Dec 242017
OS/2 frequently asked question. Release 1.9C January, 25 1992.
File OS2FAQ19.ZIP from The Programmer’s Corner in
Category OS/2 Files
OS/2 frequently asked question. Release 1.9C January, 25 1992.
File Name File Size Zip Size Zip Type
OS2FAQ.TXT 37099 13628 deflated

Download File OS2FAQ19.ZIP Here

Contents of the OS2FAQ.TXT file

Archive-name: os2-faq
Version: 1.9c

OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions
Release 1.9c; January 25, 1992
Compiled by Timothy F. Sipples

For changes/suggestions/additions please mail [email protected].
This List may be freely distributed. Mention of a product does not
constitute an endorsement. Answers to questions closer to the bottom of
the List may rely on information given in prior answers. Customers
outside the United States should not necessarily rely on 800 telephone
numbers, part numbers, or upgrade policies contained in this List.

Release Notes: Most OS/2 2.0-specific questions and answers must await
the official release in March, but I am inviting anyone to submit ideas.
Questions 2, 4, 6, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 34,
and 36 have been revised.

Questions Addressed in this Release:

(1)What is OS/2?
(2)What are the differences between versions?
(3)What is the difference between Standard and Extended Edition?
(4)What about DOS and Windows compatibility?
(5)Where can I buy OS/2?
(6)How much does OS/2 cost?
(7)Can I upgrade to IBM OS/2 1.3 SE from DOS?
(8)Can I upgrade to IBM OS/2 1.3 SE from an older version?
(9)If I buy IBM OS/2 1.3 now, how much will it cost to get 2.0?
(10)Does IBM offer educational discounts on purchases of OS/2? Site
(11)What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 1.3 SE?
(12)What applications are available for OS/2 1.x?
(13)Where can I obtain OS/2 freeware and shareware?
(14)My Logitech mouse doesn't seem to be working with OS/2. What's
(15)Is there a driver available for my SCSI adapter?
(16)How about a high resolution driver for my video adapter?
(17)How about a driver for my printer?
(18)How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting
from the hard drive? I've done something (like changing
CONFIG.SYS) that doesn't let me boot OS/2.
(19)I can't install OS/2 from Drive B. What's wrong?
(20)Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?
(21)Sometimes Presentation Manager will freeze when I run an
application, and I have to reboot. What's wrong?
(22)My dealer doesn't know OS/2 from Unix. How can I get answers to
my OS/2 questions?
(23)How can I get ahold of the beta release of OS/2 2.0?
(24)Why should I use HPFS? What does it offer me? Does it work with
(25)I'm a Unix wizard. How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?
(26)I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS. What is available?
(27)The printed and online manuals do not document REXX in any detail.
Where can I obtain more information?
(28)Doesn't OS/2 have applets like Windows? I miss Solitaire.
(29)How do I redirect printer output to a file?
(30)Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2?
(31)On my 1024x768 high resolution display I get obnoxiously large
icons (64x64). How do I make them smaller?
(32)How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?
(33)How do I start a DOS application from a PM icon?
(34)What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get
(35)How do I add the Paste option to the system menus of windowed,
non-PM applications?
(36)How do I add new fonts for Adobe Type Manager?


(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 multitasking and multithreading
in mind. It also protects applications from one another (a single
misbehaved program will not typically bring down the entire system),
supports up to 16 MB of physical RAM, and supplies virtual memory to
applications as requested.

As shipped, it does not support multiuser operation, although several
third parties have grafted multiuser (character mode) capabilities onto
the base operating system. Citrix, OS2YOU, Remote-OS, and Polymod are
four such products. Remote-OS is published by The Software Lifeline,
tel. 407-994-4466, and OS2YOU is available from the OS/2
shareware/freeware sources (see Question 13). [Other products'


(2)What are the differences between versions?

IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 was formally announced at Fall Comdex and is now
available on a limited basis. The full retail release with "seamless
Windows" support and other extra features will appear in March, 1992.
Version 2.0 will run only on machines with an 80386SX processor or
better. IBM is (now) developing 2.0 independently but is involving
third party PC manufacturers in its testing. Improvements include the
ability to preemptively multitask DOS, Windows 2.x, and Windows 3.x
(standard mode) applications (without purchasing any of these
environments) in separate, robust, protected sessions; an object-
oriented WorkPlace shell (including a "shredder" icon); a multiple
operating system boot mechanism; 32-bit programming interfaces; support
for more than 16 MB of RAM; and more third party device drivers. It
also provides EMS 3.2/4.0 and XMS/DPMI 1.0 (expanded and extended
memory) services to DOS and Windows applications. Version 2.0 demands a
minimum of 3 MB of RAM (4 MB minimum recommended). See Question 4 for
more information on OS/2 2.0.

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 (CSD Level 05050; see Question 34) is currently the
latest commercially available release. This version distinguishes
itself with built-in Adobe Type Manager and reduced memory requirements.
Procedures Language/2 (a.k.a. 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, which supports long file names). With this release IBM
OS/2 added a dual boot mechanism and IBM Extended Edition introduced

OS/2 Version 1.1 was the first to include the Presentation Manager (PM)
GUI/API, now an integral part of the operating system. Microsoft OEM
versions added a dual boot mechanism with this release.

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


(3)What is the difference between Standard and Extended Edition?

IBM makes this marketing distinction between two different flavors of
OS/2 1.x. OS/2 1.x is available either in its Standard Edition (SE,
i.e. the base operating system) or in Extended Edition (EE, with several
extra bundled software products including the Communications Manager and
the Database Manager). EE includes enhanced mainframe, network, and
communications support.

The distinction will change slightly when OS/2 2.0 is released. IBM
will upgrade EE features and drop LAN Requester from the package, to be
renamed Extended Services (ES). LAN Requester will be included in IBM's
OS/2 LAN Server product. The new ES 2.0 will still work with OS/2 1.3
and will be tested on a wide variety of PC compatibles. ES 2.1 will
likely contain 32-bit code.


(4)What about DOS and Windows compatibility?

All 1.x versions of OS/2 include the optional DOS compatibility mode
(sometimes called the penalty box) which allows a single, well-behaved
DOS application to run alongside multiple OS/2 applications. The DOS
application stops running when the user switches to an OS/2 program.
However, OS/2 programs will run in the background while a DOS program is

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 SE yields approximately 520K free memory in the DOS
box. Windows 3.0 will run in real mode in the DOS box. Also, DOS may
be started by itself (in native mode) in two ways: by using the dual
boot mechanism in OS/2 (described in detail in the printed manual) or by
booting from a floppy disk. In both cases DOS has access to all FAT
(non-HPFS) partitions on the hard disk (that are not themselves preceded
by a HPFS or other "foreign" partition).

Version 2.0 preemptively multitasks DOS and Windows (real and standard
mode) applications in separate, protected sessions. (Windows enhanced
mode features, i.e. DOS multitasking and demand paging of memory, are
provided by OS/2 2.0 directly.) Windows applications are well
integrated into the overall OS/2 PM environment with DDE and Clipboard
hooks, and OLE 1.0 is supported between Windows applications. The
"seamless Windows" support planned for March, 1992, means that Windows
applications run alongside other applications on the Presentation
Manager desktop. Each DOS application has roughly 640K of conventional
memory available. OS/2 2.0 also provides up to 32 MB of EMS 3.2 or 4.0,
16 MB of XMS, and/or 512 MB of DPMI 1.0 for each DOS or Windows
application out of its pool of physical and/or virtual memory. DOS
applications which utilize DOS extenders run so long as the extender is
DPMI compliant. DOS applications can run either full screen or in PM
windows. Windowed DOS applications are able to use text mode or any
graphics mode up to the resolution of the desktop. DOS and Windows
device drivers often work with DOS and Windows applications running
under OS/2 2.0, but if an OS/2 2.0 driver is available a DOS or Windows
device driver is unnecessary. OS/2 2.0 even provides a facility to
create a boot image of any real mode operating system. For example,
OS/2 2.0 can have separate sessions with DR-DOS, Minix, CP/M-86,
Desqview, DOS 3.3, DOS 4.0, and DOS 5.0 all running at once.


(5)Where can I buy OS/2?

Microsoft versions of OS/2 are available only through OEMs (e.g. Compaq,

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is available from any authorized IBM dealer
(although persistence helps) or directly from IBM (tel. 800-3 IBM OS2,
800-465-1234 in Canada). IBM OS/2 1.3 SE on 5.25 inch disks is IBM part
no. 84F7587. For 3.5 inch disks ask for part no. 84F7588. Media are
high density. Corresponding EE part nos. are 15F7196 and 15F7195.

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is also available from several mail order sources,
including Egghead Discount Software (tel. 800-344-4323) and Elek-Tek
(tel. 708-677-7660).

IBM plans to make OS/2 2.0 available everywhere DOS is purchased, to
bundle 2.0 with new systems, and to offer free or discounted upgrades
depending on the product replaced (DOS, Windows, or OS/2 1.x).


(6)How much does OS/2 cost?

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 SE retails for USD 150. IBM will offer OS/2 2.0
for USD 195 retail. Consequently the least expensive route to OS/2 2.0
is to purchase or upgrade to OS/2 1.3 today (to take advantage of the
free upgrade to OS/2 2.0 described in Question 9).


(7)Can I upgrade to IBM OS/2 1.3 SE from DOS?

Yes, as long as you are upgrading from IBM PC-DOS. The upgrade retails
for USD 99. Part numbers are 85S1656 for 5.25 inch media and 85S1657
for 3.5 media.


(8)Can I upgrade to IBM OS/2 1.3 SE from an older version?

Yes, as long as the previous version is an IBM version. There is a 99
USD charge for this upgrade. Licensees may wish to wait for the free
upgrade to OS/2 2.0 that IBM plans to make available (see Question 9).


(9)If I buy IBM OS/2 1.3 now, how much will it cost to get 2.0?

All IBM OS/2 1.x licensees upgrading to OS/2 2.0 before July 31, 1992,
will pay nothing. Version 1.x EE licensees will receive the full 2.0 ES
upgrade. IBM reserves the right to revise or add to these terms.


(10)Does IBM offer educational discounts on purchases of OS/2? Site

IBM has both. The educational price is approximately USD 99 for OS/2
1.3 SE. SE also comes in non-media (manual and license only) packages
at a reduced price, part no. 84F8528. An SE additional license
(entitles holder to make one copy of media and manual) is part no.
15F1655; EE, 15F7201.


(11)What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 1.3 SE?

You need a PC, PC compatible, or PS/2 with at least an 80286 CPU, 2 MB
or more of RAM (configured as 640K base plus the remainder as extended
memory), a 20 MB or larger hard disk (with at least 10 MB free on C:), a
supported video adapter (CGA, EGA, VGA, MCGA, 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 is recommended.

PM will not operate with the Monochrome Display Adapter or the Hercules
Monochrome Graphics Adapter. Usually PM 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 PM. "Autoswitching" on
non-IBM EGA adapters and "shadow RAM" should be disabled (usually with a
DIP switch or jumper setting).

On (E)ISA bus machines, OS/2 supports 16-bit (or wider) hard drive
adapters which conform to the Western Digital chipset interface standard
(i.e. nearly all MFM, RLL, IDE, and ESDI adapters). An adapter capable
of sector remapping should be used (and enabled) with hard drives larger
than 1024 cylinders. (The 1024 cylinder limit is a BIOS constraint.)
Certain Quantum hard drives require a free ROM update available directly
from the manufacturer.

IBM OS/2 1.3 is directly compatible with IBM's Microchannel SCSI
adapters and attached devices. Question 15 discusses third party SCSI
compatibility, including CD-ROM issues. Irwin (tel. 800-348-6242) and
Maynard (tel. ???-???-????) manufacture OS/2 compatible tape backup
systems. [More tape backup systems and Bernoulli information?]

Supported printers include the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet family; IBM
ExecJets, Proprinters, Quickwriters, Quietwriters, Pageprinters, and
Laserprinters; Epson dot matrix printers; Postscript devices; and other
printers compatible with these families. A variety of IBM and HP
plotters is also supported. If difficulties are encountered in printing
make sure the printer port generates interrupts and does not conflict
with other installed devices. Also make sure that a high quality, fully
wired cable is used. IBM PS/2 Models 90 and 95 must have their parallel
printer ports set to compatibility mode using the setup disk.

IBM OS/2 1.3 runs on a wide array of clones with a wide variety of
hardware. However, compatibility cannot be assured with every non-IBM
device. Often problems can be fixed with a BIOS upgrade or an OS/2 CSD
(see Question 34; for example, the latest CSD for IBM OS/2 1.3 will fix
a problem involving the loss of CMOS setup information on certain PC
compatibles). Version 2.0 will, however, be officially tested and
supported on a wide variety of non-IBM equipment, including machines
manufactured by Acer, ALR, Apricot, Arche, AST, AT&T, Blackship, Club
American, Compaq, CompuAdd, CSS Labs, DEC, Dell, Dolch, Epson, Everex,
Hertz, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Logix, Memorex, NCR, NEC, Netframe,
Northgate, Olivetti, Panasonic, Parallan, Reply, Siemens, Tandon,
Tandy/Grid, Tatung, Tricord, Toshiba, Twinhead, and Wyse. The number of
supported peripherals and displays will also increase substantially.


(12)What applications are available for OS/2 1.x?

They number in the low thousands at present and include applications
from almost every category imaginable. Some are character based
applications; some are PM based.

DOS/Windows applications with OS/2 counterparts include Lotus 1-2-3
(both character and PM), Freelance, Microsoft Word (both character and
PM), Excel, Multiplan, Aldus Pagemaker, Ventura Publisher, Corel Draw,
WordPerfect, DisplayWrite, DeScribe, Micrografx Designer, AutoCAD,
Oracle, RBase, PC SAS, SPSS, HyperAccess/5, DynaComm, Pro-YAM, Borland
Sidekick, Paradox, Wingz, Brief, QEdit, 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). Utilities include PKZIP/UNZIP, SEA's ARC, LHA, Zoo 2.1,
GNU tools, tens of different file finders, desktop clocks, calculators,
and many more. Programming languages include Assembler, C++, COBOL,
Pascal, C, Fortran, BASIC, REXX, Smalltalk, Modula-2, LISP, Forth, and
still more.

The IBM NSC BBS (tel. 404-835-6600) provides an online product database
of hardware and software compatible with OS/2. A directory of OS/2
applications, IBM document number G362-0029-00, is published by Graphics
Plus, tel. 800-READ-OS2. TINF is an applications listing (for use with
the OS/2 help facility) available from the freeware/shareware sources
listed below.


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

Many BBSes hold large OS/2 libraries. Fernwood (tel. 203-483-0348) has
over 50 MB worth. The OS/2 Shareware BBS (tel. 703-385-0931) and the
Windows & OS/2 Magazine BBS (tel. 805-684-0589, fee req.) carry still
more. The IBM NSC BBS has some shareware/freeware as well, along with
CSDs (see Question 34) and the PS/2 Assistant (an invaluable resource
for locating almost any sort of information on OS/2). 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 os2: pub/os2 msdos/os2 pub/os2 os2

The last site should not be accessed weekdays between 8:00 a.m. and 5:30
p.m. Pacific Time.

Other sources include CompuServe ("GO IBMOS2") and the Bitnet/EARN site
BLEKUL11 (send a single line message with the word HELP to
[email protected] for more information).


(14)My Logitech mouse doesn't seem to be working with OS/2. What's

The Logitech Series 7 and 9 serial mice work with the Mouse Systems PC
Mouse driver; all other Logitech serial mice, the Microsoft Serial Mouse
driver; bus mice, the Microsoft Bus Mouse (199) driver; PS/2 mice, the
IBM PS/2 Mouse driver. Native DOS/Windows users with C7 or C9 mice
should issue the command MOUSE [2] PC before booting into OS/2.

The complete Logitech technical bulletin on OS/2, from which the above
information was obtained, is required reading for users experiencing
problems. It is available from the Logitech Support BBS, tel. 415-795-


(15)Is there a driver available for my SCSI adapter?

SCSI support has improved dramatically in the past few months. Users
should make sure, however, that driver support extends to multiple SCSI
devices, including CD-ROM, tape backup, and both primary (bootable) and
secondary (nonbootable) hard disk drives in both FAT and HPFS
configurations. Such extensive support is still rare.

Columbia Data Products (tel. 407-869-6700, BBS tel. 407-862-4724)
supplies or plans to supply OS/2 1.3 device drivers for numerous third
party SCSI adapters, including some of the products mentioned below.
Support may be limited to a choice of one primary SCSI hard disk drive,
or one or more secondary SCSI hard disk drives. Micro Design
International (tel. 407-677-8333) offers SCSI Express, a package
supporting secondary hard disks, rewritable optical disks (both with
HPFS if desired), WORM, CD-ROM, and tape drives with BusTek, Adaptec
154x/1640, and IBM SCSI adapters.

Adaptec (tel. 408-945-2550, BBS tel. 408-945-7727) provides OS/2 1.x
support for FAT hard disk drives attached to its line of ISA SCSI
adapters. (Dell, tel. 800-624-9896, has Adaptec support available for
its own systems running Dell or IBM OS/2. [Can anyone confirm that this
support is somehow different?]) Always Technologies makes an OS/2 1.x
driver available on its BBS (tel. 818-597-0275) for its IN-2000 ISA SCSI
adapter. At present the driver supports secondary hard disk drives
only. Bustek (tel. 408-259-6237) has OS/2 1.x and 2.0 (beta) drivers
for both FAT and HPFS hard disk drives attached to its BT-742A EISA SCSI
adapter. CE Infosys (tel. 703-435-3800) has OS/2 1.x support largely in
place for its Microchannel and ISA SCSI adapters and is committed to
future enhancements. DTC/Qume (tel. 408-262-7700, BBS tel. 408-942-
4197) supports OS/2 1.x on its 3280 ISA SCSI adapter. Both FAT and HPFS
hard disk drives are supported, but secondary drives cannot coexist with
a primary drive. Future Domain (tel. 714-253-0400) provides OS/2 1.x
drivers with its Microchannel and (E)ISA SCSI adapters that support up
to six FAT or HPFS hard disk drives. Western Digital (tel. 714-863-
0102, BBS tel. 714-753-1234) offers OS/2 1.3 driver support with its
7000 FAAST ISA SCSI adapter for both FAT and HPFS hard disk drives.
Seagate (BBS tel. 408-438-8771) has chosen not to supply an OS/2 driver
for its ST-01/02 ISA SCSI adapters.

Corel Systems (publisher of Corel Draw, tel. 613-728-8200) supplies OS/2
compatible CD-ROM (and rewritable) systems.

IBM OS/2 2.0 (as of the 6.177 beta) includes direct support for many
third party (E)ISA SCSI adapters (notably Adaptec and Western Digital)
and devices. This support may be enabled by following the instructions
in the printed beta documentation.


(16)How about a high resolution driver for my video adapter?

In many cases an up-to-date OS/2 driver is available. If not, a driver
for an older version of OS/2 may work. If all else fails, standard VGA
must suffice.

Drivers are available directly from the manufacturer of the video
adapter or, in many cases, through the shareware/freeware sources listed
above. Orchid (based on Tseng Labs chips) and Trident (among others)
have released high resolution drivers for OS/2 1.3. A third party ATI
driver is available from the shareware/freeware sources. Most OS/2 2.0
features will be available using an OS/2 1.3 display driver. DOS and
Windows programs running under OS/2 2.0 will work with their own device
drivers as well as with any OS/2-supported device.


(17)How about a driver for my printer?

If your printer is not compatible with one of the drivers supplied with
OS/2, check with the printer manufacturer first then with the IBM NSC
BBS. For example, a Hewlett-Packard LaserJet III driver for IBM OS/2
1.3 is now available on the NSC BBS. If you own an IBM printer, check
with the Lexmark BBS (tel. 606-232-5653).

IBM recommends that DeskJet owners select the LaserJet Classic driver
for output with OS/2 1.3. Custom DeskJet, PaintJet, and other drivers
will ship with OS/2 2.0, and these new drivers will work with OS/2 1.3.
Non-PM applications may supply their own printer drivers, and text only
output is always an option.


(18)How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting
from the hard drive? I've done something (like changing
CONFIG.SYS) that doesn't let me boot OS/2.

With IBM's OS/2, insert the Installation Diskette in Drive A and reboot.
When the logo appears on screen, press ESC. You will be given an OS/2
command line prompt.

Make sure you backup CONFIG.SYS before making any changes so that you
can easily revert to the old version should things go wrong.

Incidently, you may use this method to run CHKDSK on your OS/2 boot
partition. After obtaining the OS/2 command line prompt, remove the
Installation Diskette and insert Diskette 1. Type CHKDSK C: /F to
repair damage to the boot partition.


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

IBM OS/2 can only be installed from Drive A. If you have the wrong disk
size go back to your dealer and obtain the correct media. Otherwise you
could go inside 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 use the DOS program
FDFormat (filename FDFORM18.ZIP, available via anonymous ftp from wsmr-, directory pd1:, or via mail from
[email protected]) to create 1.44 MB (80 tracks, 18 sectors per
track) 5.25 inch disks. As before, reset your CMOS parameters to fool
your machine into thinking the 5.25 inch drive is actually a high
density 3.5 inch drive, DISKCOPY the diskettes, and install.

IBM is working to make the install process friendlier in future releases
of OS/2.


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

Not yet. But the GammaTech Utilities should fill the role with UnDelete
and other programs. Contact their publisher at tel. 405-359-1219. Note
that OS/2 2.0 has a built-in undelete utility.


(21)Sometimes Presentation Manager will freeze when I run an
application, and I have to reboot. What's wrong?

Often the problem can be traced to the DOS box. If at all possible,
upgrade to true OS/2 applications. OS/2 1.x provides far more
protection in native mode.

PM has some protection of its own. It can trap applications that do not
respond to input, but you have to give it a chance. Press CTRL-ESC (to
attempt to bring up the Task Manager), then wait up to a full minute
before rebooting (without moving the mouse or pressing any other keys);
a dialog box may appear with further instructions.


(22)My dealer doesn't know OS/2 from Unix. How can I get answers to
my OS/2 questions?

If your question is not answered in this FAQ List, post a note to the
appropriate Usenet conference: comp.os.os2.apps carries discussions
related to finding or using any OS/2 application, 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 IBM's OS/2 development team. BLEKUL11 (on Bitnet/EARN) distributes
its own OS/2 conference by mail; send a single line message with the
word HELP to [email protected] for full instructions.

Your local FidoNet BBS may carry the OS/2 echo conference. If not, ask
your system operator to get ahold of it. CompuServe ("GO IBMOS2") is
also an excellent source of information.

The IBM NSC BBS was established as a support forum. That BBS's message
areas, product database, and PS/2 Assistant file(s) are invaluable
resources. And the company has launched an OS/2 hotline (tel. 800-342-
6672) for user inquiries and orders. (Ask about the OS/2 T-shirts and

OS/2 has its own magazines as well. To subscribe to IBM Personal
Systems Developer, a quarterly publication, telephone 407-982-1105. For
information on a brand new OS/2 magazine, send netmail to
[email protected].


(23)How can I get ahold of the beta release of OS/2 2.0?

Members of the Early Experience Program and certified developers can
receive OS/2 2.0 beta. Details on program enrollment are available
through both the IBM NSC BBS and the Hotline. Residents outside North
America should contact local IBM branches for specific information on
availability of OS/2 2.0 beta. The IBM NSC BBS may, in the future, stop
taking orders for OS/2 2.0 beta.


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

HPFS offers long file names (greatly exceeding the "8 dot 3" limit in
FAT/DOS file systems) and speedier disk operation, particularly on large
hard disks. HPFS is not case sensitive, although it does preserve case
in file names.

However, HPFS is not currently supported on removable 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, the DOS
compatibility box "sees" all files that conform to the "8 dot 3" naming
conventions, even if they are stored on HPFS volumes.


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

A great number of GNU and other standard Unix utilities have been ported
to OS/2 native mode and are available from the shareware/freeware
sources listed above. A uucp package, UUPC/Extended, is available via
anonymous ftp from, directory pub/uupc; netmail
[email protected] with questions.

In addition, the Hamilton C Shell is available from Hamilton Labs, tel.
508-358-5715 or netmail [email protected]. The Thompson Toolkit, a
Bourne-like shell, is published by Thompson Automation, tel. 206-224-
1639. Thompson offers a version of awk as well. MKS (tel. 519-884-2251
or netmail [email protected]) publishes a number of standard Unix utilities
for OS/2. TCP/IP support is available from IBM (and no longer requires
EE) or FTP Software (send netmail to [email protected]). [BSD shell?]


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

Many packages are available from the shareware/freeware sources listed
above. OS/2 is an excellent environment for BBS operation, 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 BBSes are Maximus, Waffle, and Simplex (available from
shareware/freeware sources), Omega Point/2 (BBS tel. 404-564-1961), and
Multi-Net (tel. 503-883-8099, BBS tel. 503-883-8197).


(27)The printed and online manuals do not document REXX in any detail.
Where can I obtain more information?

IBM publishes two separate manuals:

"IBM Operating System/2 Procedures Language 2/REXX User's Guide," Part
No. 01F0272, Document No. S01F-0272; and

"IBM Operating System/2 Procedures Language 2/REXX Reference," Part No.
01F0271, Document No. S01F-0271.

An alternative is "The REXX Language: A Practical Guide to Programming
(2nd Ed.)" by Mike Cowlishaw, Prentice Hall, ISBN 0-13-780651-5.

In addition, there are at least two different versions of REXX online
references available from one or more of the shareware/freeware sources
listed above. REXX is documented in OS/2 2.0's online help.


(28)Doesn't OS/2 have applets like Windows? I miss Solitaire.

All the Windows applets have been ported to OS/2. The package is called
Windows Libraries for OS/2 (WLO) Version 1.0. They should be available
from the shareware/freeware sites listed above. IBM OS/2 2.0 will ship
with several applets including Calendar, Notepad, Tune Editor, Database,
Chess, Solitaire, Klondike, Cat and Mouse, Jigsaw, Enhanced Editor,
Calculator, To-Do List, Daily and Monthly Planner, Spreadsheet, and


(29)How do I redirect printer output to a file?

The Postscript printer driver has a built-in option for printing to a
file. Navigate through the PM Print Manager configuration options to
access this feature.

For all other drivers, first hold (pause) the Print Manager queue then
print from the application. The output file will be located below the
SPOOL subdirectory. COPY the file elsewhere then cancel the job from
the Print Manager.

These methods assume the IBM OS/2 1.3 Print Manager (spooler) is
installed and active.


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

IBM OS/2 1.x ships with a driver that supports COM3 on Microchannel
PS/2s only. However, the Fernwood BBS and other sites carry a
replacement driver, COM16550, which supports COM3 and/or COM4 on (E)ISA
bus machines. This driver also supports speeds greater than 19,200 bits
per second. Ports must not share interrupts on (E)ISA bus machines,

"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 own ARTIC products and Stargate (tel. 800-782-
7428) adapters.


(31)On my 1024x768 high resolution display I get obnoxiously large
icons (64x64). How do I make them smaller?

Patch the display driver file, DISPLAY.DLL, using a program like DOS's
DEBUG. Search for the byte sequence 40 00 40 00 20 00 20 00
(hexadecimal) (sometimes the sequence is 28 00 28 00 20 00 20 00) and
change it to 20 00 20 00 20 00 20 00.


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

Look up the START and DETACH commands in the online reference.


(33)How do I start a DOS application from a PM icon?

In IBM OS/2 1.3 DOS applications can be started from a PM program group
icon just like native OS/2 and PM programs (assuming the OS/2 CONFIG.SYS
file contains the lines DEVICE=...\DOS.SYS and PROTECTONLY=NO).

From the PM desktop go to a program group and select New. Enter the DOS
program's title (e.g. "Lotus 1-2-3"), the path to the program (to an
EXE, COM, or BAT file, e.g. "C:\Lotus\Lotus.Exe"), and any optional
parameters like command line options and/or the DOS application's
working directory (e.g. "C:\Lotus"). Select the Add button, and PM will
create a DOS icon with that application's name in the program group.
These parameters may be altered by highlighting the icon and selecting
Properties. Double clicking on that application's icon will cause OS/2
to switch to the DOS compatibility box and start the application.


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

CSDs are Corrective Service Diskettes, or bug fixes, periodically issued
by IBM. The OS/2 CSD level number may be obtained using the command
SYSLEVEL from the 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, a full upgrade, not a CSD, would bring OS/2
Version 1.2 up to Version 1.3. Note also that SE CSDs are not the same
as EE CSDs.

CSDs may be ordered by anyone with an IBM customer number (usually large
sites) directly from IBM Defect Support (tel. 800-237-5511). OS/2 users
without customer numbers should ask an authorized IBM dealer to order
the CSD. Many dealers do not know about this program, so be persistent.
CSDs may also be downloaded from the IBM NSC BBS or CompuServe ("GO


(35)How do I add the Paste option to the system menus of windowed,
non-PM applications?

In OS/2 1.3, start a windowed text mode application (e.g. the OS/2
Window command line). Bring up the system menu with SHIFT-ESC. Use the
down arrow key (not the mouse) to highlight Mark. Press SHIFT-ENTER.
Close the window. Paste will then appear in system menus.


(36)How do I add new fonts for Adobe Type Manager?

First create a temporary directory (e.g. C:\TEMP) and copy all the new
font files to that directory. Each font should consist of two files
with extensions PFB and AFM. (PFM files are used by Windows and can be
converted to AFM, if necessary, using the PFM2AFM utility available from
many of the shareware/freeware sources listed above. AFM files for
Adobe commercial typefaces may be obtained via anonymous ftp from Then, using the Control Panel, install the fonts making
sure to choose the temporary directory instead of A:\. After
installation is complete the files and temporary directory may be

Timothy F. Sipples Keeper of the OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions
[email protected] List, available via anonymous ftp from
Dept. of Economics, directory os2/faq, or via netmail
Univ. of Chicago 60637 from [email protected].

 December 24, 2017  Add comments

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>