Contents of the AUTOCON.DOC file
A U T O C O N
March 15, 1992
Copyright (c) 1989-92 Larry Weaver
P.O. Box 2639
Weaverville CA 96093-2639
Office : (916) 623-5045
BBS : (916) 623-4455
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In order to describe AutoCon, I need to establish a couple of
definitions. When I use the word "reconfigure", I mean the
process of updating the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files on the
boot drive, followed by an optional reboot of the system.
When I use the word "configuration", I am referring to an
AUTOEXEC/CONFIG combination held in a record of AutoCon's
database. You will use AutoCon to set up these combinations, and
give each of them a familiar name.
The ^ symbol denotes the Control key, so ^F3 means hitting the
Control and the F3 key at the same time. Alt denotes the Alt key
(tricky, huh?), so that AltR means hitting the Alt and the R key
at the same time. ENTER (all caps) denotes hitting the Enter key.
AutoCon is essentially a database manager for your AUTOEXEC.BAT
and CONFIG.SYS files. It enables you to keep up to fifty
different configurations, and to change easily between those
The first time you run AutoCon, it will create a file named
AUTOCON.DAT. That file will contain five configuration records.
Each record will contain a copy of the AUTOEXEC.BAT and
CONFIG.SYS files from the C: drive. The records are initially
named RECORD01 - RECORD05. When you set up a configuration for a
specific purpose, you can change the name to reflect that purpose
(something like Win3 for a Microsoft Windows configuration, and
SDOS for a simple DOS configuration). You can add more records by
hitting the F3 key.
AutoCon incorporates a full-screen editor to make it easy to
change the AUTOEXEC/CONFIG records. The editor uses Turbo
IDE/Sidekick/WS-compatible keystrokes. If you are not familiar
with these, there is an on-line help file which details all the
keystrokes. If you desire, you can change the editor keystrokes.
The F6 key will pop up a key editor for this purpose.
If you don't like the built-in editor, you can configure AutoCon
to use a different one. The ^F6 key combination will pop up a
window asking for the name of the editor you wish to run. Since
the configurations will eventually be used as AUTOEXEC.BAT and
CONFIG.SYS files, the editor must be able to produce pure ASCII
files. You can toggle between the internal and external editors
with the ^F6 and the ShiftF6 key combinations.
After you have established your records and names, you can
reconfigure your system by entering the name of the new
configuration on the command line. Typing "AutoCon Win3" would
cause AutoCon to copy the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG fields of the
record named Win3 into the boot drive as AUTOEXEC.BAT and
CONFIG.SYS and optionally reboot the system.
In the interactive mode, you can page through the records and
reconfigure (using the current on-screen configuration) with a
couple of keystrokes.
The AutoCon package also includes a device driver which will
allow you to select different configurations during the boot
process. Using this method is optional, and you can switch
between the two methods with a couple of key strokes.
Why AutoCon for Configuration Control:
Three programs were initially responsible for the creation of
AutoCon: my schematic program, my scanner program, and my
programmable logic compiler. Each of these programs require
various device drivers, and almost 600k of memory. When the
computer is configured to run one of the three, neither of the
other two will run; in addition, if the computer is configured the
way I like to work with it, _none_ of the three will run. After
playing with batch files for a while, I decided to write a program
to make it easy to change configurations.
The above scenario is responsible for the default of five records
in AutoCon. I had a regular configuration, the three special
configurations, and one for experimentation. After I had worked
with AutoCon for a few days, I told a few of my friends about the
program and they wanted to try it. After some very positive
feedback, I decided to try the program out in the Shareware
An unexpected bonus of using AutoCon became evident when I
received programs with automatic installation modules -- you know,
the ones that like to mess around with your AUTOEXEC and CONFIG
files. Since your configurations are stored in a database, a
change to the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files doesn't cause a problem.
I'll use Windows to demonstrate. When I got Windows, and saw
what it was going to do to my system configuration, I used my
"Simple" configuration to reconfigure my system. This
configuration has only the basic stuff in it (path, prompt,
files, and buffers). I then let Windows install itself. After
the installation was finished, I called up AutoCon and created a
new configuration containing the changes Windows had made. After
playing with Windows for a while, I went back to my favorite DOS
configuration in a matter of moments. Now, whenever I want to
run Windows, I just type "AutoCon Win3" on the command line --
and it's up and running!
To do a new installation of AutoCon, you need to copy four files
(AUTOCON.EXE, AUTOCON.HLP, MENU.CTL, and MENUNUM.COM) to your
hard disk. It doesn't really matter which subdirectory you copy
them into, as long as it's included in the PATH statement. If
you like to have files relating to booting up (such as device
drivers) in your root directory, then MENU.CTL and MENUNUM.COM
should be placed there, otherwise all four files may be placed in
the same subdirectory. When AutoCon is started, it will first
look in the current subdirectory for its Help and data files. If
they are not there, then AutoCon (if you are using DOS 3.3+) will
search the subdirectory it was started from. If they are not
_there_, then AutoCon will search the PATH. As long as the Help
and data files are in the PATH (or in the subdirectory AutoCon
was started from - DOS 3.3+), AutoCon can be installed in any
After you have copied the files, change to the subdirectory
AUTOCON.EXE was copied to, and type "AUTOCON" ENTER. You will now
be in the interactive mode, pointing to the name of the first
configuration. This first configuration is a special one to
AutoCon. Several of the default parameters are stored in this
configuration. When you make changes to the first record, you
will be asked whether you want to copy those changes across all
IMPORTANT: If you are currently using a disk cache program that
buffers disk writes (PC-KWIK and PCTOOLS are two that I know of),
you need to set up AutoCon to flush the cache before it reboots.
Hit the F4 key, select "Yes", then enter the command (include the
path if necessary) that causes your cache program to flush its
buffers. In the case of PC-KWIK, it is the PC-KWIK program name
followed by /F. AutoCon will execute this program before
AutoCon is now installed, and ready to use.
If your current AutoCon version is below 2.0 then the new
capabilities of AutoCon require a change to the AUTOCON.DAT file,
so if you are updating to V2.0x of AutoCon from 1.x you have a
little more to do: you need to copy the same four files mentioned
above to the subdirectory where the older version of AutoCon
(which will be overwritten) is installed. There is another new
file in the AutoCon package called ACONVERT.EXE. You need to
change to the subdirectory where AUTOCON.DAT resides, then run the
ACONVERT program. This program will rename AUTOCON.DAT to
AUTOCON.SAV, then convert the file structure to work under AutoCon
V2.0x. After you run ACONVERT.EXE, you no longer need the
ACONVERT.EXE file, so it can be deleted.
The editor has a few new capabilities which will not be available
until you change the editor keys. Call up AutoCon, then hit the
F6 key. If you have never changed the keys, hit AltR, and
answer "Yes" to restoring the default keystrokes. If you have
changed the keystrokes, page down to the bottom of the key list;
you will see that there are some new keys that need to be
In either case, after copying the files, you will need to start
AutoCon and hit the F2 key. Answer yes to update the files to the
MENU.CTL & MENUNUM.COM
The addition of these two files to the AutoCon package changes
its capabilities so much that I decided to skip versions 1.5 -
1.9 and go directly to version 2.0. MENU.CTL is a device driver
which modifies the way a CONFIG.SYS file is processed by DOS. It
allows AutoCon to set up a menu selection system which can be
activated during the boot process. There are both advantages and
disadvantages to this capability; the major advantage is that you
can pick the configuration you want to use during the boot
The major disadvantage is that your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
files become quite nonstandard. If you want four choices to be
available to you during the boot, then all four configurations
must be embedded in the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files. Programs like
Optimize (QEMM utility) will get very confused trying to work
with these files; most automatic installation programs will not
be able to work with them, either.
I've designed AutoCon to be able to switch between the boot "menu"
mode and the "single" mode with just a couple of keystrokes; this
should provide the best of both worlds. When a program like
Optimize (or perhaps the Windows installation program) needs to
work with your AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files, change to the single
configuration mode. After the program is finished, call up
AutoCon, save the results in one of your configurations, and go
back to the menu mode.
AutoCon handles all the nitty-gritty details of interfacing to
MENU.CTL. The only thing you have to do is make sure that
MENU.CTL and MENUNUM.COM are in a subdirectory included in the
PATH statement. To set up MENU.CTL, start AutoCon in the
interactive mode (just type "AUTOCON" ENTER), then hit the AltM
key combination; this will pop up a configuration menu. Select
the configurations you want in the boot-up menu by moving the
highlite bar over the ones you want, and hit the Enter key. The
selected configurations will have a check mark in the first
column. When you've finished selecting configurations, hit the
Escape key. AutoCon will then ask how many seconds you want to
delay (see the following note). Enter a number from 0 to 9.
You will now be back in the main interactive screen. Hit the F2
key to reconfigure the system using MENU.CTL (the record on the
screen will be made the boot default record -- if it was not one
of the selected records, it will be added to the default list).
The next time you boot, MENU.CTL will take control of the
CONFIG.SYS file. If you hit a key in the default time, you will
be able to choose from the configurations you selected.
To go back to a single configuration, start AutoCon in the
interactive mode, and hit the AltS key combination. Change to the
configuration you want to boot with, hit the F2 key, and
You will always be able to tell which mode AutoCon is in by
looking at the bottom line on the screen in the interactive mode.
If it says MENU.CTL you are in (boot) Menu mode, and if it says
SINGLE you are in Single Mode.
When you select Menu mode, you will be asked to select how many
seconds to wait during the boot process; you may enter from 0
(the default) to 9. If you select 0, when you see the MENU.CTL
box pop up, you will have about a second to hit a key. If you do
hit a key in this time, the menu selection will be placed on the
screen. If not, the boot will continue with the default record.
If you select any number except 0, you will see the following
messages on the screen during the boot process:
Press Esc to select -- the default record name will be here --
Press any other key to select a different configuration. Time =
with a decrementing number (starting with the time chosen from
AutoCon) following the = sign. When the time goes to 0, or the
Esc key is hit, the default record will be used to continue
In either case, if a key is hit, the menu choices will be placed
on the screen and you will be able to choose the one you want with
the arrow keys. The one the arrow is pointing to when the ENTER
key is hit will be the configuration used for the boot process.
If you don't like the colors that MENU.CTL uses when it takes
control of the boot process, you can change them using the pull
down menu in AutoCon. Start AutoCon, and hit the AltB
combination. The four colors used by AutoCon can be changed with
this menu. Select the colors you would like MENU.CTL to use, then
write out the new configuration (usually with the F2 key).
I don't have DOS 4.0, so I don't really have experience with this
device driver. From reading PC Magazine, I know that DOS
processes this device driver out of sequence in the CONFIG.SYS
file. As a consequence, MENU.CTL will not be able to control it.
MSDOS 5.0's High and UMB flags:
Microsoft added a couple of capabilities to DOS 5.0 that pose a
special problem for MENU.CTL. These are the DOS=HIGH/LOW and
DOS=UMB/NOUMB flags. DOS processes these flags out of sequence,
so that by the time MENU.CTL has taken over, it has already set
itself up for their use. DOS decides how to set the flags by
parsing the entire CONFIG.SYS file, and using the state of the
last occurrence of the DOS= statement to set the flags.
AutoCon is still able to control these flags though the method is
a little unorthodox. When you are using Menu mode and MSDOS 5.0,
AutoCon will place the statement DOS=HIGH,NOUMB as the last line
in the CONFIG.SYS file. As a consequence, DOS will attempt to
always load HIGH, and have NOUMB control. When you select a
configuration via MENU.CTL, if that configuration has a DOS=LOW
command in it (and no other program in the configuration has taken
it), MENU.CTL will take the HMA and force DOS Low. The HMA will
be released by MENUNUM runs (as soon as the AUTOEXEC.BAT file
starts executing). If the selected configuration has a DOS=UMB
command, then MENU.CTL will tell DOS to control the UMBs.
If all of this makes no sense to you, then don't worry about it.
If you are using MSDOS 5.0 and the Menu mode, just place the
appropriate DOS=HIGH/LOW and DOS=UMB/NOUMB commands in each of
your configurations, and AutoCon will do the rest.
As of this release MENU.CTL (Version 1.4 or higher) if fully DRDOS
When you switch to the Menu mode, AutoCon will do all of the work
for you. It will take your selected configurations (up to 8) and
create the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files that will allow you
to choose during the boot process. If you look at the CONFIG.SYS
file that has been set up for a boot menu, you will see all the
selected CONFIG fields embedded in the files with DEVICE=MENU.CTL
at the beginning of the file. When MENU.CTL is processed by DOS,
it will take over and allow you to choose the configuration you
want. After you choose, MENU.CTL will leave the chosen
configuration intact and disable the rest.
If you are using DOS 4.0+, MENU.CTL disables by changing the
CONFIG.SYS commands to remarks. If you are using DOS 3.3 or
below, it will disable the commands by turning them into
BREAK=OFF commands. As a consequence, if you are using a DOS
below 4.0, you will need to make a couple of changes to your
CONFIG commands. In order to have the room to convert the
LASTDRIVE, FILES, and BUFFERS commands, you will need to make the
I do this by adding an * at the end of the line, as follows:
LASTDRIVE=M: * BUFFERS=10 * FILES=50 *
If you don't do this, these commands will be disabled by making
them unrecognized. This doesn't cause a problem: you will just
see a lot of "Unrecognized command in CONFIG.SYS" lines coming
out during the boot process.
Note: AutoCon will also change "Unrecognized" commands to
BREAK=OFF commands if there is room. This will allow you to
freely place REM statements in your CONFIG.SYS file (as long as
you use MENU mode).
If you want BREAK=ON, you will have to add it to your AUTOEXEC
The AUTOEXEC.BAT file will also contain all the selected
configurations AUTOEXEC fields. At the beginning of the file
will be MENUNUM.COM. This program will interrogate MENU.CTL and
find which configuration was chosen. MENUNUM will set ERRORLEVEL
to match the chosen menu, and an "If" statement will cause the
associated AUTOEXEC to be chosen.
UNRECOGNIZED COMMANDS - DOS 3.3:
CONFIG.SYS files have a potential problem. If you enter the
following two lines in your CONFIG.SYS file
ANSI.SYS will not get loaded. Both lines will be turned into an
"Unrecognized command". This is just something that DOS does,
and there is nothing an outside program can do about it.
Do not end a CONFIG field with an Unrecognized command. If you
do, the following command will also be Unrecognized, and will
definitely mess up the processing of the CONFIG.SYS file.
CAUTION: When you start playing around with the Menu mode, be very
careful when updating or creating a configuration. If you read
in an AUTOEXEC.BAT or CONFIG.SYS file which has been set up for
MENU mode, it will contain a lot of commands which will cause
problems if you use it in a reconfiguration. It would be much
better to copy one of the other configurations and not update
from the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files.
If you have managed to read and save such a configurations, you
will need to edit and remove the extra statements inserted by
AutoCon. If it is not obvious to you by looking at the AUTOEXEC
and CONFIG fields which statements these are, then do not attempt
to edit the field, simply copy one of the other configurations.
Just as a side note, during the development of MENU.CTL I created
a simpler device driver and decided it would make a good subject
for a magazine article (similar to PC Magazine's CONFIG.CTL
device driver). I wrote it up, and it was published in the Sept.
1991 issue of Tech Specialist.
Okay, now you have AutoCon installed; how do you use it? Starting
with version 2.0, the interactive front screen of AutoCon can be
navigated with a pull-down menu. If you need to do something and
can't remember the keystroke combination to get there, use the
menu to find it. On the right of each menu entry is the shortcut
key combination to perform the same operation. I am going to
define the navigation keys in the form of the pull-down menu.
DataBase Maintenance (Records AltR)
Previous/Next, browse records:
PgUp/PgDn allows you to page through the records one at a time.
F10 pops up a pick-list of all the configurations, and allows
you to choose one and make it current.
F3 creates a new record, and copies the control structure from
record 1 and the data from the current AUTOEXEC and CONFIG
^F3 deletes the current configuration record. Note that you
cannot delete record number 1, nor can you delete below the
default 5 records.
F7 will cause the current record to be updated with the
contents of the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files.
Read file into AUTOEXEC (rd Auto ^F8):
^F8 will pop up a window asking for a file name to read into
the AUTOEXEC field. In you enter wildcards, a list of file
names will be popped up to choose from. The AUTOEXEC field of
the current record will be replaced by the contents of the
Read file into CONFIG (rd confiG ^F9):
^F9 will pop up a window asking for a file name to read into
the CONFIG field. In you enter wildcards, a list of file names
will be popped up to choose from. The CONFIG field of the
current record will be replaced by the contents of the chosen
Configure and continue:
^K^D will cause all current changes to be saved. In other
words, it will rewrite the AUTOCON.DAT file, the AUTOEXEC.BAT
file, and the CONFIG.SYS file.
Change BAT drive:
F8 will pop up a window to allow you to change the file the
AUTOEXEC field of a configuration is written too. The default
name is C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT.
Change SYS drive:
F8 will pop up a window to allow you to change the file the
CONFIG field of a configuration is written to. The default
name is C:\CONFIG.SYS.
Alt= will compare the current configuration with the contents of
the current AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files. It should be noted that,
if you are using the MENU.CTL device driver option, this
comparison will probably not be applicable.
F5 will pop up a window to allow you to change the boot type
associated with a configuration. The choices are Warm, Cold,
None, and External.
F4 will pop up a window that will allow you to associate a
cache Flush command with the current configuration record. This
is necessary when the cache used in the configuration does a
write cache operation (PC-KWIK and PCTOOLS both default to this
AltC will allow you to clone (or copy) the contents/control
of one of the other configurations to the current
configuration. It will pop up a pick list of all of the
existing configurations, and allow you to pick the one to copy
If you are using the AutoCon environment variable, you will
need to edit the AUTOEXEC file, and make sure the correct name
^K^S will save all current record changes to the AUTOCON.DAT
database file. Note that it will not update the AUTOEXEC and
CONFIG Files. You must use ^K^D for that.
^K^R will abandon all changes you have made (since the last
AUTOCON.DAT save) and reload the database records from the
Boot Operation (Boot AltB):
AltS configures AUTOCON to use only the current record for
AltM configures AutoCon to use MENU.CTL in conjunction with
MENUNUM.COM to set up a selection menu to be used during the
boot process. A pick list of the current configurations will
be popped up, and you will be able to choose up to eight
default configurations to be included. After you have chosen
the eight, you will be asked how many seconds to delay during
the boot process. If a number other than 0 is entered, a
message will be placed on the screen during the boot process,
and MENU.CTL will wait that many seconds for a key to be hit.
When booting under menu mode, MENU.CTL pops up some windows
and this selection allows you to change the color of the
window frames of those pop up windows.
When booting under menu mode, MENU.CTL pops up some windows
and this selection allows you to change the color of the text
in those pop up windows.
When booting under menu mode, MENU.CTL pops up some windows
and this selection allows you to change the color of the text
used to draw your attention. This is the color of the
decrementing time variable, and the color that will be used
for warning messages.
When booting under menu mode, MENU.CTL pops up some windows
and this selection allows you to change the color of the
moving selection hi-lite bar used to select a boot
Editor options (Editor AltE):
ShiftF6 configures the current configuration to use the
^F6 configures the current configuration to use an external
editor. A window will pop up asking for the editor's name. You
may include a path in the name, but you must include the
extension (e.g., WORD.EXE or C:\WORD\WORD.EXE). The next time
you edit the AUTOEXEC or CONFIG field for this record, if the
external editor can be found it will be used. If it can't be
found, AutoCon will switch back to the internal editor.
After the external editor has been installed, it will be used
to edit the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG fields from the main screen.
When you move the cursor to the AUTOEXEC or CONFIG field and
press enter, AutoCon will copy the current record to the
current subdirectory as XYZXYZZ.XYZ (the current subdirectory
must contain at least 4k of disk space). AutoCon then shells
to DOS with the editor name and filename on the command line
(e.g., WS.EXE XYZXYZZ.XYZ). When you exit your editor, AutoCon
should restart. It will copy the XYZXYZZ.XYZ file into the
AUTOEXEC field of the current record and delete the XYZXYZZ.XYZ
file from the subdirectory.
CAUTION!! Just to make sure there is no problem with your
editor, create a new record and work with it first, before
taking the chance of harming one of your current records. You
may want to make a copy of your AUTOCON.DAT file and store it
in a safe place until you've verified the operation of the new
release. In fact, you should always keep a backup copy of
F6 will pop up a window that will allow you to change the
keystrokes used in the internal editor. F6 may also be used
while in the internal editor to see exactly which key performs
This function is really added for future action (though it is
fully functional in this release). If you have modified the
keystrokes to emulate your favorite work processor, how about
saving them, then upload them to my BBS.
This function will allow you to change AutoCon's editor
keystrokes quickly by reading in a keystroke file.
AltF1 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the frames drawn around the windows on the main
AltF2 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the text in the windows on the main screen.
AltF3 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the text and/or background of the main screen.
AltF4 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the fields that get updated on the screen, the
configuration name, the date and time, the record number, and
the select boxes.
AltF5 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the current select box. This is the color of the
main screen select item that the cursor is positioned to.
AltF6 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the text used in the editor.
AltF7 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color of the text used to show marked blocks in the editor.
AltF8 pops up a color pick window which allows you to change
the color used to show control characters (value < 20 hex) in
the edit text.
This menu item allows you to change the color of the frame
around the pulldown menus. Note that there is no hotkey.
This menu item allows you to change the color of menu items in
the pulldown menus. Note that there is no hotkey.
This menu item allows you to change the color of the currently
selected item in the pulldown menus. Note that there is no
This menu item allows you to change the color of the Hi-lited
select character in the pulldown menus. Note that there is no
This menu item allows you to change the color of the Frame drawn
around the Help Window (also changes the color of one of the
basic Help Hi-Lite color).
This menu item allows you to change the color of the text in the
This menu item allows you to change the color of the Header on
the Help window. It will also be the default color of the Help
menu select color.
AltF10 pops up a color pick window which allows you to
change all configurable colors back to the defaults. If your
screen goes black, hit AltF10 followed by the Y key, and you
may be able to see the screen again.
Quit AltQ :
F2 reconfigures the system. It will save any record changes in
the database file, and create new AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files. It
will then perform the requested reboot.
This menu item will cause any record changes to be saved in the
database file, and force the default reboot action. Note that
there is no hotkey.
This menu item will save any record changes in the database
file and exit without any reboot action -- a rough equivalent
to hitting the ESC key.
^K^Q will cause any current record changes to be abandoned, and
AutoCon will exit without any reboot action.
This function can only be reached through the pull down menu.
If you set this to "NO", then AutoCon will not attempt to
restore the original screen on exit. Some video combinations
seem to have a problem with the restoration, so you can turn it
Keys not in the Menu:
This key combination will show you the DOS screen as it was
when AutoCon was activated.
COMMAND LINE OPTIONS
For AutoCon to work correctly with the command-line commands, it
will need to know which configuration was used for the last boot-
up. There is only one sure way for AutoCon to get this
information: if you are using the Menu mode, MENU.CTL will be
able to tell AutoCon which configuration was chosen.
If you are using the Single mode, to make sure that AutoCon knows
which configuration was used to boot, you need to add a line to
your AUTOEXEC fields. The line is as follows:
in which "configuration name" is the name that shows up on the
front screen in the interactive mode. To make it very easy, a
new key-stroke command was added to the editor. The default key
is AltE. Place your cursor at the position in the AUTOEXEC
field where your other SET commands are located, and press the
AltE combination. AutoCon will insert the proper line in the
To reconfigure from the command line, type
[e.g., AUTOCON WIN3 ENTER]
on the command line. As long as AUTOCON.EXE and AUTOCON.DAT are
in the path, the configuration will be updated, and your system
will be rebooted (depending on the current boot choice).
Alternatively (if you don't want to type the update name), if you
type AUTOCON / ENTER
AutoCon will pop up a pick list of your configurations, and you
can use the arrow keys to pick a reboot configuration.
If the update name is the same as the last boot name (see note
above), you will be asked if you really want to do the update.
Typing AUTOCON /? will cause AutoCon to display the name it
thinks is the current configuration.
This will be most accurate if Menu mode is active. It should
also be quite accurate if each AUTOEXEC field has the correct
"SET AUTOCON=" command in it.
If neither of the above applies, it will tell you which command
was last used to configure the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG files, which
may not be the configuration that was used for the last boot.
Typing AUTOCON / ENTER
[e.g., AUTOCON /WIN3 ENTER]
will cause the named configuration to be updated from the current
C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT and C:\CONFIG.SYS files (or your selected BAT and
SYS filenames). If MENU.CTL is in use, you will be asked if this
is really what you want to do.
For those of you who like to live dangerously (all of us from
time to time?), typing "AUTOCON /*" will update the current
configuration (the last one used to reconfigure) from the current
C:\AUTOEXEC.BAT and C:\CONFIG.SYS files (or your selected
filenames). This command will be ignored if the system was
booted with MENU.CTL.
Typing "AUTOCON /=" will report on whether or not the current
configuration record is equal to the current record in the
Batch File Errorlevel Check:
Typing "AUTOCON/@" will set the Errorlevel to
1 if "" was the one used to boot the system.
This function will set the errorlevel only: there will be nothing
shown on the screen. For full accuracy, see the Environment note
NOTES AND HINTS
I will be enhancing the editor in the next release, so I'm not
going to expend a lot of energy on the Editor Help function in
this one. To find which key does what when you are in the
editor, hit F6 and you will see each action the editor is
capable of and the key assigned to that action. You may also
change the default keys while in this mode. The next release
will add pulldown menus and a much better Help section to the
If you are unable to call up the Edit Key function while in the
editor, go back to the main screen, hit F6 to pop up the key
editor, hit END, and you will see a function called Install
Editor Keys. Assign the default F6 key to this function -- or
any other key you like. If you assign another key, the F6 key
will still call up the editor from the main screen, and the
assigned key will work inside the editor.
Versions of AutoCon before 2.0 allowed one boot choice for all
configurations. From this version on, you will be able to
select a boot choice for each configuration.
AutoCon is initially configured with a warm (or soft) reboot.
Some machines have a problem with the warm boot (usually those
with a large hard disk, and a large hard-disk partition
manager) and need a cold boot instead. If you have a reboot
problem, hit F5 and change to a cold boot. This change will be
saved in the AUTOCON.DAT file, and AutoCon will perform a cold
boot (you'll see the memory being checked) in the future.
Some hardware is so strange (or the software has put the CPU
into such a strange state -- Windows 3 386Enhanced mode) that
even a software cold boot doesn't suffice. If this is the
case, then hit F5 and change to no boot. This last will
require hitting ^AltDel after AutoCon is finished.
A couple of add-in processor cards (plugging a 286 expansion
card into an XT) come with their own reboot program, and some
people have developed their own reboot utilities to handle
special hardware and/or software needs. For these people,
there is another choice for rebooting. They will need to hit
F5 and change to an External Boot. You will need to enter the
program name that performs your reboot.
BAT and SYS Files:
AutoCon is initially configured to copy the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG
fields to the C drive. For various reasons, some people do
their real boot from a drive other than C. The F8 key will
allow you to change the designated drive (and file name) the
AUTOEXEC field is copied too. The F9 key performs the same
function for the CONFIG field. The new destination files will
be saved to the AUTOCON.DAT file, and used in all future
configurations until you change them again.
Starting with this version, the BAT and SYS files will be set
with each configuration. Until I make some large changes in
the next version, this will allow you to edit (and keep a
database of) files other than the AUTOEXEC and CONFIG.
If you have a computer with an LCD screen, set your mode to
BW80 (this is mode 2 for you technical people) before starting
AutoCon; that should make the screen show up better. If you
prefer, you can start in color mode, and edit the colors to
something you find suitable.
When you are in the data-entry mode, you have some information
on the screen. The top line has the current date and time, as
well as the name and version of the program. The second line
has the information on the current record, specifically the
record number, and the date and time it was last changed. The
middle of the screen has an area for notes, so that you can
keep track of what this particular record is used for. The
bottom two lines contain help information for the current mode.
The % on the bottom line of the note frame and of the
edit frame indicates the how full the field is. An empty note
field is 0% full. As you add note characters, the percentage
will increase. (I've had some people ask.)
The bottom line has some status information about the current
defaults. The first word on the line will be MENU.CTL or
SINGLE. This indicates whether you are using the device driver
to select a configuration during the boot, or whether only a
single configuration is available.
The second word is either Internal or External; that indicates
whether the internal or the external editor is to be used for
this configuration. The next term is either Flush or No Flush;
that indicates whether or not a Cache Flush command will be
performed for this configuration. The Next word tells what
type of boot will be performed for this configuration; the word
will be either Warm, Cold, None, or External. There may or may
not be a last word. If this record will be one of the default
records used with MENU.CTL, then "Selected" will be written on
If you want to use some configurations you have already
defined, and you are using the internal editor, you may read
them in directly. While in the AUTOEXEC or CONFIG edit mode,
if you hit F5 it will erase the contents of this field, but it
checks with you first. If you then hit ^K ENTER, you will be
given a chance to enter a file name to read into the field. If
you use wildcard notation, AutoCon will pop up a file list for
you to choose from. The selected file name will then be read
into the current field. Do one of the standard exit commands
(AltX, ^K X) and the field now contains the file.
Do this for each of your current configurations, and you will
now have the convenience of AutoCon with all your standard
Alternately -- especially for those of you using an External
editor -- you may read in a file from the main screen. The ^F8
key combination will allow you to specify a file name to copy
into the current AUTOEXEC field, and ^F9 performs the same
function for the CONFIG field.
A new program from France has shown up on the scene; it is
called LZEXE. If you use it on AUTOCON.EXE, it will reduce the
size about fifty percent. I am distributing the AUTOCON.EXE
file in the LZEXE format. If you have an XT compatible
machine, then AutoCon may run too slow for you in this format.
If this is the case, you can use the program UNLZEXE to restore
it to its uncompressed format. Both LZEXE and UNLZEXE are
included as a bonus on the registered disk.
Phil Katz has also written a program which will reduce the size
of program files. It is also completely compatible with AutoCon.
There is also a Japanese file compressor called DIET. AutoCon
has also been tested and found compatible with DIET.
If you have a problem getting AutoCon set up, or if you find a bug
please let me know immediately. The primary ways to contact me
are to call my office at (916) 623 5045 or (if you have a modem)
my 24 hour BBS at (916) 623 4455. The modem on the BBS is a
9600 BAUD CompuCom Speedmodem Star. It supports CSP, V32, and V42
You may also contact me on CompuServe at 72460,3072 or on GEnie
as L.WEAVER1. I check them both at least once a week, and I'm
quite often on CompuServe two or three times a week.
I'm also open to suggestions for improving AutoCon. A lot of the
current features have been the result of requests made by my
I think that AutoCon is maturing as a program, and that its
direction is becoming clear. It has changed so much from the
original release that I doubt anyone running version 1.0 would
recognize it as the same program.
Where is AutoCon going in the future? Well, I have several ideas
in mind for enhancements. You will also have a hand in the
future directions. I have discovered that I can't anticipate all
of your needs. You will have to tell me what changes and
enhancements you would most like to see.
The biggest set of enhancements I have in mind will concern the
editor. I had a lot of ideas for this release which did not pan
out; you can check the Changes file for the reasons why. I will
add a pulldown menu system to the editor, and give it
I hope to reduce the size as well. Now that AutoCon is approaching
its final form, I can start to optimize a lot of the code in it.
This version of AutoCon is NOT public-domain nor free software,
but is being distributed as shareware.
AUTOCON is copyright (c) 1989-92 by Larry Weaver.
Non-registered users of this software are granted a limited
license to make an evaluation copy for trial use on a private,
noncommercial basis, for the express purpose of determining
whether AutoCon is suitable for their needs. At the end of this
trial period, you should either register your copy or discontinue
What does all this really mean? If you use this program, then
you should pay for your copy. That way I'll be able to provide
you support and updates, and stay in business.
An AutoCon registration entitles you to use the program on any
and all computers available to you.
All users are granted a limited license to copy AutoCon only for
the trial use of others and subject to the above limitations.
This license does NOT include distribution or copying of this
(a.) in connection with any other product or service,
(b.) for general use within a company or institution, or
(c.) for distribution in modified form, i.e., the file containing
this license information MUST be included, along with the
full AutoCon documentation.
Operators of electronic bulletin board systems (Sysops) are
encouraged to post AutoCon for downloading by their users, as
long as the above conditions are met.
If you are the distributor of a public-domain or user-supported
software library, you may be eligible to distribute copies of
AutoCon. You must meet all the above conditions and acquire
written permission from Larry Weaver before doing so, however.
Please telephone or write for details.
The program author, Larry Weaver, is an active member of the
Association of Shareware Professionals (ASP). The ASP wants to
make sure that the Shareware principle works for you. If you are
unable to resolve a Shareware-related problem with an ASP member
by contacting that member directly, ASP may be able to help. The
ASP Ombudsman can help you resolve a dispute or problem with an
ASP member, but he does not provide technical support for
members' products. Please write to the ASP Ombudsman at
545 Grover Road, Muskegon MI 49442, or send a CompuServe message
via EASYPLEX to ASP Ombudsman 70007,3536.
Larry Weaver hereby disclaims all warranties relating to this
product, whether express or implied, including without limitation
any implied warranties of merchantability or fitness for a
particular purpose. Larry Weaver cannot and will not be liable
for any special, incidental, consequential, indirect, or similar
damages due to loss of data or any other reason, even if Larry
Weaver or an authorized Larry Weaver agent has been advised of
the possibility of such damages. In no event shall the liability
for any damages ever exceed the price paid for the license to use
this software, regardless of the form and/or extent of the claim.
The user of this program bears all risk as to the quality and
performance of the software. Use of this program acknowledges
this disclaimer of warranty.
An AutoCon registration licenses you to use the product on a
regular basis. Users need register only one version of AutoCon;
registration includes licensed use of all upgrades. Registered
users can always get the current version of the program at a
nominal fee ($8.00 as of this writing) by calling or writing
Larry Weaver. Individual registrations for AutoCon cost only
CORPORATE SITE LICENSES AND QUANTITY PURCHASES
All corporate, business, government, or other commercial users of
AutoCon must be registered. A site license is available for a
one-time charge of $120.00 for the first one hundred (or fewer)
users/machines fewer) and $100 for each additional one hundred
(or fewer) users/machines.
Note: with a site license (if you also purchase the upgrade),
only one copy of the program will be sent. You will be
responsible for distributing additional copies.
ALL PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.
Please use the enclosed order form when placing an order, or print
out the file REGISTER.PRN.
Even if you don't register, how about some feedback?
You can reach me as
72460,3072 on CompuServe, or as
L.WEAVER1 on GEnie,
(916) 623-4455 -- Support BBS.
------------------- REGISTRATION ----------------------
Please support AutoCon!
Thank you for your support.
Remit To: Larry Weaver
P.O. Box 2639
Weaverville CA 96093-2639
You must check one registration option, and one disk option!
|_| AutoCon Standard registration ($15.00 -- no disk sent) $______
|_| AutoCon Site License and Registration (no disk sent)
$120.00 for the first 100 (or fewer) users or machines
100.00 for each additional 100 (or fewer) users or machines $______
|_| AutoCon Upgrade to the newest version ($8.00; $10.00 foreign) $______
Registered users only
|_| Subscription plan for REGISTERED users ($21.00; $26.00 foreign) $______
(Receive the next three updates of AutoCon, as they
become available. This fee is in addition to the
$15.00 or $120.00 registration.)
|_| Printed Manual ($8.00) $______
If you desire, I will print out the AUTOCON.DOC file and
send it to you. You can achieve the same results by printing
it out yourself, but several people seem to want this.
"Foreign" means outside the USA and Canada; the extra charge covers postage.
Payment by: |_| Check or |_| Money Order enclosed.
TOTAL in USA Funds. $______
Foreign checks are acceptable if they have the US Federal Reserve
Routing Number on them, use the current exchange rate.
Disk Type: |_| 5 1/4" (normally sent); |_| 3 1/2" required
Day Phone: _________________________ Eve: ______________________
Compuserve ID: _____________________
Invoice Required |_| P. O. Number: ______________________
------------------------ User comments -------------------------
I acquired AutoCon V2.0g from
[ ] - Friend [ ] - Software product
[ ] - Computer Club [ ] - Computer Store
[ ] - Data Base Service [ ] - Support BBS
[ ] - Electronic BBS - Please give phone no. _____________
[ ] - Other (please specify) ___________________________
I would also appreciate any input you would care to provide
concerning AutoCon. If you have any ideas or comments which would
make AutoCon a better program, please let me know.
I value your comments!
Comments and/or suggestions: