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Frequently Asked Questions List for OS/2 - 2.0l - INF and text formats.
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Frequently Asked Questions List for OS/2 – 2.0l – INF and text formats.
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Contents of the OS2FAQ.TXT file

(0.0) Introduction and Credits

OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List
User's Edition
Release 2.0L
April 26, 1993
Compiled by Timothy F. Sipples

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

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

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.

Related information:

(0.1) Release Notes

(0.1) Release Notes

Revision markings debut in this release of the List. Text which has been
revised or updated since the last release will appear in the same color as
this paragraph. Unfortunately, this form of marking will not be evident in
the plain text or hardcopy versions of the List (unless a color printer is
used). If anyone has any strong objections to this form of revision
marking, please let me know.

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.

I hope to add two new questions to the FAQ List in the near future. One
will deal with dual monitor configurations, and the other will deal with
SCSI adapter and CD-ROM installation. Also, (2.2) SuperVGA Support and
(5.6) Performance Tuning could both stand substantial revision. Any
contributions are most welcome.

Related information:

(0.0) Introduction and Credits
(0.2) Recent Developments
(0.3) Questions in this Release

(0.2) Recent Developments

Indelible Blue, a new company devoted to OS/2 merchandise (and nothing
else), has opened its doors. For a free catalog phone 919-834-7005.

Stacker for OS/2 and DOS should be available by the time you read this
version of the List. Stacker provides on-the-fly disk compression for FAT
partitions on your hard disk. OS/2 is then able to read Stacker compressed
DOS partitions, and vice versa.

IBM has announced Database 2/2 (DB2 for OS/2), a 32-bit relational database
available in both server and standalone versions. This successor to the
Database Manager in Extended Services provides enhanced compatibility with
IBM's other DB2 implementations (such as DB2 for AIX). DB2 also outperforms
Database Manager by a substantial margin. Reduced price upgrades to DB2/2
from Database Manager are available. Contact IBM for details.

The San Diego OS/2 User Group has been releasing monthly newsletters in INF
format. These newsletters present a timely and informative summary of OS/2
tips and announcements. You may download these newsletters from the OS/2
Connection BBS (modem 619-558-9475). Leave a message there for Craig
Swanson if you are interested in redistributing the newsletter in your city.

Two new IBM OS/2 products have been released: Time and Place/2 (a
network-aware calendar and scheduling application for workgroups) and Person
to Person/2 (a computer/video conferencing system).

Borland C++ for OS/2 has been released. See (3.10) Special Software Offers.

The March OS/2 2.1 Beta and March OS/2 Professional Developer's Kit CD-ROMs
are now available for ordering. See (4.5) Technical Support for ordering
instructions. The new March beta includes still more device drivers,
reduced disk space requirements, drag and drop icon assignment, enhanced
MMPM/2 (including tie-ins to system events), a new INI file format for
speedier and more convenient operation, and much more.

Lotus has released 1-2-3 2.0 and Freelance Graphics 2.0 for OS/2. Pricing
is the same as for DOS and Windows versions, with educational, technology
guarantee, and competitive upgrade discounts. AmiPro and cc:Mail are
expected to follow shortly.

DigiVox Corp. announces Sound Impression for OS/2, a desktop recording
studio with 16-track wave recorder/mixer, MIDI player, and CD player. Phone
DigiVox at 415-494-6200 for details.

The next OS/2 conference is to be held in Toronto on or about June 21. For
more information phone Skills Dynamics at 800-661-2131.

Related information:

(0.3) Questions in this Release
(3.9) Extended Services
(3.10) Special Software Offers
(4.5) Technical Support

(0.3) Questions in this Release

The following questions are addressed in this release:

(1.0) Fundamentals

(1.1) What is OS/2?

(1.2) What are the differences between versions?

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

(2.0) Hardware

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

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

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

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

(2.5) Are there any specific hardware recommendations?

(3.0) Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(3.9) What is Extended Services?

(3.10) Are there any special software offers I should know about?

(4.0) Installation, Maintenance, and Support

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

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

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

(4.4) 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?

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

(4.6) What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get

(4.7) Which online services support OS/2, and how do I join?

(4.8) Are there any OS/2 user groups?

(4.9) What OS/2 books and magazines are available?

(4.10) How do I report an OS/2 problem to IBM?

(5.0) Using OS/2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(5.9) How do I boot a real version of DOS from within OS/2 2.0?

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

(6.0) Miscellaneous

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

(6.2) How can I create INF files?

(1.0) Fundamentals

The following questions are addressed in this section:

(1.1) What is OS/2?

(1.2) What are the differences between versions?

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

(1.1) 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. "Preemptive multitasking" means that the operating
system is responsible for allocating processor time to the one or more
applications which are running. (Cooperative multitasking, as found in
Microsoft Windows or the Macintosh's System 7, requires that each
application surrender the processor after a certain amount of time. If one
application refuses to yield, all the other applications stop running.)
"Multithreading" means that programs can start subtasks which will then be
executed by the operating system in the background. For example, a word
processor may create a separate thread (subtask) to handle printing or
saving to disk. When the user asks the word processor to perform one of
these tasks, the word processor creates a new thread and control returns to
the word processor (and the user) immediately. The subtask is executed by
the operating system in the background. The user is then free to ask the
word processor to perform another task without waiting for the thread to
complete. Applications which utilitize multithreading can be much more
responsive to the user. OS/2 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 (3.2) Shareware and
Freeware Sources

Citrix Citrix Systems (305) 755-0559

PolyMod2 MemSoft (407) 997-6655

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

Related information:

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

(1.2) Differences Between Versions

What are the differences between versions?

o IBM OS/2 Version 2.1 is currently in beta testing and is widely available
[See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources and (4.5) Technical Support].
This new version will support Windows 3.1 applications, Windows enhanced
mode, more third party adapters and peripherals, and OS/2 multimedia
applications [See (3.6) Multimedia].

o IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 [latest CSD Level is 06055; See (4.6) 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.

o 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) [See
(5.5) Adobe Type Manager], 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 ceded
all OS/2 development to IBM.)

o OS/2 Version 1.2 was the first to incorporate the High Performance File
System (HPFS) [See (1.5) High Performance File System]. With this release
IBM OS/2 added a dual boot mechanism and IBM Extended Edition [See (3.9)
Extended Services] introduced REXX.

o 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

o OS/2 Version 1.0, introduced in late 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:

(1.1) What is OS/2?
(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.9) Extended Services
(4.5) Technical Support
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes
(5.5) Adobe Type Manager

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility

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

OS/2 1.x [See (1.2) Differences Between Versions] 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 [See (3.8) Networking
Products] 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. (OS/2 2.1 will allow individual
AUTOEXEC.BAT files for each program object.) And many DOS Settings are
provided to fine tune [See (5.6) Performance Tuning] 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). [See also (5.9) Specific DOS Sessions.]

Standard graphics modes [ generally up to the resolution of the desktop; See
(2.2) 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 (Version 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 [See (3.4) Disk 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

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 (3.2) Shareware
and Freeware Sources].

OS/2 backup tools are available, notably:

Software Title Company Telephone

PMTape and PS2Tape IBM (800) IBM-CALL

Sytos Plus Sytron (508) 898-0100
BBS (508) 898-2608

EZTape and Backup Exec Irwin (Conner) (800) 821-8782

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 (3.2) 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 (4.4)
Starting OS/2 from Diskette]. DOS-based disk caching software is not
required since OS/2 includes a built-in, highly configurable, efficient disk

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 (4.3) Hard Disk

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. [See
(2.2) SuperVGA Support.]

Several icon conversion utilities can convert Windows icons for use by the
OS/2 Icon Editor and/or OS/2-specific programs [See (3.2) 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. The forthcoming OS/2 2.1 will support Windows enhanced
mode and emulate WINMEM32.

Windows applications are well integrated into the overall OS/2 Workplace
Shell environment with DDE and Clipboard hooks, and OLE (Object Linking and
Embedding) 1.0 is supported among Windows applications. Adobe Type Manager
[See (5.5) 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 (2.2) 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 (3.6) 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. 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. OS/2 2.1, due in the first half of 1993, will incorporate Windows
3.1 support (including enhanced mode, WINMEM32 emulation, and the Windows

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:

(1.2) Differences Between Versions
(2.2) SuperVGA Support
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.4) Disk Utilities
(3.6) Multimedia
(3.8) Networking Products
(4.3) Hard Disk Partitioning
(4.4) Starting OS/2 from Diskette
(5.5) Adobe Type Manager
(5.6) Performance Tuning
(5.9) Specific DOS Sessions

(1.4) Availability and Cost of OS/2

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

In the United States 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. (Phone for details on upgrades from OS/2 1.x. In
Canada phone 800-465-1234 to order. In the U.K. phone 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, most ValuePoint, and all
386SX (and above) PS/2 systems. Several other vendors, including Dell,
Ariel Design, and Tangent, 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 (2.1)
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 or SQL Server products.
Microsoft has all but ceased OS/2 development, working instead on Windows

Related information:

(1.2) Differences Between Versions
(2.1) Hardware Requirements
(3.8) Networking Products

(1.5) 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:

(3.4) Disk Utilities
(4.3) Hard Disk Partitioning
(4.4) Starting OS/2 from Diskette

(2.0) Hardware

The following questions are addressed in this section:

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

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

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

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

(2.5) Are there any specific hardware recommendations?

(2.1) 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 [See (3.8) Networking Products], Extended
Services [See (3.9) 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
[See (5.5) 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 phoning Columbia Data
Products at 407-869-6700. Columbia also provides the necessary EPROM and
PROM upgrades.) 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).

OS/2 driver support is available for the following CD-ROM drives:

o Hitachi



-all models



o Panasonic


o Pioneer


o Sony


o Texel


o Toshiba


when attached to IBM, Future Domain, Adaptec, or other SCSI adapters with
native OS/2 2.0 support. The OS/2 CD-ROM support includes audio, ISO
9660/High Sierra, CD-ROM/XA, and Kodak Photo CD compatibility for those
drives which support these standards.

Drivers for non-SCSI Sony CD-ROM drives (e.g. CDU-535 and CDU-31A) are
available from several sources [See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources].
A driver for Mitsumi (and compatibles, e.g. Tandy CDR-1000 and DAK) CD-ROM
drives is available from Systems Integration Technologies (1280 S. Powerline
Rd., Suite 171, Pompano Beach, FL, 33069, U.S.A.) Storage Devices offers
OS/2 drivers for its parallel port attached peripherals, including its
CD-ROM drive. Corel Systems offers a set of drivers for many more CD-ROM
drives and SCSI adapters. DOS device drivers, when installed using a
specific DOS session [See (5.9) Specific DOS Sessions], will still provide
CD-ROM services to DOS/Windows programs for the remainder.

See (2.3) Printer Support for information on OS/2 printer and plotter

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:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.8) Networking Products
(3.9) Extended Services
(5.5) Adobe Type Manager
(5.9) Specific DOS Sessions

(2.2) 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 (3.2) Shareware and Freeware

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 [See (4.6) Corrective Service
Diskettes], \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 proceed.

Drivers for the following SuperVGA adapters (or adapters based on these
chipsets) are available. In most cases the drivers are available from (3.2)
Shareware and Freeware Sources.

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.

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 (phone 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 (phone 408-986-1625) ?

Number Nine (phone 617-674-0009) ?

Portacom (phone 415-390-8507) ?

"Generic" 800x600 16 color (VGA800-B) C

In addition, several vendors, notably Ahead (phone 510-623-0900) and Radius
(phone 408-434-1010), are readying XGA-2 compatible display adapters for
market. Number Nine TIGA adapter support is available from Janus Systems
(phone 805-484-9770).

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 (phone 800-237-5511 in
the United States) 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; See (4.6) Corrective
Service Diskettes] has difficulty with certain Oak video adapters.
Temporarily replace the video adapter to install OS/2, or contact IBM for a

Related information:

(2.5) Specific Hardware Recommendations
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes
(5.8) Displaying Background Bitmaps

(2.3) Printer Support

Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?

OS/2 2.0 includes support for Hewlett-Packard LaserJets, DeskJets [See (4.1)
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. Drivers for NEC dot matrix printers are now available
[See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

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 (3.2) 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.

If you are using a Postscript printer, and you are having difficulty
printing under Win-OS/2, particularly over a network, try adding the
following line to the Postscript section of your WIN.INI file:


(This remedy applies to Win-OS/2 3.1 only.)

If you are having trouble printing generally, see the configuration advice
in (4.1) Installation for assistance.

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.1) Installation

(2.4) 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 (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources]. Note
that IRQ 2 is actually redirected to IRQ 9 on the AT bus, so use (...,...,9)
in the above COM.SYS and VCOM.SYS settings if your serial port is set to use
IRQ 2.

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 STB; See
(2.5) Specific Hardware Recommendations] may prove helpful. Also, PolyCom,
a replacement driver available from (3.2) 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

Company Telephone Number

IBM (ARTIC) (800) PS2-2227
Digiboard (612) 943-9020
Stargate (216) 349-1860
Arnet (615) 834-8000
Computone (404) 475-2725
Comtrol (612) 631-7654
CTC Systems (415) 966-1688
Equinox (305) 255-3500
I-Concepts (214) 956-7770
Specialix (408) 378-7919
Stallion (408) 395-5775

Related information:

(2.5) Specific Hardware Recommendations
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(2.5) 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 CatsEye/X XGA-2 Adapter. An AT bus display adapter with the latest IBM P2
XGA-2 chipset, providing superior performance and driver support under OS/2.
Price: approx. $250 from FutureComm (phone 203-937-7725 and ask for John
Jaser). A Microchannel version is available from IBM for a comparable

o ATI 8514/A Compatible Display Adapters. Harmony Computers (phone
800-441-1144 or 718-692-2828) is advertising three of ATI's 8514/A hardware
compatible Mach8 display adapters. All operate in 1024x768 256 color mode
at up to 72 Hz noninterlaced using the OS/2 8514/A driver. (Confirm,
though, that these adapters have the full megabyte of video memory for the
Mach8 processor, required for OS/2 operation.) The ATI Graphics Vantage
($169) uses DRAM video memory and is designed for the AT bus. The ATI
8514/Ultra ($179) is designed to work in both Microchannel and AT bus
machines and, while it uses faster VRAM video memory, it does not contain
onboard VGA circuitry. A VGA display adapter, with passthrough connector,
is required. The ATI Graphics Ultra ($199) uses VRAM, has onboard SuperVGA
circuitry (like the Vantage), and works with AT bus computers.

o Western Digital EtherCard Plus. An 8-bit ethernet adapter (meaning you'll
need a free, lower interrupt). IBM LAN software (like TCP/IP) includes an
EtherCard Plus driver -- no need to go searching. Price: $49 from Hi-Tech
(phone 805-966-5454).

o Future Domain 1660ER SCSI Adapter. AT bus, 16-bit SCSI adapter for CD-ROM
drives, hard drives, and other SCSI peripherals. Price: $58 from ICP Corp.
(phone 908-613-4444). May require $25 ROM upgrade from Future Domain for
DOS compatibility.

Set jumpers JP1 as follows: 1-Closed, 2-Closed, 3-Open (IRQ 11 enabled),
4-Open, 5-Open (I/O address to 0140-014F), 6-Closed, and 7-Open (BIOS
address to CA000-C8FFF).

o Adaptec 1540B SCSI Adapter. Discount Electronics Trading International
(phone 619-341-1107, FAX 619-341-2217) is selling new Adaptec 1540B SCSI
adapters for $89 each. The 1540B is a bus mastering, 16-bit, AT bus, high
performance SCSI adapter (without diskette controller). SCSI-2 commands are
supported (although a low cost firmware update may be required). Adaptec
drivers are included in OS/2 2.x itself. Ask about cables (if you need
them). Note that OS/2 will use all RAM beyond 16 MB (if installed) as a
fast swap area when this SCSI adapter is installed, since it does use 24-bit

o NEC CDR-25 CD-ROM Drive with SCSI Interface. An external, portable CD-ROM
drive (with optional battery back available). Compatible with ISO 9660/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: $219 from ICP Corp. (phone 908-613-4444). An
8-bit Trantor SCSI adapter and cable is $39 extra. A slightly faster (450
ms) drive, the NEC CDR-36, is available with cable and Trantor SCSI adapter
for $288 from ERM Liquidators (phone 800-776-5865). This model does not
support Kodak Photo CD, however.

o Toshiba CD-ROM Drive. The latest, super fast Toshiba CD-ROM drive, Model
3401, is available from CD-ROM Direct (phone 800-332-2404) for $419.

o Wangtek Tape Drives. Super Technologies (phone 909-393-4648) offers a
seven month warranty on several Wangtek SCSI tape drives. The Wangtek
5150ES (250 MB) is $295, the 5525ES (525 MB) is $495, and the 6200HS (2 GB
DAT) model is $650. All will work with GTAK tape backup software [See (3.2)
Shareware and Freeware Sources] when attached to an OS/2 supported SCSI

o Irwin Accutrack Tape Drive with EZTape/PM. Several dealers offer the
Accutrack series of tape drives bundled with EZTape for DOS, Windows, and
OS/2. Prices start at about $200.

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

o Four Port 16550AFN Buffered UART Serial Adapter. The STB 4-COM adapter is
available for $119 delivered by calling 800-735-5266 Ext. 64. The 16-bit
STB adapter provides four buffered serial ports, each with an independently
selectable interrupt and address. IRQs above 7 are supported for each port.
Up to two of these adapters may be installed in the same system (for up to
eight buffered serial ports). Four six inch 8-pin DIN to DB9 male converter
cables are supplied. Fifteen month manufacturer's warranty and free
technical support from STB.

o Creative Labs SoundBlaster. Original (2.0) and Pro models are available
from many suppliers and provide audio output for OS/2 multimedia
applications. Prices range from about $90 to $170.

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 (phone
800-IBM-2YOU) or $222 from IBM Educational Sales (phone 800-222-7254).

o MediaVision ProAudio Spectrum 16. The PAS 16, as it is known, offers
compact disc quality audio reproduction and recording capabilities and an on
board SCSI port (for CD-ROM drives and other peripherals). Available from
several dealers at about $190. An appropriate driver will ship with OS/2

o IBM Quietwriter Printers. Micro Recyling (phone 708-488-2000) is selling
used IBM Quietwriter II printers for $95 and Quietwriter III printers for
$130. These printers carry a 30-day warranty. A QW II sheetfeeder is $20,
and a QW III dual bin sheetfeeder is $25 (both "as-is"). Both offer laser
quality printing. Note that, while the print quality is superb, the cost of
consumables is quite high, particularly for the Quietwriter II.

Related information:

(2.1) Hardware Requirements
(2.2) SuperVGA Support
(2.4) COM3 and COM4 Support
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(3.0) Software

The following questions are addressed in this section:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(3.9) What is Extended Services?

(3.10) Are there any special software offers I should know about?

(3.1) 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:

o Aldus


o AutoDesk


o Borland


o Corel Systems


o DeScribe

-Word Publisher

o FutureSoft


o Hilgraeve



-DisplayWrite Composer

o Informix


o JP Software

-4OS2 (4DOS for OS/2)

o Lotus Development

-Freelance Graphics

o Micrographx


o Microrim


o Microsoft


o New England Software


o Omen


o Oracle


o SAS Institute


o SemWare


o SPSS Inc.


o Ventura


o WordPerfect Corp.


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:

o Borland


o Computer Associates

-ACCPAC Simply Accounting

o Corel Systems


o DeScribe

-Word Publisher

o Hilgraeve


o Lotus Development

-Freelance Graphics
-Ami Pro

o Microformatic


o Micrographx


o Microrim


o SofNet


o Spinnaker


o Symantec

-Norton Commander
-Zortech C++

o Vienna Software Publishing

-N/Joy: The World of Objects

o WordPerfect Corp.


o ZSoft (WordStar)

-Publisher's Paintbrush

and many more. Over 1200 new 32-bit OS/2 2.0 applications have been
released to date.

OS/2-specific versions of popular utilities include ZIP/UNZIP, ARC, LHA, 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, Ada, Prolog, 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 (3.2) 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

The IBM PC Company 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, is published by Graphics Plus (phone 800-READ-OS2). The
OS/2 Development Tools Guide is available free of charge by calling the IBM
Developer Assistance Program at (407) 982-6408. TINF [See (3.2) Shareware
and Freeware Sources] is an applications directory (for use with the OS/2
VIEW facility).

Related information:

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

(3.2) 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 47-66-99-94-50

OS/2 Norway 47-22-38-09-49

OS/2 Australia 61-2-241-2466

(The monthly Worldwide OS/2 BBS Listing, available from these BBSes, lists
others.) The IBM PC Company BBS (modem 404-835-6600) has some
shareware/freeware as well, along with CSDs [See (4.6) 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 phone 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 pub/local/os2 pub/pc/os2

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

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). TRICKLE
servers are also available outside the United States. For more information
on TRICKLE services, including automatic file subscription procedures, send
a single line message with the word HELP to any one of the following sites
nearest you:

Country Address
Austria [email protected]
Belgium [email protected]
Colombia [email protected]
France [email protected]
Germany [email protected]
Israel [email protected]
Italy [email protected]
Netherlands [email protected]
Sweden [email protected]
Turkey [email protected]
[email protected]

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

Related information:

(3.3) "Must Have" Shareware and Freeware
(3.5) Running a BBS Under OS/2
(3.7) Viruses
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes

(3.3) "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. Assigns icons via drag and
drop. Deletes undeleteable objects.

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 AddIcon 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 (ICON88.ZIP): 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 (GTAK212.ZIP): Tape archive (backup and restore) utility.
Supports SCSI tape drives.

o MR/2 (MR2_139.ZIP): Reader for BBS QWK mail packets.

o TE/2 (TE2_123.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 (SIO062.ZIP): Replacement serial port drivers which offer
enhanced performance.

o McAfee's Virus Scan (OSCN102.ZIP): Detects viruses. Companion Virus
Clean and Net Scan utilities also available.

o Minesweeper (DMINE102.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 (PS2AST67.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 (BLAKHOL3.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 Boot2X (BOOT2X.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.

o BookShelf (BOOKSHLF.ZIP): Utility which presents a coherent menu of all
available INF files on your system.

o VSwitch (VSWITCH.ZIP): A task list for full screen sessions.

o Windows 3.1 Under OS/2 (OS2WIN31.ZIP): Allows Microsoft Windows 3.1 to
operate under OS/2 2.0 in either standard or enhanced mode. Win-OS/2 is not

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(3.4) 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 Command Reference), and HPFS is
resistant to fragmentation [See (1.5) High Performance File System].

Related information:

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

(2.5) 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
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources), Omega Point/2 (BBS 404-564-1961),
Magnum (phone 818-706-9800, BBS 818-706-9805), and Multi-Net (phone
503-883-8099, BBS 503-883-8197).

For more information on operating a BBS under OS/2 (with conferences devoted
to the subject) log on to one of the OS/2 BBSes listed in (3.2) Shareware
and Freeware Sources.

Related information:

(2.4) COM3 and COM4 Support
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(3.6) Multimedia

What do I need for OS/2 multimedia applications?

Information on IBM's OS/2 multimedia extensions (MMPM/2) and tools,
Ultimotion (software video capture and playback for OS/2), multimedia
hardware, and IBM multimedia titles (e.g. Illuminated Manuscript) is
available through IBM's Multimedia Office (phone 800-426-9402 ext. 150).
Drivers for the Creative Labs SoundBlaster audio adapters are available
through (3.2) 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 (phone 617-494-0530) DVA-4000 supports video
capture and video display in OS/2 windows as does New Media Graphics's
(phone 508-663-0666) Super VideoWindows. Tecmar (phone 800-624-8560 or
216-349-1009, or FAX 216-349-0851) offers various OS/2 multimedia products,
including the ProSound audio adapter.

MMPM/2 will become a part of the base OS/2 package when OS/2 2.1 is
released. OS/2 2.1 will also include the Windows Multimedia Extensions.

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(2.5) Specific Hardware Recommendations
(4.5) Technical Support

(3.7) 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 (AntiVirus/2) which runs under OS/2 directly (without DOS/Windows
emulation). McAfee's OS/2 SCAN and CLEAN have been released, as has Dr.
Solomon's Antivirus Toolkit from Ontrack Systems. Others (Dr. Cohen, for
example) 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
system. In fact, OS/2 is most vulnerable when it isn't in charge (i.e.
when native DOS is being used). A DOS virus then has free reign to write to
the hard disk and possibly disable OS/2. The greater risk comes from
leaving OS/2.

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

(3.8) 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 (phone 800-IBM-CALL), Essex Systems (phone 508-532-5511),
FTP Software (send mail to [email protected]), and others. (A freeware SLIP
implementation, KA9Q NOS, is available via anonymous ftp from in
directory /hamradio/packet/tcpip/os2 or /hamradio/packet/tcpip/incoming.
The Presenation Manager version, PMNOS, is also available there.) NetWare
Requester for OS/2 is available from Novell (phone 800-873-2831) and IBM;
NetWare 4.0 Server (atop OS/2 2.0) should be available in May, 1993. IBM
offers both NetWare and LAN Server 3.0 (Basic and Advanced) with LAN
requesters. Microsoft sells LAN Manager (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 (or
later). DEC sells Pathworks (Version 2.0b) 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 [See (5.9) Specific DOS Sessions].

NDIS MAC drivers for most network adapters are available from (3.2)
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
THREECOM). Drivers for Cabletron adapters are available via anonymous ftp

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 (a repackaging of the peer-to-peer support now provided
in LAN Server 3.0).

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.9) Extended Services
(5.9) Specific DOS Sessions

(3.9) 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 Requester.

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 (4.6) 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
(2.1) Hardware Requirements].

While Extended Services will remain available, IBM has decided to further
separate the ES components. DB/2, a full 32-bit relational database, is
available separately as a replacement for ES's Database Manager.
Communication Manager/2 is now also available by itself. With each
component available "a la carte," you can configure your OS/2 system to your
exact specifications (almost always at a lower cost), and you are free to
substitute similar products from other vendors (so you aren't locked into
IBM's offerings).

Related information:

(1.2) Differences Between Versions
(2.1) Hardware Requirements
(3.8) Networking Products
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes

(3.10) Special Software Offers

Are there any special software offers I should know about?

Here are some of the OS/2 software products that represent particularly good
values. Most prices do not include shipping and handling.

o Borland C++ for OS/2. Available from Below Zero in Calgary (phone
800-461-2777, 403-547-0669, or FAX 403-547-1018) for about $136 U.S.,
including shipping. Add GST in Canada. Below Zero will export outside
North America.

o IBM PL/I. Not everyone is a PL/I programmer, but IBM is offering free
copies of Workframe/2 with every purchase and free product videos. Phone
800-426-3346 ext. STL10 for more information on the two packages available.

o IBM TCP/IP for OS/2. The universal peer-to-peer networking solution. In
the United States the base package is available for $131 from IBM Direct
(phone 800-IBM-2-YOU); NFS (for disk sharing) and X Windows add-ons are $95

o New Lotus Applications. Lotus 1-2-3 2.0 and Freelance Graphics 2.0 for
OS/2 are now available. These 32-bit, Workplace Shell and HPFS aware
applications are available at the same prices as the DOS and Windows
counterparts. For educational discounts in the United States contact
Douglas Stewart Co. (phone 800-279-2795).

o Imara ScanTool. Imara Research Corp. is offering its OS/2 ScanTool
software at a special price of $99 with a 30 day money back guarantee.
Works with HP ScanJet, ScanJet Plus, ScanJet IIP, and ScanJet IIC scanners.
Saves files as PCX, raw TIFF, or compressed TIFF. Phone Imara at
416-581-1740 (or FAX 416-581-1605) for more information or to order.

o DeScribe. DeScribe 4.0, the first 32-bit Workplace Shell and HPFS aware
word processor for OS/2, is available for $275 from the IBM OS/2 Hotline
(phone 800-3-IBM-OS2). To qualify for this price you must have purchased
something else (anything else, e.g. the $15 March OS/2 2.1 Beta CD-ROM)
through the Hotline. The price includes any minor maintenance and the next
full release of DeScribe. DeScribe is also available at the educational
price of $125 by calling 800-448-1586 or 916-646-1111, or by FAX at
916-923-3447; ask for Monica.

o Conner Backup Exec. Conner, through some recent acquisitions, has
obtained expertise in OS/2 backup software. Backup Exec is the latest
effort, on sale at a special price of $69. Call 800-468-2587 for more
information or to order.

Related information:

(3.1) Applications

(4.0) Installation, Maintenance, and Support

The following questions are addressed in this section:

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

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

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

(4.4) 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?

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

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

(4.7) Which online services support OS/2, and how do I join?

(4.8) Are there any OS/2 user groups?

(4.9) What OS/2 books and magazines are available?

(4.10) How do I report an OS/2 problem to IBM?

(4.1) 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 (2.1) Hardware

And if the following instructions do not help, fall back on IBM's toll free
technical support (phone 800-237-5511 in the United States) and/or consult
IBM's Tips and Techniques file [See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

o Certain PC compatibles have difficulty accepting OS/2 2.0 [CSD Level 02000
only; See (4.6) 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 (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources].

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) for an inexpensive

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 (2.2) 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. When upgrading,
avoid adding RAM which is not rated (in nanoseconds) at least as fast (i.e.
with an equal or lower number) as the RAM already in the system.

o A driver for HP DeskJet printers, including color models, is available for
download. See (3.2) 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 PC Co. 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 (4.6)
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; phone
817-771-5856 for help.

o For the technically advanced user, the following list of TRAP error codes
may help you in addressing OS/2 problems.

Code Description
0000 Divide by zero error
0001 Debug exception
0002 Non Maskable Interrupt (usually memory parity error)
0003 Breakpoint (one byte INT 3 instruction)
0004 Overflow
0005 Bounds check (BOUND instruction)
0006 Invalid opcode
0007 Coprocessor not available
0008 Double fault
0009 (Reserved)
000A Invalid TSS
000B Segment not present
000C Stack exception
000D General protection
000E Page fault
000F (Reserved)
0010 Coprocessor error
0011-001F (Reserved)
0020-00FF Available for external interrupts via INTR pin

o For the technically advanced user who wishes to install a secondary
diskette controller (provided it uses a separate DMA channel, IRQ, and I/O
address), the following parameters are available for the

Parameter Description
/MCA Load on Microchannel machine
/A:x Adapter ID (where x is 0 or 1)
/IRQ:x Interrupt level (where x is a number)
/DMA:x DMA channel (where x is a number)
/P:hhhh Controller I/O address (hhhh)
/U:x Drive number (where x is 0 to 3)
/F:ccc Drive capacity (where ccc is 360KB to 2.88MB)
/CL:tttt Changeline type (where tttt is NONE, AT, or PS2)
/SPEC:hh Controller specify bytes (hh)


BASEDEV=IBM1FLPY.ADD /A:0 /DMA:3 /IRQ:10 /P:370 /U:0 /F:360KB

Related information:

(2.1) Hardware Requirements
(2.2) SuperVGA Support
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes

(4.2) 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. (For more information
on installation across a network, see Remote Installation and Maintenance,
IBM Publication No. GG24-3780. Related publications include Automated
Installation for CID Enabled OS/2 2.0, IBM Pub. No. GG24-3783, and
Automated Installation for CID Enabled Extended Services, LAN Server 3.0 and
Network Transport Services/2, IBM Pub. No. GG24-3781.) 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 (3.2) 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:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.1) Installation

(4.3) 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 (3.2) 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

Related information:

(1.5) High Performance File System
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(4.4) 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 BOOT2X; See (3.2) 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

IBM has released a patch (UHPFS) which remedies "CPS: Extent" errors on
HPFS volumes. This patch is available from (3.2) Shareware and Freeware

Related information:

(1.5) High Performance File System
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(4.5) 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.porting helps
programmers move applications over to OS/2 from other operating systems and
environments, comp.os.os2.programmer.misc addresses anything else related to
OS/2 programming, comp.os.os2.beta explores beta releases of OS/2,
comp.os.os2.ver1x supports all releases of OS/2 prior to Version 2.0,
comp.os.os2.announce carries important OS/2 announcements, comp.os.os2.bugs
discusses possible bugs found in released versions of the operating system,
comp.os.os2.multimedia fosters conversation about OS/2 multimedia (including
MMPM/2), comp.os.os2.setup offers a place to talk about setup and
installation issues, 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 [See (3.6) Multimedia] mailing list, send a single
line message with the phrase SUBSCRIBE MMOS2-L (Your Name) 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 PC Co. 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 United States IBM has
toll free technical support (phone 800-237-5511), an OS/2 Hotline (general
information, orders, upgrades, phone 800-3-IBM-OS2; ask about OS/2
videotapes, T-shirts, and other accessories), the HelpWare Center (phone
800-PS2-2227), a software order line (phone 800-IBM-CALL), two FAX
information services (phone 800-IBM-4FAX and/or 800-IBM-3395), and an
educational inquiries line (phone 800-222-7257). In Canada phone IBM
Personal Systems Software at 800-465-1234.

OS/2 2.0 developers should contact the IBM Developer Assistance Program
(phone 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 (phone 800-3-IBM-OS2 to order in the United
States for between $15 and $20 each, shipping included; in Canada, phone
800-465-1234; in Australia, phone Rohaini Cain or Mike Voris at 13-2426 ext.
7684; elsewhere, contact the International OS/2 User Group by phoning
285-641175 in the U.K.) The OS/2 Device Driver Development Kit CD-ROM is
also now available from IBM. To order phone 407-982-4239 (FAX 407-982-4218)
in North America, 61-2-354-7684 (FAX 61-2-354-7766) in most of the Far East
and Pacific Rim, 81-3-5563-5897 (FAX 81-3-5563-4957) in Japan, 81-2-528-1548
(FAX 82-2-528-1414) in Korea, or 011-52-627-1846 (FAX 011-52-395-7812) in
Latin America.

IBM offers classes worldwide to help in using and programming OS/2 2.0;
phone your local IBM branch office (or the OS/2 Hotline) for more

See (4.9) Books and Magazines for information on OS/2 publications.

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
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.6) Multimedia
(4.8) User Groups
(4.9) Books and Magazines
(4.10) Problem Report Form

(4.6) 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 2.0 up to
Version 2.1. Note also that each national language (e.g. French, U.K.
English) uses a distinct CSD.

CSDs may be ordered by phoning 800-3-IBM-OS2. Customers with IBM customer
numbers (usually large sites) should phone 800-237-5511 or order through
IBMLink. Outside the United States, ask an authorized IBM dealer or
representative for the CSD. CSDs may also be downloaded from the IBM PC Co.
BBS (modem 404-835-6600), CompuServe (FIND OS/2), or from (3.2) 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:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(4.7) Online Services

Which online services support OS/2, and how do I join?

IBM's official non-IBM online service for OS/2 user and developer support is
CompuServe (FIND OS/2). In the United States you can obtain CompuServe
membership information by phoning 800-848-8199.

IBM maintains an unofficial presence on many other networks. For
information on the Internet consult one of the many books describing the
network. One example: The Whole Internet by Ed Krol, O'Reilly & Associates
(phone 707-829-0515), ISBN 1-56592-025-2. Once you start using the Internet
you should peruse the information files posted to the news.answers newsgroup
to familiarize yourself with Internet resources.

See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources and (4.5) Technical Support for
information on other online services with high OS/2 content.

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.5) Technical Support

(4.8) User Groups

Are there any OS/2 user groups?

The following OS/2 user groups meet regularly:

North Suburban Chicago OS/2 User's Group
Contact: James Schmidt (phone 708-317-7405)

Greater Chicago OS/2 User Group
Contact: Lisa Der Mateosian (phone 312-245-6418)

Denver OS/2 User's Group
Contact: Ronald Van Iwaarden (BBS 303-744-0373)

Las Vegas OS/2 User Group
Contact: Karu Karunaratne (phone 702-435-0018, BBS 702-433-5535)

Long Island OS/2 User's Group
Contact: Jeffrey Altman (phone 516-444-3751)

Minnesota OS/2 User Group
Contact: Marcus Krumpholz (phone 612-869-7956, BBS 612-379-8272)

Bay Area (San Francisco) OS/2 User Group
Contact: Sanford Rockowitz (phone 415-755-3124)

Singapore (NUS) OS/2 User Group
Contact: N. Sriram (Internet: [email protected])

International OS/2 User Group (based in the U.K.)
Contact: Mike Gove (phone +44(0)285-641175 or FAX +44(0)285-640181)

Westchester (New York) OS/2 User Group
Contact: Patrick Pearce (phone 914-762-8950)

[OS/2 user groups: please send information on your group to the author.
See (0.0) Introduction and Credits.] See (6.1) Promoting OS/2 for
information on IBM assistance to OS/2 user groups.

Related information:

(0.0) Introduction and Credits
(4.5) Technical Support
(6.1) Promoting OS/2

(4.9) Books and Magazines

What OS/2 books and magazines are available?

OS/2 has its own magazines: OS/2 Developer Magazine (phone 800-WANT-OS2 or
708-647-5960, FAX 708-647-0537), OS/2 Monthly (mail
[email protected] or phone 800-365-2642), Inside OS/2 (phone
502-491-1900), OS/2 Professional (phone 301-770-7302), and the OS/2
Newsletter (phone 714-495-3757).

OS/2 2.0 books include The Design of OS/2 (Addison-Wesley, phone
617-944-3700), 10-Minute Guide to OS/2 (Alpha, phone 317-573-2634), OS/2:
User's Guide and Tutorial (Computer Information Assoc., phone 708-766-4677),
Inside OS/2 (New Riders, phone 317-571-3259), OS/2 Inside and Out and OS/2
2.0 Programming (Osborne/McGraw-Hill, phone 800-227-0900), OS/2 Application
and Development Tools (Premier, phone 203-378-6200), Using OS/2 2.0 (and
many programming titles, Que, phone 317-573-2500), OS/2 2.0 Complete
(Abacus, phone 616-698-0330), OS/2 2.1 Unleashed (SAMS, phone 215-631-5685,
ISBN 0672-30240-3), OS/2 2.x Notebook (IBM, phone 800-842-3636, ISBN
0-442-01522-4, IBM Publication No. G362-0015), and various titles from Van
Nostrand Reinhold (phone 212-254-3232) and QED (phone 800-343-4848).

IBM's OS/2 "redbooks" (power user guides) are IBM Publication No.
GBOF-2254. (To order these and other IBM publications phone your local IBM
office and ask for the Librarian or phone 800-765-4IBM.) These redbooks are
also available in electronic form [See (3.2) Shareware and Freeware
Sources]. Other OS/2 publications, such as the OS/2 Technical Library, IBM
Part No. 10G3356, are available by calling IBM Technical Books at

Related information:

(4.5) Technical Support

(4.10) Problem Report Form

How do I report an OS/2 problem to IBM?

If you would like to send an OS/2 bug report to IBM, you may phone IBM at
800-237-5511 (in North America) or you may fill in the OS/2 Problem Report
Form and mail it to IBM via CompuServe or the Internet.

The Problem Report Form helps IBM solve your problem more quickly,
especially if you include all the relevant details. IBM then has to ask
fewer questions in order to determine the problem.

To use the Problem Report Form, follow these steps:

1. If you are reading the INF version of this List, press CTRL-F. This
panel will then be saved to a file named TEXT.TMP.

2. Using a text editor (like the OS/2 System Editor), open either TEXT.TMP
or the plain text version of this List.

3. Delete all the extra lines in the file so that only the OS/2 Problem
Report Form remains.

4. Fill in all the requested information using your text editor.

5. Save the Form to disk (as file name OS2PROB.TXT for example).

6. Upload the file to CompuServe Mail or the Internet, and send the Form to
IBM. (The exact procedure will depend on the service and the software you

You may use the Problem Report Form as many times as you need to, but please
include only one problem per copy.

------ Submit an OS/2 Problem Report ------


Customers should use this form to report a suspected OS/2 DEFECT to
IBM support.

IBM employees should refer to the OS2DFECT FORUM in IBMPC for instructions on
how to report an OS/2 defect.

If you have How-to or other questions about OS/2, please refer to these

- The OS/2 on-line help and README.
- If you have a CompuServe ID, you may submit an item to the
appropriate section within the forums under IBMOS2 (GO IBMOS2).
- Many bulletin board systems contain user forums where OS/2 users
share information and ideas on OS/2.

If you have Beta problems or suggestions, please refer to the bottom of this
form for the proper reporting procedure. While we appreciate your input, we do
not accept Beta problems through the Base defect or ES/LS support ID's.
Customers with CompuServe ID's may report problems on CIS in IBM's OS2SUPPORT
forum, Section 16, BETA PROGRAM '92. If you do NOT have a CIS ID, please send
the feedback via Internet to the CIS address: [email protected].

Please provide as much information as possible on your problem. Feel free to
add additional space, or remove sections of the form that are not relevant to
your problem.

CONTACT PERSON: __________________________________

PHONE NUMBER: (___) ___-____ x____ Phone number where you can be
FAX NUMBER: (___) ___-____ x____ contacted between 8-5, M-F.

Note: Support will normally be handled electronically through
CompuServe mail. IBM may contact you via telephone if it
appears it will expedite resolution to the problem.

Would you rather be contacted by phone? Y _ N _


DETAILED PROBLEM DESCRIPTION - If possible, provide step-by-step recreation
scenario. Also, please include any fixes or workarounds you may have already

Enter any error messages that occur: ________________________________

Select the appropriate answers by placing an "X" in the space indicated.
Can you recreate the problem? Y _ N _
Has the problem occurred on more than one system? Y _ N _

OS/2 Version 2.0 .........: _ CSD Level: _______
OS/2 Version 2.0 GRE......: _ CSD Level: _______
OS/2 1.3 Standard Edition : _ CSD Level: _______
OS/2 1.3 Extended Edition : _ CSD Level: _______

NOTE - CSD = Corrective Service Diskette.
Use the SYSLEVEL command to determine, if unknown.

HARDWARE CONFIGURATION (provide as much as possible):
Brand and model of PC: ____________________________________
Microprocessor: Intel _ Other (specify) _______________
Type: 286 _ 386SX _ 386 _ 486SX _ 486 _ Speed: __ MHz
Total RAM ....: __ MB
Disk drive ...: ____ MB
File System: FAT _ HPFS _
Manufacturer: ___________________ Model # _______
Type: IDE _ SCSI _ MFM _ RLL _ Unknown _
Manufacturer and model # of disk controller: ______________________
Manufacturer, revision #, and date of System BIOS: __________________
Manufacturer and model # of video adapter: __________________________
Manufacturer and model # of display: ________________________________
Memory installed on video adapter: _____ EGA _ VGA _ SVGA _ XGA _
Diskette Drive A: 3 1/2" _ 5 1/4" _
Diskette Drive B: 3 1/2" _ 5 1/4" _
List other adapters installed: _____________________

TRAP INFORMATION - If a TRAP occurs and results in the 16 bit trap display
similar to the following, enter any of the register values that you recorded:

SESSION TITLE: __________________________________________________
AX=____ BX=____ CX=____ DX=____ BP= ____ SI=____ DI=____
DS=____ ES=____ FLG=____ CS=____ IP=____ SS=____ SP=____
MSW=____ CSLIM=____ SSLIM=___ DSLIM=___ ESLIM=____ CSACC=__

If a TRAP occurs and results in the 32 bit trap display similar to the
following, enter any of the register values that you recorded:

TRAP ____
ERRCD=____ ERACC=____ ERLIM=________ EAC=________ EBX=________
ECX=________ EDX=________ ESI=________ EDI=________ EBP=________
FLG=________ CS:EIP=____:________ CSACC=____ CSLIM=________
SS:ESP=____:________ SSACC=____ SSLIM=________ DS=____ DSACC=____
DSLIM=________ CR0=________ ES=____ ESACC=____ ESLIM=________
CR2=________ FS=____ FSACC=____ FSLIM=________ GS=____ GSACC=____

ERROR AT LOCATION ##____:________ - ____:____. _____, ____ ________
INTERNAL REVISION _.___, __/__/__

PRINTER - If this is a printer problem, please provide the following:
Printer Vendor: __________________ Model ....: ________________
Driver Name ..: __________________ Port Used : ________________
Printer is attached to: Local _ LAN Server _ Host _

COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER - If this is a problem with Communications Manager,
please provide answers in this section:

OS/2 Extended Services ............: _ CSD Level: _______
OS/2 EE Communications Manager 1.3 : _ CSD Level: _______
Describe your Communications Manager configuration (DFT, T-R, etc):

LOCAL AREA NETWORK - If this is a local area network problem, please enter
information about the LAN involved:

LAN SERVER: OS/2 LAN Server Version 1.3 : _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 LAN Server 2.0 Entry ..: _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 LAN Server 2.0 Advanced: _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 LAN Server 3.0 Entry ..: _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 LAN Server 3.0 Advanced: _ CSD Level: ________

LAN Server 3.0 Requester....: _ CSD Level: ________
LAN Server 2.0 Requester....: _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 1.3 Requester..........: _ CSD Level: ________

LS 3.0 Requester ...........: _ CSD Level: ________
LS 2.0 Requester ...........: _ CSD Level: ________
OS/2 1.3 Requester .........: _ CSD Level: ________
DOS Version: ____ DOS Vendor: _________________

Is the failing system a Domain Controller? Y _ N _
Is the failing system an additional server? Y _ N _

DATABASE MANAGER - If this is an OS/2 DATABASE MANAGER problem, please enter
information about the DataBase Manager problem below.

SQL Error Code ....: ________
Secondary Return Code: ________
Error occurs when database is being accessed as:
Stand Alone ......: Y _ N _
Requester (Client): Y _ N _
Database Server ..: Y _ N _
Using RDS ........: Y _ N _
Using LAN ........: Y _ N _
If the error is occurring at a requester, can the problem be recreated
at the server? .....: Y _ N _
Error occurs in which application?
Query Manager.....: _
LI ..............: _ (Command Line Interface)
User Application..: _
If a trap has occurred, provide the SQLABEND results:

ready to send this OS/2 Problem Report, send the form via CISMAIL
to ---

Base problems - Base Support, 76711,610
ES/LS problems - ES/LS Support, 76711,611
(ES = IBM Extended Services, LS = IBM LAN Server)

Beta problems - 2.1 Beta, 76711,175
(FEEDBACK purposes will not be contacted).

(To send from the Internet use address [email protected],
[email protected], or [email protected], as

Related information:

(4.5) Technical Support
(4.7) Online Services

(5.0) Using OS/2

The following questions are addressed in this section:

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

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

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

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

(5.5) How do I add new Adobe Type Manager Typefaces?

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

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

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

(5.9) How do I boot a real version of DOS from within OS/2 2.0?

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

(5.1) 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 (3.2) 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 (phone
508-358-5715 or mail [email protected]). The Thompson Toolkit, a
Bourne-like shell, and awk are published by Thompson Automation (phone
206-224-1639). MKS (phone 519-884-2251 or mail [email protected]) publishes a
number of standard Unix utilities for OS/2. Hippix (Hippo Software; consult
file pub/hippo/press.txt, available via anonymous ftp from, for more information) provides a set of low cost
Unix-like command utilities (such as grep, awk, sh, and vi) along with a
POSIX programming library. 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:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.8) Networking Products

(5.2) 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 Workplace Shell first. Browse the online Tutorial,
Master Help Index, and Start Here facilties. Consult the Unofficial Guide
to the Workplace Shell, available from (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources.

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

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(5.3) 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 (5.10) 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.
Note that if you have installed the OS/2 Service Pak [See (4.6) Corrective
Service Diskettes] the ALT-F1 sequence will restore your desktop to the
state it was found in just before installation of the Service Pak.

Related information:

(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes
(5.10) Clever Tricks

(5.4) 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 (3.2) Shareware
and Freeware Sources.

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(5.5) 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 (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources. (However, these converted AFM
files sometimes produce unusual results.) AFM files for Adobe commercial
typefaces are available via Internet anonymous ftp from
Many public domain typefaces for OS/2's ATM are available from (3.2)
Shareware and Freeware Sources. Atech Software's (phone 800-786-FONT)
AllType and Ares Software's (phone 415-578-9090) FontMonger convert between
TrueType and Adobe Type 1 formats.

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

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(5.6) 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; adjust
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 VIDEO_8514A_XGA_IOTRAP
to off. If mouse control is lost when switching to/from the Win-OS/2
session, try setting VIDEO_SWITCH_NOTIFICATION off.

Related information:

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

(5.7) 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. (Such utilities also often fail for another reason: many
only report the largest contiguous block of free physical RAM.)

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, phone 303-241-1718), and
Performance 2.0 (Clear & Simple, phone 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:

(5.6) Performance Tuning

(5.8) 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 Workplace Shell [so-called "BGA images,"
available from (3.2) 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 (3.2) 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:

(2.2) SuperVGA Support
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources

(5.9) Specific DOS Sessions

How do I boot a real version of DOS from within OS/2 2.0?

Booting a real version of DOS under OS/2 provides certain features that the
OS/2 emulated DOS sessions cannot. For example, a specific DOS session can
provide access to devices (like CD-ROM drives) and networks for which there
are only DOS device drivers. A specific DOS session can also help get DOS
applications which generate spurious "divide by zero" errors running again.

You will be able to run one such session per hardware device. So, for
example, if you have your DOS networking software loaded in one specific DOS
session, you may not start another, similar session.

Specific DOS sessions are discussed in the online Command Reference (under
VMDISK), the Master Help Index, and the printed Installation Guide (Appendix
E). You should consult those resources first. However, if you are still
unsure how to configure your system to run specific DOS sessions, follow
these steps:

1. Create a bootable DOS diskette. Insert your DOS system diskette into
Drive A and reboot. When you arrive at the "A>" prompt, type FORMAT A: /S
and press ENTER. (Note that you may wish to format the diskette for the
smallest capacity possible, to save hard disk space later on. For example,
a 5.25 inch double density -- not high density -- diskette may be formatted
to just 160K by adding the /1 /N:8 parameters to the FORMAT command.) When
prompted, insert a blank diskette into Drive A and press ENTER. When the
FORMAT operation is complete, remove the diskette and restart OS/2.

2. Copy FSFILTER.SYS to the diskette. Double click on OS/2 System ->
Command Prompts -> OS/2 Window. Insert the diskette you just formatted into
Drive A. Copy the following file to your startable diskette:

3. Set up CONFIG.SYS. Using a text editor (like the OS/2 System Editor)
create the file A:\CONFIG.SYS with the following lines at the top:


Change the "C:" drive letter if OS/2 is installed on another drive. Add
any other lines as required for your application (like CD-ROM or
networking), but do not include any XMS, EMS, mouse, or memory management
device drivers. Make sure that everything is referenced with a drive letter
and path, as above.

4. Set up AUTOEXEC.BAT. Likewise, create a file named A:\AUTOEXEC.BAT and
make sure that the first line reads:


changing "C:" if necessary. Add any additional lines (like PATH, SET
PROMPT, and so on) as required by your application.

5. Test your DOS diskette. Once you have configured the CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT files as you wish, double click on OS/2 System -> Command
Prompts -> DOS from Drive A:. A DOS session should start. Test for the
functionality you need (like access to your CD-ROM reader or network). If
the session is not working properly, press CTRL-ESC and shut down the
session, edit CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT as required, and repeat the

6. Create the diskette image. When you are satisfied that your specific DOS
session diskette functions properly, go back to the OS/2 Window and type
VMDISK A: C:\DOS.IMG to create a diskette image file. (If you want the
file to be located on another drive or in another directory, change "C:\"

7. Create a program object for your specific DOS session. Drag a program
object from your Templates folder to any target folder. When the notebook
opens, enter a single asterisk (*) in the Program Name field, then click on
the right arrow in the lower right. Select either DOS Window or DOS Full
Screen for the session type, as desired. Click on the DOS Settings button,
and scroll down until you find the DOS_STARTUP_DRIVE property. Enter
C:\DOS.IMG in the field at the upper right. (If your image file is not
located on Drive C in the root directory, make the necessary changes.)
Change any other DOS Settings if necessary. Click on the Save button, then
click on the General tab. Give your program object a name. Then close up
the notebook.

You should now be able to double click on your new program object to start
your specific DOS session. If you require access to your diskette drive
(Drive A), use the FSACCESS command. See the online Command Reference for

When formatting your bootable DOS diskette, you may wish to use additional
command line parameters to create a diskette with a reduced capacity. The
"smaller" the diskette, the less room the diskette image file created by
VMDISK will take on your hard disk. See your DOS manual for details.

Related information:

(1.3) DOS and Windows Compatibility

(5.10) 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 CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-O.

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. (Case is significant in
the example given.) 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.

To change the background color of your OS/2 command line sessions, modify
your CONFIG.SYS file so that this line is changed as shown:


changing the drive letter, if necessary. Then create a file named
BLUESCR.CMD which contains the following lines:


Save the file to a directory that is named in the SET PATH line of your
CONFIG.SYS file. Reboot. Then, when you start an OS/2 command line, the
background color will be different. You can change the numbers in the first
PROMPT line to obtain different colors.

If you are using JP Software's 32-bit 4OS2, and you would like the name of
the current working directory to appear in the title bar, try using the
following command:

PROMPT `%@exec[window"%_cwd"]$h[$p]`

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.

To start the Alarms applet minimized, put /I in the Optional Parameters
section of its program object settings.

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. If you
do wish to pass parameters, but you want the extraneous information that the
Workplace Shell passes to the object to be ignored, try putting && REM % in
the Optional Parameters section.

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 Workplace Shell
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 Workplace Shell.
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 (3.2)
Shareware and Freeware Sources.

Another way, which works well with display drivers, is to copy the new
DLL(s) to its(their) own directory (say, C:\NEW), then place that directory
name first in LIBPATH in CONFIG.SYS. Shutdown and reboot. OS/2 will use
that(those) DLL(s) before it attempts to use the one(s) located in \OS2\DLL.
[This method is required when using a 16-bit OS/2 2.0 display driver with
OS/2 2.0 CSD Level 06055 or later. See (4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes.]
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 name.

o If your \OS2\*.INI files have grown large, use the CopyINI or WPSBackup
utilities to shrink them. Both are available from (3.2) 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 ($1E0AFE for Framemaker 3.01)
in the file you should see a series of hexadecimal 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
(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources] to terminate PMSHELL.

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

- 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;

- Use the WPSTools or Black Hole, available from (3.2) Shareware and
Freeware Sources. (The WPSTools can also recreate desktop objects that have
been lost.)

o To load a device driver into high memory in a particular DOS session
change the DOS_DEVICE setting for the session and add SIZE=0 before the path
and filename for the device driver. For example, the following DOS_DEVICE


loads the ANSI.SYS device driver into high memory in that particular

o If you wish to create diskettes from MAKEDSKF (.DSK) image files, such as
those contained on OS/2 beta CD-ROMs, and you do not wish to use the DOS and
OS/2 utility LOADDSKF, you may use a workstation. For example, on an IBM
RS/6000 you may use the command:

dd if=(input filename) of=/dev/rfd0 ibs=1b obs=60b conv=sync

o To reboot the machine from the command line, use:


Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.6) Corrective Service Diskettes

(6.0) Miscellaneous

The following questions are addressed in this section:

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

(6.2) How can I create INF files?

(6.1) 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

o Start a user group at your location. Contact Gene Barlow (phone
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

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 (4.5) 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.

o Wear OS/2 pins, shirts, buttons, and other souvenirs. Contact Sue at
Lees/Keystone (phone 914-273-6755) to order such items.

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.5) Technical Support

(6.2) How to Create INF Files

How can I create INF files?

Creating INF files (like the OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List) is
remarkably straightforward. All you need is the Information Presentation
Facility Compiler (IPFC), part of the IBM Developer's Toolkit for OS/2 2.0
(or as part of many development environments such as Borland C++ for OS/2),
and a text editor (like the Enhanced Editor included with OS/2).

Online IPFC documentation is included with the Toolkit, but you may also
wish to order the printed Information Presentation Facility Guide and
Reference, IBM Publication No. S10G-6262. See (4.9) Books and Magazines
for ordering instructions. Note that the Toolkit is part of the low cost
OS/2 Professional Developer's Kit CD-ROM. See (4.5) Technical Support for

If you wish to include illustrations in your INF file you can use any
graphics software which can generate OS/2 bitmaps and/or metafiles. (For
example, you may create your illustration in PM Chart, paste the
illustration into Picture Viewer, then save the illustration as a metafile.
Both PM Chart and Picture Viewer are included with OS/2 2.0.) A screen
capture utility [like PM Camera or Nikon II, available from (3.2) Shareware
and Freeware Sources] can also prove useful.

Related information:

(3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources
(4.5) Technical Support
(4.9) Books and Magazines

[End of OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List: User's Edition]

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