PC-IGNITION Version 1.4
John D Baker (C) Copyright 1986
This program may be used at no charge, given away to friends, and
posted on computer bulletin boards. If you find this program useful,
please print and send the Registration Form in the file REGFORM.DOC,
registration fee is $10.00
The author shall not be held for any liability arising out of the use
of the programs described in this document, and/or of this document
itself, or any modification thereof.
System Requirements...................... 1
What This Program Does................... 2
Who's In Control......................... 2
Getting Started.......................... 3
Adding New Users......................... 4
Changing Passwords....................... 4
Design The Logon Display................. 5
Screen Colors............................ 5
Sub Directories.......................... 6
Alarm Sensitivity........................ 6
Telling DOS How Much Ram To Use.......... 6
When To Run PC-IGNITION.................. 8
Setting The Switches:
Setting The Switches..................... 9
Ram Expansion Boards..................... 9
Config.Sys Files......................... 10
Ram Disk................................. 11
Print Spoolers........................... 11
Non DOS Programs......................... 11
Using RAMOUNT............................ 12
Setting Switch Block #2.................. 12
Error Messages........................... 14
Problems and Solutions................... 15
IBM-PC/XT, or 100% Compatible
PC-DOS, or MS-DOS Operating System (Version 2.0, or 2.1)
64K Bytes of Ram
WHAT THIS PROGRAM DOES
PC-IGNITION Starts your computer FAST, with Logon Security.
PC-IGNITION can allow your computer to go from power-on to ready in 15
seconds, with 704k of ram, saving 78 seconds of computer startup time.
It will also give your computer a hardware type of security, by
restricting the full use of your system unless PC-IGNITION is run
using a valid password.
Switch Block #2 on the Main System Board of your PC will have to be
Setting the switch is easy, and the full details are given below.
WHO'S IN CONTROL
Logon Names are assigned as responses to the Logon prompt, and are
added by the person in control of the computer, whom we will refer to
as the SYSTEM OPERATOR.
To start the program up the first time, you must type in a special
response to the Logon and Password prompts. This Logon Name and
Password combination will activate the Control Panel.
When the CONTROL PANEL is being displayed, you can:
Design your own Logon Display, with a choice of 254 different
Select the default screen colors from a choice of 120 different
color combinations (if you have a color monitor).
Assign Logon Names and Passwords for up to six other users.
Set a limit for the number of logon attempts, before the siren alarm
is activated by an unauthorized user.
Tell DOS how much ram to use. (change this instead of switch #2, if
you add more ram chips later)
The first part of this Guide will cover the Control Panel and how to
setup it's options. You should get familiar with this program before
attempting to change any switches.
If you have a Hard Fixed Disk then the hard disk is your Boot Disk.
If you don't have a hard fixed disk, then Floppy Disk Drive A is your
Boot Drive, and the floppy diskette you start your computer with is a
IGNITION.COM is written in tightly packed assembly code for small size
and speed. At a size of only 4K the entire program should easily fit
onto any boot disk you have.
Copy IGNITION.COM to your regular Boot Disk.
Then, with IGNITION.COM on the current disk drive and directory
at the DOS prompt type: IGNITION
Note: = Carriage Return
The Logon Display will appear in the upper half of the screen, a beep
will sound, and the Logon prompt will appear.
TO ACTIVATE THE CONTROL PANEL, enter the Logon Name and Password for
From the LOGON prompt type: SYSTEM
From the PASSWORD prompt type: OPERATOR
In the lower left corner of the Control Panel you will see Sysop..
When you logon using the Logon Name and Password combination next to
Sysop.. the Control Panel is activated.
You may change the Logon Name and Password for Sysop, in the same way
as the other Logon Names and Passwords.
A Logon Name for Sysop is required. If you erase the Logon Name for
Sysop, the Control Panel will not allow you to exit.
ADDING NEW USERS
While the Control Panel is being displayed, enter a LOGON NAME for
yourself under LOGON next to one of the User.. entries.
When you logon using a Logon Name and Password next to one of the
User.. entries, the Control Panel will not be activated, but ram will
still be expanded.
Logon Names may be up to 8 characters long. Only certain keyboard
characters are valid. The rule is, if you type a character and it
displays, it's a valid character. Lower Case characters are converted
into Upper Case.
By using the down-arrow-key, and up-arrow-key, you may move the cursor
to other fields and enter Logon Names and Password combinations for up
to six users.
A password is optional. If a password is not assigned, press at
the Password prompt when logging on.
The System Operator may change passwords by logging onto the Control
Panel. Enter Passwords under PASSWORD next to one of the User..
A Password MUST have a LOGON NAME associated with it.
The same valid character rules for Logon Names apply to Passwords.
Passwords are encrypted before being saved to disk, then decrypted for
the System Operator, when being displayed on the Control Panel.
Users may change their password without logging onto the Control
Panel, by entering their Logon Name in response to the Logon prompt,
then entering the word "CHANGE" in response to the Password prompt,
instead of thier normal password.
There will be a prompt to enter the old password. If the old password
is correct, the user will be prompted to enter the new password
twice (to check for spelling errors).
When changing passwords using this method, if you press a key and a
star prints then it's a valid key.
DESIGN THE LOGON DISPLAY
When the Control Panel is active you may use the up-arrow-key or left-
arrow-key to move the curser into the Logon Display at the top of the
You can erase the PC-IGNITION logo, and design your own in the Logon
Messages and Graphic designs you put into the Logon Display will be
displayed every time PC-IGNITION is run.
Your work in the Logon Display is saved when you press the key.
You may then make additional changes at any time, by using the Sysop..
Logon and Password.
The full 256 characters of the IBM ascii character set are available
by holding down the Key and entering the decimal value of the
ascii character codes on the numeric-key-pad. When you release the
Key, the graphic character will appear.
The numeric-key-pad will only accept numeric input when the Key
is held, to input ascii graphic codes. If you wish to place numeric
text into your Logon Display, use the number keys at the top of your
Most editing keys work as expected.
Use the arrow-keys on the numeric-key-pad to move the curser up, down,
left, and right.
Key erases the character under the curser.
The Key erases the character left of the curser.
Pressing the Key moves the curser to the start of the line.
Pressing the Key moves the curser to the end of the line.
There are seven lines available in the Logon Display.
Graphic designs and Text lines can be adjusted to the left and right
by using the Key, and
Key. When the insert mode is on,
"INSERT ON" will be displayed at the bottom of your screen.
When the insert message is not being displayed, the curser is in over-
If you have a color monitor, press the Key and change the
colors of your screen until you find a color combination you like. If
you pass a color and want to go back to it, press the Key.
There are 8 different background colors, and 16 foreground colors.
With a total of 120 different usable color combinations available.
Some color monitors do not display the 8 high intensity colors. If
the monitor you are using is of this type, only 8 foreground colors
are available, and you will need to press the Key or Key
twice to change colors.
If you are using a monochrome display, press the Key and change
your display to reverse video (black letters on white background).
Pressing the Key will restore the monitor to normal white
letters on black background.
Screen colors are saved when you press the key from the Control
Panel, or when making a password change, and the display will come up
in those colors every time PC-IGNITION is run.
On the Control Panel is a field called Path, this is the path to where
you want IGNITION.COM to be located on your disk. For example if
IGNITION.COM is located on drive C:, in a directory called ETC, then
the Path would be C:\ETC\IGNITION.COM
Then by setting the DOS search path to include C:\ETC, you can call
PC-IGNITION from any sub-directory, and all changes to Passwords, or
the Control Panel will be written to that one copy of IGNITION.COM.
Sets the number of times an unauthorized user may attempt to logon
before activating the siren alarm.
When the limit of logon attempts is reached, the alarm gives a warning.
Every time after the first warning, it howles for five minutes.
Use the numeric keys at the top of your keyboard to set the
sensitivity level between 1 and 9 Logon attempts. Setting this value
to 0 (Zero) will disconnect the alarm feature.
TELLING DOS HOW MUCH RAM TO USE
Limit Ram To:
Use the number keys at the top of your keyboard to set the Ram Limit.
In most cases PC-IGNITION will automatically set the Ram Limit to the
correct value if you just set this to 999, then press the key.
Next time you Logon to Sysop, the correct value will be displayed.
If you specify a Ram Limit which is higher then the actual amount of
ram in your system, PC-IGNITION will seek out and initialize all of
the available ram up to 704K, then change the setting on the Control
Panel to the actual amount found.
Ram is initialized after you press the key from the Control
Panel, then the Ram Limit is saved to disk.
Every time you boot the computer, and run PC-IGNITION with a VALID
User Password, ram will be expanded to the value which has been set
for the Ram Limit. (no need to Logon to the Control Panel every time)
In some situations you could have more ram then the computer has been
Some older PC Compatibles (64K on the main system board) will only
address 544K of ram, because they don't read DIP switch #5 on Switch
With PC-IGNITION you can use up to 704K on the original or current
IBM-PC/XT and 100% Compatibles.
Normal video ram starts at 704K for the monochrome display, and at
736K for the color graphics display.
Display adapter cards have their own ram installed on the card. Some
video display cards, such as the "Tecmar Graphics Master", have an
extra 64K of ram installed, starting at 640K.
If you have the full 640K installed in your system, you can use the
extra 64K on some video display adapters as normal ram, and have 704K.
Alternatively, you could have 704K on ram expansion cards.
In other situations you may need to set a 640K limit on how much ram
PC-IGNITION and DOS will give your programs access to. Because it
might be in use for some other purpose.
The "Tecmar Graphics Master" uses the extra 64K for video display if
you are using the GM device driver. If you are using the GM device
driver set the Ram Limit to 640.
The EGA Graphics Adapter uses ram starting at 640K for the video
display. If you are using the "Enhanced" Graphics Adapter, set the
Ram Limit to 640.
Some Co-Processor expansion boards have ram on them starting at 640K.
If using a Co-Processor board you may need to Limit Ram to 640.
If you experience a scrambling of the video display and programs or
data, try booting your computer again and set the Ram Limit to 640K.
PC-IGNITION does not initialize ram on mliti-megabyte ram expansion
cards. It may or may not work with them.
To disable the Quick-Start Security feature of PC-IGNITION, set
Switch Block #2, to the actual amount of ram in your computer, and set
the Ram Limit setting on the Control Panel to match the switch.
WHEN TO RUN PC-IGNITION
The command "IGNITION" should be included in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
Be sure to have a spare copy of IGNITION.COM on a separate disk, in
case of a problem with the placement of IGNITION in your AUTOEXEC.BAT
If you have set the switches to restrict ram when the computer is
booted, as described below, then IGNITION should be the first
command in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
Internal DOS commands, and programs small enough to fit into the
limited ram space, can be run "BEFORE" IGNITION.
Terminate-and-Stay-Resident programs like SideKick and ram-disk,
print-spoolers, some keyboard macros, and other programs which run in
the background, should be run "AFTER" IGNITION.
A sample AUTOEXEC.BAT might look like this (excluding the comments)
echo off ; OK to run some DOS commands
setTime ; and small programs before IGNITION
IGNITION ; EXPAND AVAILABLE RAM to it's full amount
Spooler ; run ram-resident programs after IGNITION
PC-IGNITION may be run more then once during a computing session,
without rebooting the computer. It only initializes ram the first time.
SETTING THE SWITCHES
The remainder of this documentation will cover how to determine the
smallest switch setting you can use, to obtain the fastest startup
time and tightest security against unauthorized use of your computer.
After helping you find the minimum amount of ram required to boot your
computer, the details of how to set Switch Block #2 are given.
Normally you must change the setting on Switch Block #2 whenever you
add ram chips to your computer.
When you turn the computer on, ram is initialized to the value found
on the Main System Board Switch Block #2. If you have more ram then
the switch indicates, it won't be used.
If you set the switch to 64K, your computer will start loading DOS
13 seconds after turning the power on. However, only 64K will be
available for use by your programs, regardless of how much ram is
really in your computer.
After running PC-IGNITION with a valid Password, the usable amount of
ram in your system is expanded (in less then 2 seconds) to the amount
you have set for the Ram Limit on the PC-IGNITION Control Panel.
When you add ram chips, just Logon to the Control Panel and increase
the Ram Limit. Resetting Switch Block #2 will not be necessary.
Setting Switch #2 to 64K is the ideal situation, but for one reason or
another it may be that you can not set the switch to 64K, but must set
it to a higher amount.
RAM EXPANSION BOARDS
Ram expansion cards have switch blocks on them, which are set to
define the starting, and ending ram address on that card.
Before setting Switch Block #2 on the Main System Board, check to be
sure all the other switches are set properly on your ram expansion
cards, and multi-function boards.
Ram can be scattered around on separate cards in your computer, but
the switch setting on the cards determine what the address is.
Ram on the Main System Board is hard wired to start at address 0 (zero).
If the Main System Board is fully populated with ram, you can add a
ram expansion board.
The starting ram address on the expansion card is set by switches on
the card to pickup where the Main System Board left off. There is a
physical break between the two cards, but the address flow is
continuous without a gap or over-lap of memory address.
If you set the ram ENDING ADDRESS SWITCH on the ram expansion card too
low, ram will not be used by your computer.
Normally Switch Block #2 on the Main System Board also has to be
reset to the TOTAL AMOUNT OF RAM IN THE SYSTEM, when adding ram chips.
But this is the switch we will use to restrict ram at boot time.
The 64K block of ram between 640K and 704K is used by different
expansion cards for different purposes. You must be careful of the
expansion cards put into your computer. If you're not careful, you
could end up with two or three cards addressing the same block of ram
at the same time.
If you have an over-lap of memory address by different cards, it will
cause problems, like scrambling of data/programs/video display, and
general irrational results.
If you have the 64K of ram between 640K and 704K on only one card, and
it's not being used for any other purpose, you may be able to use it
as normal ram for your programs.
Be certain all switch settings on the expansion cards in your system
are set correctly.
A CONFIG.SYS file is similar to an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. It is run
automatically by DOS when the computer is booted. However, it is run
before the AUTOEXEC.BAT, and also before the DOS prompt is turned over
to the user. You cannot run PC-IGNITION and expand ram before the
CONFIG.SYS file is run.
Some device drivers are installed by including their file name in the
If you have device drivers which are installed by the CONFIG.SYS file,
check the instruction sheets which come with your device drivers, for
the amount of ram required.
If you include the command "BUFFERS=" in your CONFIG.SYS file, each
buffer takes 528 Bytes of ram.
You must set Switch Block #2 high enough to accommodate the total ram
requirements of all device drivers in your CONFIG.SYS file, plus DOS
and 4K for PC-IGNITION.
The best way to determine ram requirements is to boot your computer
with the CONFIG.SYS file, then run "RAMOUNT", or DOS CHKDSK, to see
how much ram is being used up.
See section "Using RAMOUNT" for more information.
ANSI.SYS is a device driver which is installed by the CONFIG.SYS file.
ANSI.SYS is a small file and doesn't take much ram, you can probably
still set Switch Block #2 to 64K. Run the program "RAMOUNT" to see if
this is possible on your system.
Most ram disk can be installed from an AUTOEXEC.BAT file or be
installed directly from the DOS prompt. If your ram-disk is of this
type, run PC-IGNITION first to expand the amount of available ram.
Some ram disk must be installed from a CONFIG.SYS file. If your ram
disk is of this type, you can not run PC-IGNITION first, so you must
set Switch Block #2 high enough to accommodate.
If you have a Ram Disk which must be installed by the CONFIG.SYS file,
but allows you to change the disk size later. You may be able to lower
your switch settings if you set the Ram Disk up for its smallest size
in the CONFIG.SYS file, then increase the disk size after you run PC-
See section "Using RAMOUNT" for the correct Switch setting.
Print spoolers also take up space in ram. Follow the same instruction
as for Ram Disk.
PC-IGNITION works with the PC-DOS/MS-DOS operating system, and cannot
expand Ram for NON-DOS programs and Operating Systems.
if you use NON-DOS programs, check for the ram requirements on their
instruction sheets. You must set Switch Block #2 high enough to
accommodate NON-DOS programs.
Some game diskettes work without an operating system. Games of this
type cannot be run by typing their name at the DOS prompt. To run
these programs, the diskette is inserted into floppy drive A: and the
computer must be restarted. Most games of this type need 64K of ram.
Included with PC-IGNITION is a program called RAMOUNT.
RAMOUNT adds up the amount of ram being used by the operating system,
device drivers, and all the other Terminate-and-Stay-Resident
programs currently installed in your computer.
To use RAMOUNT:
Temporarily place RAMOUNT in your AUTOEXEC.BAT in place of IGNITION,
then boot your computer.
RAMOUNT will report:
The total ram requirement of currently installed device drivers,
programs running in the background, and DOS.
The CURRENT SETTING of Switch Block #2 on the main system board.
The RECOMMENDED SETTING of Switch Block #2 on the main system board.
The gain or loss in startup time, if you change the switch from the
current setting to the recommended setting.
How to set the ON OFF switch positions of Switch Block #2, for the
If you have "NON-DOS games or programs" requiring a higher amount of
ram then the suggested switch setting, set the switches for the higher
amount. RAMOUNT can not tell how much ram is required by NON-DOS games
SETTING SWITCH BLOCK #2
If everything is in order and working properly. Disconnect the
electricity from the computer, the monitor, and everything attached to
Do Not Static Shock The Insides Of Your Computer.
You may have to remove all of the expansion cards. If you disconnect
any cables, mark them as to where they go.
There are two switch blocks on the Main System Board. Switch Block #2
is the one you are looking for, it's located on the Main System Board,
usually under the floppy disk drive.
Switch Block #2 is the only switch block in the computer we will be
setting to restrict the ram at boot time. All other switches must be
Switch Block #2 has 8 DIP switches on it.
Write down the current settings before making any changes.
DIP Switches 1 thru 5 determine memory at boot time.
AMT. OF MEMORY DIP SWITCHES # STARTUP TIME
1 2 3 4 5
64K.... ON ON ON ON ON..... 13 Seconds
128K.... ON OFF ON ON ON..... 21 Seconds
192K.... ON ON OFF ON ON..... 29 Seconds
256K.... ON OFF OFF ON ON..... 37 Seconds
288K.... OFF OFF OFF ON ON..... 41 Seconds
320K.... ON ON ON OFF ON..... 45 Seconds
352K.... OFF ON ON OFF ON..... 49 Seconds
384K.... ON OFF ON OFF ON..... 53 Seconds
416K.... OFF OFF ON OFF ON..... 57 Seconds
448K.... ON ON OFF OFF ON..... 61 Seconds
480K.... OFF ON OFF OFF ON..... 65 Seconds
512K.... ON OFF OFF OFF ON..... 69 Seconds
544K.... OFF OFF OFF OFF ON..... 73 Seconds
576K.... ON ON ON ON OFF.... 77 Seconds
608K.... OFF ON ON ON OFF.... 81 Seconds
640K.... ON OFF ON ON OFF.... 85 Seconds
704K.... No setting available... 93 Seconds
See the "Guide to Operations" or the "Technical Reference
Manual" for more details.
Each 64K increment adds 8 seconds to the computer start up time.
Using the RAMOUNT program will be your best guide for selecting the
proper switch settings. Run it again after setting the Switch, to be
certain the switch was set correctly.
Remember to set the switch high enough to accomodate your NON-DOS
To disable the Quick-Start Security feature of PC-IGNITION, set Switch
Block #2, to the actual amount of ram in your computer, and set the
Ram Limit setting on the PC-IGNITION Control Panel to match the switch
Program too big to fit in memory
PC-IGNITION has not been run, or Ram Limit on the Control Panel is
set to low, or the switches on your RAM EXPANSION CARD are not set
properly, or you just don't have enough ram.
Memory allocation error
Cannot load COMMAND, system halted
COMMAND.COM cannot reload itself. Did you run PC-IGNITION first, to
expand ram out to the full amount? If this error happens during the
CONFIG.SYS file, you'll have to increase your setting on Switch
Block #2. Also, newer versions of DOS take up more ram then DOS 2,
and you may have to increase the switch setting.
If PC-IGNITION has not been run after booting your computer, none of
the ram above the Switch Block #2 setting has been initialized. If a
program tries to read that portion of ram, a parity error will occur.
Insert COMMAND.COM disk in drive A:
and strike any key when ready
The DOS program COMMAND.COM must be on the disk drive the computer
was started from, when running PC-IGNITION the first time after
booting the computer.
Either the Logon Name or the Password was mis-spelled. The alarm
will be activated after the number of Logon failures specified on
the Control Panel.
When making a password change, the new password is entered twice to
check for typing errors.
Invalid Path Specified - File NOT Updated!
An error was made on the Control Panel when entering the path.
Logon to the Control Panel again, and enter a Valid Drive and
path, for where to place IGNITION.COM
PC-IGNITION is finished, and has exited to the operating system.
Enter any DOS command.
PROBLEMS AND SOLUTION
PROBLEM: NON-DOS programs will not load or run properly.
Cause: Insufficient memory (SWITCH #2 is set too low)
Solution: Check the instruction sheets which come with the NON-DOS
program for ram requirements. Try setting Switch Block #2
on the main system board to a higher amount of ram.
PROBLEM: DOS programs will not load or run properly.
Cause: PC-IGNITION was not run after booting the computer.
Solution: Run PC-IGNITION and logon using a valid Logon Name and
PROBLEM: Computer will not boot DOS.
Cause: Commands in the CONFIG.SYS file are taking up too much ram.
or: Commands in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file which should be run
after IGNITION are eating up all the available ram.
Solution: Set Switch Block #2 for enough ram to accommodate all
commands and device drivers in your CONFIG.SYS file. Also,
newer versions of DOS may require more ram.
PROBLEM: After running PC-IGNITION, DOS is not using all of your
Cause: Your Ram Limit is set too low on the Control Panel.
Solution: Logon to PC-IGNITION Control Panel and
increase the Ram Limit.
or: The ram ENDING ADDRESS SWITCH on a RAM EXPANSION CARD is
not set properly.
Solution: Increase the ram ending address on the RAM EXPANSION CARD.
(Be sure to do both of these things if you add more ram
PROBLEM: Strange characters or behavior of the video monitor.
Data and/or video monitor get scrambled.
Cause: The Ram Limit is set too high on your Control Panel.
Solution: Set Ram Limit to 640 to prevent DOS from using the ram
above 640K for programs and data.
or: Over-lapping memory address. (hardware problem)
Solution: Check the instruction for your ram expansion boards, video
graphics cards, and Co-Processor boards. Set the switches
accordingly. It is possible to have more then two cards
involved in over-lapping memory addresses.
MS-DOS is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corp.
PC-DOS is a registered trademark of I.B.M. Corp.
IBM-PC and IBM-XT are registered trademarks of I.B.M. Corp.
GRAPHICS MASTER and GM are registered trademarks of Tecmar Inc.
SIDEKICK is a registered trademark of Borderland International
PC-IGNITION and RAMOUNT are Copyright by John D Baker (1985, 1986)
BE AWARE OF:
Although the 64K ram Switch setting will prevent access to most of
If you put IGNITION as the FIRST command in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file,
someone could still boot your computer with another Boot Disk, or
press C to stop the AUTOEXEC.BAT before IGNITION is run.
If you set Switch Block #2 to 64K, there may still enough ram to run
the DOS COPY, DEBUG , TYPE and FORMAT commands.
Registration, Comments, and Suggestions are encouraged.
PC-IGNITION Version 1.4 (C) Copyright 1986
Written by: John D Baker
PC-IGNITION Version 1.4 REGISTRATION FORM
Quick-Start Security for the IBM-PC
MAIL TO: John D Baker
Post Office Box 2195
Avon, CO. 81620
Day Phone: _________________________ Eve: _____________________________
Copyright (C) 1986 John D Baker
This disk copy provided as a service of
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