Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

September 1998

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OS/2 Technology Issues

Part 6

Installing Fixpaks for OS/2 Warp

by: Dan Casey (
September 15 1998

This series of articles is not about recommending specific hardware and/or software. It's about information.

We OS/2 users have, thanks to IBM, the ability to update our operating system on a fairly regular basis. IBM is constantly developing and updating OS/2, and as a result, they release updates to the Base Operating System on a fairly regular basis (the target is quarterly, but this is not a fixed release schedule). These updates, called Fixpaks, can get to be quite large over time. All updates and fixes are cumulative. What this means is that, if you have installed Warp 4, and want to apply the latest Fixpak for it (currently Fixpak 8), you don't have to first install Fixpaks 1 through 7. Installing Fixpak 8 will apply all the fixes and updates that were in the previous 7 Fixpaks.

There are now several ways that you can apply a Fixpak to your OS/2 Warp system. The tried and true method of creating the floppy disks from the diskette image files that IBM supplies is, fortunately, no longer necessary. While this method has served us well (I've used it since I first installed OS/2 2.0), it is a long, drawn out and time consuming task. You have to create all the floppy disks one at a time (there are currently 16 diskette images for Warp 4, Fixpak 8) and you then have to create the CSF "Kicker" diskettes (usually a 2 disk set used to boot the machine) and run the FSERVICE program to apply the Fixpak. Booting OS/2 from Floppy Disks is slow enough without then having to feed the next 16 diskettes into the drive, one at a time, when prompted.


So, IBM came up with a quicker way to do it ... RSU (Remote Software Updates). Using RSU, you can point Netscape to the IBM site:

and follow the instructions there to apply the Fixpak. NOTE: At the time this article was written, Fixpak 8 had just been released, and was not yet linked to the Software Updates site referenced above. Hopefully, by the time this is published, the link will be there.

Using this method, the image files are downloaded to your system, in the form of ZIP files, and the RSU installation routine unzips them, and starts the SERVICE program to apply the Fixpak. This is quite a bit easier than creating all those floppies, but it has its own downside. If you have a slow and/or unreliable Internet Connection (and many dial up connections suffer from this), it's possible to lose the connection in the middle of the download or installation, and you have to re-establish your connection and begin again. While you are in little danger of rendering your system inoperable, you may have to begin the download process all over again. It can get to be quite frustrating.

Installation from Hard Drive

One of the easiest and quickest methods is to run the installation routine from your own hard drive. Yes, you still have to download all the image files, but by using a real FTP Client (rather than Netscape's FTP), you have the ability to RESUME an aborted download, picking up where you last left off. Not all FTP clients support RESUME, so make sure that the one you want to use does have this feature. And, although Netscape allows you to ftp more than 1 file at a time (depending on how many active threads you have setup in Netscape), the download speed drops proportionately with each simultaneous download. For example, if you have a 64kbps connection, downloading a single file will (theoretically) transfer at 64kbps. If you download 2 files at the same time, each file will download at 32kbps. Downloading 4 at a time will give you 16kbps per file, so you're not really gaining anything by downloading more than 1 file at a time. better to use an FTP client that allows you to specify a group of files, and download them 1 at a time, in succession. That way, if your connection dies, you have only 1 file to "reget" (the one that the download aborted on) rather than 2 or 4.

Step 1:
Download the actual image files from IBM. Point your FTP client to:

Use anonymous login (Login: anonymous Password: <your-email-address>

Choose the NLV (National Language Version) that you want to upgrade and the Fixpak level you want to install.

Download ALL the files in the directory. Pay particular attention to the file readme.1st. It contains important information regarding the contents of the Fixpak, installation instructions and notes about the Fixpak.


From time to time, IBM updates the CSF (Corrective Service Facilty) or FIXTOOL used to apply Fixpaks. If they have updated it for the particular Fixpak you are installing, there will be a reference to it in the readme.1st file. Make sure you are using the most recent CSF (Fixtool) for your particular Fixpak.

Step 2:
Download the utility used to install this fixpak from your hard disk. It can be found at the Hobbes archive at:

This is the FastKick utility that was released for Warp 4, Fixpak 7. You'll have to change some files to get it to work with Fixpak 8. This procedure is outlined below, in Step 3.

Step 3:
NOTE: Step 3 is for users of Warp 4 installing Fixpak 8 ONLY.
UNZIP FASTK138.ZIP into an empty directory. Then, copy the file FIXT139.EXE to that same directory, and run it (type FIXT139 <enter> from an OS/2 Command Prompt while in that directory). If and when it prompts you to overwrite existing files, choose YES TO ALL. This effectively updates the FastKick utility so that it will work correctly with Fixpak 8. Should IBM again update the CSF utility, you can simply repeat this step using the updated FIXT*.EXE file found in a future Fixpak release.

IMORTANT NOTE: If you are applying fixpaks to Warp 3 (or Warp Server), do NOT use FASTK138.ZIP. Instead, get the original version of the FastKick utility from hobbes. You'll find it as:

You'll need to use this same file if you are applying a Fixpak previous to Fixpak 7 for Warp 4. It's not necessary to update this version of the FastKick utility for servicing Warp 3, Warp Server or Warp 4, Fixpak 6 or earlier.

Step 4:
Copy all of the diskette image files to the directory where you have unzipped and updated the Fastkick utility.

Step 5:
From an OS/2 command prompt, run the following command (You can use cut-n-paste to copy this line from this page, and paste it to your command prompt).

for %1 in (*.?dk) do diunpack %1

*Thanks to Brad Barclay for for posting this to Usenet*

This will extract all the image files into this directory automatically.

Step 6:
From the OS/2 Command Prompt, run the script FIX.CMD.

Make sure that you have closed all other running programs and disconnected from the Internet before running the FIX script.

Follow the onscreen prompts. If you wish, you may choose a BACKUP directory when prompted, but this is optional. If you have previously applied Fixpaks, the default ARCHIVE directory will be used.

BMT Micro Fixpak CD

This is, by far, the easiest and fastest method to apply a Fixpak. For those of you who don't want to go through all the above steps, and don't mind waiting for a week or 2 longer, you can order the Fixpak CD or a Subscription from BMT Micro.

Go to: and choose the method you want. If you buy the individual CD, the initial cost is just $15.00 (US). Then when you order subsequent Fixpak CDs, each one is just $8.00 (US). Or, you can now Subscribe to the Fixpak CD. Initial cost is $8.00 (US) and you'll automatically be sent (and charged $8.00) when each subsequent Fixpak is released on CD.

Complete instructions (in HTML) are included on the CD. There are no other utilities to download, and no unzipping or extracting image files. It's all done for you, and all packaged on 1 CD.

The Fixpak CDs are VERY nice to have if you are servicing more than 1 Warp system.

NOTE: Communicator for OS/2 is reported to support the REGET feature when using FTP. Since Communicator/2 is currently still in BETA testing, I do NOT recommend attempting an RSU install of a Fixpak using this browser.

Also, it's been reported that there is a problem in the RSU Script causing the RSU install of FP8 to hang. One possible workaround is to to edit the file (should be in \tcpip\tmp) changing the reference to to Then run "rsuinst" from the directory where exists. (Thanks to ggerlach in Undernet #os/2 for this tip). To those of you with sharp eyes and minds, this would appear to enable the RSU installation of Fixpak 8 using the CSF level 138b, which, according to the README.1ST file in Fixpak 8, is not supported. Use this procedure at your own risk.

VOICE is, basically, a volunteer organization. We are supported, almost entirely, by our members. We are OS/2 users helping OS/2 users.
If you'd like to contribute to our effort, Membership information is available on our Website. And if you'd like to contribute to this series of articles, E-mail me with a brief description of your idea. Of course, we'd like to have contributions from our members, but membership is not a requirement for contributing to our cause.

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