Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Copyright 1993 Joaquim Homrighausen; All rights reserved.
Published by Joaquim Homrighausen with assistance from the users of
FrontDoor, FrontDoor APX, TosScan, and related utilities, as well as the
FrontDoor Help nodes. This document may be freely distributed for non-
commercial and informational purposes. This document may not, under any
circumstance, be traded, sold, or otherwise used for commercial gain or
purposes without prior written consent from Joaquim Homrighausen.
FD=FrontDoor Mailer FM=FrontDoor Editor TS=TosScan APX=FrontDoor APX
Q: Occasionally, various indicators will appear in the lower right hand
corner of the Mailer screen. What are they?
A: Five possible indicators can be displayed there:
NU: No Users: event configured to not allow users, or is toggled
off at the FD screen with , Human callers "No". Also
displayed when FD detects the semaphore file FDNOUSER.NOW in
its semaphore directory.
UD: One or more undialable check marks exist. After FD places a call,
gets a connect, and then fails the attempts to establish a mail
session, it will make a number of "resend retries" (as defined
in FDSETUP's Mailer.Miscellaneous menu). When the maximum number
of retries have been reached, FD will set one check mark for the
undialable node in question. When the node has three check marks,
FD will not call this node again, until you have removed at least
one of the check marks. Press to view the list of un-
dialable nodes, and edit the check marks.
NE: No Exit: the semaphore file FDNOEXIT.NOW is detected. While this
file is present, FD will not exit (even if the current event is
configured to cause exits) when mail arrives.
NR: No Rescan: the semaphore file FDNOSCAN.NOW is detected. While
this file is present, FD will ignore system netmail folder
rescans prompted by the semaphore file FDRESCAN.NOW.
Mail: New mail for your system has arrived.
Q: FD does not seem to accept file requests and update requests from
certain calling systems (sometimes), why?
A: Check your log file whether you can find "remote refused pickup"
reported. If so, it means that the requesting system has a setup
disabling pick up of mail and files. There is nothing you can do about
it except notify the operator at the remote system to change settings.
Q: In the README.FD file on using HST Dual Standard modems, there is a
mention that I should use "CONNECT 1200/" as the connect string for
1200 BPS connects. Must I also include the slash in the other connect
A: No. The reason why you must include the slash for 1200 BPS connects is
that there is also a possibility that your modem reports a "CONNECT
12000". If you do not include the slash on the 1200 BPS connect message
then the CONNECT 12000 will be interpreted as a 1200 BPS connect and
time calculations for transfers and file requests will be wrong.
Q: I tried setting the CONNECT 1200 message to "CONNECT 1200/" and it does
not work. Now I get no 1200 BPS connections at all!
A: For modems that do not report /NONE for non-error correcting connects,
as the USR-style modem command set reports, you must instead set it to
"CONNECT 1200|". This is true for the BT/Hayes command set (Hayes, PPI,
and many Rockwell based), which appends /ARQ for error correcting
connections and nothing at all for non-error correcting connections. It
is also true for the Microcom compatible modems, which append /REL or
nothing at all, and for DSI based modems, which append EC/V42B
or nothing at all.
Q: I have "Locked port" enabled in FDSETUP and my FOSSIL driver locked at
38400 BPS, but the modem always says the caller is connecting at 38400
BPS, even when they are really at 2400 BPS! What is wrong? I have a
Rockwell chipset modem.
A: The BT/Hayes command set modems (Hayes, PPI, Rockwell based) have the
ability to return multiline response codes that are not supported by
FrontDoor. They also default to simply returning the DTE, or speed
between the modem and computer (i.e. the "locked" rate). With either of
these set (W1 and W0, respectively), you will have problems. Instead,
use W2 and S95=2, which will return the DCE (rate between modems) and
append /ARQ to error correcting connections.
Q: What is a good init string for my Rockwell chipset (or Hayes or PPI)
A: First, reset your modem to the factory default with AT&F. Now, load the
FrontDoor Terminal by pressing from FD's main menu or by
running FD /TERM from the DOS prompt. Type "AT&C1&D2W2S95=2".
Save it to NVRAM with "AT&W". Your init string can now be ATZ|
and will work fine. Other registers are fine tuning only, and may vary
by make and model. The FrontDoor INSTALL program includes the correct
modem settings for many popular modems.
A: I have just upgraded from FD 2.00 to 2.20. All is going fine except one
little setting I haven't got right yet, and that's the MODEM statement
Q: The MODEM statement in FDNODE.CTL has been moved to FDSETUP.Manager.
Q: My modem is a combined FAX/DATA modem, but I cannot get FD to success-
fully receive the fax, or exit so my external utility can receive it.
A: FD 2.20 can receive a fax by using its internal routines ONLY if you
are using a ZyXEL U-1496 series modem and it has been configured for
adaptive fax/data answer. FD 2.20 can shell to an external program if
your modem returns a unique connect message indicating that a fax call
is in progress (e.g. "CONNECT FAX"). This is more a limitation of
adaptive answering in many modems and lack of suitable fax software to
support the modems.
Q: I am using a modem that requires the DTE speed to be locked at 57600
BPS to achieve maximum throughput and transfer efficiency, but FDSETUP
only allows me to set the baudrate to 38400 BPS..
A: X00 and other FOSSIL drivers allow you to lock the port at 57600 BPS
when you load them. As long as the FOSSIL driver has been instructed
to maintain a fixed DTE rate, it will ignore any attempts by FD to
change the baudrate. Set the baudrate in FDSETUP to 38400 BPS and then
enable the "Locked port" setting. Lock the FOSSIL driver at 57600 BPS.
e.g. DEVICE=C:\FD\X00.SYS E B,0,57600 T=512 R=1024
Q: Every time I poll my uplink for new mail, FD logs a message "Unexpected
password, XXXXXXXX, from ". What does this mean; is it
a security bug in FrontDoor? I have a session level password with my
uplink, but not with !
A: That is exactly what the message means. It tells you that you have had
a session with a system which presented an unexpected password for one
or more AKAs (Also Known As-addresses). The password was unexpected
because you have not configured a session password for that particular
AKA. The message is part of FD's security system. If the message is
not important to you, then disable the (#) log entry in FDSETUP under
the Mailer.Loglevels menu.
Q: One of my downlinks is configured with multiple system addresses. Must
I enter all of these in the security manager? Only the primary address
of that system receives mail from me. Does it help if I just disable
the "Present all AKAs.." option in the Mailer.Miscellaneous menu of
A: It is not a matter of your system presenting all AKAs, but the remote
side. If you feel that a system has too many AKAs for you to enter all
of them with passwords in your security manager, then make sure that
you route mail for the AKAs to one of the addresses. By doing that,
you only need to password protect that particular address.
Otherwise, you will either have to accept that mail for his AKAs is not
password protected (and can thus be picked up by anyone who puts that
address in his AKA list) or you will have to set passwords for his
entire AKA list.
Q: My uplink has two AKAs, each representing a different telephone line. I
can poll either system to deliver and pickup the mail. I have tried
using "Poll " in my ROUTE.FD to establish alternating
polling between the two nodes but then FD insists on polling both lines
instead of only one. Is there a method to use alternating polling
without having to call the system more than once?
A: You can setup a script file which alternatively polls each line when-
ever the other line is busy. To establish this, make the following
In your ROUTE.FD insert the line "SCRIPT UPLINK " (use
the primary address which you will use in your "POLL" command in
ROUTE.FD). Then use a texteditor to create a file called UPLINK.SCR in
the FrontDoor SYSTEM directory:
; Sample Script to call Boss on more than one phonenumber
; (courtesy Jan Orsel)
retrycount 20 ;Exit script after more than 20 retries.
timerset 60 ;Set timeout to 60 seconds
dial 88119 ;Phonenumber for node 1
CONNECT : session
BUSY : >node2
"NO CARRIER" : >node2
@DEFAULT : fail
dial 87707 ;Phonenumber for node 2
CONNECT : session
BUSY : >node1
"NO CARRIER" : >node1
@DEFAULT : fail
;end of script
Q: FD sometimes display the message "xxxxxxxx.PKT contains conference
mail, ignored" and refuses to unpack the mail packet.
A: When FD scans received .PKT files it looks for the string "AREA:" which
would indicate that the .PKT file contains Conference Mail. FD does not
handle Conference Mail without the use of an external Conference Mail
processor such as TosScan.
Q: All messages that I or my BBS users write are displayed as having the
Local status when I read them in FM. Does this mean that FD will not
send these messages?
A: The Local status of any message on your system simply means that the
message apparently originates from your system. FD checks for Local
status before honoring any special status within the message, such as
Direct or Immediate. If a message does not have the Local status, FD
will refuse to send it. This is part of FrontDoor's security system
and is implemented to prevent unauthorized users from forcing your
system to place calls, unless you want it to.
Q: I have seen messages from people in Conference-type folders that have
three dashes followed by some text, usually identifying a program. But
when I enter a message with FM in a Conference-type folder, all I get
is the three dashes.
A: It is our belief that we should disturb the readers of conference mail
messages as little as possible with unnecessary and uncalled for
advertisements. Therefor we support the thought that program
information should be hidden for the user. If you press when
reading one of your messages you will see a notice "PID FM ".
Thus, you are still able to see which software people have used to
enter a message, but only when you want to see it. This is compliant
with the desire of many users to clean up the conference mail from
unwanted commercials as much as possible.
Q: I can't do anything in the Terminal, not even leave it with .
A: You have the key on. When it is active, the Terminal is
in 'Raw mode', which transmits ALL keystrokes to the remote side. Just
press , to turn it off, then you can use the Terminal as
you're used to.
Q: I never get a RING signal from my new HST modem when FD is in the
Mailer mode. But when I go into the Terminal, I can see the RING.
A: The new HST modems saves the current BPS rate to the NVRAM when you
store the settings with "AT&W". To fix this problem, go into the
Terminal with from FD's main menu, or run FD /TERM from the DOS
prompt and then type "ATZ" and "AT&W". The modem has then
stored the new DTE rate, and FD should see the RING messages.
Q: FrontDoor refuses to send any of the conference mail messages that I
write. I have Qmail set up correctly, and it exports the messages as it
should, but FrontDoor never sends these files.
A: FrontDoor and Qmail are not compatible. Qmail doesn't create the file
attach messages that FrontDoor needs to deliver conference mail packets.
You need to change to another conference mail processor. An excellent
choice is TosScan, which is available from all authorized FrontDoor
dealers and distributors.
Q: When I move the selection bar in the message survey function, it
behaves as if I had pressed to toggle the select status, what
am I doing wrong?
A: Your key is enabled. This enables the Continuous Tagging
function which is described in the manual.
Q: I have been using FrontDoor for some time now. Everything works just
fine, but I have files with the System and Hidden attributes. Do they
belong to my system?
A: FrontDoor (FD and FM) creates such files when it swaps itself out to
disk. With normal termination, the swap-files are removed. If you do
not exit the application normally (i.e. when the system or task is
taken down while FD or FM is swapped out to disk), these files are
left behind. You can safely remove them afterwards.
Q: Is there any utility that will allow me to force FD to poll a system,
send and request files, as well as messages, from the DOS prompt or
from another program?
A: Yes, there are several. One of them is XRobot 3.x which is specifically
written for FD and takes advantage of many features in the FrontDoor
environment such as NAMES.FD. XRobot is available for MS-DOS 3.x and
above as well as OS/2 2.x. The usual filename is XR300DOS.* and
Q: I am using FrontDoor 2.20 and notice that when I call certain systems
using FrontDoor 2.10 or below, the system information displayed on the
screen looks like random data but the session continues and is
A: FrontDoor versions after 2.10 use a encoding scheme for the handshake
packets exchanged at the beginning of a session between EMSI capable
mailers. This is described in the update information provided with
versions after 2.10.
Q: I am using the FD 2.20 /LOGINTRO option to enable logging of the data
received from the remote prior to the start of a session and have found
several sessions where FD seems to have filled the log with random
garbage for several screens.
A: FD simply logs whatever it receives from the modem until it has
received an indication that the session handshake is about to begin. On
some occasions, the answering and calling modems start to retrain the
line, or there is a speed mismatch between the two modems, in which
case the answering modem will receive what appears to be garbage. There
is nothing FD can do about this and the only definite solution is to
remove LOGINTRO from the command-line or FDOPT environment variable.
Q: I frequently see the "Insufficient number of available file handles"
when I'm using FM and/or FD, what am I doing wrong?
A: There are two common causes for this error message. FD and FM typically
needs around 15 file handles to be available, this excludes the five
DOS "standard handles" (the console, keyboard, etc.). You must have at
least FILES=20 in your CONFIG.SYS file.
If you are running on a network and accessing one or more files on a
server, you should increase the FILES= setting on the server (but keep
FILES=20 or higher in the workstation's local CONFIG.SYS).
Q: I am using the NOEMS switch with EMM386 and FD 2.10 (and below) is
A: Some expanded and extended memory managers, such as EMM386 and 386^MAX
allow you to disable the EMS page frame which gives you additional high
memory. This is, unfortunately, not compatible with Borland's overlay
manager that FrontDoor uses. This has been fixed in versions after
FrontDoor 2.10 - whereby the programs test for a valid page frame and
if none is found, simply don't call the overlay manager's init
Q: I am using OS/2 2.x and would like to set-up FD to run in a DOS
session. But all my attempts result in extremely low transfer speeds
and high CPU usage whenever FD is running.
A: Find a copy of SIO 1.00 or later. SIO contains replacements for the
OS/2 COM drivers as well as VX00, a FOSSIL driver written for OS/2 2.x
that interfaces with SIO/VSIO. By replacing the original OS/2 2.x COM
drivers with SIO and VSIO, you will see increased performance when
using most of your (if not all) programs that access the serial port
hardware directly (APX for example).
For FD, you will also need to install either VFD ("Virtual FOSSIL
Driver") which is available as a public beta on many systems or VX00.
VFD has the same function as VX00 in the SIO archive and can be used
instead of VX00 in conjunction with SIO and VSIO.
SIO for OS/2 2.x is written by Ray Gwinn, the author of the X00 FOSSIL
driver which accompanies FrontDoor 2.10 and later. VFD is written by
For more information on how to set-up FD under OS/2 2.x, please refer
to the FDTN-002 FrontDoor TechNote by John Barton which describes this
Q: I have successfully installed FrontDoor under OS/2 2.x DOS sessions,
but I frequently get TRAP D error messages when FD is running.
A: This is most likely due to a bug in OS/2 2.x that involves the use of
FCBs (File Control Blocks). FD uses FCBs to delete some of its
temporary files such as dynamic packets. The solution is to run FD with
the /NOFCB command-line parameter, or to have SET FDOPT=NOFCB in your
AUTOEXEC.BAT file. You will notice a slight loss of performance since
FD must delete all files individually.
Q: I am running FD in a OS/2 2.x DOS session and the dynamic CPS counter
is reporting erratic throughput figures (usually, they are much too
A: This is a bug in OS/2 2.x. FD relies on the low memory BIOS ticker for
calculating the dynamic CPS throughput figure. It seems like OS/2 2.x
is not updating this ticker under certain conditions which would
exhibit the above behavior.
// end of file "faq.txt"