The X-DOS Diskette(s)
X-DOS comes on two 360K diskettes or one diskette of superior
density. In the two disk 360K version, Diskette 1 is a bootable
diskette and contains the system files and most of the external
DOS commands in a sub directory called DOS. Diskette 2 contains
some extra commands and features, including the X-DOS shell which
provides an easy to use menu driven command interface.
If you are familiar with DOS and look through the list of the
files in the DOS directory on the first diskette and on the
second diskette you will notice some commands that are not found
in other versions of DOS. Amongst the new files present, are :
- ED.EXE : the X-DOS editor
- XBACK.COM : the X-DOS backup utility
- SHELLF.EXE/SHELLA.EXE : the X-DOS SHELL overlay files
- VIRUSCHK.COM : a virus checker
- SETUP.COM : a hardware setup
- INSTALL.EXE : the X-DOS install utility
- MAX.COM : the command processor overlay
- X-COM.EXE : X-DOS Communications program
If you are familiar with all the MS-DOS commands you will
also notice that some files that appear in MS-DOS are not
found on the X-DOS diskettes. This is because some of the
commands in X-DOS are present in the MAX.COM file which
contains small commands such as the ATTRIB, LABEL, COMP,
FIND ... commands.
How To Install X-DOS On A Disk(ette)
Before you take the major step of installing X-DOS on your hard
disk (please note that you do NOT have to reformat your hard disk
to do so) you may wish at first to install X-DOS on to a floppy
diskette and try it.
You must use the INSTALL utility file included with X-DOS to make
a disk(ette) bootable with X-DOS. A DOS is not an ordinary
program. It cannot be activated like a spreadsheet or a database
utility. The media on which X-DOS is installed, a floppy or a
hard disk, must be made aware of the X-DOS system files. That
information is contained in the boot sector of the media. The
INSTALL program transfer the X-DOS files to the target media and
will build the boot record of the destination drive to make it
To activate the INSTALL utility insert the first X-DOS diskette
in your PC's A: floppy disk drive and turn on your system. Your
system will be booted with X-DOS and you will see the X-DOS
prompt on the screen. Type INSTALL and press [ENTER].
The main screen will ask you for the target drive onto which you
wish to install X-DOS. X-DOS can only be installed on to a media
that can be bootable. It will be therefore the 'A' drive or the
'C' drive, since you can only boot a PC from these drives. The
'B' drive is made available in case you want install X-DOS onto a
different media such as a 3.5" diskette. Usually you cannot boot
from the B: drive though some BIOS's allow you to do this.
Choose the target drive and press [ENTER]. The INSTALL utility
will then ask you if you want to copy the files or just modify
the X-DOS configuration file. The INSTALL program can also be
used to change the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT parameters without
having to edit them. For now choose the 'Copy files' option.
The INSTALL program will copy the X-DOS files onto the target
media in the DOS directory, displaying the files that are copied.
If you are installing X-DOS on a 360K diskette, the INSTALL
program will warn you that the diskette is full and that you need
to insert a new diskette. Remove the first diskette and insert
the second 360K diskette and the process will be continued.
If you decide to install X-DOS on your hard disk, and the target
drive already has a DOS directory containing the MS-DOS files,
INSTALL will save the contents of the previous DOS directory. The
MS-DOS files will be copied to a directory named OLDDOS and the
X-DOS commands will be copied to the DOS directory. One of the
important features of X-DOS is that you can retain the original
DOS on your disk and switch back to this DOS whenever you wish to
by booting with the original DOS diskette and using the original
DOS's SYS command. It is not necessary to reformat your hard disk
drive or delete the old DOS in order to install X-DOS.
When all the files are copied, INSTALL will ask you to remove the
second diskette and insert the first one again, if you changed
diskette. At this stage, follow the instructions, and insert the
first diskette. This step is necessary for INSTALL to write the
CONFIG.SYS and the AUTOEXEC.BAT files onto the bootable diskette.
The CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files are important DOS files
which allow you to automatically configure your system at boot
Once all the X-DOS files have been copied, INSTALL presents you a
screen with a menu. The first selection enables you to set the
CONFIG.SYS parameters, the second entry enables you to set the
AUTOEXEC.BAT parameters automatically. Even if you are not
familiar with PCs and DOS, using the X-DOS install facility it
will be easy to edit the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files,
unlike in other DOSs which require the use of cryptic commands to
be entered at the command line.
If the target media already has CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT
files, INSTALL will rename them as CONFIG.OLD and AUTOEXEC.OLD,
so that your previous configuration is preserved. However, the
INSTALL program will take into account the content of the
existing CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files. For instance if you
had a device driver statement in your original CONFIG.SYS file
for a tape backup unit, the new CONFIG.SYS file created by X-DOS
will still contain the statement to run this device. The same
applies to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
You may need to modify some parameters of your CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT files because X-DOS will not run properly with them
or does not need them because of enhanced internal support in X-
DOS. For example, if your CONFIG.SYS file contains a driver for a
DISK MANAGER or a SPEEDSTOR partition for your hard disk drive,
you can remove it since X-DOS already recognizes those partitions
internally without the need for an external device driver.
Indeed, if you leave the statement this may cause conflict.
If your AUTOEXEC.BAT contains reference to the FASTOPEN command
found in Microsoft's MS-DOS, remove them since this command is
not supported by X-DOS.
You are now ready to tailor your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
files to take full advantage of the features of X-DOS. The
INSTALL utility will help you to do that.
Choose the Boot Up parameters, and a second menu will appear on
the right side of the screen with the current default parameters.
If you do not know the meaning of a parameter, press the F1 key
to get on line help or refer to the section concerning the
parameter in the manual. Each entry is outlined below. A more
complete reference to each item is given in the next chapter.
If you want to install the ANSI.SYS console driver then you
should select this menu item. Highlight the menu item and press
[Enter] or use the quick key. Install ANSI.SYS by pressing
[Enter] in the next menu. The ANSI.SYS driver does not need to be
installed unless you have some applications which use it.
When you select this menu item you will be prompted with a menu
with two items, ON and OFF. The ON item is currently selected so
press [Enter] to set BREAK to ON.
Highlight this menu item and press [Enter] to change the default
number of buffers. You will be prompted with an entry box which
already contains the default value. Type in a new value and
press [Enter] to change the default setting. X-DOS defaults the
BUFFERS statement to 20 buffers for all computers.
Please, note that the CACHE function of X-DOS is not available in
the evaluation version. The documentation is provided here for
your information only.
If you wish to install the CACHE utility which can greatly
enhance the access time when retrieving data, press the [ENTER]
key and INSTALL will assist you in setting all the necessary
parameters. First select the physical disk(s) where the cache
should be installed, then choose the type of memory where the
cached data will be stored and finally select the size of the
cache. Note that INSTALL does not perform any test to see if the
parameters are correct. Any possible errors will be reported when
the cache is activated at boot time.
This command is used to set the TIME and DATE format for your
specific country. If you select this menu item you should enter
the country where you reside. INSTALL will then translate the
country name into the country's international telephone code
which is used by the COUNTRY parameter.
Highlight this menu item and press [Enter] to change the default
size of the environment. INSTALL will prompt you with an entry
box which already has a default value in it. Type in a new value
and press [Enter] to change the default value. The size is shown
in bytes with a default value of 384 bytes. Maximum value is
65,536 bytes. Note that X-DOS requires more space in the
environment than MS-DOS because the default setup and default
aliases are stored in the environment. The environment size is
adjusted with the SHELL command.
Highlight this menu and press [Enter] to change the number of
file handles that X-DOS can have open at one time. X-DOS prompts
you with an entry box which already has a default value in it.
Type in any new value and press [Enter] to change the default
setting. The default value for FILES is 20 open file handles.
Highlight this menu and press [ENTER] to change the FKEY filter.
INSTALL lets you set or reset the X-DOS filter that translate the
Function keys (F1, F2 ...). The default is OFF. Set the filter to
ON if you want function key translation. Note that enabling
function key translation might disrupt the function key
allocations used by your applications software.
The History buffer is used to store the command line typed at the
prompt. The INSTALL defaults to 256 bytes but you can change that
size up to 64K.
Highlight this menu item and press [Enter] to change the default
setting for the LASTDRIVE variable. INSTALL will prompt you with
an entry box which already contains the default value E. Type
another drive letter to change the default value. The largest
value you can specify for LASTDRIVE is Z. In case you are using
the SUBST or JOIN commands, make sure that you leave enough
drives available after your last partition drive.
If you want X-DOS to speed the output to the screen, choose the
option VIDEO is ON in the sub menu. If you have a CGA or EGA
screen, the video output will appear much faster with video ON.
Note, however, that only the speed of text mode will be enhanced
and graphics mode will not be affected.
If you want to install a virtual (RAM) disk in memory then you
should select this menu item. If you want to install a virtual
disk you will be prompted with a menu from which you will have to
choose if you want to install the virtual disk in conventional
(base) memory, in extended memory, or in expanded memory. If your
computer does not have either extended memory or expanded memory,
you will not be able to set up a virtual disk in this kind of
memory. If you plan to install a virtual disk in conventional
memory, you should remember that your programs will not be able
to use any conventional memory that you allocate for a virtual
disk. Once you have decided where you want to install your
virtual disk and how much memory you want to use for it, you
should make your choice. If you select a virtual disk, then you
must type the number of K (kilobytes) that you want to use for a
virtual disk. The maximum amount of extended or expanded memory
you can allocate for a virtual disk is 16,384K (16 megabytes).
When your Boot Up parameters are defined, go back to the main
menu and choose the General configuration to modify some switches
of the AUTOEXEC.BAT. A new menu appear and each entry is detailed
COPY COMMAND (XCOPY)
The XCOPY command in X-DOS has many command line switches to
control the copying process. This menu selection lets you specify
any switches you want it to use as a default. If you select
certain switches then whenever you run the XCOPY command, the
specified switches will be used without having to type it in each
time. When you select XCOPY and press [Enter], you will have ten
switches to choose from. Highlight any of the switches you want
as a default by moving the highlight bar with the [Up] and [Down]
arrow keys and pressing the [Enter] key on the selections you
would like. Alternatively press the quick keys of the menu items
that you want to install. If by mistake you select a wrong
switch, you can de-activate it again by highlighting it and
pressing the [Enter] key or by pressing the quick key for that
item again. You can normally select more than one switch as a
default setting but you should check if the switches that you
select can work in combination with each other. When you have
made your default selections press [Esc] to exit back to the
General Configuration menu.
DIRECTORY COMMAND (DIR)
You can highlight this menu item to select the command line
switches that DIR will use by default whenever you use the DIR
command. Pressing [Enter] with DIR highlighted in the General
Configuration menu will pop up a menu with the available DIR
switches. Use the [Up] and [Down] arrow keys to scroll between
the different switch options and press the [Enter] key over any
of the switches that you want to set as a default. You can also
use the quick keys. If by mistake you select a switch you can de-
activate it again by highlighting it and pressing the [Enter]
key. You can normally select more than one switch as default
setting but you should check if the switches that you select can
work in combination with each other. When you have made your
default selection press [Esc] to exit back to the General
EDITOR COMMAND (ED)
X-DOS includes a full screen editor with word processing
capabilities. You can set certain default settings which will be
activated every time you run ED. You will still be able to alter
these settings from within ED as required. Highlight this menu
item if you want to set different values of the four available
options. The X-DOS editor, ED, lets you specify default settings
for Wrap Mode, Automatic Indent, Left Margin, Right Margin and
Tab. The first item, Wrap Mode, prompts you with a menu from
which you can Enable or Disable wordwrap. Selecting any of the
four other items will make INSTALL prompt you with an entry box
in which you should type in a value indicating a column number.
Highlight this menu item if you want to specify a PATH with
directories you want X-DOS to look through when you execute
programs or command scripts. Remember to include the complete
path with both drive and leading directory specifications. The
default is the boot \DOS directory which contains all the X-DOS
utilities. You should not remove it from your path.
VIDEO MODE (MODE)
If your computer is equipped with an EGA or VGA graphics adapter
and equivalent monitor you can use X-DOS in 43 line text mode
which gives you almost double the information on the screen at
the command line. If you want to install this feature select this
item and you will be prompted with a new menu. Select the 43 Line
Mode item. If you are not sure if your computer is capable of
displaying text in 43 line mode you can try to install this
feature. If your screen does not change into 43 line text mode
then your graphics adapter does not support it. You should then
run INSTALL again and un-install this option.
X-DOS is equipped with a virus checker which can check any files
up to a total of 256 files for a possible virus. It is
recommended that you install this option if you are using public
domain or shareware programs. The X-DOS virus checker does not
remove viruses from any files. It simply warns you if a file has
Parameters can be set from the INSTALL program. The first option
is to set which mode XSHELL will be in when activated : File
section or Application section.
The second option is to choose to activate the X-DOS XSHELL
automatically or not. If you choose to start XSHELL
automatically, the Command Processor will activate the SHELL at
boot time. For details of what the shell is and what you can do
with it, please refer to the relevant section in this manual.
Now that your Boot Up parameters and the general configuration
parameters are ready, select the 'Save Changes and Exit' to store
the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files on the target disk(ette).
The target disk(ette) now contains the necessary system files to
boot X-DOS as well as all the utilities in the \DOS directory. In
the root directory, the CONFIG.SYS and the AUTOEXEC.BAT files
contain the parameters and choices you made using INSTALL. A file
called X-DOS.CFG will appear on the target disk(ette). This file
contains an duplication of your choices in case you wish to
change something again in the boot up parameters, which you can
do by running INSTALL again. Do not delete the X-DOS.CFG file.
It is now time to boot your computer and if you installed X-DOS
onto a diskette make sure the first diskette is in the drive
(with the door closed!) and then turn on your PC. Within a few
seconds, the X-DOS copyright message should appear on your screen
followed by the default X-DOS prompt.