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OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List: User's Edition
Release 2.0h; December 2, 1992
Compiled by Timothy F. Sipples

For changes/suggestions/additions please mail [email protected] or
T. Sipples, Ctr. for Population Econ., Univ. of Chicago, Chicago, IL,
60637, U.S.A. This List may be freely distributed. Mention of a
product does not constitute an endorsement. Customers outside the U.S.
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 system.

Release Notes:

Because of the many loyal fans of the OS/2 FAQ List, I have been named
to the "Team OS/2 Hall of Fame." Many thanks.

For Internet readers, the FAQ List now appears in two messages due to an
increase in length. I will continue to try and keep it from becoming
too long, however. Readers should be aware that a Rich Text Format
(RTF) version should accompany this List if you have retrieved it from a
BBS or archive (usually as a ZIP file). The RTF version includes
revision markings, so you can tell at a glance what has changed since
the last release. If you did not receive the RTF version, please ask
your system operator to try to obtain the correct package from now on.
You can start with the original distribution points for the FAQ List:
Pete Norloff (OS/2 Shareware BBS, 703-385-4325), Cliff Nadler (IBM
internal VNET), and (Internet, anonymous ftp). (Please
contact me if you would like to volunteer to redistribute the FAQ List
to CompuServe, BIX, or other major networks. You should be able to
receive Internet mail. CompuServe, BIX, MCI Mail, and addresses for
most other major networks are acceptable, since gateways exist. Note
that I cannot entertain requests for subscriptions to a "mailing list.")
An INF version (for use with OS/2's VIEW command) of the FAQ List may be
released in the future (to replace the RTF version) so you will want to
make sure you are getting the whole package.

The OS/2 FAQ List: Programmer's Edition should be available from the
same source as this User's Edition. It is maintained by my Internet
colleague Barry Jaspan ([email protected]). Send your suggestions
on programming questions to him. Before long we may have a Networking
Edition as well.

Questions addressed herein:

(1)What is OS/2?
(2)What are the differences between versions?
(3)What is Extended Services?
(4)How good is OS/2 2.0's DOS and Windows compatibility?
(5)Where can I buy OS/2, and how much does it cost?
(6)What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0? Do I need a PS/2?
(7)What applications are available for OS/2?
(8)Where can I obtain OS/2 shareware and freeware?
(9)I am having trouble installing OS/2 2.0. What should I do?
(10)Will OS/2 2.0 work with my SuperVGA adapter?
(11)Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?
(12)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?
(13)I can't install OS/2 from Drive B. What's wrong?
(14)Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?
(15)Sometimes OS/2 2.0 will freeze when I run an application. What do
I do?
(16)How can I get answers to my OS/2 questions?
(17)Why should I use HPFS? What does it offer me? Does it work with
(18)I'm a Unix wizard. How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?
(19)I prefer Windows. How do I make OS/2 2.0 resemble Windows (or
OS/2 1.3)?
(20)I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS. What is available?
(21)Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2 2.0?
(22)How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?
(23)What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get
(24)How do I add new Adobe Type Manager typefaces?
(25)How do I tweak OS/2 2.0 for maximum performance?
(26)What networking products are available for OS/2 2.0?
(27)Should I worry about viruses when running OS/2 2.0?
(28)Are there any clever tricks that apply to OS/2 2.0?
(29)What do I need for OS/2 multimedia applications?
(30)How do I measure OS/2 performance and memory usage?
(31)What can I do to promote OS/2?
(32)My background bitmap does not display correctly. What's wrong?
(33)What is the best way to partition my hard disk for OS/2?


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

As shipped, it does not support multiuser operation, although third
parties have grafted multiuser capabilities onto the base operating
system. Remote-OS (The Software Lifeline, 407-994-4466), OS2YOU
(shareware; see Question 8), Citrix (Citrix Systems, 305-755-0559), and
PolyMod2 (MemSoft) are four such products. PC/DACS (Pyramid, 203-257-
4223) offers security (for multiple users, one at a time, in a lab
setting for example).


(2)What are the differences between versions?

IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 (CSD Level 06050, see Question 23) 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 Question 4);
new 32-bit programming interfaces; support for more than 16 MB of
physical RAM (on all systems with appropriate BIOS support, except those
which must rely on 24-bit DMA for disk access, e.g. AT bus systems with
Adaptec 154x SCSI adapters); and more third party device drivers. OS/2
1.x applications, unmodified, still run under OS/2 2.0.

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

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

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

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


(3)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 Question 23). 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
Question 6).


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

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

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

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

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

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

Standard graphics modes (generally up to the resolution of the desktop;
see Question 10) are supported in DOS windows, as are selectable text
mode fonts. Cut/paste to/from windowed DOS applications is supported
(to/from other DOS, OS/2, and Windows applications), including graphics
cut/paste. Theoretically, OS/2 2.0 will run up to 240 simultaneous
DOS/Windows sessions; the practical maximum depends on system resources.

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

(a) 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

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

(c) 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.

(d) 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 ignored.

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 (available from
sources listed in Question 8). OS/2 backup tools are available, notably
IBM's PMTape and PS2Tape (for IBM and Irwin tape systems), Sytos Plus
(Sytron, 508-898-0100), EZTape (Irwin, 313-930-9000), DMS/Intelligent
Backup (Sterling, 916-635-5535), FileSafe (Mountain, 408-438-2665),
KeepTrack Plus (Finot, 800-748-6480), NovaBack (NovaStor, 818-707-9900),
OBackup (from sources listed in Question 8), and MaynStream (Maynard,
407-263-3500). The OS/2 BACKUP utility is best used from an OS/2
diskette boot (see Question 12). DOS-based disk caching software is not
required since OS/2 includes a built-in, highly configurable, efficient
disk cache.

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

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 WPS desktop. "Seamless" operation is available
in VGA, Tseng 4000 SuperVGA, and XGA resolutions with OS/2 2.0 as it
ships; see Question 10 for information on third party drivers.

Several icon conversion utilities, available from sources listed in
Question 8, can convert Windows icons for use by the OS/2 Icon Editor
and/or OS/2-specific programs. (No conversion is necessary if the icons
are to be used with Windows programs running under OS/2 2.0.)

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

Windows applications are well integrated into the overall OS/2 WPS
environment with DDE and Clipboard hooks, and OLE 1.0 is supported among
Windows applications. ATM for Win-OS/2 comes with OS/2 2.0 (see
Question 24). Windows screen (for a full screen desktop) and printer
device drivers will work under Win-OS/2. 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. (For information on the OS/2 2.0 multimedia extensions see
Question 29.)

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. IBM
has demonstrated 3.1-level Win-OS/2, and a 3.1-level update should be
available by January, 1993. Fortunately there are few (if any) Windows
3.1-specific applications. Win-OS/2 will run the Windows 3.0 applets,
but it does not include them. Instead, true OS/2 2.0 spreadsheet,
database, communications, time planning/scheduling, and other applets
are provided.

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


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

In the U.S. IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 is available from most software dealers
(including Corporate Software, 800-677-4000) and directly from IBM (800-
3-IBM-OS2, or 800-222-7257 for educational inquiries). Upgrades are $79
from any version of Windows, $99 from any version of DOS, and $149
without an upgrade. Discounts are available for multiple licenses and
educational purchases. (Call for details on upgrades from OS/2 1.x. In
Canada call 800-465-1234 to order. In the U.K. call the OS/2 User Group
at 0285-655888. In other countries, contact any IBM dealer.)

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 dealers.

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

IBM offers two money back guarantees in the U.S.: a 30-day, no questions
asked, money back guarantee, and a 90-day compatibility guarantee (see
Question 6).

Microsoft versions of OS/2 1.x are available only through OEMs (e.g.
Compaq, Dell) or by purchasing Microsoft's LAN Manager 2.1a or SQL
Server products. Microsoft has all but ceased OS/2 development, working
instead on Windows and the future, high-end NT (formerly OS/2 3.0).


(6)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 15-
30 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, ES, and/or extra system
loads (i.e. an extraordinary number of large applications running
simultaneously). When calculating hard disk space requirements,
subtract space occupied by files already on the hard disk which are
functionally included in OS/2 2.0 and may be deleted, e.g. DOS, a 386
memory manager, Windows, Adobe Type Manager with base typefaces, etc.

The 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 some SCSI adapters, e.g.
Trantor and Procom, are available directly from the adapter
manufacturer.) In addition, "generic" INT13 support is provided for all
other hard disk adapters. This "generic" support even embraces such
devices as Iomega's Bernoulli and SyQuest's removeable media products
(but for best results contact Iomega or SyQuest for an OS/2 2.0 driver).

CD-ROM support (for IBM CD-ROM drives; Hitachi models CDR-1650S, CDR-
1750S, CDR-3650, and CDR-3750; NEC models CDR-36, CDR-37, CDR-72, CDR-
73, CDR-74, CDR-82, CDR-83, and CDR-84; Panasonic models CR-501 and LK-
MC501S; Texel models DM-3021, DM-3024, DM-5021, and DM-5024; Toshiba
models 3301T, TXM3301, 3301B, and XM-3201; and Sony models CDU-541, CDU-
561, CDU-6111, CDU-6211, and CDU-7211; only when attached to IBM, Future
Domain, Adaptec, or other SCSI adapters with native OS/2 2.0 support) is
available from sources listed in Question 8, and others (e.g. Mitsumi)
will follow. This support includes single session Kodak Photo CD
services for those drives which support the standard. (Storage Devices
and other companies offer OS/2 CD-ROM drivers for their products. Corel
Systems offers a set of drivers for many more CD-ROM drives and
adapters.) The DOS device drivers, when installed using a specific DOS
session, will still provide CD-ROM services to DOS/Windows programs for
the remainder. See Question 11 for information on 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 260 non-IBM models have been tested in IBM's own labs.


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

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

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

OS/2 2.0 provides an attractive, 32-bit, Workplace Shell environment for
new applications; many do not have DOS/Windows predecessors. This new
class of 32-bit applications will include Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance,
cc:Mail, Notes, AmiPro; WordPerfect 6.0; N/Joy; DeScribe; Publisher's
Paintbrush; PFS:Works; CorelDraw; HyperAccess; BitFAX; FAX/PM; all
Micrographx applications; RBase; Advanced Revelation; Norton Commander;
and many more. Over 1200 new 32-bit OS/2 2.0 applications are slated
for release in the coming months.

OS/2-specific versions of popular utilities include ZIP/UNZIP, ARC, LH2,
Zoo 2.1, many GNU tools, tens of different file finders, desktop clocks,
calculators, and many more. Programming languages include Assembler,
C++, COBOL, Pascal, C, Fortran, BASIC, REXX (included with every copy of
OS/2 2.0), Smalltalk, Modula-2, LISP, Forth, and still more, from
vendors such as Borland, Clarion, Watcom, Symantec (through its Zortech
subsidiary), IBM, Microway, and many more. Two ports of the 32-bit GNU
C/C++ 2.2.2 compiler, GCC/2 and EMX/GCC, are available from sources
listed in Question 8. Fortran to C (f2c) and Pascal to C (p2c)
translators are also available. (See the Programmer's Edition of this
List for more information.)

The IBM NSC BBS (404-835-6600) provides an online product database of
OS/2-specific software. A directory of OS/2 applications, IBM document
number G362-0029-02, is published by Graphics Plus (800-READ-OS2). TINF
is an applications directory (for use with the OS/2 VIEW facility)
available from shareware/freeware sources listed below.


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

Many BBSes, including 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), IBM
Germany (049-711-785-7777), IBM Denmark (45-42-88-72-22), OS/2 UK (0454-
633197), and OS/2 Australia (61-2-241-2466) hold large OS/2 libraries.
(The monthly Worldwide OS/2 BBS Listing, available from these BBSes,
lists others.) The IBM NSC BBS has some shareware/freeware as well,
along with CSDs (see Question 23) and the PS/2 Assistant (an invaluable
resource for locating almost any sort of information on OS/2). For
information on IBM's new OS/2 BBS call 800-547-1283. IBM Canada
maintains several support BBSes (416-946-4255, 514-938-3022, 604-664-
6464, and 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.) They include
(with Internet node numbers and subdirectories): pub/os2 pub/os2 os2: pub/archives/os2 pub/os2 pub/os2 micros/ibmpc/os2 soft/os2 [?] computing/systems/os2

The library is available on CD-ROM from Walnut Creek

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

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


(9)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 Question

And if the following instructions do not help, fall back on IBM's toll
free technical support (800-237-5511 in the U.S.) and/or consult IBM's
Tips and Techniques file, available from sources listed in Question 8.

Certain PC compatibles have difficulty accepting OS/2 2.0 (CSD level
02000 only; see Question 23), 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,
available from sources listed in Question 8, alleviates the problem.

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.

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
"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.

Make sure adapters with onboard ROMs are not conflicting with other
adapters. For example, many SuperVGA adapters use large chunks 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.

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 DCF/2, a Stacker-
like utility, is now available (303-484-2665).

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.

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.

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. The AT bus should run at 8 MHz.

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.

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

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

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.

"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 Question 10 for more SuperVGA advice.

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

A driver for HP DeskJet printers, including color models, is available
for download from sources listed in Question 8.

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 WPS and in
properly configuring your system.

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.

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.

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

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

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

Contact IBM for a fix to install OS/2 2.0 (CSD level 02000 only) on
certain Zeos notebooks.

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.

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


(10)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 E problems. A
replacement BVHSVGA.DLL file, dated April 21, 1992, or later, fixes
installation problems involving Western Digital/Paradise PVGA1D chipset
adapters. Both are available from sources listed in Question 8.)

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

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 WPS
desktop drivers. Use the command DDINSTAL to replace DISPLAY.DLL.
Setting IOPL=YES in CONFIG.SYS may be required with a SuperVGA adapter.

(For OS/2 2.0 CSD level 06055 or later, \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 DLL file to
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 adapters based on Trident, Tseng 4000, Compaq QVision, and
ATI chipsets are available, and other manufacturers have promised
drivers. A "generic" 800x600 16 color driver (available from sources
listed in Question 8) works with any adapter recognized by SVGA ON. The
Tseng 4000 drivers are available as part of the Service Pak (see
Question 23).

Some SuperVGA adapters cause problems with DOS/Win-OS/2 sessions. Try
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.

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

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

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


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

OS/2 2.0 includes support for Hewlett-Packard LaserJets, DeskJets (see
Question 9), and PaintJets; IBM/Lexmark ExecJets, InkJets, Proprinters,
Quickwriters, Quietwriters, Pageprinters, and Laserprinters; Epson dot
matrix and laser printers; Postscript devices; and other printers (e.g.
Panasonic) compatible with these families. A variety of IBM and HP
plotters is also supported.

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

If your printer is not compatible with one of the drivers supplied with
OS/2, check with the printer manufacturer first then with sources listed
in Question 8. If you own an IBM printer, check with the Lexmark BBS


(12)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?

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.

"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

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

Several utilities (including SE20BOOT), available from sources listed in
Question 8, can create a single, bootable OS/2 diskette (as a
convenience). Preloaded versions of OS/2 2.0 can create a bootable
diskette pair from the Welcome folder. (This step, along with a full
BACKUP after a diskette boot, should be performed immediately upon
receipt of any IBM preloaded OS/2 2.0 system.)


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

IBM OS/2 2.0 can only be installed from Drive A, like DOS (unless your
BIOS supports booting from Drive B), or across a network (see "Remote
Installation and Maintenance," IBM Pub. No. GG24-3780-00). If you have
the wrong disk size go back to your dealer and obtain the correct media.

Otherwise you could open your machine and swap floppy drive cable
connectors, use your system's setup utility to set the new CMOS
parameters, and then install OS/2 from the "new" Drive A. Sometimes the
floppy drive cable connectors will not be the same. If so you can
obtain an adapter plug.

You may also use IBM's twin "bootstrap" diskette images, available from
sources listed in Question 8, to boot from a 5.25 inch Drive A and
install using 3.5 inch OS/2 diskettes inserted into Drive B. However,
this procedure is not recommended.


(14)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 noted
in Question 4). But the GammaTech Utilities should fill the role.
Contact their publisher at 405-359-1219. Note that OS/2 2.0 has a
built-in UnDelete utility (see the README file or online help), and HPFS
is resistant to fragmentation (see Question 17).


(15)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 WPS can recycle, independent of running applications, if
it crashes.

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 Question 28.
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.


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

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

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

The IBM NSC BBS's message areas, product database, and PS/2 Assistant
file(s) are invaluable resources. Information on the new OS/2 BBS is
included in the OS/2 2.0 package. In the U.S. IBM has toll free
technical support (800-237-5511), an OS/2 Hotline (general information,
orders, upgrades, 800-3-IBM-OS2), the HelpWare Center (800-PS2-2227), a
software order line (800-IBM-CALL), two FAX information services (800-
IBM-4FAX and 800-IBM-3395), and an educational inquiries line (800-222-
7257). In Canada call IBM Personal Systems Software at 800-465-1234.
OS/2 2.0 developers should contact the IBM Developer Assistance Program
(407-982-6408); membership is free, and a programmer's CD-ROM is
available. (You may also join on CompuServe with GO OS2DAP.) IBM
offers classes worldwide to help in using and programming OS/2 2.0; call
your local IBM branch office (or the OS/2 Hotline) for more information.

OS/2 has its own magazines as well: OS/2 Developer Magazine (800-WANT-
OS2), OS/2 Monthly ([email protected] or 800-365-2642), Inside
OS/2 (502-491-1900), OS/2 Newsletter (714-495-3757), and NewsFax/2
([email protected]).

OS/2 2.0 books include The Design of OS/2 (Addison-Wesley, 617-944-
3700), 10-Minute Guide to OS/2 (Alpha, 317-573-2634), OS/2: User's Guide
and Tutorial (Computer Information Assoc., 708-766-4677), Inside OS/2
(New Riders, 317-571-3259), OS/2 Inside and Out (Osborne/McGraw-Hill,
800-227-0900), OS/2 Application and Development Tools (Premier, 203-378-
6200), Using OS/2 2.0 (Que, 317-573-2500), OS/2 2.0 Complete (Abacus,
616-698-0330), and various titles from Van Nostrand Reinhold (212-254-
3232) and QED (800-343-4848).

IBM's OS/2 "redbooks" (power user guides) are IBM No. GBOF-2254. (To
order IBM publications phone your local IBM office and ask for the
Librarian or call 800-7654-IBM.) The redbooks are also available in
electronic form from sources listed in Question 8.

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.


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

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


(18)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 sources listed in Question 8. A uucp
package, UUPC/Extended, is available via anonymous ftp from, directory pub/uupc; mail [email protected] with

In addition, the Hamilton C Shell is available from Hamilton Labs (508-
358-5715 or mail [email protected]). The Thompson Toolkit, a Bourne-
like shell, and awk are published by Thompson Automation (206-224-1639).
MKS (519-884-2251 or mail [email protected]) publishes a number of standard
Unix utilities for OS/2. Argosoft (510-795-7921) publishes ARGO/UX, a
BSD 4.3 Unix compatible environment. 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.


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

Spend some time with the WPS first. Browse the online Tutorial, Master
Help Index, and Start Here facilties. Consult the Unofficial Guide to
the Workplace Shell, available from sources listed in Question 8.

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


(20)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
sources listed in Question 8), Omega Point/2 (BBS 404-564-1961), Magnum
(818-706-9800, BBS 818-706-9805), and Multi-Net (503-883-8099, BBS 503-


(21)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) (4,2E8,2)
DEVICE=C:\OS2\MDOS\VCOM.SYS (3,3E8,5) (4,2E8,2)
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 (available from sources listed in Question 8).

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). PolyCom, a replacement driver
available from sources listed in Question 8, supports up to eight ports
with the right hardware.

"Smart" (coprocessor controlled) multiport communication adapters should
be used when installing more than four ports. Such an adapter will work
with OS/2 if the manufacturer has written an appropriate driver.
Examples include IBM's ARTIC products, Digiboard, and Stargate (800-782-
7428) adapters.


(22)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, available from sources listed in Question 8.


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

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

CSDs may be ordered at 800-3-IBM-OS2. Customers with IBM customer
numbers (usually large sites) should call 800-237-5511 or order through
IBMLink. Outside the U.S., ask an authorized IBM dealer or
representative for the CSD. CSDs may also be downloaded from the IBM
NSC BBS, CompuServe ("FIND OS/2"), or from sources listed in Question 8.
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.


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

OS/2 2.0 comes with built-in 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 sources listed in Question 8. (However, these converted
AFM files sometimes produce unusual results.) For information on
obtaining AFM files for Adobe commercial typefaces send a single line
message with the word HELP to [email protected]. Many public
domain typefaces for OS/2's ATM are available from sources listed in
Question 8.

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

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


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

For Windows programs, run using a full screen desktop if speed is vital.
The Win-OS/2 Full Screen icon set up by the installation program has
poor Settings. For better performance perform some of the same steps
outlined in the preceding paragraph, including VIDEO_RETRACE_EMULATION
off. The same printer output advice also applies. In addition, the
Print Manager should be disabled (OS/2 provides a systemwide spooler).
From the Win-OS/2 desktop close the Print Manager, uncheck the "Use
Print Manager" box from the Win-OS/2 Control Panel -> Printers section,
then, using a text editor, edit the \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM.INI file,
removing the ",!printman" entry from the MAVDMApps line. (This last
step will keep a warning dialog box from appearing each time you start
the Win-OS/2 desktop.) Consider disabling the Public setting in the
Clipboard. If available, set VIDEO_8514A_XGA_IOTRAP to off and
VIDEO_SWITCH_NOTIFICATION to on (unless mouse control is lost).


(26)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 (800-IBM-CALL), Essex Systems (508-532-5511), FTP
Software (send mail to [email protected]), and others. (A freeware SLIP
implementation, KA9Q, is available via anonymous ftp from
NetWare Requester for OS/2 is available from Novell (800-873-2831) and
IBM; NetWare Server (atop OS/2 2.0) has been demonstrated by IBM. IBM
offers both NetWare and LAN Server 3.0 (Basic and Advanced) with LAN
requesters. Microsoft sells LAN Manager 2.1a (which comes bundled with
OS/2 1.3). An OS/2 2.0 LAN Manager Requester, part no. 96F8359, is
available from IBM; Microsoft offers a similar requester with LAN
Manager 2.1a. DEC sells Pathworks for OS/2. A Banyan Vines OS/2 2.0
requester is due shortly, and the current DOS requester works in a
specific DOS session.

NDIS MAC drivers for most network adapters are available from sources
listed in Question 8. Drivers for 3Com adapters are available via
anonymous ftp from or via CompuServe ("GO THREECOM").
[Other driver sources?]

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

If you have a color monitor, try editing your CONFIG.SYS file so that
SET PROMPT=$e[32;40m$e[1m[$P]$e[0m
to obtain a more colorful OS/2 command line prompt. You can do the same
for your DOS sessions if you edit PROMPT in AUTOEXEC.BAT, assuming you
have ANSI.SYS loaded.

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.)

Hold down SHIFT while resizing text windows to make size changes

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

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

Use the Alarms applet to automatically start programs at specified

If you wish to dispense with the WPS (and its overhead), particularly on
low memory systems, change the line SET RUNWORKPLACE... in CONFIG.SYS to
read SET RUNWORKPLACE=C:\OS2\CMD.EXE (replacing "C," if 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.

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.

A clever way to manipulate files that are locked when the WPS is running
(e.g. display drivers) is to add the line CALL=CMD.EXE at the end of
CONFIG.SYS. Then Shutdown and reboot. The system will restart with an
OS/2 command line prompt. Type EXIT to proceed into the WPS. Using
CALL is also a convenient way to configure OS/2's serial ports using the
MODE command. For example:
configures COM2 for high speed RTS handshaking and buffered I/O.

Another way, which works well with display drivers, is to copy the new
DISPLAY.DLL to its own directory (say, C:\NEW), then place that
directory name first in LIBPATH in CONFIG.SYS. Shutdown and reboot.
OS/2 will use that DISPLAY.DLL before it attempts to use the one located
in \OS2\DLL. (This method is required when using a 16-bit OS/2 2.0
display driver with OS/2 2.0 CSD level 06055 or later; see Question 10.)
To switch back to the old driver, edit CONFIG.SYS and remove C:\NEW from
LIBPATH, then Shutdown and reboot.

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.

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

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

If your settings notebooks 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 Cascade.

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.

If your \OS2\*.INI files have grown large, use the CopyINI or WPSBackup
utilities to shrink them. Both are available from sources listed in
Question 8.

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

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

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

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

(d)insert a blank diskette in Drive A, drag the object to the Drive A
disk object, then format the diskette;

(e)use the WPSTools. (The WPSTools and the REXX script RECREATE,
available from sources listed in Question 8, can also recreate desktop
objects that have been lost.)


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

Information on IBM's OS/2 multimedia extensions (MMPM/2) and tools,
multimedia hardware, and IBM multimedia titles (e.g. Illuminated
Manuscript) is available through IBM's Multimedia Office (800-426-9402
ext. 150). Drivers for the SoundBlaster are available through sources
listed in Question 8. VideoLogic's (617-494-0530) DVA-4000 supports
video capture and video display in windows as does New Media Graphics's
(508-663-0666) Super VideoWindows.


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

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

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

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


(31)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.

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

Write an outstanding piece of shareware or freeware (see Question 16 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.

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


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

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

To remedy the problem you may use the numerous background images which
have been specifically prepared for the WPS (so-called "BGA images,"
available from sources listed in Question 8) or you may use an image
editing/conversion utility which can create a proper, palette-matched
bitmap file. [Does anyone have suggestions as to a concise, quick
procedure to obtain the proper conversion?]

Note that background bitmap images impose some additional overhead,
taking up RAM and disk resources. You should probably use them


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

[Answer under construction; suggestions welcome.]

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 sources listed in
Question 8.

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

Timothy F. Sipples | Read the OS/2 FAQ List 2.0h, available from
[email protected] |, anonymous ftp, in /pub/os2/all/info
Dept. of Econ., Univ. | /faq, or from [email protected] (send "HELP")
of Chicago, 60637 | [Read the List, THEN post to ONE OS/2 newsgroup.]

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