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November 2004

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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.


  1. The First Word.
  2. Ooops! "Your Desktop Cannot Be Found".
  3. PMView Colors Don't Match The Original?
  4. HDD Stuck Tight? Light From "The Dark Early Days".
  5. Change Z-Order: System Editor Opens In Front.
  6. MMAudio Pack And eCS.
  7. Tips For Mozilla-Warpzilla: A Website.
  8. It's Official: There's An eComStation Newsgroup On USENET.
  9. PMView: Three Ways To Create Slideshows.
  10. "Unimaint For Dummies".
  11. Reboot? Just Reset!
  12. Check All Your Bookmarks' URLs?
  13. Tame, And Ghostscript Page Size.
  14. Slooow Bootup in eCS: Not OS2DASD.
  15. The Last Word

Oct 15, 2004 - The First Word.

As in: YKE always has the first word. His column, yes? Well, no. It's your column. It should be. I want it to be.

When reading online material, YKE likes plenty of white space. Easier for aging eyes to follow the text, but it can make scrolling back/forth a pain. Sooo. . .

I'll try to keep this up; but composing is only semi-automatic, and is a lot of work. Make it worthwhile: Send Tips!

I'm no end grateful for your so-far kind remarks (cf. The Last Word way below). I'll be ever-so-much more grateful if the remarks (kind or otherwise) come wrapped in a Tip!


"Around 19-ought-six" - Ooops! "Your Desktop Cannot Be Found" (Any OS/2 derivative) (Beginner, we hope!)

"19-ought-six"?? Means really old; "Golden Oldies" almost. But anyway, two Tips here, for the price of one.
Rarely after booting into Warp - eCS, you may see that ominous message flash on the screen. Worse: . . .no Desktop! Or maybe the system seems to boot OK, but the Desktop "isn't quite right" - for example some of WarpCenter's buttons don't work.

YKE has seen both these tips scattered 'round the Internet for years, but recommends you check out this site:

They've a nice set of tips (including the two above) and explanations from which almost anyone might learn something.


Sept. 15, 2004 - PMView Colors Don't Match The Original? (Warp - eCS) (Beginner)

In comp.os.os2.apps, "luth-astro" was perplexed:

I'm having trouble getting PMView to save what I'm seeing on the screen. Graphics save/reload in more colors than were in the displayed graphic.

For instance, I clip out a tiny segment of a graphic and use various color controls to turn it into an abstract art kind of thing with, perhaps, 4 colors, like black, white, red and yellow. I convert it from deep color to 16 color and save it. Upon reloading, PMView once again says it is deep color and the few colors are now displayed as many.

Similarly, if I load an OS2LOGO file (various blues), the color palette shows the blues, brown, red, pink, yellow, purple, a couple greens, etc. Saving it changes the file size and reloading it may or may not show an altered appearance. I've set save options to high quality, no dithering, no smoothing, no optimizing, etc.

Is there anything I can do about this?

Yup! Peter Nielsen (PMView's author) answered:

Simple solution: Save as PNG, GIF, or any non-lossy format. The JPEG File Interchange Format (JFIF) is a lossy format and will mess up your colors. Read more about it here:


Sept 16, 2004 - HDD Stuck Tight? Light From "The Dark Early Days". (Any machine) (Intermediate -> uh, Expert?)

The title says it all. YKE is tempted to add "Don't try this at home" it.

In the DFSee-support forum, Bart Bremmers' grindy-sounding and data-laden HDD wasn't going to boot! He was trying just everything.

Mike O'connor was helping out. . .

Hi Bart, I thought that you mightn't realise just how bad a symptom that was -- what I meant was don't waste time trying to access those BIOS features until such time as the disk does respond to the "start unit" command.

I have read that sometimes sticky spindles can be freed up [long enough for you to transfer the data off the disk] by gentle tapping!

. . .when Will Honea suggested a bigger "hammer":

Just for sticky spindles, there are a few more tricks from the dark, early days that sometimes help as "last resort" methods for drives with spinup issues.

The one I've used most is the icebox method - stick the drive in the freezer for half an hour or so then plug it in and start before it warms up. Read everything immediately.

If that proves to aggravate the problem, use a hair drier and heat the drive until it's uncomfortable to the touch and try again.

The real trick is to be sure and turn off all the spin-down options so that if you ever do get it spinning it keeps turning until you are done (or it is, whichever comes first). I do recall one old Seagate drive that ran for several years but refused to start up without the icebox treatment after any power interruption.

YKE has used all three methods (once each) over 20-plus years. Worked each time; but you don't want to count on it.
Scary? You bet! Still, if you're penniless and desperate. . .


Sept. 17, 2004 - Change Z-Order: System Editor Opens In Front. (Warp; eCS) (All levels)

A while ago YKE's System Editor - E.EXE - began to open behind other open windows. It had always opened in front. "Googling" around, I found a discussion of the issue in comp.os.os2.bugs (June 2004).

Frank Fortson had the "fix", saying simply:

Use /F as param to E.EXE --> force change in z-order.

The fascinating discussion suggested the "/F" was needed because E.EXE was designed to open behind (though mine never had).

Aaron Lawrence's very nice "AE" replacement always has opened in front without the added parameter. The "fixed" E.EXE which omits an EOF mark in files doesn't seem to need it either. Find both on Hobbes.

But Frank's right: Once again my "E" opens . . .in front!


Sept 20, 2004 - MMAudio Pack And eCS. (eCS) (Any level)

There was a discussion in, from which Mark Dodel forwards this snippet:

One correspondent (name unknown to YKE) complained that. . .

People have found that the new minstall won't install the following classes:

David Graser replied:

I asked Martin [Kiewitz] about this. . ., and he [Martin] had this response.

Just insert the following line in files.scr:

0     1     0     0     "install.dll"

And it will work.


Sept 30, 2004 - Tips For Mozilla-Warpzilla: A Website. (Any OS/2 derivative) (Beginner on up)

Surfing the Web, looking for something else, YKE re-discovered Steve Wendt's site. Mozilla geeks already will know it; the rest of us might need reminding:

Tips for Warpzilla - Mozilla for OS/2   (

A superior site, it's updated frequently and describes which plugins work, where to get them, Prefs.js additions/modifications you may want to make, etc. etc.

Since IBM's Web Browser (shipped with eCS) is Mozilla-based, many but not all, the material should apply to the eCS browser as well.


Oct 2, 2004 - It's Official: There's An eComStation Newsgroup On USENET. (eCS) (Any level)

After the drawn-out official process ran its course, and after the proposal was accepted on a 175:20 vote, now our eCS buddies have their very own official USENET newsgroup!

VOICE News forwarded a message from Russ Allbery posted Sat, 2 Oct 2004 on news.groups: now shows:

"comp.os.os2.ecomstation     Serenity Systems operating system eComStation."

Does this mean I can ask my ISP to add it to my Usenet feed?

Yes. The newgroup control message was sent yesterday afternoon (and will be followed up with booster messages today, a week from yesterday, and a month from yesterday).

eCS aficianados now should subscribe to this new group, but you may have to request that your ISP carry it. E.g.: as of Oct 15 2004, YKE's ISP isn't carrying it yet.

So the Tip is: Pester your ISP to make it available to you.


Oct 3, 2004 - PMView: Three Ways To Create Slideshows. (Any OS/2 derivative) (Any level)

PMView certainly is one of the really popular image viewers for OS/2 - eCS. Its author Peter Nielsen continues to perform a yeoman's service to our community. To accomplish some of its increasingly demanding tasks, he sometimes must make changes which may trip the unwary.

One of these tripped up "luth-astro," reported in comp.os.os2.apps:

Installing PMV Pro apparently grabbed its configuration from the 2000 installation. Yet slideshows seem to be very different.

Peter Nielsen explains:

Yes, it is a bit different because one the three ways to create slideshows has changed. The reason for the change is due to new functionality. PMView Pro allows the user to load the file sequencer with a specified set of files. This is the default behavior in PMView Pro when you hit Open in the File Open window. (Pressing the Open button has the same effect as selecting Open->Open in current window from the file object popup menu).

There are three ways to create slideshows. The first one is different from PMView 2000 as you have to use the file object popup menu instead of the Open pushbutton. The other two ways have not changed and remain the same:

  1. Select the files you want in the File Open window. Then right click on one of the selected files and select Open->Open in slideshow from the file object popup menu.
  2. Select File->New->Slideshow top open a new slideshow. Drag files from the file open window to the slideshow.
  3. Right click on a folder in the left pane of the File Open window. Select Slideshow->This folder only. Alternatively, if you want all files from the underlying folders too, then select Slideshow->All subfolders.


Oct 5, 2004 - "Unimaint For Dummies" (Any OS/2 derivative) (Beginner, hmmm?)

A surpising lot of folk have Unimaint; but many are afraid to use it. It can be intimidating - scary even.

But there are two things every owner should know how to do, and they're among the simplest and easiest functions offered:

Both C. Arnold's CleanINI and H. Kelder's Checkini do *.INI cleaning, and usually very well. But. . ., there are times when they don't. CleanINI saves a backup of one INI file; Checkini saves a backup of both. Neither saves the Desktop in a manner to allow complete reconstruction.

In either case, if your system's really in trouble, then you'll be glad you own Unimaint.

To back up your Desktop in Unimaint:

  1. Open Unimaint.
  2. On the taskbar click Back desk (white cross on red background).
  3. Wait a bit while stuff flows by in a command window.
  4. On return to the main page, examine the note in the entry box.
  5. Accept it (date/time, usually), or change it to suit your taste.
  6. Close Unimaint. Now that's simple and easy!

To clean up your INI files in Unimaint:

  1. Open Unimaint
  2. On the taskbar, click on File
  3. Select either User INI or System INI by clicking one.
  4. Click on the Repair icon (white ambulance on blue background): That provides a new page.
  5. Do not click any boxes.
  6. Report only button is selected by default. If it's not, then click to select it.
  7. At the bottom of the page, click Execute.

If this is your "first time" <smirk>, be amazed at the accumulated garbage shown in the listing! Look at all the scary messages: "Invalid", "Path/file not found", . . .!

Not to worry! Remember that Report only you selected? Nothing's been changed!
Now though, if you want, you can fix the problems Unimaint's found:

  1. First, and especially if this is your "first time", examine the entire list. This is where you get to choose items to fix, or decide on a total fix.
  2. Above the windowed listing, find two buttons:
  3. Select one of those two buttons.
  4. Click Execute
  5. Close Unimaint. That's fairly easy also, isn't it?

For the record, if your text or icons should not be quite what I've described, I'm using Unimaint v5.10.23.

This is such a simple, painless process that YKE cleans his INI files (and backs-up his Desktop) about weekly. The security that affords allows him to be the (almost) fearless experimenter that he is.

Also for the record: Unimaint only rarely fails to do its job. If it does, CleanINI and Checkini may be needed as well. In fact, for really tough cases, all three may be needed: Unimaint, CleanINI and Checkini sequentially and repeatedly - in a "round-robin" manner. Yes, multiple re-boots. The next Tip won't help.


Oct 5, 2004 - Reboot? Just Reset! (Any OS/2 derivative) (All levels)

In comp.os.os2.misc, Brian Kelly was commenting on the "need" for rebooting after changing the way time was displayed in a clock application:

(Personally I don't understand why the designers thought it necessary that a reboot be required to achieve such a minor presentational change; perhaps they'd caught M$-itis [although even Windoze doesn't require a reboot after switching between 12/24, IIRC].)

William Hartzell reminded him that:

Just resetting the desktop is all that is needed.

Sometimes we forget the multiple ways OS/2-eCS can do things. Restart desktop is always worth a try. -yke


Oct 6, 2004 - Check All Your Bookmarks' URLs? (Any OS/2 derivative) (All levels)

In netscape.public.mozilla.os2 Ray Davison sounded a bit plaintive:

NS had a function that would attempt to connect to every bookmark and flag those it could not find. I do not find such a function in Mozilla. Is there such a function?

"Ingo" comforted him:

I recently also looked for such a tool and found on Hobbes:

Works great, I just had to apply some [adaptations? -yke] in the cfg-file. I recall: if you do not want an output stored as a file, just directing the output by ">NUL" works in that script!

My bookmarks are cleaned up now - the only nasty thing is, you have to manually remove the dead entries by 'administrate bookmarks' [Bookmarks->Manage Bookmarks] in Mozilla.


Oct 13, 2004 - Tame, And Ghostscript Page Size. (Any OS/2 derivative) (Any level)

Our very own Newsletter Editor-in-Chief, Christian Hennecke, passes this on to us:

In the web forum, Klaus-Dieter had a question regarding Tame:

When I do multiple scans with Tame 1.0 and immediately convert them to PDF, there are only three files in the folder (deletion of originals is active), one multi-paged TIFF, one multi-paged PS and one multi-paged PDF.

I'm scanning with A4 size. The result: Multi-paged PS in A4 (checked with GSView) and multi-paged PDF in 216 x 276 mm format.

. . .any idea why the PDF does not have A4 size?

Herwig Bauernfeind was quick with the answer, and a reminder:

Because Ghostscript created US Letter [page size] by default, and not A4. This can be changed in the GS_INIT.PS file:

  1. Search for the first occurence of "(a4)".
  2. By default, the line begins with "%" which makes it a comment.
  3. Remove the "%" and the following space, save the file and try it.

I bet it works now!


Oct 13, 2004 - Slooow Bootup in eCS. Not OS2 DASD. (Any OS/2 derivative) (Any level)

Oh my! The things we forget as we march onward and upward into the Modern Era of computing.

In and elsewhere, Thilo Straub was upset:

I recently installed ECS 1.1 on my Notebook, and there was this OS2DASD.DMD as slow as in my OS/2 Systems in my PC. [Maybe] Dani Engert's Dasd is a little faster [I don't know].

It takes more than 20 seconds till that driver has found what it was looking for, and then booting from my CONFIG.SYS goes on.

Doug Bissett remarks:

The driver seems to scan through the whole disk, when it loads, and it does it again, when the IFS loads. A large hard drive, of course, takes longer. Laptop drives are generally slower than desktop types too.

Check to see if you have the INT13 driver in CONFIG.SYS. If you do, try REMing that.

I also recommend using the Dani drivers. They usually perform better and support more devices, but they still do the complete disk scan at boot time.

Chuck McKinnis chips in:

Do you have an ATAPI DVD or CD-ROM? Mine takes forever if I don't have the drive loaded with something.

To which YKE responds that it may take forever even if you do have the drive(s) loaded with something. In addition to three 60GiB HDDs, YKE has an internal CD-ROM, also one each of external SCSI CD-R/W, parallel-port ZIP drive, and USB-connected CF card-reader. He keeps media in all of them. Chuck's observation is right on! Everything works much more reliably that way. But also everything is read and checked as Doug describes. Yes; slooow boot-up.


Oct 15, 2004 - The Last Word.

As in: YKE always has the last word.

In this case, the word's a heartfelt "Thanks!" to Cristiano Guadagnino and Matt Walsh. Both sent nice comments about this column. Cris sent a Tip as well!

What's a good Tip?

In all cases, please cite


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