Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

November 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 23, 1998 - Our first tip of the month is from Jon Saxton on the TeamOS/2 Help List, in response to a question seeking an app to mark bad sectors on a disk drive.

A long format will do that provided you have a fixpack installed. Any one. There was a problem in the GA version of HPFS which hid disk errors so doing a long format before you apply a fixpack is a complete waste of time. It was corrected in FP1.

Hard disks usually don't have bad spots; they're all mapped out during low-level formatting. Long formats are most useful on removable media such as Zip, Jaz, MO and so on

October 23, 1998 - Good news from Mike Kaply on the Communicator/2 Mail List about smart browsing, one of the few new features in the non-OS/2 version 4.06 of Communicator.

Actually, go to your 4.04 for OS/2 URL bar and type Ford Ranger

Watch the magic

Smart Browing is already there


October 24, 1998 - here's a tip from Tom Nadeau

I've just finished a review of DriveCopy 2.0 for POSSI, which should be published in the Nov. issue. However, one pertinent detail should be made known to ALL OS/2 users:

If you use Boot Manager and allow DriveCopy 2.0 to copy the entire drive, your Boot Manager menu will be hosed -- only DOS and Windows remain on the menu. You must boot to OS/2 diskettes, run OS/2 Fdisk, and add the OS/2 bootable partition(s) back to the Boot Manager menu manually.

October 24, 1998 - Ron Ross has this hint if you need to add more then one user to your Communicator for OS/2 setup

Look in the Communicator 4.04 folder, that was created at installation, for the Netscape User Profile Manager. It allows creation of profiles for multiple individual users.

October 26, 1998 - Here's a heads up to folks having problems with Lexmark printers and Comm/2 from Duane A. Chamblee, on the OS/2 List:

If you haven't noticed the IBMPCL driver that LexMark Laser printers use prints graphics from Communicator upside-down.

There is a workaround, at least for some of the the Lexmarks...Basically, using a compatible HP LaserJet driver.

Our Optra L printer also is compatible with the HP LaserJet 4, so I loaded those drivers (create a new printer object on the same LPT port) and now Comm/2 prints just fine. Look in the booklet that comes with the Lexmark printers for compatible drivers...

Hope this helps.

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

October 27, 1998 - If you have a lot of URL's on your Comm/2 personal toolbar, you are limited to 14 for the current release according to Mike Kaply on the Comm/2 mail list:

I just found the 14 harcoded in the toolbar code.

That will be upped to maybe 25 or so for the OS/2 version in the future.


November 2, 1998 - Again a Communicator for OS/2 tip. Have you gone to any sites recently and been told that your operating system is not supported (what a bunch of windoze weenies). Well if you really want to get into a site, and they at least support Communicator for Windows here's a tip for you from Sergey on the Comm/2 mail list:

user_pref("", true);
Set it and Comm will report himself as Windows version

Editor note: Be aware that according to Mike Kaply in a later reply to this post, this user preference setting can be problematic in that the reverse (setting "true" to "false" does not work. So if you want to stop having Comm/2 report itself as a windoze version you have to remove it from the prefs.js file. I tried this on a ZDS site and it does work. I removed it after trying it, since I don't want my browser hits to be counted as coming from the dark side.

November 6, 1998 - And yet still another Comm/2 tip, again from Mike Kaply on the Comm/2 mail list. if you are having a problem with printing from Comm/2 where it appears as if it's viewed in a mirror:

If only the text mirrors, switch your printer font to be a truetype font such as Times Roman MT 30, Arial, or Courier New.

That should fix it.


November 7, 1998 - Sorry, I promise this is the last Netscape related tip for the month. This from Andrea Penna on the Comm/2 mail list (I do monitor many others, but this one has been a treasure trove this month).

Just thought I'd pass along this tip that I discovered. If you need to change the web browser that Smartsuite apps call when you click one of their Internet buttons (like Organizer's button to go to the Almanack page), or send the URL to the currently running copy of Netscape instead of launching a new instance, you need to do this:

Launch REGEDIT2.EXE in the /OS2/SYSTEM directory.
Expand the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT tree.
Scroll down to "http" and expand it all the way down (through "shell" and "open") until you come to "command".
Right click on the data in the "(Default)" key, pick "Modify", and change the path to the new browser, making sure it's followed with a "%1" (which represents the URL).
Close RegEdit.

You shouldn't need to reboot, but you might need to restart any SS components that are running.

If you want to send the URL to the currently running Netscape/2 session, you need to grab the utility called XFolder from You don't need to install the whole thing, you just want the program NETSCDDE.EXE that comes with it. Set that as your browser using the above method, and it will feed whatever URL is passed to it to the currently running Netscape session - or start Netscape if it -isn't- already running.
Andrea Penna - Ferrara - Italy
JS, PGP, HTML manuals, free web index, OS/2

November 8, 1998 - I've been using OS/2 for 6 years now and did not know the following fact pointed out by Duane Bielling on OS/2 List:

I clicked on the WarpCenter's version of the window list and specified "Desktop" only to see all my windows to get minimized (even a seamless Win-OS/2 window). If this is a feature, I like it; if this is a bug, tell me which APAR fixes is so I can avoid it. :-)

Take care,

November 12, 1998 - I haven't tried the following, but Dan Casey swears this may help if you get "the locked file device driver is loaded" message and a system halt on boot:

There may be some remnant of an "Install" lurking in your CONFIG.SYS file. Boot to a command prompt (ALT-F1 at the white rectangle) and run CLEANUP.EXE from the command prompt. This will "Cleanup" your CONFIG.SYS file, and *should* allow you to boot normally, once again.

November 14, 1998 - Here's a tip from Brandon S. Allbery in response to a post on OS/2-L asking about how to fix an error that happens when you open the system editor (e.exe) from the desktop menu. (He had added it by going to Desktop properties > menu tab and dragging the OS/2 System Editor object to the Actions on Menu section).

Put a percent sign in the Parameters: field. (And click the Help button to see the whole story. :-)

The reason for the error is that OS/2 passes the object name (directory name, in this case) to the program as a command line argument unless told otherwise.

Editor note: I tried this and it works. Thanks Brandon.

November 15, 1998 - Our final tip is from David Eckard and was posted on the OS/2-L.

If you use a SET command to set parameters, you can undo it with a - sign.

Example is this situation. I can undo pause with a '/-p.' I can also say, list all but directories like this... 'dir /a-d'

It also reverses for example 'dir /o-s' for list largest files first.

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