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December 1999

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

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.

November 5, 1999 - Our first tip of the month appeared on the Netscape 4 for OS/2 mail list. Henk Pol suggested this trick to view a URL that had an embedded space. Why anyone would put a space in a URL is beyond me, but if you run into one try Henk's tip:

When you put in place of the space a , %20, the pages loads with no problems...


November 16, 1999 - Steve Levine had the answer on the POSSI Discussion List when someone needed to know how to change the default VIO window size:

To reset the default window size, close all VIO windows, but one. Resize the window and then (hope I remember this correctly), Shift-Left Click on the title bar. Close the window and reopen it to test. If that doesn't work, try Ctrl-Left-Click.

November 17, 1999 - On the OS/2 Discussion List Someone asked "When someone using Win9x creates a netBEUI share, and I do a NET USE R: \\someone\share I dont "see" the long filenames, but I get the stupid ~tilda characters. Is there anything that can be done about it?" Brandon s. Allbery had the following advise:

Yes, but it's fairly ugly. Win9x exports the short names to OS/2 because OS/2 advertizes itself as supporting only an older version of the NetBIOS protocol (LM10).

Unfortunately, if you tell OS/2 to support the newer protocol (NB30) the NetBIOS drivers won't load. Or wouldn't as of Warp 4 with no Peer fixpaks applied, at least.


in IBMLAN.W9X, change all occurrences of LM10 to NB30
boot without starting requester

(You could conceivably add the above to NETSTCMD.CMD (IIRC) and let the requester start at boot, instead.)

This should cause Peer to advertize NetBIOS 3.x compatibility, enabling long file names.

November 19, 1999 - Peter Skye gave these instructions to someone seeking to filter mail to folders in Netscape:

Hold down the Ctrl key while you click on the additional messages. You can deselect a message the same way.

You can also set up a filter, so the arriving messages automatically go to specified folders. Create a SORT.DAT text file in the \mail\ subdirectory and put the filter rules in it. (I do this in Netscape 2.02 - somebody tell me if it doesn't work in Netscape 4.x.)

To filter smith@smith.net into SmithFolder, use this line:

SmithFolder From smith@smith.net

You can use either spaces or tabs between the values, and you can filter on From, Reply-To, To, maybe other things as well.

I prioritize my folders with a leading number so they stay in the sequence I want, i.e.:

01-Possi Reply-To discussion@possi.org
99-Yech From windowstechjournal@somewhere.net

Note very carefully that these fields are CaSe SeNsItIvE and they must match _exactly_. If you change your From address to Smith@Smith.net, the filter will stop working.

Trick: Filter on Reply-To for mail lists. If someone sends a message to a mail list that you're on _and_ sends you a private copy, this puts the mail list copy into the mail list folder and the private copy into your Inbox.

November 19, 1999 - Need to know about UDF? Here's some info posted by Lorne Sunley on comp.os.os2.moderated:

The Software Choice DVD support is for the UDF file system as opposed to the ISO 9660 file system that is used for CD-ROM disks. Most of the time a UDF file system (DVD disk) can be mounted as an ISO file system and allow you to see the files. The UDF file system is "semi" "backwards compatible" with the ISO file system. (sometines, sort of). That allows you to see the files on a DVD disk when you are using the OS/2 CDIFS.IFS file system handler. There is a quick blurb about it here. http://www.trylinux.com/projects/udf/

November 19, 1999 - Need to know a way to send a modem string to the com port either with a rexx script or batch file? Andrew offered this on the os2user list:

copy con com1

November 23, 1999 - Having a problem with Partition Magic 4.0 and OS/2? Iain Allen offers this insight on the POSSI Discussion list:

The problem is right there in the part where you mention using Partition Magic 4.0! Whenever I've tried using it on a large drive with an Extended partition on it, it will switch the Extended partition from a 05 ID to a 0F type. All I do to make it usable for OS/2 is to boot a Linux floppy boot so that I can use it's FDISK utility to switch the ID back to 05. It works fine after that. Alternate utilities exist to alter the ID I'm sure.

The limit to be aware of after that is around 8.3GB. It is possible that the BIOS will not handle a bootable partition after the 1024 cylinders that usually end around that point. You have to rely on just what the BIOS will provide until the system boots. Once you boot from something lower than a partition that goes over that limit, the space above is usable by OS/2 without any problem on currently used drive sizes.

It would appear that PQ think that only Windows users use large drives...

November 24, 1999 - Looking for a PCMCIA card reader for a digital camera's smart media cards? Here's a suggestion from James Himmelman on comp.os.os2.misc:

I bought an ActionTec Smartmedia to PCMCIA adapter. I got it to work with my Desktop "Swapbox" ISA PCMCIA reader. I can now transfer dozens of images in a matter of seconds from my Olympus Smartmedia to my desktop computer.

It wasn't easy though. I found PCMCIA and OS/2's Plug and Play to be very poorly documented. It took a lot of searching through online documents before I got a combination of CONFIG.SYS entries that made it work. Here are a few things that might help.

First, you must have Plug and Play for OS/2 installed. If you are using a laptop, then you probably already have that. Then the key is in the BASEDEV=PCM2ATA.ADD statement in your
CONFIG.SYS I found I had to reserve a drive letter using the /MDRV switch.

My statement looks like this -

/S: tells it that my reader has one slot (it has two, I'll explain why I do this in a minute).
/MDRV:1 tells it to reserve 1 drive letter for mounting.
I forget what /!DM was for.
After that, when I plug in the card, it shows up in my Plug and Play for PCMCIA application. I then run ATAMNT2 (should be in your Plug and Play folder) and assign a drive letter to the card. It then works like a hard drive.

Once set up, it is easier than it sounds. I set ATAMNT2 to launch automatically when the card is plugged in, so all I do is plug in the card, select the drive letter, and drag and drop the images. Each slot, and each reserved drive (from /MDRV:1) reserves a drive letter, pushing my CD-R drive letter further back. since I only use my desktop reader for my camera flash, I didn't see the need to waste 4 drive letters (two slots and two reserved drive), so I told it I have one slot and need one extra drive. I have not found a away to get the CD-R to grab a drive letter ahead of the PCMCIA services - maybe if I juggled the CONFIG.SYS entries, but it's not that big a deal to me.

I'd like to not have to reserve an extra drive letter for "mounting". I wish I could just plug the card in and use it on the drive letter that the PCMCIA slot ALREADY claimed - but I never got it to work like that. Here is a page that I found most helpful from IBM's online Redbooks - http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/support/thinkpad/uguide/600/c79ehm24.htm Scroll down and it explains the CONFIG.SYS entries and their switches.

November 25, 1999 - Charles Jefferson II offered this pointer on the VOICE Help List for people looking for help with setting up a cable modem under OS/2:

Here is another link for Cable Modem, to include a blurb for OS/2 the main page:

The OS/2 info:

November 26, 1999 - Who but an IBMer to explain what the acronyms PMR and APAR mean. Anand Krishnamoorthy of OS/2 Base Support tells us on comp.os.os2.bugs:

PMR - stands for Problem Management Record and is the one which contains details about the s/w and h/w and also the actions taken towards solving it.

APAR- (Authorised Program Analysis Report) is one which is created after a bug is

November 26, 1999 - Bruce offered an answer to a question how to Drag items on the desktop using ACECATIII digitizer as sole the pointing device:

Don't let the tip touch when you press button two on top (the tip press counts as a button 1 press). It's a little tricky as you also can't pull the wand very far away from the board before it "disconnects".

November 28, 1999 - It's getting tougher to find SCSI scanners to run with OS/2 these days since USB is taking over the lower end of that market. Here's a tip from Xav on the OS/2 Discussion list for getting the Astra 1220S scanner to work with CFM's TWAIN for OS/2:

Found this on dejanews:-


1.CFM Twain for OS/2
and After install the Software.
Edit the file: \OS2\TWAIN\CFM50\SCANNER.INI and add the following:

[Astra 1220S]

November 29, 1999 - Seems now that it's getting toward the end of 1999, a question has come up about security certificates in the different versions of Netscape for OS/2. Julien Pierre of Theta Band Software http://www.madbrain.com offers this description of site certificates:

Company certificates are signed by Certificate Authorities - CA for short. It is up to you to decide which CA you trust. To access a secure site signed by a certain CA, you need to have the cert of the CA in your browser, and it must be marked as trusted.

By default, to make things easier, browsers such as Netscape come with a number of trusted CAs, including Verisign, RSA, Thawte, and other CAs.

But for some reason, some of those CA certs were set to expire within a few years. It was anticipated that the browsers would keep being upgraded very frequently so this wasn't supposed to be a problem. But the browser upgrade pace slowed down quite a bit. The result is that if you are still using an old browser such as Netscape Navigator 2.02, then you don't have current CA certs. For example, the original Thawte CA was set to expire in July 1998. You have to delete that Thawte CA and upgrade it as explained at http://www.thawte.com/certs/server/rollover.html.

But what you should really do is upgrade to a more recent browser, which will have the more current CA certs. This is likely to become a problem with other CAs. I believe the original Verisign CA is set to expire pretty soon.

In the case of BMT micro, it's their responsibility to tell you to upgrade your browser cert.

I use a secure server with a Thawte certificate for Theta Band, and our order page at http://www.thetaband.com/ordering/index.html mentions it.

editor's note: for more on this and to check on the certificate expiration in your version see https://www.thawte.com/certs/server/browsers.html

November 29, 1999 - Here's a tip from Ron Wyllys on the InCharge mail list for folks who might want to download stock quotes for importing into InCharge:

I get my quotes from Yahoo, specifically from


One sets up a portfolio for oneself there; I chose only to follow certain stocks, not to have my full portfolio, i.e., numbers of shares, etc., stored by MyYahoo. One gives one's portfolio a name, e.g., JOHNDOE. MyYahoo provides current quotes for each stock included in the portfolio. Clicking on JOHNDOE on the my.yahoo.com page leads one to a second page, on which there is an option to download the portfolio in spreadsheet format. One names and saves the resulting downloaded file, and InCharge imports easily from that file. Once you've set things up, the whole process takes only a few seconds.

November 29, 1999 - Andrew(Sector) offered this tip to me on #voice on IRC.

Install a PostScript printer drive, using the job properties of this printer object tell it to print to a Raw Postrscript file or an Encapsulated postscript file. Have the program print to this file and you'll have a PS or EPS file. I used the Apple Laserwriter. The plain old Apple LaserWriter doesn't support more then 300dpi.

November 29, 1999 - I recently had a problem where aevery time I tried to open a particular folder on my desktop my system would lockup. Same thing when I tried to delete the errant folder. I was just about to the point where I was going to revert back to a rather old desktop archive when I saw the following tip on TEAMOS2HELP List courtesy of Peter French. It fixed the problem and I was able to delete the folder and reinstall the software:

"from my tips and tricks archive; Double click the drives object for my E: drive and the system would hang when it would start to populate the folder. Any other drive was no problem. I did Alt-F1 and booted to a command prompt. I then went to the E: drive and did attrib -h -s "wp root. sf" to unhide the file that contains the WPS info for the drive. I renamed it to "wp_root._baksf" just in case I needed to restore it and rebooted. When the system came back up everything was fine. Evidently the file had got hosed at some point. WPS creates this file when it access the drive object if it doesn't already exist. (Author unknown) "

December 2, 1999 - Have a need to copy files via FTP without changing the timestamp? Some other apps may do it, but if you are using Emtec FTP, make sure you heed the following from Erik P. Olsen on the POSSI list:

On the "Control Panel" select: File -> Configure FTP... and check "Keep download timestamp".

December 2, 1999 - Need to copy a partition from an old drive to a new one? Here's a tip from Lorne Sunley, posted on comp.os.os2.setup.storage:

Install the new drive as a secodnary drive, leaving your old drive in place. Boot from a set of floppies that have the updated IBM1S506.ADD driver. The updated IBM1S506.ADD is necessary if either drive is > 4 gig.

FDISK the new drive with partitions that match the ones on the old drive (they can be larger of course). You want to have matching partitions so that the drive letters won't change when you are running from the new drive.

If you are using HPFS for the drive the command
XCOPY c:\* x:\ /h /o /t /s /e /r /v
will copy everything and as long as the new drive has the same drive letter assignment as the old drive had (before it was removed) you should be able to boot and run without any problem (famous last words :-) Do this for each partition (drive letter) on the old drive to a matching partition on the new drive.

Remove the old drive, make the new one the primary drive. If the old drive has a FAT boot partition you will have to boot from the installation floppies and use the SYSINSTX C: command to set up the new drive to boot. This is not necessary with HPFS drives.

December 2, 1999 - It's fast approaching tax time in the U.S.. Here are some posts about Kiplinger's TaxCut99 which, if you are careful can help you out with this annual chore:

From Monroe Chasson on comp.os.os2.apps:
I installed Kiplingers Taxcut 99 in WinOS2 and it looks like last years and runs in full screen session without problems, although it scrolls slowly. Like previous years it will not run in a seamless window. The current price in NYC is $15 less a $7 rebate in a couple of months. I dont care for the overly fussy screen but it works well enough to do the job and the price is right.

And from Julien Pierre on comp.os.os2.apps:
In 1998, I purchased Taxcut Federal, Taxcut for the state of California, and Taxcut for business. The first two ran fine in Win-OS/2 like in 1997, however Taxcut for business was a problem. There are two CDs in the business version - one for Corporations and one for LLCs/partnership. The later is a 32-bit application for Win95/98/NT only ... This happened to be the one I needed. I got a refund from Kiplinger and had to do the business taxes manually. I have also learned that only half of the state editions of Taxcut have 16-bit Win3.1 versions that will run in Win-OS/2; and the other half is only for 95/98/NT. So check with Kiplinger before buying the product to see if the edition you need has a 16-bit version.

December 2, 1999 - Here's a rather detailed set of instructions for trying to get a PCI modem to work under OS/2 from Doug Bissett as posted on comp.os.os2.comm:

You will find that neither IBM (the help desks), or 3COM, know very much about OS/2 (unless you want to buy a very expensive service contract). The BEST source of information, is right here in the news groups.

I don't know if you will get the 56K PCI modem to work, that will depend on exactly what it is (If it is a WinModem, it will NOT work with anything but windows-> If this is the case, take it back and get a real modem).

Your 33.6K external modem SHOULD work, with nothing more than the standard OS/2 comm driver.

You did not describe your setup, so I will assume that you have two, serial ports on your machine, and you added the 56K PCI modem to that, as COM3. I will also assume that you have a PS/2 type mouse (NOT a serial mouse).

OK, that puts your external modem as COM1, or COM2. The DEFAULT assumptions about COM1, are that it is address 3F8, IRQ4. The DEFAULT assumptions about COM2, are that it is address 2F8, IRQ3. No other assumptions are made, you must tell COM.SYS about anything that is different (Go to an OS/2 command line window, and type HELP COM.SYS for more help). I am not sure how you tried to install the PCI modem, but I would suggest removing it (physically) until you get the external modem working. That way, you can get the modem, and the software working with OS/2, and then add the PCI modem later, when you have less things to wonder about).

There is no "Control Panel" in OS/2. The closest that you get is the System Setup folder. The only useful thing there, is the Hardware Manager program, which may tell you something.

Now, to make life easier, if you have a DOS COM program (like TELIX, or BITCOM, or??? Many modems have one shipped with it), try to get it to work with the modem (the external one, not the PCI modem). Most people find that using DOS, to verify that the modem actually works, is MUCH easier than trying to figure out what you need in OS/2, and whether it is an OS/2 configuration problem, a COM program configuration problem, or an actual hardware problem. Once you verify
that the modem actually works, then you can concentrate on the OS/2 configuration, and the program configuration.
What you need is a COM program. There is HyperACCESS Lite, on the OS/2 install CD, (go to System Setup-> Install/Remove-> Selective Install.

Go in (without selecting anything), about three, or four screens (until you get a list with check boxes, which includes Bonus Pack)-> Check Bonus Pack-> click on the MORE button, then check the box beside HyperACCESS lite (turn off the rest, unless there is something else that you want)-> click next, or OK, to let it install the software. HyperACCESS Lite, is not very intuitive, but it will work, once you get it configured. Better yet, get a real COM program. I prefer ZOC, from: http://www.emtec.com/

OK, now for the basics.
You need a couple of lines in your CONFIG.SYS:
If they are not there, you are not loading the COM driver, which is required. As described above, you may need to add some parameters to define what resources your modem is assigned (address, IRQ etc.). Add them, if they are not there. Look for the following group of items
and put them immediately after this sequence.

Now, for some of the more common errors:
NEVER try to share an IRQ on a serial port (The PCI card may be an exception, I am not sure how that is handled), even if the IRQ is not really used by the other device (some people say that you can share an unused printer IRQ7 with a modem. NOT TRUE, if there is, in fact, a parallel port -> used, or not <- in the machine).

If you have a serial mouse, you must load the mouse driver BEFORE you load the COM driver (this, usually, causes problems with the mouse).

December 3, 1999 - If you use Netscape for your mail (I don't so I can't confirm this) here is a tip on how to get rid of the Netcenter window from Matt Needles on the OS2USER list:

add the following line to the end of the PREFS.JS file in the subdir that contains your userprofile:

user_pref("mailnews.start_page.enabled", false);

December 4, 1999 - Have a Matrox video card and installed the latest driver ( http://www.matrox.com/mga/drivers/files/os2_236.htm ) and wonder what MGACHK.exe does? Here's the answer from Daniela Engert on the OS/2 Hardware list:

MGACHK refreshes the crappy serial EEPROMs found on some early batches of MGA G100 and G200 boards. If these aren't rewritten within a certain limit of time, they lose their contents and the video is nonfunctional. Bit decay is no longer a tell tale story

December 9, 1999 - If you encounter a problem trying to install VisualAge Java 3.0 ( http://www7.software.ibm.com/vad.nsf/webdlvajava3?OpenView&Count=5&TargetFrame=webdlvajava3 )? Steven Levine suggested the following work around on the Aurora List:

It's not just Aurora. VAJ for OS/2 appears to again have been given limited testing with predictable results. I helped someone get it installed by pointing NS at one of the HTML files in the language specific subdirectory. Try:

1) change directory to: ivj30\install\EN_US\install
2) execute: netscape file:///n.htm

December 10, 1999 - On comp.os.os2.misc, Irv Spalten of IBM offered these words of fixpak wisdom:

US FP's are applicable to ALL NLV versions. The 'risk' you run is basically MRI (messages) we now appear in English if any were included in the FP, and possible code page changes. For UK, this would be a very small inconvienence, but for other languages, it could be a significant change. You can alway use the US FP until the NLV is available, and then backout the US and apply the NLV. We do NOT change content (even if problems are found in the US FP) when we release an NLV FP, it is the same, except for the MRI and codepages, that appears in the US (DBCS of course have the 'extra' stuff, as well as the BIDI countries). Any FP that has a '_' or '0' as the third character of the name is considered 'generic' and can be applied to an NLV version. If there is ANY other character there, it can ONLY be applied to system that have the same corresponding character in the 3rd position of the appropriate SYSLEVEL.XXX file.

December 13, 1999 - We are getting close to 01/01/00, so if you want to keep abreast of any last minute fixes for OS/2 Y2K compliance here is yet another tip from Irv Spalten of IBM, this time on comp.os.os2.bugs:

I'll be updating this URL, http://ps.software.ibm.com/pbin-usa-ps/getobj.pl?/pdocs-usa/fixnews.html#y2knew, if there are ANY Y2K issues that appear for OS/2 and we have a fix for. If there are issues that we discover, but no fix is available (with our contingency plans, I don't forsee how we could have a problem and no fix) this URL, http://ps.software.ibm.com/pbin-usa-ps/getobj.pl?/pdocs-usa/fixnews.html, would be updated with a new NEWS item.

December 13, 1999 - Yet another long time OS/2 developer has thrown in the towel yet has decided to make their final version freely available for download. Embellish, an excellent graphic imaging program by Dadaware is available for download at http://www.dadaware.com. If you get it and have a problem installing do to missing files, here is advise from Elton Woo on on the TeamOS/2 Help List:

Either " Run pmseek to find EPFIPII.DLL, and copy it to \os2\dll. The install will continue as it should."

editor note: These DLL's appear to be part of the old IBM Software Installer. If you have installed Netscape or most any IBM application you should have a copy on your disk somewhere. I have a number of different versions. If you're not sure which version to use, best to go with the latest version, since IBM is usually good about backward compatibility.

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