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OS/2 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions List ver 2.0j. Now in INF and Text formats.
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OS/2 2.0 Frequently Asked Questions List ver 2.0j. Now in INF and Text formats.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
OS2FAQ.INF 98034 59220 deflated
OS2FAQ.TXT 92088 32857 deflated

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Contents of the OS2FAQ.TXT file

OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List
User's Edition
Release 2.0j
February 6, 1993
Compiled by Timothy F. Sipples

(0.0) Introduction and Credits

For changes, suggestions, or additions please mail [email protected]
or write:

Timothy F. Sipples
Center for Population Economics
University of Chicago
1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637 U.S.A.

I cannot acknowledge your contribution(s), but they are greatly

Mention of a product does not constitute an endorsement. Customers outside
the United States should not necessarily rely on 800 telephone numbers,
part numbers, or upgrade policies contained in this List. Electronic mail
addresses are in Internet form; use addressing appropriate to your mail

This List is freely distributable. If you redistribute the List, please
include all the original files. If you publish the List, in full or in
part, please forward a copy of the finished publication to Timothy F.
Sipples at the above address.

This List is updated monthly and is distributed through various computer
networks and online services, including the Internet, CompuServe, GEnie,
and many BBSes.

Both ASCII text and OS/2 Information Presentation Facility (INF) versions
of the List are provided. To view the INF version of the List, go to any
OS/2 command line prompt (e.g. double click on "OS/2 Window") and type:


The ASCII text version may be viewed using any text editor, word processor,
or file listing utility. The text version is intended to answer any
questions you may have before actually obtaining and using OS/2. You will
find that the INF version provides a much more attractive List, with
hypertext links, fast indexing, and, increasingly, illustrations.

If you have not received both files (OS2FAQ.INF and OS2FAQ.TXT), please ask
your system operator to make sure he/she is receiving the correct and
complete package every month.

(0.1) Release Notes

This release is the first to include the INF version of the List, replacing
the Rich Text Format (RTF) version. This initial INF version is a bit less
polished than I would like, but I hope to enhance it substantially in the
coming months. In particular, the organization of the List will be

I hope to include revision markings in the next release. At some point in
the future I plan to add Master Help Index entries.

Please contact the author [See (0.0) Introduction and Credits] if you would
like to volunteer to redistribute the List to BIX or America Online.

Related information:

(0.0) Introduction and Credits
(0.2) Questions in this Release

(0.2) Questions in this Release

The following questions are addressed in this release:

(1.0) What is OS/2?

(1.1) What are the differences between versions?

(1.2) What is Extended Services?

(1.3) How good is OS/2 2.0's DOS and Windows compatibility?

(1.4) Where can I buy OS/2, and how much does it cost?

(1.5) What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0? Do I need a PS/2?

(1.6) What applications are available for OS/2?

(1.7) Where can I obtain OS/2 shareware and freeware?

(1.8) I am having trouble installing OS/2 2.0. What should I do?

(1.9) Will OS/2 2.0 work with my SuperVGA adapter?

(1.10) Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?

(1.11) How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting
from the hard drive? I'm getting error messages now -- how do I "repair"
my hard disk?

(1.12) I can't install OS/2 from Drive B. What's wrong?

(1.13) Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?

(1.14) Sometimes OS/2 2.0 will freeze when I run an application. What do I

(1.15) How can I get answers to my OS/2 questions?

(1.16) Why should I use HPFS? What does it offer me? Does it work with

(1.17) I'm a Unix wizard. How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?

(1.18) I prefer Windows. How do I make OS/2 2.0 resemble Windows (or OS/2

(1.19) I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS. What is available?

(1.20) Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2 2.0?

(1.21) How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?

(1.22) What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get them?

(1.23) How do I add new Adobe Type Manager typefaces?

(1.24) How do I tweak OS/2 2.0 for maximum performance?

(1.25) What networking products are available for OS/2 2.0?

(1.26) Should I worry about viruses when running OS/2 2.0?

(1.27) Are there any clever tricks that apply to OS/2 2.0?

(1.28) What do I need for OS/2 multimedia applications?

(1.29) How do I measure OS/2 performance and memory usage?

(1.30) What can I do to promote OS/2?

(1.31) My background bitmap does not display correctly. What's wrong?

(1.32) What is the best way to partition my hard disk for OS/2?

(1.33) What are the "must have" shareware and freeware titles?

(1.34) Are there any specific hardware recommendations?

(1.0) What is OS/2?

What is OS/2?

OS/2 is an advanced operating system for PCs and PS/2s with an 80286
processor or better. It was codeveloped by Microsoft and IBM and
envisioned as the successor to DOS.

It was designed from the ground up with preemptive multitasking and
multithreading in mind. It also protects applications from one another (a
single misbehaved program will not typically disrupt the entire system),
supports all addressable physical RAM, and supplies virtual memory to
applications as requested, breaking DOS's 640K barrier.

As shipped, it does not support multiuser operation, although third parties
have grafted multiuser capabilities onto the base operating system. These
products include:

Software Title Company Telephone

Remote-OS Software Lifeline (407) 994-4466
OS2You ? See (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources
Citrix Citrix Systems (305) 755-0559
PolyMod2 MemSoft ?

PC/DACS (Pyramid, phone 203-257-4223) offers security (for multiple users,
one at a time, in a lab setting for example).

Related information:

(1.1) Differences Between Versions
(1.2) Extended Services
(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility

(1.1) Differences Between Versions

What are the differences between versions?

IBM OS/2 Version 2.1 is currently in beta testing and is widely available
[See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources]. This new version will support
Windows 3.1 applications, Windows enhanced mode, more third party adapters
and peripherals, and OS/2 multimedia applications.

IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 [CSD Level 06055; See (1.22) Corrective Service
Diskettes] will run only on machines with an 80386SX processor or better.
IBM is developing OS/2 (and its Intel and non-Intel-based successors)
independently but is involving third party PC manufacturers in its testing.
Improvements include an object-oriented Workplace Shell (WPS); a multiple
operating system boot mechanism; better DOS and Windows support [See (1.3)
DOS and Windows Compatibility]; new 32-bit programming interfaces; support
for more than 16 MB of physical RAM (on all systems with appropriate BIOS
support; memory above 16 MB on those systems which must rely on 24-bit DMA
for disk access, e.g. AT bus systems with Adaptec 154x SCSI adapters, is
used as swap space); and more third party device drivers. OS/2 1.x
applications, unmodified, still run under OS/2 2.0.

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is the last release of OS/2 to operate on PCs with
80286 CPUs. This version introduced built-in Adobe Type Manager (ATM),
providing scalable typefaces for screen and printer. Procedures Language/2
(REXX), a powerful batch-oriented programming language, became a part of
Standard Edition with this release. (A few OEMs are shipping Microsoft
OS/2 Version 1.3, but Microsoft has all but abandoned OS/2 development.)

OS/2 Version 1.2 was the first to incorporate the High Performance File
System (HPFS). With this release IBM OS/2 added a dual boot mechanism and
IBM Extended Edition introduced REXX.

OS/2 Version 1.1 was the first to include the Presentation Manager (PM)
GUI/API. Microsoft OEM versions added a dual boot mechanism with this

OS/2 Version 1.0, introduced in 1987, was the first release of OS/2. Task
switching was accomplished using a character-based shell and limited DOS
compatibility was provided.

Related information:

(1.0) What is OS/2?
(1.2) Extended Services
(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes
(1.23) Adobe Type Manager

(1.2) Extended Services

What is Extended Services?

Prior to Version 2.0, IBM offered two separate packages with each release
of OS/2: Standard Edition and Extended Edition. Extended Edition included
extra, bundled software products: the Communications Manager (for
communication with IBM mainframes, minicomputers, and other hosts),
Database Manager (a full, network aware, relational database), and LAN

IBM has now unbundled the Extended Edition features, dropped LAN Requester
from the package (now available separately, with IBM's LAN Server), updated
it for OS/2 2.0, and renamed it Extended Services 1.0. ES, by itself, no
longer includes the base operating system as Extended Edition once did.

This new arrangement makes it easier to update the base operating system
with CSDs [See (1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes]. And now ES 1.0 will
run under OS/2 1.3 Standard Edition as well as OS/2 2.0. Also, ES 1.0,
like OS/2 2.0 itself, is designed to operate on both IBM and non-IBM
systems [See (1.5) Hardware Requirements].

Related information:

(1.1) Differences Between Versions
(1.5) Hardware Requirements
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes
(1.25) Networking Products

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility

How good is OS/2 2.0's DOS and Windows compatibility?

OS/2 1.x justifiably earned a reputation for poor DOS compatibility. Since
it was hampered by the 80286, it could not run more than one DOS
application at a time.

The situation has changed dramatically with OS/2 2.0. Version 2.0
preemptively multitasks DOS and Windows (real and standard mode)
applications in separate, protected sessions, without purchasing either

OS/2 2.0 provides a complete DOS emulation equivalent to DOS 5.0. The
operating system can provide each DOS application with up to 32 MB of EMS
4.0 (expanded memory), 16 MB of XMS 2.0 (extended memory), and/or 512 MB of
DPMI 0.9 (DOS Protected Mode Interface extended memory), all from its pool
of physical and/or virtual memory (meaning you do not have to have as much
RAM in your system as your applications request). These limits are in
addition to the up to 730K free conventional memory supplied to each DOS
application, even after mouse and network drivers are loaded. As in DOS
5.0, DOS code and device drivers may be loaded into high memory. A 386
memory manager like QEMM is not needed -- these features are provided by
OS/2 2.0 directly.

The DOS emulation allows customization of device driver sets -- each DOS
application shares a systemwide CONFIG.SYS and the equivalent of its own
CONFIG.SYS. Also, there is a systemwide AUTOEXEC.BAT file; batch commands
particular to each DOS application can be invoked using separate,
application-specific batch files. And many DOS Settings are provided to
fine tune each DOS/Windows application's behavior (e.g. IDLE_SENSITIVITY).
Most of the popular DOS/Windows applications on your hard disk will be
migrated automatically when you install OS/2 2.0.

In addition, OS/2 2.0 will boot one or more specific versions of DOS in
separate sessions, to assist in running particularly difficult applications
(e.g. DOS networks, MSCDEX). So, for example, it is possible to multitask
DOS 3.3, DOS 4.0, DOS 5.0, emulated DOS, and Desqview running atop DOS, all
in separate sessions, either windowed or full screen, all with the same
and/or separate device drivers, TSRs, environment variables, etc. DOS boot
images may be stored on a hard disk. These procedures are described in the
online Command Reference (under VMDISK), Master Help Index, and in the
Installation Guide (Appendix E).

Standard graphics modes [generally up to the resolution of the desktop; See
(1.9) SuperVGA Support] are supported in DOS windows, as are selectable
text mode fonts. Cut/paste to/from windowed DOS applications is supported
(to/from other DOS, OS/2, and Windows applications), including graphics
cut/paste. Theoretically, OS/2 2.0 will run up to 240 simultaneous
DOS/Windows sessions; the practical maximum depends on system resources.

OS/2 2.0 will, in fact, run virtually all DOS applications in existence,
including notorious ones such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Wing
Commander, Maple, MatLab (Ver. 3.5k or later), and others. Those that do
not run generally fall into the following categories:

1. Programs that use Virtual Control Program Interface (VCPI) memory
extenders or other extenders which require direct access to 80386 control
registers. Since such applications are also all but incompatible with
Windows, most vendors have updates for DPMI compatibility;

2. Applications which attempt to directly address the physical sectors of an
OS/2 managed nonremoveable hard disk drive. Such programs include UnErase
in Norton Utilities. Fortunately OS/2 2.0 has a built-in UnDelete feature
which is more robust than Norton's approach. (Consult the online Command
Reference for information on how to enable UNDELETE);

3. Timing sensitive DOS applications. Certain DOS programs that generate
digitized sound through the PC's internal speaker may have distorted sound.
High speed, real time data collection may be compromised. These problems
can often be minimized or even eliminated using OS/2 2.0's DOS Settings.

4. Certain DOS programming debuggers. DOS applications running under OS/2
2.0 are not permitted to access debug registers DR0-DR7 from a DOS session.
Also, DOS debuggers will not be able to set hardware breakpoints, and all
read/write operations to debug registers in virtual 8086 mode will be

Generally DOS backup programs will work under OS/2 2.0, but they may not
capture some OS/2 data (especially extended attributes) on the hard disk
without the assistance of utilities such as EABackup [See (1.7) Shareware
and Freeware Sources].

OS/2 backup tools are available, notably:

Software Title Company Telephone

PMTape and PS2Tape IBM and Irwin (???) ???-????
Sytos Plus Sytron (508) 898-0100
EZTape Irwin (313) 930-9000
DMS/Intelligent Backup Sterling (916) 635-5535
FileSafe Mountain (408) 438-2665
KeepTrack Plus Finot (800) 748-6480
NovaBack NovaStor (818) 707-9900
OBackup ? See (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources
BackMaster MSR Development (409) 560-5970
MaynStream Maynard (407) 263-3500

The OS/2 BACKUP utility is best used from an OS/2 diskette boot [See (1.11)
Starting OS/2 from Diskette]. DOS-based disk caching software is not
required since OS/2 includes a built-in, highly configurable, efficient
disk cache.

DOS programs running under OS/2 2.0 are extremely fast. A single DOS
application (no other applications open) running full screen under OS/2 2.0
typically achieves 95-97% of the performance it would have under native
DOS. If the DOS application performs any disk I/O it can actually operate
up to several times faster than it would if running under native DOS.

If pure DOS is absolutely required, OS/2 2.0 includes a utility called the
Boot Manager. The Boot Manager can provide a listing of all the operating
systems available on the system and will allow selection of any one at
startup, with a default after timeout. The OS/2 1.x DualBoot method is
still available as well. Consult the Installation Guide for instructions
on how to use Boot Manager or DualBoot. Note that OS/2 2.0 need not be
installed on Drive C -- it can reside on other volumes [See (1.32) Hard
Disk Partitioning].

Compatibility with Windows, a popular DOS extender, is provided by
Win-OS/2, an environment based on Microsoft's Windows source code. It runs
Windows 2.x and 3.0 real mode and standard mode applications under OS/2
2.0, either on a full screen Windows desktop (with the familiar Program
Manager and one or more Windows applications) or "seamlessly," alongside
OS/2 applications on the Workplace Shell desktop. "Seamless" operation is
available in VGA, Tseng 4000 SuperVGA, and XGA resolutions with OS/2 2.0 as
it ships.

Several icon conversion utilities can convert Windows icons for use by the
OS/2 Icon Editor and/or OS/2-specific programs [See (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources]. (No conversion is necessary if the icons are to be used
with Windows programs running under OS/2 2.0.)

OS/2 2.0 directly provides Windows enhanced mode features save one:
services included in WINMEM32.DLL. Windows applications which utilize this
DLL (e.g. Mathematica 2.0, Omnipage Professional 1.0) will not run under
OS/2 2.0. Fortunately the number of WINMEM32 applications is few, and
apparently the vendors of such applications will be shipping OS/2 2.0
compatible updates.

Windows applications are well integrated into the overall OS/2 WPS
environment with DDE and Clipboard hooks, and OLE 1.0 is supported among
Windows applications. Adobe Type Manager for Win-OS/2 comes with OS/2 2.0.
Windows screen (for a full screen desktop) and printer device drivers will
work under Win-OS/2 [See (1.9) SuperVGA Support]. Such notorious Windows
applications as Word, Norton Desktop (save portions described above),
Toolbook, and After Dark work fine under Win-OS/2. Even the Windows
Multimedia Extensions (and programs which utilize them) operate under
Win-OS/2. [See (1.28) Multimedia for information on the OS/2 multimedia
extensions, MMPM/2.]

Win-OS/2 departs from Microsoft Windows in that it allows more than one
Windows desktop and can preemptively (rather than cooperatively) multitask
Windows applications in separate, robust, protected sessions. Also, while
many Windows 3.1 enhancements are functionally incorporated into Win-OS/2,
Win-OS/2 is not technically Windows 3.1 compatible. OS/2 2.1, due in early
1993, will incorporate Windows 3.1 support (including enhanced mode).
Fortunately there are few Windows 3.1-specific applications. Win-OS/2 will
run the Windows 3.0 applets, but it does not include them. Instead, true
OS/2 2.0 spreadsheet, database, communications, time planning/scheduling,
and other applets are provided.

Some Windows applications require OLE DLLs or custom settings in WIN.INI.
If such a Windows application has been installed under the DOS version of
Windows, Win-OS/2 may not be able to find the appropriate files or
configuration. Try reinstalling the Windows application under Win-OS/2.

Related information:

(1.1) Differences Between Versions
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.9) SuperVGA Support
(1.11) Starting OS/2 from Diskette
(1.13) Disk Utilities
(1.23) Adobe Type Manager
(1.24) Performance Tuning
(1.25) Networking Products
(1.28) Multimedia
(1.32) Hard Disk Partitioning

(1.4) Availability and Cost of OS/2

Where can I buy OS/2, and how much does it cost?

In the U.S. IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 is available from most software dealers
(including Corporate Software, phone 800-677-4000) and directly from IBM
(phone 800-3-IBM-OS2, or 800-222-7257 for educational inquiries). The cost
is just $99. Discounts are available for multiple licenses and educational
purchases. (Call for details on upgrades from OS/2 1.x. In Canada call
800-465-1234 to order. In the U.K. call the OS/2 User Group at
0285-655888 or IBM at 0800-181182. In other countries, contact any IBM
dealer or office.)

OS/2 2.0 on 3.5 inch diskettes is part no. 84F7586. For 5.25 inch
diskettes, 10G2991. Media are high density. For compact disc, 10G2992.
IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is still available and may be ordered through many IBM

IBM is trying to make OS/2 2.0 available everywhere DOS is purchased. If
your dealer does not stock OS/2 2.0, take your business elsewhere (and
explain why). IBM bundles OS/2 2.0 with some PS/1, all but one ValuePoint,
and all 386SX (and above) PS/2 systems. Several other vendors, including
Dell, will preload OS/2 2.0 on request.

IBM offers two money back guarantees in the U.S.: a 30-day, no questions
asked, money back guarantee, and a 90-day compatibility guarantee (See
(1.5) Hardware Requirements).

Microsoft versions of OS/2 1.x are available only through OEMs (e.g.
Compaq and Dell) or by purchasing Microsoft's LAN Manager 2.1a or SQL
Server products. Microsoft has all but ceased OS/2 development, working
instead on Windows NT.

Related information:

(1.1) Differences Between Versions
(1.5) Hardware Requirements
(1.25) Networking Products

(1.5) Hardware Requirements

What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0? Do I need a PS/2?

You need any PC compatible with at least an 80386SX CPU, 4 MB (6 MB or more
strongly recommended) of RAM, a 60 MB or larger hard disk (with 20-35 MB
free), a supported video adapter (CGA, EGA, VGA, Tseng 4000 SuperVGA,
8514/A, XGA, or third party driver) with appropriate display, and a high
density 3.5 or 5.25 inch floppy drive for installation. A mouse or other
pointing device is strongly recommended. Allow extra RAM and hard disk
space for OS/2-based networking, Extended Services, and/or extra system
loads (i.e. an extraordinary number of large applications running
simultaneously). When calculating hard disk space requirements, subtract
space occupied by files already on the hard disk which are functionally
included in OS/2 2.0 and may be deleted, e.g. DOS, a 386 memory manager,
Windows, Adobe Type Manager with base typefaces, etc.

The Workplace Shell (WPS) will not operate with the Monochrome Display
Adapter or the Hercules Monochrome Graphics Adapter. Usually the WPS will
fail to work with monochrome EGA. However, some EGA adapters (e.g.
Paradise Monochrome EGA Card, ATI EGA Wonder) will emulate all color EGA
modes on TTL monochrome monitors and, thus, will work with the WPS.
Certain dual monitor configurations are supported; consult IBM for advice.

On (E)ISA bus machines, OS/2 specifically supports hard drive adapters
which conform to the Western Digital chipset interface standard (nearly all
MFM, RLL, IDE, and ESDI adapters) and Adaptec, Future Domain, and IBM SCSI
adapters. (True OS/2 2.0 drivers for most SCSI adapters, e.g. Trantor,
DPT, Rancho, Procomp, Corel Systems, BusLogic, Mylex, CE Infosys, Ciprico,
and others are available directly from the adapter manufacturers. A driver
for the Always IN-2000 adapter is available by calling 818-597-1400.) In
addition, "generic" INT13 support is provided for all other hard disk
adapters. This "generic" support even embraces such devices as Iomega's
Bernoulli and SyQuest's removeable media products (but for best results
contact Iomega or SyQuest for an OS/2 2.0 driver).

CD-ROM support (for IBM CD-ROM drives; Hitachi models CDR-1650S, CDR-1750S,
CDR-3650, and CDR-3750; NEC models CDR-36, CDR-37, CDR-72, CDR-73, CDR-74,
CDR-82, CDR-83, and CDR-84; Panasonic models CR-501 and LK-MC501S; Texel
models DM-3021, DM-3024, DM-5021, and DM-5024; Toshiba models 3301T,
TXM3301, 3301B, and XM-3201; Pioneer DRM-604X; and Sony models CDU-541,
CDU-561, CDU-6111, CDU-6211, and CDU-7211; only when attached to IBM,
Future Domain, Adaptec, or other SCSI adapters with native OS/2 2.0
support) is available [See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources]. Others
(e.g. Mitsumi) will follow. This support includes single session Kodak
Photo CD services for those drives which support the standard. (Storage
Devices and other companies offer OS/2 CD-ROM drivers for their products.
Corel Systems offers a set of drivers for many more CD-ROM drives and
adapters.) The DOS device drivers, when installed using a specific DOS
session, will still provide CD-ROM services to DOS/Windows programs for the
remainder. See (1.10) Printer Support for information on printer and
plotter compatibility.

Version 2.0 is explicitly supported on PC compatibles. IBM is offering a
money back compatibility guarantee in the U.S. Should OS/2 2.0 fail to
work on your compatible within the first 90 days of use, and should IBM be
unable to fix the problem, your purchase price will be refunded. To date
over 400 non-IBM models have been tested in IBM's own labs.

Related information:

(1.2) Extended Services
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.23) Adobe Type Manager
(1.25) Networking Products

(1.6) Applications

What applications are available for OS/2?

In addition to the thousands of applications available for DOS and Windows,
there are a couple thousand OS/2-specific applications representing almost
every category imaginable.

The DOS/Windows applications with 16-bit OS/2-specific counterparts include
Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance, Notes, cc:Mail; Microsoft Word, Excel, Multiplan,
Mail; Aldus Pagemaker; Ventura Publisher; Corel Draw; WordPerfect;
DisplayWrite; DeScribe; Micrografx Designer; AutoCAD; Oracle; RBase; SAS;
SPSS; HyperAccess/5; DynaComm; Pro-YAM; Borland Sidekick, Paradox, Brief;
Wingz; QEdit; 4DOS; and many others. In some cases DOS and OS/2 versions
ship together (e.g. Microsoft Word 5.5, Lotus 1-2-3 3.0, Wingz).

OS/2 2.0 provides an attractive, 32-bit, Workplace Shell environment for
new applications; many do not have DOS/Windows predecessors. This new
class of 32-bit applications will (or does) include Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance,
cc:Mail, Notes, AmiPro; WordPerfect Corp.'s WordPerfect, Office,
Presentations; N/Joy; DeScribe; Publisher's Paintbrush; PFS:Works;
CorelDraw; HyperAccess; Faxworks; FAX/PM; all Micrographx applications;
RBase; Advanced Revelation; Norton Commander; and many more. Over 1100 new
32-bit OS/2 2.0 applications have been released to date.

OS/2-specific versions of popular utilities include ZIP/UNZIP, ARC, LH2,
Zoo 2.1, many GNU tools, tens of different file finders, desktop clocks,
calculators, and many more. Programming languages include Assembler, C++,
COBOL, Pascal, C, Fortran, BASIC, REXX (included with every copy of OS/2
2.0), Icon, Smalltalk, Modula-2, LISP, Forth, and still more, from vendors
such as Borland, Clarion, Watcom, Symantec (through its Zortech
subsidiary), IBM, Microway, and many more. Two free ports of the 32-bit
GNU C/C++ compiler, GCC/2 and EMX/GCC, are available [See (1.7) Shareware
and Freeware Sources]. Fortran to C (f2c) and Pascal to C (p2c)
translators are also available. (See the Programmer's Edition of this List
for more information.)

The IBM NSC BBS (404-835-6600) provides an online product database of
OS/2-specific software. A directory of OS/2 applications, IBM document
number G362-0029-02, is published by Graphics Plus (phone 800-READ-OS2).
TINF [See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources] is an applications
directory (for use with the OS/2 VIEW facility).

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

Where can I obtain OS/2 shareware and freeware?

The following BBSes hold large OS/2 libraries:

Fernwood (203) 483-0348
OS/2 Shareware (703) 385-4325
Bay Area OS/2 (510) 657-7948
Gateway/2 (314) 554-9313
Greater Chicago Online (708) 895-4042
OS/2 San Diego (619) 558-9475
OS/2 Las Vegas (702) 433-5535
IBM Germany 049-711-785-7777
IBM Denmark 45-42-88-72-22
OS/2 UK 0454-633197
IBM UK 0256-336655
IBM Norway 47-22-99450
OS/2 Australia 61-2-241-2466

(The monthly Worldwide OS/2 BBS Listing, available from these BBSes, lists
others.) The IBM NSC BBS (modem 404-835-6600) has some shareware/freeware
as well, along with CSDs [See (1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes] and the
PS/2 Assistant (an invaluable resource for locating almost any sort of
information on OS/2). For information on IBM's new OS/2 BBS call
800-547-1283. IBM Canada maintains several support BBSes:

(416) 946-4255
(514) 938-3022
(604) 664-6464
(416) 946-4244

The Usenet conference comp.binaries.os2 carries OS/2 software. And several
sites are available via anonymous ftp. (No ftp? Send a single line
message with the word HELP to [email protected] or [email protected]
to learn about ftp mail servers.) Some are (with Internet node numbers and
subdirectories): pub/os2 pub/os2 os2: pub/archives/os2 pub/os2 pub/os2 micros/ibmpc/os2 soft/os2 computing/systems/os2

The library is available on CD-ROM from Walnut Creek
(phone 510-947-5996). EMS (call 301-924-3594) offers an OS/2
shareware/freeware library on diskettes.

Other sources include CompuServe (FIND OS/2) and archive servers (send a
single line message with the word HELP to [email protected] or
[email protected] for more information, or use ftp).

IBM has been releasing freely distributable employee written software (e.g.
Visual REXX) and OS/2 patches to these sites.

Related information:

(1.19) Running a BBS Under OS/2
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes
(1.26) Viruses
(1.33) "Must Have" Shareware and Freeware

(1.8) Installation

I am having trouble installing OS/2 2.0. What should I do?

First consult the Installation Guide and other materials accompanying OS/2
2.0. Make sure your PC meets the system requirements in (1.5) Hardware

And if the following instructions do not help, fall back on IBM's toll free
technical support (call 800-237-5511 in the U.S.) and/or consult IBM's
Tips and Techniques file [See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

o Certain PC compatibles have difficulty accepting OS/2 2.0 [CSD level 02000
only; See (1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes], particularly AT bus systems
with RLL, MFM, or ESDI adapters. The problem usually appears in the form
of FDISK errors, extremely slow copying to the hard disk, or a
whining/grating noise emanating from the hard disk. A replacement
IBM1S506.ADD file alleviates the problem [See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware

o When installing, the Logitech Mouse selection should be chosen only if you
have a Mouse Systems PC Mouse (or compatible, e.g. certain Genius models)
or a Logitech C7 or C9 serial mouse. (If you have another Logitech
pointing device, it is likely Microsoft compatible when powered up, so
select the appropriate Microsoft driver, e.g. "Serial Pointing Device.")
If you are using a Logitech C7 or C9 serial mouse and have been using
native DOS, be sure to issue the command MOUSE PC (or MOUSE 2 PC if your
mouse is attached to COM2) before booting into or installing OS/2.
Alternatively, turn off the system (to reset the mouse) before booting or
installing OS/2.

o Some PCs have trouble printing under OS/2 2.0. This problem can often be
traced to an interrupt conflict, a substandard cable, an interfering
software security "dongle," or a faulty printer adapter. LPT1 uses IRQ 7,
and LPT2, if installed, uses IRQ 5. Interrupts should not be shared on AT
bus machines. The SoundBlaster, for example, comes set to IRQ 7. Reset it
to an unused interrupt.

o Make sure adapters with onboard ROMs are not conflicting with other
adapters. For example, many SuperVGA adapters use large segments of upper
memory, and many hard disk adapters have onboard ROMs which can be mapped
into the same areas. Adapters must not share address space or interrupts.
Check your product manuals for more help.

o Be sure adequate free disk space is available before installing, including
space for a swap file. Drives compressed using Stacker or similar
utilities should be uncompressed before installing (unless access to these
drives from OS/2 is not needed). An OS/2 2.0 version of Stacker is
forthcoming, and Proportional Software's (phone 303-484-2665) DCF/2, a
Stacker-like utility, is also due to ship soon.

o Do not select HPFS when installing if your machine has 6 MB of RAM or
less, or diminished performance will likely result. Change the IFS=...HPFS
line in your CONFIG.SYS to REM IFS=... if necessary.

o Automatic migration of your DOS CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files is not
recommended. If you have Windows 3.1 installed on your system do not
migrate your Windows desktop.

o Be sure your CMOS setup parameters are set correctly, especially those
relating to floppy drives. RAM should be given sufficient wait states and
precharge cycles. Test with cache memory and/or shadow RAM disabled if
necessary. The AT bus should run at 8 MHz.

o If you are using the IBMINT13.I13 driver to access an MFM, RLL, or ESDI
hard drive, and the hard drive has more than 1024 cylinders, be certain
your hard disk adapter's sector translation mode is enabled.

o Some Quantum LPS105AT IDE hard disks require a free ROM update (to Version
2.6) from the manufacturer to work with OS/2.

o If your AMI keyboard BIOS is below Revision F you may need an update.
Contact Washburn & Assoc. (phone 716-248-3627).

o Check to make sure keyboard DIP switches are set correctly. For example,
if the keyboard is attached to a system with an AT bus it should typically
be switched to "AT" mode.

o "Autoswitching" on non-IBM EGA adapters should be disabled (usually with a
DIP switch or jumper setting). In rare cases it may be necessary to switch
third party VGA/SuperVGA adapters into 8-bit mode and/or disable
"autosense." See (1.09) SuperVGA Support.

o OS/2 is particularly sensitive to bad RAM or cache memory (often reflected
in TRAP 0002 error messages). Use a thorough RAM testing utility, and try
not to mix 9-chip and 3-chip SIMM/SIPP memory modules.

o A driver for HP DeskJet printers, including color models, is available for
download. See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources.

o Allow several minutes for OS/2 2.0 to build your desktop (and display
icons) at the end of installation -- take the Tutorial offered to you in
the meantime. Select Shutdown and reboot once after installation completes
to ensure that DOS/Windows applications will operate properly. Avail
yourself of the "Start Here" icon, the Welcome folder (if applicable), the
other online help, and the README file located in the root directory. They
will help in getting started with the Workplace Shell and in properly
configuring your system.

o When installing over a beta version of OS/2 (except OS/2 2.0 level 6.177H,
the Limited Availability release) be sure to reformat.

o To install the Upgrade Version of OS/2 2.0, DOS or OS/2 must already
reside on the hard disk. If Diskette 1 is not write protected then the
installation program will record a file indicating that upgrade terms have
been satisfied and, in the future, will not require DOS or OS/2 on the hard
disk to install.

o OS/2 uses the same diskette format as DOS, so use DISKCOPY to backup the
installation diskettes and verify that none have been corrupted.

o Owners of IBM PS/2s should make sure that any applicable ECAs (engineering
changes) have been performed and that the most recent Reference Diskette is
in use. Reference Diskettes are available from the IBM NSC BBS (modem

o Try disconnecting any tape backup device if "Cannot find COUNTRY.SYS"
messages are encountered when booting OS/2.

o Contact IBM for a fix to install OS/2 2.0 [CSD level 02000 only; See
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes] on certain Zeos notebooks.

o An Always IN-2000 SCSI adapter with BIOS 3.06A or 3.20 requires an updated
version from the manufacturer. A companion 8-pin serial PROM chip may also
need to be updated. Contact Always at 818-597-9595. Also ask about
non-IBMINT13.I13 driver support.

o The TI TM4000 notebook may require a BIOS update to run OS/2 2.0; call
817-771-5856 for help.

Related information:

(1.5) Hardware Requirements
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.9) SuperVGA Support
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes

(1.9) SuperVGA Support

Will OS/2 2.0 work with my SuperVGA adapter?

If you have a SuperVGA adapter, OS/2 2.0 should initially be installed
using the standard VGA driver. Then consult the README file OS/2 copies to
your root directory for more information on SuperVGA support.

OS/2 2.0 comes with basic mode switching capabilities to handle
applications which utilize SuperVGA modes. If OS/2 2.0 detects a SuperVGA
adapter it will list two SuperVGA support files, VSVGA.SYS and BVHSVGA.DLL,
in your CONFIG.SYS file. [A replacement VSVGA.SYS file, dated April 20,
1992, or later, fixes Tseng 4000 and TRAP 000E problems. A replacement
BVHSVGA.DLL file, dated April 21, 1992, or later, fixes C0000005 errors
involving Western Digital/Paradise chipset adapters. See (1.7) Shareware
and Freeware Sources.]

To enable this mode switching support, available for most SuperVGA
adapters, you must start a DOS full screen session, issue the command SVGA
ON, EXIT, Shutdown, and reboot. (In the same DOS full screen session and
prior to SVGA ON you may run utilities which customize refresh rates. The
new refresh rates will take effect after you reboot. You may also wish to
run such a utility from AUTOEXEC.BAT.) SVGA ON creates a text file called
\OS2\SVGADATA.PMI which describes your SuperVGA adapter to the system.
Then you may install high resolution drivers.

Aside from DOS applications (which may require their own drivers), OS/2 2.0
requires up to three high resolution support files:

\OS2\DLL\DISPLAY.DLL Workplace Shell display driver
\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM\VGA.DRV Win-OS/2 full screen driver
\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM\SWINVGA.DRV Win-OS/2 "seamless" driver

You may replace any one of these individually for high resolution operation
in each given mode, but be sure to keep a backup copy of the original
file(s). The "seamless" Win-OS/2 and WPS desktop driver files must match
(in terms of resolution and number of colors) if you wish to run Windows
programs "seamlessly." Any suitable Windows SuperVGA driver will work as a
Win-OS/2 full screen driver, but be sure to use the EXPAND utility (as
described in README) when installing.

OS/2 1.3 SuperVGA drivers often serve, with some limitations, as Workplace
Shell desktop drivers. Use the command DDINSTAL to replace DISPLAY.DLL.
Setting IOPL=YES in CONFIG.SYS may be required with a SuperVGA adapter.

CAUTION: For OS/2 2.0 CSD level 06055, \OS2\DLL\DISPLAY.DLL should not be
replaced, using DDINSTAL or otherwise. Instead, create a separate
directory (e.g. \DISPLAY) and copy the vendor supplied 16-bit driver DLL
file to \DISPLAY\DISPLAY.DLL. In CONFIG.SYS, place the \DISPLAY pathname,
including drive letter, before \OS2\DLL in the LIBPATH line. The exception
to this procedure is Tseng 4000 SuperVGA. To install any of the available
256 color Tseng 4000 SuperVGA drivers, use OS/2 System -> System Setup ->
Selective Install. Check the Primary Display box, reselect SuperVGA, then

Drivers for the following SuperVGA adapters (or adapters based on these
chipsets) are available (A=all modes supported; B=most or some modes
supported; C=one mode supported; S=supports "seamless" Win-OS/2 in at least
one mode; X=experimental or beta). In most cases the drivers are available
from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources.

Trident Series B S
Tseng Labs ET4000 B S
Compaq QVision B
Genoa 7000 B
ATI VGA Wonder Series B S X
ATI Ultra and Vantage Series B
Lava Computer (call 416-674-5942) B S
Orchid Farenheit (S3-based) B
Paradise/Western Digital B S X
Video7/Headland VRAM II B S X
Cirrus Logic B
Actix Systems (call 408-986-1625) ?
Number Nine (call 617-674-0009) ?
Portacom (call 415-390-8507) ?
"Generic" 800x600 16 color (VGA800-1) C

In addition, several vendors, notably Ahead (call 510-623-0900) and Radius
(call 408-434-1010), are readying XGA-2 compatible display adapters for
market. TIGA adapter support is available from Janus Systems (call

Consult adapter vendors for up-to-date information on driver availability.

Some SuperVGA adapters cause problems with DOS/Win-OS/2 sessions. Try
turning VIDEO_ROM_EMULATION off, HW_ROM_TO_RAM on, and/or DOS_RMSIZE to 624
in DOS Settings.

If you have an ATI Ultra, Vantage, or other 8514/A hardware compatible
adapter, install OS/2 using the 8514/A driver. With the Ultra Plus and
Ultra Pro adapters, make sure you set the monitor type to VGA using the
supplied ATI setup diskette before you install OS/2. You may still use
customized refresh rates for high resolution modes, but the adapter must
report the monitor type as VGA (or 8514/A) to OS/2.

IBM was unable to test all SuperVGA adapters, so if you are experiencing
problems report them through IBM's toll free support (call 800-237-5511 in
the U.S.) and to the adapter manufacturer.

If SuperVGA continues to cause problems the stock VGA driver may be used
(preventing DOS/Windows applications from using SuperVGA modes, however).
VIO_VGA...(BVHVGA,BVHSVGA) to ...(BVHVGA). This procedure may be required
for first generation SuperVGA adapters based on Trident 8800 and Tseng 3000
chipsets, for example.

OS/2 2.0's installation program (CSD level 02000 only) has difficulty with
certain Oak video adapters. Temporarily replace the video adapter to
install OS/2, or contact IBM for a patch.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes
(1.31) Displaying Background Bitmaps
(1.34) Specific Hardware Recommendations

(1.10) Printer Support

Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?

OS/2 2.0 includes support for Hewlett-Packard LaserJets, DeskJets [See
(1.8) Installation], and PaintJets; IBM/Lexmark ExecJets, InkJets,
Proprinters, Quickwriters, Quietwriters, Pageprinters, and Laserprinters;
Epson dot matrix and laser printers; Postscript devices; and other printers
(e.g. Panasonic) compatible with these families. A variety of IBM and HP
plotters is also supported.

DOS/Windows printer drivers continue to work for DOS/Windows applications.
OS/2 2.0 includes a large assortment of Windows printer drivers for
Win-OS/2. If necessary install Windows printer drivers using the Win-OS/2
Control Panel. OS/2 2.0 and OS/2 1.3 printer drivers are interchangeable
in many cases.

If your printer is not compatible with one of the drivers supplied with
OS/2, check with the printer manufacturer first then with (1.7) Shareware
and Freeware Sources. If you own an IBM printer, check with the Lexmark
BBS (modem 606-232-5653). The Lexmark/IBM 4070 InkJet driver, for example,
will also work with Canon BubbleJet printers.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.8) Installation

(1.11) Starting OS/2 from Diskette (and CHKDSK)

How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting from the
hard drive? I'm getting error messages now -- how do I "repair" my hard

With IBM OS/2 2.0, insert the Installation Diskette, Shutdown (if
necessary), and reboot. When prompted insert Diskette 1 and press ENTER.
When prompted, press ESC. You will be given an OS/2 command line prompt.
From there you can make necessary changes to your hard disk -- an OS/2
character mode text editor on diskette is handy for such changes. (Make
sure you backup CONFIG.SYS before making any changes so that you can easily
revert to the old version should things go wrong.)

You may use this diskette boot method to run CHKDSK on your FAT or HPFS
volumes. After you reach the command line, insert Diskette 2. Do not log
to another drive. Type CHKDSK X: /F to repair most kinds of damage to
your hard disk, replacing X with the appropriate drive letter. (If you are
checking a HPFS disk, use /F:3 if you have the time.) OS/2 CHKDSK will
also mark your hard disk as accessible, if possible, should OS/2 "lock it
out" for some reason. It will also allow Workplace Shell drive objects to
open properly if they are not functioning correctly.

"Errors" may be reported by CHKDSK if OS/2 was booted from the hard disk.
These "errors" are normal. Since the hard drive is in use by OS/2 itself
(and files are open) CHKDSK is unable to accurately report errors.

The best way to avoid the need to perform CHKDSK is to always select
Refresh then Shutdown. Click on the Workplace Shell desktop background
using mouse button two to bring up the appropriate menu. Also, avoid
manipulating OS/2-related files when using native DOS. Finally, enable
autochecking for all your hard disk volumes. For HPFS volumes use the
/AUTOCHECK parameter in the IFS=...HPFS line in your CONFIG.SYS. For FAT
volumes use the AC parameter in the DISKCACHE line of your CONFIG.SYS. See
the online Command Reference for details.

Several utilities [including SE20BOOT; See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware
Sources] can create a single, bootable OS/2 diskette (as a convenience).
Preloaded versions of OS/2 2.0 can create a bootable diskette pair from the
Welcome folder. (This step, along with a full BACKUP after a diskette
boot, should be performed immediately upon receipt of any IBM preloaded
OS/2 2.0 system.)

IBM has released a patch (UHPFS) which remedies "CPS: Extent" errors on
HPFS volumes. This patch is available from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.16) High Performance File System

(1.12) Installing from Drive B

I can't install OS/2 2.0 from Drive B. What's wrong?

IBM OS/2 2.0 can only be installed from Drive A, like DOS (unless your BIOS
supports booting from Drive B), or across a network (see Remote
Installation and Maintenance, IBM Publication No. GG24-3780-00). If you
have the wrong disk size go back to your dealer and obtain the correct
media. Otherwise you could open your machine and swap floppy drive cable
connectors, use your system's setup utility to set the new CMOS parameters,
and then install OS/2 from the "new" Drive A. Sometimes the floppy drive
cable connectors will not be the same. If so you can obtain an adapter

You may also use IBM's twin "bootstrap" diskette images [See (1.7)
Shareware and Freeware Sources] to boot from a 5.25 inch Drive A and
install using 3.5 inch OS/2 diskettes inserted into Drive B. This procedure
should only be used if absolutely necessary.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.8) Installation

(1.13) Disk Utilities

Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?

Not yet, although Norton Desktop, Norton Utilities, and Norton Commander
all work under OS/2 2.0's DOS/Windows sessions [with limitations; See (1.3)
DOS and Windows Compatibility]. Also, Norton Commander is now available
for OS/2 2.0.

However, the GammaTech Utilities should fill the role. Contact their
publisher at 405-359-1219. Note that OS/2 2.0 has a built-in UnDelete
utility (see the README file or online help), and HPFS is resistant to
fragmentation [See (1.16) High Performance File System].

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.16) High Performance File System

(1.14) Recovering from Crashed Sessions

Sometimes OS/2 2.0 will freeze when I run an application. What do I do?

Before rebooting with CTRL-ALT-DEL, try CTRL-ESC. Do not hit additional
keys, do not move the mouse. Wait up to a minute. Either the Window List
or an error message should pop up. You may close the offending application
at that point; allow some time for it to close. (Try ALT-ESC if you have
disabled CTRL-ESC in that application's DOS Settings.) Note that the
Workplace Shell can recycle, independent of running applications, if it

If the system is badly disabled, sometimes pressing CTRL-ALT-NUMLOCK twice
will result in a prompt to create a dump diskette. You may do so (the
online Command Reference describes dump diskettes), or at that point you
may reboot with CTRL-ALT-DEL.

To prevent applications from automatically restarting See (1.27) Clever
Tricks. To restore the desktop to "factory defaults," use ALT-F1 when OS/2
2.0 starts. See the README file in your OS/2 root directory for details.

Related information:

(1.27) Clever Tricks

(1.15) Technical Support

How can I get answers to my OS/2 questions?

If your question is not answered in this List, post a note to the
appropriate Usenet conference: comp.os.os2.apps carries discussions
related to finding or using any application running under OS/2,
comp.os.os2.networking looks at networking issues, comp.os.os2.advocacy
deals with opinions and speculation, comp.os.os2.programmer addresses
anything related to OS/2 programming, and comp.os.os2.misc is for any other
OS/2-related discussion. These groups are watched closely by OS/2 experts
from IBM. Also, comp.lang.rexx discusses REXX programming. A LISTSERVer
distributes its own OS/2 conference by mail; send a single line message
with the word HELP to [email protected] for full instructions; or
send the same message to [email protected] for information on an
unedited mailing list. To subscribe to the Multimedia Presentation
Manager/2 mailing list, send a single line message with the phrase
SUBSCRIBE MMOS2-L to [email protected]

Your local FidoNet BBS may carry OS/2 echo conferences and/or OS2NET. If
not, ask your system operator to join them. CompuServe (FIND OS/2) and
Prodigy are also excellent resources.

The IBM NSC BBS's (modem 404-835-6600) message areas, product database, and
PS/2 Assistant file(s) are invaluable resources. Information on the new
OS/2 BBS is included in the OS/2 2.0 package. In the U.S. IBM has toll
free technical support (call 800-237-5511), an OS/2 Hotline (general
information, orders, upgrades, call 800-3-IBM-OS2), the HelpWare Center
(call 800-PS2-2227), a software order line (call 800-IBM-CALL), two FAX
information services (call 800-IBM-4FAX and/or 800-IBM-3395), and an
educational inquiries line (call 800-222-7257). In Canada call IBM
Personal Systems Software at 800-465-1234.

OS/2 2.0 developers should contact the IBM Developer Assistance Program
(call 407-982-6408); membership is free. (You may also join on CompuServe
with GO OS2DAP.) The OS/2 Professional Developer's Kit CD-ROM, containing
a wide selection of development tools and code, and the OS/2 2.1 Beta
CD-ROM are both available from IBM (call 800-3-IBM-OS2 to order in the U.S.
for $15 each, shipping included; in Canada, call 800-465-1234; in
Australia, call Rohaini Cain or Mike Voris at 13-2426 ext. 7684;
elsewhere, contact the International OS/2 User Group by calling 285-640181
in the U.K.)

IBM offers classes worldwide to help in using and programming OS/2 2.0;
call your local IBM branch office (or the OS/2 Hotline) for more
information. OS/2 has its own magazines as well: OS/2 Developer Magazine
(call 800-WANT-OS2), OS/2 Monthly (mail [email protected] or call
800-365-2642), Inside OS/2 (call 502-491-1900), OS/2 Professional (call
301-770-7302), and the OS/2 Newsletter (call 714-495-3757).

OS/2 2.0 books include The Design of OS/2 (Addison-Wesley, call
617-944-3700), 10-Minute Guide to OS/2 (Alpha, call 317-573-2634), OS/2:
User's Guide and Tutorial (Computer Information Assoc., call 708-766-4677),
Inside OS/2 (New Riders, call 317-571-3259), OS/2 Inside and Out
(Osborne/McGraw-Hill, call 800-227-0900), OS/2 Application and Development
Tools (Premier, call 203-378-6200), Using OS/2 2.0 (Que, call
317-573-2500), OS/2 2.0 Complete (Abacus, call 616-698-0330), and various
titles from Van Nostrand Reinhold (call 212-254-3232) and QED (call

IBM's OS/2 "redbooks" (power user guides) are IBM Publication No.
GBOF-2254. (To order IBM publications call your local IBM office and ask
for the Librarian or call 800-7654-IBM.) The redbooks are also available
in electronic form [See (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

Any of the regular DOS or Windows resources (e.g. books, magazines,
shareware/freeware sources) will be useful since both environments come
with OS/2 2.0.

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.28) Multimedia

(1.16) High Performance File System (HPFS)

Why should I use HPFS? What does it offer me? Does it work with DOS?

HPFS offers long file names (up to 254 characters including the path,
greatly exceeding the "8 dot 3" limit in DOS's FAT file system), contiguous
storage of extended attributes (without the EA DATA. SF file used by FAT),
resistance to file fragmentation, improved media error handling, smaller
cluster size, support for larger file storage devices (up to 512 GB), and
speedier disk operation, particularly on large hard disks, on systems with
more than 6 MB of RAM. HPFS is not case sensitive, although it does
preserve case in file names.

However, HPFS is not currently supported on removeable media, although some
programs (e.g. BACKUP) preserve long file names on such FAT disks. Also,
native mode DOS cannot access a HPFS partition. However, DOS/Windows
sessions running under OS/2 can use all files that conform to the "8 dot 3"
naming conventions, even if they are stored on HPFS volumes.

Related information:

(1.11) Starting OS/2 from Diskette
(1.13) Disk Utilities
(1.32) Hard Disk Partitioning

(1.17) Making OS/2 Resemble Unix

I'm a Unix wizard. How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?

A great number of GNU and Unix utilities have been ported to OS/2 native
mode and are available from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources. A uucp
package, UUPC/Extended, is available via anonymous ftp from, directory pub/uupc; mail [email protected] with questions.

In addition, the Hamilton C Shell is available from Hamilton Labs (call
508-358-5715 or mail [email protected]). The Thompson Toolkit, a
Bourne-like shell, and awk are published by Thompson Automation (call
206-224-1639). MKS (call 519-884-2251 or mail [email protected]) publishes a
number of standard Unix utilities for OS/2. For OS/2-specific X-Windows
server support, IBM provides an optional package available with its TCP/IP
1.2.1 for OS/2. The TCP/IP 1.2.1 base package includes a news reader as a
sample application.

DOS and Windows based utilities and aids still work fine under OS/2 2.0.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.25) Networking Products

(1.18) Making OS/2 Resemble Windows

I prefer Windows. How do I make OS/2 2.0 resemble Windows (or OS/2 1.3)?

Spend some time with the WPS first. Browse the online Tutorial, Master
Help Index, and Start Here facilties. Consult the Unofficial Guide to the
Workplace Shell, available from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources.

If you still prefer Windows-like behavior, follow the instructions
beginning on p. 29 in the "Migrating to the OS/2 Workplace Shell" booklet.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.19) Running a BBS Under OS/2

I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS. What is available?

OS/2 is an excellent environment for BBS operation (even using DOS/Windows
software), including large multiline facilities. Related software will
enable FidoNet capabilities, gateways to Usenet/UUCP, nodelist processing,
additional file transfer protocols, and more.

Five popular OS/2-specific BBSes are Maximus and Simplex [available from
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources), Omega Point/2 (BBS 404-564-1961),
Magnum (call 818-706-9800, BBS 818-706-9805), and Multi-Net (call
503-883-8099, BBS 503-883-8197).

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.20) COM3 and COM4 Support

Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2?

COM3 and COM4 are supported on most PS/2s without any additional effort.
On (E)ISA machines, some additions are required to CONFIG.SYS. Using a
text editor, include "(port number, base address, interrupt number)"
parameters next to the COM.SYS and VCOM.SYS filenames. One example:

DEVICE=C:\OS2\COM.SYS (3,3E8,5) (4,2E8,10)
DEVICE=C:\OS2\MDOS\VCOM.SYS (3,3E8,5) (4,2E8,10)

Parameters for COM1 and COM2 need not be included (unless they are somehow
nonstandard). OS/2 must end up with sequentially numbered logical COM
ports, if possible. For example, if (physical) port two is not installed
but port three or port four is installed, start numbering using (2,...) in
the DEVICE lines. If these efforts fail, try IBM's patched COM drivers or
the SIO drivers [available from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

Note that AT bus COM ports cannot be used at the same time if they share
interrupts because of bus design limitations (cf. "Under the Hood: How
Interrupts Work," Byte, February, 1992). An adapter which provides more
flexibility in interrupt selection (e.g. the 16-bit model from Boca
Research) may prove helpful. Also, PolyCom, a replacement driver available
from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources, supports up to eight ports with
the right hardware.

"Smart" (coprocessor controlled) multiport communication adapters should be
used when installing more than four ports. Such an adapter will work with
OS/2 if the manufacturer has written an appropriate driver. Examples
include IBM's ARTIC products, Digiboard (call 612-943-9020), Stargate (call
216-349-1860), Arnet (call 615-834-8000), Computone (call 404-475-2725),
Comtrol (call 612-631-7654), CTC Systems (call 415-966-1688), Equinox (call
305-255-3500), I-Concepts (call 214-956-7770), Specialix (call
408-378-7919), and Stallion (call 408-395-5775) adapters.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.21) Starting Background Processes

How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?

Look up the START and DETACH commands in the online Command Reference.

If you wish to start a DOS session with nondefault settings, use a utility
such as STARTD. If you wish to start an OS/2 session from a DOS session,
try OS2EXEC. Both (and several others) are available from (1.7) Shareware
and Freeware Sources.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes

What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get them?

CSDs are Corrective Service Diskettes, or bug fixes (Service Paks),
periodically issued by IBM. The OS/2 CSD level number may be obtained
using the command SYSLEVEL from an OS/2 command line prompt. CSDs are
cumulative, i.e. only the most recent CSD is required to bring a system up
from any previous CSD level. However, CSDs only apply within a major
version number. For example, an upgrade, not a CSD, would bring OS/2
Version 1.3 up to Version 2.0. Note also that each national language (e.g.
French, U.K. English) uses a distinct CSD.

CSDs may be ordered by calling 800-3-IBM-OS2. Customers with IBM customer
numbers (usually large sites) should call 800-237-5511 or order through
IBMLink. Outside the U.S., ask an authorized IBM dealer or representative
for the CSD. CSDs may also be downloaded from the IBM NSC BBS (modem
404-835-6600), CompuServe (FIND OS/2), or from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware
Sources. And CSDs may be ordered through IBM's new OS/2 BBS.

The latest, current OS/2 2.0 CSD level will be listed in this List and in
the PS/2 Assistant files.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.23) Adobe Type Manager

How do I add new Adobe Type Manager typefaces?

OS/2 2.0 comes with built-in Adobe Type Manager (ATM) for OS/2 and
Win-OS/2. A basic set of typefaces comes with OS/2 2.0 and is installed
(if selected) for use under OS/2's ATM. To install these same typefaces
for use under Win-OS/2's ATM, go to the Win-OS/2 ATM Control Panel and
install the typefaces from the last Printer Diskette. (Note that certain
foreign language characters, German particularly, do not display correctly
when using these typefaces. To remedy this problem edit each of the INF
files on this diskette so that the line Pi true reads Pi false and then
proceed with installation under Win-OS/2.)

Each typeface should come with three separate files with PFB, AFM, and PFM
extensions. To install a typeface for use under Win-OS/2, use the ATM
Control Panel. To install a typeface for use with OS/2-specific
applications, select OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Font Palette -> Edit Font
-> Add.

PFM files may converted to AFM files using the PFM2AFM utility, available
from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources. (However, these converted AFM
files sometimes produce unusual results.) For information on obtaining AFM
files for Adobe commercial typefaces send a single line message with the
word HELP to [email protected] Or retrieve them via Internet
anonymous ftp from Many public domain typefaces for
OS/2's ATM are available from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources.

With the exception of the basic set of typefaces that comes with OS/2 2.0,
typeface files may be shared by OS/2 ATM and Win-OS/2 ATM. To do so,
install the typefaces using both the Font Palette and Win-OS/2 ATM Control
Panel, specifying the target path each time (most conveniently \PSFONTS).

Note that IOPL=YES should appear in CONFIG.SYS; the modules WPPWNDRV,
BVHSVGA, and PMATM are marked as requiring I/O privilege.

Related information

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.24) Performance Tuning

How do I tweak OS/2 2.0 for maximum performance?

For OS/2 overall, the CONFIG.SYS parameters MAXWAIT, TIMESLICE, PRIORITY,
PRIORITY_DISK_IO, PROTECTONLY, and cache settings (in the DISKCACHE line,
for FAT; or IFS line, for HPFS) can be tweaked. The swap file should be
placed on the most used partition on the least used hard disk, and its
location is controlled by the SWAPPATH line. See the online Command
Reference for details.

FAT partitions should be periodically defragmented. A shareware
defragmenter for DOS called DOG (Disk OrGanizer) works well, as do many
others. (You can boot DOS from a floppy disk to run such a utility.)

For the Workplace Shell, drag shadows of most often used items to the
desktop or to folders closer to the "surface" -- opening folders takes
time. Drag shadows of program objects you use often (e.g. the Win-OS/2
full screen Program Manager) to the Startup folder. Disable animation (go
to OS/2 System -> System Setup -> System -> Window). Use the faster Details
View when opening drive and folder objects; to set Details View as the
default, open the settings notebook for the object, select the Menu tab,
click on ~Open, then the Settings button, then select the Default Action.

Try reducing the number of on screen colors or dropping down in screen
resolution to enhance speed. Close (not just minimize; check the Window
List) unnecessary objects and applications. Use the Monochrome scheme from
the Scheme Palette -- it provides marginally faster screen updates.
Consider adding more RAM.

For DOS programs, run full screen instead of windowed if speed is
important. In DOS Settings for each application: reduce conventional,
XMS, DPMI, and EMS memory allocations to the bare minimums required for
maximum performance; turn off VIDEO_RETRACE_EMULATION unless necessary;
change the HW_TIMER setting (particularly for games); enable
VIDEO_FASTPASTE if possible; turn on HW_ROM_TO_RAM. Communications
programs should use hardware handshaking where possible (use OS/2's MODE
COMx command if necessary), and a buffered UART can prove helpful. (DOS
programs running under OS/2 will not be aware of a buffered 16550AF UART.
OS/2 virtualizes the serial port and manages the buffer itself.) For
faster printing set the DOS program's output port to LPTx.OS2 (where x is
the printer port number) -- use a "print to file" option if necessary.
Disable any DOS print spoolers; rely on OS/2's spooler instead. Increase
CONFIG.SYS's PRINTMONBUFSIZE values. Other, standard steps to enhance DOS
performance (e.g. increasing BUFFERS in CONFIG.SYS) of course apply.

For Windows programs, run using a full screen desktop if speed is vital.
The Win-OS/2 Full Screen icon set up by the installation program has poor
Settings. For better performance perform some of the same steps outlined
in the preceding paragraph, including VIDEO_RETRACE_EMULATION off. The
same printer output advice also applies. In addition, the Print Manager
should be disabled (OS/2 provides a systemwide spooler). From the Win-OS/2
desktop close the Print Manager, uncheck the "Use Print Manager" box from
the Win-OS/2 Control Panel -> Printers section, then, using a text editor,
edit the \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM.INI file, removing the ,!printman entry
from the MAVDMApps line. (This last step will keep a warning dialog box
from appearing each time you start the Win-OS/2 desktop.) Consider
disabling the Public setting in the Clipboard. If available, set
mouse control is lost).

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.29) Measuring Performance and Memory Usage

(1.25) Networking Products

What networking products are available for OS/2 2.0?

In addition to DOS/Windows products, OS/2-specific TCP/IP support is
available from IBM (call 800-IBM-CALL), Essex Systems (call 508-532-5511),
FTP Software (send mail to [email protected]), and others. (A freeware SLIP
implementation, KA9Q, is available via anonymous ftp from in
directory /pub/hamradio/packet/tcpip/os2 or
/pub/hamradio/packet/tcpip/incoming.) NetWare Requester for OS/2 is
available from Novell (call 800-873-2831) and IBM; NetWare Server (atop
OS/2 2.0) has been demonstrated by IBM. IBM offers both NetWare and LAN
Server 3.0 (Basic and Advanced) with LAN requesters. Microsoft sells LAN
Manager 2.1a (which comes bundled with OS/2 1.3). An OS/2 2.0 LAN Manager
Requester, part no. 96F8359, is available from IBM; Microsoft offers a
similar requester with LAN Manager 2.1a. DEC sells Pathworks for OS/2. A
Banyan Vines OS/2 2.0 requester is due shortly, and the current DOS
requester works in a specific DOS session.

NDIS MAC drivers for most network adapters are available from (1.7)
Shareware and Freeware Sources, as well as via Internet
anonymous ftp. Drivers for 3Com adapters are available via anonymous ftp
from, from the 3Com Support BBS, or from CompuServe (GO

Peer-to-peer networking under OS/2 2.0 is best accomplished (at the moment)
with a TCP/IP product, like IBM's. TCP/IP (with NFS) is available for
nearly all platforms, so it is a particularly good choice in a mixed
environment. Artisoft is reportedly working on an OS/2 version of
LANtastic; contact the company for details. IBM may have its own offering
in the near future (beyond the peer-to-peer support now in LAN Server 3.0).

Related information:

(1.2) Extended Services
(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.26) Viruses

Should I worry about viruses when running OS/2 2.0?

At present there are no OS/2-specific viruses. However, DOS/Windows
viruses can conceivably infect an OS/2 2.0 system. DOS/Windows antivirus
tools are just as useful in preventing such infection. Also, IBM has an
antivirus package which runs under OS/2 directly (without DOS/Windows
emulation), McAfee's OS/2 SCAN and CLEAN have been released, and others
(Dr. Solomon and Dr. Cohen) are in development.

But OS/2 2.0 is likely to be much more resistant to viruses because of its
design. Viruses running in one virtual DOS/Windows session are likely to
be confined to that session. Low level disk access is curtailed under OS/2
2.0, thus preventing most virus infection at that level. And when a
DOS/Windows virus does trigger, it is far less likely to disrupt the entire

OS/2 2.0 is by no means virus proof -- no system is. But it should prove
more resistant to virus infection.

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility

(1.27) Clever Tricks

Are there any clever tricks that apply to OS/2 2.0?

o If you have installed the optional bitmaps, try clicking on the WPS
desktop background once with mouse button one and pressing

o If you have a color monitor, try editing your CONFIG.SYS file so that

SET PROMPT=$e[32;40m$e[1m[$P]$e[0m

to obtain a more colorful OS/2 command line prompt. You can do the same
for your DOS sessions if you edit PROMPT in AUTOEXEC.BAT, assuming you have
ANSI.SYS loaded. Note that the $i portion of your PROMPT will enable the
help line at the top of the window or screen. It is not included in the
example above.

o To force DIR to display your directories in alphabetical order, with the
subdirectories listed first, add the line


to CONFIG.SYS; and, if you wish the same for your DOS command line
sessions, use DOSKEY (see the online Command Reference) in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
DOSKEY also enables command history. (Shutdown and reboot for changes to
CONFIG.SYS to take effect.)

o Hold down SHIFT while resizing text windows to make size changes

o If you want to configure your printer port(s) for shared access (so that
DOS programs, for example, can use them directly), go to your printer
object, click on it with mouse button two, select Open -> Settings, select
the Output tab, then double click on the port you wish to share. Check the
appropriate box.

o While running a DOS graphics program in a window, use the graphics cut and
paste feature to clip a picture and paste it into the Icon Editor. You can
then quickly and easily create custom icons for your applications.

o To disable the automatic application restart feature, create a STARTUP.CMD
file in the root directory of your OS/2 boot drive with the following REXX

/* */
call RxFuncadd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call SysLoadFuncs
call SysIni 'USER', 'PM_WorkPlace:Restart', 'DELETE:'

or add the line


to your CONFIG.SYS. To manually disable automatic application restart when
booting OS/2, hold down the left CTRL, left SHIFT, and F1 keys
simultaneously from the time the mouse pointer appears until icons are
displayed on the desktop.

o Use the Alarms applet to automatically start programs at specified times.

o If you wish to dispense with the Workplace Shell (and its overhead),
particularly on low memory systems, change the line SET RUNWORKPLACE... in
necessary, with a different drive letter). In fact any program with job
control (e.g. Enhanced Editor, HyperAccess/5) can be used as the shell.

o To implement a small scroll back buffer for your OS/2 command line
windows, use the command MODE CO80,102. This procedure may be automated by
adding /K MODE CO80,102 in the Optional Parameters section of the OS/2
Window program object settings.

o If you do not want any command line parameters passed to a program object
that you start (for example, if you customize the desktop menu so that it
has an additional option which starts a command line prompt) place a lone %
in the Optional Parameters section of the program object settings.

o If you want to move an icon a small distance, "grab" it from the edge
nearest the direction you want to move the icon.

o If you wish to place program output in the REXX queue (for processing by a
REXX program), try


as an example. (In other words, pipe the program output to RXQUEUE.) To
use this program output in your REXX program, try

/* Sample */

o A clever way to manipulate files that are locked when the WPS is running
(e.g. display drivers) is to add the line CALL=CMD.EXE at the end of
CONFIG.SYS. Then Shutdown and reboot. The system will restart with an
OS/2 command line prompt. Type EXIT to proceed into the WPS. Using CALL
is also a convenient way to configure OS/2's serial ports using the MODE
command. For example:


configures COM2 for high speed RTS handshaking and buffered I/O. You can
also use either CDD2 or SHIFTRUN; both utilities are available from (1.7)
Shareware and Freeware Sources.

Another way, which works well with display drivers, is to copy the new
DISPLAY.DLL to its own directory (say, C:\NEW), then place that directory
name first in LIBPATH in CONFIG.SYS. Shutdown and reboot. OS/2 will use
that DISPLAY.DLL before it attempts to use the one located in \OS2\DLL.
(This method is required when using a 16-bit OS/2 2.0 display driver with
OS/2 2.0 Corrective Service Diskette level 06055 or later.) To switch back
to the old driver, edit CONFIG.SYS and remove C:\NEW from LIBPATH, then
Shutdown and reboot.

o To shutdown without a mouse, press CTRL-ESC, select the Desktop, then
press the spacebar (to deselect any icons, if necessary), SHIFT-F10, and
select Shutdown.

o If your video driver does not support "seamless" Windows, try running the
Win-OS/2 Program Manager in a DOS window.

o Selective Install should be used with caution when changing mouse or
display drivers. Verify that proper changes have been made to CONFIG.SYS.

o If your settings notebooks (or PM Sticky Pads) do not display but are
listed in the Window List, click on the name of the settings notebook in
the Window List (brought up with CTRL-ESC) with mouse button two and select

o If you wish to force a program object to start an OS/2 application
minimized, temporarily change the program name to introduce an error (e.g.
LOTUS.EXE to LOTUS.EX), turn to the second page of the notebook, check
Start Minimized, then turn back to the first page and correct the program

o If your \OS2\*.INI files have grown large, use the CopyINI or WPSBackup
utilities to shrink them. Both are available from (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources.

o To run Framemaker for Windows under Win-OS/2 3.0, patch the file MAKER.EXE
(using PATCH or DEBUG). Around offset $1DDD1C in the file you should see a
series of bytes as follows: 9A FF FF 00 00 A8 20 75 17. Change the second
to last byte from $75 to $EB.

o To restart the Workplace Shell (without saving desktop settings, perhaps
after an accidental Arrange), use a utility such as psPM [available from
(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources] to terminate PMSHELL.

o To get rid of a WPS object that cannot be deleted, try one of the

(a) click on the object with mouse button two, select Open -> Settings,
select the General tab, uncheck the Template box, close, and delete;

(b) drag a folder template from the Templates folder, drag the stubborn
object to this folder, then drag the folder to the Shredder;

(c) from the OS/2 command line, delete the object directly using the RD
command. (Many objects are actually represented as subdirectories below
\"OS!2 2.0 Desktop" or similar);

(d) insert a blank diskette in Drive A, click on the stubborn object with
mouse button two, select Move, select the Path page, enter A:\, press
ENTER, then format the diskette;

(e) use the WPSTools or Black Hole, available from (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources. (The WPSTools can also recreate desktop objects that
have been lost.)

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.22) Corrective Service Diskettes

(1.28) Multimedia

What do I need for OS/2 multimedia applications?

Information on IBM's OS/2 multimedia extensions (MMPM/2) and tools,
multimedia hardware, and IBM multimedia titles (e.g. Illuminated
Manuscript) is available through IBM's Multimedia Office (call 800-426-9402
ext. 150). Drivers for the Creative Labs SoundBlaster audio adapters are
available through (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources; beta drivers are
available for MediaVision's ProAudio Spectrum adapters. MMPM/2 drivers
should also be available for Digitan and Omni sound adapters, directly from
their manufacturers. VideoLogic's (call 617-494-0530) DVA-4000 supports
video capture and video display in OS/2 windows as does New Media
Graphics's (call 508-663-0666) Super VideoWindows. Tecmar (call
216-349-0600) offers various OS/2 multimedia products.

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(1.15) Technical Support
(1.34) Specific Hardware Recommendations

(1.29) Measuring Performance and Memory Usage

How do I measure OS/2 performance and memory usage?

OS/2 does not treat system resources like DOS. Memory is treated as a
virtual resource, used intelligently. For example, OS/2 will retain
unused, "dormant" code in memory if that memory is not otherwise required,
on the assumption that that code may be used again. Also, all but a small
portion of OS/2 (and most applications, no matter how many are running) may
be paged to disk should a large amount of physical memory be required.
Utilities which display "free" memory, then, are only useful for rough,
relative measurements.

Similarly, utilities which purport to measure system load (e.g. Pulse)
should not be relied upon for definitive performance measurement.
Subjective assessments are often much more reliable. Pulse (and similar
utilities) rely on a measurement of processor time allocated to a thread
running at OS/2's lowest priority. This method is sometimes subject to
erroneous results.

That said, more rigorous system performance optimization and monitoring
tools include SPM/2 (IBM), BenchTech (Synetik, call 303-241-1718), and
Performance 2.0 (Clear & Simple, call 203-658-1204).

Note that OS/2's swap file is designed to behave with hysteresis. It will
not shrink in size as easily as it grows, under the assumption that swap
space needed once may be needed again. It should shrink given enough time
and continued, less intense system loads.

Related information:

(1.24) Performance Tuning

(1.30) Promoting OS/2

What can I do to promote OS/2?

OS/2 is selling well, but there are steps you can take to assure that
hardware devices and software will be available for OS/2 in the future.
Customer requests do matter.

o Politely, firmly, and repeatedly request driver support from printer,
video adapter, and other hardware manufacturers.

o When you receive a mailing for DOS/Windows software with a postpaid
envelope, return the order form marked "Please send information on your
OS/2 version."

o Start a users' group at your location. Contact Gene Barlow (call
214-402-6456) at IBM for assistance.

o Correspond with members of the computer trade press. Ask for reviews of
OS/2 software, hardware compatibility testing with OS/2, OS/2 benchmarking,
etc. Respond politely but forcefully to press you think unfair; praise
good reporting.

o When you purchase a new system, ask the vendor to install OS/2 2.0, and to
offer credit for dropping DOS and Windows. If the vendor refuses, you may
wish to take your business elsewhere.

o Make sure your company (or yourself) specifies OS/2 compatibility when
purchasing new products.

o Demonstrate OS/2 to friends, relatives, and associates.

o Ask your computer store to stock OS/2 software titles, have OS/2
demonstration machines, etc.

o Pass along useful OS/2 shareware and freeware to your local BBS. Be sure
to register OS/2 shareware.

o Write an outstanding piece of shareware or freeware [See (1.15) Technical
Support for details on joining DAP]. IBM has been known to recognize such
work with rewards. Also, ask authors of DOS/Windows shareware and freeware
if they would port to OS/2, or volunteer.

o Recommend products that work well under OS/2; dissuade people from
purchasing products that do not.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.15) Technical Support

(1.31) Displaying Background Bitmaps

My background bitmap does not display correctly. What's wrong?

Color bitmap images used for the Workplace Shell screen or folder
backgrounds may not display correctly (may have distorted or missing
colors) due to incorrect matching with OS/2's default palette. Unlike
Windows, OS/2 does not adjust the palette to accommodate background bitmaps
(to keep the rest of the desktop from experiencing color distortions).
(Palette control is now available to applications running under the 32-bit
graphics engine with an appropriate display driver, however.)

To remedy the problem you may use the numerous background images which have
been specifically prepared for the WPS [so-called "BGA images," available
from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources] or you may use an image
editing/conversion utility which can create a proper, palette-matched
bitmap file. For example, FracInt 17.2 [available from (1.7) Shareware and
Freeware Sources] may be used to import noninterlaced GIF, Windows BMP, and
PCX files and save them as palette matched OS/2 BMP files.

Note that background bitmap images impose some additional overhead, taking
up RAM and disk resources. You should probably use them sparingly. Also,
if you have set a Win-OS/2 background bitmap you may experience desktop
color distortions when running Windows programs "seamlessly." Disable the
Win-OS/2 background bitmap to remedy the problem.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.9) SuperVGA Support

(1.32) Hard Disk Partitioning

What is the best way to partition my hard disk for OS/2?

There is no single best way to partition your hard disk for OS/2. For some
advice on the subject you should consult the IBM OS/2 Installation and
Planning Guide, available for download from (1.7) Shareware and Freeware
Sources, and the OS/2 Installation Guide in the OS/2 package.

It can be useful to place OS/2 by itself in a separate partition of about
40 or 50 MB. If you then elect to experiment with beta releases of OS/2,
you can reformat that particular partition quite easily to erase all old
code. The swap file can be placed on another partition; its location is
determined by the SWAPPATH line in CONFIG.SYS.

Partitioning should be performed by booting the OS/2 Installation Disk.
Executing FDISK from the command line will not allow certain functions to
be performed.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(1.16) High Performance File System

(1.33) "Must Have" Shareware and Freeware

What are the "must have" shareware and freeware titles?

Here are some of the shareware and freeware selections that have proven
popular among OS/2 users. Where available, an approximate filename is
provided. However, since version numbers are changing frequently, please
bear in mind that some of this information may be dated. Also, please
register any shareware you use -- your support will ensure a continuing
supply of capable OS/2 shareware.

o OS2Exec (OS2EXEC.ZIP): Start any OS/2 program from any OS/2 DOS session.

o Worldwide OS/2 BBS List (OS2WORLD.ZIP): List of BBSes around the world
where OS/2 is the predominant area of discussion and where large OS/2
software archives are held.

o 4OS2 Version 1.1 (4OS232.ZIP): A replacement command interpreter from JP
Software. A must for command line users.

o StartD (STARTD.ZIP): Provides the capability to start DOS sessions with
specific, custom DOS Settings from the OS/2 command line.

o Icon Extractor (ICON_160.ZIP): Converts Windows icons to OS/2 format.
Icons can be extracted from Windows executables.

o Mr. File/PM (MRFILEPM.ZIP): File manager and program launcher.

o Workplace Shell Backup (WPSBK7.ZIP): Backup the OS/2 desktop.

o Extended Attributes Backup (EABK202.ZIP): Saves extended attributes so
that non-EA aware backup software preserves all necessary OS/2 data.

o Add Icon Version 1.1 (ADDICO11.ZIP): Add icons to arbitrary files from
the command line.

o Visual REXX (VREXX2.ZIP): Provides the ability to write REXX programs
which use Presentation Manager windows, scroll bars, menus, and other

o Icon Programming Language (various): A simple yet powerful programming
language for many platforms, including OS/2. Supports graphical

o EMX/GCC (various): Powerful C/C++ compiler with programming aids and
enhanced libraries.

o Enhanced Editor Toolkit and Accessories (various): Add-ons to the
Enhanced Editor (EPM) which provide editor macro capabilities,
documentation, and various accessories.

o INI Maintenance (INIMNT1E.ZIP): Edit and maintain your vital OS/2 INI

o Info-Zip's UnZip 5.0 (UNZ50X32.EXE): Extract files from ZIP archives.
PKZip 2.x compatible. Supports extended attributes. Companion utility,
Zip 1.9, also available.

o GTAK GNU tar (GTAK201B.ZIP): Tape archive (backup and restore) utility.
Supports SCSI tape drives.

o MR/2 (MR2_137.ZIP): Reader for BBS QWK mail packets.

o TE/2 (TE2_120.ZIP): A full featured terminal emulation and modem
communications program.

o PMComm (PMCOM110.ZIP): As full featured as TE/2, but with a Presentation
Manager interface.

o C-Kermit 5A(188) (CK5A188.ZIP): A terminal emulation and modem
communications program featuring the Kermit file transfer protocol.

o SIO COM Drivers (SIO040.ZIP): Replacement serial port drivers which offer
enhanced performance.

o McAfee's Virus Scan (O2SCAN.ZIP): Detects viruses. Companion Virus Clean
utility also available.

o Minesweeper (DMINES10.ZIP): A game which requires you to avoid the mines
in a minefield. Several other versions are available.

o Nikon II (NIKON214.ZIP): Screen capture utility.

o FracInt 17.2 (PMFRA2.ZIP): Render fractal images. Also converts among
several image formats.

o IBM Configurator and Pricer (ICPAUSA.ZIP): Prices IBM personal computer
systems and accessories.

o PS/2 Assistant (PS2AST66.ZIP): Provides information on most of the IBM
personal computer product line, including OS/2.

o Install B (INSTB.ZIP): Allows installation of OS/2 from 3.5 inch media
when Drive A is a 5.25 inch high density floppy drive and Drive B is a 3.5
inch high density floppy drive.

o emTeX (various): Provides professional typesetting and document

o BlackHole (BLAKHOLE.ZIP): A Workplace Shell object that destroys anything
dragged to it.

o CONFIG.SYS Editor (CFGED1B.ZIP): A Presentation Manager utility which
eases CONFIG.SYS editing.

o SE20Boot (SE20BOOT.ZIP): Creates an OS/2 bootable diskette.

o psPM (PSPM2.ZIP): Displays a graphical representation of the processes
running on an OS/2 system and allows termination of any or all.

o Workplace Shell Tools (WPTOOL02.ZIP): Creates or deletes standard
Workplace Shell objects.

o GhostScript PM (GS252PM.ZIP): Postscript interpreter and viewer.

o OS2You (OS2YOU27.ZIP): OS/2 remote control over a modem or LAN
connection. Companion program PM2You, for control of graphical
applications, including DOS and Windows, is also available.

o UUPC/Extended (various): Provides uucp connection for mail, news, and
other services.

o TedP (TEDP090.ZIP): Text editor, under 10K in size -- perfect for an
emergency boot diskette.

Related information:

(1.7) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(1.34) Specific Hardware Recommendations

Are there any specific hardware recommendations?

Here are some of the peripherals and adapters that are particularly well
suited to OS/2. Some true bargains are included. Prices do not include
shipping and handling.

o Radius XGA-2 Adapter. An AT bus display adapter providing superior
performance and driver support under OS/2. Price: $449 from DellWare
(call 800-723-1635). A Microchannel version is available from IBM.

o IBM Model 3510 CD-ROM Drive. An external CD-ROM drive at a reasonable
price (demo/used units are $195 ea. from Micro Exchange, phone
201-284-1200). Requires a SCSI interface. Compatible with ISO/High Sierra
data CD-ROMs and audio CD-ROMs. Does not support Kodak Photo CD. Speed:
380 ms average access time, 150K/second sustained data transfer rate. Uses
CD-ROM caddies.

o Future Domain 1660ER SCSI Adapter. AT bus, 16-bit SCSI adapter for CD-ROM
drives, hard drives, and other SCSI peripherals. Price: $49 from Hi-Tech
(call 805-966-5454). May require $25 ROM upgrade from Future Domain for
OS/2 compatibility.

o NEC CDR-25 CD-ROM Drive with SCSI Interface. An external, portable CD-ROM
drive (with optional battery back available). Includes 8-bit Trantor T128
SCSI adapter and cable. Compatible with ISO/High Sierra, audio, CD-ROM/XA,
and single session Kodak Photo CD. Speed: 650 ms average access time,
150K/second sustained data transfer rate. Does not use CD-ROM caddies.
Price: $299 from Tiger Software (call 800-888-4437 or 305-443-8212).

o 16550AFN Buffered UART Serial Port Adapters. Improves high speed serial
communications performance. Price: $35 for a two port adapter from
Zero-One Networking (call 714-693-0808).

o Creative Labs SoundBlaster. Original, Pro, and 16ASP models are available
from many suppliers and provide audio output for OS/2 multimedia
applications. Prices range from about $90 to $230.

o IBM M-Audio Adapter. Available in either AT bus or Microchannel models
for the same price. Provides compact disc quality audio reproduction and
recording capabilities under OS/2. Price: $235 from IBM Direct (call
800-IBM-2-YOU) or $222 from IBM Educational Sales (call 800-222-7254).

Related information:

(1.5) Hardware Requirements
(1.9) SuperVGA Support
(1.20) COM3 and COM4 Support

 December 31, 2017  Add comments

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