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February 2000

OS/2 Tips

We scan the Web, Usenet and the OS/2 mail lists looking for these gems. Have you run across an interesting bit of information about OS/2 recently? Please share it with all our readers. Send your tips to editor@os2voice.org. 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 - http://www.os2voice.org/mailinglists.html.

Editor's note: these tips are from OS/2 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.

January 15, 2000 - Found our first tip of the month on comp.os.os2.games, though it has nothing to do with games. Duane Chamblee had this useful suggeston for those who may be unsure of how much of those new huge drives they can use for bootable partitions:

For one, the BIOS of this new machine still may not allow a boot partition beyond 8Gig... Boot from the IDEDASD updated floppies and run FDISK /QUERY. The **BIOS line will tell you the upper limit for bootable partitions. There is also a problem putting OS/2 after FAT32. During bootup, the OS/2 kernal will see the FAT32 partitions (at least the primary one) and assign them drives. When the "dasd" handler loads, it will not see the drives and OS/2's drive letter may change.

January 16, 2000 - Timur Kazimirov offers this advice on comp.os.os2.networking.tcp-ip for anyone installing TCP/IP 4.1 or 4.2 with multiple ROUTE statements (like the extra ROUTE ADD NET that the install inserts):

inetcfg -s multidefrt 0
or delete all routes other than default from your X:\MPTN\BIN\SETUP.CMD

January 15, 2000 - Trying to get PCMCIA running on your Toshiba laptop? Isaac Leung offered the following suggestions on comp.os.os2.networking.misc:

I have Warp 4 running happily on a Satellite Pro 480CDT, which is essentially the same, as far as I know. I had a devil of a time trying to get the NIC and the modem to work, but finally did. Exactly the same symptoms as you described (It is not a Winmodem, since it has to work under NT and there are no drivers). I am running a 3com Etherlink III card.

1) I think I need the RESERVE.SYS before the PCMCIA driver, not sure why, but somebody recommended this trick to me.
2) PC Card Controller Mode set to PCIC compatible. I _believe_, but not sure, that the CardBus/16-bit mode won't work.
3) The real killer, which I suspect may be your case as well, the AUDIO is interfering with the PCMCIA card. For some reason, they fight for the same interrupt or the audio grabs the card's preferred IRQ, even though there is NO error generated AND the PCMCIA manager continues to recognize the card and even when it is pulled out/in. Use TSETUP or similar to change the audio IRQ (or just disable it) first. I have everything working nicely on my machine now (company laptop) except WinOS2 sound, but I haven't tried the generic WinOS2 driver yet.

editor's note: Instead of TSETUP, you can hold the Escape key while doing a cold reboot(pressing the power button).

January 19, 2000 - Have you recently downloaded the latest release of the Java version of the Adobe Acrobat Viewer http://www.adobe.com/products/acrviewer/main.html and have problems running it? Here's a tip from Stephen on comp.os.os2.apps:

1. Disregard the instruction given (ie)
jre -cp viewer.zip install
2. Use this command
jre -cp d:\ABrowser_download\viewer.zip install
(or whatever your path is to the file viewer.zip)

January 19, 2000 - Here's an Netware tip from Lorne Sunley on comp.os.os2.networking.misc:

If MPTS was installed prior to the install of the Netware client you usually get all kinds of strange problems. You have to uninstall the Netware requester and MPTS and start over. If you are only going to use the Warp machine as a client to a Novell server you do not need MPTS. The Netware requester will supply everything you need to talk to the Novell server.

MPTS implements an NDIS multi-protocol protocol stack If you need to have TCP/IP on the machine, you will have to install MPTS but you should only do this AFTER you have installed the Netware client and have it working. The installation of MPTS after the install of the Netware requester can produce a merged protocol stack as long as you choose "IBM Netware Requester Support" when you are configuring the protocols for the NIC.

January 19, 2000 - While working on the fixes for Pronews/2 newsreader's Y2K problems, Trevor Hemsley discovered the following:

Just found the easter egg in ProNews/2.
Define a global filter as
and watch your article activity screen on the control panel when there's activity in progress on your newsgroups.

January 21, 2000 - I found this tip for speeding up the rather slow Acrobat Java version, from Martin Schaffner on comp.os.os2.apps:

You can find out where it downloaded the files from by checking the preferences settings. In the menu, go to "File" -> "Preferences" item and pick the "Acrobat Fonts" tab. There will be an entry field "URL of where ...". Note this URL and go to this directory. An ftp source would be ftp://ftp.adobe.com/pub/adobe/acrobatviewer/java/AcrobatFonts/. You can now download all or selected files to a directory and then change the URL in the preferences settings to something like file:///d:\acrojava\fonts.

January 21, 2000 - What would be a VOICE tips page without a few Netscape Communicator tips? Here are 3 in a row:

On comp.os.os2.apps, Buddy Donnelly offered these sites for finding User Pref settings:


Then Jeffrey S. Kobal added:

And don't forget:
And finally Mike DeBusk chimed in with:

which isn't OS/2 specific, but is loaded with good info?

January 22, 2000 - The following Warp 3 data bit is from Trevor Hemsley on comp.os.os2.setup.misc in regard to a problem with formating an HPFS drive with Warp 3 base or Partition Magic 3.0:

Are your recovery disks Warp 3 based? There's a bug in UHPFS.DLL in Warp 3 that's fixed by some of the later fixpacks that installs a boot record on HPFS drives when you format them that cannot cope with partitions outside the first 2GB of a disk. If you did the format of your drive using a Warp 3 boot diskette (and possibly Partition Magic V3.0x has the same bug!) then your boot partition will have this munged code installed on it. What you need to do to fix it is find your OS/2 Warp 4 install diskettes and boot from those. Onto a blank diskette copy the latest version of UHPFS.DLL that you can find for Warp 4 (I think the original from the CD will do but...) and also copy the file SYSINSTX.COM from the first boot diskette. Using this new diskette, run
where "D:" is your OS/2 boot partition that you want to fix. It isn't the copy of SYSINSTX that needs to be recent, it is the copy of UHPFS.DLL. For Warp 3 I've successfully used UHPFS.DLL from fixpack 37 to do this process. As I say, I think the one from the base Warp 4 install is OK but, if it gives you trouble then search out a newer copy.

January 24, 2000 - If like me you are using Kiplinger's TaxCut for your U.S. Federal taxes, then you may appreciate the following tip from Bruce Francis:


(taxcut.com | Updates | Federal Edition-Windows | Instructions for d/l update | click here)

I found the update to be required to transfer last year's TurboTax info (this is an acknowledged problem, described in the FAQs you'll read while clicking thru the above tree).

January 25, 2000 - A problem I have on one of my system's that has been installed Warp4 for several years is that on occasion when booting, the WPS hangs. I know it's a timing issue, because C-A-D reboot brings up the desktop with no problem. I have moved Warp Center out of the CONFIG.SYS, which helped at one point, but it still occurs from time to time. Here is a tip from Stephen Worthington on the OS/2 Hardware list that may help:

The WPS stopping during startup is a known problem - a race condition in the WPS startup code. It has been there since OS/2 2.0 and IBM has never fixed it. If it is hurting you as badly as it seems to be, try installing RexxAutoStart (rxast142.zip from Hobbes). This stops the startup folder from running until after the WPS desktop has populated, and then runs each startup folder icon individually at timed intervals.

This is almost certainly not the solution to your original problem though, but it should stop you having to boot several times.

January 28, 2000 - Trying to back out of an MGA (Matrox) driverversion, but get traps when you try to reset to VGA? Perhaps this exchange on the OS/2 List may help:

From Gerry Britton:

Your problems lie in:


These files are supplanted by the Matrox driver versions, and have to be restored from the install CD, which is a PITA. It's also the reason upgrading from almost anything to WSeb is problematic. Usually resetting to VGA won't help, either.

And Richard Knapp replied:

It will help. However, what I've done to get them out is go to a command line and remove the VGA settings line. Save C.S and reboot. When given the "white square", press F1 and select "Reset to VGA". You might get some error messages about not being able to initialize the DOS environment and such which you can just skip. This should fix VGA trouble.

It is a PITA and sometimes hard to remember to reset from MGA back before upgrading things.

January 28, 2000 - Not really directly OS/2 related, but here is a post from Steve Wendt that some may find useful in stopping websites from collecting information on you:

"Did you know that DoubleClick (the company responsible for all of those annoying advertisements on the web) is now tracking you? They recently merged with the owners of a huge consumer database, so they can match your surfing habits to your name, address, etc. Fortunately, they have an opt-out:


And Keith Gorham added:

You can also just edit the cookies.txt file in your user directory. Search of doubleclick, and replace the last string of characters with the string "OPT_OUT". Of course no " in the text file.

January 29, 2000 - Peter French offered the following advise on Zip drives on the TeamOS/2 List:

I've used a parallel ZIP between my desktop and laptop through a printer switch for some years without a single data error. Windows (on the Laptop) seems to handle the drive better than OS/2 which doesn't like you to rip the ZIP away (by means of the switch). Windows doesn't seem to care - because (highly technical answer follows) I perceive it doesn't refresh the device unless you DLM the drive in Explorer or use >View >Refresh. OS/2 on the other hand seems to be "aware" of the device - so you have to take some precautions. When I load media and click on the drive object, it will load and show the folder arrangement on the drive - a few milliseconds after the load - the display refreshes. If I try to work with the drive before that refresh completes then 80/20 rule seems to apply - the media can get its knickers in a knot and refuse to display properly - even throw an error which makes the media look like it has lost the EA's or something (FAT drive) This initial wait is important - its good to remember that were working with what is quite slow path to the data - so OS/2 might have this "feature" with other drives its just we don't see it.

Another good change was to put: PRINTMONBUFSIZE=2048,134,134 in the config.sys - this improves the throughput by adding RAM to the cache (LPT1 in this case). On the flush comment - I make a habit of closing the instance by selecting >Eject Disk from the drop down menu from the Title Bar ICON - before closing the window. I'm assuming that if there is any data in temporary storage it will be flushed before the media is ejected. Following these two bits of advice has meant that the device has been very reliable for me. Performance between OS/2 and Win95 is about the same - but of course OO means I don't need an explorer to use the drive and longfile names seem to be better handled on the FAT drive by OS/2.

Kris Steenhaut added:

It's because the file system locks the drive. If the disk had been formatted FAT, the system still considers the Zip as a partitioned removable media, indeed, but doesn't lock the drive. Because FAT doesn't know nothing about locking drives.

Hence, for instance, if you want to use the span option of PKZip, the Zipdisk must be formatted FAT, because HPFS-wise the locking will prevent you to swap disks.

Actually, to be more specifec, Zip/Jaz/Syquest/Orb is not considered by the OS2DASD.DMD as genuine Harddisks, but as "partitioned removable media". (see readme.rms coming with FP6 and later).

January 29, 2000 - Here is an SMP tip that I picked up on the PMView-Discussion List from Falko Eickel:

Does this problem occur on single CPU systems, too, or only on SMP computers? If it is so, try to change the EXECMODE of PM View. With IMPOS/2 this helps. Secure multithreading with one processor needs some considerations, but adding real parallel execution possibilities increases the complexity a lot. NT always executes all threads of one process on the same CPU (this is one of the reasons, why NT scales so bad), but OS/2 spreads the threads over all processors. With the EXECMODE utility it is possible to force all threads of a program to be executed on the same processor.

Editor's Note: You can get a Help display screen for EXECMODE in Warp Server eBusiness by entering EXECMODE /? at a command prompt.

January 30, 2000 - On the POSSI list Julian Thomas offered this way of capturing all the OS/2 Environment settings:

SET > filename

or grep ^SET config.sys > filename

January 30, 2000 - On the POSSI List, Chuck McKinnis had this tid bit on how he gets BOOTOS2 to create a set of recovery diskettes:

The following works for me:



If you have the "big" version of the Adaptec 2940 SCSI driver (AIC7870.ADD) rename it and replace it with the original from "DISK 1" of your install diskettes. Otherwise, you will have space problems on the diskettes.

February 1, 2000 - Here's a tip from Richard Knapp the POSSI List explaining how he successfully re-installs the Matrox video driver:

Try fully uninstalling the Matrox Drivers, rebooting, reinstalling, then changing the resolution an rebooting.

To fully uninstall the drivers, go to X:\MGA\OS2 (where X is your boot drive) and type "uninstal clean". Now reboot to have the changes accepted. You should be back at plain ole VGA mode. Run the Matrox Install and select the MGA driver for the video card. Sometimes, it will default to VGA or SVGA instead of detecting the Matrox card. You can set the resolution now using "MGA Settings". Upon reboot, you should be at that resolution.

February 1, 2000 - Vincent Jamar found an answer to a problem he had with Printer Driver Synchronisation and passed it on on the VOICE Help List - help@os2voice.org

Some time ago,I wrote on this list about how to do this on a network...
The answer is at : http://www.haynes97.freeserve.co.uk/
Also if you have Warp server look in the help folder and search for printer driver in the "Up and Running" folder,click on Metrhod 2:Automatic installation of OS/2 printer drivers...
Hope this helps somebody,Vincent.

February 1, 2000 - I found yet another useful tip on the POSSIDiscussion List, this time from Jon Harrison concerning my favorite Spreadsheet - Mesa 2:

FWIW, I don't have any y2k problems with Mesa. Works just fine. I think the issue is Richard wants to *display* the year as 4 digits but Mesa doesn't offer a standard display of 4 digits. For my needs 2 digits is fine. But you can define a *custom format* (located under range settings) and make it anything you want. MMM-DD-YYYY will display Feb-02-2000. And MM-DD-YYYY will display as 2-2-2000. For downunder you may want to use DD-MMM-YYYY for 02-Feb-2000, or DDMMMYYYY for 02Feb2000. Try it.

February 2, 2000 - I don't run any windoze here, but if you are running a mixed network, and get a NET3513 error after executing "NET VIEW", here is a possible explanation from Frank R. Field, III on the TeamOS/2 List:

Nope - in my experience, anyway, this is a consequence of a resource having a name that is non-complaint with OS/2's NETBIOS resource-naming conventions - usually a length violation (>15 chars, I think) or the inclusion of an illegal character (usually, a space)

>BTW, this also renders "Shared Resources..." useless, as I can't use it
>to create connections to the server.

Right - although you can still use the "NET" series of commands to create a connection if you already know the resource - I have no idea whether the MS "extensions" to the NETBIOS naming conventions are incorporated into Warp Server or WSeB, but I sort of doubt it, as I would expect that it would have filtered down to the client through fixpaks by now.

February 6, 2000 - Here's a tip from Lorne Sunley that I found on comp.os.os2.misc:

This is my contribution for the "Tip of the Day" I was gettting the (in)famous "OS2.INI file cannot be written to disk" error today after crashing my system in the interests of the betterment of mankind and the OS/2 community.

Naturally, one thinks that the OS2.INI and OS2SYS.INI files are the problem. (these are normally read-only and hidden files that are in the \OS2 directory). I re-booted a couple of times just to see if the standard "Microsoft support standard fix" would work for me and the problem, of course, did not go away.

What I found was that the problem was actually the OS2.!!! and OS2SYS.!!! temporary files that are used to hold the INI file updates until a shutdown were the actual culprit.

I booted up to a command prompt only (Alt-F1 and Esc) from the "OS/2 boot blob", and renamed the OS2.!!! and OS2SYS.!!! and after a re-boot the problem was gone. So the problem may not be just "you are out of disk space on your boot drive" it could be "you have trashed your temporary INI files" instead.

February 9, 2000 - The Aurora Beta List still gets some traffic now and again concerning WSeb. Here is a recent post from Fernando Cassia:

There's been much talk about the (rather broken) NFS server in WSeB GA release. Well, IBM released a private fix which appeared on testcase a few weeks ago:

26/01/00 66458.zip NFS fix (NFSD.EXE, RPCDLL32.DLL fix.)

Find it at:

I haven't tried it. Good luck!.

February 12, 2000 - In answer to a question about restting a partition to VGA, when you can't boot it do to an incompatible driver, here is the help for SETVGA.CMD, included in all versions of Warp. You can use it when booted to a floppy or a maintenance partition to reset any TARGET partition to VGA:

Where: TARGET is the destination drive.
SOURCE is the drive and directory of the diskette sources
or /p for preloaded systems.
TARGET is required if SOURCE is /p.
SOURCE is required if TARGET specified.
Examples: setvga c: a:
setvga c: d:

February 13, 2000 - Did you know you can configure Netscape Messenger to automatically retrieve mail periodically from your mail server? Here is the scoop from Steve Corwin on the POSSI Mail List:

On the main menu choose Edit, then Preferences. A Preferences dialog will appear. In the Category tree, expand "Mail & Newsgroups", then click on "Mail Servers". The righthand side will now show a list of incoming mail servers. Click on your server (there may only be one), then click the Edit button. The Mail Server Properties dialog will appear. Down near the bottom is a checkbox for "Check for mail every ___ minutes" (finally!). You can also set how often it checks. (If you don't see the checkbox, make sure you're on the General tab of the dialog.)

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