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January 2004

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OS/2 Tips

We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mailing lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 or eComStation recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to If you are interested in joining a particular OS/2 mailing list, check out the VOICE Mailing List page for subscribing instructions for a large variety of existing lists -

Editor's note: these tips are from OS/2-eComStation users and in some cases can not be verified by myself. Please heed this as a warning that if you are not sure about something, don't do it.

Welcome back everyone. I hope everyone had a great holiday and that Santa Claus was generous to all in fulfilling their eCS-OS/2 desires in 2003. Because of deadlines I'm writing this before the holiday actually occurred so I still don't know if I'll get anything OS/2 related, but if I do I'll write it up in February's column.

This month I will continue to label each tip with the specific OS/2 version and with the label of newbie (beginner), user (intermediate) or geek (advanced). I'm going to also try to document the source (such as Yahoo Group, newsgroup or personal email) of each tip.

I did take a little time to look at the eCS-OS/2 newsgroups this month, but time ran out before I could really read much. With the holiday season in full swing I'm getting many business requests from people needing guidance in computer purchases that are taking my time. And rather than taking the idiot approach of "forget about mega-this and giga-that" that some dealers take, I sit down and explain a bit to the potential consumers. Not only do they appreciate the knowledge, but it gives me an opportunity to talk about alternatives available for op systems, browsers, etc. I show them Mozilla running beside MSIE and most are very impressed with the alternative!

Now on to the tips. I hope my choices are of use. Please write if you have any changes, suggestions or useful tips and see yourself published. Keep on Warping!

Errata - First of all, one tip was accidentally left off last month's English issue. Klaus Staedtler describes how to get new Canon printers to print using Ghostscript 8.11 (Advanced):

The Canon i550, i850, and i950 printers work great with Ghostscript if you do the following:

Download bjfiltercups-2.2-0.i386.rpm from here:

After extracting the archive copy a suitable *.ppd file (e.g. canonpixus550i.ppd) from the directory


to the Ghostscript \lib subdirectory and name it cbjc800.ppd (backup the original cbjc800.ppd beforehand).

Then in gvpm.ini in \OS2 change the following line to say:


November 26, 2003 - The first new tip is from Al Townsend on eComStation Yahoo Group about having two eCenters (eCS 1.1 Newbie):
Hi Vic:

You can have eCenter at the top or bottom of the screen.,

If you RMB Click and get the PROPERTIES of eCenter on the first page at the bottom is the 2 choices

When you start getting used to it you can:

  1. make copies of eCenter (In the Programs/utilities folders on the desk top)
  2. If you have a copy at the bottom then put the second at the top. (put it in the start up folder also)
  3. in eCenter properties you can have them hide with a mouse click

I have the one on the top of the screen stay visible all the time and have the System Tray and a second for my internet stuff, Amouse widget, Task List. and programs I use most often. Like FC2,Med, Drives folder etc.

The bottom one only has the running programs widget.

If you screw it up you can recover the original.

Regards Al

You can go to Screen in System set up and make the screen border react to the mouse to open eCenter. Using this you can have 4 eCenters open at the same time.

November 28, 2003 - Cliff Scott posted this guide to using the eCSMT on the eComStation Yahoo Group (eCS 1.1 Advanced):
Try this procedure. This what I finally did it to make it work for me.

Note: Before you do a new install of ecsmt, make sure that you delete the files in Var\ecsmt as well as the ecsmt200 directories. After you do the fresh install of ecsmt do all your setups BEFORE you click the first OK that sets which volume to process.

  1. Under "Tools" on eCSMT set which directory you want to download files to.
  2. Make a separate "Fix" directory and then under "Tools" set it. (For the FP4 Update, I had to copy the 9 zip files and the to the "Fix" Directory. It wouldn't see the fixpak until I had all the fixpak files in the "Fix" directory.)
  3. Connect to the Internet then under "Downloads" click on "Download Status" and set your User name and Password for the web site. Then, click on "Refresh" and it will get your FTP User name and Password for you.
  4. Now, finally, click the OK in the main window to choose the system that you want to update. Note: If you have ecsmt 2.140 it will download a newer version, 2.142 automatically. When that is downloaded close ecsmt and it will install the update itself. Restart ecsmt and then start the downloading process as mentioned below. (If it doesn't start downloading the updated ecsmt you might have to select another download to start the process. I think though, that it started before I asked for any other downloads and I just didn't see it.)
  5. Select the updates you want to download. It will start downloading them as soon as you select the first one. Keep on selecting any others that you wish to download.
  6. When they are all downloaded then close the Download Status window then select updates. It is pretty logical from that point on.

Obviously you have to be connected to the internet and, like I mentioned above, set the Username/password.

I hope I have been clear and you don't mind the long procedure. I didn't find any "quick start" info so, being brand new to eCS it took several hours of playing around to finally figure how eCSMT was intended to work and how to make it do what it was supposed to do. Let me know how it goes. Feel free to contact me here or off list if there are snags.


"The first rule of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts."-PAUL ERLICH

November 30, 2003 - Many people have trouble during an eCS install so I relayed a tip that worked for me on the OS2user Yahoo Group (eCS 1.1 Newbie):
I was trying a test install of eCS 1.1 on my Premio PII system with IDE HD and CD-ROM and an Adaptec AHA 2940U SCSI card for a 2nd CD-ROM as well as future expansion. It would lock on boot similar to what you're experiencing. Someone (Kris?) suggested I disable hardware detection as suggested at the top of page 48 of the eCS manual:

"If the boot process hangs during boot you can disable hardware detection. Press Alt+F1 before the logo appears and select disable Hardware detection."

I did that and it finished the install just fine. My install was actually stopping when it looked for a non-existent file called IBMDASD.DMD. Everyone kept telling me it had to be OS2DASD.DMD, but it wasn't. I even have a digital pic I took with the eCS logo screen and that filename on the bottom of the screen after it crashed a third time. I've searched for a file called IBMDASD.DMD on OS/2 V1.1 ~1.2, 2.0 ~2.1, Warp 3, Warp 4 and eCS 1.1 and not found it yet?

Anyway, disabling hardware detection worked great and allowed it to continue without a hitch. HTH, db

December 9, 2003 - Lost some eCS icons? Get them back thanks to Alex Taylor on the eComStation Yahoo Group (eCS 1.X User):
On Mon, 08 Dec 2003 09:09:30 -0000, "Luc Van Bogaert" wrote:
Anyone know how to get the default icon for the user home directory back after it has been deleted? Is it still present somewhere in the eCS\ directory tree?

Alex Taylor replied:
If any of your eCS 1.1 icons standard desktop icons get changed, you can run \ecs\system\itheme\reicon.exe to restore all of them to their defaults for the current icon theme.

This program is driven by the script \ecs\system\itheme\icons.lst, to which you can add your own desktop objects if you want (although the file syntax can seem a bit arcane).

If you aren't running eCS 1.1, you can reset this particular icon manually using REXX:


December 9, 2003 - A good example for getting USB Flash Memory Sticks working in eCS from Ed Durrant on the eComstation Yahoo Group (eCS 1.1 User):
  1. Make sure you REALLY have the latest USB drivers.
  2. Check the config.sys entries - they should look something like this:

The multiple BASEDEV=USBUHCD.SYS lines on my motherboard equate to one for each USB port. the doc says one entry supports two ports - doesn't work on my system - this configuration does.



December 11, 2003 - Finally this month's tip from "By The Book":
This month I've chosen a quickie refresher on using the command line in OS/2 (OS/2 All Newbie)

From the book Stepping Up to OS/2 Warp by Robert Albrecht and Michael Plura, (C) 1995 Abacus; pages 67-68:

Command Line

Because OS/2 Warp is a genuine, independent operating system, it contains its own command line interface that's very similar to the DOS interface.

Command Prompts

To activate the command line shell, open the Command Prompts folder in the OS/2 System program group.

The icons OS/2 Window and OS/2 Full Screen are located in this folder. By double-clicking on one of these icons, you can access the command line, either in window or full screen mode

You can easily use DOS Window or DOS Full Screen You'll see a DOS window, in which only COMMAND.COM is running. This window isn't needed because you can continue to run DOS programs from the OS/2 Shell.

Status Line

A status line always appears above the command lines at the top of the screen. This line indicates in which operating mode you're working.

You can switch this line on and off by typing:



The HELP command can be very useful. Help provides explanations of the OS/2 commands and error messages.

When you encounter an error message, HELP provides a detailed explanation of what went wrong and also suggestions on how to correct the error.

So you don't have to type in the entire text of an error message, each error message also has a number. This number is always located in front of the actual message.

You must type this number as a parameter. For example:


You can eliminate both the leading zeros and the SYS. With the following:


you receive an explanation of the DIR command, which includes all the parameters. To do this HELP activates the OS/2 Warp Command Reference program.

It's also possible to display only an overview of the parameters. To do this, type:

DIR /?


Working with the OS/2 Shell is very similar to working with DOS. However, remember that OS/2 is a multitasking system.

If you receive an error message regarding access to a device or file, always first determine whether another program is using this device or file.

You can continue to use most commands, such as DIR, COPY, XCOPY, FORMAT, CD, etc., as before. Also, you can use DOS programs without any problems. OS/2 Warp recognizes these programs and opens a DOS window for them.

Ending a session

To exit the command line Shell use EXIT, as under DOS.

A faster way to exit the Shell is by simply closing its window. However, try not to use this method because it may cause problems for your system.

Final Note from WarpDavey
I was going to include some screenshots of my eCS desktop (such as with OS/2 and MDOS command prompts running) but could not find any free screen capture that worked. Some worked but only captured 640x480 (I'm at 1280x1024). PMCAP worked to capture the whole screen but would not save a proper standard usable BMP (It turned out black in Embellish or all the wrong colors in PSP under Odin), the TIF wouldn't save over 8-bit (I'm at 65K color 16-bit) and it wouldn't convert it to 8-bit to save and postscript and Windows Paint formats had to be monochrome. Does anyone know of a real usable free (I'm unemployed) screen capture utility that will capture 1280x1024x16-bit desktops and save in a standard format like a usable from anything BMP, JPG or PNG? If so please email me and let me know.

See you all next month and Keep on Warping! Davey B.

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