HELPPC 1.5 PC Programmers Utility Copyright (c) 1989, David Jurgens
This utility is comprised of a collection of information found in
manufacturer technical reference manuals, various commercial books,
technical topics discussed on CompuServe's IBMPRO and BPROGB forums,
public domain articles and my own snooping. All organized in a single
database. The help topics includes BIOS interrupts, DOS interrupts and
functions, EMS functions, Mouse functions, BIOS and DOS data structures,
diagnostic codes, DOS commands, 80x86 assembler instructions/directives
and Standard C functions. The main program is a quick reference utility
which allows quick viewing of the help database from the DOS command line.
43/50 line mode is supported for those that like to squint.
As programmers, we tend to gather massive amounts of books, journals
and magazines. Most of these items have some important detail that
is generally out of reach since we can't carry them everywhere. That's
why I started this project, to free myself from having to first find
the manuals or articles and then weed through all the mundane text to
get to a simple answer. In the past few years it has saved me a lot
of time previously spent rummaging through manuals. I do occasionally
pick up my war torn copies of Norton and Duncan. You'll find the screen
displays are brief and to the point. So, if you need more in depth
information, I'd recommend Peter Norton's "Programmers Guide to the IBMPC",
Ray Duncan's "Advanced MSDOS for C and Assembler", Compute's "Mapping the
IBMPC and PCjr", a variety of the IBM Technical Reference Manuals and the
CompuServe Information Service forums (IBMPRO, BPROGB, BPROGA and MSSYS).
The program which is less that 5K in size is written in Turbo C with a
little TASM sprinkled in for optimization.
This program is designed for the PC programmer who knows what he's doing,
but just can't remember the syntax, or parameters to some little used
BIOS/DOS interrupt, BIOS/DOS data structure, C function, assembler
instruction or just about any technical issue on the PC or PS/2.
Type TechRef at the DOS prompt for a description of how to use this
program and the possible arguments. For information on proper
installation type TechRef while in the directory containing the
The Esc key or a Ctrl C can be used to abort the program display.
43/50 Line users
43/50 line mode will display different behavior than the 25 line mode.
Many version of DOS only understand 25 line screens, so TechRef clears
lines 25/43 on exit to avoid an odd screen display. This is a problem
in DOS and not TechRef.
Files in Release
README - The file you're reading now.
TechRef.COM - A display utility that reads the indexed database
and displays the information. Type TechRef for a
description of usage. I recommend that you rename
this program to something you find convenient to use
like "H.COM" or "HELP.COM". I prefer HELP.COM, which
conflicts with the DOS HELP command but seems more natural
GENERIC.HLP - Is the forever growing database file containing all the
technical data and a built in index. TechRef.COM finds
this file through the environment variable "HLP". Versions
of this database without the C and/or assembler instructions
are available to alleviate disk requirements.
1.0 Original release.
1.1 Maintenance release of the database. Several topics were added
and existing ones were cleaned up.
1.2 EMS and Mouse functions were added to the database. Over 750 topics
were included. (limited distribution)
1.4 The user interface has been changed from page mode scrolling to line
mode scrolling. 43/50 line support has been added as well.
The instruction set for the entire Intel 80x86 family has been added
to the database. This version saw limited distribution.
1.5 A minor bug in the 43/50 line mode of version 1.4 has been fixed.
Over 900 topics are included.
This software is freeware and does not require registration. If you
would like to be placed on an update list and receive the latest
versions (up to 2) send $15 (shipping and handling) to the address
lists below. Again, registration is not required!
Installation requires two steps. First, simply dearchive the TechRef.ARC
file. Second issue the following command:
SET HLP=d:dirname (no blanks, except between "SET HLP")
where d: id the drive and dirname is the directory where the GENERIC.HLP
file exists (this should be fully qualified, with or without the trailing
'\'). The TechRef.COM file can exist anywhere that it can be accessed
through the DOS command search path (PATH). The "SET HLP=" command should
be placed in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file to allow access to TechRef each time your
machine is booted. (While you're at it, check your CONFIG.SYS and see
if any DUMB installation program has changed your buffers count to 4,
BUFFERS=20 is a good start).
Example: If GENERIC.HLP exists in a directory named C:\BIN then use:
The name TechRef was chosen to avoid conflict with the HELP command
available with later versions of DOS. I'd recommend that you rename
TechRef.COM to a name you find convenient and easy to remember like
"H.COM" or "HELP.COM". For a description command usage, type TechRef
at the DOS prompt with no arguments.
Try it, break it or just tell me what you did or didn't like about it
or what you'd like to see added. If you find any discrepancies, errors
or typos, I would appreciate corrections and any suggestions for improvement.
If at all possible, please contact me using one of the below addresses and I
will try to correct the problem. A TSR version and the help file generator
will soon be released as shareware.
Also, if you distribute this software, I ask that you distribute it in it's
original .ARC, .ZIP or LHARC form, without modification. This version is
freeware and may be distributed freely, as long as no one profits from the
sale. This excludes a modest disk duplication fee charged by most user groups.
While on the subject, please support your local computer user groups. These
are the best sources of help and information available. As the Columbus
Computer Society slogan says it's "The Best Investment For Your PC". I am an
active member of the Columbus Computer Society and have learned a great deal
about computers and other subjects from my interactions.
I can be reached at the any of the following addresses:
US Snail: David Jurgens
1550 Alton Darby Creek Road
Columbus, Ohio 43228
CompuServe: 70003,4627 (read daily)
71270,2422 (read weekly)
Internet: [email protected]
(read daily) [email protected]
(read daily) [email protected]
BITNET [email protected]
The information contained within this help database is correct to the
best of my knowledge. Since it was compiled from various sources,
(some in complete disagreement), I cannot be responsible for omissions,
inaccuracies or plain errors of any type. Also note, the program
contained herein, in its original form is designed to work with PC's
that are completely IBM DOS and BIOS compatible and has been tested on
a myriad of PC's and compatibles. I make no claims as to it's value,
or it's behavior and assume no liability for damages either from the
direct use of this product or as a consequence of the use of this
product. Hence this program and information:
SHOULD BE USED AT ONES OWN RISK.