Contents of the README file
11311 N. Central Expressway, Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75243
Orders Only! Phone Line (214) 739-5543
Bulletin Board Phone Line (214) 368-2709
1200/2400/9600 Baud, 8 data, 1 stop, no parity
Release: ALT 2.07
Date: September 28, 1990
The purpose of ALT is to provide a useful, new framework for
computing with your IBM PC, PCAT or compatible. It is a
multi-faceted tool containing functions and capabilities that can
literally make the difference between getting the job done
effectively on the computer and abandoning the computer and going
back to "doing it by hand". While none of the tools ALT provides
are unique in nature, it is our opinion that most of them are
superior in their operation and breadth of capabilities. ALT is
best classified as a memory-resident (i.e., always available)
integration of major, popular utilities under a common user
* Context switching and management for running several tasks
simultaneously with user definable menus
* Appointment Calendar with alarms.
* Address book with auto phone dialer.
* Three calculators; Algebraic Calculator, Reverse-Polish-
Notation (RPN) Calculator, and a paper Tape Calculator.
* User Menus to load and run programs with a touch of a key.
* A Word processor with many popular editing
commands, including the ability to reconfigure the
keyboard within the editor.
* Ascii and Scan-Code table.
* On screen clock and date display.
* Command line editing and history. Recall and edit the
last 10 commands entered at the DOS prompt.
* Keyboard Speed-Up.
* Screen blanking to protect your monitor.
* Mouse control of accessories and the ALT Main Menu.
* Configurable colors for all the accessories.
* A DOS shell providing powerful file and directory
* Macros and Data Transfer (Cut and Paste)
* Context-sensitive help.
* "Pop-up" upon Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/Extended VGA graphics
ALT provides all of this while using only 53K of your
ALT and ALT+
ALT is available in two versions: one which is shareware and the
more complete ALT+ version. The Shareware version is limited in
many of its capabilities because of the disk space required to
distribute the program. The Shareware version is not freeware,
however. If you continue to use it, you must register. When you
register, you will receive ALT+.
You can register and receive ALT+ by using the handy on-line
order form available from within ALT:
or through the Instinct bulletin board or by calling the number
given below. The cost of registering is only $49.95. With the
ALT+ version, you get the following extra benefits:
* Ability to run eight programs (or tasks) instead of just
two. Switch freely between all eight programs which each
having access to all available RAM.
* A 150 page printed manual containing complete documentation
on all of ALT+'s power.
* All three calculators. A Reverse Polish Calculator (RPN)
with 3 modes (business, statistical, and computer-based), an
adding tape calculator, and an algebraic scientific
* Full context sensitive help. Press F1 at any time while in
ALT, and a detailed help will be provided on the accessory
that you are visiting.
* Increased memory area for keyboard macros. Macro key area
can be increased from 500 bytes to 10K bytes to handle an
almost unlimited number of macros.
* Address book capacity is increased from 20 names to an
amount limited only by the size of your hard disk.
* The appointment book can handle an unlimited number of
appointments and alarms.
* Many of the accessories can be run from the DOS prompt
without having ALT installed or having to go through the ALT
* Product support is available through the Instinct Bulletin
Board System with extra privileges.
All of this for only $49.95 !!! Orders can be made through
the Instinct Order Line (214)-739-5543 or through the
Instinct Bulletin Board System (214)-368-2709 (1200/2400/9600
Baud, 8 data bit, 1 stop bit, no parity). Texas Residents
must add 8% Sales Tax. Foreign checks must be payable by
a U.S. bank.
Include Shipping & handling charges ->
48 State Contiguous US $3.00
Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Canada, $6.00
P.S. See the file MANUAL.DOC for a hands on approach to learn the
power of ALT.
See the file HELPME.DOC for the most commonly asked
questions and answers on all parts of ALT.
Begin the installation by inserting the ALT #1 disk into a floppy
drive in your computer (usually drive A:).
Type: a:install (where a: is your floppy drive)
Follow instructions until you see the message:
Enter Source Drive
Enter the drive containing the ALT #1 disk and press Enter.
e.g. A:\ . You should then see the message:
Enter Destination Drive and Path
Respond by entering the drive and directory to contain ALT and
press Enter. e.g. C:\ALT
The installation programs then begins copying files in ZIP'ed
form to your hard disk. Momentarily, the installation program
will ask you to insert the ALT #2 disk into drive A. Do this and
At this point, if the installation program senses the
presence of files exist in the installation directory, it
will ask if you want to automatically overwrite existing ALT
program files. Normally you should respond 'Y'es unless you
wish or need to manually supervise which files are
To install without the INSTALL program, simply copy all the
files to a subdirectory on your hard drive, e.g. \ALT. If
the files are ZIPped or ARCed, then use either PKUNZIP or
PKUNARC to uncompress the files, e.g.
To load and run ALT:
Type: cd \alt
Please see the file MANUAL.DOC! This will contain complete
information on installation, configuring the swap drives,
and details on ALT and Accessory operation.
NOTE: This particular version is the initial release of ALT
2.0! We are constantly improving ALT. If you experience any
problems, please check in with our Bulletin Board System
(214) 368-2709 or call (214) 739-5543 for information on our
latest release. Any problems you are experiencing may
be fixed in the current release.
For Users Updating Files From Version 1.xx to 2.xx
The important files to keep when going from version 1.xx
to version 2.xx are the Address Book, Notepad, and the
User Menu files. Information for these are stored in
NOTES and files with extensions DAT and IND (e.g. ADDBOOK.IND,
ADDBOOK.DAT, MENU1.DAT, NOTES, ... ).
Either install the ALT 2.xx in the same directory as ALT 1.xx
or install in another directory and copy over the above
If you install in the same directory, you may safely delete
INITMAIN.EXE, MAINEDIT.EXE, and USERMENU.EXE. They are no
longer required in ALT 2.xx.
EGA and VGA Video modes supported
ALT 2.0 now supports task switching with EGA and VGA graphics
screens. Some EGA and VGA setups provide a number of
non-standard proprietary video modes, in such cases, ALT might
not be able to properly save and restore the video
information. It is recommended that you configure your
software to use some of the more standard video modes. Listed
below are the display types and graphics modes (hex) supported
Display Type Mode Pixels x Colors
CGA 4,5 320 x 200 x 4
6 640 x 200 x 2
EGA D 320 x 200 x 16
E 640 x 200 x 16
F 640 x 350 x 2
10 640 x 350 x 16
VGA 11 640 x 480 x 2
12 640 x 480 x 16
13 320 x 200 x 256
Tseng 29 800 x 600 x 16
2D 640 x 350 x 256
2E 640 x 480 x 256
30 800 x 600 x 256
Paradise 58 800 x 600 x 16
59 800 x 600 x 2
5E 640 x 400 x 256
5F 640 x 480 x 256
Video Seven 62 800 x 600 x 16
66 640 x 400 x 256
67 640 x 480 x 256
69 800 x 600 x 256
Hercules 720 x 348 x 2
If your display type is not listed, but supports one of
the 'Pixels x Colors' listed, try configuring your software
to use one of those listed. ALT should still be able to
properly save/restore the graphics screen since many other
popular display types are compatible.
* Novell Network Users
For some network configurations, ALT may have some trouble
starting a new Command.Com . ALT finds the location of
Command.Com by inspecting the COMSPEC environment variable. If
the COMSPEC variable points to a Command.Com on the server,
try copying over Command.Com to the local user station and
change the COMSPEC variable accordingly.
copy X:\SYSTEM\Command.Com \ALT
Set COMSPEC = \ALT
* Texas Instruments Business Pro
ALT's detection method of AT enhanced keyboard conflicts with
the TI Business Pro. The detection method causes ALT to lock
up when first loading into memory. ALT can be prevented from
trying to detect the presence of the enhanced keyboard by
specifying "No" to the 'AT 101 Keyboard' option under the
'General Setup' of the Setup.Exe program.
ALT will work properly with 4DOS if configured correctly.
Two steps must be taken, 4DOS's command line recall and editing
must be disabled, and 4DOS must be made the primary shell when
the computer is started (booted).
The 4DOS command line recall and editing is disabled with the
ALT will have its own command line recall and editing once installed
in memory. Since the SETDOS /L1 command needs to be run each time
a new memory partition is opened, place the command in the 4DOS
autoexec file 4START.BAT. The 4START.BAT should be placed in your
root directory of your boot drive.
It is very important that you create the 4START.BAT file and place
the SETDOS /L1 command within the file. If not, ALT will have difficulty
"popping-up" and the menuing program will also fail to work
properly. See the 4DOS documentation on 4START.BAT and SETDOS /L1
for more information.
To make 4DOS the primary shell at boot time, the following line needs
to be in your CONFIG.SYS file,
Your drive and path may differ. This will load the 4DOS command
interpreter when your computer is first booted. The environment
variable COMSPEC will also be set when used in this configuration.
For ALT to work properly with 4DOS, the COMSPEC variable is required
to be set to the full drive and pathname of 4DOS. For example,