDOnet packets will be placed.
3) OutBound Direc- Full path to the directory in which out-
tory going net packets are stored.
4) Archiver FIDO archiver to use (e.g., PKZIP -U).
5) UnArchiver FIDO unarchiver to use (PKUNZIP, etc.).
6) FIDO Front-End This can be FRONTDOOR, BINKLEY, or STAND-
ALONE (the default).
7) Nodelist: Name of the NODELIST
8) Zones: Options are 1-8
D) Dial List Allows editing of your dialing list.
R) Routing Specifies mail routing.
A) AKA's Allows for other Fido-type networks

In each case, you may select [U] to uninstall the network; you
will be prompted for confirmation. For more information on the
various networks available, see MULTINET.DOC and NETGUIDE.DOC,
as well as the documentation for the various network interface
softwares (see below).

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: In order to install networks of Types 2,
3, or 4, you will need the proper network
interface software (VWW4.EXE, VUUCP.EXE,
or VFIDO.EXE, respectively). These
programs are freely available to sysops,
and may be downloaded from any VBBS
support board. They are fully functional
during the shareware trial period, but
are automatically disabled if VBBS is not
registered after this period.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 32


VBBS allows up to 20 timed events per day. Possibilities
for these events include your daily external maintenance routine
(usually done through a batch file or three), network dialouts,
online game maintenance, etc.

1) Time
The time the event is to run, entered in HH:MM format
using military time. A time of 00:00 disables the event.

2) Command Line
The DOS command line or batch file to execute. For exam-
ple, you might enter


for an external daily-cleanup routine. Complete pathnames
are not required if the routines are located in your main
VBBS directory, but it's better to make sure.

There are a number of external utilities specifically designed
for use with VBBS; they are listed in UTIL.DOC. For online-game
maintenance, please consult the game documentation.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 33


In addition to the commands already configured in the WFC
menu, VBBS allows you to assign the F1 through F10 keys for what-
ever functions you desire.

ÉÍ» If you find yourself continually dropping to DOS to run
Èͼ the same program over and over, it's probably a good idea
to assign a function key to handle it.

The default VBBS setup suggests some possibilities for using the
F-keys. F1 through F4 come preconfigured, but that's easy to
change if you so desire.

F1 Looks for a batch file called TERMINAL.BAT, which you cre-
ate using an ASCII text editor. This batch file should
contain the command line that will start up your communi-
cations program (Telix, etc.). I fixed my command line
to read


and put TELIX.BAT in the main VBBS directory, and all is
right with the world.
F2 Calls up the system log, where information about the day's
callers and what they did is located. Viewing the log
requires the DOS command line


(your actual path may vary, depending on what you've set
up in the PATHS configuration) or an external text-brow-
sing utility, such as LIST.COM. Note that the DOS com-
mand line above does not allow you to back up through
the text, use arrow keys, or PgUp/PgDown; I thoroughly
recommend getting LIST.COM.
F3 Same as F2, but brings up the network log (the filename
is NETWORK.LOG and should be in your \DATA directory).
F4 Same as F2, but brings up the cumulative system statistics
(the filename is DAYSTATS.LOG and should be in your \DATA
directory). This one is particularly useful for tracking
usage cycles and upload/download trends.

Other potential uses for the F-keys include invoking a
shell program (such as DCOM or StereoShell), a text editor (the
DOS 5.0 editor or similar), or other programs you frequently run
outside of VBBS. Be aware that several add-on utilities have
been specifically developed for VBBS to call up sub-menus from
F-keys so that unlimited flexibility is available to you.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 34


VBBS will run almost all modern doors and online games
created for use on BBSes, either straight from the command line
or through the use of an external door converter, such as DOORWAY
or DoorMaster. Doors can be called from function blocks or from
scripts, as well as this internal doors configuration.
VBBS shrinks out of memory for all external programs, re-
serving only a small amount of RAM for its "hooks" that allow
the user to return to the BBS. VBBS creates the CHAIN.TXT,
DOOR.SYS, and DORINFOx.DEF "drop files" which contain user infor-
mation for use by the door program; most doors will accept at
least ONE of these formats. It should be noted, however, that
some games, particularly WWIV- and PCBoard-specific games, re-
quire the use of a door converter because of their use of DOS
interrupts and their methods of handling ANSI graphics.

When you choose item [A] from the VCONFIG Main Menu, you
will see a scrolling-window screen listing the door programs you
have installed, along with the SL needed to access them. Moving
the highlight bar and pressing [Enter] selects that program's
configuration entry.
When configuring a door program in VCONFIG, you will be
prompted for the following information:

1) Program Name
The name of the door program, as it will be presented to
the user. Try to keep it short; long names will be trun-
cated (not good if you like to include version numbers).

2) Command Line
The name of the batch file or command line to execute the
door program, along with any command-line parameters that
need to be passed to the door. Again, full pathnames are

3) Security Lvl
The MSL (remember *that* abbreviation?) needed to access
the program.

4) Access Flag
If set, allows only those users with matching access flags
to access the program. Access flags are set in the user
editor; for more information, see "The User Editor".

ÉÍ» Access flags can be useful in "beta-testing" door programs
Èͼ to see if you've installed them correctly. Before announ-
cing you've got a new online game, give a couple of your
trusted users access to the game using access flags and

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 35

get them to try to crash the game, tweaking your game set-
up as necessary. Once all the glitches are fixed, THEN
drop the access flag requirement and announce your new on-
liner; this can spare you some grief from vexed hard-core
gamers (the kind of feedback you LEAST want to hear).

5) Single User
Indicates whether the game is playable on single nodes or
multi-nodally. Single-line installations should leave
this set to YES.

6) Credit Cost
Allows sysops running a credit system to charge credits
for door program access. This is configurable for each
individual game.

ÉÍ» Setting up a credit cost for games can either be a great
Èͼ boost for your message-base traffic, or it can be a night-
mare. If you use this feature, make sure you don't set
your credit costs so high that it takes an inordinate
number of posts or uploads to earn enough credits to play
the games.

D) Delete This Entry

ÉÍ» Getting door programs to run correctly, especially upon
Èͼ exiting and re-entering the BBS, is probably the most
difficult task a sysop faces. Door games are rapidly
becoming more complex, and as they do so, their indivi-
dual requirements and quirks are doing likewise.

In installing door programs, patience IS a virtue; many
times, installation involves a good deal of trial and er-
ror. The importance of reading the door program's docu-
mentation, especially with regard to installation, can
not be overstressed.

There is a message base available on VirtualNET in which
sysops (and users?) discuss getting door programs to
work correctly. The sub, "Online Games -- Making Them
Work", is autorequest sub number 309.

In addition, one of the auxiliary documentation files,
VDOOR.DOC, contains sample batch files and command lines
for some of the more popular online games.

ÉÍ» Some door converters (not included with VBBS) will allow
Èͼ the sysop to configure a remote sysop drop-to-DOS; this
is a chancy business at best, and caution is advised.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 36


VBBS' Voting Booth allows you to present your users with
a perpetual survey in which they can "vote" on particular issues
you define. Frequently-asked questions deal with political can-
didates, which online games should be registered/discontinued,
reasons for calling the BBS, how users first heard of your BBS,
how they like changes you've made, etc.

When you select this option from the VCONFIG Main Menu,
you will see a scrolling window containing the questions them-
selves. To select a question for editing, move the highlight
bar to the correct entry and press [Enter]. The question and
its responses will then be available for editing.
To add a new voting question, press [F1] at the scrolling-
window screen. You may then type in a question and supply up to
eight responses from which your users may choose.
The poll results are displayed as the number of users
choosing a particular answer, along with the percentage of the
total number of votes each choice received.

In the default START.V, if new questions exist, when a
user logs on, she is given the opportunity to vote. If the user
is up to date with the survey, the voting questions are ignored.
You may use option [D] from Screen Three of the MAIN configura-
tion to disable this automatic checking if you wish (see p. 15
for details).

There are several VSCRIPT-based voting programs avail-
able, any of which may be used in lieu of the default voting


VBBS features an optional "random messages" function that
can display one-, two-, or three-line messages right before the
user initially sees the Main Menu. Random messages are commonly
used for quips and quotes or friendly advertisements for other
BBSes in the area; you may, of course, use them for whatever pur-
pose you wish (or not use them at all, if you so desire).
To add a random message, press [F1] at the scrolling-
window initial screen and type in your message. DO NOT press
[Enter], as that will delete the currently-highlighted random
Random messages are displayed by including the RANDOM com-
mand from anywhere within a VSCRIPT or function block.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 37


VBBS allows you to view the contents of a compressed file
within the file transfer directories. The default VBBS comes
configured for .ZIP, .ARC, .ARJ, .ZOO, and .LZH archives; you
may add others if you wish by pressing [F1] at the initial scrol-
ling window and adding the information when prompted.
Note that in order to view the contents of an archive for-
mat, you must have the appropriate archive program where the sys-
tem can find it; including the full path to the program in the
command line is usually the best way to do this.


Text files from within various directories on your system
may be configured here for display. Types of text files commonly
configured here include (but are not limited to):

ù game scoreboards
ù general information about your BBS
ù standard operating procedures / rules for your BBS
ù information about viruses
ù rules of "netiquette"

and so on.
To add a new entry to the text section configuration,
press [F1] at the scrolling-window screen. You will be prompted
for the following information:

1) Name
The name of the text section, as it will appear to the

2) Path
The full pathname to the directory in which the text
file(s) is located.

3) Security Level
The MSL needed to access this particular text section.

4) Access Flag
The access flag needed to access this particular section
(please see "The User Editor" for more on access flags).

To edit an entry, move the highlight bar to the desired entry
and press [Enter]. You will have a chance to edit the above

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 38

In VCONFIG, you can define any directory on your system as
containing text for a defined subject area. Text directories may
be networked by using a script maintaining a database for text


Here you can configure the feedback capabilities of your
VBBS installation. This will allow users to E-mail you (or any
co-sysops) quickly and easily.
To add an entry into the multi-feedback list, press [F1]
at the scrolling-window screen. You will then be prompted for
the following information:

1) Description
The name/title you want your users to see, like "The Great
and Powerful Wizard of Oz", "Sysop", or whatever.

2) Handle
The addressee's user handle. If your system does not al-
low handles, put the addressee's real name here.

3) User #
The addressee's user number. For most sysops, this will
be '1'.

4) Net Address
The addressee's node number, regardless of network. For
example, my net address would read '2056', without a
user number or an '@' symbol in front. Since most feed-
back is to a local sysop/co-sysop, most sysops will only
need to enter their OWN node number here.

5) Network #
The network on which the addressee will be receiving his
feedback. The network number corresponds to the list in
the NETWORKS configuration screen; for example, '2' would
be on WWIVnet, '3' would be on WWIVLink, etc.

You may delete an entry by selecting it and pressing [D]. You
will NOT be prompted for confirmation.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 39


Pressing [G] at the VCONFIG main menu sends the registra-
tion form MAIL_REG.TXT to your printer. If you're setting up a
new installation, please take the time to print out a copy of the
form. It contains the latest pricing information, as well as
frequent "bonus deals" on registering, pricing information on the
Virtual Developer's Toolkit, etc.


This useful feature helps you look for problems in your
setup; with any luck, if you've followed the instructions this
far, you won't have any problems. If you DO receive an error
message upon running VBBS, chances are this program will point
out where the problem is.

ÉÍ» It's also a good idea to run the diagnostics if you've
Èͼ made any changes in the PATHS configuration, just to make
sure VBBS can find everything it needs to run properly.

If you get a "Path Missing" error, especially when the
diagnostics are checking the file transfer areas, the
most probable explanation is that the database has been
set up in VCONFIG, but the DOS directory for that data-
base does not exist yet. If this is the case, you need
to create that database's directory in DOS.

* * * * * * * * * *

That just about does it for VCONFIG. If your system is
like most, you'll find that you spend a lot of time using this
program -- adding new databases, changing various settings, and
whatnot. VCONFIG is one of the features that makes VBBS unique
among BBS softwares -- it presents the sysop with a multitude of
options with regard to BBS presentation and operation.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 40


When running VBBS, a RAM-resident VBBS.EXE controls the
program. It should be used as the ONLY means of starting VBBS,
as it transfers needed information into the program.

The basic syntax for bringing VBBS online is


where is a number from 0 to 4 (for the share-
ware version). For larger multi-line installations (after the
software is registered), it could be a number from 0 to as high
as 64.

Note that ALL single-node installations use the command line


and that the command line


specifies LOCAL MODE operation only, using the console keyboard
and bypassing WFC initialization.

Command line options include:

/DV Turns on "DesqView Awareness". When this option
is used, VBBS will multitask better under Desq-
view. When VBBS is idle (waiting for call or
while waiting for user input, for example) more
CPU time will be given to other tasks that may
be running on the system.
/AC Use this option when running VBBS as a door, or
from a matrix logon. It has VBBS maintain sepa-
rate user data (etc.) and maintains the doored
VBBS as an independent system.
/H Used with the /AC option, forces VBBS to hang up
when the user logs off.
/Bxxxxx Used with the /AC option, passes the baud rate
of the modem connection to VBBS.
/CHAIN Command for logging user to VBBS being run as a
door from inside another VBBS system, or any
BBS software using the CHAIN.TXT format (such
as WWIV). This option will use VBBS' user re-
cord and will NOT prompt the already-online user
to log on to the doored VBBS separately. BBS
softwares that do not produce CHAIN.TXT can
still use this option by using a door converter
to obtain the CHAIN.TXT format.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 41


Before You Log In the First Time

Before you do your first login to VBBS, there are a few
final checks you need to make:

1) Make sure the following files are available to VBBS via a
PATH= statement in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

LIST.COM (not needed immediately if you're using the
DOS command TYPE as described on p. 33, but
you ought to consider getting it)

For example, you might have these files in a directory on
your hard drive called BBSUTIL; the PATH= statement might


For more information on the PATH= statement, please refer to
your DOS documentation.

2) Make sure the device driver ANSI.SYS is loaded with the ap-
propriate statement in your CONFIG.SYS file:


This enables your computer to handle the ANSI displays VBBS
uses and generates. For more information on the DEVICE=
statement, please refer to your DOS documentation.

There are many alternative drivers available - particularly
ZANSI.SYS and NNANSI.SYS -- that handle ANSI graphics
MUCH faster than DOS' default ANSI.SYS. These programs
are available on BBSes all over the country.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 42

Logging In the First Time

By executing the statement


on a single-node installation, you will bring up VBBS in the WFC
[Waiting For Call] mode. This is the online control panel for
VBBS, and when you see this screen, the BBS is said to be in a
"waiting for call" state. Congratulations; you're now the proud
"parent" of a bouncing baby BBS! 🙂

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: From the WFC screen, you will see that the
[F] key does something called "Fast Local
Login"; DO NOT use this until you have
created the sysop account (see below)!

The reason you don't do a fast login is that your VBBS is new,
and your user information file (USERFILE.DAT) is empty; there
is no account there that a [F]ast local login can find as belon-
ging to the sysop.

Creating the Sysop Account

From the WFC screen, type [L] to do a local login. You
will see the LOGIN.MNU screen from the Virtual Technologies BBS
(the author's BBS); you will, of course, need to change this be-
fore bringing your own BBS online.
Immediately following the LOGIN.MNU screen will be the
login prompt. Type NEW (capitalization for clarity only; it's
not case-sensitive) to create the first entry in your user data
file. You will then see the file NEWUSER.TXT, followed by
prompts to fill in your user information.
Once you have finished entering this information, press
the F2 key; this will bring up the user editor. Once there,
type the following:

255 [Enter]
1440 [Enter]

This gives you a SL of 255 (sysop access) and a maximum time
per day of 1440 minutes (24 hours); while you likely won't ever
need to stay on the BBS the entire 24 hours, it's nice to have
the luxury.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 43

While you're in the user editor, you may also edit any
information there by pressing the letter of the appropriate
field and entering the correct information. Some sysops use
this opportunity to set all their access flags and such (so they
cannot be accidentally "locked out" of any section of the BBS);
see "The User Editor" for more information.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: If you encounter any program errors at this
point, it is likely that you have mistyped
a path in the Paths Configuration, moved a
file to the wrong directory, for forgotten
to compile any scripts you may be using.
Use the DIAGNOSTICS option in VCONFIG to
try to isolate any problems.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 44


VBBS uses a highly-informational WFC.COM screen. This
screen not only provides system statistics, the time, available
drive space, system status and the BBS name; it is also custom-
izable using any ANSI drawing program (such as TheDraw) that
saves screens in the .COM format.
Note that if your drive space on a given drive drops be-
low a certain percentage of its capacity, that line will change
color to let you know that you need to free up some space on
that drive.

Options available from the WFC screen include:

[F] Fast Login Local Fast login from the console (make
sure you establish the sysop ac-
count first!).
[L] Login Local Logs a user into the system from
the console (use this to estab-
lish the sysop account!).
[S] Shell to DOS Shells to DOS environment within
VBBS; type EXIT to return to the
[U] User Editor Allows editing of user information.
[V] VConfig Brings up the VCONFIG utility.
[I] System Info Displays information about your
[C] Today's Callers Lists callers since midnight.
[W] Who's Online Shows status of each COM port.
[/] Dial NET to Client Allows a forced NET callout to a
system listed in your remote con-
figuration (if any).
[N] Dial NET to Server Forces a network connect to your
server as defined in VCONFIG.
[E] E-Mail Allows you to write E-mail to both
local and network addresses from
the WFC screen.
[M] Feedback Allows you to check the sysop
mailbox from WFC.
[Scr Lock] Sysop Avail. Toggles sysop page on/off; may
also be set in VCONFIG to be
the [A] key.
[Esc] Exit BBS Quit VBBS and return to DOS.

[F1] through [F10] Calls up the functions you have
defined for function keys in
VCONFIG; if you haven't set them
up, don't worry about it yet

ÉÍ» The WFC screen is set up so that most of the sysop's rou-
Èͼ tine chores may be handled without ever loggin on to the
BBS. This, coupled with efficient configuration of the
through keys, can be a real time-saver. It's

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 45

worth the time spent in initial setup to have access to
everything you need from WFC.


When a user logs on as NEW on your system, he or she is
first presented with the NEWUSER.TXT file (which you definitely
should create before opening your BBS to the public) stored in
the \TXT directory defined in your PATHS Configuration. The
NEWUSER.TXT file should provide enough information to get new
users started; it may also include anything else you wish.
If you configured a "New User Password" in VCONFIG, the
new user will be asked to provide the password before the system
allows him or her to continue (for most "public-access" BBSs,
this is generally not done).
At the end of the NEWUSER.TXT screen, the new user is
prompted to provide some basic information about himself or her-
self. Depending on whether or not your system allows "aliases"
or "handles", the user will be prompted to provide a "handle" or
real name to use on the board. VBBS checks what the user types
in against other entries in the USERFILE.DAT to make sure that
duplicate names are not used.

ÉÍ» If there are handles or names that you would prefer not
Èͼ to allow on your system, you may include them in a text
file called TRASHCAN.TXT in your \TXT directory. This
file is created using an ASCII text editor and has one
handle/name/word per line. Most sysops use this to pre-
vent users from having profanities as handles.

As the signup continues, the user is prompted for his ad-
dress, voice and data phone numbers, birthdate, password, and
other information pertaining to default settings used on the BBS.
The information provided goes into the USERFILE.DAT file.
If you have chosen to allow auto-validation of visiting
sysops, VBBS will aske the user if he or she is a sysop. If
the user answers "yes", he or she will be prompted for informa-
tion concerning his or her BBS and will then be given the SL
and time you have defined for visiting sysops in VCONFIG.

ÉÍ» Again, there have been instances in which a user has
Èͼ given false information in order to gain sysop access
to a BBS; use caution when allowing auto-validation.

If you have configured "yes" for automatic call-back
verification, VBBS will prompt the user (according to the area
code and prefix criteria you have established) to prepare to
receive an incoming call from your board, at which point VBBS
hangs up, calls the data phone number left by the user, and
confirms its authenticity by prompting the user answering the
callback to provide the password for the new account (see "The
Call-back Verifier" for more information).

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 46

New users are assigned the SL and time allowed on the
system according to what you have set up in VCONFIG.

New User Feedback and Validation

Generally, you do not want to give a new user too high
an access level to your system until you are sure the informa-
tion provided you is accurate. It is often desirable to have
a new user leave a short introduction of himself or herself in
addition to the information given in the basic signup process.
To have the system prompt for such "new-user feedback",
set the appropriate option in VCONFIG "on" and edit the file
LEAVEFB.TXT in your \TXT directory to ask for the sorts of in-
formation you'd like to have (of course, you don't want to get
TOO personal here, because that tends to catch new users off-

ÉÍ» It should be noted that a new user may choose to abort
Èͼ the feedback letter and go straight into the system
without leaving any message to the sysop. There are
several ways of combatting this rudeness:

1) Using an ASCII text editor, create a file in your
\TXT directory called NEWUMAIL.TXT. It should in-
clude some basic information about your system and
its standard operating procedures (but should not
be too long). It will appear as a message from the
sysop in the new user's mailbox. If the new user
reads the NEWUMAIL.TXT file, the system will send
you "oneliner" indicating that the message was read;
sometimes, this is the only way a sysop knows a new
user has logged on, short of doing a complete user
listing. If the user chooses to not read this
E-mail, no "oneliner" is delivered.

2) Should you happen to notice that a new user has
signed up but has not left you any message announ-
cing his presence, send him an E-mail, asking if
there was any particular reason the feedback was
aborted. Many users are somewhat embarrassed to
draw this kind of "negative attention" to themselves
and will promptly reply the next time they log on.
They may not leave the information you requested in
LEAVEFB.TXT, but that's another story ...

3) Simply ignore the new account until you receive
feedback from the user. If new users have only
limited access to your system, the offending user
will either tire of logging on and not being able
to do anything (and then send feedback), or will
simply not call any more. This is, of course,
combatting rudeness with rudeness, and is one way
your BBS can earn a bad reputation among users

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 47

(word-of-mouth is still a powerful positive or nega-
tive advertising tool, even among BBS users).

4) Install one of the various script modifications avail-
able that will truly FORCE the new user to leave feed-
back or have the account deleted. These may, of
course, be edited (with an ASCII editor) to convey
exactly the tone you wish, and while it may seem a
"brute-force" method of getting the information you
ask for, it IS effective.

If the new user DOES leave feedback (or even a regular
E-mail), the sysop need only hit [V] from the E-mail submenu and
then enter the user's account in the user editor. Once there,
the sysop can assign the user an appropriate security level and
time allowed on the system, set any access flags/ratio exemp-
tions/other variables as needed.

There are MANY options as to how you present your BBS to
new users, even without the use of scripts and/or source-code
modifications. Your login screen(s), LEAVEFB.TXT, NEWUMAIL.TXT,
and other informational screens make that all-important first
impression. First-time callers, and ESPECIALLY new BBSers, ap-
preciate friendliness and courtesy from the sysop, and USUALLY
respond in kind (of course, if you're running a "bash board"
and they EXPECT abuse on the first call ...). 🙂


One of the most important things a new user (including a
new sysop) should do is set his or her defaults. Pressing [D] at
the Main Menu brings up a list of settings, which are described
below. New users are shown their default after registration also.

1) Video Mode The user may choose ASCII, ANSI, or En-
hanced ANSI (which enables pull-down
menus) as the default. If a user wishes
to use Enhanced ANSI, he or she MUST
select it here; otherwise, ANSI auto-de-
tection determines default.
2) Expert Toggle Expert mode disables the menu-at-every-
prompt mode.
3) Page Breaks Number of lines per page. A setting of
0 produces continuous screen scrolling;
24 is default.
4) Password Change password, if desired.
5) Autoposts Toggles Autopost display at login.
6) Ctrl-A User Macro User may create up to 2 macros, each con-
7) Ctrl-B User Macro taining up to 79 characters (including
ANSI control characters).
8) ANSI Color Setup User may customize screen colors to suit
to suit personal tastes.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 48

9) Full Screen Editor Toggles between the full-screen editor
(FSE) and a line editor; ASCII users get
the line editor.
A) Mailbox Forward E-mail to another user or network
system, if desired.
B) Security Displays a list of things the user has a
high enough SL to do.
C) Long Distance Cost Allows user to keep track of LD usage and
billing by defining cost per minute and
knowing the billing cycle.
D) Sort File Lists Toggles between alphabetically- and nu-
merically-sorted file listings.
E) User Time Bank User may deposit unused time for later
withdrawal. Maximum time is set in
VCONFIG (q.v.).
F) File List Display Toggles between single- and double-line
file listing.
Q) Quit Saves changes and quits to Main Menu.

The sysop should encourage new users to take time to set
their defaults early on; ANSI users should be encouraged to use
the full-screen editor for its superior cursor control and edi-
ting features.


The user editor allows the sysop to view and edit users'
information, validate and/or delete users. The user information
is divided into several fields, each of which is described below.

User Number User's account number.
a) User Handle User's handle (if used/allowed).
b) User Real Name User's real name.
c) Address Street or P.O. box address
d) City
e) State
f) Zip
g) Security Level User's SL; acceptable values are 1-255
(255 is sysop access); new-user SLs are
set in VCONFIG.
h) Access Flags Flags used for specific database access,
given as a letter A-Z. Certain data-
bases (such as sysops-only databases)
may be given an access flag; only those
users with the corresponding flag in
this field may access those databases.
The sysop should toggle all of these
flags ON for his or her account by
pressing [H] and typing the alphabet;
this ensures that he or she cannot
accidentally be locked out of any

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 49

i) Flags General flags used outside of databases,
given as a letter A-Z. VBBS currently
uses four flags "out of the package":

A -- Login autoposts on/off
F -- If set, user uses full-screen
N -- User has received new-user
X -- Menus in expert mode

Flags may be set or reset manually in
the user editor, or via scripts.
j) Password User's password.
k) Phone 1 User's voice phone number.
l) Phone 2 User's data phone number
m) MaxTime Maximum time allowed on per day.
n) Credits User's credit total (see VSCRIPT.DOC for
more information).
o) Verify Birthday User's birthday. If toggled, will ask
user to re-enter birthday at login.
p) Ratio Exempt? Allows you to exempt the user from up-
load/download ratio (if any).
q) U/L Files/kilobytes uploaded.
r) D/L Files/kilobytes downloaded.

Ex1 - Ex8 User's $extra variables 1 through 8 (see
VSCRIPT.DOC for more information).
Page User's default page length.
Vid User's default video mode.
Calls Number of calls to your BBS the user has
made to date.
Time Total time the user has spent on your BBS
to date.
Last The date the user last called your BBS.
Posts Number of public posts the user has left
to date.
Email Number of E-mails the user has sent to

You may edit the information in fields a) through r) and
Ex1 through Ex8; the rest is pretty much "read-only" user-selec-
ted defaults or record-keeping information.

There are several commands to help the sysop get around
in the user editor:

[/] Prompts for a user number, handle, or real name
and searches on the information given. In case
of duplicate information (e.g., two users with
the first name "Mike"), it will ask if the user
shown is the correct one.
[Enter] Move to next record.
[-] Move to previous record.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 50

[!] Delete user's account. Sets SL to 0 and opens
the account number for reassignment. If you
open several slots, a new user will be given
the lowest-numbered slot available; the user
list is NOT "packed" (renumbered) after dele-
[Esc] Quit to sysop menu or WFC, whichever the editor
was invoked from.

The user editor is a powerful tool for managing your
user base -- spotting bogus accounts, changing users' access
to various areas of the BBS, verifying information, and so on.
There are several utilities available that make use of the in-
formation stored in USERFILE.DAT; see "Virtual Tools" for more


When a user is online, the [F1] through [F10] keys func-
tion differently from the way they do at the WFC screen. The
list of functions available when a user is online is given be-

[F1] Enter/exit Chat mode.
[Shift-F1] Enter split-screen Chat mode; [Esc] exits.
[F2] Call up user editor; user sees a prompt
on his or her screen. By exiting the [F2] user
editor as another user, the sysop can "change
into" that user.
[F3] Add 1 minute to the user's session.
[Shift-F3] Subtract 1 minute from the user's session.
[F4] Increase user's SL by 5.
[Shift-F4] Decrease user's SL by 5. It should be noted that
the [F4] and [Shift-F4] changes appear to be
permanent; if you wish to give a user a higher
SL temporarily, your best bet would be to go
into the user editor using the [F2] key.
[F5] Drop to DOS (VBBS stays in memory).
[Shift-F5] Drop to DOS (VBBS shrinks out as per a door pro-
[F6] Pseudo-DOS multitasker; allows sysop to run small
DOS commands from the console while the user is
online and using the BBS. One of the most un-
derrated features of VBBS.
[F8] Sysop alert; sets the computer to beep when the
current user online logs off.
[F9] Invoke the "Download Any File" convenience fea-
[F10] Boot user off the system, "cold".
[Ctrl-F10] Display STORM.TXT (found in the \TXT directory),
warning of inclement weather conditions, THEN

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 51

boot the user off the system.
[Shift-F10] Spurt some simulated "line noise" at the user,
and boot him or her off the system. Makes the
user think a bad connection terminated the ses-

* * * * * * * * *

That just about does it for the "introductory" section of
the VBBS documentation. The next section deals with the various
functions and features of VBBS, sort of a "Now that I've got this
BBS, what do I do with it?" section. There's a LOT you can do
with it!
If you're reading through the docs before starting on the
"grand adventure", good for you! But this WOULD be a good place
to stop and take a break ...

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 52


VBBS could easily be distributed with a blank menu -- in-
stead, a default menu and function-block set, reflecting the con-
figuration of the software on the author's BBS, is included in
the original archive. You are, of course, free to modify the
menus and function blocks to your BBS' personality and your in-
dividual tastes; see "Customizing VBBS" for more information on
that subject.

The default Main Menu contains five basic sections, the
commands for which are listed below:

L) List Bases M) Mailbox Scan
P) Post Message Y) Read Mail You've Sent
N) New Message Scan E) Write E-mail
R) Read Sequential F) Feedback to the Sysop
S) Scan Brief Q) Multimail
J) Join/Ignore Bases
>) Next Base
<) Previous Base
#) Change to Base #
$) Change Topic Area

T) File Transfers K) Today's Callers
B) Bulletins/Textfiles U) User Listing
S) System Info I) System Info
V) Voting Booth C) Page Sysop
D) Defaults W) Who's Online
O) On-Line Programs Z) Multiuser Teleconference
A) Autoposts X) Network Info
!) QWK Functions *) Sysop Menu (255 SL only)
G) Logoff

M) Read All Mail
E) Edit File
U) User Editor
S) Security
C) Force Cleanup
V) Validate Posts
Q) Quit

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 53


The default VBBS setup places all communications functions
in the Main Menu. As stated earlier, separate menu displays for
messaging and/or E-mail (for instance) may easily be customized
to present whatever type of interface the sysop wishes. Again,
see "Customizing VBBS" for more information.

Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Messaging

[L] List Messages Lists message bases in current
topic area, then prompts user
to enter a sub, change topics,
or quit.
[P] Post Message Post a message in the current
message base.
[N] New Message Scan Allows user to scan all new mes-
sages in configured bases.
[R] Read Sequential Read messages in current base se-
[S] Scan Brief Scans posts in current base in
groups of 10, showing the mes-
sage number, author, and subject.
[J] Join/Ignore Bases Allows users to set up bases to
ignore or mark for scanning.
[>] Next Base Move to the next message base in
sequence; also activated by [+].
Note that a user moving through
three consecutive bases using
[+] may actually activate his or
her modem's hangup string.
[<] Previous Base Move to previous base; also acti-
vated by [-].
[#] Change to Base # Change to a particular message
base by entering its number.
[$] Change Topic Lists available topic areas, then
asks user which one to go to.


Topic areas are used by VBBS to join databases together
into more manageable groups for sysops and users. Both message
databases and file databases can be linked together into
Database Topic Groups. By running VCONFIG and choosing option
3. Database Configuration, you will see the following menu:

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 54

³ Message Bases ³
³ File Directories ³
³ Custom Databases ³
³ Sort Configuration ³
³ Compile Network Info ³

VBBS comes preconfigured with three main Database Topic Groups
already set up: Message Bases, Files Directories, and Custom
Databases. Topic Groups are identified by using a letter, A-Z.
Thus, letter A is already used for the Message Bases, letter F is
used for File Directories, and letter O was designated for the
Custom Databases. Thus, 23 letters are available after VBBS
is installed for the sysop to use for adding other Database
Topic Groups. These letters are called DBGroup Identifiers.

Adding Topics for Message Bases
To add another Topic Group to be used for messages, simply
highlight Message Bases on the Type menu above, and press the
Return key. You will then see the following menu:

³ A - Main ³
³ ³
³ ³
À[]Ä[] [Enter]=Select [F1]=SubMenu [Esc]=QuitÙ

Pressing F1 will bring up the SubMenu:

³ Add New Database Group ³
³ Delete Database Group ³
³ Edit Topic Name ³

Highlighting "Add New Database Group" here will prompt you for
a topic letter. Choose an unused letter from A-Z, enter the
name of the Database Topic Group you would like users to see,
and press Return.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Be sure to use a unique letter for each
topic group you add since inadvertently
reusing a letter will cause the existing
databases to be linked to the new topic
you have created, as well as the existing

To add message bases to the new Topic Group you have created,
simply choose the new topic letter now listed on the Select
Group menu and add normally as outlined in the "Configuring
and Editing Databases in VCONFIG" section of this manual.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 55

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Be aware that each Database Topic Group
set up may contain a maximum of 100
databases. Each database itself may hold
up to 32000 entries.

Creating Topics for File Directories
To add new topics for use by file directories, the same
procedure is followed, except that on the Type menu above,
you must select File Directories.

ÉÍ» Before setting up new topic areas, try
Èͼ to plan ahead and divide the existing
letters between message areas and
file areas. Since the letters are shared
between both types, a little planning
will save you some reshuffling later on.

Similar to the above, Custom Databases may also be set up. These
are treated as message type databases in formatting and are
used mainly in conjuction with specialized scripts to add, for
example, a quote of the day, random logoff screens, etc.

Deleting Topics
To delete Database Topic Groups, again the F1 Sub-Menu allows
for this; however, you should delete each individual database
first if it is no longer desired.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Deleting a Database Topic Group does not
automatically delete the databases which
belong to it.

Moving Databases to Different Topic Areas
Once databases are created within a Database Topic Group, it is
possible to easily move them to a different existing topic area.
This is accomplished by editing the information for the database
entry itself. Option Z) DB Group: in each database can be
changed at any time to change a database to another topic.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: After adding, deleting, or moving any
Database Topic Groups, you must run the
Sort Configuration and Compile Network
Info options on the Type menu for any of
the changes to take effect.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 56

VFSE Full-Screen Editor

VBBS comes with both a standard line editor and a powerful
built-in full-screen editor. The full-screen editor features 36
text color choices which are enabled by hitting [Ctrl-P], then a
number from 0 to 9 or a letter from A to Z. [Ctrl-P] followed by
a question mark will display a list of color choices. Other con-
trol-key options exist for various other functions including cur-
sor movement, line feeds, line and character deletes, cut-and-
paste, etc. These commands may be found in the editor help-file
by pressing [Ctrl-Z].
On the top line above the workspace, the user is shown
the message or E-mail title, the current line number, and the
insert/overwrite status. The editor starts in OVR (overwrite)
mode and can easily be toggled to INS (insert) mode by using
either the Insert key or [Ctrl-O].
The VFSE allows user to upload previously-prepared text
at any time. Pressing the slash [/] key and supplying a file
name at the prompt inserts the prepared text into the workspace.
This is a neat and efficient way for the sysop to create or edit
.MNU-type menus, system taglines (see "System Taglines" for more
information), bulletins, or whatever.
The full-screen editor is an ANSI-based editor; users who
have their ANSI preference enabled should be encouraged to use
the FSE for its superior features.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 57

Message Quoting

VBBS features advanced message quoting in messages and in
E-mail. Users who reply to posts or E-mail are asked whether
they wish to quote from the post or E-mail to which they're re-
plying. If the user chooses "yes", then a special screen will
appear, allowing him or her to choose which lines are to be quo-
ted in the reply. The user is prompted at each line of the mes-
sage whether to

[A]dd that line into the quote workspace,
[S]kip that line and advance to the next, jump to the
[N]ext portion of the original message,
[R]estart the quoting process (useful in case of an
accidental skipped line), or
[Q]uit from the quote workspace altogether.

There is a 20-line limit on the amount of previous text that may
be quoted; upon reaching the 20th line, the quoter automatically
returns the user to the editor workspace. The quoted lines are
prefaced with a bright green ">" symbol.

ÉÍ» There is a definite "art" to effective quoting. Beginners
Èͼ sometimes quote more of the original message than is ne-
cessary, but this decreases with practice, especially in
networked message bases. Note that quoted lines may be
edited to remove extraneous words or phrases; this can
help the quoter "zero in" on the essence of the quote.

Message Threading

In addition to quoting, message "threading" exists in all
message bases. This allows the user to search for the original
message in a "thread" (line of discussion) and all replies to
that message. It should be noted that the threader searches on
the title field of the message; if the title has been changed by
someone replying to the message, the threader will not pick it
up as a reply.

ÉÍ» In order to facilitate threading on network subs, users
Èͼ and sysops are being encouraged to make titles as descrip-
tive of the contents as possible; one- or two-word titles
like "YO!", "Hmmm...", "Why don't...", and the like are
being discouraged. Users replying within the context of
a particular message thread should not change the working
title if they want it to be included in a thread; if they
are digressing, changing the subject, or starting a new
thread, they should come up with a new title.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 58

Message Search

VBBS messages may be searched in two ways. Pressing [S]
from the message submenu prompt will display the next 10 messages
in sequence. Following that, pressing [R] will bring up a
"search" prompt that allows the user to search the message data-
base by title.

ÉÍ» The [S]can feature is one of the most useful tools a sysop
Èͼ has, especially if her board carries a lot of active net-
worked message bases. Scanning titles takes MUCH less
time than reading EVERY message; this is another argument
in favor of descriptive message titles.

Message Sub Validation

Each message base may be assigned a "requires validation"
status from within the DATABASE Configuration of VCONFIG. This
is to allow the sysop a degree of control over what goes out
onto a network from his system. Some network subs require net
validation to be set to "on"; when subscribing to a "secured"
sub, the subscribing sysop should inquire about this.

ÉÍ» One caveat about message sub validation: sysops some-
Èͼ times forget to validate the messages, resulting in a
pileup of messages, especially on active subs.

Message Sub Moderators

Moderators, sub-ops, and co-sysops can be very useful for
any BBS. In local messaging areas, sub-ops can be invaluable as
discussion leaders, often causing a far greater user participa-
tion in subs than if those subs were without a moderator. As
mentioned above, some network subs require net validation, and
often a sysop may not have the time each day to validate the
messages in those subs. In that case, a sub-op can be very use-
ful in performing those duties for the sysop.

To designate a user as moderator for a particular sub,
go into VCONFIG and enter his or her user number in the "Data-
base Co-sysop" field for that sub.

Messaging Sub-Menu

While reading messages, a user has several options that
are presented at each message prompt. These are hard-coded into
VBBS, so altering them requires a source-code modification.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 59

[Enter] Next Message Read the next message.
[R] Reply to Message Post a public reply to the cur-
rent message.
[A] Read Message Again Re-read the current message.
[D] Delete Message Delete the current message.
[###] Jump to Number ### Entering a number will take you
to that message number.
[S] Scan Next 10 Mes- Show the titles of the next 10
sages messages. This is a very use-
ful feature, especially on ac-
tive message bases.
[B] Bypass Sub (Quick If you're doing a quick-scan, [N]
Scan) from the main menu, this will
move you to the next sub with-
out having to read all the mes-
sages in the current sub. If
you find yourself using this
option a lot, you might consider
using the [J]oin/Ignore Bases
command to configure your new-
message scan.
[E] Send E-mail Reply Send a private E-mail to the au-
thor of the current message.
His/her network address is in
the message header.
[Q] Quit Reading Mes- Returns to the Communications
sages Menu.
[+] Thread Forward Search for replies to current
message (if any). Quite use-
ful in eliminating redundant
replies; if someone's asking
a question, use this to check
to see whether someone else
has already answered it to
your satisfaction.
[-] Thread Backward Search for the original post that
prompted the reply you're rea-
ding now (if any).

[X] Extract Text Allows sysop to extract the text
of a message for later reading
or printing. Sysop is prompted
for a filename (.PST is a good
extension to use, as it won't
be confused with .TXT files).
Sysops beware: liberal use of
this function can greatly bloat
your Main VBBS directory! 🙂
[M] Move Message Moves message to a different sub.
Useful for combatting off-topic
posts, or for bringing in rele-
vant posts from other subs.
[P] Toggle Permanent Toggles current message between
permanent/non-permanent. This

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 60

is quite useful in making the
first message of a sub a "sub
rules/policies" post.

A word on message threading: if a thread-search fails to find an
original or a reply, it doesn't mean there ISN'T one; the thread
function searches by TITLE. If someone has entered a related
message under a different title, it will not show up as relating
to the current thread.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 61


E-mail is the "private" version of messaging, and many of
the functions within E-mail are very similar to their messaging
The VBBS mail functions are quite powerful. When a user
logs onto your system, VBBS will do a mailbox scan. If the user
has new mail waiting, he or she will be informed of the new mail
and prompted to access the mailbox at that time. The VBBS E-mail
prompt offers choices to present a queue of new and unread mail,
ALL mail, or to search for mail from a specific user by name or
partial name. Users may also access mail that has been sent and
not yet read by a local addressee, or not yet bundled into an
outgoing network packet for a network addressee.
VBBS also offers the sysop a means for dealing with users
who abuse E-mail privileges; all it requires is dropping the
guilty user's SL below the minimum required to be able to send

Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- E-Mail

[M] Mailbox Scan Manually check mailbox for mail -- new,
ALL, or by author search
[Y] Mail You've Sent Check mail you've sent BEFORE you log off;
once you log off, network mail is bundled
into the outgoing net packet. If the re-
cipient is local and has not read it, you
may still access it.
[E] Write E-Mail Write an E-mail to another user, network
or local.
[F] Feedback to Automatically directs mail to the sysop.
[G] Multi-Mail Users with an appropriate SL may store up
to 9 separate "mailing lists" which may
include an unlimited number of local,
VirtualNET, and/or WWIVNet/WWIVLink ad-
dresses. It is important that respon-
sible network usage of this feature is

Addressing E-mail

VBBS has several methods of addressing E-mail; even if
you're not sure of the recipient's name, handle, or user number,
there's usually a way to get E-mail to him/her.

1) If you're E-mailing a local user, you may send the mail to
the user's handle, or user number. If you're not sure of any
of this, you can type in a partial name; VBBS will prompt you

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 62

for additional information. If, for example, you were logged
onto VirtualNET node @6160 and wanted to E-mail "John Some-
thing-or-other", you could type in JOHN as the addressee; VBBS
would prompt back

John Bok (John Bok) User #1? (Yes/No/Enter=Yes)

If the name rang a bell, you could simply press [Enter] and
the E-mail process would be underway. If not, and there were
any other users with the handle "John ______", you'd be
prompted for each one until you either got the right one or
ran out of users.

Note that it DOES make a difference if the board you're on
allows handles; if you type in a user's real name and that
user uses an alias, you WON'T be prompted for the correct

2) If you're E-mailing over VirtualNET, you may address your
E-mail to any user on any VirtualNET system, either by name
or by user number. If, for example, you were E-mailing
"The Mighty Quinn" at VirtualNET node @2057, but weren't sure
of his user number on that system, you could address the
mail to "The Mighty Quinn @2057", and it would get there.
You could also mail "1 @2057" with equal success.

Note that if the addressee doesn't have an account on the
system you sent the mail to, it's lost; there's no way for
you as a user to re-route the mail to its proper recipient.
There IS a provision for mail forwarding -- that will be
discussed shortly.


Whenever an E-mail is received by the addressee (local or
network), the user that sent the mail receives a one-line "return
receipt" that informs the sender that his/her E-mail was read and
when it was read. Oneliners are also sent to inform a user who
has uploaded a file that the file has been downloaded by another
user (local and network).
On multi-user installations, if a user has written E-mail
to another user who is on the system at the same time, that user
will receive a real-time oneliner informing him/her that E-mail
has just been sent to his/her mailbox. If the user sending the
E-mail was unaware that the other user was online, VBBS will in-
form him/her that the addressee was online and a oneliner has
been sent.

Prepared Text Uploading

As in the messaging functions, the VBBS full-screen edi-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 63

tor [VFSE] will allow the insertion of prepared text through up-
loading. To upload text remotely, press "/U" or "[Esc][Esc] U"
after positioning the cursor at the desired insertion point with-
in the E-mail or post.
Local uploads are simply pathed to the directory and file
you would like to include.

Attached Files to E-Mail

VBBS features a unique ability to attach a file to an
E-mail. The sysop may choose to make this feature available to
users by defining its minimum security level in VCONFIG. If a
user has been given an appropriate security level, VBBS will ask
whether he/she would like to attach a file to the current mail
before saving. If the user selects "yes", then the upload prompt
appears and the user may attach a file of any size.

ÉÍ» This feature works across VirtualNET, as well; currently,
Èͼ the generally accepted size limit for network attached
files is around 30K. Anything larger than that definitely
nitely raises a few eyebrows on the systems through which
the E-mail must pass, and may even be stopped in transit.

When an attached file is "received" by a user in E-mail,
the existence of the file is shown at the bottom of the message
header giving the name of the file and file size; the user is
prompted to press [T] to transfer (download) the file from the
The local sysop may attach a file from anywhere on the
system by simply providing the path and filename at the prompt
after choosing "yes".

E-Mail Forwarding

According to security level, a user may forward a piece
of mail he or she has either sent or received to another user.
Mail forwarding may be done both locally and through any net-
work in which the BBS participates. If a piece of mail is mis-
directed to the correct system but the wrong user, the sysop
(or the user himself, if allowed) may forward the mail to the
correct user, if the correct address is known.

Carbon Copies

According to SL, a user may send carbon copies (CC:s) of
an unsaved E-mail to other users, both locally and across the
network. When that E-mail is received by each CC:d user, it
shows each network address that received a carbon-copy.
If the sysop allows users carbon copies but not multi-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 64

mail functions (see below), this feature may be used as a "poor
man's multi-mail"; the primary difference is that the mailing
list for carbon copies is not saveable.

Multi-Mail and Mailing Lists

According to SL (and generally restricted to higher se-
curity levels), a user can maintain up to 9 separate "mailing
lists", which can include an unlimited number of entries, both
local and on any networks in which the BBS participates.
This feature can be quite useful if you're involved in
a project involving many users, such as an online role-playing
game, political activity, or writers' roundtable; once again,
the importance of responsible use of this feature CANNOT be
overstated. Using multi-mail for networked "junk mail" will
be brought to the Network Coordinator's attention; he will take
whatever action he deems appropriate.

Account Forwarding

If you have a network address that you write to regularly,
you might decide to create a local account for that user and then
configure that user's mailbox (in [D]efaults) to forward mail
sent to it to the proper network address. That way, you can use
"Mike" or "24" (or whatever the local ID is) in place of entering
the whole network address each time you initiate E-mail.

Automatic New-User E-Mail

Each time a new user logs onto your system, VBBS sends him
a "welcome" E-mail that automatically appears in his mailbox.
The name of this file is NEWUMAIL.TXT, and it should be placed
in your \TXT directory. You may edit this file according to your

Form Letters

Form letters can be used anywhere you are sending mail --
from feedback, from regular E-mail, from replying to E-mail,
and also from multi-mail.
When prompted for the title, the sysop enters "\" (a back-
slash, without the quotes), followed by a number from 1 to 99.
An example would be


In the above example, VBBS would then look for a file named

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 65

FORM.31 in your \TXT directory. The real message title is pul-
led from the first line of the file; the rest of the file becomes
the message text. It should be noted that the filename should
NOT have any leading zeroes in the extension (e.g., FORM.4 is
okay, but FORM.004 is not); this is similar to the filename ex-
tension rule for taglines (see "System Taglines" for details).
When you've given the form letter a filename, follow the
prompts for attached file and CC:s, and it is saved. Quick,
clean, and a minimum of keystrokes.

VBBS DIRECTmail Interface

Using the VBBS DIRECTmail interface, any VBBS sysop may
send E-mail, with or without attached file, to another VBBS
sysop. When you want to use this feature, select [D]IRECTmail
at the E-mail prompt; then enter the full data-line number of
the system you wish to send mail to. You will get an "Unknown
System" message back; ignore it and go on with the process (this
should be remedied in future versions of VBBS).
Once you've written the DIRECTmail, drop to WFC and use
the [N] command to force a callout to that system; if the line
is busy, VBBS will retry as many times as you have specified in

The beauty of this system is that when the other system
answers, your computer sends the DIRECTmail and hangs up imme-
diately. Again, it's quick and clean.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: To use DIRECTmail, BOTH sysops must have
this feature enabled in VCONFIG.

E-Mail Sub-Menu

Below is the hard-coded E-mail sub-menu; again, altering
this menu requires a source-code modification.

[Enter] Next E-Mail Advances to next E-mail in the
[R] Reply to E-Mail Reply to the E-mail you're cur-
rently reading.
[A] Re-Read E-Mail Redisplays the current E-mail.
[D] Delete E-Mail Delete the current E-mail. It's
a good idea to encourage users
to delete their E-mail once
they've read and/or replied to
it, because old E-mail DOES
take up hard-drive space.
[Q] Quit Reading E-mail Quits to communications menu.
[T] Download Attached If a file is attached, this will
File allow the remote user to down-
load the attached file.
VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 66

[###] Read Mail Number ### Jump to E-mail number entered.


[X] Extract Text Allows sysop to save message as a
text file. Again, it's a good
idea to NOT use the .TXT exten-
sion on E-mail.
[F] Forward Forward E-mail to another user,
either locally or across any
networks in which the BBS par-
[V] Validate User Jumps to the author's account in-
ormation in the user editor.
Useful when reading new-user

Just a few parting words about E-mail -- sysops should
encourage their users to take advantage of this feature of VBBS
(or any networked BBS system, for that matter), especially if
the BBS does not charge for its services. The communications
potential here is enormous but, sadly, is one of the most under-
utilized features of BBS software.

ÉÍ» Another important use of E-mail that is seldom addressed
Èͼ in reference manuals (until now) is in resolving "flame
wars". On occasion, discussions in local and networked
message bases will deteriorate into name-calling and
"bashing"; on such occasions, the issue is best resolved
in E-mail, rather than on public message bases. Please
encourage your users to not engage in flaming, and if
they happen to become involved in a flame war, please
instruct them to take it into E-mail, rather than con-
tinuing to spew vitriolic garbage across the network,
where it can have detrimental effects on the message subs
(these are strong words, but having seen the effects of
flaming on more than one message base, I wanted to get
your attention).

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 67


Transferring program and data files over phone lines was
one of the original reasons for the invention of modems, transfer
protocols, and BBS softwares; to this day, it remains one of the
most popular functions of BBSs.
As a sysop, the number of files (if any) you have avail-
able for download and their content is your decision and your re-
sponsibility. Some BBSs have huge transfer sections with thou-
sands of files online; others have only a few (or even NO) files
available for download. Most boards, however, fall somewhere in
the middle of the range, with a few dozen to a few hundred files
in their transfer sections.
If you prefer to keep your transfer section small, you
might consider carrying anti-virus software (your users will ap-
preciate you for it), a communications program or two, and sev-
eral general utilities. If you want a "mondo" file section, the
sky's the limit; there are, however, a few general statements
that are in order here:

1) Having commercial programs, such as Lotus 1-2-3 or Word-
Perfect, available for download is ILLEGAL. BBS operators
are responsible/liable for the content of the files they
offer to the public, and several sysops have been arrested
for running "pirate boards" offering commercial software.

2) Adult-oriented files should NOT be made available to users
under the age of 18; the potential legal hassles over the
distribution of pornography to minors simply isn't worth

3) Practice "safe computing". Use a virus-scan program on
each file that you offer for download and on each file
that is uploaded to you. If a user gets a virused program
from your BBS, word WILL get around, and it may cost you
several users.

Transfer Menu Commands and What They Do

Below is a listing of the commands available from the
Transfer Menu, which is accessed by pressing [T] at the Main
Menu (in the default setup).

[C] Change Directory Displays a list of directories in
the current topic area and asks
the user which one to change to.
[$] Change Topic Area Displays a list of available topic
areas; also allows user to view
an index of the file section, if

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 68

[L] List Files *.* Lists all files in the current
[S] Search All Dirs Searches for filenames based on
the mask entered by the user.
If no mask is specified, this
will display ALL files in ALL
[D] Download Files Download one or more files.
[R] Review Files Browse file information in cur-
rent directory, in a manner
similar to reading messages.
[N] New Files Scan Scans for files that have been
added since the user's last
[U] Upload Files Prompts user for files to upload.
[B] Batch Functions Used to mark and then download
multiple files.
[Y] Your Transfer Stats Displays user's KB uploaded, KB
downloaded, and ratio (even if
ratios are not enabled on your
[P] Popular Downloads Searches current topic area and
compiles a list of the most
frequently downloaded files.
[J] Set New File Scan Allows user to configure new-files
scan to show new files received
during last x number of days.
[K] Default File Dir Directory user defaults to (#1 if
not set).
[F] Find Description Finds file through keyword sear-
ches in file descriptions.
[>] Next Directory Also activated by [+]; advances
one directory in current topic
[<] Previous Directory Also activated by [-]; reverses
to previous directory.
[#] Change to Dir # Entering a directory number will
take you to that directory.
[M] Download Master List Compiles a master list of files
available for download; the list
is deleted after download.
[Q] Quit to Main Exits to Main Menu.
[G] Goodbye/Log Off Exit BBS.


[X] Sysop Directory Allows sysop to review new addi-
tions to the upload directory.
[Z] Local Upload Uploads files from the sysop di-
rectory to their proper down-
load directories.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 69

Setting Up Topic Areas

As with message bases, file databases may be broken down
into topic areas. Typical topic-area arrangements for the file
section might look like this:

L -- Utilities T -- Windows Programs
M -- Games V -- DOS Programs
N -- Applications K -- OS/2 Programs
O -- Communications Y -- Untried/untested uploads

Of course, the letters you use for topic areas are up to you;
it wouldn't be difficult to come up with a different arrangement
for the topic areas, either ... but you get the idea. Under the
"DOS Programs" area mentioned above, you might have the databases
broken down like this:

1 Utilities
2 Graphics Games
3 Text Games
4 Word Processors/Text Editors
5 Programmers' Tools
6 Term Programs & Protocols

Again, the arrangement/breakdown is entirely up to you. VBBS al-
lows for one hundred databases within a topic area (and the topic
area designator needs to be a unique letter).

Uploading Files Locally

When you're setting up your file section, remember that
file databases need a specific DOS path so that VBBS will know
where to look for the file. File databases need to have UNIQUE
DOS filenames, lest your file descriptions start showing up on
networked message bases.
To "load" files into your file section, move them to the
appropriate DOS directory you've specified for the database in
VCONFIG. Log onto the BBS and go to the Transfer Menu, then
select [Z] -- Local Upload. If you specify a filename, you may
upload that ONE file into the database; if you press [Enter] at
the prompt, you're telling VBBS you want to upload ANY files
in that directory that aren't currently on display. You may also
tell VBBS to upload any new files within the entire topic area,
if you wish.
Once you've selected the desired option, VBBS will prompt
you for a one-line description (and an optional extended de-
scription). When the file is uploaded, VBBS will insert a "zip
comment" to the archive; this comment contains your ZIPCOMNT.TXT
(found in the \TXT directory).
For procedures on uploading files from a CD-ROM into VBBS
please refer to the CDROM.DOC in the Appendix.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 70

To upload files to specific directories after a remote
user uploads a file to your \SYSOP directory, simply choose the
"Copy File" option from the sub-menu to place the file where it
belongs in your transfer section. You may then wish to use the
"Toggle File Online/Offline" option to move the original file
to a backup diskette, directory, or tape drive.

Remote Transfers

VBBS comes configured for several transfer protocols. The
"de facto" standard protocol is ZModem, a shareware protocol by
Omen Technologies that is readily available from other BBSs.
ZModem allows for the "batch" uploading and downloading of files
to and from your BBS (this means that users can upload or down-
load files in groups, instead of one at a time). ZModem is also
faster than the earlier XModem or YModem protocols, particularly
at a 2400-baud connect rate. ZModem comes in two "flavors":
DSZ, which has been the standard for a while, and GSZ, which is
basically DSZ with a graphical display and is becoming quite
popular. If you use GSZ, it is highly recommended that you
rename that file to DSZ.COM so that it matches the DSZ command
line already configured within VBBS and is also used by the
VNET networking software.
VBBS comes pre-configured for XModem, YModem, ZModem,
ZModem Batch, and the developing HS-Link bidirectional proto-
col (which allows simultaneous uploading and downloading of
files). If you're using ZModem and/or HS-Link, the .EXE and/
or .COM files for these programs need to be in your main VBBS
directory to facilitate transfers.
VBBS' own standalone VXY.EXE is an integral part of the
package. VXY handles XModem, YModem, ZModem, and ZModem
Batch also and is a fully functional replacement for DSZ. This
is preconfigured for you in the upload.cfg and download.cfg
files when you first install VBBS.
In the case of uploads, the sysop may define in VCONFIG
whether the user will be prompted for a file description before
or after the upload (if before, VBBS will check for duplication
of files). Another VCONFIG upload option is whether an "upload
event" (such as a virus scan) will be performed offline after
the upload. In any case, VBBS checks for compressed file
integrity following upload (and optionally, at download). A
file located in the defined \TXT directory, called REMUPLD.TXT,
is displayed to the user immediately prior to the upload prompt;
this file may be edited according to your needs.
VBBS displays the user's upload/download ratio after each
transfer. In VCONFIG, you may opt to have a specific minimum
ratio to allow downloads; you may also exempt particular users
(such as visiting sysops) from this ratio in the user editor.
If you want to make certain files available as "free"
downloads that will not be charged against a user's ratio, you
simply need to create a file called FREEDL.TXT in your \TXT
directory. This file should contain the names, one per line, of
the files you wish to have as "free" downloads. Typical files
that might fall into this category might include virus-scan pro-
grams, text files describing your BBS and its features/policies,

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 71

etc. It should be noted that if you're running a credit system,
the user WILL be assessed a credit charge for these files (in
"default" VBBS, anyway).

Files Sub-Menu

[Enter] Next Entry Advances to next file or file lis-
[D] Download File Download current file; [?] dis-
plays options.
[B] Batch Functions Adds file to "batch queue" for
multiple file transfers.
[A] List Again Redisplays the current file's in-
[###] Jump to File ### If you enter a number, VBBS takes
you to that file's description.
[Q] Quit Quits to Transfer menu.
[V] View Archive View the contents of the archived
file (for details, see section
D of the VCONFIG setup instruc-
[R] Request File Allows user to request a file from
its networked file listing. The
sysop will be prompted to approve
or disapprove a request. This
also works for local files listed
as .
[T] Test Archive Allows testing of the current
file's archival integrity.


[O] Move File Online/Offline Toggles file to/from diskette or
tape drive. It may also be used
simply to toggle the file's
[Z] Add ZIPCOMNT.TXT to ZIP Manually adds the ZIPCOMNT.TXT to
the file archive.
[X] Remove File Remove file listing and/or file
from the current directory. Use

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 72

with caution.
[M] Move File Move file from one directory to
another (there have been some
reported problems with this
command; don't use it to move
a file into the first database
in the first topic area, and
all should work well).
[E] Edit Description Allows the sysop to edit the file

Parting words on files: The file transfer section can be
a real joy to work with, or it can be a real pain; it depends on

how you (and your users) approach it. Even the most idealistic
sysop can be driven almost to distraction by persistent file
leeches -- users who do nothing but download files without ever
exploring the other areas of the BBS (I speak from personal ex-
perience here). Never say "I'll never run a ratio or credit
system" unless you: a) truly don't care whether your users ever
use the BBS to communicate with others, or b) like to eat crow
(perhaps with peppercorn sauce). 🙂
Of course, NOT having a file section GREATLY reduces your
system's risk of contracting a virus ... but it can be of great
comfort if you have the latest anti-virus software when a user
REALLY needs it!
Some sysops take a sort of perverse pleasure in seeing
just how many files they can have online; if you're a beginning
sysop, don't sweat it. Have as many files online as you feel
comfortable with. Don't get into a "competition" with BBSs
that have 1.2-gigabyte hard drives or multiple CD-ROM drives
if you don't want to; it gets REAL expensive, both in hardware
costs and long-distance charges.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 73


This particular area of a BBS is usually one of the more
interesting areas, yet it's one of the most under-utilized. In
the subsystems area, users can read a list of all the users on
the BBS, vote on topics of current interest, read textfiles, and
do several other Neat Things (caps still intended).

Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Subsystems

[T] File Transfers We just got through with this one.
[B] Bulletins/Textfiles Display menu of general textfiles
available for reading.
[S] System Info Provides a display of the BBS'
system statistics.
[V] Voting Booth Users are allowed to vote on pol-
ling questions posted by the
[D] Defaults Allows user to set his or her de-
fault settings; one of the most
important features a new user
can access.
[O] Online Programs Displays menu for games and other
online programs configured in
[A] Autoposts Displays autoposts.

Main Menu Commands and What They Do -- Miscellaneous

[K] Today's Callers Displays a list of callers who
have logged on today.
[U] User Listing Displays a complete user listing;
sysops also get SL, max time,
and access flags.
[I] System Info Shows system usage statistics.
[C] Page Sysop If the console [ScrlLock] or [A]
is set to ON, this will activate
an audible page.
[W] Who's Online Shows status of console and each
modem port.
[Z] Multiuser Teleconference On multiuser systems, allows the
users to chat between nodes.
[X] Network Info Displays network BBSLIST(s).
[*] Sysop Menu Go to sysop function block (dis-
played to 255 SL only).
[G] Log Off Exit the BBS.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 74


The bulletins/textfiles section (also known as "G-files"
by WWIV sysops) contains text files that users may read at their
leisure (if they have any). The types of files that are placed
here are generally about the BBS' procedures and policies; other
possibilities include system news files, virus information, game
scoreboards and news files (a popular feature), or transcripts
of articles dealing with topics of particular interest (please
make sure to give proper credit to the author).
To install a textfile, place the file in the directory
you have indicated in VCONFIG, section E. Go into the textfile
area and select the [A]dd option; follow the prompts from there.
It's a good idea to keep your titles and descriptions
brief; lengthy titles and descriptions are truncated. By the
way, when a USER looks at the titles, he/she does NOT see the
filename -- only the title. The filename is displayed to the
sysop as a means of keeping track of filenames.

System Info

This is the screen produced by the line "sysinfo" in the
default START.V. It shows today's statistics and the total cu-
mulative statistics for your system. This screen differs from
the WFC stats screen in that it also shows active/idle minutes
and a graphical representation of usage by time of day and modem
The one statistic most sysops are usually concerned about
is the "Duty Cycle" statistic; it's the ratio of active minutes
to total minutes online. Naturally, you want to keep this num-
ber as high as possible, since it's the quickest measure of how
active your system is. A figure of 50% means that your system
has been in use half the day -- not a bad total at all -- while
a figure of 70% or better is cause for rejoicing. If your duty
cycle is consistently less than 15-20%, you might want to re-
examine the way you "do business" -- you may be doing something
that discourages users from calling your board.

ÉÍ» There is a VirtualNET sub in which sysops discuss ideas
Èͼ for improving board usage: "BBS Success (Keeping Your
Board Going)".

Voting Booth

Voting questions are an important way to keep your finger
on the pulse of your user base. In VCONFIG, you can set VBBS to
check whether there are new voting questions when a user logs on;
this is generally a good idea. Typical voting questions might

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 75

þ How did you hear about this BBS?
þ What's the MAIN reason you call ?
þ If you could change ONE thing at , what would it be?
(Think this one through CAREFULLY -- don't suggest changes
you aren't willing to implement!)
þ Which of the following subs would you MOST like to see added?

Of course, you may tailor the questions to your specific needs.
It should be noted that this multiple-choice format is not par-
ticularly suited for "ranking"-type questions, as they allow
only one answer per question.
Another thing to consider when constructing voting ques-
tions is that you may ask your users' opinion on something; the
best format for "like/don't like" questions is

1 -- Really like it It's GREAT!
2 -- Like it I think it's okay.
3 -- Don't care Doesn't make any difference to me.
4 -- Don't like it I'm not real crazy about it.
5 -- Really don't like it I don't like it very much.

You may "disguise" these choices as shown above, but it has been
shown to be one of the most statistically reliable formats for
opinion-type questions.
Please see "The Voting Booth" for the "how-to" on setting
up voting questions.


This was addressed earlier in the section on VCONFIG, but
having users set their own defaults is quite an important matter,
and they are encouraged to do so automatically after they create
their account.

The most important default a new user can set is to enable
the full-screen editor (if he/she has ANSI capability); other
commonly-adjusted defaults include screen colors, user macros,
and mail forwarding (if desired).


Autoposts are like electronic Post-It Notes that
may appear in a user's initial login (depending on his/her de-
fault settings). Users who have the appropriate security level
may post a one-, two-, or three-line message for display; the
four most recent autoposts are displayed. These are useful for
announcing upcoming system changes/downtime or alerting users to
the existence of new/important files or posts.
In addition, there are several VSCRIPT-based autopost
programs (most notably GREMPOST.V) that allow networking of

VBBS 5.51 Documentation -- 76

autoposts over VirtualNET-networked BBSs; note that these ARE
NOT included with the original VBBS archive.

Sysop Paging and Chat Screens

As stated earlier, either the [Scroll Lock] key or the
[A] key from WFC will toggle sysop availability, depending on
how you have things set up in VCONFIG.
There are two ways to answer a chat-call; one is with
the normal [F1] key. This allows you to converse with the on-
line user -- your words show up in one color, the user's in
another. To exit this chat method, press [F1] again.
The fancier way to answer is with the [Shift-F1] key.
This divides the screen into two halves, with your words at the
top and the user's at the bottom. To exit this chat mode, press

ÉÍ» Chatting, if done properly, can be a great PR builder.
Èͼ Some helpful hints on chatting:

1) Try to be available for chat at least SOME of the time.
It doesn't usually take TOO long.

2) Try NOT to "drop in" on a user when they're in the mid-
dle of something, unless they're looking totally lost.
Try not to startle your users.

3) As a way of indicating that you're through typing a
sentence, it's usually a good idea to hit [Enter] twice
to double space; that lets the user know you're through
typing, kind of like "over" in a radio conversation.

4) When you leave the console, make sure sysop avail-
ability is toggled where you want it. If you're tog-
gled as available when you're really not, users can
become frustrated.

As with other functions of VBBS, there are a number of
alternative chat and paging scripts available -- there is even
an "emergency chat" script that allows users who know a special
password to bypass the "sysop not available" message and page
you anyway. A fully external chat utility called ISYCHAT10
also allows for the above, global capture of the chat, is
configureable for multiple sysops, and is Soundblaster capable.

Multi-user Teleconference

The multi-user teleconference is an inter-node chat fea-
ture. From inside the teleconference, two or more users who are
online simultaneously can page each other to the teleconference,
send one-line messages to each other to whatever area the other
user is active in, and broadcast short messages to ALL users on-
line at the time. Also, if you send E-mail to a user who is on-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 77

line, VBBS will notify that user that you have sent E-mail to
Once inside of the teleconference, users can chat with
each other within teleconferencing "rooms". If there were four
users in the teleconference, for example, two users could decide
to change rooms in order to have an exclusive conversation with
each other. There are 99 such rooms within teleconference.
Users have the option in teleconference to change their
handles within the teleconference. Users who do not wish to be
available for chatting may access the "hide" function within
the teleconference in order to be invisible to other users while
executing other BBS areas on a multi-line system.


The sysop menu, available only to users with a 255 SL, is
accessed by pressing the star [*] key at the Main Menu (although
with a function-block modification, you could make it accessible
at ANY menu (... you know where to look for info on this).
The functions available at the sysop menu are:

[M] Read All Mail Review all E-mail on the system.
Use this with extreme discre-
tion, if you use it at all.
[E] Edit Any File Pulls a file into the VBBS FSE for
editing; useful for colorizing
system taglines, among other
[U] User Editor Go into the user editor to check
on/edit user information.
[S] Security Displays users with SLs greater
than 150 or who have one or more
access flags set.
[C] Force Cleanup Force a daily cleanup. Note that
this isn't a "hit-and-forget"
command; the screen will pause
when it reaches your default
page length.
[V] Validate Network Presents the posts scheduled to
go out over the network from
your system; you will be promp-
ted to [A]pprove or [D]isapprove
each one. Not easy if you have
a lot of active subs that re-
quire network validation. This
is also an easy thing to forget
to do on a daily basis.
[Q] Quit Return to main (or previous) menu.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 78


VBBS features support for .QWK format offline readers.
Offline readers are special programs that allow a user to down-
load message packets from a BBS and read them at her leisure.
They also allow users to construct packets containing their
replies to messages and upload them in return.
Some of the more popular offline readers include SLMR,
JABBER, BlueWave, OFFLINE, and OLX; in addition, there are .QWK
readers available for Windows.

VBBS' auxiliary program, VQWK.EXE, prompts the user to up-
load a .REP file that tells VBBS which messages have been pre-
viously downloaded, as well as which message areas the user
would like to read. This is configured either by making use of
the [J]oin/Ignore Bases command in the Main Menu, or from within
the QWK menu:

[D] Download QWK Packet Bundles messages in selected bases
into a packet for download.
[U] Upload REP Packet Selected from the user's end, up-
loads a packet of replies.
[S] Select Bases Similar to the [J]oin/Ignore Bases
command from the Main Menu, in-
cludes or excludes bases from
user's QWK packets.
[L] Log Off Exit the BBS/hang up. Does NOT
prompt for confirmation.
[Q] Quit to Returns the user to the BBS.

In addition, VBBS automatically awards credits for messages
uploaded by users in their REP packet if that option has been
activated by the sysop in VConfig.


The VBBS help system is a fine hypertext help system.
It can be configured in unlimited ways to meet a variety of
needs. The calling sequence is


The is used to form a filename of the
"lookup" file, which should be placed in your VBBS \DATA direc-
tory. For example, for help system number 1, the file name would
be LOOKUP.1 (not LOOKUP.001). Help systems from 1 to 999 are
available; system 0 is reserved for future internal use by VBBS.
Lookup files have the format -- one entry per line --

For example, you might have this as a lookup file:

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 79

HELP1 Main Screen
HELP2 Primary Topics
HELP3 Secondary Topics
HELP4 General Information

In the lookup file, do not put in an extension for the help
filename; .HLP is assumed. The first entry in your lookup file
is considered to be the starting point. The help filename speci-
fied is displayed, and the user is prompted; continuing or going
back to the main menu proceeds from there.

Within each help file, you reference topics in the lookup
file by bracketing them with [ and ].
Using the example LOOKUP file from above, help-file skele-
tons might look like this:


Welcome to the Main Help Screen.

[Primary Topics]
[Secondary Topics]
[General Information]


Welcome to the Primary Topics Screen.

[Secondary Topics]
[General Information]
[Main Screen]


Welcome to the Secondary Topics Screen.

[Primary Topics]
[General Information]
[Main Screen]


Welcome to General Information.

[Primary Topics]
[Secondary Topics]
[Main Screen]

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 80

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Several complete hypertext help files are
available from VBBS support boards for
easy installation in standard VBBS systems.


The VBBS quiz/test feature can be used to give users tests
and quizzes online -- trivia quizzes (a great source of competi-
tion among users), tests on the users' knowledge of the BBS, or
even (if you can find the time to set it up) an actual test file
for tests from the local high school, community college, or uni-
versity (an extremely ambitious project, but unique!). The cal-
ling sequence for the test feature is


Test files (and the score files generated) should reside in your
\DATA directory. Test files assume a .TST extension (be careful
typing that extension), and score files have a .SCO extension.
Score files are simple ASCII files; report generators can ana-
lyze the score file to produce statistical information. A report
generator specifically designed for VBBS (TREPORT.EXE) is avail-
able for download from the author's BBS.

Test files are simple ASCII files also. Each line of a
test file begins with one of the following prefixes:

b= e= a= q= p=

The "b=" prefix spcifies information displayed to the user
BEFORE they begin the test; you may have one or more of these at
the beginning of your test.
The "e=" prefix indicates information that is shown to the
user AFTER they have finished the test; you may have one or more
of these.
The "a=" prefix specifies the correct answer to the ques-
tion beginning on the next line; it also signals the test proces-
sor that a new question is beginning.
The "q=" prefix contains the actual question (known in
educational circles as the "stem"). There may be one or more
lines in a question stem.
The "p=" prefix specifies one of up to 20 possible answers
for the question (although 5 is generally a good number).
A sample one-question test under the name INTRO.TST might look
something like this:

b=Welcome to this sample test; it only has
b=one question.
q=Where is the Statue of Liberty located?
p=Washington, DC
p=Paris, France
p=New York City
p=Los Angeles
e=Thanks for taking this test!

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 81

You will have to experiment a little to get proper spacing and
such, but a well-constructed fun quiz is another way of getting
users online ...


The call-back verifier is a means of checking to see whe-
ther a new user has left a valid phone humber in his/her logon
information. It is implemented in VCONFIG; if you choose "yes"
to the callback verifier, VBBS will look at the two ASCII .CBV
files you've created in your \DATA directory and establish whe-
ther the new user is calling from a telephone exchange (accor-
ding to the sysop's criteria) that will allow callback verifi-
cation. If the user is NOT within your defined callback area,
or leaves a number that you have included in your RESTRICT.CBV
file (such as 911), the board will not execute the dialout, and
new-user login will continue normally. The user is allowed to
complete callback validation successfully up to three times
before the connection is dropped.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to the callout nature of this feature,
its use and proper configuration is the
specific responsibility of the individual

The callback verifier needs two files to work properly:
ALLOWED.CBV and RESTRICT.CBV; as mentioned earlier, VBBS will
look for these in the directory you have configured as your
\DATA directory in VONFIG. The two files are discussed below.


ALLOWED.CBV specifies the list of ALLOWED area code/
prefix combinations. The format for the file is one entry per
line, as follows:


where XXX is the area code, YYY is the prefix, and Z is a
"specifier" that tells the callback verifier how to dial this
area code/prefix combination. Possible specifiers are given

Specifier Type of Call How Dialed
+ Local YYY-????
- LD within area code 1-YYY-????
$ LD outside area code 1-XXX-YYY-????
/ Local outside area code XXX-YYY-????

It should be noted that the wildcard character "?" is allowed
when entering prefixes. For example, the line

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 82

205-34? +

in ALLOWED.CBV would enable the BBS to call back ANY phone num-
ber local to the BBS that began with the digits "34"; in the
example above, the callback verifier would call Tuscaloosa's
345, 348, and 349 exchanges as local. The surest way to han-
dle proper exchanges is to enter each one manually; while this
may necessitate a little more work on the sysop's part, it also
ensures that long-distance numbers that fit the prefix criteria
won't be called unnecessarily.


RESTRICT.CBV specifies the list of restricted phone num-
bers that may not be dialed by the callback verifier, such as
local police and/or fire departments, 911, "prank numbers" like
000-000-0000, or those of previously-known "bad users".

Some final words on optional features: These are often
the "something extra" that will keep your users calling back, as
implementing these features reflects a strong measure of dedica-
tion on your part. Sysops are strongly encouraged to make use of
(and to encourage their users to use) the .QWK-format offline
readers available; this can significantly reduce the amount of
time users spend online reading messages, freeing them to explore
and use other areas of the BBS.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 83


The configurability of VBBS can not be overstated.

Because of the way VBBS is structured, it's possible to
configure the program to look and feel like some other BBS soft-
ware; you can borrow features from several different BBS soft-
wares to create your own design. You might just take a vacation
from reality one night and decide to make VBBS look just like
GEnie or some other CIS. Aside from the obvious limitations on
actual storage space, you could accomplish the "look-alike" to
the point where a user could not tell the difference! By using
scripts (and the source code, if you've registered for it), you
can do many things that simply aren't possible with other BBS
Unlike source code, which normally contains strict rules
on code segment distribution (VBBS included), VSCRIPT-based ap-
lications, function blocks, and menus may be distributed freely
in full, or even in entire configuration sets.

Menus, Function Blocks, Scripts, and Mods

Customization and modification of VBBS comes in several
forms: changing the menus to suit your personal tastes and set-
up, rearranging function-block commands, installing scripts for
special applications, and even modifying the source code (if
you've registered at the source level).
Menus and function blocks are closely interrelated, so
if you find yourself flipping back and forth between the sec-
tions on the two, don't worry; it's normal.
For the remainder of this manual, the term "script" will
apply exclusively to programs utilizing the VSCRIPT script lan-
guage; the term "mod" will refer exclusively to modifications
made at the source-code level. It should be pointed out here
that you do not need to register VBBS to write scripts or ex-
change scripts with other sysops via VirtualNET; registration
and an additional fee ARE, however, required to obtain the VBBS
source code.
There are other good reasons to register VBBS; we'll get
to those presently.

"Heart-Code ANSI"

If you've read this far, you've run across the term
"heart-code ANSI" a time or two. Since customization often in-
volves changing colors and menus and adding system taglines,
this is probably a good place to explain what "heart-code ANSI"

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 84

If you've ever used the DOS "type" command to look at a
file you've created using TheDraw or some other ANSI drawing
program, you know it consists mainly of "garbage" like this:


This is the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) code
for introducing color changes into text files so that the colors
will show up onscreen; in order to display these color changes,
you need to have the statement


somewhere in your CONFIG.SYS file (remember, though, about the
ANSI bomb -- see "First-Time Startup" for details on alternate
ANSI drivers).
A while back, some BBS programs (most notably WWIV) be-
gan using a method of color changing called "heart-code ANSI",
in which color changes were represented by a heart character
followed by an alphanumeric character. The heart-code system
has the benefit of taking only two bytes to accomplish what
takes 4-6 bytes in "raw" ANSI, thereby reducing the size of
network transfers, especially where large numbers of color
changes are involved.
In an effort to maintain compatibility with WWIV and
WWIV-based networks, VBBS was designed to handle heart-code
ANSI. The heart-code colorization system has become the stan-
dard for these two BBS softwares.
When you're starting out with heart-code ANSI, it's a
good idea to go into the VBBS FSE and press [Ctrl-P][?], and
look at the color combinations that appear at the bottom of
the screen. The same set of color combinations can be seen
when you go into your [D]efaults setup and start changing
your screen display colors; you might consider printing out
that screen using [Shift-Print Screen].

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: If you print-screen the default-menu
color change information, be aware that
all the codes are "off" by one; for exam-
ple, the screen code for gray on black is
1, but the heart-code for gray on black
is 0 (zero). Likewise, the bright-red on
black is screen code 7, but heart-code 6.

ÉÍ» Using heart-code ANSI takes some getting used to, but
Èͼ with practice, it's not terribly more difficult than
the "raw" ANSI produced by TheDraw or other ANSI draw
programs. Heart-code ANSI is best for menus, taglines,
and other features that have patterned or infrequent
color changes; I wouldn't DREAM of using heart-codes
to color my login screen, though!

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 85

The easiest way to produce a heart-code menu or tagline
is to first use an ANSI drawing program to make the menu/tag-
line, then save it as a straight ASCII text file. Then, pull
it into the VBBS FSE and use [Ctrl-P] codes to change the co-
lors (see Appendix C for details).
To introduce a heart-code color change into an ASCII
text file, turn Num Lock ON; while holding down the [Alt] key,
type in either "3" or "259" (whichever works) FROM THE NUMERIC
KEYPAD. A heart character should appear on your screen. The
second keystroke should be a number from 0-9 or a letter from
A-Z, depending on what color you want to produce.

My apologies if this has run on a bit long, but the dif-
ference between heart-code ANSI and "raw" ANSI has been the sub-
ject of much discussion and debate on the VirtualNET sysops'
subs over the last year or so, and the more you know about it
in advance, the better off we'll ALL be.

Customizing Menus

The VBBS archive includes a default set of function blocks
(see below) and their accompanying menus. After running the de-
faults for a while, however, most sysops want to customize their
menus to more accurately reflect their personal tastes and give
their BBS a distinctive look.
Default VBBS has four different types of menu files:

.MNU files (the default)
.ANS and .ASC files
.PDM files

We'll take a moment to explain each one in detail (there is one
more menufile type if your BBS is set up to use the Virtual
Graphical Interface Executive , but we'll get to that
a little later).

On startup, VBBS looks for menu files with the .MNU ex-
tension. The .MNU files included with VBBS are done in heart-
code ANSI, and serve "double duty". If the user's video display
will support ANSI graphics, the color changes will be included,
but if it won't (user's defaults set to ASCII), VBBS will strip
out the color changes for display to that user. The main bene-
fit of this system is that by using the heart-code .MNU files,
only one set of menu files is needed for both ANSI and ASCII
users. Another point in favor of the .MNU files is that they
seem to display a little bit faster -- this is probably due to
the fact that it takes only two bytes to make a color change.

The second set of menu formats -- .ANS and .ASC files --
is what VBBS will look for if it doesn't find .MNU files. The
.ANS format is "raw" ANSI, such as that produced by TheDraw;
an .ASC extension represents an ASCII (text) menu. The advan-
tages to having these files in lieu of .MNU files is that they

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 86

1) are a little bit quicker to produce, i.e., you draw a
menu directly in ANSI, save it twice (in .ANS format
and in .ASC format), and you're done.
2) are easier to make, especially if you have very com-
plex menus and color changes; the heart-code system
can be a little daunting if your menus are ornate.

The downside of this method is that you must have two copies of
each menu, one for ANSI users and one for ASCII users; if a user
with ASCII defaults gets an .ANS menu, he/she will receive gar-
bage characters (as shown above) and probably won't call back.

The final set of files are VBBS' "pull-down" menus, which
have a .PDM extension. These are for users who have selected
"Enhanced ANSI" as their screen display default. These are ac-
tually ASCII text files that VBBS colorizes as part of the de-
fault color selection. A user may opt to use .PDMs at any sys-
tem prompt by pressing the [Esc] key -- and you should try it
to see how they work. The default FILES.PDM file is shown

C Change Directory [C]
L List Files [L]
S Search All Dirs [S]
N New Files List [N]
F Find Description [F]
D Download Files [D]
U Upload Files [U]
B Batch Functions [B]
R Review Files [R]
Y Your Stats [Y]
J New File Scandate [J]
P Popular Downloads [P]
M Download Master List [M]
Q Quit to Main Menu [Q]
G Log Off [G]

These files are preconfigured, but easily changed using any text
editor. They don't need to be changed, though, unless you re-
group or add commands within the function blocks. But --

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Any changes you make in your .MNU or
.ANS/.ASC menus should also be made in
your .PDM files.

There's a bit of personal experience behind this. I altered
the command structure of VBBS in my function blocks and went
from .ANS/.ASC to the .MNU format, but didn't change the .PDM
files (admittedly, out of laziness); I advised users to NOT
use the pull-down menus. A new user calling from a Macintosh
with an ANSI-emulating comm program didn't read the warnings
and selected pull-down menus. VBBS began looking for a non-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 87

existent .PDM file, booted the user off, and kept looking for
that .PDM file -- for three and a half hours! Every time it
couldn't find the .PDM file, it wrote a couple of lines to that
effect in the BBS.LOG file -- which, by the time I came home
from work, had grown to 121,000 lines and 4.7 MEGAbytes in

Creating your own .MNU menus is simple enough: after
making backups of the original menu files (just in case), use
your favorite drawing program (or even a text editor capable of
handling "extended ASCII" characters, although this is a LOT
more work) to make an ASCII menu file. To add the color
changes you want, pull the file into the VBBS FSE and use
heart codes to add color (as described earlier).

ÉÍ» Menus are a great means of customizing your BBS. They're
Èͼ also the primary method by which a user interacts with
your BBS, so you want to design menus that are as func-
tional as possible. Please note that complete script/
function block/menu/pdm packages emulating the look and
feel of several other bbs softwares have been developed.
The most notable of these is MVMEN by David Bell with
emulations of WWIV, Remote Access, WildCat, Renegade, and
others, in addition to multi-language VBBS modules.

Function Blocks

At the heart of VBBS' command structure is the FUNCTION
BLOCK, which is in turn represented by a menu. A function block
is an easy-to-modify ASCII file which allows the sysop to define
every single function of any menu -- what each key does, whether
it is calling an internal function, an external VSCRIPT, external
.EXE file (shrinking or not shrinking VBBS out of memory as de-
sired), or calling another function block.
Creating and editing function blocks may be done with any
ASCII text editor; the resulting files should be placed in the
VBBS \V or \VSCRIPT directory you have set up in VCONFIG.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Longtime VBBS sysops are used to having the
first line of a function block be the name
of the menu file for that function block as
well. That has changed with v6.x. Now,
the menu file can NOT have the same filename
as the function block itself.

For example, for your FILES.FB, the first line of the function
block might now read FILE1. This would instruct VBBS to display
a menu file called FILE1.MNU, FILE1.ANS, FILE1.ASC, or FILE1.PDM
(depending on which menuing scheme you're using and the user's
default display setting). Similarly, your START.FB might call
up the menu file, while your SYSOP.FB might call up the menu file.
The second line holds the letter designators of any topic
areas that "go with" the function block. For example, if you

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 88

have message topic areas A, B, C, and D, the second line of your
START.FB should read


Otherwise, your users would only see ONE topic area; the "A"
topic that came preconfigured as a default. Many new sysops for-
get to add these other topic designators in; it's not difficult
to overlook this, even though it IS crucial.

Each subsequent line of a function block enables a "hot-
key" to perform a particular command or function. Lines in the
"body" of a function block MUST follow this particular format
and appear in strict columns:

k xxx y cccccccccccc

An explanation is given below.

Part Column(s) Explanation
k 1 The letter or symbol serving as the hot-key
xxx 3-5 The minimum SL needed to access the function
(must be three digits, like "050" or "007")
y 7 The command type (a digit 0-5; more on that
cccccc 9+ The name of the routine/script/.EXE command
line, etc.; this section is of variable
length, depending on what you're trying to

The "y" in the command line represents a digit from 0
through 5 that tells VBBS how to execute the command, according
to the following list:

Digit Command-type Description
0 Null (no operation)
1 Internal command (like SENDEMAIL)
2 Script
3 DOS function (don't shrink VBBS out of memory)
4 DOS function (shrink VBBS out of memory)
5 Transfer control to a different function block

A sample function block to handle E-mail might look some-
thing like this (without the parts inside angle-brackets):


e 001 1 sendemail
m 001 1 reademailto
f 001 1 feedback
s 001 1 reademailsent
q 000 5 start

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 89

The Default START.FB

VBBS could easily have been distributed with a blank menu;
instead, a default START.FB is included which reflects the con-
figuration of the software on the author's BBS, "Virtual Techno-
logies". Note the columnation at the beginning of each line and
the topic-area designator on the second line. Other points of
interest include: 1) the 255 SL required to transfer control to
the SYSOP.FB function block; 2) the VBBS-AUX commands that shrink
the BBS out of memory to execute the associated program; and 3)
the nonalphabetic characters used as hot-keys.

$ 001 1 choosetopic
> 001 1 nextbase
< 001 1 prevbase
c 001 1 selectbase
j 001 1 setquickscan
s 001 1 scanmsg
n 001 1 readnewmsg
r 001 1 readseqmsg
p 001 1 post
e 001 1 sendemail
y 001 1 reademailfrom
m 001 1 reademailto
q 001 1 quickmail
f 001 1 feedback
o 001 1 door
z 001 4 vbbs-aux %1 telecon
d 001 1 account
l 001 1 pagesysop
t 001 5 files
b 001 4 vbbs-aux %1 textfiles
k 001 1 listcallers
u 001 4 vbbs-aux %1 listusers
a 001 1 autopost
v 001 4 vbbs-aux %1 vote
i 001 1 sysinfo
w 001 1 who
x 001 4 vbbs-aux %1 listnet
* 255 5 sysop
g 000 1 logoffyn

Making changes is as simple as pulling the START.FB file
into a text editor (even the VBBS FSE, from WITHIN the board!)
and adding in the desired function(s). For example, you might
add in the following line to invoke a script that shows a user
his/her credit total:

# 001 2 crcheck

Notice that all this is presented in lower-case; function blocks
are NOT case-sensitive, so the number of commands you may have

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 90

is limited to 26 letters + 10 digits + however many punctuation
and nonalphabetic characters you can come up with (of course, if
any FB ever gets that big, you'll probably want to split it into
smaller chunks anyway).

ÉÍ» If you start breaking your function blocks into smaller
Èͼ pieces, it's important to choose letter commands -- "hot
keys" -- in such a way that commands will be consistent
across menus. For example, if you have the [M] key set
to jump to the Message Menu in one function block, try
to make it do the same thing in ALL function blocks.
This may not be easy, but your users will appreciate not
having to learn a different set of hotkeys at each menu.

The Default FILES.FB and SYSOP.FB

There are two other default function blocks: FILES.FB,
which governs the file transfer section(s), and SYSOP.FB, which
contains the commands for the sysop function block. These func-
tion blocks are shown below:

g 000 1 logoffyn m 255 1 readallemail
m 001 1 dlmasterlist e 255 1 editfile
u 001 1 remoteupload u 255 1 useredit
d 001 1 downloadfile s 255 4 vbbs-aux %1 security
r 001 1 reviewfile v 255 1 validate
c 001 1 selectbase c 255 1 cleanup
j 001 1 setnewfilesscan q 000 5 start
l 001 1 listfiles
n 001 1 newfiles
s 001 1 searchall
b 001 1 batchdl
f 001 1 findfiles
> 001 1 nextbase
< 001 1 prevbase
p 001 1 topdownloads
y 001 1 ratio
z 255 1 sysopupload
x 255 1 reviewuploads
q 000 5 start

One change to FILES.FB you might want to try right off the bat
-- if you have more than one files area and want to fiddle with
the function blocks (and if Roland hasn't added it in as a de-
fault command yet) -- is to add in this line:

$ 001 1 choosetopic

No compilation is necessary ... just save it, and the the [$]
command to move between files topic areas is enabled, just like

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 91

in the message bases! Make sure, though, that you add the com-
mand in your menus so your users can take advantage of it.

Rearranging the commands in function blocks isn't that
difficult -- it's just a matter of making sure you don't leave
out any commands. For example, I have separate function blocks
for the Main Menu (12 whole commands!), E-mail, transfers, and
subsystems, coupled with the ability to jump between FBs with
one keystroke. Of course, my menu structure is quite different
from the default setup -- but that's the beauty of VBBS. It
didn't blink an eye when I installed the changes!
One caveat, however: your main function block MUST be
called START.FB. It is the function block that takes over when
the START.V script finishes running.

Scripts and Mods

As stated earlier, the term "scripts" refers to programs
written using VSCRIPT and compiled using the program VCOM.EXE;
"mods" refers to source-code modifications (just a reminder).

The VSCRIPT language is one of the most powerful features
of VBBS (if not THE most powerful). It's a small programming
language, somewhat similar to the REXX script language, that
incorporates many of VBBS' functions into single command state-
ments (with or without command-line arguments). All it takes
is your favorite ASCII text editor or word processor and some
familiarity with the VSCRIPT language (that's a separate part
of the documentation; see VSCRIPT.DOC for details), and you can
be customizing your BBS via scripts in no time.
As an example, let's take the script mentioned earlier
that allows users to check their credits. It consists of only
three lines:

tr "You currently have " $credits " credits."

Save this file in your \V or \VSCRIPT directory (as you have it
configured in VCONFIG) under the name CRCHECK.V (to maximize
efficiency, you might want to keep a copy of VCOM.EXE in this
directory as well). Compile the script:


and you will see two NEW files in the directory: CRCHECK.COD
and CRCHECK.LIT. These are the files VBBS will look for when
you execute the script from the function block in which it's
There are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of VSCRIPT-
based applications available through VirtualNET (more about that
later). Some enterprising programmers have created casino games,
alternate mail and voting routines, scripts to welcome new users

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 92

and take them on a tour of the BBS, show user information ...
it's difficult to describe the variety of scripts that have been
written by sysops and users alike!

VBBS may also be modified through direct changes to the
source code, a process known as "source modding" or simply "mod-
ding". This DOES require that you have a copy of either Micro-
soft's QuickBASIC compiler (version 4.5 or later) or Professional
Development System (version 7.1 or later). The "QBASIC" that
comes with MS-DOS is NOT sufficient for this purpose.

VBBS employs a mixed programming environment using assem-
bly-language routines for fast COM port and program I/O, while
using QuickBASIC as an affordable and easy-to-modify environment.
This is in sharp contrast to many other BBS softwares, which re-
quire a knowledge of Pascal or C and their associated compilers.
It should be noted here, however, that in order to keep the
source-code files from being too large, there are very few com-
ments in the default program; this can make for an -- --
INTERESTING time when you're looking for a particular routine or
section of the code. Just thought we'd let you know in ad-
vance ...! 🙂
For advanced use, the VBBS.EXE compiled under Microsoft's
PDS (Professional Development System) compiler will produce an
even faster-executing .EXE (3-10%) and will provide a somewhat
greater degree of power in the program, such as increased string

ÉÍ» Some helpful hints to make your source modding easier:
1) Make backup copies of the existing source code. It
might save you truckloads of grief later.
2) Print out the source code (make a pot of coffee or
something while you do ... it takes a while) and read
through it BEFORE you start modding. The files are
simply too complex to try to keep up with on a screen-
by-screen basis. Highlighting's much easier, too; my
source-code printout has so much red ink on it that it
looks like a bad high-school English paper.
3) Make sure you're thoroughly familiar with the functions
and commands of VBBS; this will make it easier to spot
their associated source routines.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Access to the VBBS source code is obtained
under specific licensing agreement. You
may not possess any portion of the source
without having obtained a license to do so
from the VBBS author, and in no case shall
more than 100 lines of VBBS code be con-
tained within a published modification at
any time.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 93

Scripts and Mods on VirtualNET

Once your BBS is a VirtualNET node (more on that in a
bit), there are a pair of message subs and a networked file sub
dedicated to VBBS scripts and mods. They are:

VBBS Script Technical Support
VBBS Source Technical Support
Virtual BBS Scripts & Mods (file sub)

The "VBBS Script Technical Support" sub is for the discus-
sion of scripts and mods -- questions, troubleshooting, and the
like. The "Virtual ModNET" is EXCLUSIVELY for the posting of
script/mod code -- no discussion. The "Scripts and Mods" file
sub allows scripts and mods under about 30K to be sent directly
through VirtualNET.

System Taglines

Many sysops whose BBSs are part of VirtualNET like to
"personalize" posts originating from their system by adding a
system tagline to the posts.
System taglines are optional; if they are used, however,
they must follow several guidelines:

1) They must include the name of the BBS, its geo-
graphic location, VirtualNET node number, and
version of VBBS being used;
2) They must be 3 lines or less AND 300 bytes or
less (i.e., a 3-line, 350-byte tagline is NOT
3) They must be colorized using ONLY heart-code
ANSI (no "raw" ANSI allowed).

Creating a system tagline is similar to creating a new
menu; you make and save an ASCII version of the tagline, then
bring it into the VBBS FSE to colorize it with heart codes.
Since any experimental color changes are also saved with the
tagline, it's usually a good idea to use your ASCII text edi-
tor to delete any unnecessary color changes after you've got
your tagline looking the way you want it.
Taglines reside in your \TXT directory under the name(s), where "xxx" is a number from 1 to 999. It should
be noted that single- or double-digit extensions to these files
should be just that, i.e., TAGLINE.1 or TAGLINE.22, and not

ÉÍ» A word or two on system taglines: they should be as dis-
Èͼ tinctive as possible without being gaudy or distracting
from the body of the message. "Eyesore" taglines are
sometimes the butt of jokes on VirtualNET. In addition,
some sysops try to cram every bit of information they

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 94

can about their systems into their taglines; this is
frequently viewed as being distracting, and in general,
a "less-is-more" approach is best advised. If you want
to advertise your huge file base or the 42 game doors
your system currently has, it's usually better to make
a BBS ad for the "BBS Advertisements" sub (autorequest
sub #220) instead of trying to cram this information
into your tagline.

VGIX -- The Virtual Graphical Interface Executive

VGIX, a new program from Roland De Graaf and Virtual
Technologies, is an optional mouse-driven terminal program speci-
fically designed for VBBS. VGIX supports user's-end VGA graphics
(sorry, no VGA locally -- the "overhead" local VGA would intro-
duce would be of truly epic proportions) and is icon-driven. As
of this writing, alpha versions are available on a number of
BBSes; new features are being worked on constantly.
Details on VGIX may be found in the documentation that ac-
companies the program; since it's not a required/included part
of VBBS, I won't go into much detail about it here. It's yet
another way you can customize your VBBS installation, and the
early reviews are enthusiastic, to say the least!

As you can see, there are quite a few ways you can cus-
tomize your VBBS to get exactly the "look-and-feel" you want.
It's pretty much a case of you being limited only by your imagi-
nation. You can make the graphics, menus, and command structure
as simple or complex as you want them. Just keep in mind that
when you make changes to your user interface, it should be to
make your users' lives easier, NOT to push everything to the
max for the sake of doing it.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 95


Running a BBS -- and VBBS is no exception here -- is a
major source of hard-drive wear and tear. This is not to put
down any BBS software; it's just the nature of the beast. There
are several steps you can take to optimize VBBS so as to minimize
hard-drive abuse.

"Defragging" Your Hard Drive

One piece of maintenance you should run periodically is a
program designed to de-fragment files on your hard drive. Daily
maintenance erases the oldest messages on your hard drive, lea-
ving "gaps" where those messages used to be. After several days
of this, a map of your hard drive utilization can look like some-
one took a shotgun to it -- empty sectors/clusters scattered all
through your data.
"Defragging" your hard drive puts your data into contigu-
ous (adjacent) sectors/clusters, thereby reducing the amount of
time it takes the read/write heads to access a particular piece
of information. Utilities such as Norton's SPEEDISK accomplish
this quite well; be prepared, though, to spend several minutes
watching the process when you run it the first time.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Just to be on the safe side, you SHOULD NOT
run a disk defragmentation program from
within VBBS or from WFC; always EXIT the
BBS prior to running the program.

Using a RAMdrive

Another means of optimization is to place the most fre-
quently accessed files -- menus and such -- into a RAMdrive
(virtual disk). By loading the most frequently accessed files
into RAM, many systems will realize system speedup ranging from
modest to substantial.
VBBS textfiles and menus within the \TXT directory pro-
bably benefit most from being placed in a RAMdrive; these would
be the .MNU, .ANS/.ASC, and .TXT files. Because they are acces-
sed often, having them in RAM can substantially decrease hard-
drive access. Another group of files suitable for placing in a
RAMdrive are your script files -- the .V, .COD and .LIT files.
This speeds the process of loading the scripts, since no disk
access is performed.
To install a RAMdrive, include the following in your


This command line creates an 80-kilobyte RAMdrive; the "/E"
switch tells DOS to place the RAMdrive in EXTENDED memory.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 96

In addition, the default limit on the number of files that can
be placed in a RAMdrive (as would be the case in the above ex-
ample) is 64; if you want to place more files than that in the
RAMdrive, you need a command line similar to this:


The above command line would create a 128K RAMdrive with a maxi-
mum of 128 files in extended memory. For more information,
please consult your DOS manual or reference book.
To make the best use of a RAMdrive, you need to be run-
ning a 286 or 386 computer with at least 1 Mb of RAM and the
DOS device HIMEM.SYS (an extended memory manager) loaded. If
you're running a 386, you might consider QEMM386 as your exten-
ded memory manager.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: It is recommended that you do NOT assign
your VBBS \TEMP directory to a RAMdrive.


VBBS provides a high level of security. One of the most
significant security features of VBBS is that it will not allow a
remote user to drop to DOS through internal functions. If you
would like to enable a remote drop-to-DOS capability, you will
need to install DOORWAY or DoorMaster (both shareware programs)
as a door from VBBS. This is generally a much safer method, and
in the case of using DOORWAY, provedes a much more powerful re-
mote interface than a built-in remote DOS access routine could.
By using a program such as this, you may also run VBBS utilities
such as VCONFIG remotely.
In VCONFIG, you have the option of allowing remote sysops.
Allowing a remote sysop will let a user with a SL of 255 who
knows the system password to access the sysop functions of VBBS.
Pressing [S] from the sysop menu will show all users on the sys-
tem who have security level access. Although a user may view
an archive, there is no function that will allow him or her to
extract an archive. As with all BBS software, it is recommended
that you register DSZ (ZModem) for maximum security.
VBBS uses a \SYSOP directory which stores all files up-
loaded to the system and files sent that were attached to E-mail.
Here, the sysop has the ability to view, scan and move the files
and file listings to the appropriate directory after review. Be
sure to leave the maximum settings for this database at 0 (zero)
and make sure that DSZ.COM is in your path (a common mistake
when setting up for the first time).
VBBS features a special exclusion file, EXCLUDE.TXT, in
which you define whole filenames, partial filenames, or DOS
extensions that you wish VBBS to NOT allow upload of (such as
.GIF). It is highly recommended that you do NOT delete any of
the lines in the default EXCLUDE.TXT provided.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 97

VBBS allows you to automatically check for archive
integrity and viruses. See Atuomatic New Upload Verification
in the VCONFIG portion of this document for details.


Much of your system's maintenance is performed automatic-
ally by VBBS each day. Database "packing" occurs as the primary
event where your system's databases are compacted and old mes-
sages are removed according to the limits you set in VCONFIG.
System logs are then compacted as well and the daily log cycles
into another log file that shows a log of the last five days of
system activity. Many sysops run other maintenance as well.
Backing up certain important system files each day is common.
There are several VBBS-specific utilities as well as
several general-use utilities that can be valuable for the VBBS
sysop. Some of these utilities, such as those by Neil J. Mar-
shall and other VBBS freeware utility programmers, perform such
tasks as searching out duplicate posts and files, removing users
who have not called for a specific time, printing reports, etc.
There are several shareware utilities available that will
allow you to automate periodic batchfile events so that they run
on a daily or weekly (or other interval) basis.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 98


Filename Directory Explanation
LOGIN .MNU \TXT Your system's login screen (may also
be an .ANS or .ASC file)
LOGOFF .MNU \TXT Your system's logoff screen
NEWUSER .TXT \TXT Message displayed to new users before
they sign up
NEWUMAIL.TXT \TXT Automatic E-mail from the sysop to a
new user
COLORS .TXT \TXT Menu for selecting user's default ANSI
EMAILHLP.TXT \TXT Help file for addressing E-mail and
EDITHLP .TXT \TXT Help file for line editor
FEDITHLP.TXT \TXT Help file for full-screen editor
TRASHCAN.TXT \TXT ASCII file containing words disallowed
in user handles
STORM .TXT \TXT Used as an emergency logoff screen to
online users
ZIPCOMNT.TXT \TXT Your BBS .ZIP/.ARJ file comment
REMUPLD .TXT \TXT Message displayed to users before they
upload files
LEAVEFB .TXT \TXT Displayed to new user when he/she is
force to leave feedback
EXCLUDE .TXT \TXT File used for restricting certain up-
load filenames/extensions
TOOSLOW .TXT \TXT Displayed to user if call is below the
minimum baud rate in VCONFIG
FREEDL .TXT \TXT Contains the names of "free" download
files (that don't affect ratios)
CBV .TXT \TXT Displayed to users before callback
NETONLY .TXT \TXT Displayed to users who call during
'Mail-Only' Network Hours
EMAIL .TAG \TXT Tagline file for E-mail (2-line max)
TAGLINE .xxx \TXT Tagline files (3-line max), where xxx
is a number from 1 to 989
TAGLINE .yyy \TXT Random tagline file (1-line max),
where yyy is a number from 990-999
xxxxxxxx.ANS \TXT ANSI menus
xxxxxxxx.ASC \TXT ASCII menus
xxxxxxxx.MNU \TXT Multipurpose heart-code menu files
xxxxxxxx.PDM \TXT Pull-down menu definitions
xxxxxxxx.NET \NET Various network files
BBSLIST .xxx \NET Network BBS lists, where xxx is 1-99
xxxxxxxx.V \V Original script code from VSCRIPT
xxxxxxxx.COD \V Script code file (produced by VCOM)
xxxxxxxx.LIT \V Script code file (produced by VCOM)
START .FB \V Start function block (main menu)
FILES .FB \V Files function block (files menu)
SYSOP .FB \V Sysop function block (sysop menu)
INSTALL .EXE \VBBS VBBS auto-install program
BBS .EXE \VBBS VBBS startup program

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 99

Filename Directory Explanation
VBBS .EXE \VBBS Main VBBS executable file
VBBS-AUX.EXE \VBBS VBBS secondary executable
VLIST .EXE \VBBS Text/log viewing utility
VNET .EXE \VBBS Network executable
VCONFIG .EXE \VBBS VBBS configuration program
VQWK .EXE \VBBS .QWK-format upload/download program
VXY .EXE \VBBS VXY Zmodem batch protocol
WFC .COM \VBBS Sysop's waiting-for-caller screen
WFC .DVA \VBBS Sysop's WFC screen for use w/ Desqview
xxxxxxxx.CFG \VBBS Various system configuration files
xxxxxxxx.LOG \DATA Sysop system logs
STATBBS .DAT \DATA System activity statistics
CONNECT .DAT \DATA Connect-speed statistics
AREACODE.NET \DATA Area code map file
USERFILE.DAT \DATA VBBS user account file
RESTRICT.CBV \DATA Specifically restricted phone numbers
for the callback verifier
ALLOWED .CBV \DATA Allowed area codes and prefixes for
the callback verifier
DORINFOx.DEF \VBBS "Drop file" (online user info) for
use with certain door programs
CHAIN .TXT \VBBS "Drop file" for door programs
DOOR .SYS \VBBS "Drop file" for door programs

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 100


The VNET.EXE is part of the VBBS package. It is the most
advanced Wide-Area Networking software in existence, providing
commercial and amateur networking installations a superior solu-
tion to any networking need. For more information on VNET.EXE,


VirtualNET is currently the largest of the hobbyist VNET-
based networks and, as of this writing, maintains over 500 net-
worked message areas and file databases that are shared inter-
Although there are many areas within the network, reflec-
ting a wide variety of interests, VirtualNET retains as its pri-
mary purpose the support of the VBBS/VNET software. That
nearly-famous support and the fast-growing network around it
have been online for nearly two years as of this writing.
You will find VirtualNET easy to get into and a lot of
fun to participate in. VirtualNET is friendly, casual, and
filled with a lot of great people inside what's become the
ever-increasing VirtualNET family (over 800 networked systems
as of this writing).

Join us! Networking your BBS with VirtualNET is quick,
easy, and quite affordable due to the efficiency of the VNET
design. Network "packets" are automatically compressed for
transmission, reducing the length of the transfer to 1/3 that
of sending uncompressed data. The network software can make
full use of the new HS/Link bi-directional protocol, which
can make network transfers even more efficient.
In addition, VirtualNET itself undergoes reorganizations
designed to minimize long-distance connections between "client"
BBSs and their "servers". While these can occasionally get a
little hairy as systems are moved from one VirtualNET "region"
to another, they're a necessary part of VirtualNET's growth and
dedication to maximum efficiency.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Although the software itself has a clearly
defined demonstration period which you are
expected to observe, registration is NOT
required to apply for a VirtualNET network
node assignment.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: VirtualNET, while proprietary to VNET and
VBBS by nature, is a separate entity from
the VBBS program. The VirtualNET Network
Coordinator (NC) reserves the ultimate
right of admission or exclusion concerning
the VirtualNET status of any VirtualNET

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 101

BBS, sysop, or applicant, irrespective of
VBBS/NET registration status, etc.

For more information on VirtualNET and the VNET.EXE pro-
gram, see NETGUIDE.DOC.

The Multi-Net

The unique and developing VBBS "Multi-Net" allows VBBS
sysops the capability of maintaining up to 999 different compu-
ter networks simultaneously. The Multi-Net is capable of han-
dling and nearly transparently "gating" private E-mail and net-
worked subs of VNET-, FIDO-, UUCP-, and WWIV-based networks and
others in an ever-expanding "Multi-Net".
Utility programs that enable the use of these networks
-- VWW4.EXE, VFIDO.EXE, VUUCP.EXE, and more to come -- are
freely available to VBBS sysops and operative during the
shareware trial period. They become inoperative if VBBS remains
unregistered after this time.
A master network list file (NETWORKS.LST) is maintained and ad-
ministered; it includes formal "slots" for VNettype networks and
completely sysop-configureable slots to use in conjunction with
any of the above network utilities.

In addition, up to 999 slots may be configured by sysops
who wish to create a local network of as few as two BBSes. There
is no maximum on the number of local network nodes permitted.
Please see LOCALNET.DOC for specific information.

For more information on the Multi-Net, please see the
documentation file MULTINET.DOC.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 102

VBBS software allows for a wide variety of utilities that Sysops
may find useful. Some are required, such as those that interface to
other networks. And some utilities just make VBBS more fun to use.

There are MANY fine utilities that are VBBS script MODs, or
source code MODs. Since you are able to get these MODs by way of
the Virtual Net Network, or fellow VBBS systems, it's better to
concentrate on EXTERNAL utilities that can be run outside of VBBS,
or are used by VBBS itself. These are utilities that are usually
EXE files. Below is a list of such utilities, and a description of
what they will do for you.

This utility documention file was written by Gene (Red Dog) Wells ,
1@1614017 VirtualNET.

--------------- Utilities By : Roland DeGraaf ---------------------
Virtual Technologies
VirtualNet Address 1 @1
BBS - 616-399-4818

VUUCP - VUUCP is a utility needed to interface UUCP style networks
to VBBS. This software requires VBBS registration to operate
after the shareware trial period and works in conjunction
with UUCP networking software. A copy of WAF165.ZIP (Waffle
BBS software ) and the UUCP files in it are needed.

VGIX - VGIX is a utility for VBBS 5.60 and up, that is used by you
and your users to take advantage of VBBS's graphical VGA
interface. It is an advancing terminal program that will
provide FULL VGA and mouse support while on-line.

VCDROM- VCDROM is a utility used with VBBS 5.60 and up that will
convert entire CD's to VBBS directories. It creates the
necessary files needed by VBBS, including the file

VXY - VXY is a specially written protocol driver that allows the
Sysop to have Xmodem, YModem, Ymodem-G, and Zmodem
protocols on the BBS without having to use DSZ. The main
purpose is to support VBBS methods of addressing COM port
addresses and IRQs. VXY (Unlike DSZ) will work under
unusual port configurations and with DigiBoards.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 103

------------- Utilities By : Neil J Marshall ---------------------
The TransAtlantic BBS
VirtualNet Address 1 @440
FIDO Net address 2:440/11

VFIDO - VFIDO is a utility needed to interface FIDO style networks
to VBBS. This software requires VBBS registration to
function after the shareware trial period and is directly
supported by VBBS's front end.

VDUPE - VDUPE is a utility that will scan message bases and file
bases and delete duplicate posts and file descriptions.
On file bases, it deletes the oldest file name in the

VLOGS - VLOGS is a utility that allows the Sysop to maintain
Network logs seperate from VBBS. If VBBS deletes a network
log VLOGS won't, allowing the Sysop to maintain up to a
year of Network log files.

VSUBS - VSUBS is a utility that allows a server to see what message
subs his clients are getting. If your client(S) are getting
a sub, you might as well set it up too. After all you're
paying to receive it.

VUSER - VUSER is a utility that allows the Sysop to delete users
on a MASS scale, usually by date. You can delete all users
who have not logged on in 6 months, or whatever time limit
you wish to set. And allows this by security level.

VNODE - VNODE is a utility that is used in the event you should
change your node number, or the network to which you belong.
VNODE will amend all reference to your old node number and
replace them with your new node number.

VAREA - VAREA is a utility to allow you to Subscribe and
unsubscribe to Virtual Net Meassage Areas. It will handle
AutoRequest, Secured, and AutoSubscription Areas.It creates
the necessary files for you and generates a message to the

VMASS - VMASS is a utility that will create MM files for you. It
will currently create MM file for the entire net,officials
in the net, or all nodes in a region. Works on Vnet type

----------------- Utilities by: Brian Dessent --------------------
Brian's Board
VirtualNET Address 1@9990

VWW4 - VWW4 is a utility needed to interface WWIV style
networks to VBBS. This software requires VBBS registration
to function after the shareware trial period and works in
conjuntion with WWIV networking software. Networks such
as WWIVnet, WWIVlink and IceNet are directly supported.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 104

VPKTPEEK - This utility allows viewing and editing of Virtual Net
pending mail packets. Read and delete messages in a packet
without disturbing the rest of the packet.

VREQ - This utility is used in conjunction with WWIV style
networks. It will send automatic Add/Drop Sub requests
adding or deleting the correct NNxxxxx.NEt file as needed.

----------------- Miscellaneous Utilities -------------------------

CVTUSER-This is a utility for Sysops who are converting from WWIV
software to VBBS. CVTUSER will convert your WWIV 4.2x
standard user list to VBBS format. This saves you from
having to type all your users into VBBS, or forcing them
to re-login as NEW.
Written By : Jake Blues

WW4DL2- This is a utility for Sysops who are converting from WWIV
software to VBBS. WW4DL2 will convert WWIV style file bases
to VBBS format.
Written By : Jerry Winfrey aka Dr. Pepper

STAT2 - This is a utility that allows the Sysop to edit BBS Stats
such as number of calls, posts, email, Days Online, and
Written By : SCOTT

QWKSORT - This utility takes all Subs with a NON-ZERO QWK number
and sorts them by QWK number numerically. This assures that
all QWK numbers are unique.
Written By : Jerry Winfrey aka Dr. Pepper

SUBLST - This utility creates a text list of BBS's that subscribe
to one of your Hosted Subs. It lists their node number,
BBS name, phone number, and baud supported.

UEDIT - This is a utility that greatly expands the Sysop's ability
to edit user records. It's a mouse compatible, pull down
menu editor that will even let you print mailing label from
your user list.
Written By : Scott

VTAG - This is a utility that allows the Sysop to change taglines
with an external program, making it much easier to do
Written By : Scott

CHECKIF - CHECKIF is a Utility that will scan all files areas for
files you have deleted, and will mark them as OFF-LINE for
you. Very handy if you want to mass delete files from DOS,
but you don't want to remove the file names and descriptions
from VBBS.
Written By : Beep

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 105

VLOG - VLOG Reads VDUPE.TXT created by VDUPE.EXE and writes a
file called dedupe.log. Running VLOG keeps a daily running
log file of dupe stats.
Written By : Gremlin

VCLR - VCLR is a utility that reads any text file and removes
redundant ^P color code changes. For use on bullitins and
Written By : Gremlin

VREAD - VREAD will let the Sysop read any text file that contains
^P color codes, and displays the text in color. Nice for
reading the new BBS logs created by VBBS from WFC.
Written By : Charles

TOPTEN - A free utility that generates .MNU files for Top Ten
Users. MNU's can then be read with a script or in a
the Bulletins section.

The Virtual Developer's Toolkit

With the advent of the new Virtual Developer's Toolkit,
the production and availability of new utilities, dedicated fea-
tures, and online games can soon be expected. The "Toolkit" is
a series of source-code routines and libraries that will enable
developers to create VBBS multi-user online utilities, games,
and applications with ease. The new Toolkit is expected to
produce many new modules for VBBS, and is a very powerful tool
for even intermediate-level "modders" to have in their VBBS
customization arsenal.

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Purchasers of the Virtual Developer's Tool-
kit are granted limited license regarding
the use and distribution of the resulting
.EXE files. The products developed through
this license may be copyrighted by you and
may be freeware, shareware, or commercial
in nature. In NO case, however, shall any
use of the Toolkit result in a distributed
executable program that is not exclusive
to use as an auxiliary program to VBBS/VNET

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 106


In ALL cases, acknowledgement should be
made within the executable result and ac-
companying documentation that credits the
copyrighted code of the VBBS author.


VBBS is a software that does not stand still -- ask anyone
who has been involved with VBBS and VirtualNET for any length of
time! 🙂 The near future will find VBBS with further enhance-
ments and system features through the wizardry of its author and
through the input of the growing number of VBBS sysops that have
begun to assemble internationally.
Plans for the immediate future include, as always, the
continuing and regular occurrence of improved, new, and added
features that find their way into the program with each succes-
sive release.


Roland De Graaf is 28 years old and does not sleep. Ear-
ning a following as a gifted programmer and program developer in
the U.S. and abroad, Roland's passion for the past two years has
been the continuing development of the Virtual BBS/NET software.
Born in 1964 with detached retinas from a premature birth,
Roland is legally blind. Although his sight is very weak, his
vision is intense and focused. He is blessed with a photographic
and audiographic memory, but above all else, he is blessed with
a drive to excel.
Under the deft helmsmanship of Roland De Graaf, VBBS con-
tinues sailing into the virtual blue water of cyberspace.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 107


Documentation Credits

Team Leader Richard Shell, a.k.a. "UT Prof"
#1 @ 1210001

VBBS610.DOC Sam Fleming, a.k.a. "O. F."
#1 @ 1205500 VirtualNET
Scott Call, a.k.a. "Zapo Zapper"
#1 @ 1510000 VirtualNET
Gene Wells, a.k.a. "Red Dog"
#1 @ 1614017 VirtualNet
Utilities information
Guy W. Tessum, a.k.a. "Keye"
#1 @ 4083 VirtualNET
Modems information
Bruce Grembowski, a.k.a "The Gremlin"
#1 @ 8180 VirtualNET
VQwk information
Patrick Murray, a.k.a. "Shark"
#1 @ 1919999 VirtualNET
Windows 3.1 information
David Bell
#1 @ 1203000 VirtualNET
Novell/LAN/OS2 information
Pete Vogel - "Myrage"
#1 @1904069 VirtualNET
DesqView information

VSCRIPT.DOC Kevin Klunk, a.k.a "Lord Doomslayer"
#2 @ 1508000 VirtualNET
Tom Hightower, a.k.a "Baloo"
#1 @ 1806000 VirtualNET
Dan Newcomer, a.k.a. "Lazarus Long"
#1 @ 1513000 VirtualNET
Thom Harris, a.k.a. "Da' Chief"
#1 @ 1617000 VirtualNET
Sam Fleming, a.k.a. "O. F."
#1 @ 1205000 VirtualNET

VBBSDOOR.DOC Kevin Klunk, a.k.a. "Lord Doomslayer"
#2 @ 1508000 VirtualNET
Thom Harris, a.k.a. "Da' Chief"
#1 @ 1617000 VirtualNET

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 108

NETGUIDE.DOC John Bok, a.k.a. "Snoop"
#1 @ 6160 VirtualNET
VirtualNET Network Coordinator

LOCALNET.DOC Rockielynn Greer, a.k.a. "Angelic Host"
#1 @2180 VirtualNET
#1 @ 9198 VirtualNET

USENET.DOC Mark Sapp, a.k.a. "The Mighty Quinn"
#1 @ 1205511 VirtualNET

VFIDO.DOC Neil J. Marshall
#1 @ 440 VirtualNET

FIDO.DOC John Grimes, a.k.a. "Big Daddy"
#1 @ 1214000 VirtualNET

VWW4.DOC Brian Dessent
#1 @ 9990 VirtualNET
Joe Weiss
#1 @ 1205602 VirtualNET

CD-ROM.DOC Con Cherry, a.k.a. Hezekiah
#1 @ 1210003

Programs Mentioned in the Documentation

DSZ.COM, DSZ.EXE, and GSZ.COM are external protocol driver pro-
ducts by Omen Technology, Inc.

HS/Link is a bi-directional external protocol driver by Samuel

PKZIP and PKUNZIP are file archiving programs by Phil Katz.

ARJ is a file archiving program by Robert K. Jung.

DCOM is an external DOS shell/text editor by Dave Frailey, of
DAC Micro Systems, Inc.

SPEEDISK is a disk optimization utility, part of Symantec's
Norton Utilities package.

SCAN and CLEAN are virus scanning and "disinfecting" programs
produced by McAfee Associates.

TheDraw is an ANSI drawing program written by TheSoft, Inc.

MS-DOS is a disk operating system produced by Microsoft Corp.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 109


The registration fee for VBBS, as of this writing is only $99.
You will receive a registration number, registration code, and a disk
containing the currrent VBBS release and source code.

In light of its features, configurability, and multinode capability,
this makes VBBS an unsurpassed value in telecommunications software.
Registration is a LIFETIME affair; once you have registered, you are
entitled to each successive VBBS upgrade/update, various network drivers
and other available utilities which will make your VBBS even MORE

Registrations are processed within 24 hours. There are
various options for delivery including standard U.S. Mail, UPS Red
shipping, and voice-line ordering service, including VISA/MasterCard.

The Virtual Developer's Toolkit is another optional fee;
it is available for a one-time fee of $49.00.

For more information on registration (and frequent new-
version "special offers"), see MAIL_REG.TXT.

For more information on VBBS, call the Virtual Technolo-
gies BBS 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (616) 399-4818 (node
1, with V.32/HST capability) or (616) 399-8791 (node 2, with V.32
bis capability).

Thank you for your interest in VBBS!

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 110


New sysops frequently have many questions about VBBS and
getting it set up properly; these are usually handled in the var-
ious support subs. There are, however, questions that keep crop-
ping up again and again as new sysops come online and into Vir-
tualNET. The following is a continuing compilation of the most-
asked questions about VBBS, taken from the file MOSTASKD.DOC on
the author's "Virtual Technologies" BBS; other material has been
added as needed.


Q: VBBS seems to be reinitializing the modem every 5 minutes.

A: VBBS checks to see if it needs to dial out for network trans-
fers every so often. The interval is defined under the MAIN
Configuration screen of VCONFIG. The default is 300, which
is 5 minutes. You may wish to adjust this option to better
suit your needs.


Q: I've added new networked subs, but they don't seem to be get-
ting out, or anything coming in.

A: Make sure you run "Compile Network Info" from the DATABASE
Configuration screen in VCONFIG every time you make changes
to the way your subs are networked.


Q: I have trouble getting VBBS to answer the phone; The modem
picks up for 2 seconds, and then hangs back up before a con-
nection can be made.

A: Make sure S0=0 and E0 are part of your VBBS modem init string.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 111

Q: I have trouble getting VBBS to answer the phone; The modem
picks up, but when the connection is made, and the modem
passes the result back to VBBS, VBBS hangs up.

A: This problem tends to be more frequent with some of the newer,
low-cost V32/V32bis modems, but it can be easily fixed through
proper configuration of the modem.

Some of the newer, low-cost V.32/V.32bis modems have different
ways of returning result codes. The key is telling the modem
to report the correct format which is compatible with VBBS.

For example, one of the modems I have here can be told to re-
port the connect results 3 different ways:


In this format, VBBS connects OK, but the modem reports
the wrong baud rate back to the computer. The DTE rate is
the rate at which the computer talks to the modem, and in
most cases, this never varies.

2) Super Extended Result Codes

This format isn't compatible with anything. In this for-
mat, 3 or 4 separate lines are displayed, in a format like:



This is the one we want. The DCE rate is the speed of the
modem-to-modem connection, which is what we want. When
this format is used, VBBS will work just fine.

To configure my modem to use the correct format (#3), I send it
ATW2. The proper command for your modem may vary. Check the
modem manual.


Q: I've added new topic areas, but they don't show up when I
try to list them from the BBS.

A: Line 2 of every FB file (Function Block) controls what topics
(database groups) are enabled at the current FB prompt.

For example, line 2 of the default START.FB that comes with
VBBS looks like:


It enables topic A only. If you added message-base topics

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 112

B, C, and D, your line 2 should look like:


Line 2 of the default FILES.FB that comes with VBBS looks like:


It enables topic F only. If you added more file-base topics,
for example G, H, and I, your line 2 should look like:



Q: When I try to display a network listing, it doesn't print

A: Each network interface utility (VNET, VWW4, VUUCP, VFIDO) is
responsible for generating network listings for its type of
network. Normally, generation of these lists is automatic,
whenever a new BBSLIST or NODELIST is received. However, new
installations may need to "jump-start" their network listings
as follows:

VNET: Use the command


VWW4: Delete file BBSDATA.IDX in your WWIVnet DATA directory
and use the command


VUUCP: Not applicable.

VFIDO: Use the command

VFIDO /A NETWORKID=# (normally 4)

"#" in the above examples refers to the networks ID #, as
given in the NETWORKS.LST network masterlist file.


Q: The call-back verifier refuses to verify.

A: The file that MUST be set up in order for the callback veri-
fier to work is called ALLOWED.CBV, and it should be located
in the VBBS \DATA directory.

The format for the file is ASCII, one entry per line, as fol-


VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 113

where XXX is the area code, YYY is the prefix, Z is a "speci-
fier" that tells the CBV how to dial this area code-prefix com-

Specifier Type of Call How Dialed

+ Local YYY-????
- LD within Area Code 1-YYY-????
$ LD outside Area Code 1-XXX-YYY-????
/ Local outside Area Code XXX-YYY-????

RESTRICT.CBV specifies the list of RESTRICTED phone numbers that
may not be dialed; it is not essential that this file be set up,
but if you're going to use the CBV, you NEED to set it up. The
individual sysops who use the CBV are responsible for any char-
ges incurred by its use.


Q: I want to make a neat tagline for my BBS. How do I do it?

A: First of all, keep in mind the limits on system taglines in

1) Maximum of 3 lines
2) Maximum of 300 bytes
3) Heart-code ANSI colors ONLY

Go into an ANSI drawing program (like TheDraw) and draw the
tagline you want; block-save it in ASCII format. Then, en-
ter VBBS and use the [E]dit Any File option from the Sysop
Menu to bring the tagline file into the FSE. There, you can
use the [Ctrl-P] color-change feature to add color to the
tagline. Once you're satisfied with it, save the file.

Because the FSE saves the heart-codes for ANY color changes
you make inside it -- even experimental color changes -- you
should bring the tagline back into the DOS 5.0 editor or some
other text editor, where the heart-codes will become visible.
Delete any unnecessary color-change codes. Save the file

To check to see if the tagline meets the byte limit, use the
trusty DIR command:


If the size of the file is greater than 300 bytes, you need
to edit it down some.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 114


Running VBBS under Microsoft Windows 3.0 or 3.1 can
sometimes seem to be an impossible dream, but with a little twea-
king, it can not only be done, but done well enough to run two
high-speed remote nodes as well as a local login.

Minimum Requirements

For a single remote-plus-local system, you'll need a
386DX/25 (or higher) CPU and an absolute minimum of four megs of
RAM. Performance improves dramatically with additional RAM (8
megs is recommended) and higher CPU speeds. For a two remote-
plus-local, your machine should be a 386/33 with eight megs of
RAM (again, a minimum baseline).

Setting Up Your .PIF

The most critical single element is your .PIF (Program
Information File). The more carefully you design the .PIF, the
better your system will run. Below are suggested "starter" set-
tings for yours:

In Basic .PIF Setup

Program Filename: C:\VBBS\BBS.EXE
Window Title: VBBS Online
Optional Parameters: 1 (BBS.EXE commandline parameters go
Start-up Directory: C:\VBBS

Video Memory: Text
Memory Requirements: KB Required: -1 KB Desired: -1
EMS Memory: KB Required: 0 KB Desired: 0
XMS Memory: KB Required: 0 KB Desired: 0

Display Usage: Full Screen
Execution: Background (selected)
Close Window on Exit: Yes (selected)

In Advanced Options

1) Multitasking Options:
Background Priority: 200 (400 for high-speed modems)
Foreground Priority: 200 (350 for high-speed modems)
Detect Idle Time: Yes (selected)

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 115

2) Memory Options:
Lock Application Memory (selected)

3) Display Options:

4) Other Options:

In Windows Control Panel -- 386 Enhanced

1) Device Contention:
See discussion on COMports, below

2) Scheduling:
Windows in Foreground: 200
Windows in Background: 1 (see Note 1)
Exclusive in Foreground: OFF (unchecked)

Note 1: This setting can be higher if you really need
WinApp activity in the background.

3) Minimum Timeslice:
10-12 (for 25 MHz CPUs)
8-10 (for 33 MHz CPUs)
6-8 (for 40+ MHz CPUs)

4) Virtual Memory:
This option controls Windows' "swap file" where it can
move inactive applications out of RAM and onto the hard
drive temporarily. It is imperative that you create a per-
permanent Swap File of 2-6 meg to speed any swapping ac-

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are creating a Permanent Swap File
for the first time, be sure to optimize
your selected partition BEFORE you create
the Swap File!

Select 32-Bit Access to maximize data transfer to and
from the hard drive.

5) COMports:
If you are running a 9600 baud or faster modem, be sure
to lock that port in Control Panel, Ports. Windows 3.1
will allow locking up to 19200 baud; if you are running a
FOSSIL driver (such as BNU or X00), you can safely lock
the FOSSIL at a higher rate without threatening your Win-
dows environment.

Also, make sure you set Flow Control to "Hardware" for
high-speed modems.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 116

6) Conflicts:
Often, computers ship with bizarre hardware configura-
tions, some with COMports 1 and 4 occupied by a modem
and a mouse. Make sure you do not introduce problems by
introducing a second modem on an already-occupied port
address or IRQ. Just because you have four COMports on
an ISA-bus computer doesn't mean you can use all
four without conflicts. There are only two IRQs avail-
able for them.

In Control Panel, 386 Enhanced, select "Never Warn" for
your active COMport. This will prevent Windows from
opening a "COMport Contention" dialog box when an online
user selects a game that does its own COM writes (thus
locking the port until you intervene).

Just make sure that you do not inadvertantly attempt to
seize the BBS COMport for your own use from another win-


Under the heading [386Enh], add or modify the following
lines as necessary for your system:

COMxBuffer=1024 (where x is your modem port)
COMxFIFO=1 (where x is a port controlled by a
NS16550AFN buffered UART)
COMxAutoAssign=0 (where x is a "no conflict" COMport)

Additional Hints

þ The use of a FOSSIL driver for the BBS can many times resolve
nagging problems with BBS-external programs, such as games.
Two widely used FOSSIL drivers in the BBS community are BNU
and X00. As discussion of FOSSIL drivers and setup is beyond
the scope of this document, please refer to the documentation
accompanying the drivers, and, if using one, make sure to set
"Use FOSSIL Driver" to "Yes" in VCONFIG.

þ Since VBBS is DesqView-aware, consider using the small TSR,
DV2WIN.EXE. This utility will make a DV-aware program yield
unneeded time slices more readily under Windows. Also, in
VCONFIG set MultiTasker Awareness to the Windows/OS2 setting.

þ Replace your DSZ protocol driver with the newer GSZ, which is
much better suited to sharing resources in a Windows environ-
ment. With a 14400 data transfer in background, DSZ effec-
tively locks the local user's window; with GSZ, the transfer

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 117

is barely noticeable.

þ Make sure all .PIFs for DOS applications have a Background
Priority of 1 and have the Exclusive Execution box deselected.

þ If at all possible, put your mouse on COM1 and your modem on
COM2. Avoid the COM1/4 or COM2/3 setups (and certainly do NOT
use COM1/3 or 2/4 together on an ISA-bus machine). Remember,
COM2 is serviced before COM1.

þ Avoid running the BBS in a windowed display, especially if
there are other windows open on the desktop. Video conflicts
can wreak havoc with the BBS!

þ Consider replacing Windows' COMM.DRV with one of several
after-market COM drivers, such as TurboCom (Bio-Engineering
Research Labs, Berkeley, CA) or, for multi-port COM cards
(such as the VBBS-supported DigiBoard), W3COM9 (Cherry Hill
Software, Marlton, NJ).

þ Never be afraid to experiment with .PIF and Control Panel
settings. Your results are dependent on your machine, setup
and use of the computer.

ÉÍ» Running VBBS under Windows can sometimes overwhelm you.
Èͼ It CAN be done (and is being done by many sysops). Feel
free to ask questions in any of the VirtualNET support
subs; you may also want to consider carrying "Windows
Workshop" (VirtualNET autorequest sub #6090).

More Windows reading: Windows 3.1 Secrets, by Brian
Livingston (IDG Books Worldwide, San Mateo, CA)

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 118


Multinode Specific Concerns and Problems

VBBS was written from the beginning to run multinode using
multitasking software or LANs or both. As a rule, filesharing is
not a problem, however, a message such as "System rescource in use
by another. One Moment Please..." may pop up from time to time.
This is to done to coordinate writes from multiple nodes to a
single database simultaneously, and should not be a common
occurrence. Without this feature, data would be lost of databases
corrupted. Make sure DOS's SHARE is run on systems that support
it for proper operation of this feature. Novell Netware has it's
own file locking system, and is fully compatible with VBBS.

Start each copy of VBBS with a different channel number.


BBS 0 (start channel 0, local channel)
BBS 1 (start channel 1, remote channel)
BBS 2 (start channel 2, remote channel)
BBS 64 (start channel 64, remote channel)

DESQview 386 (Quarterdeck Office Systems)

VBBS multitasks under DESQview, but REQUIRES that you use a FOSSIL
driver. VBBS under DESQview can support multiple users.
You will need at least 2 MB of RAM to run 2 or 3 copies of VBBS.

V1-PIF.DVP is an example DESQview PIF file for VBBS.

You will need a PIF file for each copy of VBBS you intend to run.
each PIF will have a different channel # entered into the command
line parameters field of the PIF file.

If you wish to set DESQview settings manually (making your own PIF
files), here are some example settings from a working system:

Virtual BBS 6.10 window for DESQview 2.40
Setup by: Dr. Feelgood 1@9044 VirtualNet

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 119


Change a Program

Program Name............: Virtual BBS Port 0

Keys to Use on Open Menu: V0 Memory Size (in K): 480

Program...: C:\VBBS\DV.BAT


Directory.: C:\VBBS
Writes text directly to screen.......: [Y]
Displays graphics information........: [Y]
Virtualize text/graphics (Y,N,T).....: [Y]
Uses serial ports (Y,N,1,2)..........: [N]
Requires floppy diskette.............: [N]

Press F1 for advanced options Press ÄÙ when you are DONE



Change a Program Advanced Options

System Memory (in K).......: 0
Maximum Program Memory Size (in K)..:
Script Buffer Size.......: 0
Maximum Expanded Memory Size (in K):
Text Pages: 4
Graphics Pages: 2
Initial Mode:
Interrupts: 00 to FF
Window Position:
Maximum Height: 25
Starting Height: 25
Starting Row...: 1
Maximum Width.: 80
Starting Width.: 80
Starting Column: 1
Shared Program
Close on exit (Y,N,blank)......: [N]
Uses its own colors..............: [Y]
Allow Close Window command.....: [Y]
Runs in background (Y,N,blank)...: [Y]

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 120

Uses math coprocessor..........: [Y]
Keyboard conflict (0-F)..........: [0]
Share CPU when foreground......: [Y]
Share EGA when foreground/zoomed.: [Y]
Can be swapped out (Y,N,blank).: [N]
Protection level (0-3)...........: [0]

Press F1 for standard options Press ÄÙ when you are DONE


VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 121


OS/2 2.1 is a solid new operating system, capable of running
nearly all DOS applications. VBBS is no exception. However,
native OS/2 applications run much better (faster and more
efficiently) under OS/2 than do DOS applications. For this
reason, you are urged to try the new VBBS OS/2 version which
is specific to this platform.

In order for DOS communications programs to run with high speed
modems, they require a great deal of CPU attention under OS/2,
degrading overall system performance significantly.
For this reason, if OS/2 2.1x is to be used for multinode VBBS,
VBBS-DOS may not be as suitable as the VBBS OS/2 version.
(See VBBS-OS2.DOC). The DOS version of VBBS, however, has been
optimized for use under OS/2 in this 6.10 release using the
INT 2F facility provided for optimizing time slices.

For one VBBS-DOS node (or two if you have a 386/40 or greater),
the following is recommended:

~ 386SX/25 or Greater CPU
~ 8 Megabites of DRAM minimum
~ 90 Megabite HD Minimum
~ Use OS2SPEED.ZIP to allow VBBS to give up timeslices to OS/2,
simulating DESQview operation

Set DOS settings in OS/2 as follows:

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 122



With a LAN (Local Area Network), you don't need multitasking
software. However, use of a LAN does not preclude the use of
multitasking software.

When using a LAN, workstations (and the server, if non-dedicated)
can be used to run one copy of VBBS each. Each copy, of course,
must run on its own unique channel number.

One of the advantages of a LAN setup is that hardware-wise, the
maximum COM port limitation disappears. Thus, there are versions
of VBBS up to 64 users, intended for LAN installations. Versions
supporting more than 64 users are available by special request.

Another advantage is that you can run the many inexpensive games,
doors, transfer protocols, etc. already available because no
special COM handling is needed.

Often, the cost of networking software and hardware is easily
offset when one considers that most of the PCs on the network
will not require a hard drive - only the file server, whose hard
drive is shared with all of its clients. Additionally, data
security becomes easier, because now all PC's can share one com-
mon database, and one can be managed easier (backed up, etc.)
than several.

Businesses considering VBBS may consider a LAN as well, as VBBS
and many other applications can co-reside on the server, running
simultaneously. Users only have access to that which the net-
work administration allows them access to, so confidential book-
keeping or word-processing files are invisible to say, VBBS
users, engineering sorts or whomever is not supposed to have
access. LANs combined with multitasking software make VBBS a
valuable and cost-efficient business tool for customer support
as well as any other day-to-day business computing needs.

Multiuser Bulletin Board Systems run on LAN set-ups offer the
highest performance available; this is very important when many
high-speed modem lines are to be used.

With the cost of 286/386 motherboards and LAN hardware dropping
constantly, a multi-user LAN-based VBBS is more affordable than
one might think.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 123

VBBS 6.10 has been tested and known to be compatible with:

Novell Netware / Ethernet
Novell Lite / Ethernet
LANtastic NOS / 2 MB
LANtastic NOS / Ethernet

This is not an exhaustive list. VBBS should be compatible with
most any DOS LAN environment.

LAN Pointers

All LANs are not created equal. This discussion is intended to
provide an overview of more common LAN options to help the VBBS
sysop gain a basic understanding of LANs. There are two basic
types of LANs, with many different LAN software vendors and
several types of network cards used for each type.

The first type of LAN, called "peer-to-peer" networking, allows
one PC to share resources (hard drives, floppies, printers, etc.)
with another PC and vice versa. The second type employs a "dedi-
cated file server" and all PC's access network programs and data-
bases from the LAN's dedicated fileserver(s). Both of these sys-
tems have their strong and weak points, and sometimes features
can be intermixed.

Both LAN types can use ARCnet (2.25 MBPS data transfer rates),
Ethernet (10 MBPS), Super ARCnet (12.5 MBPS) or Token Ring (4 or
16 MBPS). Currently, Ethernet is regarded as providing the most
bang for the buck, with its 10 MBPS throughput and the price of
Ethernet cards falling below $100.00 each in the mail order
market. With most types of networking, one LAN card per PC would
be required. It is not recommended to use networks employing the
use of the PC's parallel or serial ports, as those types of LANs
are too slow to provide a fast enough interface for a VBBS user.
Use the fastest LAN cards you can afford.

VBBS was designed and tested on a LANtastic 2 MB/sec LAN.
It does very well on this relatively slow hardware platform;
speed is excellent, given the limitations of the hardware.
However, faster LANs (ie..10 MB/sec) run noticeably faster.
(Note: The disk I/O optimizations made in VBBS will result
in speed increases over all platforms, LAN, or non-LAN. Even
XTs should run considerably faster.)

All path specifications under VCONFIG "System Paths" must be
set to a drive which is shared among the entire network. This is
easily accomplished with most networks. With Novell Lite, for
example, clients only need to load CLIENT.EXE after loading the
network drivers, then map the net drive. The server, however,
must load BOTH SERVER.EXE and CLIENT.EXE, and map the net drive
the SAME WAY the clients do. This may result in replicating the
"C" drive as logical drive "F" or whatever. Though in reality

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 124

the "F" drive is really just another label for the "C" drive,
this will be necessary for proper network operation. All VBBS
nodes must look to the same path.

If necessary, FLAG all VBBS files as SHARABLE, READ/WRITE.

Synchronize all of the clocks on your work stations.
(Most networks let you set your workstation clock from the net-
work server's clock; this is done automatically with Novell Net-

LANtastic (Artisoft)

LANtastic was designed to be a peer-to-peer type network, but a
dedicated fileserver can be set as well. LANtastic is among the
most stable of peer-to-peer type Network Operating Systems, but
its performance as a dedicated file server falls below that of
dedicated Netware. Net cards for LANtastic a proprietary, making
them more expensive. Novell NE-1000 and NE-2000 compatible
Ethernet cards may also be used, but adaptors must be used in
conjunction with these cards to make them work with LANtastic,
raising the price significantly.

Costs for a two-node Ethernet LANtastic setup for software,
cabling and netcards run between $475.00 to $550.00. Additional
workstations are added by purchasing additional netcards for each
new workstation at about $175 each. The practical limit of this
type of network would be about 10 nodes, though the software will
allow many more.

These prices reflect current market prices only, and may vary with
different vendors and market conditions.

Novell Lite (Novell)

At this writing, Novell Lite is at revision 1.1. It is a peer-
to-peer networking system not as stable as LANtastic, but is in
use with Multinode VBBS successfully. Novell Lite can also be
used to set up a dedicated file server. One advantage of Novell
Lite is that it can use many of the generic low-cost netcards
available on the market today without any special adaptors.

Costs for a two-node Ethernet Novell Lite setup for software,
cabling and netcards run between $400.00 to $475.00. Additional
nodes are added by purchasing a copy of Novell Lite and a net-
card for each workstation to be added, up to 25, but the prac-
tical limit would be about ten nodes. Again, these prices re-
flect current market prices only, and may vary with different
vendors and market conditions.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 125

Novell Netware 2.2 and 3.1x (Novell)

Novell Netware has captured the lion's share of the LAN market,
for good reason. Novell is revered as the best network opera-
ting system available, period. Out of the box, Netware 3.11 can
not only interface DOS machines, but PC's using Windows, OS/2,
and Macintosh machines. PCs and workstations running UNIX and
main and mini-mainframes can also be interfaced to Netware 3.11
with the purchase of additional software modules through Novell.

Both 3.1x and 2.2 DEDICATED Netware load DOS initially, then load
their own operating system, then totally remove DOS from the ser-
ver's NOS environment. Netware utilizes its own file system,
making its own hard drive partitions, which support extended at-
tributes, increased security over DOS based NOSes and much im-
proved disk performance. Additionally, Netware partitions are
not prone to disk fragmenting and data corruption to the extent
that DOS NOSes are.

Although 2.2 will not allow true "peer-to-peer" style networking,
it will allow the file server to log onto the network as a work-
station, though this will decrease performance of the server
significantly as it runs DOS tasks as well as its tasks as file
server. Netware is seldom used in this manner; in fact, Netware
3.x does not allow the server to be used as anything other than
a dedicated server.

However, Artisoft LANtastic for Netware and Novell Lite can both
be used in conjunction with dedicated Netware to incorporate the
best of both worlds -- the rock-solid performance and security
of dedicated Netware along with the utility of peer-to-peer net-

Netware 2.2 and 3.11 will serve those interested in dedicated
Netware for DOS, Windows and OS/2 PC's equally. 2.2 will run on
a 286, 3.11 requires a 386SX. Because its own operating system
is optimized for file serving and its disk management is far
superior to DOS, it provides superior connectivity. Novell's
Netware is the system of choice for those planning large LANs.
For those who can go a few extra bucks, it is still a great
choice for small LANs.

The price for Netware 2.2 starts around $500.00 for a 5-user
version, with Ethernet cards available for under $100.00 each.
One card is necessary for each node and one for the fileserver.
Again, these prices reflect current market prices only, and may
vary with different vendors and market conditions.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 126


Heart Ctrl-P
Code Code Color Combination

1 0 White (grey) on black
2 1 Intense cyan on black
3 2 Intense yellow on black
4 3 Magenta on black
5 4 Intense white on blue
6 5 Intense green on black
7 6 Intense red on black
8 7 Intense blue on black
9 8 Brown on black
10 9 Cyan on black
11 A Green on black
12 B Intense magenta on black
13 C Intense white on black
14 D Intense yellow on red
15 E Intense cyan on red
16 F White (grey) on red
17 G Blue on green
18 H Red on yellow
19 I Blue on yellow
20 J Yellow on blue
21 K Cyan on blue
22 L White (grey) on blue
23 M White (grey) on magenta
24 N Black on cyan
25 O Black on white (grey)
26 P Red on white (grey)
27 Q Blue on white (grey)
28 R Intense white on white (grey)
29 S Intense red on white (grey)
30 T Intense blue on white (grey)
31 U Intense white on black
32 V Black on red
33 W Black on blue
34 X Black on magenta
35 Y Intense white on green
36 Z Intense white on cyan

When coding color changes, it's usually best to stick with the
values in the second column; most of the time, it's easier to
keep up with something like "U" rather than "31".

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 127


"Unprintable" Characters

Num- Sym- Ctrl Ctrl Num- Sym- Ctrl Ctrl
ber bol Code Key ber bol Code Key

0 NUL ^@ 16 DLE ^P
1 SOH ^A 17 DC1 ^Q
2 STX ^B 18 DC2 ^R
3 ETX ^C 19 DC3 ^S
4 EOT ^D 20 DC4 ^T
5 ENQ ^E 21 NAK ^U
6 ACK ^F 22 SYN ^V
7 BEL ^G 23 ETB ^W
8 BS ^H 24 CAN ^X
9 HT ^I 25 EM ^Y
10 LF ^J 26 SUB ^Z
11 VT ^K 27 ESC ^[
12 FF ^L 28 FS ^\
13 CR ^M 29 GS ^]
14 SO ^N 30 RS ^^
15 SI ^O 31 US ^_

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 128

Printable Characters

Num- Sym- Num- Sym- Num- Sym- Num- Sym-
ber bol ber bol ber bol ber bol
32 spc 81 Q 130 ‚ 179 ³
33 ! 82 R 131 ƒ 180 ´
34 " 83 S 132 „ 181 µ
35 # 84 T 133 … 182 ¶
36 $ 85 U 134 † 183 ·
37 % 86 V 135 ‡ 184 ¸
38 & 87 W 136 ˆ 185 ¹
39 ' 88 X 137 ‰ 186 º
40 ( 89 Y 138 Š 187 »
41 ) 90 Z 139 ‹ 188 ¼
42 * 91 [ 140 Œ 189 ½
43 + 92 \ 141  190 ¾
44 , 93 ] 142 Ž 191 ¿
45 - 94 ^ 143  192 À
46 . 95 _ 144  193 Á
47 / 96 ` 145 ‘ 194 Â
48 0 97 a 146 ’ 195 Ã
49 1 98 b 147 “ 196 Ä
50 2 99 c 148 ” 197 Å
51 3 100 d 149 • 198 Æ
52 4 101 e 150 – 199 Ç
53 5 102 f 151 — 200 È
54 6 103 g 152 ˜ 201 É
55 7 104 h 153 ™ 202 Ê
56 8 105 i 154 š 203 Ë
57 9 106 j 155 › 204 Ì
58 : 107 k 156 ¥ 205 Í
59 ; 108 l 157  206 Î
60 < 109 m 158 ž 207 Ï
61 = 110 n 159 Ÿ 208 Ð
62 > 111 o 160   209 Ñ
63 ? 112 p 161 ¡ 210 Ò
64 @ 113 q 162 ¢ 211 Ó
65 A 114 r 163 £ 212 Ô
66 B 115 s 164 ¤ 213 Õ
67 C 116 t 165 ¥ 214 Ö
68 D 117 u 166 ¦ 215 ×
69 E 118 v 167 § 216 Ø
70 F 119 w 168 ¨ 217 Ù
71 G 120 x 169 © 218 Ú
72 H 121 y 170 ª 219 Û
73 I 122 z 171 « 220 Ü
74 J 123 { 172 ¬ 221 Ý
75 K 124 | 173 ­ 222 Þ
76 L 125 } 174 ® 223 ß
77 M 126 ~ 175 ¯ 224

The drawing characters (176-223) actually line up under each
other; the staggered spacing used here is for clarity in rea-

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 129


This document was written by Con Cherry, aka Hezekiah. Every
effort has been made to be as accurate as possible, hoping to
serve the needs of those who are wishing to use their CD-ROM
capability to it's fullest.

VirtualBBS is able to support the use of Compact Disks for it's
Transfer Files feature. There are many outstanding CD's on the
market today with hundreds of megabytes of shareware programs on
each one just waiting to be accessed by your users. This is an
excellent way to provide thousands of programs and files for
download with minimal effort and space.

Basic Requirements
The basic requirements for utilizing this feature are:

1. A Compact Disk player for computer use.
2. A Shareware CD
3. Utilities: VCDROM11.EXE, FBBSCV12.EXE, CKIF560A.EXE
4. A copy of VirtualBBS of course!

Hardware Setup

It seems to be the consensus of several sysops consulted that
using D: as the drive letter for your CD-ROM does not always work
well. It is better to use E: - Z:. Why this is true is not exactly
known, and it may have to do with the particular device driver
your brand of CD player uses. Most use MSCDEX (Micro Soft Compact
Disk Device Driver).

Usually, upon the installation of your CD player, the CD software
assigns "the next available drive letter" to your CD player. If
this will assign D: as the drive letter for CD player, this might
be the perfect opportunity to set up a small RAM drive for your
BBS. It will not only make your BBS sail faster along and reduce
Hard Drive searches for menus, function blocks, and scripts, but
will use D: as it's drive letter, thereby "kicking" the CD player
down to use E:. See OPTIMIZING VBBS in VBBS610.DOC.

Getting Started
The next step is to get VBBS to read, and somehow upload the info
on the CD to the VBBS files database so that your users may down
load from it. There are 2 utilities to do this: VCDROM11.EXE,
which works with NightOwl's CD's, and PC SIG CD's, (but NOT
including PC SIG 11), and FBBSCV12.EXE, which will work on all
CD's that have ASCII directories with descriptions that correspond
to the directories on the CD containing the files themselves.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 130

VCDROM11.EXE will work ONCE with NightOwl's CD, since it creates
the .dat and .bin files called "DIR1.DAT, DIR1.BIN, DIR2.DAT,
DIR2.BIN", etc. If you should decide to use an additional NightOwl
's CD, the .dat and .bin files would need different names. This is
easily accomplished by using FBBSCV12.EXE.

The basic idea, here, is to 1). Create the .DAT and .BIN files
required by VBBS to interface with the compact disk, and, 2).
Upload the CD info to the TRANSFER FILES area.

ASCII Description Files
There are two components to the CD which require our attention:
The ASCII descriptions of the programs on the CD, and the
directories which contain the actual programs.

The ASCII descriptions are the descriptions of the downloadable
programs written in text that can be read using an ordinary text
editor or word-processor. Generally, there will be a directory
containing the descriptions for each directory of programs.

The .DAT and .BIN Files
You might ask: "What are .dat and .bin files?" These are the
files which VBBS creates in the \VBBS\DB directory as you put
information into the message and files databases in VCONFIG.
VBBS interprets these files as the descriptions and filenames

To create .dat and .bin files using VCDROM11.EXE, place it in an
empty temporary directory on your Hard Drive. Type VCDROM. It will
prompt you for the drive letter of your CD ROM drive. Let's say,
for example, your CD ROM drive letter is E:. Type E. It will then
ask you if you are using PC SIG, or NightOwl's CD. (at present,
VCDROM.EXE only supports these two). Let's say you are using
NightOwl's. Select NightOwl's. The program will automatically
begin creating the .dat and .bin files. Once it has finished, you
now have a complete set of .dat and .bin files ready for use with
the CD. Copy these files to the \VBBS\DB directory.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 131

Uploading Files Made with VCDROM11.EXE
To upload the programs on the CD to the files database in VBBS,
go to VCONFIG. In this example, (using VCDROM11.EXE), the FILENAME
to enter will simply be: DIR1. The PATH will be: E:\ (VCDROM11.EXE
writes information into the .dat and .bin files which lets VBBS
know that they are CD ROM files; therefore, *ONLY* the E:\, or
whatever your CD ROM drive letter is, is necessary). The LONG
DESCRIPTION will be the name of the first topic on your
CD which corresponds to DIR1, i.e. "Alternate Op Systems", in the
case of NightOwl's #7. Do this for each topic you desire to
upload. Make sure to sort and compile the data after you're

If you used VCDROM11.EXE to convert a PC-SIG CD, it will have made
.dat, .bin, and .fdx files. Copy these to your \VBBS\DB directory.
The upload procedure is the same, due to the particularly nasty
format of PC-SIG, VCDROM11.EXE converts the entire CD into ONE
complete database group. You CANNOT split it into topics.

The listing of programs in the Transfer Files area will show up
with ONLY the name of the program (which will be "Diskxxxxx" which
tells the user nothing). The description of the program will show
up in the "extended description". It will be up to you to somehow
let your users know where and how the descriptions may be found.

I recommend using a door program with PC-SIG since it does not
have ASCII descriptions. The file descriptions are hard coded into
a hyper-reader menu format.

Another method to use shareware CD's with VBBS is to use the
utility called FBBSCV12.EXE. Again, make sure your CD has ASCII
text directories with the descriptions for the programs on the
actual directories containing the programs on the CD.

EXAMPLE: DIR1 contains the ASCII descriptions for directory 001A
on the CD. DIR2 contains the ASCII descriptions for directory
001B on the CD.

Where 001A may be "Games" and 001B may be "Recipes", etc.

Copy the ASCII description directories to a temporary directory on
your Hard Drive. Type FLBCVT. It will prompt you for "Name of file
to convert:" Type DIR1 (or whatever the ASCII description filename
is on your CD). Then it will prompt you for "VBBS Database
Filename:" Type a filename that will be easy to remember and
different than any others.

Example: For NightOwl's #8 CD, I used "8NOCD1" to convert DIR1,
which would correspond with directory 001A on my CD.

FBBSCV12 then created the .dat and .bin files for that directory.
They were called 8NOCD1.dat, and 8NOCD1.bin.

Do this for each directory, then copy the .dat and .bin files to
your \VBBS\DB directory.

VBBS 6.10 Documentation -- 132
Uploading Files Made by FBBSCV12.EXE
To upload the programs on the CD to the files database in VBBS,
go to VCONFIG. Continuing with our example above, the FILENAME
will be: 001A. The PATH will be: E:\8NOCD1. (Note: the path is
complete, here, not partial as in the case with VCDROM11.EXE). The
LONG DESCRIPTION would be: Games. Make sure to sort and compile
the data when you're finished.

Using the CKIF560A.EXE Utility
Not all CD's are the same. Ocasionally, a CD uploaded in the
manner described above, still will show a "File Missing" message
when a user tries to download. In almost every case this can be
corrected by running CKIF560A.EXE. This utility will automatically
toggle the files on your CD "online". Start CKIF560A.EXE and let
it run. This will take quite some time since most CD's have up to
650 Megabytes to toggle online. This would be a good time to grab
a twinkie, or some other sysop type food!

--> IMPORTANT NOTE: Some sysops are using a utility called
VLOAD56A.EXE to convert ASCII descriptions
to VBBS files descriptions. If you choose
to try this you *MUST* run CKIF560A.EXE to
toggle files online.

Good Luck to All!
These methods should work well to get you started using CD-ROM
drives and shareware compact disks with VirtualBBS, allowing users
to access and download files straight from your VBBS Transfer
Files databases. It has been my experience that users as well as
other SysOps will appreciate your BBS all the more.

Please note that there are other utilities being written almost
daily by others that will prove to be extremely useful to CD-ROM

  3 Responses to “Category : BBS Programs+Doors
Archive   : VBBS61A2.ZIP
Filename : VBBS610.DOC

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: