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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.

From the editor - Submission deadlines.

Tips I receive before the 15th of any month should make it into this column the following month. That is, all the Tips in this column are meant for the September 2004 Newsletter; and all were received on or before August 15, 2004.

This provides time for Christian (VNL Editor) and the translators to do their thing. -Bill

June 11, 2004 - Open Office Registration (eCS) (General)

Mark Dodel forwards this from the eCS list. Vic Green was having trouble registering his copy of Open Office installed from the CD:

Hi, I have OO on cd from Mensys installed here. I just went to print a test page, and a message popped up saying that I had to register at to enable printing. Went there and could not see anything remotely resembling a place to register. I even went from there to the page and found nothing there. I purchased the CD, why can't I print? Why do I have to register? Where can I register? -Vic

"Gilbert D." had an answer:

I went around and around with that one myself just recently! Long story short, I finally went to the Mensys web site (where I had purchased OO) logged in and went to the download/serial numbers page. I scrolled down to OO and copied the entire entry. I pasted that into a text file I called ooserial.txt and saved it. I then went to the OO CD under \packs started up register.exe and used the import from tab to get it to look in the file for my registration info. All of this could have been explained (and maybe it is, but I'll be damned if I know where.

Mark adds this significant note: I installed the download version and don't remember having to do this. There is also a post from Joachim saying the registration is mentioned in the readme file, and Al Townsend says it's in readme.1st.

June 18, 2004 - USB Removable Media and FAT32, ...Redux (All) (Intermediate/General)

Last month we addressed "Problems with FAT32 and flash card". Here we are given the Final Word On What Works.

In the DFSee forum (, David Graser tells us:

The steps below have enabled me to read and write to every USB removable media device that I have. All are now formatted FAT32 and working great. The only removable media that worked originally when formatted FAT32 was the Sandisk drive. All the other drives were recognized, but could not be read, even with Chris' driver.

Sandisk 125 MiB flash stick
Pony Attache 236 MiB flash stick
100 MiB Zip drive
6 GiB drive in an USB BAFO hard drive enclosure
4 GiB drive in an USB BAFO hard drive enclosure

The steps:

  1. Chris' Mass Storage Driver is required. IBM's driver just doesn't muster up. Experimentation with the driver options is a must.
    [, from ? -yke]

  2. For those removable mass media that can't be read after formatting FAT32, a new Master Boot Record with new tables is required.

  3. A new partition must be created with either LVM or OS/2's FDISK.

  4. The partition must be a primary one.

  5. A compatibility volume can be created.

    (Don't know if this is necessary for removable media. I found that if I make each media device a compatible device with an assigned drive letter, eComStation has no problem reading and writing to the media. I can plug each device in and remove it any time without any problem. Again, with all my removable media, it allows me to keep track of which drive I am accessing by assigning my own drive letter.)

  6. Format FAT32 with Windows XP. It possibly can be formatted FAT32 with some Linux utility. However, I don't have Linux to test.

One of the problems may be that some media have some kind of security feature added to the MBR causing some of the flash drives to not be read properly. I know some of the devices come with some Windows software to enable it.

What is great is now all my removable media is recognized right away once it is inserted. Chris' driver beeps when it finds one. Then I just run Refresh Removable Media and it is found.

A bit later David added:

I left off one very important last step. Starting with version 0.98 of the FAT32 driver, newly created FAT32 partitions must have

chkdsk <drive>: /F

run on them. This is necessary if one ever wants to use EA support with the FAT32 driver. Best to do it right after formatting so one doesn't have to remember he never ran the utility on the drive.

June 20, 2004 - Help in Peer Network Printing - Spaces in Net Use Commands (General) (Advanced)

James C. Gorman provides this insight:

When one uses the command line to make connections on a peer network, one must use [double] quotes around the name of a resource if the name on the network has a space. For example, the command

net use LPT2 \\Server\Jim Printer

must be enclosed in quotes, as

net use LPT2 \\Server\"Jim Printer"

to work. Otherwise the printer resource will not be recognized.

June 25, 2004 - Hiding partitions in Warp 4, without LVM. (Warp) (Advanced)

The ever-busy David Graser forwards this from a not-identified source.

So, Hyun-Tae had this problem:

My Warp 4 doesn't have LVM and shows all FAT32 prtition on my hard drive. This is not good, for I want some partitions to be hided.

Is there any method to hide partions or change driver letters in Warp 4 (not MCP or eCS using LVM)?

"Wolfi" provided an answer:

Replace IBM's OS2DASD.DMD with Dani's latest DaniDasd (Hobbes). Then you can assign the order in which partitons of your first Ax and possible second Bx, third Cx, ... HDD will appear to OS2.

But be also aware that there are 2 versions of FDisk and BootManager around, an older one (until about FP12 or 13), which is blind to FAT32 partitions and a newer one, which will be aware of them. So you still might have to chose the right FDisk/BM to achieve what you want/need.

REM    and all other ATAPI related filters.
REM BASEDEV=IBMATAPI.FLT /A:1         /U:1 /TYPES:CLZ     replaced by DaniATAPI.add
REM BASEDEV=IBM1S506.ADD /A:0 /BM /A1 /U:1 /ATAPI /FORCE  replaced by DaniS506.add
REM BASEDEV=OS2DASD.DMD                                   replaced by DaniDaSD.dmd

Below is the important stuff:

REM -- Partitions: Aa=C=NwDos, Ab=D=DosPrg, Ac=J=Win98, Ad=E=BootOS2,
REM    Ae=F=W4, Af=G=OS2Prg, Ag=H=WinOS2, Ah=K=XChange, Ai=I=MyData
REM -- DaniDASD-PartOrdr: C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K; (FDisk &
REM    BM !!W/O!! FAT32 extension because of existing Win partition!)
BASEDEV=DaniDASD.DMD /MT:Aa,Ab,Ad,Ae,Af,Ag,Ai,Ac,Ah,Bc,Bb,Ba /of

Your Kindly Editor hopes that's clear. He doesn't have the installation needed for trying it!

June 28, 2004 - Resource for XFree and the GIMP (All) (General)

Bryann Melvin is a commercial graphic-artist who uses OS/2 and the GIMP. Over time, with a special patch she's developed, she's managed to get all the parts working well. Her GIMP files, the patch, and her accumulated expertise are available on the Web - free.

She advises us:

My little GIMP project has been moved from Yahoo groups. There is new documentation online (GIMPATCH.pdf). (A link is on the new site,

As it stands, the website is under construction; but the address is now semi-permanent. The GIMP 122 and all related files I use are, or will be available through this site.

July 8, 2004 - "6 steps to update 1.1.2 for OS/2 (unofficial)" (All) (Intermediate)

In the newsgroup comp.os.os2.apps "Alex" says:

Condition: You should have InnoTek's GA first.

6 steps:

  1. Download current 1.1.2 for Windows (can be your NLS version).
  2. Install in a Windows box.
  3. Copy the directory from Windows to OS/2.
  4. Edit sversion.ini in the \INNOWIN\Application Data directory. You should add:

    [Versions] 1.1.1=file:///F:/OpenOffice111 1.1.2=file:///G:/OpenOffice.org1.1.2
  5. Copy the files soffice.exe, OOwin.dll, OOwin.ini from OpenOffice1.1.1.
  6. Make a copy of the OOo 1.1.1 folder and re-edit the path.

Done! Now you should have your own NLS for OS/2.

July 12, 2004 - MTU, ISPs, and "...can't send email..." (All) (Intermediate)

Mark Dodel forwards this from, about MTU being the wrong size:

Stephan Bucher had a problem:

Since Friday I can't send email messages longer than about 900 characters (maybe 1024 including overhead) anymore from my OS/2 machines (NS 4.61 and Mozilla) while it still works from Windows (Mozilla). The provider must have changed something. I have an ADSL connection. Receiving still works. When I send a longer message, it times out and tells me that the connecting to the SMTP server failed; NS 4.61 tells me that the pipe is broken. Can anybody make sense out of this? I'll call my provider tomorrow but would like to have some background.

Stephen Worthington had a solution:

That sounds like a problem I had recently - the MTU had been set to a smaller value somewhere at my ISP, so longer packets were failing to get through. Until they fix the problem, I have had to tell my Injoy 3.0 firewall to use an MTU of 954 and fragment anything bigger than that.

You can tell if this is the problem by using the size parameter on the ping command to seed longer packets and see if they work. Ping packets are marked "do not fragment" so any packet longer than the minimum MTU at any point between you and the destination IP will fail to get there and you will not get a reply. If you do a binary search using the ping packet sizes, you should be able to track down the exact largest ping that works, and tell that to your ISP.

July 14, 2004 - Getting PMMail attachments to open in Mozilla. (All) (Intermediate)

In Usenet's comp.os.os2.mail-news, Peter Moylan provided this advice:

Having just upgraded to Mozilla 1.7, I've been struggling to get the interface from PMMail to Mozilla working. (That is, I want Mozilla to open when I double-click on an HTML attachment.) The "obvious" approach doesn't work (at least in PMMail 1.96a) because PMMail won't store enough characters in the "Program to execute" field, and thus the filename gets truncated.

Now that I've found a solution, I thought I'd document it here for the benefit of anyone stuck with the same problem. (It's the sort of thing we used to submit to The Warp Pharmacy. I guess I should check out the progress of its successor, WarpDoctor, one of these days.)

In the following procedure the drives, etc., should obviously be modified to suit your own setup.

  1. Write a command file called (for example) moz.cmd, with the contents

    cd \\mozilla
    mozilla.exe file:///%1

    I chose to stick this command file in the same directory as mozilla.exe, but of course that's an arbitrary decision.

  2. In the PMMail Settings notebook (the main settings, not the account settings), go to the MIME Associations page, and create an entry (or modify an existing entry) as follows:

    Description:        Hypertext Markup Language Files
    MIME Type:          text/html
    File extension:     HTML HTM
    Program to Execute: cmd.exe
    Arguments:          /C E:\\mozilla\moz.cmd %s
    Working directory:  .
    Program type:       OS/2 window

And that's all. If anything fails, replace the /C by a /K and that will leave the command window open to let you see any error messages. Using CMD.EXE as the program to execute bypasses the problem of the program name being too long.

It works fine, apart from the fact that the new Mozilla is dead slow compared with older versions. I guess when you have anything built by a committee the result will inevitably be bloatware. They used to say that an elephant is a mouse designed by IBM. Similarly, a Tyrannosaurus Rex is a flea designed by a team of volunteers.

So far I haven't tackled the opposite problem, of getting a "mailto:" link in Mozilla to open PMMail.

[ NB: This Tip incorporates Peter's later 3-byte correction -yke ]

September - This month we have relatively simple Tips for any skill-level, and for any version of OS/2 and eComStation.

June 20, 2004 - PMView's "remembered" locations. (All OS/2) (All levels)

Normally, PMView keeps it's "remembered files" in one of the system .INI files.
A correspondent in comp.os.os2.misc looking into a different problem had a real issue with that:

...I still didn't find out where a few of the strings come from, having searched all of my disk now. But the majority were in OS2.INI:

Application: PMView 2.0
Keys: FileOpen\MRUDirectoryList

No idea why PMView thinks it has to remember all the directories it had ever open and save them into the main INI file, but it does...

Peter Nielsen - PMView's author - reminded us (again) of an alternative:

The File Open and File Save dialog "File name" field is a drop-down that lets you recall previously used directories. The 50 most used directories are remembered.

FWIW, if you don't want PMView to use OS2.INI for its settings, you can set the PMVIEW_INI environment variable to point to a location of your choice and PMView will store your settings there instead. (E.g. SET PMVIEW_INI=c:\apps\pmview\pmview.ini)

June 17, 2004 - CONFIG.SYS should be all upper-case, ...usually. (All OS/2) (All levels)

A correspondent in comp.os.os2.misc installed a new USB mass-storage device, and entered the appropriate driver line into CONFIG.SYS including the parameter "/floppies:0" (note lower case).

. . .This has caused the appearance in the Drives folder of not one, but TWO new drives, to wit:

  1. a drive represented by a diskette icon, which is said to be Not Ready, and
  2. a drive represented by a removable-medium icon, which is ready and waiting for data.

The latter is expected, and I am gratified to see that the driver sees the Pez dispenser and knows what to do with it. What the deuce is the former, the Not Ready phantom diskette?

Klaus Staedler had the answer:



Make it all uppercase, maybe it's case-sensitive. If that doesn't work then I have no idea, as it works for everyone else that tries it that I have heard about.

As a rule of thumb: Everything in OS/2 CONFIG.SYS should be uppercase, except the cases where explicitly a lowercase, or mixed-cases are demanded. Configtool tells you where lowercase or mixed-case is necessary (naturally only so far I was aware of it). [Emphasis added. -yke]

June 18, 2004 - Put the UNarchiver on the CD along with your data. (All OS/2) (Beginner, but then... <grin>)

A newbie in asked:

How to use command zip a directory then copy to DVD RW? If the zip file size over DVD RW volume, how to auto copy to other disk?

Julian Thomas gave good advice:

What I do (with CDR or CDRW) is to use zip on a directory:

cd <root of drive to be zipped>
zip -rS8 q:zipfile.

Compression factor of 8 is almost as good as 9 but doesn't try to compress certain filetypes that are already compressed (like zip, jpg). [Emphasis added. -yke]

I then copy it directly to CD or use zipsplit (part of the infozip package, iirc) to split the zip into suitable sized files.

"C. Brendes" reminded all of us:

An additional note: put the the used archiver on the CD/DVD too. Then the archives are readable also on systems which haven't installed the archiver.

Your Kindly Editor thinks it's also a Very Good Idea to add a small text file. Include therein any important info about the CD's content. Don't trust to memory - Write it down! - and include it.

June 22, 2004 - RealPlayer 8, Odin, and Sound Quality (All OS/2) (Intermediate)

In comp.os.os2.misc "Jim L." had a problem:

Has anybody gotten RealPlay 8 to run under any Odin but that version from years ago?

"Andy" didn't have the answer, be he did have a pretty good general suggestion:

If anyone is having problems with sound stopping after about a second then add:


to the odin.ini file in the system32 directory.

July 25, 2004 - One-line batch operation on multiple files. (All OS/2) (All levels)

Mark Dodel forwarded this from

"Cliff" had asked:

I want to execute a program, Lame, on each file in a directory in a batch mode. Is there an easy way to do that or do I have to write something? I'm sure it could be easily done in REXX, but I've never learned REXX so that would be a chore and I need to get started on processing a bunch of files.

Hendrik Schmieder replied:

cd <directory>
for %a in (*) do lame %a

Later, "Carl" added a safety factor:

Personally, I prefer to use:

for %a in (*) do lame "%a"

I add the quotes in case of filenames with spaces.

June 26, 2004 - Some Mozilla 1.7 crashes were "pilot error." (All Mozilla-capable versions) (Intermediate)

In netscape.public.mozilla.os2 Peter Weilbacher and Dave Saville (among others) talked about "Mozilla 1.7 crashes when sending mails".

This seemed related to a missing or "corrupt" gcc322.dll. But no. . .

>I just checked again, it is installed into the same dir as the libc05.dll when
>you use libc-0.5.1.exe:
>23-02-04 3:40p 28718 0 gcc322.dll
>14-04-04 4:37p 356330 0 libc05.dll

I just tumbled what is going on. The recent libc* have been EXEs - I distrust self-extracting EXEs on principle, so as soon as I see one I tend to see if it will unzip. You just get it whinge about stuff before the zip starts. Now this package only shows the lib05 file but actually running the EXE . . . extracts gcc322 from nowhere.

** Your Kindly Editor thinks that's really interesting.
Of course gcc322.dll doesn't come "from nowhere". The file-size of recent libcxx archives is bigger than the presumably compressed "single" file they contain! That is, unzip -l libc-0.5.0.exe (506471 bytes) shows just the smaller libc05.dll shown above.
But executing the file (in [boot-drive]\OS2\DLL) causes the second contained file (gcc322.dll) to appear.
Pretty much guarantees the two files are consistent one with the other.

July 18, 2004 - Browse your own bookmarks. (Any version) (General interest)

Your Kindly Editor has a huge Bookmarks.html in his browser (Mozilla 1.7, FWIW). It's liberally commented, and is a gold-mine of info. But getting at it isn't that easy in Mozilla. The bookmark search is cumbersome at best. What's needed is a way to allow "free-form" search of the entire file at once.

Here's what YKE does:

First make a small script called say MOZILLA.CMD. Its content is shown below.

If you're using the standard CMD.EXE, this will be:

[drive with the Mozilla directory]:
cd [fully-qualified-path-to-Mozilla-directory]
[fully-qualified-path-to-Mozilla-directory]\mozilla.exe -browse file:/// %1

If you're using the 4OS2 command processor, this can be:

cdd [fully-qualified-path-to-Mozilla-directory]
[fully-qualified-path-to-Mozilla-directory]\mozilla.exe -browse file:/// %1

Tear off a "Program" template and "fill in the blanks"
Path and file:




Working directory:

-- leave this blank --

LMB clicking on this object opens the bookmark file in your Mozilla browser, where you can search the page/file any way you want.

NB: this is not a new trick; I didn't invent it. But beginners may not know it. Even some experts forget it can be done, and how useful it can be.

July 18, 2004 - E.EXE can stumble when deleting large amounts of text. (Any version) (All levels)

As reported in comp.os.os2.bugs Hendrik Schmieder had a problem:

Today I tried to edit a copy of POPUPLOG.OS2 with e.exe. I marked everything except the last two entries and pressed the del key. The CPU went to 100% and it took same time until the marked text vanished.

I then tried to save this copy, but e.exe crashed.

The POPUPLOG.OS2 is 378951 bytes. I have installed XRGC004 and kernel 14.100c_W4.

Can anybody explain why e.exe has crashed?

Trevor Hemsley had the answer, and a brute-force solution:

It does this if you highlight more than 64KB of text and cut and paste it.

Do it in small bites multiple times until you've got rid of everything you wanted to get rid of.

While Andreas Schnellbacher's alternative was maybe more useful:

Or use EPM:

In advanced marking mode:
Place the cursor on the first line, press [Alt+L], then go to the last line you want to delete, press [Alt+L] again. All lines in between are marked now. Press [Alt+D] to delete them.

In CUA marking mode:
Go to the first line, column 1. Scroll with [Shift+PgDn] and/or [Shift+Down] to the last line you want to delete. Press [Del] or [Alt+D] to delete the marked lines.

July 28, 2004 - Install of eCS gives VPC problems. (eCS) (Beginner)

A corresponent forwarded this from We don't know what the question was. But Rob Claesson had a good answer:

If you look at the VPC window in which your virtual-machine is running, you see in the bottom left corner of that window, from left to right:

a HardDrive icon, a CD icon, a diskette icon, a folder icon, and a network icon. Right-click on the folder icon, and you'll get a menu:

folder settings....
share folder....
unshare X:

Where X: is the shared drive letter, if a share is present. If no drive letter is shared, just click on the share folder.... line. You then get a window where you can select your shared folder on the host computer. If you check the checkbox share everytime, ...the virtual computer will startup everytime with that folder shared.

Even without the question, the answer is a pretty good tip.

July 28, 2004 - Disk Id number Ordering - Fixed! (Any version) (Beginner)

From, Tony in Sydney, Australia had a problem with his SCSI drives. One utility showed a certain drive-number-order. DFSee showed another.

Felix Miata with Jan vanWijk - DFSee author - together made several observations:

There are four methods that I (we) know that affect disk-numbering:

  1. BIOS settings like SCSI-before-IDE
  2. Physical order of adapters on the PCI-bus (with multiple adapters)
  3. Order of the corresponding drivers in config.sys (SCSI and IDE)
  4. SCSI ids used on the disks attached to the same controller.

For number (4), most SCSI adapters only report TWO of the attached disks as bootable; and the order in which all disks are reported is not always the same. Some start with the lowest SCSI-ID (0), some start with the highest (7 or 15).

Pondering all that, Tony provided his own solution:

The trick was to change the SCSI HBA slot. (There are two SCSI HBAs.)

July 31, 2004 - Turning off "Clippie" in OpenOffice Writer (Any version) (Beginner)

Doug Laidlaw in comp.os.linux.misc was annoyed:

OO's version of Clippie is even more intrusive than the Windows one. Every time I type quote marks, it pops up to tell me it has changed them to the printable version. At least Clippie stays in the menu bar, with just a little light bulb.

Is there any way that I can turn off this behaviour, while still letting it make the changes?

"e7" had the answer:

Clippie the bar steward is called the Help Agent bar steward in OO.

To turn it off follow these menu options:

Tools -> Options -> OpenOffice -> General -> (Help Agent/Activate)

August 1, 2004 - Noise from an audio CD. (All OS/2) (All levels)

CD-ROMs vary in quality, and some wear out or fail faster than others. Apart from data-integrity issues, sound from audio CDs can suffer too. But is it the CD-ROM device? Or is it your software?

Al Savage, writing in comp.os.os2.apps has a way to tell:

To completely eliminate the possibility of software interference, put some junk diskette in the floppy drive, turn on the box.
At the "Non-System disk or boot failure" screen, leave it alone and play your test CDs via the CD drive's front panel button(s).

Still exhibits symptoms? Drive issue.

August 3, 2004 - Mozilla / Mozilla Firefox User Interface Spoofing Vulnerability (All versions) (General interest)

This is a nearly-verbatim copy of a posting in VoiceNews by Mark Dodel. This isn't a tip (nothing you can do about it, much). It is a WARNING which deserves the widest distribution. -yke

Just so we are not completely lulled about the lack of exploits on OS/2, I thought I'd pass on this security alert about Mozilla based browsers that I saw on Dr. Jerry Pournelle's web site

Since it uses Mozilla's internal programming language this is cross-platform and should effect the OS/2 versions as well:

Here we go again:

*Description*: A vulnerability has been reported in Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox, allowing malicious websites to spoof the user interface.

The problem is that Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox don't restrict websites from including arbitrary, remote XUL (XML User interface Language) files. This can be exploited to "hijack" most of the user interface (including tool bars, SSL certificate dialogs, address bar and more), thereby controlling almost anything the user sees.

The Mozilla user interface is built using XUL files.

A PoC (Proof of Concept) exploit for Mozilla Firefox has been published.
The PoC spoofs a SSL secured PayPal website.

This has been confirmed using Mozilla 1.7 for Linux, Mozilla Firefox 0.9.1 for Linux, Mozilla 1.7.1 for Windows and Mozilla Firefox 0.9.2 for Windows. Prior versions may also be affected.

NOTE: This issue appears to be the same as Mozilla Bug 244965. [Moderator note: It is actually ]

*Solution*: Do not follow links from untrusted sites." [Emphasis added -yke]

Remember...     Send in tips! Reach me at tips[at]os2voice[dot]org

Plain text is fine. I'll format it; even correct your spelling. -Bill (Your Kindly Editor)

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