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May 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.

April 15, 2000 - On the POSSI List, someone asked how to shut down all sessions with just the keyboard. Stephen A. Carter offered the following:

Here's how you can close all open windows on the desktop using only the keyboard:

Ctrl-Esc to bring up the window list
Ctrl-/ to select all windows
Shift-F10 to bring up the pop-up menu
C to close all windows (except the desktop itself)

April 17, 2000 - Someone asked about a problem running ZTBold on WSeb on the os2user list. Timur Kazimirov had the following response:

There are many problems with programs compiled with Borland C++ 2.0 for OS/2 when running under WSeB due to a little wrong EXE-header (bug of compiler). These problems can be often solved by packing and unpacking such EXEs by LxLite (you can find one on Hobbes) - an OS/2 EXE-compressor.

April 20, 2000 -Looking for an IBM keyboard? Bill Bowen had this tip on comp.os.os2.misc:

And nowdays, even Lexmark doesn't make keyboards!! The keyboard operation was spun off by Lexmark to a company called Unicomp, still located in the same factory in Kexington.

You can still get the "REAL" IBM type keyboards like the one from that old PS/2 (I've salvaged a bunch of those at work and have them on all my Compaq servers and my Dell desktop, plus one on the RS/6000) at the following website:

They even have a cross-reference online to convert IBM Part Numbers to Unicomp numbers, AND they will sell direct online. As far as I'm concerned, there is NOTHING on this planet like a real genuine IBM PS/2 keyboard.

April 20, 2000 - Trevor Hemsley on comp.os.os2.misc offered this tip about getting quickly to a particular process in the task list:

You can hit the key that is the first letter of the thing you're looking for and the focus will jump automatically to the next line in the task list that begins with that character.

April 20, 2000 - Here's a really useful tip on a web dictionary lookup, from Cary Renquist on the os2user list:

For a quick-n-easy look-up, paste the following link into your Bookmarks (preferably in your "personal toolbar folder"):

javascript:Qr=document.getSelection();if(!Qr){void(Qr=prompt('Word...',''))};if(Qr) location.href='http://www.dictionary.com/cgi-bin/dict.pl?db=*&term='+escape(Qr)+'&x =13&y=11'

Granted, they don't have kerfuffle though.

You can find all sorts of these javascript applets at:


They can be incredibly useful, or at least a bit of fun.

April 20, 2000 - Trevor Hemsley again with a tip in comp.os.os2.apps. everyone has heard about the ability to increase OS/2's process address space limit. Here is the parameter to add to CONFIG.SYS:

I think that in FP13 it's been bumped to 1GB. It may change to higher numbers later.
VIRTUALADDRESSLIMIT=3072 to set it to 3GB (the number is in megabytes, 512 - 3072 max).

April 28, 2000 - From Jonathan B. Bayer on the Warp Doctor mailing list:

I was trying to install OS/2 Warp v.4 on a new system. The disk had previously had Windows-98 installed, which had been formatted as FAT-32. The old partition was still there. The OS/2 install would consistently fail with a TRAP D in fdisk when trying to leave fdisk. The old partition had been deleted and a new partition had been created in fdisk.

FDisk has a problem when there is a FAT-32 partition on the drive.

The solution was to use PartitionMagic to format the drive with HPFS. I have also been informed that using DOS fdisk to delete and create the partitions would work.

April 29, 2000 - Have you encountered a problem with "Unable to Write OS2SYS.INI" message that comes up every couple minutes after installation of the FP1 in WSeb? Trevor Hemsley offered this possible solution on comp.os.os2.apps:

Add the line SET SHELLHANDLESINC=20 to CONFIG.SYS and see if that fixes it. This is a problem that came out with Warp 3 around about FP17 and has been around ever since intermittently. Adding this line bumps up the number of file handles allocated to PMShell by 20 from the default.

May 1, 2000 - Anyone notice this new feature in Fp13?


Add the following environment varible line to CONFIG.SYS to print active
window during Print Screen operation:


The WINDOW with focus will print when a Print Screen operation is

For the default Print Screen operatin, perform either of these steps:

change the line to read:


Note: System must be re-booted after any CONFIG.SYS changes.

May 3, 2000 - Stephen Worthington posted the following useful tip on the OS/2 Hardware list:

Files hidden behind CGI, Java, etc interfaces would be very unlikely to be regettable unless the interface actually translated the filename into a normal FTP path. Fortunately, for the IBM Boulder site where most OS/2 downloads happen, that is exactly what is done. What I have done in the past is to turn on IPTRACE and then use the web interface to start the download of the file, then turn off IPTRACE and look at the TCP/IP packets to find the actual file name involved. I then give this filename to WGET, along with the userid/password that the web site used to reference the file eg:

wget -c ftp://user:password@service5.boulder.ibm.com/pub/somepath/file.zip

This is messy but it does work and wget will restart the download automatically with a reget every time your connection dies. The user ID and password used to access such files changes every 24 hours, so for huge files (eg the entire WSeB CD set I downloaded once), you have to go back to the web page again to get the new user ID and password every day and update the URL you are giving to wget.

Sometimes you do not need to use IPTRACE, as the filename, user ID and password are in the source code of the web page, or can be figured out from the source code and the name of the file that Netscape displays when it starts the download. So I usually use Netscape's "View/Page Source" command first before resorting to IPTRACE.

Once you have the actual FTP path and the user ID and password to login, you can also use them with a normal FTP command line or GUI program instead of wget if you like - most good FTP programs support user ID & password logins as well as the default anonymous logins, although just how to use this option can be somewhat obscure. Sometimes doing this will show up additional files on the IBM server that were not referenced on the web page and you can download using the same user ID and password.

And from Steve Wendt on the OS/2 Hardware list a simpler solution, but you can't cut/paste it:

Or use Ctrl-Alt-T. :)

May 4, 2000 - Here is another tip from the Warp Doctor mailing list, this time from Roderick Klein:

When running Aurora Server (Wseb) or fixpak 13 of Warp 4 client you get a trap when you run the Teles ISDN card drivers. This caused by the VDD of the ISDN card. Only way to solve the problem is to rem out the VCAPI.SYS. Its a bug in the driver and not in OS/2. Heard from somebody that it is a badly written driver.

May 6, 2000 - Did you know there was a Star Trek space game hidden inside Star Office's spreadsheet, StarCalc? Michel A Goyette and Egil J.M. Jahnsen tells us how to get to the game on comp.os.os2.apps:

Want to play with StarOffice? Go into StarCalc and on the prompt line, enter:
and then press Enter. Enjoy! Well, sort of. ;-)

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