KnowWare 2

© Copyright 2000 Author and KnowWare, Sövänget 1, DK-3100 Hornbek
KnowWare Publishing, Michael Maardt, publisher@knowwareglobal.com
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The KnowWare idea
KnowWare’s main aim is to help you! One of
my goals is to spread easy to understand
knowledge at a fair price. I “invented” this
‘softbook’ format in Denmark in April 1993.
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KnowWare 3
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Michael Maardt, mm@knowware.dk
First published in danish 1993
Translation: Anthony P. Owen
Table of Contents 4
Directories and files ...................................................8
Files .............................................................................9
Different types of files ..........................................9
Edit and BAT files....................................................10
ASCII ........................................................................12
16-number system ..................................................12
Memory.....................................................................13
Forms of memory.....................................................14
Conventional memory.........................................14
Upper memory area.............................................14
Expanded and extended memory ........................15
High memory area (HMA)..................................15
The startup files .......................................................16
The important files ..............................................16
The boot process.....................................................19
CONFIG.SYS.........................................................19
286.......................................................................20
386.......................................................................20
Requires EMS memory.......................................21
AUTOEXEC.BAT .................................................26
SMARTDRV disk cache..........................................29
Generally.............................................................29
SMARTDRV.EXE..............................................29
Double buffering.................................................30
The hard disk ...........................................................31
Disk optimization ...................................................31
Norton Commander (NC) .......................................34
Introduction.........................................................34
Configuration ......................................................35
Using Norton Commander!.................................36
Copying files with XCOPY................................36
Hidden files .........................................................37
Selecting files......................................................37
Rename................................................................38
View/edit text files ..............................................38
Searching for files ...............................................38
Creating a new file ..............................................39
Recent DOS commands ......................................39
Switching window on/off....................................39
Switching windows .............................................39
Changing directories ...........................................39
Leafing through directories.................................39
Comparing two directories..................................39
Practice makes perfect.........................................39
Menu ...................................................................40
Version 4.0..........................................................40
Version 5.0..........................................................40
Making backups ..................................................41
Windows................................................................... 42
Swap file............................................................. 42
32-bit disk access. .............................................. 42
Miscellaneous tips for Windows ........................ 43
DOS 6 ....................................................................... 44
Installation ............................................................. 44
Help........................................................................ 44
EMM386.EXE....................................................... 44
MEMMAKER ....................................................... 45
Need expanded memory? ................................... 45
Custom................................................................ 45
More booting ......................................................... 47
F5........................................................................ 47
F8 and ? .............................................................. 47
Multiple Boots.................................................... 47
NumLock............................................................ 47
MS-DOS 6.2 .......................................................... 48
Disk compression with DBLSPACE.................. 48
Windows for Workgroups 3.11.............................. 52
Miscellaneous........................................................... 53
Optimization tips ................................................... 53
Using upper memory.......................................... 53
Looking in memory............................................ 54
DOS tips................................................................. 55
Deleting all files in a directory........................... 55
CHKDSK /F....................................................... 55
From, to .............................................................. 55
Boot diskettes......................................................... 56
Touch-typing.......................................................... 58
Your health ............................................................ 58
What do you think? ............................................ 59
Introduction 5
Is this booklet for you?
This is not a normal beginners’ book; it is more a
supplement to the many beginners’ books that are
already available. The contents are of varying
degrees of difficulty. You will get the most out of
this book if you are running DOS 5 or above. It
includes a separate section on DOS 6.
I do not deal with Windows 95 very much.
However, a lot of things in this booklet are still
relevant when you use Windows 95.
My purpose
One of the aims of this project is to publish and
distribute KnowWare booklets in as many countries
as possible, thereby helping as many people as
possible to use their PCs.
If you would like to support the project, please
tell others about the guide and/or make suggestions
to improve the text.
Important
I have tried to keep the contents as up to date as
possible. Remember that the first edition was
written in the beginning of 1993. Even though
everything happens very fast in the computer world,
most of us continue using programs longer than
their developers would wish. Therefore, things are
not happening quite as fast as many would like us to
believe. We decide how fast things develop,
because we users pay the bills. Remember that!!
The KnowWare philosophy
Is to pass on relevant and easy-to-understand
information for a reasonable price.
My main motive is to pass on what I know about
PCs to as many people as possible – as cheaply as
possible. Computer books are generally too
expensive (or rather, were. The publication of
KnowWare books has forced prices down to a more
reasonable level in Denmark). Users want
information and knowledge that makes their lives
easier. Whether this comes from a fine book with a
four-color cover or from a booklet like this is
unimportant. How much it costs is important.
The booklets are printed on a rotary press of the
type used for printing newspapers. They are printed
on long rolls of paper, all pages and on both sides
simultaneously. Ten thousand copies of a booklet
can be printed in a couple of hours, after which a
bookbinder trims them down, staples them and
packs them. I really like how they can be folded
right back without damaging them. They can be
folded and laid down next to your computer, or put
in your back pocket.
About myself
I was born 1952, live in Denmark, and speak
Danish, English and German. Between 1970 and
1980, I studied sociology and psychology at the
University of Copenhagen, and also spent some
years in Germany. I have worked with PCs since
1986. From 1988 to 1991, I worked with a main-
frame computer.
Thank you
To everyone who has supported me and taught me
many different things. Also thanks to all of you who
have helped to improve and publicize this booklet.
Heartfelt and grateful thanks to my other guides.
Happy reading! -
I hope that this booklet will bring you a greater
understanding of your PC, insight into its secrets
and more pleasure when you work with it.
)) Important ((
Something I must point out: everything you try
using ideas or suggestions given in this text is your
own responsibility. That’s my disclaimer to avoid
any litigation!!
My primary experience with PCs comes from
so-called “clones,” i.e. imitations of the IBM PC.
If you are impatient and want to edit your
CONFIG.SYS right away, then please remember to
have a boot diskette that works. Put a formatted disk
in the disk drive and type
C:\>SYS A:
and also read Boot diskettes, on p. 55.
My advice is to read all text in the order it ap-
pears, including the “references” (which admittedly
force you to jump around a little).
This applies especially to CONFIG.SYS if you
have DOS 5, where you can easily write something
that makes you unable to start your computer from
the hard disk, i.e. it locks your PC.
Now you have been warned. This problem does not
exist with DOS 6.
If you are experienced at editing startup files,
you may begin with CPU and memory on p. 12.
This chapter contains something new and relevant
for most readers.
If you don’t understand much in these chapters,
just make the suggested changes in your startup
Introduction 6
files – or have someone else do it for you. As we go
on, I’ll try to point out what is technical, what is ad-
vanced and so on. I assume that you have installed
DOS in the directory C:\DOS. References to Win-
dows refer to version 3.1.
Jargon
The PC world is filled with jargon. I will try and
explain some of these expressions.
DOS commands and lines in files are written
like this with Courier.
If I write “write in DOS” or “type,”, it means do
so at the DOS prompt (C:\>), i.e. you are “in
DOS” and can enter DOS commands. Some pro-
grams can temporarily jump to DOS and then return
when you type EXIT.
When you are “in” a directory, (you should be in
C:\EXTRA) it means that the directory is active and
on your screen, i.e. the DOS prompt in this case
appears as C:\>EXTRA and DOS commands
(without further specification) will be carried out on
files in this directory.
Default is a very good concept or word,
although difficult to understand if you haven’t met
it before. In a computer context, it refers to that
which is chosen automatically unless something
else is specified. A couple of examples: if you are in
a directory and type DIR, DOS says: “As you are
not telling me which directory you want details of,
I’ll choose the default for you” – and default here is
the actual directory you are in. When you are at the
DOS level, you are always in a directory and on a
drive. I’ll explain directory later.
Within programs, you will come across default
settings. When you start with an empty document,
such things as left and right margins, choice of font,
line spacing, and so on are set at default values.
When you want to load or save a document in your
word-processor, a default directory is used unless
changed. Usually, the user can alter most or all of
these defaults. I hope that you have an idea now
about the meaning of default.
The root means the root directory, the “first”
directory on a disk. In this text, I shall be referring
frequently to the root directory on the hard disk,
which is C:\
File names are usually written like this:
HIMEM.SYS (small caps).
Directory names are written like this: C:\DOS
(ordinary caps).
A, begins a paragraph. or se·eral. oí what I would
consider DGYDQFHG text.
All references to the “manual” mean the Micro-
soft MS-DOS 5.0 manual. DOS 6 is treated in its
own section.
Please read this
First, a word of comfort: this chapter does not
contain any technical material. So please read it!
Over the past few years, I have helped many
friends and have seen how much time one spends
learning to use the PC and its programs. If you run
into difficulties, it can take a really long time to
solve them – and not everybody wants, or can af-
ford, to pay others to help with a problem. I hope to
be able to reduce this time for you, but you have to
be willing to invest some hours in the first place. It
will pay you dividends in the long run.
If you are a beginner, don’t be nervous. Millions
have learned it before you, but it takes time. In the
beginning, you might only get something from a
few chapters but later on you can investigate the
others. Not so many years ago I didn’t understand a
single word of what I write about today. As we all
know, the best way to learn is to teach others.
A comforting thought: the later you’ve started in
the PC jungle, the faster you’ll be able to under-
stand and use your PC. Programs and their on-line
help are getting better, and there are more and more
books.
There are certain basic things that must function
before your PC works well. In the long run – if you
don’t have it already – you’ll probably have to
adopt a sense of order and discipline if you really
want to gain a lot from your computer.
It is a sad paradox of this computer age that
books, magazines and people’s brains contain a
wealth of information – but nobody knows exactly
where it is or how to find it quickly. The enormous
amount of information as opposed to relevant,
useful knowledge is really a problem. Nobody can
know everything in this business because it all
happens so fast, the market is very big and new
products are arriving in an ever-rising flood.
One reason this guide has become necessary is
the inferior manual supplied by Microsoft. There
isn’t a single example of the all-important startup
files AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS in 600
pages.
The more I wrote about the technical aspects of
my subject, the more the text dwelled on the theme
of optimization, i.e. tuning, trimming, getting the
most out of the computer. Some sections of this
booklet have become more advanced than I origi-
nally intended but those who understand how to use
Introduction 7
the advice will be pleased with it and, I hope, will
help their friends a little.
The start files are not the most exciting part of a
PC, but they areone of the most important things to
know about, which most computer developers
conveniently forget.
One of my aims when I started to write in
September 1992 was to write the book I wanted, the
book I wished I’d had when I had problems on my
PC.
Because the text is of varying difficulty, it has
not lent itself to a presentation in easily graded
sections, designed for reading through once only.
You may miss a “yellow brick road” to follow. If
you are an experienced PC user, you may
sometimes find yourself in the middle of a begin-
ner’s course.
Some readers may find that they have to browse
through to orientate themselves, and then start again
at the beginning. For those of you who want to use
the book as a reference in the future, there is an
index at the back. A term is defined, as far as
possible, the first time it occurs.
I have written on other subjects before but I
have to admit that it has been hard to structure a PC
book in which the subject can alternate between
simple and very difficult. It isn’t always easy to find
the right balance between theory and practice. At
least I have one advantage over other authors: you
can’t criticize me about the price!
I assume that you are ready to do some donkey
work – in other words, you want to think for your-
self! You can find – and solve – thousands of
specific problems on a PC. I have tried to pass on
theoretical knowledge illustrated with relevant
specific examples that I hope will also give you
enough knowledge to be able to solve problems
other than those described in this text.
directories and files 8
Directories and files
The concepts of directories and files are so inter-
twined that you may need to read about one before
you understand the other. I have chosen to start
with directories. I am assuming, for the sake of
simplification, that you have only two disk drives:
A: (the diskette drive) and C: (the hard disk) and
that you have no other logical drives on your hard
disk. Logical drives are explained below.
Later, I shall be giving you a short description of
how a hard disk is built up. In the meantime:
Directory means signpost, that which directs. Just
as most of us live at an address, so that the postman
and others can find us, we can say that a file also
has an address on the hard disk – or on other media
like a floppy disk. The “needle” (read head) of the
hard disk has to find the file, especially the physical
place where the file starts.
Imagine there is a wide highway, crossing the
whole country. This corresponds to what is called
the “first” or root directory. Every side road off that
main highway corresponds to a sub-director. Every
side road off each individual side road corresponds
to sub-directories to the first sub-directory, and so
on. We live along these roads, and we all live at a
house number.
The left of the diagram shows the root and some
of my sub-directories. I have five sub-directories
under Windows, some of which have no sub-
directories.
Let us choose the file C:\CONFIG.SYS. The file’s
address is specified by a name, which is made up of
the following components:
C: designates the logical drive; the colon helps
to identify it as something special and not the name,
for example, of a file. DOS uses the concept of
logical drives. Other logical drive designations D,
E, F, and so on correspond to other “countries.” The
historical reason is as follows: the first PC design
was diskless, the next had one disk drive, the next
had two, the next had a hard disk fitted and so on.
A: is the first floppy disk drive, B: the second, C:
the first logical drive on the first hard disk, D: is
either the next on the first hard disk or the first logi-
cal drive on the second hard disk and so on.
\ is called a backslash and denotes the start of a
(sub-) directory.
CONFIG is the file’s name.
SYS is the file’s extension.
When you first got your PC, you – or the programs
you installed (e.g. WordPerfect) – began by
creating new directories. For instance, C:\DOS and
maybe C:\WP or C:\WP51. These are sub-
directories (side roads) off the root directory. They
are where DOS program files and WP program files
live. WordPerfect’s chief file, the main program, is
– to give it its full name and address –
C:\WP51\WP.EXE.
When you type WP, or start the program any
other way, this file is activated. Again, the full
name is a drive (a letter followed by a colon) plus a
sub-directory plus a file name and extension.
Notice the rather irritating backslash \, which
is used as, and called, a separator. The ASCII value
is 92.
Why is it that you should divide your hard disk
into all these directories? To make it easier to find
and manipulate different programs and files. It is
very practical to have all the files that belong to WP
in one directory, perhaps with some attached sub-
directories. There they all are if later you want to
move, copy or delete the whole program.
When you want to start a program, you have to
point DOS in the right direction by stating which
directory and which file. At the prompt, you can
move to the relevant directory by using one or more
change directory (cd) commands, e.g.
C:\>cd wp51
and then start WP by entering
C:\WP51>wp
WP starts because the file WP.EXE is in the default
directory, which here is C:\WP51.
Now if you want DOS to look in directories
other than the default directory when you start a
program, you can define a special path (collection
of directory names) that DOS will remember. If in
any directory you type
C:\>path c:\dos;c:\wp51
then on the command
C:\>wp
DOS will look first in the root directory (C:) for
WP.COM, then for WP.EXE, then for WP.BAT, and
finding none of them here it will look in the first
section of the path (C:\DOS), then the next
directories and files 9
(C:\WP51). A semicolon separates the different
directories.
If you have problems starting a program, e.g.
you receive the message Bad command or
file name, the cause could be that your path
doesn’t contain the directory in which you have the
program. Check your AUTOEXEC.BAT – it normally
specifies the path command.
When you save your first document, you should
notice what the default directory is. In other words,
where is the computer placing your documents? If
you don’t keep an eye on this you’ll find it hard – at
least in the beginning – to find them again.
A directory is a storage area containing files.
Every disk (whether diskette or hard disk) has what
is called a FAT (File Allocation Table). It keeps
track of the physical location of directories and files
on the disk and is obviously an extremely important
element because without it, DOS cannot keep track
of data.
Every time you create, save, copy, delete or do
anything with one or more files, the FAT is
updated. Therefore if you delete 50 files in a
directory it takes some time to update this table,
which is essential on a PC. In fact there are two
FATs and if one of them becomes unreadable, DOS
tries to repair it by referring to the other. Luckily
this doesn’t happen often but it can. This is one
reason that it is important to make back-ups.
When we work with files using a program that is
written specially to manipulate files (like Dosshell,
Norton Commander, PCTools or Windows File
Manager), we usually see a stylized graphic picture
of the logical structure: the arrangement of direc-
tories and files on the hard disk.
The “main highway,” the root, comes first with
all its sub-directories. As we have seen, every one
of these sub-directories can have its own sub-
directories, and usually there is one file or more in
every directory. Nearly all programs show this
logical arrangement – actually a picture of the FAT
– in a form known as a directory tree.
The root directory (C:\) should contain as few
files as possible in order to keep your PC lean,
mean and fast. Preferably only the two startup files
plus COMMAND.COM – here I am not considering
the “hidden files” that are part of the operating
system. Unfortunately certain programs place one
of more of their files in the root directory.
If on inspection you find you have a lot of files,
find out if you really need them in C:\ and, if not,
delete them or move them to the relevant directory.
Files
It is of fundamental importance that you manage
your files well, store them in obvious places and
know where to find them. You can do much of this
at DOS level or in some applications, e.g. Word-
Perfect, but personally I use and prefer the file
management program Norton Commander, which I
discuss on page 33.
In a computer context, the word file refers to a
specific collection of data. The data may make up
part of a computer program (or a whole program) or
a company report or a letter to your grandmother or
the latest edition of your school newsletter. In the
old days (and to some extent it is still the practice),
letters and reports were stored in hanging folders in
a filing cabinet. You can think of each hanging
folder as a directory that contains files.
DOS, the operating system, consists of many
different files, each of which performs its own
special purpose so that other programs, for instance
a word processor, can work. If you write DIR at
any DOS prompt, the screen will show you the
names of all the files in the directory plus their
sizes, creation dates and so on.
Your word-processing program also consists of
a collection of files, each of which executes a
function. When you install modern programmes
they often ask you in which directory you will place
the program’s different files, and they usually make
their own suggestions, e.g. C:\WP51 for
WordPerfect 5.1. I’ve chosen WP as an example
because it is so widely used.
Different types of files
There are two basic types of files: those that form
part of a program, and those that contain data that
you and your program created. WP.EXE is part of
WordPerfect but a letter to the tax authorities is
called a document or data.
If you create a directory listing (DIR) or look at
the file names using Dosshell, Norton Commander
or a similar program, you will see that they have
different extensions.
An extension of COM or EXE indicates a
program file. COM files can have a maximum size
of 64 KB, while an EXE file can be larger.
CONFIG.SYS contains calls for many different
device drivers, which usually, but unfortunately not
always, have the extension SYS. Other “driver
files” can carry the extension DRV, typically in
Windows. Batch files, which I will describe later,
must have the “surname/last name” You can start
directories and files 10
BAT. COM, EXE and BAT files simply by typing
the name of the program (file) at the prompt.
Data files (letters, reports, shopping lists, and so
on) are nearly always given an extension
automatically by the program that produces them.
In the following paragraphs, I will discuss what are
known as straightforward text files, i.e. files that
contain only text with no formatting codes (bold,
underline, etc.).
Documents from word processors are often
given the extension DOC by default. Traditionally,
text files are given the extension TXT or ASC. A
text file has been stripped of all the various codes
that a word processor normally includes to show
where the margins are, whether letters are bold, in
columns and so on. Other names are ASCII files or
WordPerfect’s peculiar expression DOS files.
You can use an editor (a mini word processor)
to write or change a text file. Microsoft now in-
cludes an adequate one called EDIT with MS-DOS.
The good thing about standardized extensions is
that you can quickly see what kind of file it is. For-
tunately, everyone seems to agree on the same
standard. More and more programs have text files
included with them that are read by the main
program when it starts up, and are used to configure
the program or set up default values and other
settings, so that the program runs in a particular
way.
Windows with its text files WIN.INI, SYSTEM.INI
and SETUP.INF is the best known, and most diffi-
cult, program in this regard. But generally more and
more programs have an INI (initialize, beginning or
startup) file – which is read when the program is
loaded.
CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are in effect
DOS’s initializing files. Goodness knows how
many millions of people have spent how many mil-
lions of hours over the years typing these strange
file names!
If I am laboring this point somewhat, it is
because PCs and their programs are becoming
increasingly complex. Text files containing impor-
tant information about the way a program works are
often altered by other programs. It is important to
be able to look at and amend these files.
Edit and BAT files
If you aren’t used to editing text files or creating
batch files, you are now about to participate in a
mini-course. But first a warning! Don’t begin to
alter your startup files until you know what you are
doing! The responsibility rests with you.
EDIT.COM starts a text editor called
QBASIC.EXE, which we will use to create and alter a
batch file. It can also create programs in the BASIC
language.
At the DOS prompt, enter EDIT to see if the
program starts. If not, perhaps C:\DOS isn’t in your
PATH in AUTOEXEC.BAT, or perhaps one of the
files is missing. If it starts, press Esc, Alt+F and X
to close it.
I suggest that you have a directory called BAT
where you can store your batch files. If you do not
already have one, you can create one by typing
C:\>MD BAT
Move to this directory by entering
C:\>CD BAT
What is a batch file? Well, if you type the same
DOS commands time and again, it can pay to write
these commands in what is called a batch file, a text
file containing DOS commands that has BAT as its
extension.
The following is a quick way to create a text
file. Try it, just to see the principle behind it. Let’s
make a file called EASY.BAT. (note: copy con
means copy from the console, the console being a
term covering both the screen and the keyboard).
C:\BAT>copy con easy.bat
The cursor blinks and you are “in” a text file. Type
Press F6 to end the file, then
Enter. DOS displays 1 file
(s) copied.
Copy con easy.bat means
“copy from the console (key-
board),” i.e. copy what I type into
a file called EASY.BAT. The file
EASY.BAT has been created. Now, just by entering
EASY you can “run” this batch file. Try it. It shows
the contents of two directories. By pressing Ctrl+S,
you can stop and start the process if you want to
follow it. (Ctrl+S means to hold the Ctrl key down
while you press the S key.)
Now make a batch file called ED.BAT, which
will automatically start EDIT and load EASY.BAT in
the editor.
C:\BAT>copy con ed.bat
c:
cd\
dir
cd \dos
dir/w
cd \bat
directories and files 11
edit C:\bat\easy.bat
press F6 and Enter.
When you now enter ED and Enter, EDIT will start
and load the file C:\BAT\EASY.BAT.
The EDIT editor consists of a rectangular area
where you can type and edit as in a simplified word
processor. The name of the file you are working on
is shown at the top of the screen. At the top and
bottom, there are horizontal bars. The top bar con-
tains the menus used for editing.
All of the words FILE EDIT HELP are
“headlines” for independent menus that drop down
from the bars like a roller blind when you click on
the word with your mouse. If you are using the key-
board, then the menu bar is activated by holding the
Alt key down while you press the underlined letter
of the menu command you want, e.g. open the File
command by pressing Alt+F.
This is how you move a line – which can be
relevant if you want to edit a startup file using this
editor. Place the cursor at the beginning of the line.
Hold down the Shift key and press the “down
arrow” key. The line is marked (highlighted). Press
Shift+Del(ete). The marked line vanishes from the
screen and is placed in a temporary store. Move the
cursor to the point where you would like the line to
appear and press Shift+Ins(ert) and the line is in-
serted.
Close EDIT with Alt+F, X. If the file has
changed (which in this case it has), you will be
asked if you want to save it. The Tab key moves
you between the possibilities or you can just type
the initial letter. In this case, answer NO to keep
your original file. Now create the following two
batch files. EC.BAT starts the editing with
CONFIG.SYS loaded, and EA.BAT starts the editor
with AUTOEXEC.BAT loaded. The two directories
DOS and BAT should be in your PATH.
C:\BAT>copy con ec.bat
edit c:\config.sys
Press F6 and Enter.
C:\BAT>copy con ea.bat
edit c:\autoexec.bat
Press F6 and Enter.
But remember those early words of caution:
don’t begin editing your startup files until you know
what you are doing!
You may notice with EDIT that there is no
“word wrap” – where the screen shows a new line
even though you haven’t put in a carriage return.
Text editors work in different ways but most of
them work like this: text between two carriage
returns (a carriage return is when you press Enter)
is shown as one line that continues past the moni-
tor’s right-hand boundary, and can contain up to a
maximum of 256 characters. You will have to get
used to this. But many key combinations, such as
Ctrl+arrow, work exactly the same as in other
programs. It is an advantage that a text editor
doesn’t have word wrap: the computer reads BAT
and INI files line by line, so it could cause havoc if
a line gets broken unexpectedly into two lines – as
if it were two sets of instructions.
ascii 12
ASCII
This is only relevant for DOS, not Windows.
Understanding ASCII (American Standard Code for
Information Interchange) was one of my first
breakthroughs many years ago. It is pronounced
“aski” and is a standard for the relationship between
a symbol and a number.
When you press a key on your keyboard and the
screen shows a character, it is nice to think that the
character is just sitting in the key, just waiting to be
activated. But it is not so simple.
I am going to jump over the scancode, which is
what is actually sent when you press a key. This
code is sent to a “converter” that decides which
ASCII value is linked to the scancode, and then this
ASCII value is again “converted” to a character on
your screen.
In computing, only two states are possible: on or
off, 0 or 1, and nothing else; and this fills 1 bit. A
computer can only move 1s and 0s around, nothing
else! Eight of these 1s or 0s grouped together are
called a byte, and the letters and symbols you use
are each defined by a series of 1s and 0s assembled
into an eight-partition electronic box. Each partition
can contain either a one or a zero (binary system).
With eight partitions, each of which contains one of
two (0 or 1) available values, there are 256 possible
patterns (2 multiplied by itself eight times) for
creating a number value. As zero is also a valid
number, you will often hear of the set of values
referred to as 0-255.
Fortunately, computer manufacturers are pretty
much in agreement over which symbol or letter
should be allocated to which of the 256 values in
the ASCII system. Let’s use the capital letter “A” as
an example. At the DOS prompt, or in a DOS word
processor, try holding the left-hand Alt key down
while you key in two or three digits on the numeric
keyboard, for instance 65.
Then, to make everything a bit more fun (though
easier for programmers) when they created
Windows, Microsoft introduced another standard
called ANSI, which uses other character values.
Luckily, the normal letters and numbers are
unaltered, but a text file stored as ASCII and one
stored as ANSI are two different things. Text files
saved by DOS programs are in ASCII format, while
text files saved by Windows are in ANSI (by
default, anyway). Write and other Windows word
processors are able to save in either format and
convert between the two.
These are some of the foundations of data com-
munication. We humans have not really got any
further in mimicking the brain and soul’s develop-
ment, but it is progressing. The only reason for the
computer’s wide use is its speed. Forget about
“intelligent” computers, even though experts are
trying to convince us it is possible with talk of
neural networks and the like.
16-number system
A, Number ·alues can also be represented bv other
number svstems. In the computer world. numbers to
base 16 are used a lot. 1he svstem manv oí us had
banged our heads into at school is the normal decimal
svstem to base 10.
0123456¯89 and then because we ha·en`t anv more
svmbols |íingers or toes|, we set 0 in the íirst place. to
the right. and put a 1 in the second place. to the leít. and
we ha·e 10.
lexadecimal. the base 16 svstem. looks like this:
0123456¯89AB(DLl and onlv then - with the ·alue we
write as 16 - do we come to 10.
In the base 10 svstem. we sav: the last cipher is the 1s.
the next is the 10s. the next is the 100s and so on. In
base 16 because we are still thinking in terms oí base
10,. we sav the units go as high as l ~15,. the 10s` are
the 16s. the 100s` are the 256s and so on. Now that`s
not so diííicult. is it·
1he decimal svstem is inappropriate íor computer
operations. It is a relic írom man`s earlv davs. when we
thought using 10 íingers.
binary 10 16
00010000 16 10
00100010 34 22
11111111 255 FF
256 100
65536 10000
1048576 100000
1he computing world handles large ·alues and the
hexadecimal svstem has pro·ed its worth. Numbers are
shown with a íinal h.` e.g. A0000h. 1he last zero is
oíten dropped. so the abo·e becomes A000h. which in
the decimal svstem is the íamiliar 640 KB ~ 640 x 1024
bvtes ~ 655360 bvtes.
Vith the Vindows calculator choose View. Scientiíic,
vou can amuse vourselí with these numbers and con·ert
them easilv.
memory 13
Memory
Some of the following is rather technical and can be
skipped. Memory is where the PC stores informa-
tion. It uses two types of memory: RAM and ROM.
ROM (Read Only Memory) is not discussed in
great detail in this guide. ROM is a fixed form of
memory (built into electronic chips) that “remem-
bers" certain parts of the operating system. Other
ROM is in physical parts of the PC like the graphics
adapter and the hard-disk controller.
RAM (Random Access Memory) is the volatile
memory that’s available for calculations while the
PC is switched on. The CPU (Central Processing
Unit) uses and processes data in the RAM, where
the contents are constantly changing.
First, something about the allocation of RAM in
a PC, a complex subject, if the operating system is
DOS. Computers, as we have noted, use the binary
system. You will often come across numbers raised
to the power of two: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256,
512 bytes and so on. When you get to 1024 bytes, it
is called 1 kilobyte (KB or K); thereafter you follow
the same pattern of 2, 4 ... up to 1024 KB, which is
equal to one MegaByte (MB), and so on until you
reach 1024 MB = 1 GigaByte (GB).
When IBM built the first PC, they did not think
that it would become the success it is and so they
figured that 1 MB (1024 KB), with 640 KB set
aside for programs, would be adequate memory for
all purposes.
Let’s look at the first MB of RAM, the first
1024 KB. Imagine a giant bookshelf with lots of
spaces for identical books. Each space is the space
for one byte and has what is called an address.
What follows describes how these areas are defined
and treated.
The work of the CPU consists mainly of moving
all these bytes around between the hard disk, itself,
RAM, the monitor, etc. – fast. Virtually all commu-
nication in a computer – the transport of data
between the different units (devices) – has to go via
the CPU. Monitor, keyboard, disk, and so on are
physical devices, but other “logical” or abstract
parts of a PC can also be “devices.” As we shall see
later, all devices must be controlled, or handled, by
a special program called a device driver (or simply
driver). It took me years to understand the strange
concept of a device!
DOS, which was originally created for the old
8086 processor, can only “see” the first MB. When
the processor runs in its most primitive mode, real
mode, it can only “see” this area in RAM. DOS is a
real-mode program. When you boot your PC, the
processor “wakes up” in this real mode and looks
around for its partner, DOS. That’s how it has been
ever since DOS arrived on the scene.
If you want more from your PC than real mode
and DOS, which can only use 1 MB, you have to
build on these foundations.
So as not to exclude the 8086 and 80286 and
other early PC versions, DOS 5 and 6 are still real-
mode programs and are “backward compatible,”
which means that all programs written for earlier
versions still work with newer versions.
To use RAM above 1 MB, you need a program
that makes the processor run in what is called pro-
tected mode. Protected means stopping two
programs that are using RAM simultaneously from
trying to use the same areas of RAM. The 80286
was the first processor that was able to run in pro-
tected mode as well as in real mode.
The processor can only be in one mode at a time
and it takes time to change between real and pro-
tected mode.
A CPU works at a certain speed, called its clock
frequency, which is the number of pulses per
second that the current flows (Hertz). This is
typically a figure like 33, 40, 75, 90, 133 or higher,
measured in MHz (millions of Hertz – not a
misprint, it really is millions of times a second!!).
forms of memory 14
Forms of memory
This section is rather technical, but helps you to
understand what is going on before we get to the
start files.
1024-
extended
high=first 64 K
640-1024 upper
0-640 conventional
Conventional memory
The area in memory from 0-640 KB is called con-
ventional memory or lower memory. This is where
most of the work is done. DOS is the memory man-
ager for conventional memory (it controls it).
Upper memory area
This section is included because it is important,
when you use DOS 5 or higher. From DOS 5
onwards, it is possible to load certain programs into
upper memory – which is an address area. This
frees more space in conventional memory to run
DOS programs.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand a thing. I
have not understood all the details myself yet but
each time I write about it I understand a little more
– I hope – and I have worked intensively with this
for many months.
Sometimes I wonder how on earth sensible
people could have constructed a PC with an ope-
rating system, memory, and so on as difficult as it is
– but they have. Part of the problem is that,
regrettably, IBM couldn’t foresee the future many
years ago!
IBM wisely reserved the address area from 640-
1024 (384 KB) for system, technical and future pur-
poses. This reserved address area in memory from
640-1024 KB is called, by most people, upper
memory. IBM and Hewlett-Packard sometimes refer
to it as reserved memory – when the terms high and
upper memory were introduced, the industry was in
some confusion!
Upper memory area is the name for an address
area. There are rules as to where in upper memory
the different devices must place their data so that
the CPU can have direct access to communicate
with them – the marked areas on the chart show
where.
But the whole area is not occupied completely;
the vacant space left amongst these addresses can
be used for drivers and resident (TSR) programs.
Resident means that the program is permanently in
RAM and there is no need to call it from the hard
disk every time it is used. Resident programs are
also called TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident).
The interesting thing is that the area lies within
the reach of DOS and real mode. DOS can see and
control/communicate with them, so DOS drivers
and DOS resident programs can be run in this
address area.
In recent years, methods have been developed to
allow DOS to place some of its files in this address
area. DOS does this using EMM386.EXE, which can
provide this access – this text does not deal with
programs such as QEMM, 386MAX and Netroom.
The term upper memory area is not the same as
Upper Memory Blocks (UMB), although these
blocks – if created, for example, by EMM386.EXE –
are from the memory point of view situated in upper
memory’s address area. Upper memory is a name
for an address area. UMB is real useable RAM in
this area.
The memory manager for upper memory can be
either HIMEM.SYS or DOS. In the early stages of the
booting procedure, HIMEM.SYS is the memory
manager. The usual thing though is for DOS to take
over as memory manager via the command
DOS=UMB inserted in CONFIG.SYS.
The illustration is an example of how upper
memory can look on a PC, and can maybe help you
Extended Memory
Motherboard BIOS ROM
PS/2 has BIOS ROM here
Free on non PS/2
Free
Free
VGA BIOS ROM on non PS/2
monochrome region
VGA text video buffer
VGA graphics
video buffer
conventional memory
10000
D000
E000
F000
C000
B000
B800
C800
A000 640 KB
704 KB
768 KB
832 KB
896 KB
960 KB
1 MB
forms of memory 15
if you begin to investigate where in this area
different programs load themselves.
IBM PS/2 puts BIOS ROM in the two “top”
areas, i.e. E and F page. VGA BIOS ROM is placed
from E000-E7FF. This leaves the area C000-E000
free for UMBs.
Expanded and extended memory
It is important to distinguish between the physical
RAM or memory and the abstract names (upper,
extended, etc.) for the way physical RAM is used.
If, for instance, you have 4 MB of physical RAM,
you can use this in many different ways. This sec-
tion deals with this. To specify the way in which it
is used, you speak of configuring memory.
In the “old days,” the use of memory above 1
MB started primarily with the Lotus spreadsheet
Lotus 1-2-3, with users soon hit the ceiling of the
640 KB, which was the limit for DOS programs.
Lotus, Intel and Microsoft developed rules for how
their version of expanded memory should be used.
This standard was called Expanded Memory Spe-
cification (EMS) or LIM EMS.
At this time, extra memory cards were manufac-
tured to put in the PC. Primarily older programs are
able to use this form of memory, though even many
newer games need EMS memory (see Multiple
Boots, page 47) A memory manager for expanded
memory is called an Expanded Memory Manager
(EMM). DOS has one of these called EMM386.EXE.
Later, another standard for using memory over 1
MB was introduced: eXtended Memory Speci-
fications (XMS). It is most unfortunate that the
names are almost identical. This is more relevant to
most users today as newer programs are primarily
written to use extended memory, which also re-
quires a memory manager, a so-called XMM. DOS
has one, HIMEM.SYS.
These terms are the names given to the use of
physical RAM. They are standardized rules. So
RAM above 1 MB can be used as a combination of
different forms of memory – but not until the rele-
vant memory manager is active and able to control
how much to use and for what. Expanded memory
is also called EMS memory, and when it is
available, it is configured according to published
standards.
High memory area (HMA)
The High Memory Area (HMA) is defined as the
first 64 KB of extended memory, from 1024-1088
KB. Using a little trick, this area has become avail-
able as if it belonged to the first MB, so DOS can
use it. Most people use this area to place parts of
DOS using DOS=HIGH. Naturally, the memory
manager for this area is HIMEM.SYS, as it handles
all memory above 1 MB. So HIMEM.SYS controls
both high memory (area) and extended memory.
MEM/A is the only DOS 6.x command that tells
you how this area is being used. The switch is
undocumented.
(A) HMA is apparently “a part” of extended
memory – yes and no: HMA is available to the
processor in real mode while extended memory is
only available to the processor in protected mode.
How upper and extended memory work
together
(A)Upper Memory borrows the actual RAM from
extended memory.
In the jargon, extended memory is mapped to upper
memory’s address area, i.e. the CPU is led to
believe that certain addresses are in a certain place,
though physically they are somewhere else.
For example, if you want access to, say, 92 KB
of upper memory, it is borrowed from extended
memory, which therefore is 92 KB smaller. Try
writing REM at the beginning of the line in
CONFIG.SYS containing EMM386 and see the result
of MEM. Delete the REM again, boot up and check
MEM. The sum of upper memory + extended
memory is the same!
Devices
All these íorms oí memorv. except con·entional
memorv. are a de·ice" in the same wav as a monitor.
kevboard. printer. etc.. and so these íorms oí memorv
require a de·ice dri·er in the same wav that other
de·ices do.
1here are both purelv phvsical and what I call logical.
or abstract. de·ices. 1he monitor and the kevboard are
in themsel·es not de·ices but the logical term FRQ or
FRQVROH is a de·ice that reíers to the two phvsical objects.
an input and an output object.
1he term FRQVROH comes írom the davs oí the original
mainírame computers. 1hese had no monitor or
separate kevboards but recei·ed input and wrote out
their results through a kind oí telex machine. 1his
machine. called the console. was used íor all input to
and output írom the computer.
the startup files 16
The startup files
The startup files CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT
configure the PC in a certain way, depending on
their contents. DOS 5 and 6 are basically identical
as far as these files are concerned. I have chosen
to concentrate on DOS 5 with some references to
DOS 6, which has a section of its own at the end.
You should only consider these examples as
suggestions. These files must be in the root direc-
tory on the boot drive, typically C:\.
When you install programs, they often suggest
making changes to the startup files, so it is nice to
know something about what the different lines in
these files mean.
CONFIG.SYS will typically contain calls for
device drivers, programs that handle devices.
AUTOEXEC.BAT contains DOS commands that are
automatically run every time the computer is
booted. They are DOS commands, though most of
them are a little special, so they could just as well
have been run from the DOS prompt.
In both startup files, if REM or rem followed
by a space is at the beginning of a line, the line is
considered a remark and not a command and is
therefore not executed.
There is no difference between something en-
tered in capital or lowercase letters. Remember to
have a working boot diskette handy before be-
ginning to make changes in CONFIG.SYS. I have
chosen examples with two codepages but the
commentary describes what to do if you only want
one codepage. Codepage is a strange term that
describes a collection (a set) of 256 different
characters that you see on the screen. Each code-
page has a number.
The important files
HIMEM, EMM386, SMARTDRV, RAMDRIVE and
MEM are vital files (given here without their
extensions) for the operation of DOS 5, Win 3.1,
DOS 6 and Win 3.11. The release dates of these
versions of DOS and Windows are given
deliberately, and the text deals with these files in
chronological order. SMARTDRV is an exception.
This disk cache program has been much modified
and so it has its own special section.
DOS 5
HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE, SMARTDRV.SYS and
MEM.EXE. All these files are usually placed in
C:\DOS. It is important here that SMARTDRV.SYS
only functions as a device driver and can only be
installed from CONFIG.SYS. This was SMARTDRV
version 3.
Win 3.1
Included an improved version (4.0) of SMARTDRV
in the form of an executable EXE file
(SMARTDRV.EXE). It could now be run from
AUTOEXEC.BAT. Win 3.1 also introduced a fine
program, MSD.EXE, which can look at the first MB
of memory. All these files are usually placed in
C:\WINDOWS.
DOS 6.0
Had the same vital files as Win 3.1, but
EMM386.EXE and SMARTDRV.EXE were signifi-
cantly improved. All files are, once again, placed
in C:\DOS.
So watch out if you install Win 3.1 after
installing DOS 6 and at the same time accept the
Windows 3.1 Setup option to change your
AUTOEXEC.BAT automatically. If you do this, you
won’t be using the new versions from DOS 6. In
this case, you should alter your startup files so
that EMM386.EXE, and so on are read from
C:\DOS and not from C:\WINDOWS.
DOS 6.2
The only change was SMARTDRV.EXE ver. 5.0.
Win 3.11
(Windows for Workgroups) arrived with the same
files as DOS 6.2.
Specify the latest versions of these important
files in your startup files. When you have done
that, delete the old ones. This not only saves disk
space but also avoids confusion. In the examples,
I have used “..” (two dots) for the relevant
directory and not “[path],” as is normally
written.
I recommend that you read right through the
relevant commentary on CONFIG.SYS before you
begin to change things.
17
DOS 5 – SMARTDRV.SYS
CONFIG.SYS
device=\DOS\himem.sys
dos=high
device=\DOS\emm386.exe noems
dos=umb
devicehigh=\DOS\smartdrv.sys 512 256
devicehigh=\DOS\display.sys con=(,,1)
rem devicehigh=\UTI\gmouse.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\ansi.sys
rem devicehigh=\DOS\setver.exe
country=044,437,\DOS\country.sys
files=30
rem fcbs=1
buffers=5
rem stacks=9,256
break=on
rem shell=\DOS\command.com \DOS /p /f /e:1024
AUTOEXEC.BAT
@echo off
path C:\BAT;C:\DOS;....
mode con cp prep=((437) \DOS\ega.cpi)
mode con cp sel=437
LH keyb.com uk,,\DOS\keyboard.sys
rem LH \DOS\doskey.com
LH \DOS\share.exe
rem LH \UTI\gmouse.com
set temp=C:\temp
set tmp=C:\temp
prompt $p$g
rem \DOS\emm386.exe auto
18
Windows 3.1 or DOS 6 – SMARTDRV.EXE
CONFIG.SYS
device=\..\himem.sys
dos=high
device=\..\emm386.exe noems
dos=umb
rem devicehigh=\..\cdmke.sys /d:mscd01
rem devicehigh=\..\ramdrive.sys 2048 /e
devicehigh=\DOS\display.sys con=(,,1)
rem devicehigh=\UTI\gmouse.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\ansi.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\setver.exe
rem device=\..\smartdrv.exe /double_buffer
country=044,437,\DOS\country.sys
files=40
rem fcbs=1
buffers=5
rem stacks=9,256
break=on
rem shell=\DOS\command.com \DOS /p /f /e:1024
AUTOEXEC.BAT
@echo off
path C:\BAT;C:\DOS;C:\WINDOWS;C:\UTI;....
rem LH MSCDEX /D:MSCD01 /M:20
\..\smartdrv.exe
mode con cp prep=((437) \DOS\ega.cpi)
mode con cp sel=437
LH \DOS\keyb.com uk,,\DOS\keyboard.sys
rem LH \DOS\doskey.com
rem LH \UTI\gmouse.com
LH \DOS\share.exe
set temp=C:\temp
set tmp=C:\temp
prompt $p$g
rem win :
config.sys 19
Conventions
These startup files are primarily for standalone PCs,
which are not connected to a network. I have no ex-
perience with networks, where special drivers may
affect memory or other devices.
For typographical reasons, long lines in the fol-
lowing explanations are shortened. Lines that start
with REM show options that you may not need, but
are included to show what I recommend.
If you are wondering why the C: drive speci-
fication is not given before the directory name here
(apart from in the PATH command) it is so that the
startup files can be copied to a boot disk needing
only one small amendment (see Boot disks, p. 55).
I have given two examples:
1. DOS 5 with SMARTDRV.SYS
2. DOS 6, Windows 3.1 or 3.11
Read the text after the examples where I also give
some possible lines that are not shown here. If you
don’t need EMS memory, then my examples and
suggestions for start files are as follows.
The boot process
(A) These are some of the procedures set in motion
during the boot process: after a program built into a
ROM chip has checked the hardware (memory,
ports, video adapter, etc.), information from the
ROM BIOS is loaded into RAM memory. The first
thing it looks for are the system files, i.e. the hidden
files IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS for MS-DOS.
At this point in the boot process, the computer
doesn’t know which devices are installed. Every
device needs a program (software) that can manage
it. Only when this is running can the device become
“a member of the family” of PC parts that
communicate with the others. If all these processes
succeed, the DOS operating system is ready.
DOS 5: If there are no problems up to this point,
the PC cannot lock during boot, no matter what
lines are in AUTOEXEC.BAT. So, at the very least, it
is important to have a CONFIG.SYS file that doesn’t
make fatal errors.
DOS 6: It is (almost) possible to jump over all of
CONFIG.SYS by pressing F5 when you start to boot
– see DOS 6 for more details.
At the start of the boot process, conventional
memory is empty. CONFIG.SYS is run through
twice. The first time, the line DOS=HIGH and
apparently also DOS=UMB is searched for, so it
doesn’t matter where these line are. If the second
run finds HIMEM.SYS, it starts by loading it into
conventional memory, followed by EMM386 if it is
there, and then DOS is loaded into high memory.
Then it goes on loading drivers and other programs
into RAM.
CONFIG.SYS
The lines are read in a certain order, no matter
where they are placed – except for device drivers.
First, the whole group of device(high)= is loaded in
the order they appear. Therefore, this order has an
important bearing on how upper memory is used.
Then (even if the lines do not exist) the lines
files= fcbs= buffers= lastdrive=
and stacks= are read.
Finally, COMMAND.COM, the program that
interprets DOS commands, is loaded, possibly via a
line SHELL=.
Fortunately, drivers can enable a device to
perform differently in different circumstances. You
decide how much of your RAM you want to use for
different things. On each line, you can specify one
or more parameters (a sort of variable) and optional
switches. A switch can be ON or OFF. A parameter
usually refers to the object in question, in this case a
device. A parameter is a value – not necessarily a
number – that can only be one of several options
available to the parameter. For example, the
parameter day can only be one of seven possible va-
lues.
This is both good and bad. If you know all the
different combinations and their relationships, that’s
fine. However, as most people discover, trying to
memorize them is a shortcut to madness, so this
section will try to help you out.
Remember, I have written “..” (dot, dot) for
the relevant directory instead of “[path].”
config.sys 20
DEVICE=..\HIMEM.SYS
HIMEM.SYS must be placed before EMM386.EXE.
HIMEM.SYS is the memory manager for high
memory as well as extended memory.
Important: it is not until DOS reads this line that
high memory and extended memory exist in a state
that can be used – now they have a memory
manager that allows access.
By specifying this, all memory above 1088 KB
is configured to be available as XMS memory.
DOS=HIGH
The condition here is that HIMEM.SYS is active.
DOS=HIGH means that DOS places as much of
itself as possible in high memory. This is one of the
most important features of DOS 5.0 –doing this
frees more space in conventional memory to run
programs. You are also able to use high memory for
other things.
-------------------------
286
If you have a 286 with at least 1 MB RAM, maybe
you can use high and/or upper memory, or maybe
not. To use upper memory, first you have to have
special hardware – which only some 286s have –
and then you have to have an upper memory
manager. Unfortunately, I don’t have any experi-
ence with an upper memory manager for a 286. You
can find out if your 286 can use high memory.
Insert these two lines at the beginning of
CONFIG.SYS
device=C:\..\HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH
and see what appears on screen when you boot. If
you don’t see it, then type MEM when the PC has
finished starting. The last line should read
MS-DOS resident in high memory Area
If not, you’ll get the message
unable to control A20 line
Then try with
..HIMEM.SYS/machine:11
The number is a machine identification. Allowable
values are from 1-14 (see your DOS manual) or
experiment, starting with 11, 12 or 13.
I’ve managed to get it to work on some PCs. If it
works, then you’ve got DOS in high memory,
which will make your PC faster because you’ve got
more conventional memory free. Use MEM or
MEM/C/P to check. You should have more
memory available for programs. If you can’t use
upper memory, you must write device= instead of
devicehigh= as well as remove any references
to LH in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
-------------------------
386
.. EMM386.EXE ..
EMM386.EXE can only be used on a PC equipped
with at least a 386 processor. This program is a
science in itself with numerous options, not all of
which are dealt with here. This long explanation is
necessary because it is an important file when it
comes to how memory is used.
The program has two basic functions: it can be a
memory manager for EMS memory and it provides
access to the upper memory area.
Confusion can arise because EMM386.EXE can
be used as a driver as well as a DOS program. We
haven’t run across this before. It is uncommon to
find a device driver that at the same time can also
run as a program from the DOS prompt. And the
manual ... forget it!
Before reading this line during boot, all RAM
above 1088 KB is configured as extended memory.
HIMEM.SYS is first of all a memory manager for
upper memory but if DOS=UMB is specified, then
DOS, via EMM386.EXE, takes control over upper
memory from HIMEM.SYS.
After you load HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE, it
is possible to start to load programs with devicehigh
and LoadHigh.
LH is short for LoadHigh, which means load
into upper memory. LoadHigh and devicehigh
should have both been called LoadUpper – the
whole thing is totally confusing. If you are trying to
load a program/driver into upper memory using a
devicehigh or LH and there is no space for it, it
loads into conventional memory instead. You don’t
even get an error message.
config.sys 21
DEVICE=..\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
I am going to start with the setup that is relevant for
most people. This is the parameter NOEMS, which
means that some of the extended memory should
not be converted to EMS memory. NOEMS also
means “create an entrance to upper memory.” You
use this if you don’t need EMS memory, wish to
use upper memory and want all your free RAM
over 1,088 KB to be used as XMS memory.
Technical corner: With DOS 5, the message I
get is 92 KB total available upper
memory and 92 KB as largest block,
starting with address C800 if I have specified
NOEMS.
I=E000-EFFF
(A) Of no importance to the PS/2. This line is a
parameter that is independent of other parameters
and can be in the same line as EMM386.EXE. It
includes an address area in upper memory and
depends on the area not being used by anything else
– and anything else in this context means something
from the system, like the motherboard BIOS.
An area in memory is defined by a start and an
end address. As a rule, numbers in base 16 are used,
here with only four digits to each – the last 0 is
dropped. As an example, the 64 KB in the area from
896-960 KB becomes E000-EFFF. EFFF is the
address just before F000. Every area of 64 KB is re-
ferred to as a page, the A-page, B-page and so on.
640 KB = A000, etc.
EMM386 from DOS 5 defaults not to include this
area because it is used by the PS/2 to hold BIOS
ROM but EMM386 from DOS 6 does include it.
If you want to exclude an area from upper
memory (to be sure that no program uses it), specify
it in the same way but use an X instead of an I, e.g.
X=B000-B7FF
which excludes this area, called the monochrome
region, the region where the CPU communicates
with a monochrome (black and white) video card. It
is preferable to include this section, rather than
exclude it. See the comments under Memmaker in
DOS 6.
Requires EMS memory
Some programs need EMS memory. The most
important thing about understanding EMS and up-
per memory is that most EMS-dependent programs
demand that 64 KB consecutive UMB be used to
make what is called a page frame.
On the subject of expanded memory, two
parameters will be discussed in detail – RAM and
AUTO (because the manual mentions them only
briefly and even then it is wrong as far as the AUTO
switch is concerned). The DOS 6.0 Help function is
also wrong. See page 25, AUTOEXEC.BAT, for
where to place AUTO.
Let’s say that you have a total of 4 MB RAM.
You will have 3 MB extended memory after instal-
ling HIMEM.SYS – I’m disregarding the 64 KB in
high memory for a moment to make things a little
easier. EMM386.EXE is able to convert extended
memory to expanded memory, so if you want to use
1 MB (= 1024 KB) of your 3 MB extended memory
as expanded memory (keeping the remaining 2 MB
as extended memory) and want access to upper
memory, write
DEVICE=..\EMM386.EXE RAM 1024
RAM means “give access to upper memory.” 1024
means use a maximum of 1024 KB for EMS
memory. If you only give a number, you will be
denied access to upper memory.
I=E000-EFFF FRAME=E000
(A). Refer to I=E000-F000 earlier.
Irrelevant for the PS/2. Following LIM EMS
specifications versions 3.2 or 4.0, EMS memory
uses page frames, which I don’t describe more fully
here. But most programs that need EMS demand a
page frame (a “window” in upper memory) that
points towards a portion of EMS memory. It is very
important that this 64 KB window be available in
upper memory – otherwise it is “stolen” from con-
ventional memory, and this is a big portion to give
away.
Unfortunately, EMM386 in DOS 5 defaults to a
page frame start address of D000, because the IBM
PS/2 places the motherboard BIOS ROM here. – if
you install, for example, EMS memory with the pa-
rameters RAM 1024, during boot you will see this
as “starting at address....”
The parameter FRAME=E000 determines the
start address for the page frame. The example men-
tioned above makes better use of upper memory.
config.sys 22
EMM386 in DOS 6 has been improved. It would
seem that MEMMAKER tests to see if E000-EFFF
(the E-page) is free, and if it is, it chooses E000 as
the start address. Fine. At any rate, that is how it
works on my PC.
FRAME=NONE
(A) It’s possible that your programs that use EMS
memory don’t need a page frame (though this
applies to very few programs that use EMS
memory).
If you would rather take advantage of the 64 KB
in upper memory, by letting Windows or other
programs use it, you can specify this parameter. If
you use DOS extended programs such as
AutoCad386 or Lotus 1-2-3 ver. 3.x, which expand
memory above DOS’s normal limits themselves,
you should check with the manual to see whether or
not you will benefit by writing this.
This is undocumented in DOS 5.0, while DOS
6.0 mentions it, and adds that it may cause some
programs not to function properly. The box at the
bottom of the page shows some example parameters
for EMM386.
DOS 6: see EMM386 p. 44.
(Enough about EMS and EMM386.)
DOS=UMB
means that DOS takes over the handling of all
upper memory. DOS requests HIMEM.SYS to pass
over control of all upper memory. You can write the
two lines as one:
DOS=HIGH and DOS=UMB as DOS=HIGH,UMB
but as they are two separate commands, I have
chosen to write them as two separate lines.
REM DE..IGH=\..\CDMKE.SYS /D:MSCD01
This is a driver for a Panasonic CD-ROM drive that
I activate when I need it – it uses 11 KB. The name
given after /D: identifies the CD-ROM drive to the
MSCDEX program that is called in
AUTOEXEC.BAT. See MSCDEX on p. 24.
SMARTDRV.SYS 512 256
This line is only relevant if your disk cache is the
not-so-good SMARTDRV.SYS from DOS 5, that is,
you do not have Windows 3.1 or DOS 6. If you
don’t know what a disk cache is, read the general
description SMARTDRV disk cache on p. 28, then
return here.
The numbers are the amount of KB for the
cache’s initial size and minimum size. You are free
to choose whether you want to state just the first
number, both numbers or none at all. The optimum
numbers depend on the available amount of extend-
ed memory. The default for the first number is 256.
The last number is relevant for Windows.
Certain programs have the ability to change the
minimum size and even give it a value of 0 in order
to use this area in memory themselves.
To avoid this you must state the minimum by
setting the second number. I am assuming that you
have not installed expanded memory. The above is
an example with 2 MB total RAM and NOEMS at
EMM386.EXE. In other words, 960 KB available
XMS memory. When you have used 512 KB for
SMARTDRV, you are left with 448 KB available for
programs that can use extended memory. If you
know that this is not the case for your programs, try
and set the first number higher and see if that
speeds up your system.
If you have 4 MB total RAM, write 1024 512.
You don’t need to use a disk cache – it is, however,
recommended.
(SMARTDRV only became an acceptable product
with the introduction of ver. 4.0 from Windows 3.1,
and became worth using with version 4.1 from DOS
6. If you have SMARTDRV.EXE, you are much better
off. You shouldn’t load it from CONFIG.SYS but
from AUTOEXEC.BAT. You can still use
SMARTDRV.EXE 4.0 even if you only have DOS 5,
see also p. 29.)
device=c:\..\emm386.exe ram 1024
device=c:\..\emm386.exe i=e000-efff frame=e000 ram 2048
device=c:\..\emm386.exe i=e000-efff x=b000-b7ff noems
device=c:\..\emm386.exe i=e000-efff noems
config.sys 23
..RAMDRIVE.SYS 2048 /E
Relevant if you have Windows 3.1, a minimum of 8
MB RAM and use programs that work intensely
with temporary files. Windows and many Windows
programs do this, e.g. CorelDraw.
It creates a RAM disk (IBM usually calls it a
virtual disk), i.e. a temporary hard disk that exists
only electrically while your computer is running.
During the boot procedure, you will see the next
available drive letter, at the end of the virtual
disk line. The number specifies how much RAM
is set aside to behave as a disk. Here it is 2048 KB
of extended memory – indicated by the /e.
If you want to use EMS memory (you may have
a card with expanded memory), use /a.
The risk with this is that if the computer hangs
or there is a power failure, all data in the RAM
drive is lost. The advantage is faster access to data
when you work intensely with temporary files. It
requires that you enter in AUTOEXEC.BAT the line
SET TEMP=D:\
(or your next available drive designation).
..DISPLAY.SYS CON=(,,1)
Is the driver for the console. The first parameter,
which refers to the type of monitor/graphics
adapter, need not be stated since DISPLAY.SYS
checks the video adapter automatically.
The second parameter refers to the number of
the codepage for the console supported by the
hardware. In my experience, if you use mode con
cp prep and mode con cp select in
AUTOEXEC.BAT, where this codepage is chosen. If
your hardware (video card) doesn’t support one of
the codepages for your country, you must give a
number. To see this, type mode con in DOS.
The third parameter (here, 1) is the number of
codepages needed for which space has to be
reserved in memory (but still only for CON and not
any other device). The default is 1. If you only want
to use one codepage, e.g. 850, write 1 at the end.
All this is necessary to be able to use mode
con cp prep and select in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
For two codepages: If you choose 2, you will be
able to shift between codepages at the end, e.g. 437
and 850, providing you have prepared them (see
mode con ..) and loaded NLSFUNC in
AUTOEXEC.BAT. This allows you to switch between
codepages with the command CHCP 437 or
CHCP 850. DISPLAY.SYS occupies 8.1 KB.
See buffers on page 24 to see how many buffers
can be loaded into high memory.
...SETVER.EXE
Some programs – typically older ones – need access
to a certain DOS version number. SETVER lies to
these programs about the version number. Type
SETVER to see this. Requires 432 bytes.
..GMOUSE.SYS
Loads a mouse driver for DOS programs. Windows
has its own driver but this is only for Windows
programs. This example is for a Genius mouse.
Your mouse driver may be called something else
and be located in a different directory.
..ANSI.SYS
Is a driver for screen characters, cursor movement
and defining the keyboard keys. Necessary for DOS
if you want to use something other than the default
25 lines of 80 characters, changing the colors on the
DOS screen, etc.
COUNTRY=044,437..
In this example, I have chosen an English user who
wants to use codepage 437 as the active general
codepage. The first number, in this case 044, sets
English formats for time, date, currency symbol,
sort order in files and characters used in directory
and file names.
The second number sets the active codepage, the
general active codepage for all devices that are sup-
ported by it.
If you leave the second parameter blank, you
will automatically choose, during boot, the default
codepage (see the manual for the country command
or with DOS 6.x, type at the DOS prompt help
country and select notes) and not the alter-
native codepage. On an “English-speaking” PC, the
default codepage is 437 with 850 as an alternative.
In this example, the default codepage is selected.
For more, see the Codepage section, p. 28.
config.sys 24
BUFFERS=5
Is a mini cache programme (see page 28 for an
explanation of disk caches). If you are using
SMARTDRV I would suggest that you set the
number of buffers low, to 6 for instance. Every
buffer uses about 532 bytes. If you do not use a disk
cache program, then you should experiment a little.
Try values of between 6 and 20 and see which one
works best on your PC. You will not have any
problems, just a slightly faster or slower computer.
The majority of buffers should, according to
Microsoft, be loaded into high memory if there is
room there. Whether I used MEM/C/P or
MEM/D/P, I could not see any evidence of this. I
discovered the cause later: if DISPLAY.SYS is loaded
(and this happens in all non English-speaking
countries to allow access to country-specific letters
and symbols), then something happens in high
memory. An educated guess: the codepages that
have memory reserved for them via DISPLAY.SYS
take up space in high memory.
Experiments showed that if DISPLAY.SYS is
loaded with the last parameter (number of
codepages) set to 1, the result is that only 27 or
fewer buffers can be held in high memory, with 512
bytes used in conventional memory. With 28
buffers, all of them are pushed down into
conventional memory. Another peculiarity: with
buffers=24-27, COMMAND.COM uses 5 K, otherwise
it uses only 3 K. If you are loading a single
codepage, the most efficient way is to specify
buffers=23.
If the last parameter in DISPLAY.SYS is set to 2,
then only eight or fewer buffers can be placed in
high memory. With nine buffers, things go wrong.
With buffers=6-8, COMMAND.COM fills 5 K,
otherwise it only fills 3 K. With two codepages
specified, the best setting is buffers=5. Luckily,
there are only a very few users who need so many
buffers, as nearly everybody uses a disk cache like
SMARTDRV, but it is a mistake that the manual or
Help does not explain this. Almost certainly, the
Americans have never even discovered this
problem, as they do not need DISPLAY.SYS. (IBM’s
PC DOS 6.1 and 6.3 behave in exactly the same
way).
If you want to test things out, then use
MEM/D/P after every boot, and look for
BUFFERS. You can also use the undocumented
MEM/A, which also tells you about high memory.
FILES=40
The default (if the line isn’t included) is 8.
Valid: 8-255. Specifies how many files can be open
at the same time. A file is “open” when it is in use
or being read. Today, many programs need to have
a lot of files open at the same time. If you use Win-
dows and run several programs simultaneously, you
require a higher amount.
Some space is taken up in memory for this but
not much. Try 30, 40 or 50 and see how it works. I
wonder why Microsoft doesn’t provide a program
that shows the number of open files.
REM FCBS=X
File Control Blocks. Certain older programs, e.g.
SideKick, access files by means of FCBs. The value
x states how many of these blocks DOS can have
open at the same time. The default is 4.
If you don’t know whether or not your program
requires FCBs, try setting the value at 1. If you get
no error messages, you will have saved a little
memory.
REM STACKS=9,256
The numbers given here are only examples. The
default (if the line isn’t included) is 0.0 for the
original IBM PC and 9,128 for all others. Specifies
how much memory is set aside to handle hardware
interrupts.
An interrupt is when there is a “...telephone call
for Mr. DOS” while it is doing something. If you
press a key while DOS (and hence the processor) is
in the middle of a task, it will be taken as a call that
can’t be ignored. So DOS will temporarily place
what it is doing on a “shelf” in what is called a
stack (a little buffer) while it handles the
interruption. When the interruption is over, DOS
returns to what it was doing.
Examples of interrupts include clicking or
moving the mouse, hard disk activity or an
incoming fax. Many interrupts occurring at the
same time can use up the stacks reserved here; the
solution is to increase the number.
The first number gives the number of stacks.
Valid numbers here are 0, or from 8 to 64.
The second number specifies how many bytes
are set aside for each stack. Valid numbers are 0,
32, 64, 128, 256 or 512. If you have extra cards for
a scanner, fax modem, modem or similar device,
and have ever had an error message stack overflow,
you can try raising the values and see if it helps. Try
9,256 – 9,512 – 10,128, etc.
If you don’t have an original IBM and you don’t
have this line in your CONFIG.SYS, you waste
memory unnecessarily. If you want to aim for the
optimum setting, try STACKS=0.0. It may just be
config.sys 25
that none of your programs requires these stacks. If
you encounter problems, then write STACKS=
9,128 – which is the same as omitting the line. If
you need a higher number, it is already there so you
can change it more easily.
It does, however, use some conventional mem-
ory, only a tiny amount, but it’s worth mentioning.
BREAK=ON
Increases the number of times DOS checks to see if
the user has pressed Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Break (pause
key) to stop a program. However, certain programs
are written so that these keys have no effect.
break=ON means here that you can break a
program with Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Break. break=ON
has no effect on the use of RAM.
SHELL=.. /p /f /E:1024
SHELL=..\DOS\.. /p /f /E:1024
Some people place COMMAND.COM in the root and
don’t have a line stating SHELL=, which is OK.
Others place COMMAND.COM in C:\DOS together
with this line, showing where it can be found.
The first is the easiest way as by default the boot
process looks for COMMAND.COM there but the line
above can specify where it is.
Placing it in C:\DOS is also reasonable because
you seldom work in the DOS directory and
therefore you’re not likely to delete
COMMAND.COM by mistake. If you delete
COMMAND.COM in error then you’ll lose your com-
mand interpreter. Solution: boot from a floppy and
copy it from the floppy to the hard disk. You can
now boot from the hard disk.
/p means that you have specified the permanent
command interpreter (you may use another but that
is not dealt with here).
/f means that the option Fail is chosen if you
get the error messages Abort, Retry or
Fail, which typically happen when a program
tries reading a diskette drive and finds no diskette.
/E:1024 – another very important purpose of
this command is to expand the Master DOS envi-
ronment to the number of bytes specified at the end
of the line. This is a sort of bulletin board in
memory where DOS and other programs save and
retrieve certain internal information and variables.
Some programs require that a variable be de-
fined in this environment, and during installation of
such a program, a line in AUTOEXEC.BAT is
inserted or recommended, e.g. set lib=C:\QB.
Try entering SET and HELP SET at the DOS
prompt; it will give you an idea of what it is all
about.
If a line with SHELL= isn’t included, DOS 5
sets aside 160 bytes and DOS 6 earmarks 256 bytes.
If you get an error message Out of environment
space, you can try increasing the number in this
line. I have never needed it to increase the amount
of bytes, but Microsoft recommends setting the
number to 1024 or 2048 for Windows 3.1. It is a
question of a very few bytes, so you use very little
conventional memory, 1 or 2 KB.
If you have a long path statement, with around
127 characters, then 127 bytes are used for this so it
can be relevant to set a number here. Most people
will find that 512 or 1024 works fine.
DOS 6.0: MEMMAKER inserts this line if it isn’t
found, although without /e:1024
Other possible lines in CONFIG.SYS
Even this guide has its limits!
REM LASTDRIVE=X
This stipulates the maximum number of drives you
can access. The default is the next available drive,
which for most people is drive D. You waste mem-
ory if you write Z without needing it.
Network users: certain network programs
attempt to create drive names beyond the maximum,
in which case Z does not work.
FASTOPEN
If FASTOPEN is specified in your CONFIG.SYS, I
recommend that you delete the line. The idea of
having fast access to files is attractive, but users
have reported damaged files as a result of using it.
This file is also included in DOS 6.
autoexec.bat 26
AUTOEXEC.BAT
The file AUTOEXEC.BAT contains DOS commands
that are executed when the computer starts up. It is
essential that the file be stored in the directory from
which the PC boots (usually C:\). It should be
noted, however, that the file need not exist at all.
@ECHO OFF
Prevents commands from being shown on the
screen while they are being executed. The @ at the
beginning of the command prevents even the words
“Echo Off” from appearing. Try placing REM at the
beginning of the line; that makes the booting se-
quence “visible.”
PATH C:\BAT;C:\DOS; . . . C:\UTI;
Semicolons separate the different directories. The
maximum number of characters is 127! Type PATH
at the DOS prompt to check what your path
currently contains.
Many programs want to add one or more
directories to the path during installation. If you
agree to this, you might see a line added with %.
This means “add this directory to the path.” Edit the
path yourself if you want to include it and then de-
lete the line with %.
If you leave out C:, then the path will only work
when you are on drive C, which is not so clever.
For example, you would not be able to carry out an
xcopy command if you are on the A: drive.
REM LH MSCDEX /D:MSCD01 M:20
The MSCDEX program allows you to use the CD-
ROM drive. The name after /D: must be the same
as that given in the driver line in CONFIG.SYS. It is
very important that this line come before the line
activating SMARTDRV so SMARTDRV can act as a
read-cache for the CD-ROM drive. For more
information, see SMARTDRV on page 28.
When SMARTDRV starts, it checks to see if
MSCDEX is running. If so, SMARTDRV sets a default
value read-cache for the CD-ROM drive.
If you want to see how much memory is
allocated, then add /V to the line and this figure
will be shown when booting. /M:20 stipulates the
number of sector buffers.
C:\..\SMARTDRV.EXE
SMARTDRVE is shown in this example without
parameters for starting point and minimum sizes.
SMARTDRV checks for available XMS memory and
chooses the sizes itself, which works fine for most
users. To ensure that SMARTDRV is loaded into
upper memory, it is a good idea to place it early in
AUTOEXEC.BAT as it takes up 26 KB memory. See
SMARTDRV Disk cache on p. 28 for more.
MODE CON CP PREP=((850)..
MODE CON CP SEL=437
MODE CON is a setting (a state to be in) for the
console. CP is short for codepage. Prep means
prepare. The file EGA.CPI contains the graphics
characters that are displayed on the screen.
I have chosen examples allowing for two code-
pages, which is only possible if space has been
prepared in memory first (see display.sys).
The first line prepares for the console to use two
different codepages. The second line chooses the
codepage that the console is to use, which means in
practice how ASCII values are shown on the screen.
MODE CON gives information about
1. the (optionally chosen) hardware-supported code-
page for CON – this depends on the second
parameter in the line with display.sys
2. the prepared codepage(s) – controlled by
MODE CON CP prepare= ..
3. the chosen codepage – controlled by
MODE CON CP select=..
If you have only reserved room for one codepage in
the line with display.sys, you can prepare and
choose only one codepage, 437 or 850. If you have
chosen two, then in the first line write
..prep ((437 850) ..
See the manual for the difference between the
pages; typically it will be symbols like the
copyright sign © and graphic symbols used for
drawing boxes.
Keyb.com..keyboard.sys
Must come after mode con cp select. In-
stalls or configures the keyboard for an English
layout. As the second parameter isn’t stated, the
codepage chosen with mode con cp select
= is the one selected.
If the second parameter is specifically stated, it
must be identical to the one chosen by select.
Takes up 7 KB.
Rem LH ..nlsfunc.exe
loads a program, making it possible to change
between codepages using the CHCP command, e.g.
CHCP 437 or CHCP 850. Only relevant if you
autoexec.bat 27
want to be able to change between two codepages,
e.g. 437 and 850 in Great Britain.
REM LH ..DOSKEY.COM
DOSKEY is a handy little program that remembers
your most recently used DOS commands. Use
arrow up and arrow down to browse them. Only
relevant if you write many (long) DOS commands.
Takes up 4 KB.
LH C:\DOS\SHARE
SHARE.EXE manages which files are “open” so that
two programs can’t open the same file. I have tried
it with different programs but not all give a
warning, so you can’t be sure that all programs can
use it.
It only takes up 6 KB and I recommend it,
especially if you are running Windows. For
WinWord 6.0, Microsoft suggests this line:
LH C:\DOS\SHARE /L:500 /F:5100
Where /L:500 gives the number of “locks,” defi-
ning how many locked files can be managed at the
same time. /F:5100 specifies, in bytes, how much
memory should be used to make sure two programs
cannot use the same file simultaneously.
set tmp=C:\temp
set temp=C:\temp
forces programs, such as Windows, to use the
specified directory for saving files temporarily.
It sometimes occurs that your PC crashes, i.e.
stops responding, and you have to reboot. If this
happens, and a program wasn’t closed properly,
temporary files may be left behind. They are easy to
find (and delete), especially if they are in this direc-
tory.
The file name usually starts with a ~ symbol and
often has TMP as extension. Delete these files regu-
larly from your hard disk but only when you are at
the DOS prompt with no other programs running.
rem SET TMP=D:\
rem SET TEMP=D:\
If you have installed a RAMdisk in CONFIG.SYS
and also want to use it as a drive (disk), where
temporary files can be stored, you can stipulate the
RAMdisk – in this example drive D – as this drive.
If the next free drive is another letter, of course, you
must use that letter. During boot, RAMDRIVE.SYS
will show the drive chosen. Remember to enter both
lines.
PROMPT $P$G
Almost everyone uses this prompt, which shows
you which drive and directory you are in (with
DOS 6 you do not need to insert it; DOS 6 does it
for you). C:\> is called the DOS prompt because
the computer shows that it is ready and is
“prompting” you to write something. The PROMPT
command can also be used to redefine keys or give
you other screen colors. The following prompt
command requires that you have installed ANSI.SYS
from your CONFIG.SYS file, as described earlier. If
you have, try entering
C:\>PROMPT $e[0;1;37;44m$P$G
The square parenthesis can be produced by pressing
Alt+91 (if you don’t have it or can’t find it on your
keyboard). Then enter CLS. This will give you a
blue screen with white letters. If you like this better,
you can enter the above in your AUTOEXEC.BAT
file instead of PROMPT $P$G. The whole screen
will be blue when you work in DOS. If you don’t
like it, either re-boot or type
PROMPT $e[m$p$g.
Rem ..gmouse.com
I used to have a Genius mouse with the driver
C:\UTI\GMOUSE.COM. By removing rem, I could
load GMOUSE.COM into upper memory. Generally,
though, I don’t use a mouse in DOS programs as I
find the keyboard faster.
Mouse drivers for DOS programs are often
accompanied by one file with the extension SYS
and one with the extension COM. The SYS file can
be loaded in CONFIG.SYS. The COM file can be
loaded in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
Windows has its own mouse drivers for different
mice, and they work in Windows programs. If you
want to use a mouse in DOS programs under
Windows, you have to install the mouse driver
before you run Windows. To be able to use the
mouse in a DOS window (not a full screen), the
driver must be minimum ver. 8.20 from Microsoft,
or compatible. You might need to add this line in
SYSTEM.INI:
[NonWindowsApp]
MouseInDosBox=1
autoexec.bat 28
REM ..EMM386.EXE AUTO
Only relevant in DOS 5 if you have installed
expanded memory. This parameter can be specified
when EMM386.EXE is loaded as a program, that is to
say from a DOS command. It does not work in
CONFIG.SYS. Auto means that the amount of KB set
aside as EMS memory in CONFIG.SYS is only used
as such if a program asks for it, otherwise it is used
as extended memory. But once used as XMS, it
won’t return to EMS; it doesn’t switch back
automatically.
rem WIN :
Many people use the last line to start a program up,
typically a menu or Windows. Here “Win space co-
lon" – skips the advertizement as Windows starts.
set winpmt=Type EXIT and press
ENTER to return to Windows$_$_$p$g
is a good idea, and should be written on one line.
Winpmt is short for Windows’ prompt, and this
line means that when in a DOS box you will be
reminded that you are running a DOS box in
Windows (if you forget and reboot from your DOS
box, it can have unfortunate consequences).
$_$_ has the effect of entering two blank lines
(Enter, Enter).
Codepages
(A) Advanced. This relates only to DOS codepages.
Windows has its own codepage, which is defined in
Windows Setup.
I have spent a long time experimenting, reading
the manual, writing chcp, keyb and mode
con during boot and in several different places in
AUTOEXEC.BAT.
On different PCs, I have seen many different
versions of the relevant lines in the startup files.
Few people seem to have problems, even if there is
a difference between the active cp (type chcp) and
the codepage for the console (type mode con) –
but some do, especially during Windows setup, if
they do not give other parameters in the country
command.
It doesn’t help matters at all (and here I criticize
Microsoft) that information is not given to every
country about codepages in its own language.
First, the DOS 5 manual and the screen mes-
sages returned by the above commands (those that
have anything to do with cp) are the most incon-
sistent (both literally and in the information they
provide) that I have seen for a long time. The DOS
6 manual is better but not where it is important.
It would appear that Microsoft has chosen chcp
to be the “king” of all commands because at one
stroke it can change all cp definitions for all
devices. My experience is that using the second
parameter in the country command is just as
good.
It is utterly ridiculous that you have to insert
several complicated lines in a certain order in the
startup files simply to define a codepage or to be
able to swap between two. I have given up trying to
get an explanation from Microsoft for why they
have made the whole thing so complicated.
As I have already mentioned, a potential prob-
lem does exist if you don’t stipulate the second
parameter in the country command in
CONFIG.SYS, which is why I mention it here.
I know this is of little practical significance for
most readers but maybe with more international
data communication in the future, it will become
more important.
smartdrv disk cache 29
SMARTDRV disk cache
Generally
There are several different disk cache programs
on the market but I discuss only SMARTDRV here,
as it comes as an extra program with DOS. A
cache (pronounced cash) is a buffer, a link, an
intermediary storage place between the CPU and
the hard disk. A primitive form of cache is
buffers= in CONFIG.SYS.
SMARTDRV by default uses part of extended
memory for its buffer. When the CPU needs data,
it checks the cache first to see if it is there (a hit).
If so, it will be read from cache, which can be 100
times faster than if the data is not in the cache (a
miss) and the CPU has to get it from the hard disk.
This is called reading from cache.
If the CPU is told, for example, to save a do-
cument, it will first be saved in the cache. This is
writing to the cache.
If you don’t know very much about this
program, or don’t know whether or not it is
installed on your PC, write
C:\>SMARTDRV/S
This will not do any harm. If the program is not
installed, it will just display the different options,
or parameters, available.
If it is installed, it will show the start cache
size in the first line and in the second line a
minimum cache size while running
Windows.
It also shows how many hits and misses
SMARTDRV has had. The point is, of course, to get
as many hits as possible, so you can try this com-
mand to see how things are going – even while
you are running Windows. Finally, it shows the
drives where read and write caches are enabled.
SMARTDRV.EXE
Version 4.0 and 4.1: The following applies to
version 4.0 (from Windows 3.1) and 4.1 (from
DOS 6.0).
SMARTDRV loads itself in upper memory if
possible. If a start size and minimum size are not
stated, SMARTDRV will find out how much XMS
memory to use, which works fine for most users.
Drive C will be the read and write cache drive by
default. The start value, or size, can also be called
the disk cache size, though it only applies while
running DOS programs.
With 4 MB of RAM installed, 1 MB is occu-
pied under DOS and a minimum of 512 KB while
running Windows. When Windows is loaded, it
allocates extended and available upper memory
for different purposes (Windows has its own
memory manager.) Windows and SMARTDRV
cooperate in using memory efficiently, which is
why you can state a minimum size under Win-
dows. The path line in your AUTOEXEC.BAT must
include the directory in which you have
SMARTDRV.EXE.
SMARTDRV 1024 1024
This is an example that shows a start size and a
minimum Windows size given in KB. You have to
experiment to find out what is best for your own
configuration. I suggest that you run with one
setup for a while, change to another setup, change
back again and see if you can feel any difference.
Objectively, there may be a difference but if you
can’t feel it, it can’t be that big. It is a matter of
finding the right proportions.
You will have to boot between tests in order
for the new sizes to become effective.
The following commands apply to all versions
SMARTDRV/?
Lists the different parameters.
SMARTDRV C+
Turns read/write cache on drive C on.
SMARTDRV C-
Turns read/write cache on drive C off.
SMARTDRV C
Turns write cache on drive C off but leaves read
cache on. If you have several drives on your hard
disk, you may wish to switch off the write cache
on one of the drives. This can be entered at the
DOS prompt but I recommend waiting until you
are sure that all activity on the hard disk has
ceased to be sure that no data is left “hanging” in
the cache, which leads us on to:
smartdrv disk cache 30
SMARTDRV/C
Forces SMARTDRV to save everything from the
cache that’s not already saved to disk. It is always
good to give this command (in BAT files for
example), especially if you or your PC change
quickly from one program to another.
In the SMARTDRV 4.1 section, the DOS 6.0
manual warns: “Write SMARTDRV/C in DOS
before the PC is switched off to be sure that
SMARTDRV has saved all your data to the hard
disk. After all activity on the disk has ceased you
can turn off your computer without risk.”
First tip: always exit Windows before you
switch off your PC. Second tip: wait until any
hard disk activity has ceased before switching off
your PC.
SMARTDRV 4.2: Many users complained
about losing data because, in all good faith, they
had switched off their PCs too soon (before the
cache had emptied to disk). As a result, Microsoft
– keeping a low profile and without any public an-
nouncement – released version 4.2 before DOS
6.2, which, like earlier versions, still has a write
cache as default but writes to disk before retur-
ning to the DOS prompt after closing a program.
This facility is new! With this, the user is certain
not to lose data – although a small price is paid in
the form of reduced speed.
SMARTDRV 5.0: Comes with DOS 6.2 and
Win 3.11, and if it is a new installation, switches
off the write cache and writes directly to disk. If
the installation program finds that SMARTDRV is
using a write cache, it keeps it. Ver 4.2 and 5.0
contain two new switches:
/X switches the write cache off on all drives,
in other words, writes directly to disk.
/N causes SMARTDRV to wait – just like in
versions 4.0 and 4.1 – for the CPU to have a free
moment before writing to disk.
Ver. 5 supports caching on a CD-ROM drive.
Assuming that you only have one drive on your
actual hard disk, it is the surest and simplest way
to insert the following in AUTOEXEC.BAT:
Version 4.0 and 4.1
C:\..\SMARTDRV C
(This writes directly to disk.)
Version 4.2 and 5.0:
C:\..\SMARTDRV
(This writes to the cache, but to disk before re-
turning to the DOS prompt. The Win 3.11
installation inserts /X, i.e. no write cache at all.)
In all circumstances, a read cache is used
(which is the most important one for making your
PC run fast) and the cache writes to disk before
you see the prompt. By typing SMARTDRV/S at the
prompt, you can see which version of SMARTDRV
you have.
Double buffering
Is, as the name suggests, a double buffer, which is
required by certain hard-disk controllers. The AT
bus doesn’t need it, but some SCSI and some
ESDI and MCA controllers do. The line in
CONFIG.SYS
device=..smartdrv.exe/double_buffer
makes these controllers compatible with the type
of memory created by EMM386.EXE or by Win-
dows running in enhanced mode. The driver uses
2 KB of conventional memory and cannot be
loaded into upper memory. A PC with a controller
of this type needs this line in CONFIG.SYS. And
how do you find out? Insert the line in
CONFIG.SYS and SMARTDRV in AUTOEXEC.BAT,
boot and write smartdrv /s.
If, in the “buffering” column it says yes, your
PC needs the line in CONFIG.SYS. If it does not,
then you can delete the line again.
The hard disk 31
The hard disk
Many factors influence the speed at which data can
be moved from the hard disk to the CPU for proces-
sing. Let’s look at some of them.
The files on the hard disk are arranged in a
certain way and in a certain order. If we imagine the
hard disk as a circular plate with its reading head
placed in the middle, we can compare it to a
gramophone record. The files start in the middle,
one after the other in a long spiral chain, like the
music in one long groove.
Imagine that the reading head is the record
player’s pick-up – placed in the middle. When the
head is asked to read a file, it looks in a table, the
File Allocation Table, where it finds the file’s
physical location on the disk. The head then moves
outwards a bit and turns the disk until it comes to
the beginning of the file.
But there is a big difference between a
gramophone record and a hard disk: files on your
hard disk come and go. They get deleted every once
in a while, and new ones are created.
Imagine that you have placed 100 files on your
hard disk without having deleted any. The 100 files
are placed nicely one after the other. Now you
delete three files with these sizes: the first 50 KB,
the second 100 KB and the third 80 KB. That leaves
three available and unequal spaces on the disk.
Then you save or copy a file. If the file is larger
than 230 KB, DOS will place the first 50 KB on the
first empty space, the second 100 KB on the second
space, the next 80 KB on the third space and the last
part of the file will be placed after all the others.
The file has been divided or fragmented.
Next time the file is to be used/read, the reading
head has to go on a long trip around the hard disk,
and that takes time. I have purposely simplified
something here: in reality the hard disk is spinning
constantly; this is necessary to attain the speed at
which the hard disk is read. Floppy-disk drives
don’t spin until they are told to do so.
You have probably worked out by now that files
that are nearest to the center of the disk and are
contiguous are read fastest. The most important
thing is that they are contiguous, i.e. they are in one
piece. Where they are on the disk is less important
(though the longer the seek time, the more
important it is). In the next section, we will look at a
program that can tidy up the data on a hard disk,
joining together the file fragments for faster
reading.
The time it takes for the reading head to access
the beginning of any file is called the “average seek
time” or access time. At present, the most popular
hard disks on the market have an average seek time
of 10-15 milliseconds. Trade advertisements usually
give only this specification about a hard disk – as if
it were the only thing that indicates the quality. It is
important but other factors such as a disk cache
(software- or hardware-based) are more important.
PC Magazine uses a test that gives a hard disk’s
“throughput,” an average for data transfer that takes
many factors into account.
Windows programs work with much larger
amounts of data than was usual a few years ago.
Let’s have a look at something you can do to get
your PC to run faster. You can make the files con-
tiguous and place the ones you use most as close as
possible to the physical center (the logical “start”)
of the hard disk as possible – and now we shall look
at a program that can do this.
Disk optimization
Many programs on the market optimize or defrag-
ment the hard disk. DOS 5 does not include one.
DOS 6 comes with a reduced version of
SPEEDISK.EXE, which it calls DEFRAG. The one I’ll
be discussing here is the SPEEDISK.EXE version 6.0
from Norton Utilities (a collection of various
“housekeeping” programs not traditionally included
with DOS).
I wrote this section when I had a hard disk with
a seek time of 18ms. Now hard disks have seek
times in the region of 10ms or less. Disk
optimization has a greater effect the slower your
hard disk is.
No matter which disk-optimization program you
use, make a backup of all your important files
before you start using the program. I have never
had problems with SPEEDISK but things can go
wrong. A power outage in the middle of your opti-
mization process could be a disaster ...
The hard disk 32
I recommend that you do not have a disk cache
active. If you have one in one of your startup files,
put it temporarily out of action by writing REM in
front of the line that loads it, and reboot. Microsoft
does not recommend this for SMARTDRV. However,
I’ve “forgotten” to put SMARTDRV out of action a
couple of times – with no detrimental effect. But
better to be safe than sorry.
1. You must be at “DOS level,” i.e. straight after a
boot with no programs running. If you use DOS 6,
you can press F5 while the message STARTING
MS-DOS is displayed, and then you can be sure that
no disk cache is active.
2. Another, and more important, point is to
check drive C (or the drive you want to optimize)
with Chkdsk/F, which should repair any faults. If
you want to check a compressed drive (DblSpace,
Stacker or SuperStore), these usually have their
own check program that replaces DOS’s Chkdsk.
If you have DOS 6.2, SCANDISK will start. If you
are using DBLSPACE, use DEFRAG.
The most important thing an optimization pro-
gram does is to bring together the fragments of each
file, i.e. every file will physically be in one long
run. If you’ve never used such a program before,
you will probably be very (positively) surprised by
the improvement it gives you.
If you don’t feel like experimenting with the
order of directories and files and so on at first, just
satisfy yourself with an optimization that brings
files together in one whole piece. With SPEEDISK,
this is called “Unfragment files only."
You can adjust the program by stipulating a
variety of parameters. For instance, you can decide
the sorting sequence of your directories, and within
each directory, you can choose to sort files by all or
any of the following criteria: name, extension, size
and time, in either ascending or descending order.
Or you can simply choose “merely” to optimize the
files that are fragmented, and nothing else.
It is certainly best to plan before you start,
which is something you can do more easily after
you have had a little experience with the program.
You will also find that it is only after you have
worked with your PC for a while that you can
derive most benefit from a disk-optimizsation pro-
gram. But when that time comes, you will be able to
work out which programs you use most, and which
directories contain these programs’ files.
Next, you need to know which programs read
and write to the hard disk the most. If you are not
sure, try listening to the hard disk while you are
working with different programs. Windows and
most Windows programs use the hard disk
intensively.
My experience is that word processors, even
word processors running under Windows, don’t
read and write to the hard disk so much. I haven’t
worked much with spreadsheets but big ones are
certainly active users of your hard disk, and data-
bases put even more demands on it. Programs that
work a lot with graphics are demanding.
You will have to assess the importance of
different, though related, factors: e.g. how often you
use the program and how disk-active it is. I place
the directories for the most disk-active programs
first if I use them regularly and fairly often, and
move the rest according to the tasks they perform.
Let’s look at SPEEDISK ver. 6. There’s no need
to be nervous, you don’t have to begin optimizing
yet. We’re just looking at the possibilities. If you
have a mouse, activate it. You start the program by
typing SPEEDISK at the DOS prompt. The first
thing you will be asked is which drive you want to
optimize, which will usually be C. The program
checks the directory structure, and examines how
fragmented the disk is. If relatively few files are
fragmented, it will suggest that you simply optimize
these files. You must not press Enter – if you do,
then press Esc and answer Cancel. You can always
stop an optimization by pressing Esc.
Go ahead and choose configure, using the right-
hand arrow and enter, or click with the mouse. The
program shows the disk, divided up into small sec-
tions. You can see, by referring to the explanation
elsewhere on the screen, which sections are used
and which are empty. Crosses are files that may not
be moved (immovable files) such as DOS system
files or perhaps a Windows permanent swap file –
described in the section Windows. SPEEDISK does
not move these files.
Only the most important options are explained
here. The most important choice is the method that
SPEEDISK uses. Under Optimize choose the option
Optim. Method. Using the keyboard, move round
with the arrow keys, and mark or remove a
checkmark with the space bar.
The hard disk 33
Full optimizes all files but doesn’t rearrange the
order of files and directories. Full with File reorder
is the one I use myself. This places files in the order
chosen using Directory Order under Configure (de-
scribed below). Unfragment Files Only is the
quickest way to get contiguous files.
Go to Configure and choose Directory Order. It
is a little difficult to use your keyboard here. On the
left is your directory structure. On the right is the
order you have asked SPEEDISK to place your
directories on the hard disk, if this option is
available with the method chosen.
If you choose the method Full with File reorder,
the directories that are in Directory Order are
moved to the “front” of the disk.
The Tab key moves between windows, and the
arrow keys move the marker. Note that you can
mark a directory on the right and then change its
priority. Enter works differently, depending totally
on what you are doing. This is confusing at first, so
it is easier if you use the mouse. Experiment a little
to find out how to list the directories you have cho-
sen.
Choose Save Options to save what you have
chosen. By choosing File Sort you can choose how
files in every directory should be sorted. If you
have a lot of files in one or more directories, or if
they are very large, this can be a significant point;
otherwise it is of less importance than the order of
directories. On the other hand, there are some more
important possibilities under Other Options. I
recommend that you choose Read after Write,
which means that the program checks that data has
been moved intact. If you do not use this, then the
optimization process goes much faster, but you risk
ending up with the occasional corrupted file, which
means you will have to reinstall the program it
belongs to. Save this option by using Save
Options.
On a PC from 1991, a full optimization of a 90
MB hard disk can easily take a couple of hours.
When you have finished optimizing, it can be
interesting to see where individual files are located
on the disk. You can do this by using Walk Map on
the Info menu. Again, here is a situation where it is
good to be able to use the mouse.
If you save new files just after a disk has been
fully optimized, they will be placed last on the disk.
This might not be what you want, so here is a little
tip. The idea is to copy a file to one or more direc-
tories in which you later want “holes” (empty
space) after you have run SPEEDISK. These direc-
tories should be placed at the start of the disk, i.e.
near its center.
Let’s say that you normally store your data in
C:\DOC. Create C:\EXTRA if you don’t have it
already. Copy a big file, a half or a whole MB, to
this directory. Name or rename the file A.A – for
example. Before running a full optimization with
SPEEDISK, copy this file to C:\DOC. Now run
SPEEDISK and afterwards delete C:\DOC\A.A. Now
you have free space in C:\DOC. This place, at the
“beginning” of the disk, is where the next file you
save will be placed. Of course, you can do this with
many directories where you keep data files. Here is
a batch file that does this:
XCOPY C:\EXTRA\A.A C:\DOC
SPEEDISK
DEL C:\DOC\A.A
DEFRAG, which is included with DOS 6.0, can only
use conventional memory and lacks the following
options:
Directory Order, Full with File reorder, Other
Options and even Read after write – Microsoft ob-
viously trusts the program’s integrity.
DEFRAG is not satisfactory for advanced use but
even so, it is much better than no optimization at
all. It has an undocumented switch
C:\>DEFRAG/Q
where the Q stands for Quick – and it is very quick.
Using this method collects all the files in one long
row without optimizing every single file, of course.
It makes available a block of contiguous space,
which can, for instance, be used by a Windows
swap file (see p. 42). The H/ switch allows
DEFRAG to move hidden files.
norton commander (nc) 34
Norton Commander (NC)
Introduction
The section differs from the others in that I will
walk you through the functions I use the most. So it
is a bit like a course in using NC.
This section is here because many people have
purchased and use this excellent program, originally
written by John Socha. The description mainly
relates to the English-language version 3.0.
As time goes by, you cram a lot of files onto your
hard disk, and these are spread around in many
different directories. I have always used Norton
Commander to manage files and directories. If you
don’t have this program, I’m afraid that you won’t
benefit much from this section. However, bits here
and there might interest you enough to make you
consider buying the program. You may well ask
(with good reason) why I devote so much space to a
program that doesn’t come with DOS.
There are many similar programs, including
Dosshell, PCTools and File Manager in Windows. I
personally find NC the easiest, fastest and smartest.
NC was developed many years ago to ease the
management of files and directories. You can use a
mouse in NC but I will only describe the use of the
keyboard.
Start NC by typing NC at the DOS prompt, and
exit by pressing F10. Tab toggles between the two
windows. Press Esc if you regret doing something;
if you open a window and select a function that you
don’t want, press Esc. The screen is split into two
windows, as if you had two simultaneous DOS
prompts, a very intelligent and handy function,
especially when copying and moving files.
At the top of each window is the paths of the
two directories shown by the left and right
windows. I call the horizontal marker the “bar.” The
bar marks a drive, a directory or a file. If the current
directory is empty, the bar will be at the top of the
screen.
Both windows show files and directories in the
manner you stipulate via the pull-down menus. Try
pressing F9 and Enter or the down arrow.
This activates the pull-down menus. You can
move around in a window by using the up and
down keyboard arrows, and you move to a new
window using the right or left keyboard arrows.
Press Esc twice to return.
The bottom of the screen shows the actions of
the different function keys. Try holding down Alt
and you will see what Alt + a function key will do.
norton commander (nc) 35
Configuration
Let’s start by configuring your screen and program
to resemble mine while you read this. You can
always change it later. In the options menu, select
configuration. In each dialogue box, you select with
the space bar to activate a point and move with the
arrow keys, Tab or Enter. Here are my recommen-
dations.
Screen blank delay means that the screen goes
(almost) blank after a certain period of time if you
haven’t touched the keyboard. This protects your
screen. Mine is set at three minutes, but you make
your own choice.
Show hidden files: blank (until you are familiar with
NC, I recommend you use a setup that doesn’t show
hidden files). Ins Moves down means that pressing
the Insert key moves the bar one step down. Auto
change directory means that if you have a directory
tree in the left window and the corresponding files
of a marked directory in the right window, the files
of the new directory will be shown each time you
change directory in the left window. Under other
options, select: Menu bar always visible – blank.
Menu bar always visible means that the top bar for
pull-down menus is always visible. Auto save setup
– x, means this configuration is saved when you
exit NC. End with OK – just keep pressing Enter
until you reach OK.
Still under Options (F9 and
either arrow-down or Enter).
The selections toggle between
on and off each time they’re
chosen. You should have the
following active, i.e. showing a
small check mark next to them,
which you do by pressing Enter
or the emphasized letter.
Unfortunately, you can only change one thing at a
time.
Path prompt – The DOS directory path: The
DOS prompt at the bottom of the screen shows the
current directory.
Key bar – The function keys are shown at the
very bottom of the screen.
F9, and Enter. The menu for
the left and right window is split
into three sections and within each
frame you can choose from one of
the following:
Top Section – Shows the infor-
mation you choose to see in the
window
Brief: file names only.
Full: file names, sizes, dates
and times.
Info: information on the current
disk, space used and available.
Tree – directory diagram: directory tree in this
window and files in the other.
Middle Section – sort order for files
The different options are self-explanatory. Nor-
mally, I have Name activated but if, for example,
you change something in a program that’s made up
of several files and you want to see in which file the
program saves certain things, the most convenient
way is to sort by Time and the changed file will
appear at the top of the list. If you need to view
many files with the same extension, then select
Extension.
Bottom Section – I never use this.
You can select either by moving with the arrow
keys and then pressing Enter or by typing the
capitalized letter. Try selecting Brief; the window
shows the current directory with files, though with
names only. Do the same with the other window, by
pressing Tab, F9 and selecting Brief. If you press
F9 and regret it, press Esc. Move the bar up and
down with the arrow keys. Notice that at the bottom
of the small frame you get full information about
the file or directory that the bar is resting upon..
Directories are written in capital letters and files are
written with lowercase letters. Now select Full for
both windows (F9, Enter, Full,), which shows the
files with name, size, date and time. This is my
preference; you may have a different opinion.
norton commander (nc) 36
Using Norton Commander!
You must be in the root directory in both windows,
so check that it says C:\ at the very top of each win-
dow. If it doesn’t, then one or both windows are in
a sub-directory. Press Home, and the bar will move
to two full stops (UP-DIR). Press Enter and you
will come one step closer to the root directory.
Keep going until both windows are in the root
directory. Tab toggles between the windows. Move
around in the directories and sub-directories so you
become familiar with the layout and the controls.
Try Home, End, PgUp, PgDn, the arrow keys and
Tab.
Place the bar in the right window. We shall
make a new directory in the root. Press F7 and call
it EXTRA – providing you don’t already have a
directory with that name. Notice that the bar auto-
matically jumps to the new directory EXTRA. Press
Enter. This selects the directory.
At the top of the window, it says C:\EXTRA.
The directory is empty and contains no files or sub-
directories. Two full stops is a tool that takes you
closer to the root when you press Enter. The DOS
prompt at the bottom of the screen shows the cur-
rent drive and directory of the bar. What is very
convenient about NC is that while you are
manoeuvring around in NC, you can also write
normal DOS commands at the normal DOS prompt.
Use Tab to toggle between the windows and watch
how the DOS prompt changes. Place the bar in the
right window so you are in the sub-directory
EXTRA.
Take a 3½” floppy disk that contains files. In
one corner of the disk, there is a sliding tab. Using
your fingernail or a ball-point pen, push it to one
side so that the hole is visible. Now the files on the
disk cannot be deleted and new ones cannot be
written onto it; your disk is now “write protected."
You can still read the files, though (the term rea-
ding a disk means getting information from it, while
writing mean saving information to the disk). Put
the floppy disk in the disk drive.
We now wish to see the contents of the floppy
disk, A, in the left window. Press Alt+F1 and press
the A key on the keyboard. The screen will be blank
for a moment as it reads drive A and shows the
contents. Alt+F2 selects the right window in the
same way.
Place the bar in the right window. We will now
copy all the files in the root directory of the floppy
disk to the EXTRA directory.
Copying files with XCOPY
Type (with this prompt):
C:\EXTRA>XCOPY A:
The files are copied and the left window is updated.
With XCOPY, you state what you want to copy,
from where and where to. Here, we take advantage
of the fact that the command inserts standard values
for what’s not specified. The complete line that we
should have written is:
C:\EXTRA>XCOPY A:. C:
The full stop means “all files.” As the prompt is in
directory C:\EXTRA, this is inserted automatically
for where to. The default is all files, so we left out
the period/full stop after A:
If we had wanted to copy the other way, that is
from EXTRA to A, we would have written
C:\EXTRA>XCOPY . A:
i.e. “copy all files in the current directory to A:.”
Most often, you will be copying between two dif-
ferent drives, typically between the hard disk and a
floppy disk.
The command XCOPY could have been executed
without first looking at the contents of the floppy
disk with Alt-F1 but I think it is a good idea to look
first. You don’t even have to be in NC to use
XCOPY. The advantage of using NC is that you can
easily change directories, even at two different loca-
tions at the same time.
But make sure you write the right thing, stating
the to and the from correctly. If, for instance, you
have all your word-processing files in the same
directory from which you regularly make backups,
it is important to copy from C to A – and not the
other way around because XCOPY and COPY do not
warn you (until DOS 6.2) if you are in danger of
overwriting files that already exist.
If you are a bit unsure about XCOPY, then in the
beginning it is best to use NC alone without enter-
ing DOS commands at the prompt. Later we’ll see
how to mark or choose files.
The only drawback of XCOPY is that it can’t
copy hidden files.
norton commander (nc) 37
Hidden files
Hidden files are hidden for a very good reason: the
user shouldn’t touch them. They are hidden from
DIR and DELete, which means that you can’t
delete them in DOS with DELETE and you won’t
be able to see them with DIR. This is very reason-
able because in normal circumstances, the user does
not need to delete a hidden file.
If you want to delete, copy, rename or move a
hidden file, you must press F9, options, configura-
tion and put x in Show Hidden Files, after which
you can manage hidden files with NC.
Selecting files
You will usually select certain files in order to do
something with them: copy, delete or move them.
Put the bar in the right window. We will delete
some of the files that we copied into C:\EXTRA.
Make sure you are in C:\EXTRA (it must say
C:\EXTRA at the top of the window).
Put the bar on the file and press Ins (on some
keyboards, it is called Insert). You can either use
the little grey, or the big white, Ins key but with the
latter your NUMLOCK light must be off. The whole
line will change color, probably to yellow. The file
is now selected (marked).
Notice that the bar automatically jumps to the
next file. This was determined by the configuration
(F9+Options+Configuration) Ins moves down. In
version 3.0, you can’t mark a directory, only files
(version 4 can temporarily). Mark some of the files.
Move back to one of the yellow (marked) files and
press Ins. It will be de-selected. This is how you
select files. Select some but not all of them. Press
F8 to delete them. First you are warned that you
have selected some files to delete. Press Enter. You
are warned again and can still back out using Esc or
choosing Cancel. Press Enter. The files are deleted.
The function keys are shown at the bottom of
the screen. When you press the Alt key, you see the
options available with Alt+ combination. F5, F6 and
F8 mainly manage selected files, or the file on
which the bar rests. So if any files are selected, the
actions will only affect the selected files (no matter
where in the directory the bar is). The only condi-
tion is that it must be in the window (directory)
where you want the command to take effect. If no
files are marked, the command will affect the file
the bar is marking.
We will now move some files from one direc-
tory to another. The right window is still in
C:\EXTRA and you have some files left (I hope).
Tab to the left window. If you are not on C, press
Alt+F1 and then C. Go to the root by pressing
Home and Enter until you have C:\ on the top line
of the screen.
Press F7 and call the new directory DELETE.
Go into the directory. The left window is now in
C:\DELETE and the right window is in C:\EXTRA.
Tab to the right window. Select some files with Ins.
Now press F6. The program says
Rename or move x files to
C:\DELETE
F6 and F5 will by default assume that you want to
move, rename or copy to the directory that is in the
other window – a time-saver. Press Enter. The
selected files are moved to the other directory. The
files are no longer present in the directory EXTRA
but in DELETE.
You may be wondering why a file can be moved
so quickly from one directory to another. Though it
is called move, the file actually remains in the same
physical location on the disk. DOS manages all files
in the File Allocation Table (FAT). Here, in-
formation is kept that shows a file’s physical
location and which directory it is located in. If a file
is moved, it is only the directory name in the FAT
that is changed, and that doesn’t take much time.
Now, let’s copy all the files in DELETE to
EXTRA. Tab so that the bar is in the left window.
Press the large grey plus key (+) at the very right of
your keyboard. A window on the screen shows
Select the files
*.*
I suggest *.* (meaning all files), but you can enter
something else, if you want to. Pressing Enter
marks all the files in the current directory. Notice
the bottom line in the window that shows you the
number of files and their size. The grey minus key
(–) works the other way around; it deselects.
Press F5 and Enter. The files are now copied to
EXTRA. I mainly use the plus key to see how many
files there are in a directory and how much space
they take up. If I want to do something with almost
all the files in a directory, I first select them all and
then deselect the files I don’t want with Ins.
Another useful detail concerning the plus key: if
you mark and copy files to a floppy disk but there
isn’t enough room on the disk for all of them, the
copying process continues until there is no more
space on the disk. The clever part now is that NC
has unmarked the files already copied. Just insert a
new floppy and continue until all files have been
copied.
norton commander (nc) 38
Back to the example. The right window is still
EXTRA and the left window is still DELETE. Place
the bar in the right window. Select all files again
and press F5 and Enter.
NC registers that all the files about to be copied
already exist where you are copying to, and asks:
Overwrite, All or Skip. In the English version, you
can use the keys O, A or S (Esc does the same as
S). Pressing O overwrites the current file, A over-
writes all selected files and Esc avoids overwriting
the current file. (If you are using a foreign-language
version of NC, you might have to use other letters.)
Experiment until you understand the system. Be
aware that pressing Esc once only works for one
file, while A works for all files.
Rename
F6 can do three things – 1) move a file to another
directory, 2) give a file a new name within the same
directory or 3) rename a directory - a directory is
actually just a file, though a very special type of
file.
When a file is moved from one directory to
another, it looks as though it shifts location but in
fact it is just given a new name; remember that a
file’s full name includes drive + directory + name +
extension.
Place the bar on any file in C:\EXTRA or
C:\DELETE. We will rename the file OLGA.DOC.
Press F6, type OLGA.DOC and press Enter – and
notice that NC blanks when you type the first
character. The file has now got a new name. Now
we will rename the file KRISTINA.DOC. Press F6
and you need only write KRISTINA.*.
The asterisk at the end means that you want to
keep the extension. The file is now named
KRISTINA.DOC. Similarly, if you want to call the
file KRISTINA.LET, you simply type *.LET. Tip: if
you want to stop F5 or F6 suggesting a move to the
other window, use Ctrl +F1 or Ctrl+F2 to close it.
The same combination will open it again.
Now NC knows that you don’t want to move the
file to another directory. This is particularly useful
if you just want to make a slight amendment to the
name or want a copy of a file with an almost iden-
tical name. The file name will be shown, so first
press an arrow key (to show you wish to edit), then
you can correct the name. If you type a letter, the
name will be deleted. Try it!
Sometimes you want to give a new extension to
several files that have the same one. Let’s say that
you have given all your word-processor documents
DOC as the extension – or that the program auto-
matically did. You would now like them to have the
extension LET instead. Just be sure that you haven’t
already got a file with an identical name+extension.
You can select them one by one using Ins or
mark them all by using the grey plus key and then
typing *.DOC. You have now marked all files with
the extension DOC. Press F6, type *.LET and then
press Enter. All the files now have the extension
LET.
If you want to make copies of all files with the
extension DOC, you should use F5 instead of F6
and, the same as before, write *.LET. This places
the files with two different extensions in the same
directory. Now delete all the files in the two direc-
tories C:\EXTRA and C:\DELETE, and finish by
deleting the directories.
View/edit text files
F3 and F4 open text files just as a word processor
would. With F3, you can only view, not edit. F4
can edit a text file that is no more than 26,464 bytes
long. NC has a small editor. If you want to start a
different editor with F4, press F9, Options, Editor,
select Extern and type the path for the program you
wish to use. I use NC’s built-in editor to make
minor changes in text files such as AUTOEXEC.BAT,
CONFIG.SYS, INI files and BAT files. It is easy and
fast. You search within a file using F7.
Ctrl+Y deletes a complete line and Home, End,
PgDn and PgUp work as they usually do in most
other programs. If you have changed something and
want to exit, just press Esc and you will be asked
whether you want to save the file or exit without
saving.
Searching for files
Sometimes you know that you have a file but you
have forgotten where it is on your hard disk. Press
Alt+F7, write the name, e.g. MUSIC.DOC, and press
Enter. Or you can type just some of the name if you
can’t remember the full name. MU* locates all files
that begin with MU (muck, munch, music). The
program searches the whole drive and lists all the
matching files it finds. Move to the desired file,
press Enter and you have selected it.
norton commander (nc) 39
Creating a new file
Shift+F4. Type the name and press Enter twice.
Recent DOS commands
Utilize Ctrl+E is to recall DOS commands used
earlier. With Ctrl+X, you browse forward again.
This is the same as the up arrow key and down
arrow key in DOSKEY.
Switching window on/off
Ctrl+O temporarily removes NC from the screen.
Try it. You would normally use it when you write a
DOS command and NC conceals the result. If you
know that the next entries are DOS commands, and
you want to follow them on the whole screen, you
can switch off NC’s display temporarily by pressing
Ctrl+O. Now you are in DOS and can use
DOSKEY if it is active. When you type Ctrl+O
again, you must use Ctrl+E to recall commands.
Switching windows
Ctrl+U swaps over the two windows. It is useful
when you have chosen directories for the two win-
dows – and then decide you would rather have them
the other way around. It is probably a good idea
from the beginning to make up your mind where
you want A and C when you work with floppy
disks. There is a certain logic in using an
alphabetical order, and as you read the English
program instructions from left to right, you should
probably keep A on the left. If you have two floppy
disk drives, A and B, do the same. This lessens the
chance of making mistakes while copying.
Changing directories
Alt+F10 is used to change directory quickly. When
you type a letter, NC finds the first directory start-
ing with that letter. As you type more letters in the
directory name, NC gets closer to its target. If two
directories have the same initial letters, then use
Ctrl+Enter to jump to the next one. You can also
move around using the arrow keys. Then press
Enter. The window in which the selection bar was
placed will now show the selected directory.
The file C:\TREEINFO.NCD contains this tree and
if it is deleted, NC will re-create the tree structure,
and rewrite the file C:\TREEINFO.NCD next time you
press Alt+F10.
If you are deep into the tree structure and want
to get to the root quickly, use Alt+F10 and press the
left arrow key until you reach the root. Ctrl+< or
Ctrl+> does the same.
Leafing through directories
F9, left or right window, Enter, Tree. Move up and
down and the other window automatically shows
the files in the chosen directory. Good for fast
browsing, to see the number of files in the different
directories, etc. And if you don’t know the name of
the file you are looking for, you might be lucky
enough to remember it when you see the name.
Comparing two directories
F9, commands, compare is very practical if you
are making a backup copy of a directory on the hard
disk to a corresponding directory on a floppy disk.
You will be told immediately if there is a difference
between the two directories. Files that differ
between the two locations are marked and you can
go through them to see if you can delete some or if
you ought to make a backup copy of them from the
hard disk to the floppy.
Practice makes perfect
Having (hopefully) read all this and practiced for a
while, you should be a champion at managing files,
both on floppy disks and on the hard disk. So here
is my advice for arranging your hard disk into
directories:
When you install programs, follow their advice.
When you make your own directories, make as few
SUB-directories as possible. It is better to have
more directories in the root.
As time goes by, you will work more and more
with NC. You will have more files to manage. Place
all your data files in a separate directory, i.e.
C:\DATA, with sub-directories for every program
you use. You are sure to be using a word processor
(put your data files in C:\DATA\DOC), a database
(data files in C:\DATA\DB) and a spreadsheet (data
files in C:\DATA\SPREAD) and so on.
Using NC lets you quickly check out your
documents so it is easy to copy them, individually
or together, to diskette.
norton commander (nc) 40
Menu
The file C:\NC\NC.MNU contains a menu that comes
up when you press F2. This text file has some
handy uses.
Let’s take a look at some of the things that might
be in NC.MNU. Use the Space bar and Tab for
indenting.
D: Change to DOC
‘ this is a comment
cd c:\mw\doc
Edit CONFIG.SYS
C:\BAT\ec.bat
The first line in each group, which must be placed
on the extreme left, appears in the menu on screen.
D: at the beginning means that by simply pressing
D you activate the command, which is time-saving
if you have a lot of commands.
The next line consists of one or more DOS
commands. You can make several NC.MNU in diffe-
rent directories, which become the active menus if
you move to these directories. This way you can
quickly change between many different directories
each with its own menu containing different op-
tions.
Version 4.0
This version is an outstanding improvement. Some
of the news: Just like with File Manager, you can
now do things to a directory together with its sub-
directories. In configuration, you can mark Select
Directories, which means that the grey plus key
also marks directories. You can also copy
directories together with their sub-directories,
which helps when making backups.
The editor (F4) can do a lot of different things,
search/replace, block functions (F3 starts block, F3
ends and Shift+F3 cancels the block), etc.
Quick View gives information about the selected
directory: number of sub-directories and number
and size of all files.
There is a built in manager for ZIP and other
compressed files (requires that the compression
programs are on your path). NC has its own
packing program that produces ZIP-format files.
Press enter on a ZIP file and it reveals the names of
all the files it contains. They can be treated in all the
normal ways (copy, delete, etc.); everything except
view! It has its own compression program. Select a
number of files and compress to ZIP format by
using Alt+F5. If you have LHA and other packing
programs on your path, then Alt+F6 will unpack
(decompress) files in these programs’ formats.
Ctrl+F9 prints a file. Ctrl+F3, F4, F5 and F6
sorts by name, extension, time and size.
Another new feature is a built-in communication
program, which is excellent. I use it to send and
receive files to and from friends and BBSs.
Something I missed in version 3: After a
directory comparison, certain files are marked in a
directory. Now you can invert the marking with the
grey
*
key and mark the unmarked files – perfect,
in other words, for when you want to do something
with the files that aren’t marked.
Version 5.0
The new version does not include anything special,
in fact certain things are worse than they were.
Version 4.0 is the best.
making backups 41
Making backups
Real men make backups, if not sooner, then later.
Hopefully real women make backups too, as at
some point most of us experience what should not
happen – on rare occasions the hard disk breaks
down or you delete a file by mistake and discover
it too late.
My best advice is to install a second hard disk
and use it as backup. The chances of both disks
breaking down at the same time are infinitesimal.
I have two identical hard disks, and it only takes a
few minutes to back up several hundred MB.
I make backups several times a day, whenever
I have done something I would resent having to
do again. I use Norton Commander for copying
files.
Or buy a ZIP drive, where each optical diskette
can hold 100 MB or more. If you cannot afford
this, then use diskettes and read the following.
For many years, Microsoft has packaged a pro-
gram called BACKUP with DOS, which is so im-
practical to use that most people don’t bother.
There are other programs for backup and DOS 6
includes a mini version of Norton’s Backup.
My hard disk contains primarily program files
and perhaps only 20% data files that I have
created. As you already have the programs on
original diskettes and can reinstall them again if
something goes wrong, backup shouldn’t be
necessary for these. The only things you really
need to back up are data files and files that initiate
programs. The latter typically have the extension
INI.
It is a good idea to keep programs and data
separate in different directories. Make a sub-
directory, e.g. C:\DATA\DOC for your WP docu-
ments. I’ve often had to install a program several
times. If you know in which directories a program
creates and stores its files, it is easy to delete the
whole thing and begin again with a fresh instal-
lation – though Windows is special.
You have to get used to the fact that making
backups and maintaining your hard disk and
diskettes takes time. At first I didn’t worry too
much about it, hoping I would remember file
names, hoping the hard disk would never be a
problem, hoping I could find my way around my
diskettes. I later learned my lesson ...
While writing the text of this guide, I copy to
diskette about once an hour, and I do this with
everything I do. For safety’s sake. I have tried
losing several hours’ work. It is no joke.
I have set up directories on my diskettes that
correspond to those on my hard disk so I am in no
doubt where the files come from. I usually use
Norton Commander as I typically work with
several files at the same time but I also use
PKZIP, a file-compression program. If you work
with large files, it is a good idea to use a program
that can pack the files in such a way that they
don’t take up too much space.
Making backups is very much an aspect of file
management. I strongly recommend that you regu-
larly spend some time going through your hard
disk and your diskettes. Are there programs or
data files on your hard disk that you seldom use?
We often install a program to see what it can do
and then forget about it. If you have installation
diskettes for the program, delete it from the hard
disk or pack the relevant directories with a
compression program. The fewer files you have
on your hard disk, the faster your PC works.
If your files are small enough to enable you to
store them in directories that are no more than
1.44 MB, you can easily make a diskette for each
directory. With a compression program (like
PKZIP, ARJ or LHA) you may still be able to have a
diskette for each directory, even though the direc-
tory is larger than 1.44 MB. A compression
program can typically reduce files sizes by 50%.
I would also generally recommend that if you
experiment with CONFIG.SYS, you make running
copies of C:\CONFIG.SYS to C:\DOS.
C:\>copy config.sys c:\dos
so you can always copy it back to the root
directory, possibly if you find you have to boot
from diskette, as described on page 56.
windows 42
Windows
Windows is a huge subject but here is a short
piece that is relevant to the rest of the text.
I use Windows a lot, and like most people
usually have both DOS and Windows programs
running at the same time. You should not expect
just to be able to install Windows, and then have
everything work as fast as you are used from your
DOS programs. Updating a screen in graphics
mode takes considerably longer than updating a
screen in text mode.
Windows 3.x is not an operating system. It is
an operating environment, an extension to DOS, a
graphic user interface, a more practical, more
visual method of managing programs, files, direc-
tories, and so on than the traditional DOS
command line.
Windows is especially relevant if you want to
work with graphics – layout, drawing programs
and so on – or if you want a quick impression of
roughly how something will look when it is
printed. You can use the mouse in all Windows
programs, and you can click your way through
nearly everything. Another convenience is that
programs are similarly laid out, similar menu
commands and so on (like the Macintosh).
Furthermore, you don’t have to know or
remember many DOS commands.
You can run your usual DOS programs in the
manner you are accustomed, by using the full
screen. But, if you prefer, they can run in a
window smaller than the whole screen. With some
programs, you can move data from one window to
the other. You can run several programs at the
same time, and easily move from one to the other.
The problem with Windows (if you are used to
the speed of DOS) is that it needs a fast CPU and
loads of RAM. A 386DX/33 MHz with 4 MB
RAM is the minimum for acceptable speed.
Windows needs XMS (extended) memory and
appreciates a fast hard disk and graphic card. By
default (assuming sufficient memory), Windows
starts in 386 enhanced mode. Windows’ standard
mode – WIN/S – is about 10-20% faster. You
could use this when you are only running Win-
dows programs that require smaller amounts of
memory.
Swap file
When there isn’t sufficient memory available
(because you’ve got more programs open than
your RAM can hold), Windows uses the hard disk
as extra memory, virtual memory. When you shift
programs using Alt+Tab, everything that couldn’t
be held in RAM is summoned from the swap file.
This is a material improvement in Windows speed
– banishing for ever those “out of memory” mes-
sages, provided you make your swap file large
enough.
You can make your swap file temporary or
permanent. The temporary one has to be set up
every time Windows starts, which takes time and
can only be recommended if you are short of
space on your hard disk. If this is the case, then
you would be better off cleaning/tidying up your
hard disk so that you can find the space for a per-
manent swap file, which is much better.
The permanent swap file reserves permanent
space on your hard disk. Before making this file,
run a disk-optimization program or type
C:\>DEFRAG/Q
To set up a swap file in Windows: Select
Main, Control Panel, 386 Enhanced, Virtual Me-
mory, Change. How big should it be? A general
rule is that your free XMS memory after booting
(but including the swap file) should be equal to 12
MB. 4-8 MB is a suitable size for most people.
You can check, by watching the hard-disk
lamp every time you use Alt+Tab, to see if the
CPU has to access the swap file to fetch data. If,
when you have many programs open and are
moving between them, you can hear lots of hard-
disk activity as information gets swapped to and
fro, try increasing the size of the swap file. It can
set at only a certain proportion of the available
space on the hard disk. I would also recommend
that you activate 32-bit disk access.
32-bit disk access.
This gives faster communication to your hard disk
by bypassing DOS and the slow BIOS when
swapping to disk. DOS programs will also run
faster in enhanced mode. If Windows tests your
hard-disk controller and finds it compatible
(conforming with) a certain standard (Western
Digital 1003), then you are able to activate 32-bit
access – put a cross in the check box. For tech-
nical reasons related to the way that portable PCs
save on battery use, Microsoft has not set this as
the default.
(A) It is unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen
to call this communication method “32 bit.”
Another name is FastDisk. It has nothing to do
with the I/O bus or the CPU’s address bus width.
windows 43
It is something technical that works with the 386’s
address register.
Windows uses a device driver that in protected
mode communicates directly with the hard-disk
controller, increasing throughput by
approximately 20% and allowing more DOS
programs to be run at the same time.
If you can’t start Windows after activating 32
bit disk access, start it with
WIN/D:F
and turn the 32-bit disk access off.
Win 3.1 can run in protected or enhanced mode.
While Windows is running in enhanced mode,
every DOS program is given memory as if it were
running on an 8086-based PC. If you have four
DOS programs running, you are simulating four
of the classic PCs. This mode is called Virtual
8086, shortened to V86 mode, and here the 386
processor simulates an 8086 processor, while it
runs in protected mode.
The advantage is that you can run real-mode
DOS programs with the advantages of protected
mode, i.e. protection against memory conflicts.
Furthermore, you appear to be running more
programs at the same time. It looks that way, even
though the 386 processor is in fact just shifting
rapidly between the different programs, each of
which have control of the CPU for a short, precise
time. This is what is called multi-tasking. Every
DOS program also has at its disposal all the avail-
able conventional memory, and this is why
memory optimization is important.
In principle, a 486 processor behaves in the
same way as a 386 here.
Miscellaneous tips for Windows
If you want to save Program Managers settings
without quitting Windows, hold Shift down while
you “exit” Windows – using Alt+F4, for example.
Your settings are saved but Windows does not
close. You can then switch off Save settings on
exit from the Options menu.
I find it difficult to read the green words in
Windows Help. In WIN.INI under [Windows
Help], try writing
Jumpcolor=0 0 128
Popupcolor=128 0 0
where the numbers give red, green and blue va-
lues. You can play around a little and see what
suits you best. Thanks to Brian Livingston, who
passed on this tip: Insert the following in
SYSTEM.INI:
[386enh]
MaxBPs=768
This has solved a lot of problems for many
people. It specifies the maximum number of
breakpoints. A breakpoint is 10 bytes that
Windows uses to control DOS sessions. These are
DOS programs that each run on their own virtual
PC, which means that each program behaves as
though it is alone on its own machine. To be even
more accurate, a breakpoint is used by Windows
every time it needs to communicate in real mode.
To sum up the reason for this command: when
Windows starts, it sets aside a certain number of
breakpoints by default. When specifying this
number, the programmers assumed that it would
be more than enough. Unfortunately, this has
proved not to be the case, and a Windows session
can easily use more than the default number,
leading to some rather unpleasant problems. Since
I have added this line, I have had fewer program
crashes.
As we all know, neither Windows 3.1 or
Windows 3.11 is perfect, and both are prone to
either lock up or crash at regular intervals. I have
got into the habit of exiting from Windows and
restarting it, or even rebooting the computer,
about once every hour to flush out the memory.
Many Windows programs slowly eat your
memory up every time they are opened or closed
(called memory leakage – programs written in
Visual Basic are especially prone to this). I would
rather use a couple of minutes every hour to
reboot in a controlled fashion than suffer unex-
pected crashes that might well lose my data. If
your language version of Windows produces a
comma when you press the period/full stop on
your numeric keyboard, you can change it to a
period/full stop using a text editor. For example,
Danes would change the file
WINDOWS\SYSTEM\KBDDA.DLL. Search for
,,**--++ and change to ..**--++ and that
does the job. But the usual warning: before doing
this make a copy of the file. Just in case. Your
national keyboard driver has a similar filename.
Other ways to start Windows: type WIN/?.
dos 6 44
DOS 6
The following description concerns Microsoft’s
edition of MS-DOS 6. The first thing to say is that
simply installing DOS 6 will not make your PC run
faster than it did using DOS 5.
I will confine myself to the parts of DOS 6 that
are relevant to the rest of the booklet. Accessory
programs like Undelete, Anti-virus, Interlink,
Backup, and so on are not described, mainly
because I do not use them.
Installation
It is possible to install so you can return to an
earlier version. I consider this to be unrealistic and
so I recommend that you type
A:\>setup/G
which doesn’t need uninstall diskettes. If you want
to see all the setup options, type
A:\>setup/?
Be prepared for the installation process to take
some time. Certain resident disk-cache programs
(not including SMARTDRV), delete-protection and
anti-virus utilities that are not compatible with
SETUP. I recommend that you suspend these during
the installation process by writing REM at the begin-
ning of each relevant line in your startup files, and
then rebooting with SETUP disk # 1 in the drive.
You have the option of installing (1) only DOS,
(2) only Windows or (3) both DOS and Windows
versions of the three accessory programs. If you
don’t install everything now, you can always do so
later. Just run Setup again.
I opted for the possibility of reverting to DOS 5,
and a directory C:\OLD_DOS.1 was created, to
which all files belonging to earlier DOS versions
were copied. Note that files in C:\DOS that aren’t
overwritten by files from DOS 6 with the same
name are left in C:\DOS. I would suggest that you
make sure that before installation you only have
DOS files and nothing else in this directory so that
it is easier to find files after the process is finished –
in fact I copied the whole directory to C:\DOS5.
I was a little confused when I compared
C:\OLD_DOS.1 with the new C:\DOS after
installation. I thought that setup would actually
copy everything in C:\DOS to C:\OLD_DOS.1 but
it didn’t. A file in C:\DOS that didn’t belong to
DOS 5 remained in C:\DOS. Setup works this way
so that you can go back to DOS 5, but very few of
you will want this.
When you’ve decided to keep DOS 6, you can
delete C:\OLD_DOS.1; for example, by typing
C:\>DELOLDOS
The startup files are kept in the root directory. Boot
with the new DOS 6 and you will see the first
changes immediately. For two seconds, the screen
shows
Starting MS-DOS..
Many users either didn’t need, or were confused by,
the technical messages produced by programs such
as EMM386 and SMARTDRV so they are now re-
moved by default. Good idea. If you want to see
this information, as you could with DOS 5, insert
/V somewhere in the line that calls EMM386 and
SMARTDRV.
I was interested to see if anything had happened
to my start files. Setup hadn’t told me of anything
during installation. I was rather surprised to see that
now
device=C:\DOS\setver.exe
shell=C:\DOS\command.com C:\DOS\ /p
had been added, without asking me, and had stolen
some KB of my conventional memory. At least
SETVER could have been placed in upper memory.
Help
Big changes in the Help function. The whole DOS
command manual is now online. For example you
can type DIR/? to get quick, concise help about all
the parameters and switches – on screen. Type
HELP DIR, and EDIT starts – use the Tab key, or
the initial letters, to move around the highlighted
topics. It is very useful (and ecologically friendly)
to be able to look things up immediately here
instead of having to wade through a large book.
A long-awaited command is DELTREE, which
can delete a directory together with its sub-
directories.
C:\>deltree c:\extra
EMM386.EXE
Using the parameter RAM EMM386 now takes all the
extended memory under its wing and gives a
program what it needs, whether this be EMS or
XMS memory. This requires the use of a page
frame, which occupies 64 KB in upper memory.
With DOS 5, only a certain amount of XMS
could be converted to EMS memory – whereupon it
dos 6 45
was “locked” in position as EMS. To release it, you
had to alter your CONFIG.SYS and reboot your PC.
If you type the following in CONFIG.SYS
..emm386.exe ram min=0
you will see a screen message during boot to the
effect that EMM386 can simulate any EMS or XMS
memory a program needs. The above line is recom-
mended if you sometimes need EMS memory and if
you have 64 KB free in upper memory.
min=0 means that 256 KB is not reserved from
the start, as it would be if min=0 was not specified.
You will be using 64 K in upper memory (which
is taken from extended memory) but you don’t need
to concern yourself with whether your programs use
EMS or extended memory.
See also page 47 (Multiple Boots) for how to get
more control over how your memory is allocated.
MEMMAKER
MEMMAKER can do a lot to optimize your startup
files.
Start by typing
C:\>MEM/?
to see what this program has to offer. The screen
information from MEM is easier to read and under-
stand in this version of the program. Type
C:\>MEM/C/P
and make a note of the information about free
memory. That way it will be easier to follow the
process when you run MEMMAKER.
Don’t be nervous about running MEMMAKER.
You can always go back to the previous configu-
ration of your startup files, but only one step back.
If you want to go back further, then you can add 1,
2 and so on to the startup files with the extension
UMB. Remember that the files are in C:\DOS – not
too clever. At the DOS prompt enter this:
C:\>MEMMAKER
You can run either a configuration option called
express or another called custom. The first thing
MEMMAKER does is to copy your existing startup
files in C:\DOS, adding the extension UMB to
them. It then changes only your startup files, noth-
ing else.
If you want to be able to revert to the previous
file, i.e. one generation earlier, type
C:\>MEMMAKER/UNDO
MEMMAKER inserts certain lines and adds all sorts
of parameters and switches to others – and there are
a lot of changes!
I tried express first to see what would happen.
The program booted my PC and ran various tests;
this took a while. Screen messages keep you
informed of how far MEMMAKER has progressed.
Afterwards you can see the differences in your
startup files.
The great thing with MEMMAKER is that you
can run it again and again until you find the opti-
mum configuration. Keep an eye on the screen in
case of problems. I have not experienced any but if
you do, you’ll have to look in the manual. If
everything gets in a mess, use
C:\>MEMMAKER/UNDO
A selection is changed with the spacebar, and the
arrow keys are used to move up and down between
options.
Need expanded memory?
This affects the line with EMM386.EXE and its
parameters. Both express and custom installations
ask you if any of your programs need EMS
memory. If you don’t know, MEMMAKER advises
you to answer No. If you answer Yes, RAM is
inserted in this line, and if No, NOEMS is inserted.
These are the two possibilities available for
making use of upper memory. As we saw earlier,
the RAM parameter uses 64 KB for a page frame –
so it is important to have this space “spare” in upper
memory; otherwise 64 KB will be taken from
conventional memory.
Custom
The advanced choice is called both Custom and
Advanced Options. The manual has only a very
brief description of the advanced options, and the
Help function isn’t much better. The way I
understand the information in Help is given below.
Remember not to press Enter until after you have
made all your choices. MEMMAKER adds various
parameters to the line with EMM386.EXE.
Specify ..
If you haven’t had problems while MEMMAKER is
running, answer No. If you have experienced prob-
lems, the cause may be one of the programs loaded
when the startup files are read. Answer Yes, and
this option gives you the chance to answer Yes/No
before every program is loaded and so find out
which one is giving the problems.
dos 6 46
When you’ve found the problem program, add
REM in front of the line loading it, run MEMMAKER,
then delete the REM so that the program loads.
Microsoft recommends that you write the program’s
name (with or without an asterisk preceding it) in
the C:\DOS\MEMMAKER.INF file, which has the same
effect as my suggestion.
Scan the upper ..
By default, MEMMAKER (via EMM386) tries to
manage all free space in upper memory. If you
answer Yes to this (and you should answer Yes
if you haven’t had problems here), HIGHSCAN is
inserted in the EMM386 line. You can answer No,
which means that a safer area in upper memory is
scanned. First try Yes, and if that doesn’t work, use
No. DOS 6.2 defaults to not using HIGHSCAN, i.e.
it scans upper memory less aggressively.
Move Extended BIOS ..
Answer Yes and get an additional 1 KB conven-
tional memory free. If you run into problems later,
then run MEMMAKER again, answer No here and
see if it fixes the problem. We’re really into insig-
nificant detail here.
Monochrome region..
See the drawing on upper memory on p. 14. Many
people these days have a “Super VGA” monitor,
which displays at 800 x 600 resolution. If you know
how to edit Windows’ SYSTEM.INI, you should
answer Yes. MEMMAKER inserts the parameter
I=B000-B7FF
in the line for EMM386.EXE.
Before running Windows, you edit Windows’
SYSTEM.INI and write in the section [386Enh]:
device=C:\DOS\monoumb.386
If you run EGA or VGA (i.e. with a maximum
resolution of 640 x 480), then experiment with
Yes and see how it goes. If it works, you’ve “won”
32 KB in upper memory that you can use to run
more programs. The acid test is trying to start Win-
dows!
Keep current EMM386 ..
Here you can select what to do with the parameters
I=.. and X=.., which include or exclude areas
in upper memory. If you really understand the
function of these parameters and what they include
and exclude, then answer Yes, which means that
your I=.. and X=.. will be kept; otherwise
answer No.
If you answer No, you are letting MEMMAKER
do the job, and maybe it can find something better.
Optimize..for Windows
This only affects the translation buffers, data in
memory that Windows needs to be able to run DOS
programs. At first I thought that this command
could do more and actually optimize the whole
Windows environment.
If I answer Yes, the lines WIN=EAOO-ECFF
and WIN=EDOO-EFFF are inserted on my PC.
MEMMAKER adds all these parameters in the
EMM386.EXE line in order to reserve these addresses
in upper memory for use as translation buffers,
preventing anything else from using these UMBs.
My suggestion is to answer No and use MEM to
check that you have 8 KB free (or 24 KB if you are
on a network) in upper memory before Windows
starts.
The manual and Help function go round and
round the subject of DOS programs, running under
Windows or not, and I’m still of the opinion that the
manual is hopeless on this point. If you set up a
CONFIG.SYS with menus (as described on page 47
Multiple Boots) and then run MEMMAKER,
MEMMAKER cannot understand what to do. The
only way around it is to divide them up into
separate start files, run MEMMAKER for each of
them and then merge them together. Very
complicated!
Important: Memmaker cannot change the order of
devicehigh, which is the most important aspect of
memory management. You have to do it manually.
In general, I would say that Memmaker is better
than nothing, but I am not impressed.
dos 6 47
More booting
F5
Try booting and pressing F5 as soon as the
Starting MS-DOS.. appears on the screen.
This now produces what is called a “clean boot,”
which means that your startup files are not read. If
you type SET at the command prompt, you can see
that the PC has had a nearly clean boot. F5 is great
if you experiment with CONFIG.SYS. You don’t
need a boot diskette, if the problem is simply a
mistake in CONFIG.SYS.
This is also useful before running a disk
optimization program or something similar.
DOS 6.2: If you have installed Doublespace,
you can bypass it by pressing Ctrl+F5. The point of
this is to solve any problems that may stem from
DBLSPACE.
F8 and ?
Boot again, and this time press F8. Now you get the
chance to answer Y or N to every single line in
CONFIG.SYS and after that as to whether you will
run all of AUTOEXEC.BAT or not. In DOS 6.2, you
can type Y/N to every line in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
If a question mark is inserted immediately after
a command in CONFIG.SYS (e.g. NUMLOCK?=ON),
you will be asked if you want the command carried
out.
DOS 6.2: Ctrl+F8 bypasses DBLSPACE in the
same way as Ctrl+F5.
Multiple Boots
Users who need several different configurations or
share a PC with other users find life easier now.
You can make your configuration and boot more
sophisticated with menus in CONFIG.SYS, allowing
you to select between different options (shown in
the frame).
Text after the comma in the menuitem line is
shown on screen during booting. The first lines are
the block headers that relate to the names of the
blocks following. These names must be identical!
You can write what you want but you’re limited
to a single word as a block name. I suggest you
insert a [COMMON] line as the last line in
CONFIG.SYS to deal with programs that add one or
more lines to CONFIG.SYS during installation.
DBLSPACE does this.
Even an empty block with [COMMON] does no
harm. There can also be lines that are common
before the [menu] entry. I have experimented to
get the maximum amount of conventional memory
for games that need it. If you have a better idea, I’d
like to hear from you. Some games need conventio-
nal memory. Others can use expanded memory.
The variable %config% obtains its value from
your menu choice, and then jumps to a “label” i.e.
GAMES1.
I get 625 KB free in conventional memory, and
622 KB if I also activate expanded memory. In
AUTOEXEC.BAT, I have also specified SMARTDRV
for GAMES1, which gives access to upper memory,
so you can check if your game runs faster using
SMARTDRV.
If you only have DOS 5 but are reading this
section about DOS 6 anyway, no need to despair.
Write three versions of your startup files that
correspond to the examples above. Place them in
your DOS directory, and give both files in each set
(CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT) the extensions
NOR, GM1 and GM2, which then correspond to the
following BAT files:
C:\BAT>COPY CON NORMAL.BAT
COPY C:\DOS\CONFIG.NOR C:\*.SYS
COPY C:\DOS\AUTOEXEC.NOR C:\*.BAT
Press F6, Enter. You have created NORMAL.BAT.
By the same method, create two more batch files
called GAMES1.BAT and GAMES2.BAT. When you
want a “normal” boot, at the DOS prompt write:
C:\>NORMAL
which copies your normal startup files to C:\; then
reboot the machine. In the same way, when you
want to play a game, either with or without
expanded memory, use your GAMES1 and GAMES2
batch files. You may also create a batch file for
every game and place these in, for example, a
directory called C:\BAT, or any other directory that
lies on your PATH. I hope that this description
hasn’t been too short.
NumLock
NUMLOCK=ON or OFF in CONFIG.SYS means....?
You guessed it!
dos 6 48
DEVICE=C:\..\HIMEM.SYS
DOS=HIGH
[menu]
menuitem=GAMES1, with expanded memory
menuitem=GAMES2, conventional memory
menuitem=NORMAL
[GAMES1]
DEVICE=C:\..\EMM386.EXE ram min=0
DOS=UMB
STACKS=0,0
FCBS=1
BUFFERS=10
SHELL=C:\DOS\COMMAND.COM C:\DOS\ /P
[GAMES2]
STACKS=0,0
FCBS=1
BUFFERS=30
SHELL=C:\DOS\COMMAND.COM C:\DOS\ /P
[NORMAL]
DEVICE=C:\..\EMM386.EXE NOEMS
…and so on.
[COMMON]
You might need FILES=15 or more. In
GAMES2, I use 30 buffers. As mentioned before,
MEMMAKER can’t be used to optimize this sort of
CONFIG.SYS, as it can’t cope with an [INCLUDE]
setting.
AUTOEXEC.BAT looks like this:
PATH C:\DOS;C:\BAT;C:\;C:\WINDOWS
goto %config%
:NORMAL
@echo off
…and so on with normal AUTOEXEC.BAT
goto end
:GAMES1
LH smartdrv
goto end
:GAMES2
:end
MS-DOS 6.2
The most important reason for releasing DOS 6.2,
according to Microsoft, was to improve DBLSPACE,
compared to version 6.0, which is why Double-
Space is in this section. But first, a little on the other
improvements:
SCANDISK is a program that can investigate
and repair hard-disk errors in a similar way to
Norton’s Disk Doctor. Microsoft intends it to be a
replacement for CHKDSK. The program can also test
and repair errors on a drive compressed by
DBLSPACE.
VERIFY=ON in AUTOEXEC.BAT can cause pro-
blems with certain hard disks (Conner). Therefore,
delete this line, if it exists.
The DISKCOPY command, which makes an
identical copy of a diskette, can at last carry out this
operation by only needing the original disk in the
drive once, followed by the copy disk; then the
process is complete.
COPY, XCOPY and MOVE now warn if you
are about to overwrite a file.
DEFRAG can now use extended memory and so
can manage a larger number of files.
HIMEM.SYS now supports 64 MB RAM and by
default checks the RAM chips in extended memory
during booting.
Disk compression with DBLSPACE
In recent years, the need for more hard disk space
has grown enormously. In 1993, at a time when
hard disks were still relatively expensive, many
firms developed a variety of programs that packed
(compressed) data on the hard disk so that it took
up less space than it otherwise would. And then the
price of hard disks fell drastically! If you can afford
to buy another hard disk, then forget all about this
section on DoubleSpace. You can always use your
old, slow hard disk for making backups.
Microsoft included a compression program
called DBLSPACE with DOS 6.0 and 6.2.
When data is used, it is unpacked, and when a
program stores data, it is compressed. The aim is to
prevent a drop in program speed, so that the user
doesn’t notice the unpacking process.
Use Dblspace?
DBLSPACE certainly caught the public imagination.
Some people were certain that the DOS 6.0 version
was buggy, which Microsoft has perhaps indirectly
confirmed by releasing DOS 6.2.
dos 6 49
I have tested this program briefly so I can
comment on it, and I have not experienced any pro-
blems with it.
Will DBLSPACE slow down my system? This
is what Microsoft has to say in HELP:
“If you have a computer with a fast CPU and a
fast hard disk, you probably won’t notice much
difference in system speed after installing
DBLSPACE. If you have a fast CPU and a slow
hard disk, DBLSPACE might actually improve
your system’s speed. If your computer has a slow
CPU, you may notice a reduction in speed after
compressing your drive.”
Reasonable enough, but what is a fast CPU, etc?
My guess is that a fast CPU was at that time at least
a 386DX/40 MHz, a slow hard disk is a standard
hard disk bought before 1992 (with a transfer rate
of 5-700 KB per second), and a slow CPU is a
386SX. To check how correct this is, you will just
have to try it out!
If you are short of space on your hard disk, then
begin with the kind of installation suggested here
and see how it works. Remember that you will need
38 KB of upper memory free if you want to avoid
using any of your conventional memory!
If you decide to use this program, then I would
suggest that before installation you:
1 Upgrade to DOS 6.2 because this version of
DBLSPACE has been improved and is more
reliable.
2 Back up all vital files.
3 Defragment your disk. Choose the FULL option
to create the maximum possible free space.
4 If you are on a network confirm that you are
logged on before you run DBLSPACE.
I assume that your hard disk consists of only one
drive, the C: drive, so when I write about a drive in
these instructions, this is equivalent to a disk. If you
have DOS 6.2, then SCANDISK will start automa-
tically before the actual disk compression begins.
If you want to know more, then you can read the
manual or write Help Dblspace for extra
information before beginning the process.
There are two ways to install DBLSPACE.
C:\>Dblspace
The first screen informs you that Setup is loading
the file DBLSPACE.BIN, a system file that needs
about 40 KB in memory. The next screen gives a
choice between the two possible options, express
and custom, and explains that express is the easiest,
while custom is for the more experienced user. This
is correct but what Microsoft does not explain is
that it is much harder to change your mind and
uninstall an express installation, which is a com-
pression of your entire drive C:.
Using express compresses a whole drive.
Custom creates a new drive on your existing
drive, using the free disk space.
Most users will probably choose to compress
their hard disks by using the express option, which
is the simplest, but also the most difficult to change,
i.e. undo. In order to gain some experience, or if
you are a little unsure, I would suggest that you
start with custom, which is easy to remove again.
The new drive, no matter which method you
choose, must have a letter as a drive denominator.
DBLSPACE jumps four drive letters from the last
existing drive, so if you start with drive C:, your
new drive will be called H. This is so that there is
room for other programs (a ramdisk or netdrive)
that wish to use a different drive letter from the
drives already physically installed.
Your new drive H is different according to
which method of compression you use, custom or
express, but I will return to that.
Custom
I suggest that you start by creating a small
DBLSPACE drive to gain a little experience, and
especially to test whether your PC slows down. If
you decide later to drop DBLSPACE, you can do it
easily and return to your normal configuration. If
you decide later that you wish to compress your
entire hard disk, you can change your custom
installation reasonably easily, and by then you will
know more about DBLSPACE. So, with this in mind,
choose custom.
The choices on the next screen are confusing.
You are presented with two options:
Compress an existing drive
Create a new empty compressed drive
(If you only have one drive – drive C – then the
first option is the same as express, and we have just
told the program that we do not want an express
installation. DBLSPACE should be able to test how
many drives the machine has.)
I suggest that you use Enter to choose the Create a
new… option. This results in the next screen
presenting you with a figure for how much space
you have available (current free space) and an
estimate of how much free space a compressed
drive will give you (projected size of new drive).
Make a note of the first figure; you will need it
later.
dos 6 50
Press Enter and the next screen will tell you that
the new compressed drive H will be created from
the free space on C. Now comes the important part.
The top line in the frame specifies that a miserly 2
MB will be left on drive C after compression (note
that this is free space; it has nothing to do with your
files in C). If you started with 50 MB free space,
then 2 MB will remain in uncompressed form.
DBLSPACE will compress the other 48 MB physi-
cal free space so that it can contain about 96 MB of
files.
I suggest that you alter this 2 MB to a larger
figure, so that you end up with a compressed drive
that can contain about 20 MB. If you had 50 MB
free, then use the arrow key to move up to the 2 MB
and press Enter. In the next screen, write 40 MB
and press Enter again. This gives DBLSPACE (50 -
40) = 10 MB of free space to create the new drive
H.
It is a disappointment that the amount of free
space is not shown on each screen. DBLSPACE is the
big attraction in DOS 6 and one would have thought
that Microsoft would have made it more user-
friendly!
You can cheat by writing a ridiculously high
figure, like 999, and the program will then tell you
what the maximum figure can be, which is the
amount of disk space free. The programmers have
measured the free space, but they cannot be
bothered to tell the user what it is.
The last screen before the process starts tells you
that DBLSPACE is ready to begin, and you are
requested to press C to continue. When I tested the
program, it estimated it would take 53 minutes; in
fact it took 10. SCANDISK starts first and if it runs
into any problems (lost clusters or crosslinked
files), you will have to abort the installation and fix
these (see CHKDSK, p. 55). If you do this using
SCANDISK, it is not necessary to perform a surface
scan at the same time, as DBLSPACE will carry one
out later. After fixing any problems you can start
DBLSPACE again.
A, S(ANDISK now carries out aVXUIDFHVFDQ. and ií
this reports that all is OK. the P( is rebooted and the
íile (:`DBLSPA(L.INI is created. DBLSPA(L.BIN is
copied írom (:`DOS to (:` and both íiles are gi·en
svstem. hidden and read-onlv attributes.
1he last screen gi·es the new compressed dri·e`s size
and the amount oí remaining uncompressed, space leít
on (:. Note that dri·e (: is still dri·e (: but is now host
to contains, the new. compressed. dri·e l:.
Express
If you choose this, easier, method, then nothing
appears to change except that your hard drive gets
bigger, and maybe slower. You can use your PC as
you always did, but if problems arise or you decide
it was not a good idea to compress your disk, it
might help if you understand what is going on.
(A) DBLSPACE creates a drive, typically H,
called the Host Drive. (It is just a coincidence that
H is the initial letter of Host.)
In an Express installation, this drive H: is not
compressed, and actually contains all the data from
C: in a large compressed file known as a Com-
pressed Volume File. Note that the Express
installation is the reverse of the Custom installation,
and here the H: drive is host to drive C:, which
exists as a file called DBLSPACE.000 and is
“converted” to drive C: during booting (before
CONFIG.SYS is loaded). This is because
DBLSPACE.BIN is part of the DOS 6 operating
system and is a system file no less important than
the other two. If you create several compressed
drives using DBLSPACE, they will have sequential
extensions, i.e. DBLSPACE.001, etc.
The other system files and boot files are placed
on the H: drive, along with hidden files from other
programs and your Windows swap file (see below).
These files cannot function in compressed form.
Warning: Never touch/delete/move the files
belonging to DBLSPACE; you risk losing all your
other files at the same time.
A Windows Permanent swap file can only exist
on an uncompressed drive. If, before installing
DBLSPACE you had a permanent swap file, it should
have been moved to H: during the installation
process.
If you did not have a permanent swap file
(perhaps you did not have Windows) and later you
decide you need one, you might find – although I
have not personally tried this – that you need to
create more free space on drive H. You can do this
by starting DBLSPACE and using the Resize option
in the Drive menu to increase the free space on
drive H: so there is enough for your swap file. You
end up with the same result by giving the command:
C:\>DBLSPACE/SIZE/REServe=8
where reserve=8 means: reserve 8 MB on the
uncompressed host drive.
Custom and express
This line is added at the end of CONFIG.SYS:
devicehigh=C:\dos\dblspace.sys/move
dos 6 51
Move the line to make it the first devicehigh line.
This ensures that DBLSPACE.BIN is read into upper
memory.
(A) DBLSPACE.SYS loads DBLSPACE.BIN and if
the line in CONFIG.SYS is buffers=8 or less, there
will always be room in High Memory for part of
DBLSPACE.BIN (see Buffers=, page 24).
In general
Data compression explained simply: Imagine a
document in which many identical words occur
(and, if, when, then, etc.). Instead of having to store
the word every time, there could be a very short
code for each word. All that needs to be stored is
the code plus a pointer indicating where to find the
answer. The risk of error if something goes wrong
in a compressed file is higher than with “normal”
storage. It would be like having the same pin-code
for hundreds of different credit cards – and then
forgetting the code!
DBLSPACE.BIN is both a “disk space manager”
and a program that can compress and decompress
files. Since DBLSPACE is an integral part of the
operating system, it is loaded before CONFIG.SYS.
DBLSPACE.BIN is first loaded into conventional
memory, but later (via the line added in
CONFIG.SYS) it is placed in upper memory.
The improved version of SMARTDRV, included
with DOS 6, can hold data before DBLSPACE de-
compresses it, which means it can hold relatively
large amounts of data.
Do not use Norton’s Disk Doctor on a
DBLSPACE drive - use SCANDISK instead.
Uninstalling
It is easy enough to remove a compressed drive but
it requires enough free space on your hard disk to
take the uncompressed versions of the files that
were compressed. You might find that you have to
move some files to disk or tape.
Start DBLSPACE and choose uncompress from
the Tools menu. If you only have one compressed
drive, you will be asked if you want to remove
DBLSPACE completely. Reply YES to this question.
(C:\DBLSPACE.INI and C:\DBLSPACE.BIN are
deleted, along with the compressed drive
DBLSPACE.000. The line containing DBLSPACE.SYS
is deleted from CONFIG.SYS.)
windows for workgroups 3.11 52
Windows for Workgroups 3.11
This section is placed here because the program is
more recent than DOS 6.2.
Windows for Workgroups 3.11 is a minor
update to Windows 3.1. It can be used on any PC.
The main improvement is faster communication
with the hard disk by the use of a 32-bit file-
access system (a disk cache), though in addition
the program is reputed to be generally more
stable. A small fax program and a new faster print
manager are also included.
On installation, a line is added to CONFIG.SYS
device=C:\WINDOWS\ifshlp.sys
which you should change to devicehigh. Win 3.11
includes the same versions of these files as DOS
6.2: SMARTDRV.EXE, HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE,
but the installation changes your startup files to
load them from the Windows directory, which
typically is C:\WINDOWS. All very well – but be
careful if you run MEMMAKER any time after-
wards as this changes the path to C:\DOS. Why
does it do that?
My guess is that when DOS 6 was released,
Microsoft wanted to “help” Windows 3.1 users
who installed the new DOS to make the “correct”
decision, which is to use the newer and better
version of the files from C:\DOS. If you do not
plan to alter your DOS setup, you can copy the
files from C:\WINDOWS to C:\DOS. Otherwise
you will have to change your startup files after
running MEMMAKER.
The new 32-bit file-access system is in fact a
cache that replaces SMARTDRV when Windows is
loaded. In the dialog box where you specify your
swap file (Control Panel, Enhanced, Virtual Mem-
ory, Change), you will see the drive that uses the
new cache after you mark the 32-bit file-access
check box. The size of the cache is also displayed.
The program selects a value depending on how
much free extended memory you have (same as
SMARTDRV does). The installation process alters
the Windows cache-size parameter for
SMARTDRV (the second figure given after the
SMARTDRV command). With 8 MB RAM, it is
changed to:
..\smartdrv 2048 128 /X
One of the differences between SMARTDRV and
the new 32-bit file-access program (VCACHE.386)
is that SMARTDRV reads some additional data
from the sector after the most recently read in the
hope that the next data required will be in the next
(physical) sector on the disk.
The new cache reads its extra data from the
next part of the file that has just been read, i.e. in
the hope that the next data required will be from
the same file. As this is highly likely, it gives an
improved “hit” rate (and fewer misses) than the
old arrangement.
(I have not checked 32-bit disk access, as my disk
controller runs this automatically.) The new cache
will be most effective when the user rarely – if
ever – runs a disk-optimization program! If you
regularly defragment your hard disk with
SPEEDISK, DEFRAG or something similar, there is
little or nothing to be gained from using the new
method.
Another difference is that the new cache
switches some processes from real mode to pro-
tected mode, which makes everything work faster.
If you always run DOS programs from Win-
dows, you can delete the SHARE line from
AUTOEXEC.BAT.
To sum up: in my experience, Win 3.11 speeds
up hard-disk access but not much. On the other
hand, other functions, such as opening/closing
windows and scrolling in dialog boxes, are faster.
miscellaneous 53
Miscellaneous
Optimization tips
You will by now have realized that there is no
general way to optimise a PC. We all use our
computers in individual ways to suit our personal
requirements. My advice is: try out some of the
idea suggested in this guide – experiment a little!
You will learn something in the process and
perhaps be forced to think about things you
haven’t needed to think about before – and that
does no harm.
Generally, it is the case that the less RAM you
have, the more important your use of memory be-
comes. I realize that I have given both minor and
major tips, so here are the most important ones:
1) DOS=HIGH
2) Disk cache
3) Optimizing your hard disk
4) Permanent swap file
2 MB RAM
With a 286 and an upper memory manager in-
stalled, or a 386SX/SL (on which EMM386 can
create UMBs and DOS can manage them), it is
important to install as much as possible in UMBs.
If you have an add-on EMS card with RAM, all
you need to do is use that EMS RAM with the
driver supplied with the card. Read the manual
that came with it and/or software for further in-
structions.
You must load DOS=HIGH and also if possible
DOS=UMB. It all depends on how much XMS
memory you “borrow” for use as UMB. If, for
instance, you have about 800 KB RAM left, you
have to decide how you will use it. If you only run
DOS programs, then use a fair amount (maybe
512 KB) as a disk cache, e.g. SMARTDRV.
The cache size (the 512 KB just suggested) is
taken from extended (or expanded) memory and
does not affect your conventional memory. If you
don’t use programs like Windows, you can use all
the free extended memory for your disk cache.
If you use Windows, then you have to strike a
balance between the size (minimum and maxi-
mum values) of SMARTDRV and the free extended
memory available to Windows. I haven’t tried, but
400 KB each can’t be far off the mark – you may
want to experiment.
4 MB
You will certainly have at least a 386DX. The text
should help you a lot. As I have indicated,
SMARTDRV will assume a default value of 1024
KB cache under DOS and 512 KB cache under
Windows. These are OK for most users. If you
run Windows, try reserving a larger cache for
Windows, i.e. try writing the following in
AUTOEXEC.BAT:
smartdrv 1024 768 or
smartdrv 1024 1024
If you usually only run one or two less memory
demanding programs, then you might well find
that they run faster with a cache larger than 512
KB.
6-8 MB
It is not easy to give general advice on the size of
the disk cache or the possible use of a ramdisk. It
really depends upon how many programs you
usually have open in a Windows session, and also
which programs you use. It would be too easy for
me to say you should experiment. Just to give you
some idea of my own setup: I have 8 MB and
usually have Word for Windows, a database and
maybe NC and/or Winfax open. I get the fastest
results with SMARTDRV set to 2048 2048, which
is the default for 8 MB RAM. In other words, I
don’t need to state any parameters for
SMARTDRV.
With 8 MB RAM, I get more speed during a
Windows session with several programs open, and
only a minimum of data needs to be sent to the
permanent swap file.
Using upper memory
(A) If you want to place as many programs as
possible in upper memory, it is important to create
a large area with consecutive upper memory
blocks (UMB). Do not include more than you
need in any I=... line in your CONFIG.SYS.
You should load first those programs that take
up the most space, and then smaller and smaller
programs. The first program loaded is placed in
the largest vacant UMB, the next in the largest
remaining free UMB, and so on. This process
leaves gaps of unused memory.
By using the MEM/C/P command, you can see
fairly accurately how much each program uses.
The command MEM/D/P also provides useful in-
formation. You may have to change the order of
your devicehigh and loadhigh commands.
miscellaneous 54
Common problem: You have found out how
much room a program will use, and apparently
there is room in upper memory for it – but it will
not load there.
Cause: Programs are not loaded directly into
upper memory. First, they are loaded into conven-
tional memory, then a check is made for space in
upper memory, and only if there is space will the
program be loaded there. However, during this
shunting procedure, programs that are preparing
to move to upper memory require more space than
they do after they have moved. Afterwards, the
room they no longer need in upper memory is
freed up again.
In MEMMAKER.STS, MaxSize gives the number
of bytes the program needs to come “up.” If you
cannot fit a program in upper memory, then tem-
porarily unload some others, run MEMMAKER and
then look in MEMMAKER.STS.
In order to load as many programs as possible
into upper memory, the most important thing is
the order of devicehigh and LH commands.
MEMMAKER cannot help with the loading order.
You must decide that.
If you use Windows and do not have any net-
work drivers installed, make sure you have at least
8 K left in upper memory for translation buffers
after loading all your programs. If you have net-
work drivers installed, this figure must be 24 K.
Windows needs what are called translation
buffers when running in enhanced mode, and they
fill either 8 or 24 KB. Translation buffers are used
to transfer data between real and protected mode -
DOS runs in real mode and Windows runs in
protected mode, and when a DOS program runs in
a DOS window in enhanced mode, then this
movement between states is occurring all the time.
These buffers are then of importance as temporary
storage space for vital information or data.
Windows: make sure that you use your startup
files only to load those programs (device drivers,
TSR programs, etc.) that all your programs need.
If you only need a TSR program while you use a
certain DOS program, the most efficient policy is
to write a batch file for that program that loads the
TSR before you load the DOS program. When
you close the program, the TSR is removed from
memory.
Looking in memory
(A) If you have the program MSD.EXE (from Win-
dows 3.1 or DOS 6), you can run it in DOS and
type M to see how upper memory is being used.
The grey area is reserved for system use. F=Free,
U=Used. As already mentioned, the PS/2 has its
motherboard BIOS ROM in the area E000-EFFF,
so this area is not included in the default setting of
DOS 5’s EMM386.EXE.
However, clone PCs don’t normally need this
area for system use; therefore, it will be wasted if
it is not made available for upper memory. This is
only important if you need to use part of this 64
KB in upper memory. The parameter I=E000-
EFFF includes this area. In this way, you can
“gain” 64 KB in upper memory, but check first
with MSD.EXE that the area is free (shown by Fs).
While in MSD, select Utilities (Alt+U) and
Memory Block Display. You can look at the first
MB, with the possible exception of pages E and F,
i.e. from E000 onwards. While Windows or an-
other program is loaded, you can switch to MSD
and find out where the different programs are lo-
cated in memory. Notice, however, that (as the
screen message says) information may not be to-
tally accurate as you also have Windows running.
Despite this reservation, it is useful to check when
you want to see if a change has worked.
You can find out a lot about your PC by
choosing Alt, File, Print, File and Enter. You can
get roughly the same result by typing
C:\>MSD/P sysinfo.doc
This filename is my suggestion but, as with all
DOS commands, you can request info about the
different possibilities by typing
C:\>MSD/?
miscellaneous 55
DOS tips
Deleting all files in a directory
Another reader wrote me (thank you) with a neat
suggestion for avoiding those time-wasting Are
you sure? messages. Honestly, Microsoft can’t
have a very high opinion of us users and our IQs.
Write a batch file called, for example, ERASE.BAT
that contains the following:
echo y | del *.*
When you want to delete all files in a directory, at
the DOS prompt type: erase.
If you have installed a large program that has
created many sub-directories, and you want to
delete all of these directories and their contents
from disk, there is only one way to do so in DOS
5: the long, hard way, starting “backwards” with
the “deepest” directory and deleting one sub-
directory at a time. Windows File Manager and
the DOS 6 command Deltree can delete a
directory with associated sub-directories with one
keystroke.
C:\>DELTREE C:\EXTRA and answer Y.
You will often have to delete all files on a
diskette. I make it a habit to check exactly what I
am about to delete, so I use NC and Alt+F1, look
in the files and write ERASE at the prompt to run
my batch file. If there are many directories on the
diskette, consider quick formatting it by typing
C:\>FORMAT/Q A:
or an unconditional formatting (you cannot
UNFORMAT it afterwards) by typing
C:\>FORMAT/Q/U A:
CHKDSK /F
I have mentioned this several times in this little
guide. Before DOS 6.2, when this program was
replaced by SCANDISK, it was used to repair disk
errors. If you have DOS 6.2, you can use
SCANDISK instead of CHKDSK.
A typical error (from CHKDSK) on a disk is
lost clusters or cross-linked files. Lost clusters are
bits of data that do not have a name attached to
them, while cross-linked files refer to a condition
where two files share, or are linked to, the same
place on a disk.
Lost clusters: If it finds any, answer YES to
fix them. They will be named in a sequence start-
ing with FILE0000.CHK and will be placed in your
root directory. Inspect them and decide whether to
keep them (rename the file or files with a more
meaningful name) or delete them.
Cross-linked files: If CHKDSK reports cross-
linked files make a note of the filenames, copy the
files under a new name to somewhere else on the
disk, and delete the originals. That also removes
the link to the same place on the disk.
From, to
This may not be very relevant for English-
speaking readers, but I’m including it because this
command gives you the chance to revert to your
computer’s internal symbol set. If the DEL key on
the number pad on your PC produces a comma
instead of a period, as it does on many European
machines, you can change it by pressing
Ctrl+Alt+F1 (change it back by pressing
Ctrl+Alt+F2). This toggles between the internal
symbol set in your PC and the standard you have
set in your startup files.
It works at the command prompt in DOS
programs and in a DOS box in Windows. You
lose any other country-specific symbols. So you
will have to experiment with the £/$ sign and so
on to see if you still have them, or to discover
where they have been moved to. In any event, you
can just swap back and forth between hardware
and software symbol sets as you wish.
FDISK
This program, used to partition a hard disk before
it is formatted, has an undocumented switch that is
quite harmless, but in some circumstances can
remove a virus in the master boot record:
C:\>FDISK/MBR
miscellaneous 56
Boot diskettes
After looking in detail at startup files, it would
perhaps be a natural step to discuss a couple of
disks you may need if you run into trouble.
A boot disk is also called a system disk. A
setup disk, on the other hand, is something
different; it is a floppy disk that installs a program
– in this case DOS – from the floppy to the hard
disk. You may have a setup diskette but you don’t
necessarily have a boot diskette.
Boot disks can give you a helping hand in
times of real trouble. Experience proves it is better
to be safe than sorry – especially if you have DOS
5. If you begin experimenting with the contents of
CONFIG.SYS, you must have a boot disk. Often in
my experiments, I just couldn’t boot from the hard
disk. An error in the CONFIG.SYS file can stall
your computer, i.e. prevent it from completing the
startup procedure. Luckily, DOS 6 has solved this
problem.
A corrupt COMMAND.COM file can also cause
the PC to crash. I remember once “just” opening
the COMMAND.COM with the editor in Norton
Commander (I only wanted to take a look) and
then closing it without poking around. My com-
puter went on strike. Moral: never touch
COMMAND.COM.
Unfortunately, a PC can’t simply be switched
on like an electric toaster and work – it would be
great if it could. It must first activate the operating
system. Even though you have DOS, and one of
the setup disks can start your PC, it still won’t do
the job of a boot disk. So I suggest you make one.
A PC can only start (boot) from drive A or C.
Format a floppy like this:
C:\>FORMAT A:
Disk 1 – clean boot
Place an empty, formatted floppy disk in drive A
and type:
C:\>SYS A:
The screen shows system transferred,
which means that two “hidden” system – or boot –
files and COMMAND.COM have been copied to the
disk (DBLSPACE.BIN will also be copied, if you
have DOS 6). These are the files necessary for
DOS to start working, i.e. be read into memory. If
you use DBLSPACE, you will also need
DBLSPACE.BIN if you want to be able to read files
on a disk that it has compressed. Copy SYS.COM to
the disk:
C:\DOS>COPY SYS.COM A:
Label the disk Clean Boot.
Now you have a boot disk that will always
start your PC if it refuses to start from the hard
disk. This boot disk only contains the 3-4 files
essential to the operating system, and booting
from it results in a clean boot. Note that this can
change the position of certain symbols on your
keyboard as no keyboard drivers or codepages
have been loaded. The new positions will
correspond to those on an American (US)
keyboard.
If you want to see which files are on the disk,
you can use this undocumented DIR that includes
a comma and shows hidden files:
A:\>DIR,
Some games need a clean boot, so you can use
your boot disk. It can also solve two problems you
might run into.
Problem 1
You are unable to boot from your hard disk, and
get the message Non-system disk. If the
problem is just that there is something wrong with
one of the system files or COMMAND.COM, then
boot with your disk, and after booting write
A:\>SYS C:
which copies the 3-4 files to C:\. When you see
the message system transferred, you
should be able to boot from your hard disk again.
Problem 2
If you get the error message missing or bad
Command Interpreter, then something has
gone wrong with COMMAND.COM. If this
happens, boot with your clean boot disk and write:
A:\>copy command.com C:\
A:\>copy command.com C:\DOS
which copies a working copy of COMMAND.COM
from the diskette to the two relevant directories on
the hard disk. You might actually need a copy
only in a single location but put it in both to start
off. Remove the disk from the drive and boot
again.
miscellaneous 57
Diskette 2
Take another formatted floppy and do the same as
you did with the first one.
C:\>SYS A:
This diskette will be used to boot your machine in
the same way as a boot from the hard disk –
except that it will be done by the floppy. All the
essential files should be on the floppy (here’s the
advantage of having startup files without C: in
front of the commands). The startup files are
identical on both hard disk and diskette, with the
exception of the PATH command.
All the following copying is easier to do with a
program like NC, but here are the DOS commands
so that nobody feels left out. If you can boot from
the hard disk, then copy the startup files over to
the diskette.
C:\>copy config.sys a:
C:\>copy autoexec.bat a:
Change the PATH command in A:AUTOEXEC.BAT
to PATH=\;\DOS.
(The commands given below may appear
unusual to some readers because they specify a
directory as the default directory by using the CD
command but if you think about it, this is actually
what CD does. The commands also make and
switch to a directory in A without actually being
on the A: drive. But this is perfectly acceptable.)
Create the directory A:\DOS.
C:\>MD A:DOS
Set this directory as the default on A:
C:\>CD A:DOS
Set C:\DOS as the default on C:
C:\>CD DOS
Copy the files that appear in your startup files to
A:\DOS. You can use F3 after every command
and edit the next command a little. The first
commands should look something like this:
C:\DOS>copy himem.sys a:
C:\DOS>copy emm386.exe a:
C:\DOS>copy display.sys a:
Continue until all the files mentioned in your
startup files are copied.
This disk can boot your PC with the same
configuration as a boot from your hard disk but
without using any of the files from your hard disk.
Similarly, copy these files from C:\DOS to
A:\DOS: UNFORMAT.COM, FORMAT.COM,
CHKDSK.EXE, (SCANDISK.EXE), UNDELETE.EXE,
FDSK.EXE and SYS.COM. You might want to copy
other utility programs to the diskette. Check that it
works, write-protect it, keep it in a safe place –
and remember where the safe place is!
It can be used in a situation where your hard
disk breaks down to the extent that you cannot
access or read the files on it (cannot read
drive C: or error reading drive C:).
If you install a CD-ROM, sound card or a
similar device, which add lines to your start files,
then do not forget to copy the new start files to
this boot diskette.
In addition, I would suggest you test your boot
diskette at least once a month. Try it now!! It is a
bit of a disaster if you really need it sometime
next year and it does not work. It can happen!!
So, keep your boot diskette up to date. The
work is minimal compared to the amount of time
it can save you.
If disaster strikes and the only solution seems
to be a repartition and/or a format or
UNFORMAT of your hard disk, you can use this
diskette. Fortunately, only a small minority of
users ever have to face such a traumatic
experience – but if you are one of them, it is no
consolation knowing that you are one of only a
very few. If you are fortunate enough to know
someone who may be able to help you, this is a
situation where you should ask for his or her
assistance.
Your rescuer will be able to give you much
more help if you have made one of these disks. If
you are an expert who helps others, then I recom-
mend you make such a disk yourself. Check that it
works by booting from it before you need to use
it.
Losing contact with your hard disk can also
occur if something happens to your CMOS, which
we describe in the next section.
miscellaneous 58
CMOS and setup
A, A saíeguard. which manuals seldom describe.
notes the iníormation írom what is called the (MOS
pronounced VHHPRV, - the memorv that holds iníor-
mation about a P(`s coníiguration. including the hard
disk. 1he iníormation is kept ali·e` bv a batterv that
is usuallv rechargeable. Ií an accident happens and
vour hard disk doesn`t íunction. and the reason mav
be that the (MOS has been changed or reset. vou
ha·e to know the ·alues íor (MOS to get it to work
again.
lortunatelv. it seldom happens. and the newer
vour hard disk. the lower the risk. Mv hard disk
crashed once when I was íorced to press the Reset
button while I was in Vindows. I had no option. and
crunch went mv hard disk. None oí mv emergencv
lelp programs could íix it. lA1. Boot Records and
so on were all gone. Mv onlv course was to start again.
íormat the hard disk. install the programs and copv
mv data which I had on diskette, back to the hard
disk.
Vith vour P(. vou should ha·e recei·ed a little
leaílet írom the hard-disk manuíacturer. Ií vou know
the tvpe speciíication oí vour hard disk. vou will íind
the ·alues here. Ií vou don`t ha·e this leaílet. ask vour
dealer.
\ou can also look into vour hardware SL1UP but
onlv do this ií vou íeel coníident about what vou are
doing: Boot with the Reset button. Usuallv. it will sav
on screen that vou can press one or more buttons to
get into SL1UP. where vou`ll íind (MOS. Lsc. Del or
mavbe (trl-Alt-Lsc are the most common kevs. Ií
nothing appears when starting. then look up the
details. which should be in vour P(`s manual.
\ou ha·e to íind (MOS setup or. ií vou ha·e a
menu. something about +DUGGLVN. Vrite down the
·alues íor vour hard-disk: tvpe usuallv XVHUGHILQHG no.
46 or 4¯, and the number oí cvlinders. heads and
sectors. Vrite this iníormation on a label and stick it
on the cabinet. Mv hard disk has the íollowing ·alues:
tvpe 4¯. 1024 cvlinders. 10 heads and 1¯ sectors.
Usuallv. vou need to use l10 or Lsc to get out oí
SL1UP. Occasionallv vou will be asked ií vou want to
sa·e changes. Answer NO.
Ií vou are íorced to sav ves then do it. but be sure
that vou ha·en`t changed anv oí the ·alues. ,I vou ha·e
or ha·e done something and don`t know the conse-
quences. press the Reset button again. Ií vou know
that something isn`t sa·ed. then it is alwavs saíest to
get out and return to the old` state: Reset the P(!
Some setups ha·e both standard and ad·anced
setup. \ou must know what vou are doing. Ne·er
change ·alues just íor íun. or to see what might hap-
pen. \our dealer reallv won`t be ·erv pleased with vou
ií vou do something users aren`t meant to do. I know.
I`·e tried! But generallv: be careíul with setup. espe-
ciallv ad·anced setup. something I am not going to
deal with in this JHQHUDO text.
Touch-typing
Maybe the best advice I can give you actually has
nothing directly to do with computers. I have
spent years in the computer world and am
constantly amazed at how few people can touch-
type. I am deliberately writing this to provoke all
those people who are so proud of their fast PCs,
latest programs and so on. Can your turbo PC help
you if it is always waiting for you to find the right
key?
I spent 30 hours on an old typewriter learning
to touch-type. It drove me up the wall: a s d f; l k j
... but I persevered. It really is one of those fields
in which practice makes perfect. You can find
books and programs that will force you to train
your finger muscles.
My investment in touch-typing has been repaid
many times over. I get through a lot of work,
seldom hit typos. Which keyboard is the best? I
don’t know of a good keyboard at a fair price
(IBM’s are still the best but expensive).
Your health
I have placed my monitor on a low box nearly at
eye-level, so I look down very slightly. If you can
touch-type, you hardly ever need to look at the
keyboard, which spares your neck and shoulder
muscles. If you learn to touch-type, you will
probably begin to make a lot of demands on your
keyboard.
Turn up the contrast and brilliance on your
monitor as much as is necessary for you to see
sufficiently well and clearly. Windows users: Try
Control Panel, Color, LCD default. Move the
monitor as far away as possible – mine is 75 cm
away.
Your wrists will be strained if you don’t pro-
tect them. I have folded a towel several times and
laid it just in front of my keyboard – a fine hand
support.
The fan and the hard disk are noisy, in spite of
the “Low Noise” fan regulator. I am especially
sensitive to the high-frequency sound of the hard
disk. Place the computer case itself as far away as
possible, maybe under the desk. You can buy ex-
tension leads/cords for connecting the monitor to
the computer (both for power and for data). Try
blankets, towels and other things for noise
insulation – without blocking the airflow, of
course. There should be a little cooling of xxx,
depending on your local temperature and
humidity.
miscellaneous 59
Find a good office chair to sit on, if you sit for
long periods of time. Over one particular period, I
sat for 12 hours at a time to finish a job. Don’t
you try it! In the end, I became ill! Get up and
move around once in a while, have a break, go for
a walk, wash up, open some windows (not the
program, the ones in the house with glass in
them!), do some knee and arm bends, do
something completely different.
Listen to your body. It doesn’t matter how
infatuated you are with your computer; if your
body says it needs a rest, give your body a rest. If
you don’t, it will claim its revenge.
If you spend a lot of time staring at the screen,
do some eye exercises once in a while. Look the
whole way around to the right, then to the left,
then right up and down, then down to the left, up
to the left, down to the right, up to the right –
alternately with eyes open and closed, and at the
same time (just enough to feel your muscles)
breathe deeply.
Now that you’ve exercised a little, it is time to
look around, first with eyes closed and then with
them open – kids love watching this performance.
Exercises like these are very simple but have a
great effect. Two minutes of exercise a day works
wonders. I also have a glass screen filter, which
filters out some of the harmful radiation and
makes the screen image sharper and the screen
anti-static. They are relatively expensive, but are
probably worth the money in the long run. What
is your health worth? Do not imagine that most
monitor manufacturers spend much time thinking
about your health, even though “green” products
are starting to appear in the industry.
What do you think?
I know that you do not usually write to “an
author,” but I’m simply a user who felt the urge to
write this book. There are many people who know
more than I do about PCs.
You are very welcome to write and tell me
what you think of this guide. You are welcome to
write in one of the Scandinavian languages,
English or German.
With best wishes,
Michael Maardt
mm@knowware.dk
60
32-bit disk access, 39
386 enhanced mode, 39
Access time, 28
ANSI.SYS, 20; 24
ASCII file, 7
AT bus, 27
Backups, Making, 38
BIOS, 18; 39; 43
Bits and bytes, 9
Boot diskette, 53
Break, 22
Buffers, 16; 21
Cache, 19; 26
Calculator, 9
CD-ROM, 27
Chkdsk/F, 52
Codepage, 13; 20; 23; 25
Command.Com, 6; 22; 53
compatible, 10
console, 12; 20; 25
Country, 20
Cross-linked files, 52
DBLSPACE, 45
Default, 3
DEFRAG, 28; 30
device, 11; 12
Device driver, 6; 10; 13
Devicehigh, 17; 50
Disk compression, 45
DISPLAY.SYS, 20; 23
DOS environment, 22
DOS=HIGH, 12; 16; 17; 19; 50
DOS=UMB, 11; 17; 19; 50
driver, 12
Echo off, 23
Editor, 7; 35
EMM386.EXE, 25; 41
EXE file, 6
FastDisk, 39
Fastopen, 22
FCBS, 21
Fragmented files, 28
Graphics mode, 39
Hard disk, Speed of, 28
HIMEM.SYS, 12; 13; 16; 17; 45
Lastdrive, 16; 22
LoadHigh, 17
Logical drive, 5
Lost clusters, 52
Mem, 42
Memmaker, 42
Mode con, 20; 23
Monochrome region, 18; 43
Noems, 18; 19; 42
Non-system disk, 53
Norton Commander, 31
Optimization tips, General, 50
Optimization, Disk, 28
Page, 18
Page frame, 18; 41
Parameter, 16
Path, 5; 7; 13; 23; 31
Ports, 16
Prompt, DOS, 24
protected, 12
Protected mode, 10; 40
PS/2, 12; 18
RAM, 10
Ramdisk, 24; 46; 50
RAMDRIVE.SYS, 20
Real mode, 10; 40
REM, 16
REM, 12
Resident, 11
ROM, 10; 12; 16; 18
ROM BIOS, 16
SCANDISK, 45; 52
SCSI, 27
Seek time, 28
Separator, 5
SETVER, 20; 41
SHARE.EXE, 24
SHELL, 22; 41
SMARTDRV.EXE, 26
SMARTDRV.SYS, 19
SPEEDISK, 28
stack overflow, 21
Stacks, 21
Stand alone, 16
Standard mode, 39
Subdirectory, 52
Swap file, 29; 39; 50
Switch, 16
System files, 29
Text file, 7; 35
Text mode, 39
Translation buffers, 43
Tree, 6
TSR, 11; 51
UMB, 11; 12; 18; 43; 50
Upper memory, Using, 50
V86 mode, 40
Virtual 8086, 40
Virtual disk, 20
Windows, 6; 7; 25; 26; 39
Windows, Misc. tips, 40

2

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Michael Maardt, mm@knowware.dk First published in danish 1993 Translation: Anthony P. Owen

............................................................................... 47 Multiple Boots....................................................... 44 Installation ...............................................................................................37 Rename.................15 The startup files .........................................................................................................15 High memory area (HMA).....................................................39 Menu ................ 52 Miscellaneous..............................................................................8 Files .............................................................20 Requires EMS memory .......... 45 Custom...................14 Expanded and extended memory ......................... 45 More booting ..........................................................................38 Searching for files ..........11.........................................................................................29 Generally..38 Creating a new file ............................................ 58 What do you think? ....................... 55 From.............................................................39 Switching windows ................... 55 Boot diskettes......................................41 ......................................9 Different types of files ................................................................................................................. 55 Deleting all files in a directory ..................................... .............................................................. 58 Your health ...........................39 Recent DOS commands ...EXE..........................................34 Introduction.....................14 Conventional memory....................................................................................39 Switching window on/off........................................30 The hard disk .....26 SMARTDRV disk cache............................ 42 Miscellaneous tips for Windows ...................................... 45 Need expanded memory? .................................................................................29 SMARTDRV......................................................38 View/edit text files .....2 ......................................39 Changing directories ................. 44 MEMMAKER ...............................................................................13 Forms of memory.......................................36 Hidden files ......31 Disk optimization .................................................................................................................................................................................... 48 Disk compression with DBLSPACE........................... 56 Touch-typing..................SYS................14 Upper memory area.................... 47 F5...............................................................................................................12 16-number system ..........40 Version 4.....40 Version 5............................................... 47 NumLock............................................................................................................BAT .......................................................................................................................................... 53 Using upper memory .........19 CONFIG.............................................39 Leafing through directories...............19 286.......................................4 Table of Contents Windows.... 54 DOS tips...... 48 Windows for Workgroups 3.............................................................................................................................35 Using Norton Commander!...............................................9 Edit and BAT files......................29 Double buffering ........ 55 CHKDSK /F ... 44 Help..10 ASCII .....39 Practice makes perfect.................................................................................. 59 Directories and files ............................................16 The boot process.......................... 42 Swap file...................................................................... 42 32-bit disk access...................... 44 EMM386.....................................................................0 ..........................................16 The important files ........20 386.............39 Comparing two directories........................36 Copying files with XCOPY ........40 Making backups .............................................................. 43 DOS 6 ..................................................... 47 F8 and ? ....................... 53 Optimization tips ............................. 53 Looking in memory ......................................................................21 AUTOEXEC....................................12 Memory............................................................................34 Configuration ..................................................................................... to ....37 Selecting files.................................................................................................................................................31 Norton Commander (NC) .......................................................................................................................0 .............EXE ............ 47 MS-DOS 6.......................................................................

because we users pay the bills. How much it costs is important. This chapter contains something new and relevant for most readers. thereby helping as many people as possible to use their PCs. then please remember to have a boot diskette that works. Happy reading! - I have tried to keep the contents as up to date as possible. It includes a separate section on DOS 6. most of us continue using programs longer than their developers would wish. imitations of the IBM PC. and speak Danish. Now you have been warned. My advice is to read all text in the order it appears.e. The publication of KnowWare books has forced prices down to a more reasonable level in Denmark). )) Important (( Is to pass on relevant and easy-to-understand information for a reasonable price. you may begin with CPU and memory on p. it locks your PC. it is more a supplement to the many beginners’ books that are already available. live in Denmark. please tell others about the guide and/or make suggestions to improve the text.SYS right away. Between 1970 and 1980.Introduction Is this booklet for you? 5 This is not a normal beginners’ book. That’s my disclaimer to avoid any litigation!! My primary experience with PCs comes from so-called “clones. a lot of things in this booklet are still relevant when you use Windows 95. 12. 55. I have worked with PCs since 1986. staples them and packs them. About myself I was born 1952. This applies especially to CONFIG. Users want information and knowledge that makes their lives easier. However. just make the suggested changes in your startup . English and German. things are not happening quite as fast as many would like us to believe. including the “references” (which admittedly force you to jump around a little). Put a formatted disk in the disk drive and type C:\>SYS A: and also read Boot diskettes.” i. Heartfelt and grateful thanks to my other guides. were. Computer books are generally too expensive (or rather. From 1988 to 1991. on p. They are printed on long rolls of paper. My main motive is to pass on what I know about PCs to as many people as possible – as cheaply as possible. If you would like to support the project. We decide how fast things develop. Important To everyone who has supported me and taught me many different things. I studied sociology and psychology at the University of Copenhagen. Therefore. My purpose folded and laid down next to your computer. I do not deal with Windows 95 very much. The contents are of varying degrees of difficulty. all pages and on both sides simultaneously. If you don’t understand much in these chapters. This problem does not exist with DOS 6. The booklets are printed on a rotary press of the type used for printing newspapers. after which a bookbinder trims them down. insight into its secrets and more pleasure when you work with it. Also thanks to all of you who have helped to improve and publicize this booklet. Whether this comes from a fine book with a four-color cover or from a booklet like this is unimportant.SYS if you have DOS 5. I worked with a mainframe computer. Even though everything happens very fast in the computer world. If you are experienced at editing startup files. They can be Something I must point out: everything you try using ideas or suggestions given in this text is your own responsibility. or put in your back pocket. i. I really like how they can be folded right back without damaging them.e. where you can easily write something that makes you unable to start your computer from the hard disk. Remember that the first edition was written in the beginning of 1993. If you are impatient and want to edit your CONFIG. and also spent some years in Germany. You will get the most out of this book if you are running DOS 5 or above. Thank you One of the aims of this project is to publish and distribute KnowWare booklets in as many countries as possible. Remember that!! The KnowWare philosophy I hope that this booklet will bring you a greater understanding of your PC. Ten thousand copies of a booklet can be printed in a couple of hours.

Usually. line spacing. Some programs can temporarily jump to DOS and then return when you type EXIT. I’ll try to point out what is technical. i. When you are “in” a directory. If I write “write in DOS” or “type.e. $. what is advanced and so on. I will try and explain some of these expressions. i. DOS commands and lines in files are written like this with Courier. I’ll choose the default for you” – and default here is the actual directory you are in. you are always in a directory and on a drive. I assume that you have installed DOS in the directory C:\DOS. such things as left and right margins. although difficult to understand if you haven’t met it before.6 Introduction files – or have someone else do it for you. In this text. In a computer context. Directory names are written like this: C:\DOS (ordinary caps). I’ll explain directory later. Within programs. Jargon All references to the “manual” mean the Microsoft MS-DOS 5. When you are at the DOS level. a default directory is used unless changed. Default is a very good concept or word. DOS says: “As you are not telling me which directory you want details of. the user can alter most or all of these defaults. which is C:\ File names are usually written like this: HIMEM.0 manual. When you want to load or save a document in your word-processor. choice of font. the DOS prompt in this case appears as C:\>EXTRA and DOS commands (without further specification) will be carried out on files in this directory.1. you will come across default settings. The root means the root directory. As we go on.”. and so on are set at default values.e. DOS 6 is treated in its own section. it means do so at the DOS prompt (C:\>). I shall be referring frequently to the root directory on the hard disk. A couple of examples: if you are in a directory and type DIR. Please read this The PC world is filled with jargon. (you should be in C:\EXTRA) it means that the directory is active and on your screen. References to Windows refer to version 3. it refers to that which is chosen automatically unless something else is specified. you are “in DOS” and can enter DOS commands. I hope that you have an idea now about the meaning of default. When you start with an empty document.SYS (small caps). the “first” directory on a disk.

The more I wrote about the technical aspects of my subject. Not so many years ago I didn’t understand a single word of what I write about today. but you have to be willing to invest some hours in the first place. I have helped many friends and have seen how much time one spends learning to use the PC and its programs. Programs and their on-line help are getting better. In the long run – if you don’t have it already – you’ll probably have to adopt a sense of order and discipline if you really want to gain a lot from your computer. It is a sad paradox of this computer age that books. a word of comfort: this chapter does not contain any technical material. Nobody can know everything in this business because it all happens so fast. or can afford.ZRXOG FRQVLGHUDGYDQFHGWH[W First. There are certain basic things that must function before your PC works well. i. useful knowledge is really a problem. magazines and people’s brains contain a wealth of information – but nobody knows exactly where it is or how to find it quickly. the more the text dwelled on the theme of optimization. Millions have learned it before you. tuning. In the beginning. If you run into difficulties.SYS in 600 pages.e. to pay others to help with a problem. it can take a really long time to solve them – and not everybody wants. As we all know. don’t be nervous. It will pay you dividends in the long run. There isn’t a single example of the all-important startup files AUTOEXEC.EHJLQVDSDUDJUDSKRUVHYHUDORIZKDW. A comforting thought: the later you’ve started in the PC jungle. getting the most out of the computer. but it takes time. One reason this guide has become necessary is the inferior manual supplied by Microsoft. the best way to learn is to teach others. So please read it! Over the past few years. If you are a beginner. the market is very big and new products are arriving in an ever-rising flood. I hope to be able to reduce this time for you. you might only get something from a few chapters but later on you can investigate the others. The enormous amount of information as opposed to relevant. Some sections of this booklet have become more advanced than I originally intended but those who understand how to use . trimming. and there are more and more books.BAT and CONFIG. the faster you’ll be able to understand and use your PC.

there is an index at the back. Because the text is of varying difficulty.Introduction 7 the advice will be pleased with it and. and then start again at the beginning. as far as possible. I have tried to pass on theoretical knowledge illustrated with relevant specific examples that I hope will also give you enough knowledge to be able to solve problems other than those described in this text. For those of you who want to use the book as a reference in the future. you want to think for yourself! You can find – and solve – thousands of specific problems on a PC. If you are an experienced PC user. it has not lent itself to a presentation in easily graded sections. but they areone of the most important things to know about. the first time it occurs. I hope. you may sometimes find yourself in the middle of a beginner’s course. One of my aims when I started to write in September 1992 was to write the book I wanted. A term is defined. . I have written on other subjects before but I have to admit that it has been hard to structure a PC book in which the subject can alternate between simple and very difficult. You may miss a “yellow brick road” to follow. the book I wished I’d had when I had problems on my PC. Some readers may find that they have to browse through to orientate themselves. designed for reading through once only. It isn’t always easy to find the right balance between theory and practice. The start files are not the most exciting part of a PC. which most computer developers conveniently forget. will help their friends a little. At least I have one advantage over other authors: you can’t criticize me about the price! I assume that you are ready to do some donkey work – in other words.

The file’s address is specified by a name. the next had one disk drive. then for WP. C:\DOS and maybe C:\WP or C:\WP51. for example. and so on correspond to other “countries. These are subdirectories (side roads) off the root directory. A: is the first floppy disk drive. and finding none of them here it will look in the first section of the path (C:\DOS). In the meantime: Directory means signpost. Now if you want DOS to look in directories other than the default directory when you start a program. which is made up of the following components: C: designates the logical drive. Every side road off each individual side road corresponds to sub-directories to the first sub-directory. you can move to the relevant directory by using one or more change directory (cd) commands. the main program. or start the program any other way. Why is it that you should divide your hard disk into all these directories? To make it easier to find and manipulate different programs and files. you – or the programs you installed (e. DOS uses the concept of logical drives. which here is C:\WP51. D: is either the next on the first hard disk or the first logical drive on the second hard disk and so on. For instance. The ASCII value is 92. some of which have no subdirectories.COM. we can say that a file also has an address on the hard disk – or on other media like a floppy disk. Again. B: the second. E. crossing the whole country. F. of a file. CONFIG is the file’s name. Every side road off that main highway corresponds to a sub-director.EXE.SYS.BAT.c:\wp51 then on the command C:\>wp DOS will look first in the root directory (C:) for WP. Just as most of us live at an address. the next had two. If in any directory you type C:\>path c:\dos.” The historical reason is as follows: the first PC design was diskless. They are where DOS program files and WP program files live. the next had a hard disk fitted and so on. and so on. Later. and we all live at a house number. Other logical drive designations D. this file is activated.8 directories and files Directories and files The concepts of directories and files are so intertwined that you may need to read about one before you understand the other. C: the first logical drive on the first hard disk. When you type WP. When you first got your PC. Let us choose the file C:\CONFIG. a separator. There they all are if later you want to move. e. This corresponds to what is called the “first” or root directory. Logical drives are explained below. you have to point DOS in the right direction by stating which directory and which file. is – to give it its full name and address – C:\WP51\WP. especially the physical place where the file starts. copy or delete the whole program.g.EXE. which is used as. WordPerfect) – began by creating new directories. so that the postman and others can find us. that you have only two disk drives: A: (the diskette drive) and C: (the hard disk) and that you have no other logical drives on your hard disk. We live along these roads. SYS is the file’s extension. \ is called a backslash and denotes the start of a (sub-) directory. The “needle” (read head) of the hard disk has to find the file. WordPerfect’s chief file. Notice the rather irritating backslash \. that which directs. for the sake of simplification. It is very practical to have all the files that belong to WP in one directory. Imagine there is a wide highway.g. you can define a special path (collection of directory names) that DOS will remember. The left of the diagram shows the root and some of my sub-directories. and called. the colon helps to identify it as something special and not the name. I have five sub-directories under Windows. C:\>cd wp51 and then start WP by entering C:\WP51>wp WP starts because the file WP. then for WP. I have chosen to start with directories. When you want to start a program. I shall be giving you a short description of how a hard disk is built up.EXE is in the default directory. At the prompt. the full name is a drive (a letter followed by a colon) plus a sub-directory plus a file name and extension. perhaps with some attached subdirectories. I am assuming. then the next .

Different types of files There are two basic types of files: those that form part of a program. WordPerfect. and they usually make their own suggestions. and usually there is one file or more in every directory. Every disk (whether diskette or hard disk) has what is called a FAT (File Allocation Table). where is the computer placing your documents? If you don’t keep an eye on this you’ll find it hard – at least in the beginning – to find them again. You can do much of this at DOS level or in some applications. Norton Commander or a similar program. When we work with files using a program that is written specially to manipulate files (like Dosshell. you will see that they have different extensions. which is essential on a PC. In a computer context. can work. creation dates and so on. e. must have the “surname/last name” You can start . Every time you create.1. If you have problems starting a program. I’ve chosen WP as an example because it is so widely used. and those that contain data that you and your program created. the FAT is updated. If you create a directory listing (DIR) or look at the file names using Dosshell. but personally I use and prefer the file management program Norton Commander. the screen will show you the names of all the files in the directory plus their sizes. for instance a word processor. e. which I discuss on page 33. typically in Windows. mean and fast. e. In fact there are two FATs and if one of them becomes unreadable. As we have seen. CONFIG. which I will describe later. Norton Commander. you receive the message Bad command or file name. comes first with all its sub-directories. An extension of COM or EXE indicates a program file. The “main highway. You can think of each hanging folder as a directory that contains files. A semicolon separates the different directories. Luckily this doesn’t happen often but it can. A directory is a storage area containing files. Other “driver files” can carry the extension DRV. Preferably only the two startup files plus COMMAND. DOS tries to repair it by referring to the other. COM files can have a maximum size of 64 KB. This is one reason that it is important to make back-ups.directories and files 9 (C:\WP51). letters and reports were stored in hanging folders in a filing cabinet. while an EXE file can be larger. save. consists of many different files. When you install modern programmes they often ask you in which directory you will place the program’s different files. delete or do anything with one or more files. every one of these sub-directories can have its own subdirectories. you should notice what the default directory is. Batch files. which usually. each of which performs its own special purpose so that other programs. C:\WP51 for WordPerfect 5.BAT – it normally specifies the path command. In other words.SYS contains calls for many different device drivers. It keeps track of the physical location of directories and files on the disk and is obviously an extremely important element because without it.g. we usually see a stylized graphic picture of the logical structure: the arrangement of directories and files on the hard disk. Unfortunately certain programs place one of more of their files in the root directory. When you save your first document. have the extension SYS. but unfortunately not always. the word file refers to a specific collection of data. if not. Nearly all programs show this logical arrangement – actually a picture of the FAT – in a form known as a directory tree. copy. the cause could be that your path doesn’t contain the directory in which you have the program. The root directory (C:\) should contain as few files as possible in order to keep your PC lean.EXE is part of WordPerfect but a letter to the tax authorities is called a document or data. Therefore if you delete 50 files in a directory it takes some time to update this table. the operating system. If you write DIR at any DOS prompt. Check your AUTOEXEC. find out if you really need them in C:\ and.g.COM – here I am not considering the “hidden files” that are part of the operating system. store them in obvious places and know where to find them.” the root.g. In the old days (and to some extent it is still the practice). DOS. WP. PCTools or Windows File Manager). delete them or move them to the relevant directory. The data may make up part of a computer program (or a whole program) or a company report or a letter to your grandmother or the latest edition of your school newsletter. DOS cannot keep track of data. If on inspection you find you have a lot of files. Files It is of fundamental importance that you manage your files well. Your word-processing program also consists of a collection of files. each of which executes a function.

SYSTEM. Edit and BAT files If you aren’t used to editing text files or creating batch files.BAT in the editor. I suggest that you have a directory called BAT where you can store your batch files. a text file containing DOS commands that has BAT as its extension. (Ctrl+S means to hold the Ctrl key down while you press the S key. or perhaps one of the files is missing. (note: copy con means copy from the console.SYS and AUTOEXEC. press Esc. shopping lists. You can use an editor (a mini word processor) to write or change a text file. Windows with its text files WIN. EXE and BAT files simply by typing the name of the program (file) at the prompt.bat means dir/w “copy from the console (keycd \bat board). just to see the principle behind it.EXE.). Traditionally. I will discuss what are known as straightforward text files.BAT. then c: Enter. whether letters are bold. Data files (letters. It can also create programs in the BASIC language. the console being a term covering both the screen and the keyboard). The following is a quick way to create a text file. it is because PCs and their programs are becoming increasingly complex.e. If not.) Now make a batch file called ED. At the DOS prompt. Type Press F6 to end the file. If you do not already have one.” i. enter EDIT to see if the program starts. which will automatically start EDIT and load EASY. EDIT. you can create one by typing C:\>MD BAT Move to this directory by entering C:\>CD BAT What is a batch file? Well.COM starts a text editor called QBASIC.INI and SETUP. Let’s make a file called EASY. Documents from word processors are often given the extension DOC by default. and so on) are nearly always given an extension automatically by the program that produces them.e. beginning or startup) file – which is read when the program is loaded.bat .INI.bat The cursor blinks and you are “in” a text file. perhaps C:\DOS isn’t in your PATH in AUTOEXEC. you are now about to participate in a mini-course. Other names are ASCII files or WordPerfect’s peculiar expression DOS files. But first a warning! Don’t begin to alter your startup files until you know what you are doing! The responsibility rests with you. It is important to be able to look at and amend these files. and are used to configure the program or set up default values and other settings.INF is the best known. etc. COM. The good thing about standardized extensions is that you can quickly see what kind of file it is. text files are given the extension TXT or ASC. so that the program runs in a particular way. By pressing Ctrl+S.BAT are in effect DOS’s initializing files. in columns and so on. copy what I type into a file called EASY.BAT.10 directories and files BAT. it can pay to write these commands in what is called a batch file. It shows the contents of two directories.BAT has been created. C:\BAT>copy con easy. C:\BAT>copy con ed.BAT. Now. dir cd \dos Copy con easy. Alt+F and X to close it. More and more programs have text files included with them that are read by the main program when it starts up. DOS displays 1 file cd\ (s) copied. Try it. Fortunately. i. which we will use to create and alter a batch file. underline. program in this regard. Try it. everyone seems to agree on the same standard. you can stop and start the process if you want to follow it. Goodness knows how many millions of people have spent how many millions of hours over the years typing these strange file names! If I am laboring this point somewhat. files that contain only text with no formatting codes (bold. if you type the same DOS commands time and again. Text files containing important information about the way a program works are often altered by other programs. In the following paragraphs. Microsoft now includes an adequate one called EDIT with MS-DOS. A text file has been stripped of all the various codes that a word processor normally includes to show where the margins are.BAT. But generally more and more programs have an INI (initialize. and most difficult. If it starts. CONFIG. reports. just by entering EASY you can “run” this batch file. The file EASY.

bat edit c:\config.BAT starts the editor with AUTOEXEC. But many key combinations.BAT starts the editing with CONFIG. you will be asked if you want to save it. e. Move the cursor to the point where you would like the line to appear and press Shift+Ins(ert) and the line is inserted. The top bar contains the menus used for editing. At the top and bottom. This is how you move a line – which can be relevant if you want to edit a startup file using this editor. Press Shift+Del(ete). there are horizontal bars.BAT. If you are using the keyboard. answer NO to keep your original file. . When you now enter ED and Enter. Close EDIT with Alt+F. The line is marked (highlighted).BAT loaded. so it could cause havoc if a line gets broken unexpectedly into two lines – as if it were two sets of instructions.bat edit c:\autoexec.bat press F6 and Enter.SYS loaded.bat Press F6 and Enter. But remember those early words of caution: don’t begin editing your startup files until you know what you are doing! You may notice with EDIT that there is no “word wrap” – where the screen shows a new line even though you haven’t put in a carriage return. work exactly the same as in other programs. Now create the following two batch files. open the File command by pressing Alt+F. It is an advantage that a text editor doesn’t have word wrap: the computer reads BAT and INI files line by line. and EA. The EDIT editor consists of a rectangular area where you can type and edit as in a simplified word processor.directories and files 11 edit C:\bat\easy. Text editors work in different ways but most of them work like this: text between two carriage returns (a carriage return is when you press Enter) is shown as one line that continues past the monitor’s right-hand boundary. and can contain up to a maximum of 256 characters. Hold down the Shift key and press the “down arrow” key. C:\BAT>copy con ec. such as Ctrl+arrow. In this case. You will have to get used to this.g. C:\BAT>copy con ea. then the menu bar is activated by holding the Alt key down while you press the underlined letter of the menu command you want. The Tab key moves you between the possibilities or you can just type the initial letter. EDIT will start and load the file C:\BAT\EASY. Place the cursor at the beginning of the line. The two directories DOS and BAT should be in your PATH. The name of the file you are working on is shown at the top of the screen. All of the words FILE EDIT HELP are “headlines” for independent menus that drop down from the bars like a roller blind when you click on the word with your mouse. The marked line vanishes from the screen and is placed in a temporary store. If the file has changed (which in this case it has). EC. X.sys Press F6 and Enter.

the normal letters and numbers are unaltered. and the letters and symbols you use are each defined by a series of 1s and 0s assembled into an eight-partition electronic box. It is pronounced “aski” and is a standard for the relationship between a symbol and a number. I am going to jump over the scancode. computer manufacturers are pretty much in agreement over which symbol or letter should be allocated to which of the 256 values in the ASCII system. A computer can only move 1s and 0s around. Each partition can contain either a one or a zero (binary system). But it is not so simple. When you press a key on your keyboard and the screen shows a character. and then this ASCII value is again “converted” to a character on your screen. Let’s use the capital letter “A” as an example.12 ascii ASCII This is only relevant for DOS. to make everything a bit more fun (though easier for programmers) when they created Windows. just waiting to be activated. Write and other Windows word processors are able to save in either format and convert between the two. you will often hear of the set of values referred to as 0-255. anyway). Forget about “intelligent” computers. Fortunately. for instance 65. In computing. 16-number system $. We humans have not really got any further in mimicking the brain and soul’s development. As zero is also a valid number. and nothing else. With eight partitions. but a text file stored as ASCII and one stored as ANSI are two different things. but it is progressing. Text files saved by DOS programs are in ASCII format. The only reason for the computer’s wide use is its speed. and this fills 1 bit. Then. Microsoft introduced another standard called ANSI. even though experts are trying to convince us it is possible with talk of neural networks and the like. only two states are possible: on or off. it is nice to think that the character is just sitting in the key. 0 or 1. which uses other character values. nothing else! Eight of these 1s or 0s grouped together are called a byte. or in a DOS word processor. each of which contains one of two (0 or 1) available values. not Windows. try holding the left-hand Alt key down while you key in two or three digits on the numeric keyboard. there are 256 possible patterns (2 multiplied by itself eight times) for creating a number value. which is what is actually sent when you press a key. This code is sent to a “converter” that decides which ASCII value is linked to the scancode. while text files saved by Windows are in ANSI (by default. Understanding ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) was one of my first breakthroughs many years ago. Luckily. At the DOS prompt. These are some of the foundations of data communication.

QWKHFRPSXWHUZRUOGQXPEHUVWR EDVHDUHXVHGDORW7KHV\VWHPPDQ\RIXVKDG EDQJHGRXUKHDGVLQWRDWVFKRROLVWKHQRUPDOGHFLPDO V\VWHPWREDVH DQGWKHQ EHFDXVHZHKDYHQ·WDQ\PRUH V\PEROV>ILQJHUVRUWRHV@.1XPEHUYDOXHVFDQDOVREHUHSUHVHQWHGE\RWKHU QXPEHUV\VWHPV.

ZHVHWLQWKHILUVWSODFHWR WKHULJKWDQGSXWDLQWKHVHFRQGSODFHWRWKHOHIWDQG ZHKDYH +H[DGHFLPDOWKHEDVHV\VWHPORRNVOLNHWKLV $%&'()DQGRQO\WKHQ²ZLWKWKHYDOXHZH ZULWHDV²GRZHFRPHWR .Q EDVH EHFDXVHZHDUHVWLOOWKLQNLQJLQWHUPVRIEDVH .QWKHEDVHV\VWHPZHVD\WKHODVWFLSKHULVWKHV WKHQH[WLVWKHVWKHQH[WLVWKHVDQGVRRQ.

ZHVD\WKHXQLWVJRDVKLJKDV) .

WKH´VµDUH WKHVWKH´VµDUHWKHVDQGVRRQ1RZWKDW·V QRWVRGLIILFXOWLVLW" 7KHGHFLPDOV\VWHPLVLQDSSURSULDWHIRUFRPSXWHU RSHUDWLRQV,WLVDUHOLFIURPPDQ·VHDUO\GD\VZKHQZH WKRXJKWXVLQJILQJHUV

binary
00010000 00100010 11111111

10
16 34 255 256 65536 1048576

16
10 22 FF 100 10000 100000

7KHFRPSXWLQJZRUOGKDQGOHVODUJHYDOXHVDQGWKH KH[DGHFLPDOV\VWHPKDVSURYHGLWVZRUWK1XPEHUVDUH VKRZQZLWKDILQDO´KµHJ$K7KHODVW]HURLV RIWHQGURSSHGVRWKHDERYHEHFRPHV$KZKLFKLQ WKHGHFLPDOV\VWHPLVWKHIDPLOLDU.% [ E\WHV E\WHV :LWKWKH:LQGRZVFDOFXODWRU FKRRVH9LHZ6FLHQWLILF

\RXFDQDPXVH\RXUVHOIZLWKWKHVHQXPEHUVDQGFRQYHUW WKHPHDVLO\

memory

13

Memory
Some of the following is rather technical and can be skipped. Memory is where the PC stores information. It uses two types of memory: RAM and ROM. ROM (Read Only Memory) is not discussed in great detail in this guide. ROM is a fixed form of memory (built into electronic chips) that “remembers" certain parts of the operating system. Other ROM is in physical parts of the PC like the graphics adapter and the hard-disk controller. RAM (Random Access Memory) is the volatile memory that’s available for calculations while the PC is switched on. The CPU (Central Processing Unit) uses and processes data in the RAM, where the contents are constantly changing. First, something about the allocation of RAM in a PC, a complex subject, if the operating system is DOS. Computers, as we have noted, use the binary system. You will often come across numbers raised to the power of two: 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512 bytes and so on. When you get to 1024 bytes, it is called 1 kilobyte (KB or K); thereafter you follow the same pattern of 2, 4 ... up to 1024 KB, which is equal to one MegaByte (MB), and so on until you reach 1024 MB = 1 GigaByte (GB). When IBM built the first PC, they did not think that it would become the success it is and so they figured that 1 MB (1024 KB), with 640 KB set aside for programs, would be adequate memory for all purposes. Let’s look at the first MB of RAM, the first 1024 KB. Imagine a giant bookshelf with lots of spaces for identical books. Each space is the space for one byte and has what is called an address. What follows describes how these areas are defined and treated. The work of the CPU consists mainly of moving all these bytes around between the hard disk, itself, RAM, the monitor, etc. – fast. Virtually all communication in a computer – the transport of data between the different units (devices) – has to go via the CPU. Monitor, keyboard, disk, and so on are physical devices, but other “logical” or abstract parts of a PC can also be “devices.” As we shall see later, all devices must be controlled, or handled, by a special program called a device driver (or simply driver). It took me years to understand the strange concept of a device! DOS, which was originally created for the old 8086 processor, can only “see” the first MB. When the processor runs in its most primitive mode, real mode, it can only “see” this area in RAM. DOS is a

real-mode program. When you boot your PC, the processor “wakes up” in this real mode and looks around for its partner, DOS. That’s how it has been ever since DOS arrived on the scene. If you want more from your PC than real mode and DOS, which can only use 1 MB, you have to build on these foundations. So as not to exclude the 8086 and 80286 and other early PC versions, DOS 5 and 6 are still realmode programs and are “backward compatible,” which means that all programs written for earlier versions still work with newer versions. To use RAM above 1 MB, you need a program that makes the processor run in what is called protected mode. Protected means stopping two programs that are using RAM simultaneously from trying to use the same areas of RAM. The 80286 was the first processor that was able to run in protected mode as well as in real mode. The processor can only be in one mode at a time and it takes time to change between real and protected mode. A CPU works at a certain speed, called its clock frequency, which is the number of pulses per second that the current flows (Hertz). This is typically a figure like 33, 40, 75, 90, 133 or higher, measured in MHz (millions of Hertz – not a misprint, it really is millions of times a second!!).

UMB is real useable RAM in this area. regrettably. when you use DOS 5 or higher. 386MAX and Netroom. The illustration is an example of how upper memory can look on a PC. DOS can see and control/communicate with them. Upper memory is a name for an address area. The usual thing though is for DOS to take over as memory manager via the command DOS=UMB inserted in CONFIG. Upper memory area This section is included because it is important. Sometimes I wonder how on earth sensible people could have constructed a PC with an operating system. it is possible to load certain programs into upper memory – which is an address area. upper memory. IBM and Hewlett-Packard sometimes refer to it as reserved memory – when the terms high and upper memory were introduced.EXE. by most people. so DOS drivers and DOS resident programs can be run in this address area. although these blocks – if created. by EMM386. and so on as difficult as it is – but they have. the vacant space left amongst these addresses can be used for drivers and resident (TSR) programs.SYS. HIMEM. There are rules as to where in upper memory the different devices must place their data so that the CPU can have direct access to communicate with them – the marked areas on the chart show where.SYS is the memory manager. IBM couldn’t foresee the future many years ago! IBM wisely reserved the address area from 6401024 (384 KB) for system. the industry was in some confusion! Upper memory area is the name for an address area. 1024640-1024 0-640 extended high=first 64 K upper conventional Extended Memory 10000 Motherboard BIOS ROM F000 Free on non PS/2 PS/2 has BIOS ROM here E000 Free D000 Free C800 VGA BIOS ROM on non PS/2 C000 VGA text video buffer B800 monochrome region B000 VGA graphics video buffer A000 conventional memory 640 KB 704 KB 768 KB 832 KB 896 KB 960 KB 1 MB Conventional memory The area in memory from 0-640 KB is called conventional memory or lower memory. I have not understood all the details myself yet but each time I write about it I understand a little more – I hope – and I have worked intensively with this for many months. and can maybe help you . The memory manager for upper memory can be either HIMEM. Don’t worry if you don’t understand a thing. memory. for example. This reserved address area in memory from 640-1024 KB is called. This is where most of the work is done. Resident means that the program is permanently in RAM and there is no need to call it from the hard disk every time it is used. The term upper memory area is not the same as Upper Memory Blocks (UMB). DOS is the memory manager for conventional memory (it controls it). This frees more space in conventional memory to run DOS programs. Resident programs are also called TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident). but helps you to understand what is going on before we get to the start files. which can provide this access – this text does not deal with programs such as QEMM. DOS does this using EMM386. From DOS 5 onwards. The interesting thing is that the area lies within the reach of DOS and real mode.EXE – are from the memory point of view situated in upper memory’s address area.14 forms of memory Forms of memory This section is rather technical. methods have been developed to allow DOS to place some of its files in this address area. Part of the problem is that. technical and future purposes. In recent years. In the early stages of the booting procedure.SYS or DOS. But the whole area is not occupied completely.

EXE. you have 4 MB of physical RAM. These terms are the names given to the use of physical RAM. and when it is available. In the jargon. you speak of configuring memory. which therefore is 92 KB smaller. The switch is undocumented. (A) HMA is apparently “a part” of extended memory – yes and no: HMA is available to the processor in real mode while extended memory is only available to the processor in protected mode. the CPU is led to believe that certain addresses are in a certain place. This leaves the area C000-E000 free for UMBs. So RAM above 1 MB can be used as a combination of different forms of memory – but not until the relevant memory manager is active and able to control how much to use and for what. extra memory cards were manufactured to put in the PC. Naturally. this area has become available as if it belonged to the first MB. At this time. Primarily older programs are able to use this form of memory.e. In the “old days. Intel and Microsoft developed rules for how their version of expanded memory should be used. Lotus. though physically they are somewhere else. IBM PS/2 puts BIOS ROM in the two “top” areas. If.SYS containing EMM386 and see the result of MEM. if you want access to.x command that tells you how this area is being used. VGA BIOS ROM is placed from E000-E7FF. say. Try writing REM at the beginning of the line in CONFIG.) for the way physical RAM is used. extended. To specify the way in which it is used. another standard for using memory over 1 MB was introduced: eXtended Memory Specifications (XMS).SYS. from 1024-1088 KB. Most people use this area to place parts of DOS using DOS=HIGH. though even many newer games need EMS memory (see Multiple Boots. it is configured according to published standards. as it handles all memory above 1 MB. extended memory is mapped to upper memory’s address area. i. So HIMEM. which also requires a memory manager. They are standardized rules. etc. Delete the REM again. For example.SYS controls both high memory (area) and extended memory. This section deals with this. The sum of upper memory + extended memory is the same! Devices $OOWKHVHIRUPVRIPHPRU\H[FHSWFRQYHQWLRQDO PHPRU\DUH´DGHYLFHLQWKHVDPHZD\DVDPRQLWRU NH\ERDUGSULQWHUHWFDQGVRWKHVHIRUPVRIPHPRU\ UHTXLUHDGHYLFHGULYHULQWKHVDPHZD\WKDWRWKHU GHYLFHVGR 7KHUHDUHERWKSXUHO\SK\VLFDODQGZKDW. for instance. DOS has one of these called EMM386. you can use this in many different ways. High memory area (HMA) The High Memory Area (HMA) is defined as the first 64 KB of extended memory. 92 KB of upper memory. i. boot up and check MEM. with users soon hit the ceiling of the 640 KB. so DOS can use it. the memory manager for this area is HIMEM. This standard was called Expanded Memory Specification (EMS) or LIM EMS. DOS has one. It is most unfortunate that the names are almost identical. How upper and extended memory work together (A)Upper Memory borrows the actual RAM from extended memory.FDOOORJLFDO RUDEVWUDFWGHYLFHV7KHPRQLWRUDQGWKHNH\ERDUGDUH LQWKHPVHOYHVQRWGHYLFHVEXWWKHORJLFDOWHUPFRQRU FRQVROHLVDGHYLFHWKDWUHIHUVWRWKHWZRSK\VLFDOREMHFWV DQLQSXWDQGDQRXWSXWREMHFW 7KHWHUPFRQVROHFRPHVIURPWKHGD\VRIWKHRULJLQDO PDLQIUDPHFRPSXWHUV7KHVHKDGQRPRQLWRURU VHSDUDWHNH\ERDUGVEXWUHFHLYHGLQSXWDQGZURWHRXW WKHLUUHVXOWVWKURXJKDNLQGRIWHOH[PDFKLQH7KLV PDFKLQHFDOOHGWKHFRQVROHZDVXVHGIRUDOOLQSXWWR DQGRXWSXWIURPWKHFRPSXWHU .SYS. which was the limit for DOS programs.e. a so-called XMM. page 47) A memory manager for expanded memory is called an Expanded Memory Manager (EMM). HIMEM. This is more relevant to most users today as newer programs are primarily written to use extended memory. E and F page. Expanded memory is also called EMS memory.forms of memory 15 if you begin to investigate where in this area different programs load themselves. it is borrowed from extended memory. Using a little trick. MEM/A is the only DOS 6. Expanded and extended memory It is important to distinguish between the physical RAM or memory and the abstract names (upper. Later.” the use of memory above 1 MB started primarily with the Lotus spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3.

SMARTDRV is an exception. but EMM386. If you do this. These files must be in the root directory on the boot drive. Codepage is a strange term that describes a collection (a set) of 256 different characters that you see on the screen.SYS only functions as a device driver and can only be installed from CONFIG. 5.BAT contains DOS commands that are automatically run every time the computer is booted.1 Setup option to change your AUTOEXEC.EXE.” (two dots) for the relevant directory and not “[path].0 Had the same vital files as Win 3. and so on are read from C:\DOS and not from C:\WINDOWS. I have chosen to concentrate on DOS 5 with some references to DOS 6. SMARTDRV. Remember to have a working boot diskette handy before beginning to make changes in CONFIG.1 also introduced a fine program. extensions) for the operation of DOS 5. You should only consider these examples as suggestions. In this case. This was SMARTDRV version 3.EXE.SYS. There is no difference between something entered in capital or lowercase letters. Win 3. which has a section of its own at the end. though most of them are a little special. . so they could just as well have been run from the DOS prompt. delete the old ones. they often suggest making changes to the startup files.SYS and MEM.EXE were significantly improved. When you have done that.11 (Windows for Workgroups) arrived with the same files as DOS 6.2. the line is considered a remark and not a command and is therefore not executed.. you won’t be using the new versions from DOS 6. EMM386.0. Win 3.SYS. if REM or rem followed by a space is at the beginning of a line. depending on their contents. Win 3. RAMDRIVE and MEM are vital files (given here without their DOS 5 HIMEM.EXE and SMARTDRV. This not only saves disk space but also avoids confusion.EXE. The release dates of these versions of DOS and Windows are given deliberately. Win 3.SYS and AUTOEXEC.2 The only change was SMARTDRV. It could now be run from AUTOEXEC. All files are.EXE.1 after installing DOS 6 and at the same time accept the Windows 3.1 Included an improved version (4.0) of SMARTDRV in the form of an executable EXE file (SMARTDRV.SYS will typically contain calls for device drivers.” as is normally written. All these files are usually placed in C:\DOS. MSD. DOS 6.11. So watch out if you install Win 3. Each codepage has a number. All these files are usually placed in C:\WINDOWS. which can look at the first MB of memory. When you install programs.EXE ver.SYS before you begin to change things. DOS 6.BAT configure the PC in a certain way. SMARTDRV.16 the startup files The startup files The startup files CONFIG. Specify the latest versions of these important files in your startup files. AUTOEXEC. DOS 6 and Win 3. you should alter your startup files so that EMM386.BAT. CONFIG.EXE). once again. DOS 5 and 6 are basically identical as far as these files are concerned. In the examples. I have used “.1. programs that handle devices. They are DOS commands. so it is nice to know something about what the different lines in these files mean.BAT automatically.1. In both startup files. I recommend that you read right through the relevant commentary on CONFIG. and the text deals with these files in chronological order. placed in C:\DOS. The important files HIMEM. typically C:\.SYS. I have chosen examples with two codepages but the commentary describes what to do if you only want one codepage. EMM386. It is important here that SMARTDRV. This disk cache program has been much modified and so it has its own special section.

cpi) mode con cp sel=437 LH keyb.sys rem devicehigh=\DOS\setver..sys rem LH \DOS\doskey. mode con cp prep=((437) \DOS\ega.437.256 break=on rem shell=\DOS\command.com set temp=C:\temp set tmp=C:\temp prompt $p$g rem \DOS\emm386..C:\DOS...BAT @echo off path C:\BAT.exe noems dos=umb devicehigh=\DOS\smartdrv.com uk..com \DOS /p /f /e:1024 AUTOEXEC.\DOS\country.exe country=044.sys con=(.sys files=30 rem fcbs=1 buffers=5 rem stacks=9.com LH \DOS\share.sys 512 256 devicehigh=\DOS\display.exe auto .sys dos=high device=\DOS\emm386.exe rem LH \UTI\gmouse.SYS CONFIG.\DOS\keyboard.SYS device=\DOS\himem..sys devicehigh=\DOS\ansi.1) rem devicehigh=\UTI\gmouse.17 DOS 5 – SMARTDRV.

sys files=40 rem fcbs=1 buffers=5 rem stacks=9. rem LH MSCDEX /D:MSCD01 /M:20 \..com \DOS /p /f /e:1024 AUTOEXEC.C:\DOS...\smartdrv.\ramdrive.cpi) mode con cp sel=437 LH \DOS\keyb.\cdmke..\emm386.256 break=on rem shell=\DOS\command.\DOS\keyboard.C:\UTI..com LH \DOS\share..SYS device=\..com rem LH \UTI\gmouse.BAT @echo off path C:\BAT..com uk.\himem.437.exe /double_buffer country=044..sys con=(.sys devicehigh=\DOS\setver.sys devicehigh=\DOS\ansi.exe noems dos=umb rem devicehigh=\.exe rem device=\.sys rem LH \DOS\doskey..18 Windows 3.C:\WINDOWS...sys /d:mscd01 rem devicehigh=\.\DOS\country.exe set temp=C:\temp set tmp=C:\temp prompt $p$g rem win : .exe mode con cp prep=((437) \DOS\ega.sys 2048 /e devicehigh=\DOS\display.1) rem devicehigh=\UTI\gmouse.\smartdrv.sys dos=high device=\.1 or DOS 6 – SMARTDRV.EXE CONFIG.

the whole group of device(high)= is loaded in the order they appear. Lines that start with REM show options that you may not need. then my examples and suggestions for start files are as follows. video adapter.). At the start of the boot process. so this section will try to help you out. where special drivers may affect memory or other devices. At this point in the boot process. COMMAND. However. drivers can enable a device to perform differently in different circumstances. This is both good and bad.COM. On each line. trying to memorize them is a shortcut to madness. dot) for the relevant directory instead of “[path].SYS file that doesn’t make fatal errors. DOS 6: It is (almost) possible to jump over all of CONFIG.SYS for MS-DOS. DOS 5: If there are no problems up to this point. Then (even if the lines do not exist) the lines files= fcbs= buffers= lastdrive= and stacks= are read. CONFIG.SYS The lines are read in a certain order. and then DOS is loaded into high memory. The first time. the hidden files IO. it is important to have a CONFIG. followed by EMM386 if it is there. A switch can be ON or OFF. If the second run finds HIMEM. the PC cannot lock during boot.11 Read the text after the examples where I also give some possible lines that are not shown here. the parameter day can only be one of seven possible values. Then it goes on loading drivers and other programs into RAM. A parameter is a value – not necessarily a number – that can only be one of several options available to the parameter. If you are wondering why the C: drive specification is not given before the directory name here (apart from in the PATH command) it is so that the startup files can be copied to a boot disk needing only one small amendment (see Boot disks. Every device needs a program (software) that can manage it. ports. as most people discover. DOS 5 with SMARTDRV. that’s fine. so it doesn’t matter where these line are. conventional memory is empty.e. First. I have no experience with networks. etc.SYS by pressing F5 when you start to boot – see DOS 6 for more details. I have written “.BAT. I have given two examples: 1. Remember. If all these processes succeed.” The boot process (A) These are some of the procedures set in motion during the boot process: after a program built into a ROM chip has checked the hardware (memory. Fortunately.1 or 3. A parameter usually refers to the object in question.SYS is run through twice. If you don’t need EMS memory. in this case a device. conventional memory. 55). CONFIG. which are not connected to a network. p. but are included to show what I recommend. You decide how much of your RAM you want to use for different things. If you know all the different combinations and their relationships. information from the ROM BIOS is loaded into RAM memory. Only when this is running can the device become “a member of the family” of PC parts that communicate with the others. The first thing it looks for are the system files. is loaded. it starts by loading it into .sys 19 Conventions These startup files are primarily for standalone PCs. DOS 6. the line DOS=HIGH and apparently also DOS=UMB is searched for. Therefore. Finally. the program that interprets DOS commands. long lines in the following explanations are shortened. possibly via a line SHELL=. So.SYS 2. no matter what lines are in AUTOEXEC.SYS and MSDOS. Windows 3. For example..config. you can specify one or more parameters (a sort of variable) and optional switches. no matter where they are placed – except for device drivers. at the very least.” (dot.SYS. For typographical reasons. i. the computer doesn’t know which devices are installed. this order has an important bearing on how upper memory is used. the DOS operating system is ready.

Allowable values are from 1-14 (see your DOS manual) or experiment. ------------------------386 .SYS. We haven’t run across this before.BAT. all RAM above 1088 KB is configured as extended memory. ------------------------286 If you have a 286 with at least 1 MB RAM. By specifying this.EXE can only be used on a PC equipped with at least a 386 processor. then DOS.\HIMEM.. takes control over upper memory from HIMEM. Confusion can arise because EMM386. I don’t have any experience with an upper memory manager for a 286. This long explanation is necessary because it is an important file when it comes to how memory is used. You don’t even get an error message. If you can’t use upper memory.SYS must be placed before EMM386. I’ve managed to get it to work on some PCs. you’ll get the message unable to control A20 line Then try with .EXE. To use upper memory.SYS/machine:11 The number is a machine identification.. HIMEM. HIMEM. Insert these two lines at the beginning of CONFIG. And the manual .sys DEVICE=.HIMEM.0 –doing this frees more space in conventional memory to run programs. which will make your PC faster because you’ve got more conventional memory free.. This is one of the most important features of DOS 5. it is possible to start to load programs with devicehigh and LoadHigh. EMM386. first you have to have special hardware – which only some 286s have – and then you have to have an upper memory manager. LoadHigh and devicehigh should have both been called LoadUpper – the whole thing is totally confusing. Unfortunately. DOS=HIGH means that DOS places as much of itself as possible in high memory.SYS is the memory manager for high memory as well as extended memory. then you’ve got DOS in high memory.SYS DOS=HIGH and see what appears on screen when you boot.EXE.SYS MEM/C/P to check.SYS HIMEM. LH is short for LoadHigh. which means load into upper memory. all memory above 1088 KB is configured to be available as XMS memory. You are also able to use high memory for other things... then type MEM when the PC has finished starting.SYS and EMM386.. After you load HIMEM. You can find out if your 286 can use high memory.\HIMEM. The program has two basic functions: it can be a memory manager for EMS memory and it provides access to the upper memory area. forget it! Before reading this line during boot. starting with 11. via EMM386.SYS is active. You should have more memory available for programs.SYS is first of all a memory manager for upper memory but if DOS=UMB is specified. device=C:\. The last line should read MS-DOS resident in high memory Area If not. or maybe not. If you don’t see it.EXE can be used as a driver as well as a DOS program.. If you are trying to load a program/driver into upper memory using a devicehigh or LH and there is no space for it. This program is a science in itself with numerous options.EXE. it loads into conventional memory instead. If it works. DOS=HIGH The condition here is that HIMEM. Important: it is not until DOS reads this line that high memory and extended memory exist in a state that can be used – now they have a memory manager that allows access. maybe you can use high and/or upper memory. you must write device= instead of devicehigh= as well as remove any references to LH in AUTOEXEC.20 config. Use MEM or . not all of which are dealt with here. 12 or 13. EMM386. It is uncommon to find a device driver that at the same time can also run as a program from the DOS prompt.EXE .

\EMM386. It is preferable to include this section.config. Let’s say that you have a total of 4 MB RAM. AUTOEXEC. write DEVICE=. starting with address C800 if I have specified NOEMS. EMS memory with the parameters RAM 1024. specify it in the same way but use an X instead of an I. You will have 3 MB extended memory after installing HIMEM.2 or 4.0 Help function is also wrong.. As an example. the message I get is 92 KB total available upper memory and 92 KB as largest block. X=B000-B7FF which excludes this area.EXE.” The parameter FRAME=E000 determines the start address for the page frame. the 64 KB in the area from 896-960 KB becomes E000-EFFF.EXE RAM 1024 RAM means “give access to upper memory. numbers in base 16 are used... the region where the CPU communicates with a monochrome (black and white) video card. like the motherboard BIOS. It is very important that this 64 KB window be available in upper memory – otherwise it is “stolen” from conventional memory. so if you want to use 1 MB (= 1024 KB) of your 3 MB extended memory as expanded memory (keeping the remaining 2 MB as extended memory) and want access to upper memory. The DOS 6.EXE NOEMS I am going to start with the setup that is relevant for most people. On the subject of expanded memory. 640 KB = A000.0. Technical corner: With DOS 5. for where to place AUTO. This line is a parameter that is independent of other parameters and can be in the same line as EMM386. It includes an address area in upper memory and depends on the area not being used by anything else – and anything else in this context means something from the system. Refer to I=E000-F000 earlier. This is the parameter NOEMS. Following LIM EMS specifications versions 3. Unfortunately. – if you install. B-page and so on. . because the IBM PS/2 places the motherboard BIOS ROM here. wish to use upper memory and want all your free RAM over 1. The most important thing about understanding EMS and upper memory is that most EMS-dependent programs demand that 64 KB consecutive UMB be used to make what is called a page frame. An area in memory is defined by a start and an end address.\EMM386.g. for example. NOEMS also means “create an entrance to upper memory.. EMS memory uses page frames. which I don’t describe more fully here. Every area of 64 KB is referred to as a page. I=E000-EFFF (A) Of no importance to the PS/2. If you only give a number. Requires EMS memory Some programs need EMS memory. etc. e.sys 21 DEVICE=. But most programs that need EMS demand a page frame (a “window” in upper memory) that points towards a portion of EMS memory. rather than exclude it.” You use this if you don’t need EMS memory. See the comments under Memmaker in DOS 6. Irrelevant for the PS/2. called the monochrome region. which means that some of the extended memory should not be converted to EMS memory.SYS – I’m disregarding the 64 KB in high memory for a moment to make things a little easier.088 KB to be used as XMS memory. EFFF is the address just before F000. EMM386.BAT. The example mentioned above makes better use of upper memory.” 1024 means use a maximum of 1024 KB for EMS memory. you will be denied access to upper memory. EMM386 from DOS 5 defaults not to include this area because it is used by the PS/2 to hold BIOS ROM but EMM386 from DOS 6 does include it. the A-page. I=E000-EFFF FRAME=E000 (A)..EXE is able to convert extended memory to expanded memory. and this is a big portion to give away. See page 25. here with only four digits to each – the last 0 is dropped. two parameters will be discussed in detail – RAM and AUTO (because the manual mentions them only briefly and even then it is wrong as far as the AUTO switch is concerned). If you want to exclude an area from upper memory (to be sure that no program uses it). As a rule. during boot you will see this as “starting at address. EMM386 in DOS 5 defaults to a page frame start address of D000.

both numbers or none at all. You shouldn’t load it from CONFIG.\emm386.SYS but from AUTOEXEC. DOS requests HIMEM.0 even if you only have DOS 5. by letting Windows or other programs use it. The name given after /D: identifies the CD-ROM drive to the MSCDEX program that is called in AUTOEXEC.22 config. read the general description SMARTDRV disk cache on p. try and set the first number higher and see if that speeds up your system. The optimum numbers depend on the available amount of extended memory. The default for the first number is 256. see also p. and if it is. This is undocumented in DOS 5.0. however. 3. To avoid this you must state the minimum by setting the second number.SYS to pass over control of all upper memory. If you would rather take advantage of the 64 KB in upper memory.\emm386. 28. 4.BAT. If you know that this is not the case for your programs. It would seem that MEMMAKER tests to see if E000-EFFF (the E-page) is free.EXE 4. If you have SMARTDRV.exe device=c:\. then return here.exe device=c:\. you can specify this parameter.0 from Windows 3. it chooses E000 as the start address. 960 KB available XMS memory.. that is how it works on my PC. You are free to choose whether you want to state just the first number. you should check with the manual to see whether or not you will benefit by writing this. Certain programs have the ability to change the minimum size and even give it a value of 0 in order to use this area in memory themselves.1 from DOS 6.exe device=c:\. and became worth using with version 4. while DOS 6. If you have 4 MB total RAM. 24. (Enough about EMS and EMM386. Fine. REM DE.\emm386.SYS from DOS 5. The last number is relevant for Windows.SYS /D:MSCD01 This is a driver for a Panasonic CD-ROM drive that I activate when I need it – it uses 11 KB.1. You can still use SMARTDRV. FRAME=NONE (A) It’s possible that your programs that use EMS memory don’t need a page frame (though this applies to very few programs that use EMS memory). SMARTDRV. If you use DOS extended programs such as AutoCad386 or Lotus 1-2-3 ver.\CDMKE.. When you have used 512 KB for SMARTDRV. The numbers are the amount of KB for the cache’s initial size and minimum size.) DOS=UMB means that DOS takes over the handling of all upper memory..BAT. and adds that it may cause some programs not to function properly.IGH=\. If you don’t know what a disk cache is. you are left with 448 KB available for programs that can use extended memory.) device=c:\.x. that is. The above is an example with 2 MB total RAM and NOEMS at EMM386. I have chosen to write them as two separate lines..0 mentions it.. In other words. you do not have Windows 3. you are much better off.EXE..exe ram 1024 i=e000-efff frame=e000 ram 2048 i=e000-efff x=b000-b7ff noems i=e000-efff noems .UMB but as they are two separate commands.EXE. I am assuming that you have not installed expanded memory. The box at the bottom of the page shows some example parameters for EMM386. recommended. write 1024 512.SYS 512 256 This line is only relevant if your disk cache is the not-so-good SMARTDRV. 29. See MSCDEX on p. You can write the two lines as one: DOS=HIGH and DOS=UMB as DOS=HIGH. At any rate.1 or DOS 6. (SMARTDRV only became an acceptable product with the introduction of ver. You don’t need to use a disk cache – it is.sys EMM386 in DOS 6 has been improved. 44.\emm386. which expand memory above DOS’s normal limits themselves. DOS 6: see EMM386 p.

To see this. changing the colors on the DOS screen. The advantage is faster access to data when you work intensely with temporary files. etc..1) Is the driver for the console.BAT. sort order in files and characters used in directory and file names. type at the DOS prompt help country and select notes) and not the alternative codepage. The second number sets the active codepage. Type SETVER to see this. It creates a RAM disk (IBM usually calls it a virtual disk).BAT the line SET TEMP=D:\ (or your next available drive designation). write 1 at the end. The first parameter. This allows you to switch between codepages with the command CHCP 437 or CHCP 850. If your hardware (video card) doesn’t support one of the codepages for your country.SYS Is a driver for screen characters.1 KB. during boot. See buffers on page 24 to see how many buffers can be loaded into high memory.x. at the end of the virtual disk line. you will be able to shift between codepages at the end.SETVER. e.ANSI.g. The number specifies how much RAM is set aside to behave as a disk. If you want to use EMS memory (you may have a card with expanded memory)..e. if you use mode con cp prep and mode con cp select in AUTOEXEC. 28. Your mouse driver may be called something else and be located in a different directory.BAT. CorelDraw. The second parameter refers to the number of the codepage for the console supported by the hardware. you will see the next available drive letter. 1) is the number of codepages needed for which space has to be reserved in memory (but still only for CON and not any other device). a temporary hard disk that exists only electrically while your computer is running. If you only want to use one codepage. COUNTRY=044. you must give a number. 437 and 850. sets English formats for time. the default codepage is selected.. e.g. .437. 850.BAT.SYS CON=(.SYS occupies 8. In my experience. I have chosen an English user who wants to use codepage 437 as the active general codepage. For two codepages: If you choose 2. you will automatically choose. Necessary for DOS if you want to use something other than the default 25 lines of 80 characters. During the boot procedure.. .. providing you have prepared them (see mode con .g. On an “English-speaking” PC. a minimum of 8 MB RAM and use programs that work intensely with temporary files.RAMDRIVE.) and loaded NLSFUNC in AUTOEXEC. . in this case 044. cursor movement and defining the keyboard keys. all data in the RAM drive is lost.SYS 2048 /E Relevant if you have Windows 3. see the Codepage section. SETVER lies to these programs about the version number. e. Requires 432 bytes. currency symbol. . It requires that you enter in AUTOEXEC. date. The risk with this is that if the computer hangs or there is a power failure.. the default codepage (see the manual for the country command or with DOS 6.sys 23 . where this codepage is chosen. If you leave the second parameter blank.DISPLAY. The third parameter (here. In this example. which refers to the type of monitor/graphics adapter.SYS checks the video adapter automatically. For more. This example is for a Genius mouse. the general active codepage for all devices that are supported by it. All this is necessary to be able to use mode con cp prep and select in AUTOEXEC. need not be stated since DISPLAY..GMOUSE. The default is 1. The first number. type mode con in DOS. Windows and many Windows programs do this. In this example.EXE Some programs – typically older ones – need access to a certain DOS version number. use /a. Windows has its own driver but this is only for Windows programs. the default codepage is 437 with 850 as an alternative. .. i. Here it is 2048 KB of extended memory – indicated by the /e. DISPLAY.1. p..SYS Loads a mouse driver for DOS programs.config.

. you can try raising the values and see if it helps. all of them are pushed down into conventional memory.0 for the original IBM PC and 9. it will be taken as a call that can’t be ignored. With nine buffers. When the interruption is over. You can also use the undocumented MEM/A. etc. An interrupt is when there is a “. I wonder why Microsoft doesn’t provide a program that shows the number of open files.g. A file is “open” when it is in use or being read. 128. 40 or 50 and see how it works. With buffers=6-8.SYS is loaded with the last parameter (number of codepages) set to 1.1 and 6. DOS returns to what it was doing. then use MEM/D/P after every boot. many programs need to have a lot of files open at the same time. 32. REM FCBS=X File Control Blocks.telephone call for Mr. Whether I used MEM/C/P or MEM/D/P. With 28 buffers. SideKick. The value x states how many of these blocks DOS can have open at the same time. you require a higher amount. The default is 4. then you should experiment a little. An educated guess: the codepages that have memory reserved for them via DISPLAY. Specifies how many files can be open at the same time. Specifies how much memory is set aside to handle hardware interrupts.128 for all others. COMMAND. but it is a mistake that the manual or Help does not explain this. It may just be . If you press a key while DOS (and hence the processor) is in the middle of a task. If you don’t have an original IBM and you don’t have this line in your CONFIG. otherwise it only fills 3 K.. The second number specifies how many bytes are set aside for each stack. I discovered the cause later: if DISPLAY. If you want to test things out. which also tells you about high memory.3 behave in exactly the same way). If the last parameter in DISPLAY.SYS is loaded (and this happens in all non English-speaking countries to allow access to country-specific letters and symbols). Try 9. If you are loading a single codepage. If you do not use a disk cache program. Try 30. modem or similar device. with 512 bytes used in conventional memory.SYS. DOS” while it is doing something.512 – 10. Another peculiarity: with buffers=24-27. If you get no error messages. With two codepages specified.SYS is set to 2. as they do not need DISPLAY. REM STACKS=9. FILES=40 The default (if the line isn’t included) is 8. and look for BUFFERS. the solution is to increase the number. If you want to aim for the optimum setting. Valid: 8-255.SYS take up space in high memory. Examples of interrupts include clicking or moving the mouse. Today.COM uses 5 K.COM fills 5 K. just a slightly faster or slower computer. access files by means of FCBs. COMMAND. Valid numbers here are 0. as nearly everybody uses a disk cache like SMARTDRV. If you use Windows and run several programs simultaneously. the most efficient way is to specify buffers=23. Many interrupts occurring at the same time can use up the stacks reserved here. I could not see any evidence of this. The first number gives the number of stacks. If you are using SMARTDRV I would suggest that you set the number of buffers low. the best setting is buffers=5. to 6 for instance. If you don’t know whether or not your program requires FCBs. Some space is taken up in memory for this but not much.128. Valid numbers are 0. you will have saved a little memory. according to Microsoft.0. Every buffer uses about 532 bytes. try STACKS=0.256 The numbers given here are only examples. Almost certainly. there are only a very few users who need so many buffers. be loaded into high memory if there is room there. e. the result is that only 27 or fewer buffers can be held in high memory. (IBM’s PC DOS 6. or from 8 to 64. the Americans have never even discovered this problem.256 – 9. otherwise it uses only 3 K. 64. You will not have any problems. Try values of between 6 and 20 and see which one works best on your PC.24 config. fax modem. you waste memory unnecessarily. The majority of buffers should. and have ever had an error message stack overflow. 256 or 512. things go wrong. If you have extra cards for a scanner. Luckily.sys BUFFERS=5 Is a mini cache programme (see page 28 for an explanation of disk caches). then only eight or fewer buffers can be placed in high memory. The default (if the line isn’t included) is 0. Experiments showed that if DISPLAY. then something happens in high memory. try setting the value at 1.SYS. hard disk activity or an incoming fax. Certain older programs. So DOS will temporarily place what it is doing on a “shelf” in what is called a stack (a little buffer) while it handles the interruption.

128 – which is the same as omitting the line. which for most people is drive D. If you need a higher number. This is a sort of bulletin board in memory where DOS and other programs save and retrieve certain internal information and variables. then 127 bytes are used for this so it can be relevant to set a number here. Network users: certain network programs attempt to create drive names beyond the maximum. Retry or Fail.COM by mistake. I have never needed it to increase the amount of bytes.BAT is inserted or recommended. /E:1024 – another very important purpose of this command is to expand the Master DOS environment to the number of bytes specified at the end of the line. The default is the next available drive. . You waste memory if you write Z without needing it. e.SYS Even this guide has its limits! REM LASTDRIVE=X This stipulates the maximum number of drives you can access.COM there but the line above can specify where it is.COM in C:\DOS together with this line. If a line with SHELL= isn’t included.SYS. but users have reported damaged files as a result of using it. Solution: boot from a floppy and copy it from the floppy to the hard disk.. which typically happen when a program tries reading a diskette drive and finds no diskette. you can try increasing the number in this line.COM in the root and don’t have a line stating SHELL=. in which case Z does not work. and during installation of such a program. BREAK=ON Increases the number of times DOS checks to see if the user has pressed Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Break (pause key) to stop a program. FASTOPEN If FASTOPEN is specified in your CONFIG. The first is the easiest way as by default the boot process looks for COMMAND. The idea of having fast access to files is attractive. It is a question of a very few bytes. set lib=C:\QB. 1 or 2 KB. DOS 5 sets aside 160 bytes and DOS 6 earmarks 256 bytes. although without /e:1024 Other possible lines in CONFIG.1. but Microsoft recommends setting the number to 1024 or 2048 for Windows 3. DOS 6. use some conventional memory. /f means that the option Fail is chosen if you get the error messages Abort. SHELL=. so you use very little conventional memory. Try entering SET and HELP SET at the DOS prompt.\DOS\. Some programs require that a variable be defined in this environment. You can now boot from the hard disk. break=ON has no effect on the use of RAM. but it’s worth mentioning. /p /f /E:1024 Some people place COMMAND. which is OK. it will give you an idea of what it is all about. break=ON means here that you can break a program with Ctrl+C or Ctrl+Break.. /p means that you have specified the permanent command interpreter (you may use another but that is not dealt with here). certain programs are written so that these keys have no effect. Others place COMMAND. a line in AUTOEXEC. with around 127 characters. showing where it can be found.COM in error then you’ll lose your command interpreter. I recommend that you delete the line.config. only a tiny amount. Most people will find that 512 or 1024 works fine.. /p /f /E:1024 SHELL=.sys 25 that none of your programs requires these stacks. It does. it is already there so you can change it more easily. then write STACKS= 9. If you encounter problems.g. If you delete COMMAND. Placing it in C:\DOS is also reasonable because you seldom work in the DOS directory and therefore you’re not likely to delete COMMAND. However. If you have a long path statement. If you get an error message Out of environment space. however.0: MEMMAKER inserts this line if it isn’t found. This file is also included in DOS 6.

the chosen codepage – controlled by MODE CON CP select=.. it checks to see if MSCDEX is running. which is only possible if space has been prepared in memory first (see display. then the path will only work when you are on drive C. Semicolons separate the different directories. CP is short for codepage.bat AUTOEXEC. It should be noted. @ECHO OFF Prevents commands from being shown on the screen while they are being executed. See SMARTDRV Disk cache on p. you can prepare and choose only one codepage.SYS.” PATH C:\BAT.exe loads a program. the codepage chosen with mode con cp select = is the one selected. If you have chosen two.sys 2. For more information.BAT The file AUTOEXEC. As the second parameter isn’t stated. Try placing REM at the beginning of the line. The name after /D: must be the same as that given in the driver line in CONFIG... It is essential that the file be stored in the directory from which the PC boots (usually C:\). The @ at the beginning of the command prevents even the words “Echo Off” from appearing..keyboard. Installs or configures the keyboard for an English layout. To ensure that SMARTDRV is loaded into upper memory.CPI contains the graphics characters that are displayed on the screen. e. I have chosen examples allowing for two codepages.prep ((437 850) . MODE CON CP SEL=437 MODE CON is a setting (a state to be in) for the console. 28 for more.g. See the manual for the difference between the pages. the prepared codepage(s) – controlled by MODE CON CP prepare= .sys Must come after mode con cp select. it is a good idea to place it early in AUTOEXEC. . The file EGA. 3. you might see a line added with %. typically it will be symbols like the copyright sign © and graphic symbols used for drawing boxes. SMARTDRV checks for available XMS memory and chooses the sizes itself.. the (optionally chosen) hardware-supported codepage for CON – this depends on the second parameter in the line with display. If you agree to this. This means “add this directory to the path. that makes the booting sequence “visible. The first line prepares for the console to use two different codepages. SMARTDRV sets a default value read-cache for the CD-ROM drive. Keyb. If the second parameter is specifically stated.\SMARTDRV. which means in practice how ASCII values are shown on the screen. which works fine for most users. which is not so clever.EXE SMARTDRVE is shown in this example without parameters for starting point and minimum sizes. .BAT contains DOS commands that are executed when the computer starts up. .sys.BAT as it takes up 26 KB memory.nlsfunc. The maximum number of characters is 127! Type PATH at the DOS prompt to check what your path currently contains.” Edit the path yourself if you want to include it and then delete the line with %. Many programs want to add one or more directories to the path during installation. It is very important that this line come before the line activating SMARTDRV so SMARTDRV can act as a read-cache for the CD-ROM drive. it must be identical to the one chosen by select.C:\DOS. Takes up 7 KB. Prep means prepare. C:\. MODE CON gives information about 1. For example..26 autoexec. making it possible to change between codepages using the CHCP command. then in the first line write . Only relevant if you . If so. REM LH MSCDEX /D:MSCD01 M:20 The MSCDEX program allows you to use the CDROM drive. 437 or 850. /M:20 stipulates the number of sector buffers. that the file need not exist at all. MODE CON CP PREP=((850). then add /V to the line and this figure will be shown when booting.. If you leave out C:. C:\UTI. however. CHCP 437 or CHCP 850. The second line chooses the codepage that the console is to use. If you want to see how much memory is allocated.sys).. When SMARTDRV starts. see SMARTDRV on page 28. If you have only reserved room for one codepage in the line with display. Rem LH . you would not be able to carry out an xcopy command if you are on the A: drive.com.

To be able to use the mouse in a DOS window (not a full screen). If you have. RAMDRIVE.1. such as Windows. of course.INI: [NonWindowsApp] MouseInDosBox=1 . Delete these files regularly from your hard disk but only when you are at the DOS prompt with no other programs running.SYS will show the drive chosen. where temporary files can be stored. For WinWord 6.COM. Generally. you can stipulate the RAMdisk – in this example drive D – as this drive. The PROMPT command can also be used to redefine keys or give you other screen colors. Rem . I don’t use a mouse in DOS programs as I find the keyboard faster.BAT file instead of PROMPT $P$G. It only takes up 6 KB and I recommend it. Mouse drivers for DOS programs are often accompanied by one file with the extension SYS and one with the extension COM.” defining how many locked files can be managed at the same time. During boot. The file name usually starts with a ~ symbol and often has TMP as extension. I could load GMOUSE. especially if you are running Windows. By removing rem.COM into upper memory. If this happens. LH C:\DOS\SHARE SHARE. Then enter CLS. REM LH . i. /F:5100 specifies.COM DOSKEY is a handy little program that remembers your most recently used DOS commands. It sometimes occurs that your PC crashes.DOSKEY.44m$P$G The square parenthesis can be produced by pressing Alt+91 (if you don’t have it or can’t find it on your keyboard). Use arrow up and arrow down to browse them. set tmp=C:\temp set temp=C:\temp forces programs.. If you don’t like it..g. try entering C:\>PROMPT $e[0. which shows you which drive and directory you are in (with DOS 6 you do not need to insert it. If you like this better.0.SYS from your CONFIG.SYS and also want to use it as a drive (disk).com I used to have a Genius mouse with the driver C:\UTI\GMOUSE. If you want to use a mouse in DOS programs under Windows. Only relevant if you write many (long) DOS commands. as described earlier. Remember to enter both lines. The SYS file can be loaded in CONFIG.gmouse. though. or compatible.EXE manages which files are “open” so that two programs can’t open the same file. Takes up 4 KB.bat 27 want to be able to change between two codepages. This will give you a blue screen with white letters.BAT. temporary files may be left behind. how much memory should be used to make sure two programs cannot use the same file simultaneously. If the next free drive is another letter. 437 and 850 in Great Britain. The COM file can be loaded in AUTOEXEC. C:\> is called the DOS prompt because the computer shows that it is ready and is “prompting” you to write something. stops responding. e. especially if they are in this directory. You might need to add this line in SYSTEM.SYS. in bytes. you can enter the above in your AUTOEXEC. DOS 6 does it for you). and a program wasn’t closed properly. you must use that letter.e. and they work in Windows programs. either re-boot or type PROMPT $e[m$p$g.autoexec. and you have to reboot.37.20 from Microsoft. Windows has its own mouse drivers for different mice. so you can’t be sure that all programs can use it. the driver must be minimum ver. Microsoft suggests this line: LH C:\DOS\SHARE /L:500 /F:5100 Where /L:500 gives the number of “locks. you have to install the mouse driver before you run Windows. The following prompt command requires that you have installed ANSI. rem SET TMP=D:\ rem SET TEMP=D:\ If you have installed a RAMdisk in CONFIG. I have tried it with different programs but not all give a warning. to use the specified directory for saving files temporarily.SYS file. PROMPT $P$G Almost everyone uses this prompt. The whole screen will be blue when you work in DOS. 8. They are easy to find (and delete).

which is defined in Windows Setup. writing chcp. This parameter can be specified when EMM386. and this line means that when in a DOS box you will be reminded that you are running a DOS box in Windows (if you forget and reboot from your DOS box. reading the manual. if they do not give other parameters in the country command. But once used as XMS. Codepages (A) Advanced.EXE AUTO Only relevant in DOS 5 if you have installed expanded memory.28 autoexec. it will become more important. it won’t return to EMS. and should be written on one line. keyb and mode con during boot and in several different places in AUTOEXEC. otherwise it is used as extended memory. It would appear that Microsoft has chosen chcp to be the “king” of all commands because at one stroke it can change all cp definitions for all devices. it can have unfortunate consequences). This relates only to DOS codepages. Winpmt is short for Windows’ prompt.. The DOS 6 manual is better but not where it is important. $_$_ has the effect of entering two blank lines (Enter. Here “Win space colon" – skips the advertizement as Windows starts. especially during Windows setup.BAT. My experience is that using the second parameter in the country command is just as good. . On different PCs. rem WIN : Many people use the last line to start a program up.bat REM .SYS.SYS. that is to say from a DOS command. I know this is of little practical significance for most readers but maybe with more international data communication in the future.EXE is loaded as a program. typically a menu or Windows. Auto means that the amount of KB set aside as EMS memory in CONFIG. As I have already mentioned. set winpmt=Type EXIT and press ENTER to return to Windows$_$_$p$g is a good idea. Enter). First. it doesn’t switch back automatically. which is why I mention it here.SYS is only used as such if a program asks for it. Few people seem to have problems. It doesn’t help matters at all (and here I criticize Microsoft) that information is not given to every country about codepages in its own language. the DOS 5 manual and the screen messages returned by the above commands (those that have anything to do with cp) are the most inconsistent (both literally and in the information they provide) that I have seen for a long time. It does not work in CONFIG. I have seen many different versions of the relevant lines in the startup files. It is utterly ridiculous that you have to insert several complicated lines in a certain order in the startup files simply to define a codepage or to be able to swap between two. even if there is a difference between the active cp (type chcp) and the codepage for the console (type mode con) – but some do. I have spent a long time experimenting. Windows has its own codepage.EMM386. I have given up trying to get an explanation from Microsoft for why they have made the whole thing so complicated. a potential problem does exist if you don’t stipulate the second parameter in the country command in CONFIG.

you may wish to switch off the write cache on one of the drives. which leads us on to: . A cache (pronounced cash) is a buffer. it will be read from cache. You have to experiment to find out what is best for your own configuration. If the program is not installed.) Windows and SMARTDRV cooperate in using memory efficiently. When the CPU needs data. SMARTDRV will find out how much XMS memory to use. A primitive form of cache is buffers= in CONFIG. which works fine for most users.SYS. Objectively. I suggest that you run with one setup for a while. 1 MB is occupied under DOS and a minimum of 512 KB while running Windows.EXE Version 4. The point is. it will show the start cache size in the first line and in the second line a minimum cache size while running Windows.1) and 4. or parameters. for example. it allocates extended and available upper memory for different purposes (Windows has its own memory manager.0 (from Windows 3. SMARTDRV loads itself in upper memory if possible.smartdrv disk cache 29 SMARTDRV disk cache Generally There are several different disk cache programs on the market but I discuss only SMARTDRV here. it shows the drives where read and write caches are enabled. so you can try this command to see how things are going – even while you are running Windows. If you don’t know very much about this program. though it only applies while running DOS programs. can also be called the disk cache size.1 (from DOS 6. an intermediary storage place between the CPU and the hard disk. change back again and see if you can feel any difference. If so. it checks the cache first to see if it is there (a hit). or size. SMARTDRV CTurns read/write cache on drive C off. to save a document.EXE. it will first be saved in the cache.1: The following applies to version 4. When Windows is loaded. SMARTDRV 1024 1024 This is an example that shows a start size and a minimum Windows size given in KB. This is called reading from cache. available. You will have to boot between tests in order for the new sizes to become effective. Drive C will be the read and write cache drive by default. The following commands apply to all versions SMARTDRV/? Lists the different parameters. to get as many hits as possible. It is a matter of finding the right proportions. The path line in your AUTOEXEC. it can’t be that big. change to another setup. there may be a difference but if you can’t feel it. SMARTDRV by default uses part of extended memory for its buffer.0 and 4. If it is installed. Finally. SMARTDRV C+ Turns read/write cache on drive C on. write C:\>SMARTDRV/S This will not do any harm. or don’t know whether or not it is installed on your PC. This can be entered at the DOS prompt but I recommend waiting until you are sure that all activity on the hard disk has ceased to be sure that no data is left “hanging” in the cache. It also shows how many hits and misses SMARTDRV has had. which is why you can state a minimum size under Windows. as it comes as an extra program with DOS. If you have several drives on your hard disk. a link. This is writing to the cache.0). which can be 100 times faster than if the data is not in the cache (a miss) and the CPU has to get it from the hard disk. If a start size and minimum size are not stated. SMARTDRV C Turns write cache on drive C off but leaves read cache on. of course. SMARTDRV. The start value. With 4 MB of RAM installed. If the CPU is told. it will just display the different options.BAT must include the directory in which you have SMARTDRV.

In the SMARTDRV 4.” First tip: always exit Windows before you switch off your PC.30 smartdrv disk cache SMARTDRV/C Forces SMARTDRV to save everything from the cache that’s not already saved to disk. which is required by certain hard-disk controllers.2 and Win 3. the user is certain not to lose data – although a small price is paid in the form of reduced speed.BAT. If it does not. a read cache is used (which is the most important one for making your PC run fast) and the cache writes to disk before you see the prompt. If. After all activity on the disk has ceased you can turn off your computer without risk.. in the “buffering” column it says yes.1 section.0: Comes with DOS 6. By typing SMARTDRV/S at the prompt. Ver.2 and 5. then you can delete the line again. it keeps it.SYS and SMARTDRV in AUTOEXEC. And how do you find out? Insert the line in CONFIG.. SMARTDRV 5.11 installation inserts /X.\SMARTDRV C (This writes directly to disk.exe/double_buffer makes these controllers compatible with the type of memory created by EMM386. The Win 3.SYS. /N causes SMARTDRV to wait – just like in versions 4.1 – for the CPU to have a free moment before writing to disk.EXE or by Windows running in enhanced mode. switches off the write cache and writes directly to disk. The AT bus doesn’t need it. Second tip: wait until any hard disk activity has ceased before switching off your PC. it is the surest and simplest way to insert the following in AUTOEXEC.) In all circumstances. but to disk before returning to the DOS prompt. still has a write cache as default but writes to disk before returning to the DOS prompt after closing a program. .) Version 4.. boot and write smartdrv /s. they had switched off their PCs too soon (before the cache had emptied to disk).0 and 4. no write cache at all.e. A PC with a controller of this type needs this line in CONFIG. 5 supports caching on a CD-ROM drive.0: C:\.BAT: Version 4. which.1 C:\.smartdrv. in other words.SYS device=. the DOS 6.2. If the installation program finds that SMARTDRV is using a write cache. Microsoft – keeping a low profile and without any public announcement – released version 4.SYS. like earlier versions.0 and 4.11. writes directly to disk. It is always good to give this command (in BAT files for example).0 contain two new switches: /X switches the write cache off on all drives. as the name suggests. The driver uses 2 KB of conventional memory and cannot be loaded into upper memory. and if it is a new installation.\SMARTDRV (This writes to the cache.0 manual warns: “Write SMARTDRV/C in DOS before the PC is switched off to be sure that SMARTDRV has saved all your data to the hard disk.2 and 5. The line in CONFIG. Assuming that you only have one drive on your actual hard disk. This facility is new! With this. in all good faith. especially if you or your PC change quickly from one program to another. SMARTDRV 4. Double buffering Is.2: Many users complained about losing data because. your PC needs the line in CONFIG. Ver 4. i.2 before DOS 6. As a result. you can see which version of SMARTDRV you have. but some SCSI and some ESDI and MCA controllers do. a double buffer.

I have purposely simplified something here: in reality the hard disk is spinning constantly. They get deleted every once in a while. Let’s look at some of them. one after the other in a long spiral chain. Imagine that the reading head is the record player’s pick-up – placed in the middle.EXE. That leaves three available and unequal spaces on the disk. the second 100 KB and the third 80 KB. A power outage in the middle of your optimization process could be a disaster .0 from Norton Utilities (a collection of various “housekeeping” programs not traditionally included with DOS). You can make the files contiguous and place the ones you use most as close as possible to the physical center (the logical “start”) of the hard disk as possible – and now we shall look at a program that can do this. joining together the file fragments for faster reading. The one I’ll be discussing here is the SPEEDISK. Trade advertisements usually give only this specification about a hard disk – as if it were the only thing that indicates the quality. i.e. If the file is larger than 230 KB. I have never had problems with SPEEDISK but things can go wrong.EXE version 6. In the next section. make a backup of all your important files before you start using the program. At present. the more important it is). The file has been divided or fragmented. When the head is asked to read a file. this is necessary to attain the speed at which the hard disk is read. they are in one piece. But there is a big difference between a gramophone record and a hard disk: files on your hard disk come and go. PC Magazine uses a test that gives a hard disk’s “throughput. Where they are on the disk is less important (though the longer the seek time. The files on the hard disk are arranged in a certain way and in a certain order. It is important but other factors such as a disk cache (software. the most popular hard disks on the market have an average seek time of 10-15 milliseconds. The time it takes for the reading head to access the beginning of any file is called the “average seek time” or access time. No matter which disk-optimization program you use. Disk optimization Many programs on the market optimize or defragment the hard disk. If we imagine the hard disk as a circular plate with its reading head placed in the middle. The 100 files are placed nicely one after the other. DOS 6 comes with a reduced version of SPEEDISK. Now hard disks have seek times in the region of 10ms or less. the reading head has to go on a long trip around the hard disk. the File Allocation Table. and that takes time. and new ones are created. we can compare it to a gramophone record. Let’s have a look at something you can do to get your PC to run faster. Then you save or copy a file. it looks in a table. The most important thing is that they are contiguous. Disk optimization has a greater effect the slower your hard disk is. Imagine that you have placed 100 files on your hard disk without having deleted any. Windows programs work with much larger amounts of data than was usual a few years ago. DOS will place the first 50 KB on the first empty space.. which it calls DEFRAG. DOS 5 does not include one. Next time the file is to be used/read.. You have probably worked out by now that files that are nearest to the center of the disk and are contiguous are read fastest. I wrote this section when I had a hard disk with a seek time of 18ms. . we will look at a program that can tidy up the data on a hard disk. the second 100 KB on the second space.or hardware-based) are more important.The hard disk 31 The hard disk Many factors influence the speed at which data can be moved from the hard disk to the CPU for processing. the next 80 KB on the third space and the last part of the file will be placed after all the others.” an average for data transfer that takes many factors into account. The files start in the middle. where it finds the file’s physical location on the disk. The head then moves outwards a bit and turns the disk until it comes to the beginning of the file. like the music in one long groove. Now you delete three files with these sizes: the first 50 KB. Floppy-disk drives don’t spin until they are told to do so.

move round with the arrow keys. I place the directories for the most disk-active programs first if I use them regularly and fairly often. and within each directory. For instance. you don’t have to begin optimizing yet. just satisfy yourself with an optimization that brings files together in one whole piece. divided up into small sections. don’t read and write to the hard disk so much. you can choose to sort files by all or any of the following criteria: name. SCANDISK will start. The program checks the directory structure. activate it.g. try listening to the hard disk while you are working with different programs. If you have one in one of your startup files. which should repair any faults. You can always stop an optimization by pressing Esc. We’re just looking at the possibilities. how often you use the program and how disk-active it is. or click with the mouse. If relatively few files are fragmented.e. and move the rest according to the tasks they perform. You must not press Enter – if you do. Microsoft does not recommend this for SMARTDRV. and which directories contain these programs’ files. With SPEEDISK. and examines how fragmented the disk is. use DEFRAG. 1. which will usually be C. this is called “Unfragment files only. every file will physically be in one long run. you will probably be very (positively) surprised by the improvement it gives you. then press Esc and answer Cancel. The most important choice is the method that SPEEDISK uses. Let’s look at SPEEDISK ver. by referring to the explanation elsewhere on the screen. extension. though related. using the righthand arrow and enter. and mark or remove a checkmark with the space bar. The program shows the disk. size and time. But when that time comes. and nothing else. these usually have their own check program that replaces DOS’s Chkdsk. If you don’t feel like experimenting with the order of directories and files and so on at first. If you use DOS 6. You must be at “DOS level. Or you can simply choose “merely” to optimize the files that are fragmented. even word processors running under Windows. you will be able to work out which programs you use most. SPEEDISK does not move these files. I’ve “forgotten” to put SMARTDRV out of action a couple of times – with no detrimental effect. point is to check drive C (or the drive you want to optimize) with Chkdsk/F. and databases put even more demands on it. Next. Crosses are files that may not be moved (immovable files) such as DOS system files or perhaps a Windows permanent swap file – described in the section Windows. 2. You can see. However.2. I haven’t worked much with spreadsheets but big ones are certainly active users of your hard disk. The most important thing an optimization program does is to bring together the fragments of each file. put it temporarily out of action by writing REM in front of the line that loads it. If you have DOS 6. ." You can adjust the program by stipulating a variety of parameters. If you are not sure. you can press F5 while the message STARTING MS-DOS is displayed. and reboot.e.” i. and more important. you need to know which programs read and write to the hard disk the most. If you have a mouse. and then you can be sure that no disk cache is active. it will suggest that you simply optimize these files. It is certainly best to plan before you start. which sections are used and which are empty. which is something you can do more easily after you have had a little experience with the program. The first thing you will be asked is which drive you want to optimize. in either ascending or descending order. If you’ve never used such a program before. Only the most important options are explained here. You start the program by typing SPEEDISK at the DOS prompt. Go ahead and choose configure. You will have to assess the importance of different. factors: e. 6. If you are using DBLSPACE. Programs that work a lot with graphics are demanding. Under Optimize choose the option Optim. My experience is that word processors. i. You will also find that it is only after you have worked with your PC for a while that you can derive most benefit from a disk-optimizsation program. straight after a boot with no programs running. Windows and most Windows programs use the hard disk intensively. Using the keyboard.32 The hard disk I recommend that you do not have a disk cache active. If you want to check a compressed drive (DblSpace. you can decide the sorting sequence of your directories. There’s no need to be nervous. Method. Stacker or SuperStore). But better to be safe than sorry. Another.

or if they are very large. Note that you can mark a directory on the right and then change its priority. On the right is the order you have asked SPEEDISK to place your directories on the hard disk.The hard disk 33 Full optimizes all files but doesn’t rearrange the order of files and directories. i. Go to Configure and choose Directory Order. Create C:\EXTRA if you don’t have it already. This is confusing at first. so it is easier if you use the mouse. is where the next file you save will be placed. Experiment a little to find out how to list the directories you have chosen. can only use conventional memory and lacks the following options: Directory Order.A DEFRAG. Unfragment Files Only is the quickest way to get contiguous files. If you choose the method Full with File reorder. which means that the program checks that data has been moved intact. Using this method collects all the files in one long row without optimizing every single file. DEFRAG is not satisfactory for advanced use but even so. . If you have a lot of files in one or more directories. there are some more important possibilities under Other Options. It makes available a block of contiguous space.A – for example. which can. This place. copy this file to C:\DOC. then the optimization process goes much faster.e. Again. it is much better than no optimization at all. Name or rename the file A. I recommend that you choose Read after Write. It has an undocumented switch C:\>DEFRAG/Q where the Q stands for Quick – and it is very quick. This might not be what you want. If you do not use this. of course. they will be placed last on the disk. The idea is to copy a file to one or more directories in which you later want “holes” (empty space) after you have run SPEEDISK. By choosing File Sort you can choose how files in every directory should be sorted. If you save new files just after a disk has been fully optimized. to this directory. Other Options and even Read after write – Microsoft obviously trusts the program’s integrity.A C:\DOC SPEEDISK DEL C:\DOC\A. The Tab key moves between windows. Save this option by using Save Options. Of course. 42). if this option is available with the method chosen. The H/ switch allows DEFRAG to move hidden files. On the left is your directory structure. Full with File reorder is the one I use myself. it can be interesting to see where individual files are located on the disk. Full with File reorder. which is included with DOS 6. Here is a batch file that does this: XCOPY C:\EXTRA\A. which means you will have to reinstall the program it belongs to. Now you have free space in C:\DOC. otherwise it is of less importance than the order of directories. When you have finished optimizing. this can be a significant point. Choose Save Options to save what you have chosen. These directories should be placed at the start of the disk. for instance. This places files in the order chosen using Directory Order under Configure (described below). Before running a full optimization with SPEEDISK. Now run SPEEDISK and afterwards delete C:\DOC\A.A. Let’s say that you normally store your data in C:\DOC. at the “beginning” of the disk. you can do this with many directories where you keep data files. a full optimization of a 90 MB hard disk can easily take a couple of hours. but you risk ending up with the occasional corrupted file. On the other hand.0. Enter works differently. so here is a little tip. It is a little difficult to use your keyboard here. near its center. On a PC from 1991. the directories that are in Directory Order are moved to the “front” of the disk. and the arrow keys move the marker. You can do this by using Walk Map on the Info menu. a half or a whole MB. Copy a big file. depending totally on what you are doing. here is a situation where it is good to be able to use the mouse. be used by a Windows swap file (see p.

if you open a window and select a function that you don’t want. So it is a bit like a course in using NC. and you move to a new window using the right or left keyboard arrows. Try pressing F9 and Enter or the down arrow. originally written by John Socha. you cram a lot of files onto your hard disk. Start NC by typing NC at the DOS prompt.0. However. You can use a mouse in NC but I will only describe the use of the keyboard. including Dosshell. Press Esc twice to return. NC was developed many years ago to ease the management of files and directories. press Esc. especially when copying and moving files. I personally find NC the easiest. Try holding down Alt and you will see what Alt + a function key will do. I call the horizontal marker the “bar.34 norton commander (nc) Norton Commander (NC) Introduction The section differs from the others in that I will walk you through the functions I use the most. This activates the pull-down menus. Tab toggles between the two windows. The screen is split into two windows. I have always used Norton Commander to manage files and directories. I’m afraid that you won’t benefit much from this section. If the current directory is empty. There are many similar programs. At the top of each window is the paths of the two directories shown by the left and right windows. bits here and there might interest you enough to make you consider buying the program. This section is here because many people have purchased and use this excellent program. and exit by pressing F10. as if you had two simultaneous DOS prompts. PCTools and File Manager in Windows. As time goes by. The bottom of the screen shows the actions of the different function keys. and these are spread around in many different directories. the bar will be at the top of the screen. If you don’t have this program. . Press Esc if you regret doing something. You can move around in a window by using the up and down keyboard arrows.” The bar marks a drive. You may well ask (with good reason) why I devote so much space to a program that doesn’t come with DOS. Both windows show files and directories in the manner you stipulate via the pull-down menus. a directory or a file. fastest and smartest. a very intelligent and handy function. The description mainly relates to the English-language version 3.

The menu for the left and right window is split into three sections and within each frame you can choose from one of the following: Top Section – Shows the information you choose to see in the window Brief: file names only. by pressing Tab. you may have a different opinion. If you need to view many files with the same extension. Full. Enter. though with names only. you change something in a program that’s made up of several files and you want to see in which file the program saves certain things. Middle Section – sort order for files The different options are self-explanatory. the files of the new directory will be shown each time you change directory in the left window. the window shows the current directory with files. F9. I have Name activated but if. Notice that at the bottom of the small frame you get full information about the file or directory that the bar is resting upon. This is my preference. In each dialogue box. then select Extension. Auto save setup – x.). dates and times. You should have the following active.. sizes. Key bar – The function keys are shown at the very bottom of the screen. Path prompt – The DOS directory path: The DOS prompt at the bottom of the screen shows the current directory. Here are my recommendations. i. which you do by pressing Enter or the emphasized letter. Tab or Enter. . You can always change it later.norton commander (nc) 35 Configuration Let’s start by configuring your screen and program to resemble mine while you read this. Try selecting Brief.e. The selections toggle between on and off each time they’re chosen. select configuration. Full: file names. the most convenient way is to sort by Time and the changed file will appear at the top of the list. and Enter. Mine is set at three minutes. You can select either by moving with the arrow keys and then pressing Enter or by typing the capitalized letter. means this configuration is saved when you exit NC. End with OK – just keep pressing Enter until you reach OK. Menu bar always visible means that the top bar for pull-down menus is always visible. In the options menu. Info: information on the current disk. date and time. press Esc. you select with the space bar to activate a point and move with the arrow keys. Tree – directory diagram: directory tree in this window and files in the other. but you make your own choice. size. This protects your screen. I recommend you use a setup that doesn’t show hidden files). F9 and selecting Brief. If you press F9 and regret it. Ins Moves down means that pressing the Insert key moves the bar one step down. Unfortunately. Directories are written in capital letters and files are written with lowercase letters. Move the bar up and down with the arrow keys. Do the same with the other window. showing a small check mark next to them. Now select Full for both windows (F9. which shows the files with name. Still under Options (F9 and either arrow-down or Enter). Screen blank delay means that the screen goes (almost) blank after a certain period of time if you haven’t touched the keyboard. Normally. for example. you can only change one thing at a time. space used and available. Bottom Section – I never use this. Show hidden files: blank (until you are familiar with NC. select: Menu bar always visible – blank. Auto change directory means that if you have a directory tree in the left window and the corresponding files of a marked directory in the right window. Under other options.

2) if you are in danger of overwriting files that already exist. typically between the hard disk and a floppy disk. Use Tab to toggle between the windows and watch how the DOS prompt changes. The only drawback of XCOPY is that it can’t copy hidden files. If you are a bit unsure about XCOPY. Put the floppy disk in the disk drive. If. In one corner of the disk. But make sure you write the right thing. Try Home. Here. your disk is now “write protected. The directory is empty and contains no files or subdirectories. for instance. The screen will be blank for a moment as it reads drive A and shows the contents. Copying files with XCOPY Type (with this prompt): C:\EXTRA>XCOPY A: The files are copied and the left window is updated. We shall make a new directory in the root. We now wish to see the contents of the floppy disk. “copy all files in the current directory to A:. Using your fingernail or a ball-point pen. . Press Enter and you will come one step closer to the root directory. The DOS prompt at the bottom of the screen shows the current drive and directory of the bar.36 norton commander (nc) Using Norton Commander! You must be in the root directory in both windows. you state what you want to copy. With XCOPY.e. End. The default is all files. Place the bar in the right window. Later we’ll see how to mark or choose files. Move around in the directories and sub-directories so you become familiar with the layout and the controls. Keep going until both windows are in the root directory. The complete line that we should have written is: C:\EXTRA>XCOPY A:. in the left window. You don’t even have to be in NC to use XCOPY. Press Enter. from where and where to. We will now copy all the files in the root directory of the floppy disk to the EXTRA directory. Take a 3½” floppy disk that contains files. push it to one side so that the hole is visible. there is a sliding tab. stating the to and the from correctly. If it doesn’t. this is inserted automatically for where to. Press F7 and call it EXTRA – providing you don’t already have a directory with that name. that is from EXTRA to A. Press Alt+F1 and press the A key on the keyboard. you can also write normal DOS commands at the normal DOS prompt. it says C:\EXTRA. while writing mean saving information to the disk). Press Home. This selects the directory. Place the bar in the right window. we take advantage of the fact that the command inserts standard values for what’s not specified. Now the files on the disk cannot be deleted and new ones cannot be written onto it. though (the term reading a disk means getting information from it. The command XCOPY could have been executed without first looking at the contents of the floppy disk with Alt-F1 but I think it is a good idea to look first. so we left out the period/full stop after A: If we had wanted to copy the other way. Tab toggles between the windows. and the bar will move to two full stops (UP-DIR). PgUp. then in the beginning it is best to use NC alone without entering DOS commands at the prompt. it is important to copy from C to A – and not the other way around because XCOPY and COPY do not warn you (until DOS 6.” As the prompt is in directory C:\EXTRA. Notice that the bar automatically jumps to the new directory EXTRA. Place the bar in the right window so you are in the sub-directory EXTRA. we would have written C:\EXTRA>XCOPY .” Most often. At the top of the window. you will be copying between two different drives. PgDn. C: The full stop means “all files. then one or both windows are in a sub-directory. A: i. you have all your word-processing files in the same directory from which you regularly make backups. the arrow keys and Tab. The advantage of using NC is that you can easily change directories. Alt+F2 selects the right window in the same way. even at two different locations at the same time. Two full stops is a tool that takes you closer to the root when you press Enter. What is very convenient about NC is that while you are manoeuvring around in NC. so check that it says C:\ at the very top of each window. A." You can still read the files.

Press F5 and Enter. Tab to the right window. Now. which means that you can’t delete them in DOS with DELETE and you won’t be able to see them with DIR. the user does not need to delete a hidden file. The selected files are moved to the other directory. the file actually remains in the same physical location on the disk. and that doesn’t take much time. We will delete some of the files that we copied into C:\EXTRA. Though it is called move. it is only the directory name in the FAT that is changed. Put the bar on the file and press Ins (on some keyboards. The files are no longer present in the directory EXTRA but in DELETE. if you want to. Mark some of the files. Make sure you are in C:\EXTRA (it must say C:\EXTRA at the top of the window). . copy. after which you can manage hidden files with NC. Tab so that the bar is in the left window. Go to the root by pressing Home and Enter until you have C:\ on the top line of the screen. Select some but not all of them. I first select them all and then deselect the files I don’t want with Ins. So if any files are selected. it deselects. The files are deleted. Here. Notice that the bar automatically jumps to the next file. Press F7 and call the new directory DELETE. DOS manages all files in the File Allocation Table (FAT). Now press F6. Pressing Enter marks all the files in the current directory. options. This is very reasonable because in normal circumstances. F5. Another useful detail concerning the plus key: if you mark and copy files to a floppy disk but there isn’t enough room on the disk for all of them. You can either use the little grey. We will now move some files from one directory to another. If you want to delete. You may be wondering why a file can be moved so quickly from one directory to another. Just insert a new floppy and continue until all files have been copied. Notice the bottom line in the window that shows you the number of files and their size.0.* (meaning all files). you see the options available with Alt+ combination. configuration and put x in Show Hidden Files. This was determined by the configuration (F9+Options+Configuration) Ins moves down. First you are warned that you have selected some files to delete. The left window is now in C:\DELETE and the right window is in C:\EXTRA. Put the bar in the right window. Press Enter. If a file is moved. probably to yellow. Press Enter. the actions will only affect the selected files (no matter where in the directory the bar is). The whole line will change color. In version 3. They are hidden from DIR and DELete. A window on the screen shows Select the files *. It will be de-selected. rename or copy to the directory that is in the other window – a time-saver.* I suggest *. The right window is still in C:\EXTRA and you have some files left (I hope). or the file on which the bar rests. you must press F9. the command will affect the file the bar is marking. When you press the Alt key. Select some files with Ins. The program says Rename or move x files to C:\DELETE F6 and F5 will by default assume that you want to move. The function keys are shown at the bottom of the screen. let’s copy all the files in DELETE to EXTRA. Press Enter. This is how you select files. delete or move them. it is called Insert). Ins key but with the latter your NUMLOCK light must be off. but you can enter something else. If you are not on C. I mainly use the plus key to see how many files there are in a directory and how much space they take up. only files (version 4 can temporarily). Tab to the left window. you can’t mark a directory. If I want to do something with almost all the files in a directory. Go into the directory. the copying process continues until there is no more space on the disk. press Alt+F1 and then C. Move back to one of the yellow (marked) files and press Ins. The grey minus key (–) works the other way around. The file is now selected (marked). F6 and F8 mainly manage selected files. The clever part now is that NC has unmarked the files already copied. information is kept that shows a file’s physical location and which directory it is located in. Press F8 to delete them. If no files are marked.norton commander (nc) 37 Hidden files Hidden files are hidden for a very good reason: the user shouldn’t touch them. or the big white. rename or move a hidden file. The only condition is that it must be in the window (directory) where you want the command to take effect. You are warned again and can still back out using Esc or choosing Cancel. Press the large grey plus key (+) at the very right of your keyboard. The files are now copied to EXTRA. Selecting files You will usually select certain files in order to do something with them: copy.

Be aware that pressing Esc once only works for one file. All or Skip. Tip: if you want to stop F5 or F6 suggesting a move to the other window.LET. you might have to use other letters. The file has now got a new name. 2) give a file a new name within the same directory or 3) rename a directory . This places the files with two different extensions in the same directory.*. If you want to make copies of all files with the extension DOC. press F9. though a very special type of file. If you type a letter. press Enter and you have selected it.38 norton commander (nc) Back to the example. select Extern and type the path for the program you wish to use. Place the bar in the right window. . A or S (Esc does the same as S). munch. while A works for all files. music). INI files and BAT files.DOC and press Enter – and notice that NC blanks when you type the first character. Press F6. then you can correct the name.g. Place the bar on any file in C:\EXTRA or C:\DELETE. You can select them one by one using Ins or mark them all by using the grey plus key and then typing *. Similarly. Now we will rename the file KRISTINA. MUSIC.BAT. (If you are using a foreign-language version of NC.LET and then press Enter. You would now like them to have the extension LET instead. NC registers that all the files about to be copied already exist where you are copying to. the name will be deleted.464 bytes long. With F3. Try it! Sometimes you want to give a new extension to several files that have the same one.DOC. Press F6 and you need only write KRISTINA. It is easy and fast. All the files now have the extension LET.DOC. End. use Ctrl +F1 or Ctrl+F2 to close it. View/edit text files F3 and F4 open text files just as a word processor would. If you have changed something and want to exit.LET. and press Enter. write *. e. MU* locates all files that begin with MU (muck. CONFIG. The file is now named KRISTINA. Select all files again and press F5 and Enter. it looks as though it shifts location but in fact it is just given a new name. Press Alt+F7.DOC.a directory is actually just a file. When a file is moved from one directory to another. The program searches the whole drive and lists all the matching files it finds. Searching for files Sometimes you know that you have a file but you have forgotten where it is on your hard disk. Or you can type just some of the name if you can’t remember the full name. Press F6. just press Esc and you will be asked whether you want to save the file or exit without saving. If you want to start a different editor with F4. if you want to call the file KRISTINA. Let’s say that you have given all your word-processor documents DOC as the extension – or that the program auto- matically did. You search within a file using F7. A overwrites all selected files and Esc avoids overwriting the current file. you can use the keys O. We will rename the file OLGA. you simply type *. I use NC’s built-in editor to make minor changes in text files such as AUTOEXEC. The right window is still EXTRA and the left window is still DELETE.DOC. NC has a small editor. Just be sure that you haven’t already got a file with an identical name+extension. Rename F6 can do three things – 1) move a file to another directory. not edit. type OLGA. write the name. Move to the desired file.DOC. Ctrl+Y deletes a complete line and Home.) Experiment until you understand the system. This is particularly useful if you just want to make a slight amendment to the name or want a copy of a file with an almost identical name. You have now marked all files with the extension DOC. Options. the same as before. The same combination will open it again. type *.SYS. F4 can edit a text file that is no more than 26. and asks: Overwrite. The file name will be shown. Editor. so first press an arrow key (to show you wish to edit). and finish by deleting the directories. you should use F5 instead of F6 and. Now NC knows that you don’t want to move the file to another directory. remember that a file’s full name includes drive + directory + name + extension.LET. PgDn and PgUp work as they usually do in most other programs. Now delete all the files in the two directories C:\EXTRA and C:\DELETE. Pressing O overwrites the current file. In the English version. you can only view. The asterisk at the end means that you want to keep the extension.

left or right window. If two directories have the same initial letters.NCD next time you press Alt+F10. Good for fast browsing. commands. Switching windows Ctrl+U swaps over the two windows. NC gets closer to its target. If you are deep into the tree structure and want to get to the root quickly. you can switch off NC’s display temporarily by pressing Ctrl+O. If you know that the next entries are DOS commands. do the same. NC will re-create the tree structure. Recent DOS commands Utilize Ctrl+E is to recall DOS commands used earlier. etc. use Alt+F10 and press the left arrow key until you reach the root. you should probably keep A on the left. This lessens the chance of making mistakes while copying. It is probably a good idea from the beginning to make up your mind where you want A and C when you work with floppy disks. follow their advice. You are sure to be using a word processor (put your data files in C:\DATA\DOC). C:\DATA. . So here is my advice for arranging your hard disk into directories: When you install programs. Switching window on/off Ctrl+O temporarily removes NC from the screen. and rewrite the file C:\TREEINFO. Comparing two directories F9. It is useful Leafing through directories F9. As you type more letters in the directory name. Move up and down and the other window automatically shows the files in the chosen directory. compare is very practical if you are making a backup copy of a directory on the hard disk to a corresponding directory on a floppy disk. Changing directories Alt+F10 is used to change directory quickly. when you have chosen directories for the two windows – and then decide you would rather have them the other way around. It is better to have more directories in the root. Using NC lets you quickly check out your documents so it is easy to copy them. you must use Ctrl+E to recall commands. you should be a champion at managing files. You will have more files to manage. As time goes by. The window in which the selection bar was placed will now show the selected directory. If you have two floppy disk drives. individually or together. Then press Enter. you might be lucky enough to remember it when you see the name. You will be told immediately if there is a difference between the two directories. You would normally use it when you write a DOS command and NC conceals the result. A and B. Tree. With Ctrl+X. and you want to follow them on the whole screen. to see the number of files in the different directories. This is the same as the up arrow key and down arrow key in DOSKEY. you will work more and more with NC. You can also move around using the arrow keys. When you make your own directories. Files that differ between the two locations are marked and you can go through them to see if you can delete some or if you ought to make a backup copy of them from the hard disk to the floppy. both on floppy disks and on the hard disk. a database (data files in C:\DATA\DB) and a spreadsheet (data files in C:\DATA\SPREAD) and so on. then use Ctrl+Enter to jump to the next one. Try it. Now you are in DOS and can use DOSKEY if it is active. Place all your data files in a separate directory.NCD contains this tree and if it is deleted. make as few SUB-directories as possible. And if you don’t know the name of the file you are looking for. When you type a letter. There is a certain logic in using an alphabetical order. to diskette. NC finds the first directory starting with that letter. you browse forward again.norton commander (nc) 39 Creating a new file Shift+F4.e. and as you read the English program instructions from left to right. Type the name and press Enter twice. with sub-directories for every program you use. Enter. i. Ctrl+< or Ctrl+> does the same. Practice makes perfect Having (hopefully) read all this and practiced for a while. The file C:\TREEINFO. When you type Ctrl+O again.

Ctrl+F3. You can also copy directories together with their sub-directories. for when you want to do something with the files that aren’t marked. Quick View gives information about the selected directory: number of sub-directories and number and size of all files. If you have LHA and other packing programs on your path. appears in the menu on screen. D: Change to DOC ‘ this is a comment cd c:\mw\doc Edit CONFIG. F5 and F6 sorts by name. Now you can invert the marking with the grey * key and mark the unmarked files – perfect. Something I missed in version 3: After a directory comparison. F4. which become the active menus if you move to these directories.SYS C:\BAT\ec. Use the Space bar and Tab for indenting. etc. Version 5.). Version 4.40 norton commander (nc) Menu The file C:\NC\NC. you can now do things to a directory together with its subdirectories. which helps when making backups.MNU contains a menu that comes up when you press F2. you can mark Select Directories. which is time-saving if you have a lot of commands. Press enter on a ZIP file and it reveals the names of all the files it contains. Let’s take a look at some of the things that might be in NC. Another new feature is a built-in communication program. extension. etc. NC has its own packing program that produces ZIP-format files. This way you can quickly change between many different directories each with its own menu containing different options. delete. .0 is the best. Some of the news: Just like with File Manager.MNU. This text file has some handy uses. which means that the grey plus key also marks directories. You can make several NC. Ctrl+F9 prints a file.MNU in different directories. which is excellent. D: at the beginning means that by simply pressing D you activate the command. then Alt+F6 will unpack (decompress) files in these programs’ formats. Select a number of files and compress to ZIP format by using Alt+F5. I use it to send and receive files to and from friends and BBSs.0 The new version does not include anything special. In configuration. The editor (F4) can do a lot of different things. They can be treated in all the normal ways (copy. which must be placed on the extreme left. search/replace. There is a built in manager for ZIP and other compressed files (requires that the compression programs are on your path). everything except view! It has its own compression program. block functions (F3 starts block. F3 ends and Shift+F3 cancels the block). in other words. time and size. certain files are marked in a directory. The next line consists of one or more DOS commands. Version 4.0 This version is an outstanding improvement.bat The first line in each group. in fact certain things are worse than they were.

Or buy a ZIP drive. The only things you really need to back up are data files and files that initiate programs.making backups 41 Making backups Real men make backups. I copy to diskette about once an hour. which is so impractical to use that most people don’t bother.g. Hopefully real women make backups too. If your files are small enough to enable you to store them in directories that are no more than 1. then use diskettes and read the following. it is a good idea to use a program that can pack the files in such a way that they don’t take up too much space. where each optical diskette can hold 100 MB or more. as at some point most of us experience what should not happen – on rare occasions the hard disk breaks down or you delete a file by mistake and discover it too late. I usually use Norton Commander as I typically work with several files at the same time but I also use PKZIP. Making backups is very much an aspect of file management. The chances of both disks breaking down at the same time are infinitesimal. even though the directory is larger than 1. If you have installation diskettes for the program. My best advice is to install a second hard disk and use it as backup. If you work with large files.SYS. A compression program can typically reduce files sizes by 50%. If you cannot afford this. With a compression program (like PKZIP. e. I have set up directories on my diskettes that correspond to those on my hard disk so I am in no doubt where the files come from. the faster your PC works. and I do this with everything I do. I use Norton Commander for copying files. I would also generally recommend that if you experiment with CONFIG. backup shouldn’t be necessary for these. hoping the hard disk would never be a problem.44 MB. you can easily make a diskette for each directory. I strongly recommend that you regularly spend some time going through your hard disk and your diskettes. C:\DATA\DOC for your WP documents. a file-compression program. I have tried losing several hours’ work.. I have two identical hard disks. as described on page 56. For safety’s sake. I make backups several times a day. I’ve often had to install a program several times. it is easy to delete the whole thing and begin again with a fresh installation – though Windows is special.. The latter typically have the extension INI. You have to get used to the fact that making backups and maintaining your hard disk and diskettes takes time. It is a good idea to keep programs and data separate in different directories. . hoping I could find my way around my diskettes. you make running copies of C:\CONFIG. If you know in which directories a program creates and stores its files. if not sooner. My hard disk contains primarily program files and perhaps only 20% data files that I have created. For many years. whenever I have done something I would resent having to do again. As you already have the programs on original diskettes and can reinstall them again if something goes wrong.sys c:\dos so you can always copy it back to the root directory. then later. Make a subdirectory. Are there programs or data files on your hard disk that you seldom use? We often install a program to see what it can do and then forget about it.44 MB. I later learned my lesson . At first I didn’t worry too much about it. It is no joke. delete it from the hard disk or pack the relevant directories with a compression program. and it only takes a few minutes to back up several hundred MB. While writing the text of this guide. Microsoft has packaged a program called BACKUP with DOS. C:\>copy config. The fewer files you have on your hard disk. possibly if you find you have to boot from diskette.SYS to C:\DOS. There are other programs for backup and DOS 6 includes a mini version of Norton’s Backup. hoping I would remember file names. ARJ or LHA) you may still be able to have a diskette for each directory.

everything that couldn’t be held in RAM is summoned from the swap file. 386 Enhanced. How big should it be? A general rule is that your free XMS memory after booting (but including the swap file) should be equal to 12 MB. I would also recommend that you activate 32-bit disk access. DOS programs will also run faster in enhanced mode. This is a material improvement in Windows speed – banishing for ever those “out of memory” messages. Control Panel. If. When you shift programs using Alt+Tab. Windows uses the hard disk as extra memory. run a disk-optimization program or type C:\>DEFRAG/Q To set up a swap file in Windows: Select Main. provided you make your swap file large enough. Microsoft has not set this as the default. But. Furthermore. Virtual Memory.” Another name is FastDisk. If this is the case. which is much better. You can run your usual DOS programs in the manner you are accustomed. Updating a screen in graphics mode takes considerably longer than updating a screen in text mode. A 386DX/33 MHz with 4 MB RAM is the minimum for acceptable speed. then you would be better off cleaning/tidying up your hard disk so that you can find the space for a permanent swap file. 4-8 MB is a suitable size for most people. and like most people usually have both DOS and Windows programs running at the same time. Change. You should not expect just to be able to install Windows. try increasing the size of the swap file. and you can click your way through nearly everything. which takes time and can only be recommended if you are short of space on your hard disk. It is an operating environment. and then have everything work as fast as you are used from your DOS programs. by using the full screen. You could use this when you are only running Windows programs that require smaller amounts of memory. similar menu commands and so on (like the Macintosh). This gives faster communication to your hard disk by bypassing DOS and the slow BIOS when swapping to disk. It has nothing to do with the I/O bus or the CPU’s address bus width. You can check. Swap file When there isn’t sufficient memory available (because you’ve got more programs open than your RAM can hold).x is not an operating system. The temporary one has to be set up every time Windows starts. to see if the CPU has to access the swap file to fetch data. It can set at only a certain proportion of the available space on the hard disk. you can move data from one window to the other. Windows’ standard mode – WIN/S – is about 10-20% faster. an extension to DOS. (A) It is unfortunate that Microsoft has chosen to call this communication method “32 bit. For technical reasons related to the way that portable PCs save on battery use. and so on than the traditional DOS command line. then you are able to activate 32-bit access – put a cross in the check box. more visual method of managing programs. a more practical. they can run in a window smaller than the whole screen. and easily move from one to the other. Windows needs XMS (extended) memory and appreciates a fast hard disk and graphic card. if you prefer. drawing programs and so on – or if you want a quick impression of roughly how something will look when it is printed. Windows is especially relevant if you want to work with graphics – layout. you can hear lots of harddisk activity as information gets swapped to and fro. a graphic user interface. 32-bit disk access. You can use the mouse in all Windows programs. Another convenience is that programs are similarly laid out. The permanent swap file reserves permanent space on your hard disk. Before making this file. files. By default (assuming sufficient memory). virtual memory. If Windows tests your hard-disk controller and finds it compatible (conforming with) a certain standard (Western Digital 1003). you don’t have to know or remember many DOS commands. You can run several programs at the same time.42 windows Windows Windows is a huge subject but here is a short piece that is relevant to the rest of the text. when you have many programs open and are moving between them. You can make your swap file temporary or permanent. I use Windows a lot. directories. With some programs. Windows 3. The problem with Windows (if you are used to the speed of DOS) is that it needs a fast CPU and loads of RAM. . Windows starts in 386 enhanced mode. by watching the hard-disk lamp every time you use Alt+Tab.

start it with WIN/D:F and turn the 32-bit disk access off. You can play around a little and see what suits you best. Win 3. who passed on this tip: Insert the following in SYSTEM. If you can’t start Windows after activating 32 bit disk access. you can change it to a period/full stop using a text editor. This mode is called Virtual 8086. For example. Thanks to Brian Livingston. each of which have control of the CPU for a short. Your national keyboard driver has a similar filename. and both are prone to either lock up or crash at regular intervals.DLL. shortened to V86 mode. Since I have added this line. try writing Jumpcolor=0 0 128 Popupcolor=128 0 0 where the numbers give red. Danes would change the file WINDOWS\SYSTEM\KBDDA. This is what is called multi-tasking. even though the 386 processor is in fact just shifting rapidly between the different programs. If your language version of Windows produces a comma when you press the period/full stop on your numeric keyboard. I have had fewer program crashes. you are simulating four of the classic PCs. When specifying this number. every DOS program is given memory as if it were running on an 8086-based PC.. green and blue values. the programmers assumed that it would be more than enough. It specifies the maximum number of breakpoints.1 or Windows 3. Other ways to start Windows: type WIN/?. Unfortunately. which means that each program behaves as though it is alone on its own machine.1 can run in protected or enhanced mode. Your settings are saved but Windows does not close. To sum up the reason for this command: when Windows starts. The advantage is that you can run real-mode DOS programs with the advantages of protected mode. I have got into the habit of exiting from Windows and restarting it. leading to some rather unpleasant problems. As we all know. neither Windows 3. In principle. you appear to be running more programs at the same time. A breakpoint is 10 bytes that Windows uses to control DOS sessions. I find it difficult to read the green words in Windows Help. . While Windows is running in enhanced mode. Just in case. a breakpoint is used by Windows every time it needs to communicate in real mode. increasing throughput by approximately 20% and allowing more DOS programs to be run at the same time. These are DOS programs that each run on their own virtual PC. But the usual warning: before doing this make a copy of the file. about once every hour to flush out the memory. it sets aside a certain number of breakpoints by default. To be even more accurate. Many Windows programs slowly eat your memory up every time they are opened or closed (called memory leakage – programs written in Visual Basic are especially prone to this). Windows uses a device driver that in protected mode communicates directly with the hard-disk controller. Every DOS program also has at its disposal all the available conventional memory. protection against memory conflicts. hold Shift down while you “exit” Windows – using Alt+F4.**--++ and change to .INI: [386enh] MaxBPs=768 This has solved a lot of problems for many people. Search for .11 is perfect. You can then switch off Save settings on exit from the Options menu. for example. this has proved not to be the case. a 486 processor behaves in the same way as a 386 here. or even rebooting the computer.**--++ and that does the job.. If you have four DOS programs running. while it runs in protected mode. i. In WIN. and here the 386 processor simulates an 8086 processor. It looks that way. Miscellaneous tips for Windows If you want to save Program Managers settings without quitting Windows.windows 43 It is something technical that works with the 386’s address register. and a Windows session can easily use more than the default number. precise time. I would rather use a couple of minutes every hour to reboot in a controlled fashion than suffer unexpected crashes that might well lose my data. and this is why memory optimization is important.INI under [Windows Help].e. Furthermore.

the technical messages produced by programs such as EMM386 and SMARTDRV so they are now removed by default. For example you can type DIR/? to get quick. to which all files belonging to earlier DOS versions were copied. whether this be EMS or XMS memory. as you could with DOS 5.1 was created. and so on are not described.44 dos 6 DOS 6 The following description concerns Microsoft’s edition of MS-DOS 6. and then rebooting with SETUP disk # 1 in the drive. Backup. but very few of you will want this. Note that files in C:\DOS that aren’t overwritten by files from DOS 6 with the same name are left in C:\DOS. Just run Setup again. Good idea. I recommend that you suspend these during the installation process by writing REM at the beginning of each relevant line in your startup files. You have the option of installing (1) only DOS. Interlink. Certain resident disk-cache programs (not including SMARTDRV). A long-awaited command is DELTREE. type A:\>setup/? Be prepared for the installation process to take some time. Many users either didn’t need. If you want to see all the setup options. only a certain amount of XMS could be converted to EMS memory – whereupon it .com C:\DOS\ /p Installation It is possible to install so you can return to an earlier version. and had stolen some KB of my conventional memory. for example. concise help about all the parameters and switches – on screen. to move around the highlighted topics. without asking me.exe shell=C:\DOS\command.1 but it didn’t. For two seconds. I opted for the possibility of reverting to DOS 5. Setup hadn’t told me of anything during installation. you can delete C:\OLD_DOS. by typing C:\>DELOLDOS The startup files are kept in the root directory. This requires the use of a page frame. Boot with the new DOS 6 and you will see the first changes immediately. With DOS 5. or were confused by. which can delete a directory together with its subdirectories. The first thing to say is that simply installing DOS 6 will not make your PC run faster than it did using DOS 5. I was rather surprised to see that now device=C:\DOS\setver. I thought that setup would actually copy everything in C:\DOS to C:\OLD_DOS.. Help Big changes in the Help function. If you want to see this information. or the initial letters. insert /V somewhere in the line that calls EMM386 and SMARTDRV. had been added. and EDIT starts – use the Tab key. When you’ve decided to keep DOS 6. I consider this to be unrealistic and so I recommend that you type A:\>setup/G which doesn’t need uninstall diskettes. C:\>deltree c:\extra EMM386. A file in C:\DOS that didn’t belong to DOS 5 remained in C:\DOS.1. which occupies 64 KB in upper memory. The whole DOS command manual is now online. Setup works this way so that you can go back to DOS 5. the screen shows Starting MS-DOS. I will confine myself to the parts of DOS 6 that are relevant to the rest of the booklet. I was a little confused when I compared C:\OLD_DOS. and a directory C:\OLD_DOS. mainly because I do not use them. delete-protection and anti-virus utilities that are not compatible with SETUP. If you don’t install everything now. Type HELP DIR.EXE Using the parameter RAM EMM386 now takes all the extended memory under its wing and gives a program what it needs. (2) only Windows or (3) both DOS and Windows versions of the three accessory programs. you can always do so later. I would suggest that you make sure that before installation you only have DOS files and nothing else in this directory so that it is easier to find files after the process is finished – in fact I copied the whole directory to C:\DOS5. Anti-virus.1 with the new C:\DOS after installation. Accessory programs like Undelete. At least SETVER could have been placed in upper memory. It is very useful (and ecologically friendly) to be able to look things up immediately here instead of having to wade through a large book. I was interested to see if anything had happened to my start files.

The way I understand the information in Help is given below. use C:\>MEMMAKER/UNDO A selection is changed with the spacebar.SYS and reboot your PC. At the DOS prompt enter this: C:\>MEMMAKER You can run either a configuration option called express or another called custom. If everything gets in a mess. and the arrow keys are used to move up and down between options. The great thing with MEMMAKER is that you can run it again and again until you find the optimum configuration. Don’t be nervous about running MEMMAKER. MEMMAKER adds various parameters to the line with EMM386. Specify . The first thing MEMMAKER does is to copy your existing startup files in C:\DOS. If you type the following in CONFIG. Remember that the files are in C:\DOS – not too clever. 2 and so on to the startup files with the extension UMB. As we saw earlier. Screen messages keep you informed of how far MEMMAKER has progressed. and this option gives you the chance to answer Yes/No before every program is loaded and so find out which one is giving the problems. You will be using 64 K in upper memory (which is taken from extended memory) but you don’t need to concern yourself with whether your programs use EMS or extended memory. If you have experienced problems. RAM is inserted in this line. min=0 means that 256 KB is not reserved from the start. but only one step back.EXE and its parameters. type C:\>MEMMAKER/UNDO . The program booted my PC and ran various tests. Answer Yes. NOEMS is inserted. I have not experienced any but if you do. The above line is recommended if you sometimes need EMS memory and if you have 64 KB free in upper memory. answer No. adding the extension UMB to them.SYS . Both express and custom installations ask you if any of your programs need EMS memory. The manual has only a very brief description of the advanced options. If you haven’t had problems while MEMMAKER is running.EXE. You can always go back to the previous configuration of your startup files.dos 6 45 was “locked” in position as EMS. Need expanded memory? This affects the line with EMM386. If you want to go back further. See also page 47 (Multiple Boots) for how to get more control over how your memory is allocated. To release it. Custom The advanced choice is called both Custom and Advanced Options. otherwise 64 KB will be taken from conventional memory. It then changes only your startup files..e.exe ram min=0 you will see a screen message during boot to the effect that EMM386 can simulate any EMS or XMS memory a program needs. MEMMAKER advises you to answer No. Afterwards you can see the differences in your startup files. this took a while. the RAM parameter uses 64 KB for a page frame – so it is important to have this space “spare” in upper memory. MEMMAKER MEMMAKER can do a lot to optimize your startup files. Start by typing C:\>MEM/? to see what this program has to offer. Remember not to press Enter until after you have made all your choices. and if No. That way it will be easier to follow the process when you run MEMMAKER. as it would be if min=0 was not specified. you’ll have to look in the manual. i. If you want to be able to revert to the previous file. Keep an eye on the screen in case of problems. one generation earlier. the cause may be one of the programs loaded when the startup files are read. then you can add 1. The screen information from MEM is easier to read and understand in this version of the program. you had to alter your CONFIG. and the Help function isn’t much better. Type C:\>MEM/C/P and make a note of the information about free memory. If you don’t know. These are the two possibilities available for making use of upper memory.. nothing else. MEMMAKER inserts certain lines and adds all sorts of parameters and switches to others – and there are a lot of changes! I tried express first to see what would happen.emm386. If you answer Yes.

which means that your I=.. Before running Windows. 14. i. If I answer Yes. and maybe it can find something better. otherwise answer No. then run MEMMAKER again. will be kept. answer No here and see if it fixes the problem. Many people these days have a “Super VGA” monitor. Answer Yes and get an additional 1 KB conventional memory free. MEMMAKER inserts the parameter I=B000-B7FF in the line for EMM386. MEMMAKER cannot understand what to do. DOS 6. At first I thought that this command could do more and actually optimize the whole Windows environment. If you know how to edit Windows’ SYSTEM. I would say that Memmaker is better than nothing.INF file. data in memory that Windows needs to be able to run DOS programs. In general. MEMMAKER adds all these parameters in the EMM386. and if that doesn’t work. but I am not impressed.386 If you run EGA or VGA (i. add REM in front of the line loading it. Here you can select what to do with the parameters I=.. See the drawing on upper memory on p.EXE.. HIGHSCAN is inserted in the EMM386 line. You have to do it manually. If you run into problems later. the lines WIN=EAOO-ECFF and WIN=EDOO-EFFF are inserted on my PC. then experiment with Yes and see how it goes. If you answer No. run MEMMAKER for each of them and then merge them together. Microsoft recommends that you write the program’s name (with or without an asterisk preceding it) in the C:\DOS\MEMMAKER. which include or exclude areas in upper memory.for Windows This only affects the translation buffers.SYS with menus (as described on page 47 Multiple Boots) and then run MEMMAKER. MEMMAKER (via EMM386) tries to manage all free space in upper memory.INI and write in the section [386Enh]: device=C:\DOS\monoumb. which is the most important aspect of memory management. By default. which has the same effect as my suggestion. The only way around it is to divide them up into separate start files. and X=. Move Extended BIOS .INI. and X=. Monochrome region. preventing anything else from using these UMBs. The acid test is trying to start Windows! Keep current EMM386 . run MEMMAKER... You can answer No. .. If you answer Yes to this (and you should answer Yes if you haven’t had problems here). you’ve “won” 32 KB in upper memory that you can use to run more programs. which means that a safer area in upper memory is scanned..2 defaults to not using HIGHSCAN. use No. Optimize... then answer Yes. then delete the REM so that the program loads. you are letting MEMMAKER do the job. My suggestion is to answer No and use MEM to check that you have 8 KB free (or 24 KB if you are on a network) in upper memory before Windows starts. it scans upper memory less aggressively. you edit Windows’ SYSTEM. First try Yes. and I’m still of the opinion that the manual is hopeless on this point. If you set up a CONFIG. which displays at 800 x 600 resolution. you should answer Yes. running under Windows or not.46 dos 6 When you’ve found the problem program. Scan the upper ..e. with a maximum resolution of 640 x 480).e. We’re really into insignificant detail here. If you really understand the function of these parameters and what they include and exclude. Very complicated! Important: Memmaker cannot change the order of devicehigh.EXE line in order to reserve these addresses in upper memory for use as translation buffers. If it works. The manual and Help function go round and round the subject of DOS programs.

The point of this is to solve any problems that may stem from DBLSPACE.2: If you have installed Doublespace.BAT. so you can check if your game runs faster using SMARTDRV. at the DOS prompt write: C:\>NORMAL which copies your normal startup files to C:\.NOR C:\*.BAT Press F6. DBLSPACE does this. I hope that this description hasn’t been too short.SYS and after that as to whether you will run all of AUTOEXEC..SYS. if the problem is simply a mistake in CONFIG. Others can use expanded memory. for example. If you type SET at the command prompt. You may also create a batch file for every game and place these in. There can also be lines that are common before the [menu] entry. you can see that the PC has had a nearly clean boot. Some games need conventional memory.BAT COPY C:\DOS\CONFIG. no need to despair. Write three versions of your startup files that correspond to the examples above. Enter.e. then reboot the machine.. when you want to play a game.dos 6 47 More booting F5 Try booting and pressing F5 as soon as the Starting MS-DOS. and give both files in each set (CONFIG. use your GAMES1 and GAMES2 batch files.SYS means. create two more batch files called GAMES1. In DOS 6. If you only have DOS 5 but are reading this section about DOS 6 anyway. I get 625 KB free in conventional memory. If a question mark is inserted immediately after a command in CONFIG.SYS to deal with programs that add one or more lines to CONFIG. GAMES1. The first lines are the block headers that relate to the names of the blocks following. appears on the screen. NumLock NUMLOCK=ON or OFF in CONFIG.. If you have a better idea. you can type Y/N to every line in AUTOEXEC. which then correspond to the following BAT files: C:\BAT>COPY CON NORMAL. In AUTOEXEC. I have also specified SMARTDRV for GAMES1. Now you get the chance to answer Y or N to every single line in CONFIG.BAT) the extensions NOR.BAT or not. By the same method. you will be asked if you want the command carried out. DOS 6. I have experimented to get the maximum amount of conventional memory for games that need it.SYS. allowing you to select between different options (shown in the frame).” which means that your startup files are not read. Multiple Boots Users who need several different configurations or share a PC with other users find life easier now. F8 and ? Boot again. GM1 and GM2. F5 is great if you experiment with CONFIG. You don’t need a boot diskette.SYS COPY C:\DOS\AUTOEXEC. This is also useful before running a disk optimization program or something similar. You can make your configuration and boot more sophisticated with menus in CONFIG.SYS. and 622 KB if I also activate expanded memory. Even an empty block with [COMMON] does no harm. or any other directory that lies on your PATH. I suggest you insert a [COMMON] line as the last line in CONFIG.NOR C:\*. Text after the comma in the menuitem line is shown on screen during booting.BAT. I’d like to hear from you. This now produces what is called a “clean boot. When you want a “normal” boot. These names must be identical! You can write what you want but you’re limited to a single word as a block name.. a directory called C:\BAT.2.BAT. You have created NORMAL. Place them in your DOS directory. either with or without expanded memory.SYS (e.SYS during installation. and this time press F8.? You guessed it! . and then jumps to a “label” i. The variable %config% obtains its value from your menu choice.SYS and AUTOEXEC.2: Ctrl+F8 bypasses DBLSPACE in the same way as Ctrl+F5.BAT. you can bypass it by pressing Ctrl+F5.g. NUMLOCK?=ON). which gives access to upper memory. DOS 6.BAT and GAMES2. In the same way.

.\EMM386.C:\WINDOWS goto %config% :NORMAL @echo off …and so on with normal AUTOEXEC. with expanded memory menuitem=GAMES2. was to improve DBLSPACE. and when a program stores data.2 The most important reason for releasing DOS 6.0 version was buggy.. The DISKCOPY command. COPY.SYS now supports 64 MB RAM and by default checks the RAM chips in extended memory during booting. Microsoft intends it to be a replacement for CHKDSK. can at last carry out this operation by only needing the original disk in the drive once.0 FCBS=1 BUFFERS=30 SHELL=C:\DOS\COMMAND. HIMEM.BAT can cause problems with certain hard disks (Conner). In 1993.SYS. When data is used. . AUTOEXEC. VERIFY=ON in AUTOEXEC. which makes an identical copy of a diskette. The program can also test and repair errors on a drive compressed by DBLSPACE. then the process is complete.C:\.2.EXE ram min=0 DOS=UMB STACKS=0. if it exists.EXE NOEMS …and so on. as it can’t cope with an [INCLUDE] setting.\HIMEM. You can always use your old. it is compressed. As mentioned before.0.2. [COMMON] You might need FILES=15 or more. many firms developed a variety of programs that packed (compressed) data on the hard disk so that it took up less space than it otherwise would. then forget all about this section on DoubleSpace.2.C:\BAT. And then the price of hard disks fell drastically! If you can afford to buy another hard disk. at a time when hard disks were still relatively expensive. delete this line. the need for more hard disk space has grown enormously. Use Dblspace? DBLSPACE certainly caught the public imagination.COM C:\DOS\ /P [GAMES2] STACKS=0. Disk compression with DBLSPACE In recent years.0 and 6. Microsoft included a compression program called DBLSPACE with DOS 6.SYS DOS=HIGH [menu] menuitem=GAMES1. conventional memory dos 6 MS-DOS 6.0 FCBS=1 BUFFERS=10 SHELL=C:\DOS\COMMAND. a little on the other improvements: SCANDISK is a program that can investigate and repair hard-disk errors in a similar way to Norton’s Disk Doctor. according to Microsoft. compared to version 6.COM C:\DOS\ /P [NORMAL] DEVICE=C:\. In GAMES2. Therefore. followed by the copy disk. I use 30 buffers. MEMMAKER can’t be used to optimize this sort of CONFIG. XCOPY and MOVE now warn if you are about to overwrite a file. menuitem=NORMAL [GAMES1] DEVICE=C:\.. which is why DoubleSpace is in this section. which Microsoft has perhaps indirectly confirmed by releasing DOS 6. But first.BAT looks like this: PATH C:\DOS. DEFRAG can now use extended memory and so can manage a larger number of files. so that the user doesn’t notice the unpacking process.48 DEVICE=C:\.\EMM386. it is unpacked. The aim is to prevent a drop in program speed. slow hard disk for making backups.BAT goto end :GAMES1 LH smartdrv goto end :GAMES2 :end Some people were certain that the DOS 6.

your new drive will be called H. Make a note of the first figure. If your computer has a slow CPU. Custom creates a new drive on your existing drive. and explains that express is the easiest. Will DBLSPACE slow down my system? This is what Microsoft has to say in HELP: “If you have a computer with a fast CPU and a fast hard disk. 4 If you are on a network confirm that you are logged on before you run DBLSPACE. so if you start with drive C:. The choices on the next screen are confusing. If you want to know more. Most users will probably choose to compress their hard disks by using the express option. C:\>Dblspace The first screen informs you that Setup is loading the file DBLSPACE. which is a compression of your entire drive C:. DBLSPACE should be able to test how many drives the machine has.e. In order to gain some experience. a system file that needs about 40 KB in memory. If you decide later that you wish to compress your entire hard disk. then you can read the manual or write Help Dblspace for extra information before beginning the process.) I suggest that you use Enter to choose the Create a new… option. then I would suggest that before installation you: 1 Upgrade to DOS 6. you will just have to try it out! If you are short of space on your hard disk. 2 Back up all vital files. but also the most difficult to change. custom or express. There are two ways to install DBLSPACE. but what is a fast CPU. which is easy to remove again. and by then you will know more about DBLSPACE. you can do it easily and return to your normal configuration. then SCANDISK will start automatically before the actual disk compression begins.BIN. and I have not experienced any problems with it.dos 6 49 I have tested this program briefly so I can comment on it. and a slow CPU is a 386SX. you may notice a reduction in speed after compressing your drive. a slow hard disk is a standard hard disk bought before 1992 (with a transfer rate of 5-700 KB per second). undo. you will need it later. This is correct but what Microsoft does not explain is that it is much harder to change your mind and uninstall an express installation. must have a letter as a drive denominator. which is the simplest. and we have just told the program that we do not want an express installation. you can change your custom installation reasonably easily. Using express compresses a whole drive. you probably won’t notice much difference in system speed after installing DBLSPACE. choose custom. DBLSPACE might actually improve your system’s speed. express and custom.2. This is so that there is room for other programs (a ramdisk or netdrive) that wish to use a different drive letter from the drives already physically installed. If you have DOS 6. etc? My guess is that a fast CPU was at that time at least a 386DX/40 MHz. then begin with the kind of installation suggested here and see how it works. i. while custom is for the more experienced user. this is equivalent to a disk.” Reasonable enough. This results in the next screen presenting you with a figure for how much space you have available (current free space) and an estimate of how much free space a compressed drive will give you (projected size of new drive). Custom I suggest that you start by creating a small DBLSPACE drive to gain a little experience. DBLSPACE jumps four drive letters from the last existing drive. the C: drive. with this in mind. If you have a fast CPU and a slow hard disk. 3 Defragment your disk. but I will return to that. Your new drive H is different according to which method of compression you use. You are presented with two options: Compress an existing drive Create a new empty compressed drive (If you only have one drive – drive C – then the first option is the same as express. I would suggest that you start with custom. If you decide later to drop DBLSPACE. To check how correct this is. The next screen gives a choice between the two possible options. So. Choose the FULL option to create the maximum possible free space. and especially to test whether your PC slows down. so when I write about a drive in these instructions.2 because this version of DBLSPACE has been improved and is more reliable. I assume that your hard disk consists of only one drive. . Remember that you will need 38 KB of upper memory free if you want to avoid using any of your conventional memory! If you decide to use this program. no matter which method you choose. The new drive. or if you are a little unsure. using the free disk space.

like 999. If you do this using SCANDISK. it estimated it would take 53 minutes. The top line in the frame specifies that a miserly 2 MB will be left on drive C after compression (note that this is free space. I suggest that you alter this 2 MB to a larger figure. it has nothing to do with your files in C). then 2 MB will remain in uncompressed form. which is the amount of disk space free. 55). as DBLSPACE will carry one out later.50 dos 6 Press Enter and the next screen will tell you that the new compressed drive H will be created from the free space on C. $. but they cannot be bothered to tell the user what it is. After fixing any problems you can start DBLSPACE again. Now comes the important part. The last screen before the process starts tells you that DBLSPACE is ready to begin. and you are requested to press C to continue. If you had 50 MB free. It is a disappointment that the amount of free space is not shown on each screen. it is not necessary to perform a surface scan at the same time. In the next screen. write 40 MB and press Enter again. This gives DBLSPACE (50 40) = 10 MB of free space to create the new drive H. you will have to abort the installation and fix these (see CHKDSK. p. The programmers have measured the free space. so that you end up with a compressed drive that can contain about 20 MB. SCANDISK starts first and if it runs into any problems (lost clusters or crosslinked files). and the program will then tell you what the maximum figure can be. DBLSPACE is the big attraction in DOS 6 and one would have thought that Microsoft would have made it more userfriendly! You can cheat by writing a ridiculously high figure. then use the arrow key to move up to the 2 MB and press Enter. DBLSPACE will compress the other 48 MB physical free space so that it can contain about 96 MB of files. When I tested the program. in fact it took 10. If you started with 50 MB free space.

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e. but if problems arise or you decide it was not a good idea to compress your disk.SYS is loaded). i. You end up with the same result by giving the command: C:\>DBLSPACE/SIZE/REServe=8 where reserve=8 means: reserve 8 MB on the uncompressed host drive. These files cannot function in compressed form. etc. easier. you risk losing all your other files at the same time. before installing DBLSPACE you had a permanent swap file. method. Custom and express This line is added at the end of CONFIG. and maybe slower. (It is just a coincidence that H is the initial letter of Host.sys/move . and here the H: drive is host to drive C:. which exists as a file called DBLSPACE. and actually contains all the data from C: in a large compressed file known as a Compressed Volume File. it might help if you understand what is going on.) In an Express installation. along with hidden files from other programs and your Windows swap file (see below). Warning: Never touch/delete/move the files belonging to DBLSPACE. The other system files and boot files are placed on the H: drive. called the Host Drive. typically H.SYS: devicehigh=C:\dos\dblspace.000 and is “converted” to drive C: during booting (before CONFIG. they will have sequential extensions. this drive H: is not compressed. You can do this by starting DBLSPACE and using the Resize option in the Drive menu to increase the free space on drive H: so there is enough for your swap file. then nothing appears to change except that your hard drive gets bigger. it should have been moved to H: during the installation process.001. If.WKHQHZFRPSUHVVHGGULYH+ Express If you choose this. DBLSPACE. If you create several compressed drives using DBLSPACE. (A) DBLSPACE creates a drive.BIN is part of the DOS 6 operating system and is a system file no less important than the other two. If you did not have a permanent swap file (perhaps you did not have Windows) and later you decide you need one. This is because DBLSPACE. Note that the Express installation is the reverse of the Custom installation. You can use your PC as you always did. A Windows Permanent swap file can only exist on an uncompressed drive. you might find – although I have not personally tried this – that you need to create more free space on drive H.

This ensures that DBLSPACE.INI and C:\DBLSPACE. but later (via the line added in CONFIG.BIN is first loaded into conventional memory. Do not use Norton’s Disk Doctor on a DBLSPACE drive . which means it can hold relatively large amounts of data.BIN are deleted.use SCANDISK instead. etc. page 24).) . when. All that needs to be stored is the code plus a pointer indicating where to find the answer.SYS is buffers=8 or less. Since DBLSPACE is an integral part of the operating system. along with the compressed drive DBLSPACE. Start DBLSPACE and choose uncompress from the Tools menu. It would be like having the same pin-code for hundreds of different credit cards – and then forgetting the code! DBLSPACE.BIN (see Buffers=.BIN and if the line in CONFIG. you will be asked if you want to remove DBLSPACE completely. there could be a very short code for each word. can hold data before DBLSPACE decompresses it. then.000. Instead of having to store the word every time.BIN is read into upper memory. (A) DBLSPACE.SYS. (C:\DBLSPACE. DBLSPACE. The improved version of SMARTDRV. there will always be room in High Memory for part of DBLSPACE.SYS is deleted from CONFIG. The line containing DBLSPACE. Uninstalling It is easy enough to remove a compressed drive but it requires enough free space on your hard disk to take the uncompressed versions of the files that were compressed.SYS) it is placed in upper memory. included with DOS 6.BIN is both a “disk space manager” and a program that can compress and decompress files. In general Data compression explained simply: Imagine a document in which many identical words occur (and.dos 6 51 Move the line to make it the first devicehigh line. You might find that you have to move some files to disk or tape. it is loaded before CONFIG. If you only have one compressed drive.SYS. if. Reply YES to this question.). The risk of error if something goes wrong in a compressed file is higher than with “normal” storage.SYS loads DBLSPACE.

) The new cache will be most effective when the user rarely – if ever – runs a disk-optimization program! If you regularly defragment your hard disk with SPEEDISK. you can copy the files from C:\WINDOWS to C:\DOS. which typically is C:\WINDOWS. The new cache reads its extra data from the next part of the file that has just been read.SYS. in the hope that the next data required will be from the same file. The program selects a value depending on how much free extended memory you have (same as SMARTDRV does).SYS device=C:\WINDOWS\ifshlp. Otherwise you will have to change your startup files after running MEMMAKER. Another difference is that the new cache switches some processes from real mode to protected mode.11 is a minor update to Windows 3. Microsoft wanted to “help” Windows 3. which is to use the newer and better version of the files from C:\DOS. (I have not checked 32-bit disk access.11 speeds up hard-disk access but not much. Win 3. Why does it do that? My guess is that when DOS 6 was released. The new 32-bit file-access system is in fact a cache that replaces SMARTDRV when Windows is loaded. Windows for Workgroups 3. it is changed to: .e. there is little or nothing to be gained from using the new method. The size of the cache is also displayed. It can be used on any PC. but the installation changes your startup files to load them from the Windows directory. a line is added to CONFIG.EXE. As this is highly likely.2: SMARTDRV.\smartdrv 2048 128 /X One of the differences between SMARTDRV and the new 32-bit file-access program (VCACHE. though in addition the program is reputed to be generally more stable. The main improvement is faster communication with the hard disk by the use of a 32-bit fileaccess system (a disk cache).BAT. . If you always run DOS programs from Windows.1 users who installed the new DOS to make the “correct” decision. Win 3. With 8 MB RAM.1. HIMEM. EMM386. you will see the drive that uses the new cache after you mark the 32-bit file-access check box. you can delete the SHARE line from AUTOEXEC.52 windows for workgroups 3. which makes everything work faster.11 This section is placed here because the program is more recent than DOS 6. it gives an improved “hit” rate (and fewer misses) than the old arrangement.. The installation process alters the Windows cache-size parameter for SMARTDRV (the second figure given after the SMARTDRV command). other functions.sys which you should change to devicehigh. All very well – but be careful if you run MEMMAKER any time afterwards as this changes the path to C:\DOS. On the other hand. In the dialog box where you specify your swap file (Control Panel. On installation. If you do not plan to alter your DOS setup. Change). i.11 includes the same versions of these files as DOS 6. as my disk controller runs this automatically. Enhanced. DEFRAG or something similar.2. To sum up: in my experience. A small fax program and a new faster print manager are also included. Virtual Memory.386) is that SMARTDRV reads some additional data from the sector after the most recently read in the hope that the next data required will be in the next (physical) sector on the disk. such as opening/closing windows and scrolling in dialog boxes.11 Windows for Workgroups 3.EXE. are faster.

These are OK for most users. The text should help you a lot. and only a minimum of data needs to be sent to the permanent swap file. Read the manual that came with it and/or software for further instructions.. If. If you only run DOS programs. you can see fairly accurately how much each program uses. In other words. which is the default for 8 MB RAM. it is important to create a large area with consecutive upper memory blocks (UMB). then you have to strike a balance between the size (minimum and maximum values) of SMARTDRV and the free extended memory available to Windows. for instance. It would be too easy for me to say you should experiment. or a 386SX/SL (on which EMM386 can create UMBs and DOS can manage them). you can use all the free extended memory for your disk cache. try reserving a larger cache for Windows. Generally. We all use our computers in individual ways to suit our personal requirements. If you use Windows. As I have indicated. If you have an add-on EMS card with RAM. If you run Windows. e. This process leaves gaps of unused memory. line in your CONFIG. a database and maybe NC and/or Winfax open. you have to decide how you will use it.BAT: or smartdrv 1024 768 smartdrv 1024 1024 If you usually only run one or two less memory demanding programs.. Using upper memory (A) If you want to place as many programs as possible in upper memory. The command MEM/D/P also provides useful information. . You must load DOS=HIGH and also if possible DOS=UMB. the next in the largest remaining free UMB. I realize that I have given both minor and major tips. the more important your use of memory becomes. I get the fastest results with SMARTDRV set to 2048 2048. and so on. it is the case that the less RAM you have. I haven’t tried. I don’t need to state any parameters for SMARTDRV.miscellaneous 53 Miscellaneous Optimization tips You will by now have realized that there is no general way to optimise a PC. try writing the following in AUTOEXEC. then use a fair amount (maybe 512 KB) as a disk cache.e. By using the MEM/C/P command.SYS. then you might well find that they run faster with a cache larger than 512 KB. SMARTDRV. Just to give you some idea of my own setup: I have 8 MB and usually have Word for Windows. You should load first those programs that take up the most space. all you need to do is use that EMS RAM with the driver supplied with the card. I get more speed during a Windows session with several programs open. 4 MB You will certainly have at least a 386DX. i.g. 6-8 MB It is not easy to give general advice on the size of the disk cache or the possible use of a ramdisk. It really depends upon how many programs you usually have open in a Windows session. It all depends on how much XMS memory you “borrow” for use as UMB. you have about 800 KB RAM left. but 400 KB each can’t be far off the mark – you may want to experiment. it is important to install as much as possible in UMBs. The cache size (the 512 KB just suggested) is taken from extended (or expanded) memory and does not affect your conventional memory. You may have to change the order of your devicehigh and loadhigh commands. SMARTDRV will assume a default value of 1024 KB cache under DOS and 512 KB cache under Windows. so here are the most important ones: 1) DOS=HIGH 2) Disk cache 3) Optimizing your hard disk 4) Permanent swap file 2 MB RAM With a 286 and an upper memory manager installed. If you don’t use programs like Windows. and also which programs you use. The first program loaded is placed in the largest vacant UMB. and then smaller and smaller programs. My advice is: try out some of the idea suggested in this guide – experiment a little! You will learn something in the process and perhaps be forced to think about things you haven’t needed to think about before – and that does no harm. Do not include more than you need in any I=. With 8 MB RAM.

If you use Windows and do not have any network drivers installed. If you only need a TSR program while you use a certain DOS program. then temporarily unload some others. In order to load as many programs as possible into upper memory. during this shunting procedure. You can get roughly the same result by typing C:\>MSD/P sysinfo. it is useful to check when you want to see if a change has worked. Afterwards. Looking in memory (A) If you have the program MSD. While Windows or another program is loaded. The parameter I=E000EFFF includes this area. These buffers are then of importance as temporary storage space for vital information or data. the TSR is removed from memory. then this movement between states is occurring all the time. you can “gain” 64 KB in upper memory. When you close the program. The grey area is reserved for system use. In MEMMAKER. but check first with MSD. the most efficient policy is to write a batch file for that program that loads the TSR before you load the DOS program. Despite this reservation. You can find out a lot about your PC by choosing Alt. the room they no longer need in upper memory is freed up again. However. and they fill either 8 or 24 KB. First. that (as the screen message says) information may not be totally accurate as you also have Windows running. Translation buffers are used to transfer data between real and protected mode DOS runs in real mode and Windows runs in protected mode. and only if there is space will the program be loaded there.doc This filename is my suggestion but. Cause: Programs are not loaded directly into upper memory. You must decide that.54 miscellaneous Common problem: You have found out how much room a program will use. i. the most important thing is the order of devicehigh and LH commands. they are loaded into conventional memory. you can run it in DOS and type M to see how upper memory is being used.EXE (from Windows 3. You can look at the first MB.STS. Windows needs what are called translation buffers when running in enhanced mode. select Utilities (Alt+U) and Memory Block Display. Windows: make sure that you use your startup files only to load those programs (device drivers. MEMMAKER cannot help with the loading order. the PS/2 has its motherboard BIOS ROM in the area E000-EFFF. File and Enter. File. However. then a check is made for space in upper memory. with the possible exception of pages E and F. however. MaxSize gives the number of bytes the program needs to come “up.” If you cannot fit a program in upper memory.EXE that the area is free (shown by Fs). Notice. While in MSD.e. it will be wasted if it is not made available for upper memory. and apparently there is room in upper memory for it – but it will not load there. you can request info about the different possibilities by typing C:\>MSD/? . This is only important if you need to use part of this 64 KB in upper memory. you can switch to MSD and find out where the different programs are located in memory. As already mentioned. F=Free. programs that are preparing to move to upper memory require more space than they do after they have moved.1 or DOS 6). TSR programs. therefore.STS. U=Used. Print. this figure must be 24 K. and when a DOS program runs in a DOS window in enhanced mode. so this area is not included in the default setting of DOS 5’s EMM386. make sure you have at least 8 K left in upper memory for translation buffers after loading all your programs. clone PCs don’t normally need this area for system use. as with all DOS commands. If you have network drivers installed.EXE. In this way. etc. from E000 onwards. run MEMMAKER and then look in MEMMAKER.) that all your programs need.

2. I make it a habit to check exactly what I am about to delete. Write a batch file called. or are linked to. while cross-linked files refer to a condition where two files share.* When you want to delete all files in a directory. it was used to repair disk errors. but I’m including it because this command gives you the chance to revert to your computer’s internal symbol set. Before DOS 6. A typical error (from CHKDSK) on a disk is lost clusters or cross-linked files. Lost clusters are bits of data that do not have a name attached to them.miscellaneous 55 DOS tips Deleting all files in a directory Another reader wrote me (thank you) with a neat suggestion for avoiding those time-wasting Are you sure? messages. FDISK This program. so I use NC and Alt+F1. keep them (rename the file or files with a more meaningful name) or delete them. has an undocumented switch that is quite harmless. at the DOS prompt type: erase. but in some circumstances can remove a virus in the master boot record: C:\>FDISK/MBR You will often have to delete all files on a diskette. They will be named in a sequence starting with FILE0000. If there are many directories on the diskette. It works at the command prompt in DOS programs and in a DOS box in Windows. you can just swap back and forth between hardware and software symbol sets as you wish. consider quick formatting it by typing C:\>FORMAT/Q A: or an unconditional formatting (you cannot UNFORMAT it afterwards) by typing C:\>FORMAT/Q/U A: CHKDSK /F I have mentioned this several times in this little guide. So you will have to experiment with the £/$ sign and so on to see if you still have them. hard way.2. and you want to delete all of these directories and their contents from disk. to This may not be very relevant for Englishspeaking readers. Windows File Manager and the DOS 6 command Deltree can delete a directory with associated sub-directories with one keystroke.CHK and will be placed in your root directory. This toggles between the internal symbol set in your PC and the standard you have set in your startup files. there is only one way to do so in DOS 5: the long. or to discover where they have been moved to. Cross-linked files: If CHKDSK reports crosslinked files make a note of the filenames. copy the files under a new name to somewhere else on the disk. as it does on many European machines. You lose any other country-specific symbols. Lost clusters: If it finds any. you can use SCANDISK instead of CHKDSK. Inspect them and decide whether to . If the DEL key on the number pad on your PC produces a comma instead of a period. If you have DOS 6.BAT that contains the following: echo y | del *. for example. In any event. starting “backwards” with the “deepest” directory and deleting one subdirectory at a time. you can change it by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F1 (change it back by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2). answer YES to fix them. ERASE. Honestly. when this program was replaced by SCANDISK. and delete the originals. look in the files and write ERASE at the prompt to run my batch file. Microsoft can’t have a very high opinion of us users and our IQs. If you have installed a large program that has created many sub-directories. C:\>DELTREE C:\EXTRA and answer Y. the same place on a disk. That also removes the link to the same place on the disk. From. used to partition a hard disk before it is formatted.

BIN will also be copied. and get the message Non-system disk. be read into memory. you must have a boot disk. and one of the setup disks can start your PC. Note that this can change the position of certain symbols on your keyboard as no keyboard drivers or codepages have been loaded. Experience proves it is better to be safe than sorry – especially if you have DOS 5. Copy SYS. Problem 1 You are unable to boot from your hard disk.com C:\DOS which copies a working copy of COMMAND. DOS 6 has solved this problem. These are the files necessary for DOS to start working. Now you have a boot disk that will always start your PC if it refuses to start from the hard disk.COM to the disk: Label the disk Clean Boot. it is a floppy disk that installs a program – in this case DOS – from the floppy to the hard disk. I remember once “just” opening the COMMAND. Moral: never touch COMMAND. Unfortunately. If you use DBLSPACE. So I suggest you make one. A corrupt COMMAND. then something has gone wrong with COMMAND. formatted floppy disk in drive A and type: C:\>SYS A: The screen shows system transferred. If this happens. on the other hand. My computer went on strike. it would perhaps be a natural step to discuss a couple of disks you may need if you run into trouble.COM from the diskette to the two relevant directories on the hard disk. An error in the CONFIG. If the problem is just that there is something wrong with one of the system files or COMMAND. Boot disks can give you a helping hand in times of real trouble. boot with your clean boot disk and write: A:\>copy command. you can use this undocumented DIR that includes a comma and shows hidden files: A:\>DIR. you should be able to boot from your hard disk again. which means that two “hidden” system – or boot – files and COMMAND.COM file can also cause the PC to crash. I just couldn’t boot from the hard disk.SYS file can stall your computer.COM. you will also need DBLSPACE. i. The new positions will correspond to those on an American (US) keyboard.BIN if you want to be able to read files on a disk that it has compressed.e. Some games need a clean boot.COM with the editor in Norton Commander (I only wanted to take a look) and then closing it without poking around.com C:\ A:\>copy command.COM A: Boot diskettes After looking in detail at startup files. prevent it from completing the startup procedure. You might actually need a copy only in a single location but put it in both to start off. If you begin experimenting with the contents of CONFIG. Format a floppy like this: C:\>FORMAT A: Disk 1 – clean boot Place an empty.COM. is something different. A PC can only start (boot) from drive A or C. This boot disk only contains the 3-4 files essential to the operating system. Luckily. and after booting write A:\>SYS C: which copies the 3-4 files to C:\.COM have been copied to the disk (DBLSPACE. it still won’t do the job of a boot disk. Often in my experiments.COM. It must first activate the operating system. It can also solve two problems you might run into. if you have DOS 6). so you can use your boot disk. Remove the disk from the drive and boot again. and booting from it results in a clean boot. If you want to see which files are on the disk. then boot with your disk. You may have a setup diskette but you don’t necessarily have a boot diskette.SYS. Problem 2 If you get the error message missing or bad Command Interpreter. . a PC can’t simply be switched on like an electric toaster and work – it would be great if it could.56 miscellaneous C:\DOS>COPY SYS. i. A setup disk. Even though you have DOS. When you see the message system transferred.e. A boot disk is also called a system disk.

FDSK. Losing contact with your hard disk can also occur if something happens to your CMOS. The startup files are identical on both hard disk and diskette. All the essential files should be on the floppy (here’s the advantage of having startup files without C: in front of the commands). write-protect it. Your rescuer will be able to give you much more help if you have made one of these disks. keep it in a safe place – and remember where the safe place is! It can be used in a situation where your hard disk breaks down to the extent that you cannot access or read the files on it (cannot read drive C: or error reading drive C:).) Create the directory A:\DOS. But this is perfectly acceptable. If you can boot from the hard disk. This disk can boot your PC with the same configuration as a boot from your hard disk but without using any of the files from your hard disk.EXE. then I recommend you make such a disk yourself. If you are an expert who helps others. Fortunately. All the following copying is easier to do with a program like NC. Check that it works by booting from it before you need to use it. which we describe in the next section. Try it now!! It is a bit of a disaster if you really need it sometime next year and it does not work. which add lines to your start files. FORMAT. it is no consolation knowing that you are one of only a very few. C:\>MD A:DOS Set this directory as the default on A: C:\>CD A:DOS Set C:\DOS as the default on C: C:\>CD DOS Copy the files that appear in your startup files to A:\DOS. It can happen!! So. then do not forget to copy the new start files to this boot diskette.COM.sys a: C:\DOS>copy emm386. (The commands given below may appear unusual to some readers because they specify a directory as the default directory by using the CD command but if you think about it. If disaster strikes and the only solution seems to be a repartition and/or a format or UNFORMAT of your hard disk. . C:\>copy config. If you are fortunate enough to know someone who may be able to help you. with the exception of the PATH command. Similarly. You might want to copy other utility programs to the diskette. The commands also make and switch to a directory in A without actually being on the A: drive.sys a: C:\>copy autoexec. In addition.sys a: Continue until all the files mentioned in your startup files are copied.EXE). The first commands should look something like this: C:\DOS>copy himem. CHKDSK.\DOS.COM. Check that it works. only a small minority of users ever have to face such a traumatic experience – but if you are one of them. (SCANDISK. UNDELETE. The work is minimal compared to the amount of time it can save you.exe a: C:\DOS>copy display.EXE.COM.EXE and SYS. this is a situation where you should ask for his or her assistance.bat a: Change the PATH command in A:AUTOEXEC. this is actually what CD does. I would suggest you test your boot diskette at least once a month. keep your boot diskette up to date. You can use F3 after every command and edit the next command a little. you can use this diskette. C:\>SYS A: This diskette will be used to boot your machine in the same way as a boot from the hard disk – except that it will be done by the floppy. copy these files from C:\DOS to A:\DOS: UNFORMAT.BAT to PATH=\. If you install a CD-ROM. sound card or a similar device. then copy the startup files over to the diskette. but here are the DOS commands so that nobody feels left out.miscellaneous 57 Diskette 2 Take another formatted floppy and do the same as you did with the first one.

58 miscellaneous CMOS and setup $.

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depending on your local temperature and humidity. I am deliberately writing this to provoke all those people who are so proud of their fast PCs. It drove me up the wall: a s d f. There should be a little cooling of xxx. If you can touch-type. LCD default. My investment in touch-typing has been repaid many times over. so I look down very slightly. l k j . Place the computer case itself as far away as possible. maybe under the desk. I have folded a towel several times and laid it just in front of my keyboard – a fine hand support. in spite of the “Low Noise” fan regulator. Your health I have placed my monitor on a low box nearly at eye-level. Turn up the contrast and brilliance on your monitor as much as is necessary for you to see sufficiently well and clearly. seldom hit typos. Which keyboard is the best? I don’t know of a good keyboard at a fair price (IBM’s are still the best but expensive). Try blankets. which spares your neck and shoulder muscles. You can buy extension leads/cords for connecting the monitor to the computer (both for power and for data). Move the monitor as far away as possible – mine is 75 cm away. You can find books and programs that will force you to train your finger muscles. .·YHWULHG%XWJHQHUDOO\EHFDUHIXOZLWKVHWXSHVSH FLDOO\DGYDQFHGVHWXSVRPHWKLQJ. The fan and the hard disk are noisy.DPQRWJRLQJWR GHDOZLWKLQWKLVJHQHUDOWH[W Touch-typing Maybe the best advice I can give you actually has nothing directly to do with computers.I\RXNQRZ WKDWVRPHWKLQJLVQ·WVDYHGWKHQLWLVDOZD\VVDIHVWWR JHWRXWDQGUHWXUQWRWKH´ROGµVWDWH5HVHWWKH3& 6RPHVHWXSVKDYHERWKVWDQGDUGDQGDGYDQFHG VHWXS<RXPXVWNQRZZKDW\RXDUHGRLQJ1HYHU FKDQJHYDOXHVMXVWIRUIXQRUWRVHHZKDWPLJKWKDS SHQ<RXUGHDOHUUHDOO\ZRQ·WEHYHU\SOHDVHGZLWK\RX LI\RXGRVRPHWKLQJXVHUVDUHQ·WPHDQWWRGR. I am especially sensitive to the high-frequency sound of the hard disk. Color. Can your turbo PC help you if it is always waiting for you to find the right key? I spent 30 hours on an old typewriter learning to touch-type. of course.NQRZ .I\RXKDYH RUKDYHGRQHVRPHWKLQJDQGGRQ·WNQRZWKHFRQVH TXHQFHVSUHVVWKH5HVHWEXWWRQDJDLQ. If you learn to touch-type. you will probably begin to make a lot of demands on your keyboard. latest programs and so on. Your wrists will be strained if you don’t protect them.. Windows users: Try Control Panel.DQGWKHQXPEHURIF\OLQGHUVKHDGVDQG VHFWRUV:ULWHWKLVLQIRUPDWLRQRQDODEHODQGVWLFNLW RQWKHFDELQHW0\KDUGGLVNKDVWKHIROORZLQJYDOXHV W\SHF\OLQGHUVKHDGVDQGVHFWRUV 8VXDOO\\RXQHHGWRXVH)RU(VFWRJHWRXWRI 6(7832FFDVLRQDOO\\RXZLOOEHDVNHGLI\RXZDQWWR VDYHFKDQJHV$QVZHUNO ..I\RXDUHIRUFHGWRVD\\HVWKHQGRLWEXWEHVXUH WKDW\RXKDYHQ·WFKDQJHGDQ\RIWKHYDOXHV. It really is one of those fields in which practice makes perfect. you hardly ever need to look at the keyboard. I get through a lot of work. but I persevered. towels and other things for noise insulation – without blocking the airflow. I have spent years in the computer world and am constantly amazed at how few people can touchtype.

Don’t you try it! In the end. If you don’t. it is time to look around. open some windows (not the program. Over one particular period. Exercises like these are very simple but have a great effect. I also have a glass screen filter. it will claim its revenge. then to the left. You are welcome to write in one of the Scandinavian languages. first with eyes closed and then with them open – kids love watching this performance. do some eye exercises once in a while. then down to the left.miscellaneous 59 Find a good office chair to sit on. if your body says it needs a rest. Michael Maardt mm@knowware. the ones in the house with glass in them!). do something completely different. but are probably worth the money in the long run. With best wishes. Two minutes of exercise a day works wonders. wash up. even though “green” products are starting to appear in the industry. I sat for 12 hours at a time to finish a job. You are very welcome to write and tell me what you think of this guide. I became ill! Get up and move around once in a while. up to the left. down to the right. if you sit for long periods of time. There are many people who know more than I do about PCs. It doesn’t matter how infatuated you are with your computer. give your body a rest. and at the same time (just enough to feel your muscles) breathe deeply. They are relatively expensive. do some knee and arm bends. then right up and down. Now that you’ve exercised a little. which filters out some of the harmful radiation and makes the screen image sharper and the screen anti-static. go for a walk. up to the right – alternately with eyes open and closed.dk . If you spend a lot of time staring at the screen. have a break. What is your health worth? Do not imagine that most monitor manufacturers spend much time thinking about your health. English or German. What do you think? I know that you do not usually write to “an author. Listen to your body. Look the whole way around to the right.” but I’m simply a user who felt the urge to write this book.

12. 5. 18. 39 Translation buffers. 7. 39 Subdirectory. 26. 45 DISPLAY. 17. 22 LoadHigh. 35 EMM386. 27 Seek time. 6. 11. 26 Calculator.SYS. 12. 28 stack overflow. 35 Text mode. 16 System files. 26 SMARTDRV. 27 Backups. 24 ASCII file. 40 PS/2. 20. 23 Editor.EXE. 20. 10. 18. 41 SHARE. 23 Monochrome region. 28 HIMEM. 40 REM. 53 compatible. 45. 22 DOS=HIGH. 20 Cross-linked files. 51 UMB. 11. 16. 43. 16 Path. 20. 16. 23 DOS environment. 29 Text file. 53 Norton Commander. 16 Prompt.SYS. 52 SCSI. 30 device. 19. 7. 42 Non-system disk. 18 RAM. 12 Protected mode. 23. 11. 12 Echo off. 13.EXE. 12 Resident. 9 Boot diskette. Speed of. 25. 6. 18. 39. 11. 39. 17. 39 Windows. 50 Upper memory. 46. 22. 7 AT bus. 18. 6. 9 CD-ROM. 24 SHELL. 20. 19. 20. 13 Devicehigh. 52 Mem. 6 TSR. 23. 7. 28 Separator. 12. 31 Optimization tips. 39 Access time. 19 SPEEDISK.SYS. 50 RAMDRIVE. 39 Fastopen. 42 Mode con.SYS. 10 console. Disk.SYS. 43 Bits and bytes. 50 V86 mode. 24 protected. 18. tips. 3 DEFRAG. 52 Codepage. 13. Making. 20 Windows. 52 DBLSPACE. 19. Using. 39 386 enhanced mode. 25 Command. 16 Standard mode. 10 Ramdisk. 10. 25 Country. 5 Lost clusters. 17. 38 BIOS. 40 Virtual disk. Misc. 21 Cache. 50 Switch. 39 Hard disk. 41 FastDisk. 18 ROM BIOS. 16 SCANDISK. 13. 25. 24. 45 Lastdrive. 50 Optimization. 12. 21 Stand alone. 10. 20. 43 Tree. 28 Page. 16 REM. 45 Default.Com. 18 Page frame. 50 Disk compression. 12. 53 Break. 22 Buffers. 28 ANSI. DOS.EXE. 41 Parameter. 17 Logical drive. General. 22 FCBS. 29. 21 Stacks. 31 Ports. 17. 16. 28. 20 Real mode. 6 32-bit disk access. 27 Chkdsk/F. 43 Noems. 42 Memmaker. 16. 50 driver. 28 Graphics mode. 52 Swap file. 5 SETVER. 22. 40 Virtual 8086. 16. 10. 40 . 7. 50 DOS=UMB.60 EXE file. 11 ROM. 12. 12 Device driver. 41 SMARTDRV. 21 Fragmented files. 19.

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