Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

October 1998

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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

October 18, 1998 From the OS/2 Hardware list here are some suggested UPS's that are known to have OS/2 versions of software -

APC: http:://
Best Power:
PK Electronics:

October 15, 1998 Mohit Sindhwani has this to say about installing the Word 97 viewer into Win-OS/2.

I had installed mine earlier but it did not start up and work as was expected of it. The error I used to get was "Unable to start WORD8CONV" and so on if I tried to open a Word 97 document. It is possible that you might have had this problem.

The solution: Look for a path created elsewhere:
X:\WINDOWS\MSAPPS <-- X could be anything... for some reason, it chose X=E: [my OS/2 boot drive] for me! Under this, it created two directories:
grphflt & textconv

There were a few files in each directory.

Just copy this full MSAPPS path into
Y:\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\ ... so that you will have
Y:\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\MSAPPS\ with the sub dirs in place.

This should fix it! It worked for me! Further, if you already have a MSAPPS directory, I guess, you'll need to just copy the relevant files from ..\MSAPPS\grphflt [in the funny place] to the one under your WINOS2 path. and same for the ..\MSAPPS\TextConv directory.

October 14, 1998 If you use an APC UPS and want to install the OS/2 version of PowerChute here are some tips from Simon Wright on the OS/2 Hardware Mail List:

I had the same problem with Powerchute Pro for OS/2. Solution (not the best perhaps!) is to install manually (don't let the program configure your CONFIG.SYS and choose the option to configure demo files which are called CONFIG.APC and STARTUP.APC I think. It also messed up LAN installations for me. Then follow one of these procedures:

Add the following to your CONFIG.SYS

set pwrchute=x:\pwrchute

Add the Powerchute directory to your libpath
Make sure you have upsd.exe in your STARTUP.CMD

You should see the UPS file starting from STARTUP.CMD, then you will be able to run PWRCHUTE.EXE.


Same procedure with CONFIG.SYS, then find IBMLAN.INI, add the following line under [services] section:

ups = x:\pwrchute\upsd.exe

Make sure that you include a final carriage return at the end of the file otherwise for some reason (anyone know why?) the last line won't be processed. You can also add UPS to the <wrkservices>
parameter which will allow autostart of the UPS service when you start the requester. Otherwise add the following to STARTUP.CMD

net start ups

All should be well.

October 13, 1998 Heres a bunch of Communicator 4.04 for OS/2 tips that I culled from the COMM/2 maillist. What a great job Moke Kaply and his team have done and are doing to provide support and answers for the Communicator for OS/2 project.
From September 30, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply:

This is the note I posted to the newsgroups with more info on the lines problem

Hi there.

Now that I have your attention, welcome to the unofficial Netscape Communicator for OS/2 Warp informational post.

By the time you read this, or soon after, the GA version of COMM/2 should be up there.

I have promised everyone some undocumented features, and this post lists them.

It also lists some workarounds that are NOT in the README.


Please read this post!

1. Lines in images

Some machines might still experience white lines in images, even after following the FixPak 6 instructions in the README. If you do, use the following REXX CMD to add another entry to your INI File:

/* */
call RxFuncAdd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call SysLoadFuncs

call SysIni 'USER', 'FixPak', 'Shift','2'

If you still have the problem, try changing the '2' to '1'

2. Viewing source in an editor, using AIM, Host On-Demand, or Netcaster

OK, the following CMD file is a catch all for all of the above. First the CMD file:

/* IniName points to the location of your NSCP.INI */
/* Change NSDir to the directory where NS40 is installed */
/* Change InstallDrive to the drive where NS40 is installed */
/* Change en to be the two character identifier for your browser */
IniName = 'C:\OS2\NSCP.INI'
InstallDrive = 'C:'
NSDir = InstallDrive||'\NS40BETA'
InstallDir = NSDir'\Program'
NSVersion = '4.04 (en)'
call RxFuncAdd 'SysLoadFuncs', 'RexxUtil', 'SysLoadFuncs'
call SysLoadFuncs

/* Add ini entries for Netcaster */
call SysIni IniName, 'Netcaster', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, 'Netcaster-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory',
/* Add ini entries for Host On-Demand */
call SysIni IniName, '3270', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, '3270-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory',
/* Add ini entries for AOL Instant Messenger */
call SysIni IniName, 'AIM', 'CurrentVersion', NSVersion
call SysIni IniName, 'AIM-'||NSVersion, 'Install Directory', NSDir'\AIM'

/* Add Registry entries for View Source */
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',
'\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource','URL:View Source'
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry', '\HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\viewsource\shell',0
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',
call SysIni IniName, 'Registry',

Now how to use it:

Install Netscape on windows, copy the contents of NETCAST, 3270, and AIM
directories to the appropriately named directories under where you
installed NETSCAPE:


Note that these three products are NOT supported, but feel free to try. Note that the AOL pulldown will just launch AIM.EXE in the AIM directory, so you can put anything there.

Once you have added the View Source entry, you can modify the settings for it in the Preferences->Applications.

3. Misc undocumented OS/2 features:

All these are entries you can add to your PREFS.JS file to do various things. Have fun experimenting:

If we see a web page with Arial, Helvetica, we pick Helvetica if this preference is true user_pref("os2.arial_pref", false|true);

Specify a wave file for new mail sound. REMEMBER double backslashes!
user_pref("os2.mail.sound", "C:\\MMOS2\\SOUNDS\\GOTMAIL.WAV");

Prevents ALL filename mangling when downloading (dots and extension) if set to false user_pref("os2.replace_dots", true|false );

Turns off URL bar completion if set to false user_pref("os2.url_completion", true|false );

Causes User Defined Encoding to use default codepage of OS/2 if set to true.
On Russian systems, this allows you to see 866 web pages.
On default OS/2 systems, you can see 850 pages.
user_pref("os2.use_oem_charset", true|false );

4. Other notables:

Viewing any language web page in Communicator

If you use Times Roman MT 30 as your font for ALL encodings, you will be able to see stuff in any language.

Chinese and Korean only work on FP 5 or later (I think)

Causing helpers to be launched by the WPS:

If you check the application radio button when EDITING (not creating) a helper, but leave the application entry field blank, the item simply gets passed to the Workplace Shell. This can be used to launch Windows helpers with proper settings, as well as just letting the WPS handle all misc types.

5. Apologies

Sorry all the drag drop still isn't there. It is our number one priority for the next version. As far as the click on load goes, Netscape deliberately broke that because of other bugs. We tried to fix it, but couldn't get it in in time. Next time. As far as the Collabra problems go, we couldn't get them to reproduce in the latest drivers. We hope they are fixed.

Hope y'all enjoy the product!

Mike Kaply

From October 2, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply:

If you are on a web page with frames, print will be grayed out until you click on a frame.

From October 2, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply, in response to a question asking for a technical explanation of why many folks experienced lines in graphic images in the beta and GA versions:

There is a bug in OS/2 that when you GpiDrawBits on inverted presentation spaces, you have to shift the output rectangle up by one.

This bug is actually in the video drivers, though, not in the operating system.

So, to fix this bug requires a fix to the video driver.

Because of the way GRADD works, this bug is fixed in the operating system for GRADD drivers.

So, if you have FixPak 7 or greater and GRADD, you have no problem, we can detect this.

Other situations are not so easy.

1. There is no way for us to detect the FixPak 6 version of the Graphics Engine due to a bug in the Graphics Engine on FixPak 6 - hence the FixPak 6 entry.

2. There is no way for us to detect whether a PM video driver has fixed the bug. Hence the other INI entry. (2 setting)

3. It is possible a driver fixed the bug, but a person is still on FixPak 5 or less. Hence the other INI entry (1 setting)

This is actually a bug on Lotus FLG as well, but since they require FixPak6 and GRADD, you never see the problem :)

Mike Kaply

From October 5, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply, in response to a question asking how to get rid of the component bar:

You can turn that off. Select the system menu and turn off always on top. Or you can close it and it will dock to your windows.

From October 5, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply, in response to a question asking what the "U" stands for as reported by the user agent for Communicator 4.04 for OS/2:

U is United States (128 bit), I is International (40-bit)

From October 5, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply:

There is a file called NSCP.INI in the OS2 subdir that keeps up with where your user profiles are. Your user profiles can be anywhere on your hard drive. We do not delete the NSCP.INI or any user profile info when you uninstall. Then when you reinstall, you get your old user stuff (Same as Win)

From October 8, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply, regarding problems with spell checking:

OK, here is an overview of the Spellchecker problems and what you can do.

Basically, the spellchecker was only tested in an HTML mail composition environment, not MLE mail composition.

This is the source of the problems.

Everyone said the spell checker was broke, but no one told me they weren't using HTML mail :) :)

So, do NOT use the spellchecker unless you are sending HTML mail.

I am fixing the spellchecker as we speak and hope to have it out as soon as possible.

Michael Kaply

From October 13, 1998 as posted by Mike Kaply, regarding problems with sorting bookmarks:

I have investigated and fixed all the Sort bookmark problems. Here is a quick explanation.

Sort by Name does NOT Sort by Name. It reverts back to the "Natural" or default sort"

That is why ascending and descending are not available.

For the OS/2 version sometime in the future :), I have enabled Sort by Name. I have made it so that if you select Sort By Name, or Location, etc. After they have already been turned on, it turns default back on.

I have also added a new item called Sort Selected which brings back the 2.02 behavior of being able to sort a group of bookmarks.

Mike Kaply

October 1, 1998 Here's a tip from Duane Chamblee on the IBM OS/2 Unedited Discussion List:

I've just noticed that some RSU scripts don't run right and fail with a "message not found" error when using RSUINST.EXE as a helper app in Comm/2 4.04 release...

I've got a workaround:

RSU is not included as a helper in Comm/2 by default so follow these steps...

1) In Comm/2, choose Edit->Preferences->Navigator->Applications.
2) Add a new type:
Description: RSU Install
extention: RSU
MIME Type: application/rsu
Application: RSUINST.EXE
...and press OK
3) Select the newly added "RSU Install" app. and Press Edit.
4) Clear the Handled By->Application entry field. (remove RSUINST.EXE)
5) Hit OK twice to get out of Preferences.
6) Find RSUINST.EXE (usually in the TCPIP\BIN folder)
7) Open the Properties for RSUINST.EXE and choose the Association page.
8) Enter:
*.RSU the "New name" field and press add.

Now when Comm/2 starts an RSU, it uses the Workplace shell to run RSUINST.EXE and some problems are avoided. (My "LatestWarp4" version checks seem to work again)

()-()-\ ...Internet at Warp 4
< / \ Duane Chamblee
\__/ ~ Indelible Blue & TeamOS/2

October 8, 1998Here are some MMOS/2 re-install tips from the POSSI Discussion List. First from Pavel Otavsky:
If you do have to remove the multimedia cleanly, then this is what IBM recommends:
edit the config.sys to remove all instances of MMOS2 from PATH, DPATH, LIBPATH, BOOKSHELF, HELP. Remove all MMOS2 device driver statements. Remove SET NCDEBUG=4000. Then restart, find the MMOS2 folder, empty it and remove it.

I had terrible instability problems once as a result of a botched MM installation. Selective uninstall did not work in that case and I had to do the above.

Also this from Steven Levine:
One additional suggestion... If you do need to reinstall MM, you not need to reinstall Warp. That's a bit drastic. Uninstall the NS plug-ins, reboot, use Selective Uninstall to remove MM, reboot, Selective install MM, reboot, reapply the latest FP you installed, reboot. This should get MM back to where it was before you installed the plug-ins. Also, backups are your friend :-)

October 7, 1998Here's a tip from Mike Kaply on the USENET comp.os.os2.apps:
OK, here is a workaround to get plugins working with 2.02 and 4.04. To do this, you need the 2.02 plugin pack (from software choice)
Rename MMPLUGS*.DLL in the MMOS2\DLL directory.
Run the install for the 2.02 plugin pack.
Select Update - Only update the Multimedia plugins portion.
It will lay down the 2.02 versions of MMPLUGS*.DLL
This should get 4.04 and 2.02 mm plugins coexisting.
We will have a more elegant solution for this in the next version.

September 30, 1998General Trap Information That Might Be Important To You Some Day fro Bob Hughes on the POSSI Discussion List:

Yesterday I was discussing the trap error problem I was having with POSSI member Duane Pruett, who builds web pages, etc. Duane thought I might be having some sort of an overheating problem. He reccommended I take the computer to Computer Bay in Phoenix AZ for diagnostics. I did that today and the technician discovered the CPU fan was frozen (I had just replaced it several weeks ago). I was very fortunate in that my CPU, motherboard, disc, etc hardware was not damaged. But, if you didn't know, if something in your system is too hot, that can cause trap errors. Also, the AMDK6 is a hot CPU and needs a larger fan and heat sink. [AMD reccommends it.] I have had all 3 DOS programs [that were trapping in less than 5 minutes] running for about an hour now with no problem.

September 29, 1998What a great idea for finding backed up files from Duane Chamblee on the TeamOS/2 Help List:

I use HPFS and this is a cool trick...When ever I'm removing or replaceing files, I back them up using another extension...

copy system.dll system.dll.old

They will not get used and I can issue:
dir /s *.*.*
...and find ALL the backed up files on the drive.

September 29, 1998 Here's some REXX help from Bob Wittig on the TeamOS/2 Help List:

At an OS/2 Command Prompt:
CD <directory containing your .cmd file>
PMREXX /T xxxx.cmd

The /T puts your cmd file in interactive trace mode. You can single step through the lines of your file and view the result of each line. You can also enter additional commands at the input line at the top to Say ImportantVariable which is helpful for tracking down what your rexx program is actually doing.

You can get help on PMREXX from the on-line help with the following:
1. At an os2 command prompt type VIEW REXX to view the rexx.inf file.

(If that fails, search your system to find rexx.inf and either double click on the file icon, or change to that directory and repeat the view command.)

2. Click on the Search button and search for PMREXX.

3. Read the articles listed in the search window, especially "PMREXX and REXXTRY", "Starting the PMREXX program" and "The PMREXX Trace Function"

September 27, 1998 If you are looking for a good source of OS/2 EWS (that is Employee Written Software), here's a suggestion from Craig Miller and Guenter Kukkukk on the IBM OS/2 Unedited Discussion List:
Guenter Kukkukk:

Craig Miller: "I also have a large accumulation here at that includes everything there (I think) plus other stuff that I haven't been able to find on IBM's sites anymore."

September 25, 1998 Robb Selby had this tip about video install problem with DSPRES.DLL file on the TeamOs/2 Help List:

It addressed this in the FP documentation. The FP nicely puts a copy of DSPRES.DLL into your X:\OS2\INSTALL\VGA directory because many video device driver install utilities overwrite the existing DLL without checking if it's newer. Just copy it over to your OS2/DLL directory.

September 25, 1998 From Sergei Makarov on the TeamOS/2 Help List comes the following:

MS Word 6.0 at startup writes 2 bytes file into root of C: drive. In case you have C: non formatted or formatted with file system, where OS/2 can't write, MSWord won't start with complain "share is not loaded".

September 24, 1998 Here's a tip from Dan Holmes on the TeamOS/2 Help List

OK for everyone that has had to reinstall os2 to change sound cards, i have found one piece of the puzzle to avoid that. In changed from a crystal card to a sound blaster card. In the config.sys the /n parameter on the device line gives that device a name. for crystal it was BSAUD$ for SB is is SBAUD$. I couldn't understand why the drivers would load but when i tried to play a wave file i got a message saying couldn't open device. The answer was in the mmpm2.ini file in \mmos2. There was a line giving the device name of BSAUD which was no longer used (PDDNAME=). I changed that to SBAUD and rebooted and woohoo i had wave support.

the bad part. That only fixed wave support. Could someone with a SB16 non pnp please email me their mmpm2.ini.

September 23, 1998 Hey this tip is from me, if you forgot to tell Netscape to become the default browser during the install, you can change that by doing the following:

To change the default browser for the URL Object go into any URL Objects Porperties (or the URL Template) and select the Browser tab. Change the web browser Path and file name and then select the Set Default button. From then on new URL Objects will use the new default browser.

From the screens Help:
" Select Set default if you want all of your URL objects to have the same selections you have specified here. Set default will override the system default. "

September 20, 1998 Here is a tip on solving some problems with Word Pro from Harry Lipkind on the POSSI Discussion List:
I had a problem with WordPro as part of SS for Warp4 hanging on printing. I managed to get an incident opened with Lotus/IBM and they had me try a number of things. I cleared the hanging by going down from 1024 x 768 x 65K colors to 640 x 480 x 256 colors. THAT was NOT ACCEPTABLE! I discoverd that 1280 x 1024 x 65K colors also DID NOT HANG. One of the other things that IBM had me try was to add a -S and -Q on the parameter line of the object box for the application. This bypasses the startup splash screen and the initial dialog about opening a new document ect. That didn't fix my printing problem but it may fix your hang.

September 19, 1998 If you have a CD burner and are using RSJ to make CD's, here's a bit of help from Steve Garcia on the POSSI Discussion List:

If you are using RSJ CD Writer 2.59 or above you may change the CONFIG.SYS line




After booting your machine, the recorder will be usable as standard CDROM drive, and you will nevertheless be able to attach the CD to your filesystem. But please ensure that you're not using the CDROM drive letter at the same time when the CDR is attached to RSJ's filesystem, otherwise this will result in errors.

September 18, 1998 Here is a tip a useful tip from Rolly Green on running Netscape from PMMail, but it can also be applied to other mail or any other program that calls a web browser:

Pick up from:

Unzip, and you will find netscdde.exe. I placed that in my OS2 directory. Now open PMMail/Settings/General. Then change the browser setting from:

Netscape to x:\os2\netscdde.exe.
Change the parameter to an X, (upper case)
Make sure the type is PM.
That's all there is to it.
When you click on a URL in PMMail, and Netscape is not running, netscdde will ask if you want it started. If it is running, a little window pops up from netscdde, netscape comes to the front and processes the URL. The little window disappears. Real neat.

Editor's note: here is the help screen from Ulrich Möller's Netscape DDE Interface to see what other options are available.

September 15, 1998 From Brandon S. Allbery on the IBM OS/2 Unedited Discussion List <OS2-L@NIC.SURFNET.NL> comes this tip on using LXlite:

LXLite normally runs in an idle thread; rc5des proceeds to suck up all available idle cycles, and LXLite doesn't even get cycles to exit with. (Reading the documentation is always a good thing :-)

There's an option (/I- IIRC) to LXLite which forces it to run at normal priority.

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