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Archive-name: os2-faq
Version: 2.0
OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List: User's Edition
OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List: User's Edition
Release 2.0; April 25, 1992
Release 2.0; April 25, 1992

Latest revision as of 19:46, 23 July 2019

OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions List: User's Edition
Release 2.0; April 25, 1992
Compiled by Timothy F. Sipples

Introduction:  For changes/suggestions/additions please mail
[email protected]  This List may be freely distributed.  Mention
of a product does not constitute an endorsement.  Answers to questions
closer to the bottom of the List may rely on information given in prior
answers.  Customers outside the United States should not necessarily
rely on 800 telephone numbers, part numbers, or upgrade policies
contained in this List.

Release Notes:  With OS/2 2.0 arriving in stores this List arrives at
Release 2.0.  Many thanks for the suggestions/corrections -- please keep
them coming.  Reminder to BBS operators and other archivists: please
retain a copy of Release 1.9g of this List, the last release to cover
OS/2 1.x in any detail.  The Programmer's Edition of the FAQ List is
coming; netmail [email protected] with your contributions.  Questions 1,
2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 17, 18, 22, 26, and 29 have been revised since
Release 1.9z.

Questions Addressed in this Release:

(1)	What is OS/2?
(2)	What are the differences between versions?
(3)	What is Extended Services/2?
(4)	How good is OS/2 2.0's DOS and Windows compatibility?
(5)	Where can I buy OS/2?
(6)	How much does OS/2 2.0 cost?
(7)	What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0?  Do I need a PS/2?
(8)	What applications are available for OS/2?
(9)	Where can I obtain OS/2 shareware and freeware?
(10)	I am having trouble installing OS/2 2.0.  What should I do?
(11)	Will OS/2 2.0 work with my SuperVGA adapter?
(12)	Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?
(13)	How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting
	from the hard drive?  I'm getting error messages now -- how do I
	"repair" my hard disk?
(14)	I can't install OS/2 from Drive B.  What's wrong?
(15)	Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?
(16)	Sometimes OS/2 2.0 will freeze when I run an application?  What do
	I do?
(17)	My dealer doesn't know OS/2 from Unix.  How can I get answers to
	my OS/2 questions?
(18)	Why should I use HPFS?  What does it offer me?  Does it work with
(19)	I'm a Unix wizard.  How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?
(20)	I prefer Windows.  How do I make OS/2 2.0 resemble Windows (or
	OS/2 1.3)?
(21)	I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS.  What is available?
(22)	Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2 2.0?
(23)	How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?
(24)	What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get
(25)	How do I add new Adobe Type Manager typefaces?
(26)	How do I tweak OS/2 2.0 for maximum performance?
(27)	What networking products are available for OS/2 2.0?
(28)	Should I worry about viruses when running OS/2 2.0?
(29)	Are there any clever tricks that apply to OS/2 2.0?


(1)	What is OS/2?

OS/2 is an advanced operating system for PCs and PS/2s with an 80286
processor or better.  It was codeveloped by Microsoft and IBM and
envisioned as the successor to DOS.

It was designed from the ground up with preemptive multitasking and
multithreading in mind.  It also protects applications from one another
(a single misbehaved program will not typically disrupt the entire
system), supports multimegabytes of physical RAM, and supplies virtual
memory to applications as requested, breaking DOS's 640K barrier.

As shipped, it does not support multiuser operation, although third
parties have grafted multiuser capabilities onto the base operating
system.  Remote-OS, OS2YOU, Citrix, and PolyMod2 are four such products.
Remote-OS is published by The Software Lifeline, tel. 407-994-4466, and
OS2YOU is available from the OS/2 shareware/freeware sources (see
Question 9).  Citrix Systems can be reached at 305-755-0559.  PolyMod2's
publisher, MemSoft, can be reached at 407-997-????.


(2)	What are the differences between versions?

IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 (CSD Level 02000, see Question 24) is now widely
available in retail release.  Version 2.0 will run only on machines with
an 80386SX processor or better.  IBM is (now) developing OS/2 (and its
Intel and non-Intel-based successors) independently but is involving
third party PC manufacturers in its testing.  Improvements include the
ability to preemptively multitask DOS, Windows 2.x, and Windows 3.0
(real and standard mode) applications (without purchasing any of these
environments) in separate, robust, protected sessions; an object-
oriented Workplace Shell (WPS); a multiple operating system boot
mechanism; new 32-bit programming interfaces; support for more than 16
MB of physical RAM; and more third party device drivers.  It also
provides EMS 3.2/4.0 and XMS 2.0/DPMI 0.9 (expanded and extended memory)
services to DOS and Windows applications.  OS/2 1.x applications,
unmodified, still run under OS/2 2.0.

IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is the last release of OS/2 to operate on PCs with
80286 CPUs.  This version introduced built-in Adobe Type Manager (ATM),
providing scalable typefaces for screen and printer, and reduced memory
requirements.  Procedures Language/2 (a.k.a. REXX), a powerful batch-
oriented programming language, became a part of Standard Edition with
this release.  (A few OEMs are shipping Microsoft OS/2 Version 1.3, but
Microsoft has all but abandoned OS/2 development.)

OS/2 Version 1.2 was the first to incorporate the High Performance File
System (HPFS, which supports long file names).  With this release IBM
OS/2 added a dual boot mechanism and IBM Extended Edition introduced

OS/2 Version 1.1 was the first to include the Presentation Manager (PM)
GUI/API, now an integral part of the operating system.  Microsoft OEM
versions added a dual boot mechanism with this release.

OS/2 Version 1.0, introduced in 1987, was the first release of OS/2.
Task switching was accomplished through a character-based shell and
limited DOS compatibility was provided.


(3)	What is Extended Services/2?

Prior to Version 2.0, IBM offered two separate packages with each
release of OS/2: Standard Edition and Extended Edition.  Extended
Edition included extra, bundled software products: the Communications
Manager (for communication with IBM mainframes, minicomputers, and other
hosts), Database Manager (a full, network aware, relational database),
and LAN Requester.

IBM has now unbundled the Extended Edition features, dropped LAN
Requester from the package (now available separately, with IBM's LAN
Server product), updated it for OS/2 2.0, and renamed it Extended
Services/2 1.0.  ES/2, by itself, no longer includes the base operating
system as Extended Edition once did.

This new arrangement makes it easier to update the base operating system
with CSDs (see Question 24).  And now ES/2 1.0 will run under OS/2 1.3
Standard Edition as well as OS/2 2.0.  Also, ES/2 1.0, like OS/2 2.0
itself, is designed to operate on both IBM and non-IBM systems (see
Question 7).


(4)	How good is OS/2 2.0's DOS and Windows compatibility?

OS/2 1.x justifiably earned a reputation for poor DOS compatibility.
Since it was designed for the 80286, it could not run more than one DOS
application at a time.

The situation has changed dramatically with OS/2 2.0.  Version 2.0
preemptively multitasks DOS and Windows (real and standard mode)
applications in separate, protected sessions, without purchasing either

OS/2 2.0 provides a complete DOS emulation equivalent to DOS 5.0.  The
operating system can provide each DOS application with up to 32 MB of
EMS 4.0 (expanded memory), 16 MB of XMS 2.0 (extended memory), and/or
512 MB of DPMI 0.9 (DOS Protected Mode Interface extended memory), all
from its pool of physical and/or virtual memory (meaning you do not have
to have as much RAM in your system as your applications request).  These
limits are in addition to the up to 730K free conventional memory
supplied to each DOS application, even after mouse and network drivers
are loaded.  As in DOS 5.0, DOS code and device drivers may be loaded
into high memory.  A 386 memory manager like QEMM or 386Max is not
needed -- these features are provided by OS/2 2.0 directly.

The DOS emulation allows customization of device driver sets -- each DOS
application shares a systemwide CONFIG.SYS and the equivalent of its own
CONFIG.SYS.  Also, there is a systemwide AUTOEXEC.BAT file; batch
commands particular to each DOS application can be invoked using
separate, application-specific batch files.  And many DOS Settings are
provided to fine tune each DOS/Windows application's behavior (e.g.
DOS/Windows applications on your hard disk will be migrated
automatically when you install OS/2 2.0.

In addition, OS/2 2.0 will boot one or more specific versions of DOS in
separate sessions, to assist in running particularly difficult
applications.  So, for example, it is possible to multitask DOS 3.3, DOS
4.0, DOS 5.0, emulated DOS, and Desqview running atop DOS, all in
separate sessions, either windowed or full screen, all with the same
and/or separate device drivers, TSRs, environment variables, etc.  These
boot images may be stored on a hard disk.  (Under OS/2 2.0, the commands
VMBOOT, VMDISK, and the Installation Guide will assist in booting real
versions of DOS.)

Standard graphics modes (generally up to the resolution of the desktop;
see Question 11) are supported in DOS windows, as are selectable text
mode typefaces.  Cut/paste to/from windowed DOS applications is
supported (to/from other DOS, OS/2, and Windows applications), including
graphics cut/paste.  Theoretically, OS/2 2.0 will run up to 240
simultaneous DOS/Windows sessions; the practical maximum depends on
system resources.  OS/2 2.0 will provide math coprocessor emulation for
DOS/Windows programs if a math coprocessor is not present or if the 386
CPU's step level is below D0.  (Check your 80386's step level using the
utility 386Step, available from the OS/2 shareware/freeware sources; see
Question 9.  Run it under native DOS, i.e. not while running OS/2 2.0.)

OS/2 2.0 will, in fact, run virtually all DOS applications in existence,
including notorious ones such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Wing
Commander, Maple (latest version), MatLab (latest version), and others.
Those that do not run generally fall into the following categories:

(a)  Programs that use Virtual Control Program Interface (VCPI) memory
extenders or other extenders which require direct access to the 80386
control registers.  Since such applications are also all but
incompatible with Windows, most vendors have program updates for DPMI
compatibility, which OS/2 2.0 does support;

(b)  Application programs which attempt to directly address the physical
sectors of an OS/2 managed nonremoveable hard disk drive.  Such programs
include UnErase in Norton Utilities, for example.  Fortunately OS/2 2.0
has a built-in UnDelete feature which is more robust than Norton's
approach.  (Consult the online Command Reference for information on how
to enable UNDELETE);

(c)  Timing sensitive DOS applications.  Certain DOS programs that
generate digitized sound through the PC's internal speaker may have
distorted sound.  High speed, real time data collection may be
compromised.  These problems can often be minimized or even eliminated
using OS/2 2.0's DOS Settings.

(d)  DOS programming debuggers.  DOS applications running under OS/2 2.0
are not permitted to access the debug registers DR0-DR7 from a DOS
session.  Also, DOS debuggers will not be able to set hardware
breakpoints, and all read/write operations to debug registers in virtual
8086 mode will be ignored.

Generally DOS backup programs will work under OS/2 2.0, but they may not
capture some of the OS/2 data (especially extended attributes) on the
hard disk.  OS/2 backup tools are available, notably IBM's PMTape, Sytos
Plus, EZTape/PM, and a port of GNUtar.  DOS-based disk caching software
is not required since OS/2 includes a built-in, highly configurable,
more efficient disk cache.

DOS programs running under OS/2 2.0 are extremely fast.  A single DOS
application (no other applications open) running full screen under OS/2
2.0 typically achieves 95-97% of the performance it would have under
native DOS.  If the DOS application performs any disk I/O it can
actually operate faster than it would if running under native DOS.  It
is not unheard of for disk intensive DOS applications to run twice or
even three times as fast under OS/2 2.0.

If pure DOS is absolutely required, OS/2 2.0 includes a utility called
the Boot Manager.  The Boot Manager can provide a menu listing all the
operating systems available on the system and will allow selection of
any one at startup, with a default after timeout.  The OS/2 1.x DualBoot
method is still available as well.  Consult the OS/2 2.0 Installation
Guide for instructions on how to configure your system to use Boot
Manager or DualBoot.  Note that OS/2 2.0 need not be installed on Drive
C -- it can reside on other volumes.

Compatibility with Windows, a popular DOS extender, is provided by Win-
OS/2, an environment based on Microsoft's Windows source code.  It runs
Windows 2.x and 3.0 real mode and standard mode applications under OS/2
2.0, either on a full screen Windows desktop (with the familiar Program
Manager and one or more Windows applications) or "seamlessly," alongside
OS/2 applications on the WPS desktop.  "Seamless" operation is available
in VGA and XGA resolutions with OS/2 2.0 as it ships; see Question 11
for information on third party drivers.

CVTICO, a popular utility available from the OS/2 shareware/freeware
sources (see Question 9), will convert Windows icons for use by the OS/2
Icon Editor and/or OS/2-specific programs.  (No conversion is necessary
if the icons are to be used with Windows programs running under OS/2

OS/2 2.0 directly provides Windows enhanced mode features save one:
services included in WINMEM32.DLL.  Windows applications which utilize
this DLL (e.g. Mathematica 2.0, Omnipage Professional 1.0) will not run
under OS/2 2.0.  Fortunately the number of WINMEM32 applications is few,
and apparently the vendors of such applications will be shipping OS/2
2.0 compatible updates.

Windows applications are well integrated into the overall OS/2 WPS
environment with DDE and Clipboard hooks, and OLE 1.0 is supported among
Windows applications.  Adobe Type Manager for Win-OS/2 comes with OS/2
2.0 (see Question 25).  Windows screen (for a full screen desktop) and
printer device drivers will work under Win-OS/2.  Such notorious Windows
applications as Word for Windows, Norton Desktop (save portions
described above), Toolbook, and screen savers such as After Dark work
fine under Win-OS/2.  Even the Windows Multimedia Extensions (and
programs which utilize them) operate under Win-OS/2.

Win-OS/2 departs from Microsoft Windows in that it allows more than one
Windows desktop and can preemptively (rather than cooperatively)
multitask Windows applications in separate, robust, protected sessions.
Also, while the enhancements incorporated into Windows 3.1 are
functionally incorporated into Win-OS/2, Win-OS/2 is not technically
Windows 3.1 compatible.  IBM has demonstrated 3.1-level Win-OS/2, and it
is widely rumored that a free 3.1-level update will be available this
summer.  Aside from the Windows 3.1 applets there are no Windows 3.1-
specific applications available.  (Win-OS/2 will run the Windows 3.0
applets, but it does not include them.  Instead, a vast assortment of
true OS/2 2.0 applets are provided, including a spreadsheet, database
program, asynchronous communications program, time planning/scheduling
applets, a true programmer's editor, the System Editor, an icon editor,
games, and much more.)


(5)	Where can I buy OS/2?

Microsoft versions of OS/2 1.x are available only through OEMs (e.g.
Compaq, Dell) or by purchasing Microsoft's LAN Manager 2.1 or SQL Server
products.  Microsoft has all but ceased OS/2 development, working
instead on Windows and the future, high-end NT (formerly OS/2 3.0).

IBM OS/2 Version 2.0 is available from most software dealers (including
Elek-Tek, tel. 708-677-7660) and directly from IBM (tel. 800-3-IBM-OS2,
800-465-1234 in Canada).  OS/2 2.0 on 3.5 inch disks is part no.
84F7586.  For 5.25 inch disks, 10G2991.  Media are high density.  For
compact disc, 10G2992.  IBM OS/2 Version 1.3 is still available and may
be ordered through many IBM dealers.

IBM is trying to make OS/2 2.0 available everywhere DOS is purchased.
If your dealer does not stock OS/2 2.0, call IBM's order line and
mention the name of your dealer when you place your order.  IBM also has
plans to bundle OS/2 2.0 with new PS/1, PS/2, and non-IBM systems.


(6)	How much does OS/2 2.0 cost?

IBM OS/2 2.0 retails for USD 195.  However, in the United States
introductory pricing is available through July 31, 1992, by calling
IBM's order line (800-3-IBM-OS2).  Upgrades are free from OS/2 1.x, USD
49 from any version of Windows, USD 99 from any version of DOS, and USD
139 without an upgrade.  (An OS/2 1.x to 2.0 upgrade form, which you can
print out and send in, is available from OS/2 shareware/freeware
sources, see Question 9.  Version 1.x Extended Edition licensees receive
a free upgrade to OS/2 2.0 and ES/2 1.0; Version 1.x LAN Server
licensees receive LAN Server 2.0 at no charge.  All free OS/2 1.x to 2.0
upgrades are available until August 24, 1992.)  Similar promotions are
in effect in Canada and other countries.  Special pricing is available
for multiple OS/2 licenses.  Educational discounts are available but may
not apply to the introductory prices.  (IBM's educational inquiries line
in the U.S. is 800-222-7257.)


(7)	What hardware do I need to run IBM OS/2 2.0?  Do I need a PS/2?

You need any PC, PC compatible, PS/1, or PS/2 with at least an 80386SX
CPU, 4 MB (6 MB or more strongly recommended) of RAM (configured as 640K
base plus the remainder as extended memory, with at least 3968K total
RAM after system use), a 60 MB or larger hard disk (with 15-30 MB free),
a supported video adapter (CGA, EGA, VGA, 8514/A, XGA, or third party
driver) with appropriate display, and a high density 3.5 or 5.25 inch
floppy drive for installation.  A mouse or other pointing device is
strongly recommended.  Allow extra RAM and hard disk space for OS/2-
based networking, ES/2, and/or extra system loads (i.e. an extraordinary
number of large applications running simultaneously).  When calculating
hard disk space requirements, subtract space occupied by files already
on the hard disk which are functionally included in OS/2 2.0 and may be
deleted, e.g. DOS, a 386 memory manager, Windows, Adobe Type Manager
with base typefaces, etc.

The WPS will not operate with the Monochrome Display Adapter or the
Hercules Monochrome Graphics Adapter.  Usually the WPS will fail to work
with monochrome EGA.  However, some EGA adapters (e.g. Paradise
Monochrome EGA Card, ATI EGA Wonder) will emulate all color EGA modes on
TTL monochrome monitors and, thus, will work with the WPS.

On (E)ISA bus machines, OS/2 specifically supports hard drive adapters
which conform to the Western Digital chipset interface standard (i.e.
nearly all MFM, RLL, IDE, and ESDI adapters) and Adaptec, Future Domain,
and IBM SCSI adapters.  In addition, "generic" INT13 support is provided
for all other hard disk adapters.  This "generic" support even embraces
such devices as Iomega's Bernoulli and SyQuest's removeable media
products.  CD-ROM support is included as well.  At present the OS/2 CD-
ROM driver does not work with all brands, but the DOS device drivers,
when suitably configured and installed, will still provide CD-ROM
services to DOS/Windows programs.  Printer and plotter support is
discussed in Question 12.

Version 2.0 is explicitly supported on PC compatibles.  IBM is offering
a money back compatibility guarantee in the United States.  Should OS/2
2.0 fail to work on your compatible within the first 90 days of use, and
should IBM be unable to fix the problem, your purchase price will be
refunded.  To date over 200 non-IBM models have been tested in IBM's own


(8)	What applications are available for OS/2?

In addition to the thousands of applications available for DOS and
Windows, there are a couple thousand OS/2-specific applications
representing almost every category imaginable.

The DOS/Windows applications with 16-bit OS/2-specific counterparts
include Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance, Microsoft Word, Excel, Multiplan, Aldus
Pagemaker, Ventura Publisher, Corel Draw, WordPerfect, DisplayWrite,
DeScribe, Micrografx Designer, AutoCAD, Oracle, RBase, SAS, SPSS,
HyperAccess/5, DynaComm, Pro-YAM, Borland Sidekick, Paradox, Wingz,
Brief, QEdit, 4DOS, and many others.  In some cases DOS and OS/2
versions ship together (e.g. Microsoft Word 5.5, Lotus 1-2-3 3.0,

OS/2 2.0 provides an attractive, 32-bit, Workplace Shell environment for
new applications; many do not have DOS/Windows predecessors.  This new
class of 32-bit applications will include Lotus 1-2-3, Freelance,
cc:Mail, Notes, AmiPro, WordPerfect 6.0, N/Joy, DeScribe, Publisher's
Paintbrush, PFS:Works, CorelDraw, HyperAccess, Sybase, FAX/PM, and many
more.  Over 1000 new 32-bit OS/2 2.0 applications are slated for release
in the next year.

OS/2-specific versions of popular utilities include PKZIP/UNZIP, SEA's
ARC, LHA, Zoo 2.1, many GNU tools, tens of different file finders,
desktop clocks, calculators, and many more.  Programming languages
include Assembler, C++, COBOL, Pascal, C, Fortran, BASIC, REXX (included
with every copy of OS/2 2.0), Smalltalk, Modula-2, LISP, Forth, and
still more, from vendors such as Borland, Jensen and Partners
International, Watcom, Symantec (through its Zortech subsidiary), IBM,
Microway, and many more.  A full 32-bit development package, GNU C/C++
2.1, is available from OS/2 shareware/freeware sources (see Question 9).

The IBM NSC BBS (tel. 404-835-6600) provides an online product database
of OS/2-specific software.  A directory of OS/2 applications, IBM
document number G362-0029-00, is published by Graphics Plus, tel. 800-
READ-OS2.  TINF is an applications listing (for use with the OS/2 help
facility) available from the shareware/freeware sources listed below.


(9)	Where can I obtain OS/2 shareware and freeware?

Many BBSes hold large OS/2 libraries.  Fernwood (tel. 203-483-0348) has
over 50 MB worth.  The OS/2 Shareware BBS (703-385-4325), Bay Area OS/2
BBS (510-657-7948), and Greater Chicago Online (708-895-4042) carry
still more.  The IBM NSC BBS has some shareware/freeware as well, along
with CSDs (see Question 24) and the PS/2 Assistant (an invaluable
resource for locating almost any sort of information on OS/2).  IBM
Canada maintains several support BBSes (604-664-6466, 416-946-4255, and
514-938-3022 at 2400 bps; 604-664-6464 and 416-946-4244 at 9600 bps).
Information on IBM's new OS/2 BBS is included in the OS/2 2.0 package.

The Usenet conference comp.binaries.os2 carries OS/2 software.  And
several sites are available via anonymous ftp.  (No ftp?  Send a single
line message with the word HELP to [email protected] or
[email protected] to learn about ftp mail servers.)  They include
(with Internet node numbers and subdirectories):        pub/os2, pub/os2-1.x               os2:        pub/os2    msdos/os2          pub/os2    pub/os2                 os2

The last site should not be accessed weekdays from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30
p.m. Pacific Time.

Other sources include CompuServe ("GO IBMOS2") and a Bitnet/EARN archive
(send a single line message with the word HELP to
[email protected] for more information).


(10)	I am having trouble installing OS/2 2.0.  What should I do?

First consult the Installation Guide and other materials accompanying
OS/2 2.0.  Make sure your PC meets the system requirements in Question

And if the following instructions do not help, fall back on IBM's toll
free technical support (available in the U.S. and described in the OS/2
2.0 package).

Certain PC compatibles have difficulty accepting OS/2 2.0 (CSD level
02000 only; see Question 24), particularly AT bus systems with RLL, MFM,
ESDI, or certain SCSI adapters (e.g. AMI SCSI adapters).  The problem
usually appears in the form of FDISK errors, extremely slow copying to
the hard disk, or a whining/grating noise emanating from the hard disk.

IBM suggests a simple workaround.  First, DISKCOPY Diskette 1 of your
OS/2 2.0 package.  Set aside your original Diskette 1 and use the copy
from now on as if it were the original.  Using a text editor, modify the
CONFIG.SYS file on Diskette 1 (the copy), replacing the line
"basedev=ibm1s506.add" with "rem basedev=ibm1s506.add."  Boot the
Installation Disk, and proceed through the installation procedure
through the first five diskettes, then reinsert the Installation
Diskette as directed.  Then after files have been copied from the
Installation Diskette the system prompts you to remove the diskette and
press ENTER to reboot.  Do so, but immediately reinsert the Installation
Diskette as soon as the screen clears.  Follow instructions (insert
Diskette 1 and press ENTER when prompted), then press ESC when prompted.
At the OS/2 command line, type:
replacing C: with the appropriate drive if you are installing elsewhere.
Remove Diskette 1, then press CTRL-ALT-DEL to reboot and to finish

The mouse selection menu provided when installing is a bit confusing.
The Logitech Mouse selection should be chosen if you have a Mouse
Systems PC Mouse or a Logitech C7 or C9 serial mouse ONLY.  If you have
another Logitech pointing device, it is Microsoft compatible when
powered up, so select the appropriate Microsoft driver.  If you are
using a Logitech C7 or C9 mouse and have been using native DOS, be sure
to issue the command MOUSE PC (or MOUSE 2 PC if your mouse is attached
to COM2) before booting into or installing OS/2.  Alternatively, turn
off the system (to reset the mouse) before booting or installing OS/2.
(The Logitech Support BBS can be reached at 510-795-0408.)

Some PCs have trouble printing under OS/2 2.0.  This problem can often
be traced to an interrupt conflict, or a substandard cable or printer
adapter.  LPT1 uses IRQ 7 and LPT2, if installed, uses IRQ 5.
Interrupts should not be shared on AT bus machines.  The SoundBlaster
card, for example, comes set to IRQ 7.  Reset it to an unused interrupt.

Make sure adapters with on board ROMs are not conflicting with other
adapters.  For example, many SuperVGA adapters use large chunks of upper
memory, and many hard disk adapters have on board ROMs which can be
mapped into this area and conflict.  Adapters must cooperate in their
use of memory and interrupts and must not share address space or
interrupts.  Check your product manuals for more help.

Be sure adequate free disk space is available before installing,
including space for a swap file.  Drives compressed using Stacker or
similar utilities should be uncompressed before installing (unless
access to these drives is not needed).  OS/2 2.0 is not presently
compatible with Stacker or similar utilities.  However, an OS/2 2.0
version of Stacker is forthcoming.

Do not select HPFS when installing if your machine has 6 MB of RAM or
less.  Doing so will likely result in diminished performance.

Automatic migration of your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files is not
recommended.  If you have Windows 3.1 installed on your system do not
migrate your Windows desktop.

Be sure your CMOS setup parameters are set correctly, especially those
relating to floppy drives.

Be certain your adapter's sector translation mode is enabled if you are
using an MFM, RLL, or ESDI hard disk drive with more than 1024
cylinders.  The 1024 cylinder limit is a BIOS constraint.

Certain Quantum IDE hard disk drives require a free ROM update from the
manufacturer to work with OS/2.

"Autoswitching" on non-IBM EGA adapters should be disabled (usually with
a DIP switch or jumper setting).  In rare cases it may be necessary to
switch third party VGA adapters into 8-bit mode.

OS/2 is particularly sensitive to bad RAM (often reflected in TRAP 2
error messages).  Use a thorough RAM testing utility, and try not to mix
9 chip and 3 chip SIMMs/SIPPs.

The HP DeskJet and DeskJet Plus printers work, without loss of
functionality, using the Epson EPL-7000 driver (with Fast System Fonts
disabled and bin selection ignored).  An explicit choice at installation
is provided for the DeskJet 500 -- look carefully.  The Epson EPL-7000
driver may also be used to operate the DeskJet 500.  As of this writing
a DeskJet 500C color driver (for OS/2-specific programs) is not yet

Allow several minutes for OS/2 2.0 to build your desktop (and display
icons) at the end of installation -- take the Tutorial offered to you in
the meantime.  Select Shutdown and reboot once after installation
completes to ensure that DOS/Windows applications will operate properly.
Avail yourself of the "Start Me" icon, the other online help, and the
README file located in the root directory.  They will help in getting
started with the Workplace Shell, the new paradigm introduced with OS/2
2.0, and in properly configuring your system.

When installing over a beta version of OS/2 be sure to reformat.


(11)	Will OS/2 2.0 work with my SuperVGA adapter?

If you have a SuperVGA adapter, OS/2 2.0 should initially be installed
using the standard VGA driver.  (If you have an ATI Vantage or Ultra
adapter, or some other 8514/A hardware compatible adapter, install using
the 8514/A driver.)  Then consult the README file OS/2 copies to your
root directory for more information on SuperVGA support.

OS/2 2.0 comes with basic mode switching capabilities to handle
applications which utilize SuperVGA modes.  If OS/2 2.0 detects a
SuperVGA adapter it will list two SuperVGA support files, VSVGA.SYS and
BVHSVGA.DLL, in your CONFIG.SYS file.  (A replacement VSVGA.SYS file,
fixing Tseng 4000 and TRAP E problems, is available from
shareware/freeware sources under the name VSVGAFX1; see Question 9.)
But to enable this mode switching support you must start a DOS full
screen session, issue the command SVGA ON, EXIT, Shutdown, and reboot.
SVGA ON creates a text file called \OS2\SVGADATA.PMI which describes
your SuperVGA adapter to the system.  Then you may install high
resolution drivers.  Aside from DOS applications (which may require
their own drivers), OS/2 2.0 requires up to three high resolution
support files:

\OS2\DLL\DISPLAY.DLL                 Workplace Shell display driver
\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM\VGA.DRV      Win-OS/2 full screen driver
\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM\SWINVGA.DRV  Win-OS/2 "seamless" driver

You may replace any one of these individually for high resolution
operation in each given mode, but be sure to keep a backup copy of the
original file(s).  The "seamless" Win-OS/2 and WPS desktop driver files
must match (in terms of resolution and number of colors) if you wish to
run Windows programs "seamlessly."  Any suitable Windows 3.0 SuperVGA
driver will work as a Win-OS/2 full screen driver, but be sure to use
the EXPAND utility (as described in README) when installing.

OS/2 1.3 SuperVGA drivers often serve, with some limitations, as WPS
desktop drivers.  Use the command DDINSTAL to replace DISPLAY.DLL.
Setting IOPL=YES in CONFIG.SYS may be required when installing a new

As of this writing Trident is the only third party vendor with OS/2 2.0
high resolution drivers, although several other manufacturers have
promised drivers.  When available they will be provided through OS/2
shareware/freeware sources (see Question 9).

IBM was unable to test all SuperVGA adapters, so if you are experiencing
problems report them through IBM's toll free support (in the U.S.,
described in the OS/2 2.0 package) or to the adapter manufacturer.


(12)	Will OS/2 2.0 work with my printer?

OS/2 2.0 includes support for the Hewlett-Packard LaserJet, DeskJet (see
Question 10), and PaintJet families; IBM ExecJets, Proprinters,
Quickwriters, Quietwriters, Pageprinters, and Laserprinters; Epson dot
matrix and laser printers; Postscript devices; and other printers (e.g.
Panasonic) compatible with these families.  A variety of IBM and HP
plotters is also supported.

DOS/Windows printer drivers continue to work for DOS/Windows
applications.  OS/2 2.0 includes a large assortment of Windows printer
drivers for Win-OS/2.  If necessary install Windows printer drivers
using the Win-OS/2 Control Panel.  OS/2 2.0 and OS/2 1.3 printer drivers
are interchangeable.

If your printer is not compatible with one of the drivers supplied with
OS/2, check with the printer manufacturer first then with OS/2
shareware/freeware sources (see Question 9).  If you own an IBM printer,
check with the Lexmark BBS (tel. 606-232-5653).


(13)	How do I access HPFS partitions on my hard drive without booting
	from the hard drive?  I'm getting error messages now -- how do I
	"repair" my hard disk?

With IBM OS/2 2.0, insert the Installation Diskette, Shutdown (if
necessary), and reboot.  When prompted insert Diskette 1 and press
ENTER.  When prompted, press ESC.  You will be given an OS/2 command
line prompt.  From there you can make necessary changes to your hard
disk -- an OS/2 character mode text editor is handy for such changes.
(Make sure you backup CONFIG.SYS before making any changes so that you
can easily revert to the old version should things go wrong.)

You may use this diskette boot method to run CHKDSK on your DOS FAT,
OS/2 FAT, or OS/2 HPFS partitions.  After you reach the command line,
insert Diskette 2.  Then type A:\CHKDSK X: /F to repair most kinds of
damage to your hard disk, replacing X with the appropriate drive letter.
OS/2 CHKDSK will also remark your hard disk, if possible, as accessible
should OS/2 "lock it out" for some reason.

The best way to avoid the need to perform CHKDSK is to always select
Shutdown.  Click on the Workplace Shell desktop background using mouse
button two to bring up the appropriate menu.  Also, avoid deleting OS/2-
related files when using native DOS.


(14)	I can't install OS/2 2.0 from Drive B.  What's wrong?

IBM OS/2 2.0 can only be installed from Drive A, like DOS (unless your
BIOS supports booting from Drive B), or across a network (contact IBM
for more information on network installation procedures).  If you have
the wrong disk size go back to your dealer and obtain the correct media.
Otherwise you could go inside your machine and swap floppy drive cable
connectors, use your system's setup utility to set the new CMOS
parameters, and then install OS/2 from the "new" Drive A.  Sometimes the
floppy drive cable connectors will not be the same.  If so you can
obtain an adapter plug.


(15)	Is there a Norton Utilities for OS/2?

Not yet, although Norton Desktop, Norton Utilities, and Norton Commander
all work under OS/2 2.0's DOS/Windows sessions (with limitations noted
in Question 4).  But the GammaTech Utilities should fill the role.
Contact their publisher at tel. 405-359-1219.  Note that OS/2 2.0 has a
built-in UnDelete utility (see the README file or online help), and HPFS
is resistant to fragmentation (see Question 18).


(16)	Sometimes OS/2 2.0 will freeze when I run an application?  What do
	I do?

Before rebooting with CTRL-ALT-DEL, try CTRL-ESC.  Do not hit additional
keys, do not move the mouse.  Wait up to a minute.  In most cases the
Window List or an error message will pop up.  If you wish you may close
the offending application at that point.  Try ALT-ESC if you have
disabled CTRL-ESC in that application's DOS Settings.


(17)	My dealer doesn't know OS/2 from Unix.  How can I get answers to
	my OS/2 questions?

If your question is not answered in this List, post a note to the
appropriate Usenet conference: comp.os.os2.apps carries discussions
related to finding or using any application running under OS/2,
comp.os.os2.programmer addresses anything related to OS/2 programming,
and comp.os.os2.misc is for any other OS/2-related discussion.  These
groups are watched closely by IBM's OS/2 development team.  Also,
comp.lang.rexx discusses REXX programming.  BLEKUL11 (on Bitnet/EARN)
distributes its own OS/2 conference by mail; send a single line message
with the word HELP to [email protected] for full instructions.
An unedited mailing list is also available; send a single line message
with the word HELP to [email protected]

Your local FidoNet BBS may carry OS/2 echo conferences.  If not, ask
your system operator to get ahold of them.  CompuServe ("GO IBMOS2") and
Prodigy are also excellent resources.

The IBM NSC BBS was established as a support forum.  That BBS's message
areas, product database, and PS/2 Assistant file(s) are invaluable
resources.  Information on the new OS/2 BBS is included in the OS/2 2.0
package.  In the United States IBM has toll free technical support
(described in the OS/2 2.0 package; report problems there), an OS/2
Hotline (general information, orders, upgrades, tel. 800-3-IBM-OS2), the
HelpWare Center (tel. 800-PS2-2227), and an educational inquiries line
(see Question 6).  In Canada call IBM Personal Systems Software at 800-
465-1234.  OS/2 2.0 developers should contact the IBM Developer
Assistance Program at 407-982-6408.  IBM offers classes worldwide to
help in using and programming OS/2 2.0; call your local IBM branch
office (or the OS/2 Hotline) for more information.

OS/2 has its own magazines as well.  To subscribe to IBM Personal
Systems Developer, a quarterly publication, telephone 407-982-1105.  For
information on OS/2 Monthly send netmail to JDS Publishing at
[email protected] or telephone 908-985-8358.

OS/2 2.0 books include Deitel and Kogan, "The Design of OS/2," Addison-
Wesley, ISBN 0-201-54889-5; and Que's "Using OS/2 2.0."  Your bookstore
should be able to order these and other titles.

Any of the regular DOS or Windows resources (e.g. books, magazines,
shareware/freeware sources) will be useful since both environments come
with OS/2 2.0.


(18)	Why should I use HPFS?  What does it offer me?  Does it work with

HPFS offers long file names (up to 254 characters including the path,
greatly exceeding the "8 dot 3" limit in FAT/DOS file systems),
resistance to file fragmentation, improved media error handling, and
speedier disk operation, particularly on large hard disks, on systems
with more than 6 MB of RAM.  HPFS is not case sensitive, although it
does preserve case in file names.

However, HPFS is not currently supported on removeable media, although
some programs (e.g. BACKUP) preserve long file names on such FAT disks.
Also, native mode DOS cannot access a HPFS partition.  However,
DOS/Windows sessions running under OS/2 can use all files that conform
to the "8 dot 3" naming conventions, even if they are stored on HPFS


(19)	I'm a Unix wizard.  How do I make OS/2 resemble Unix?

A great number of GNU and Unix utilities have been ported to OS/2 native
mode and are available from the shareware/freeware sources listed above.
A uucp package, UUPC/Extended, is available via anonymous ftp from, directory pub/uupc; netmail [email protected] with

In addition, the Hamilton C Shell is available from Hamilton Labs, tel.
508-358-5715 or netmail [email protected]  The Thompson Toolkit, a
Bourne-like shell, is published by Thompson Automation, tel. 206-224-
1639.  Thompson offers a version of awk as well.  MKS (tel. 519-884-2251
or netmail [email protected]) publishes a number of standard Unix utilities
for OS/2.  Argosoft (tel. 510-795-7921) publishes ARGO/UX, a BSD 4.3
Unix compatible environment.  For OS/2-specific X Windows server
support, IBM provides an optional package available with its TCP/IP 1.2
for OS/2.  The TCP/IP 1.2 base package includes a news reader as a
sample application.

DOS and Windows based utilities and aids still work fine under OS/2 2.0.


(20)	I prefer Windows.  How do I make OS/2 2.0 resemble Windows (or
	OS/2 1.3)?

At first the Workplace Shell may seem strange and different.  Use it for
a while and then decide.

If you still feel you want change how OS/2 2.0 works, follow the
instructions beginning on p. 29 in the "Migrating to the OS/2 Workplace
Shell" booklet.


(21)	I would like to set up an OS/2 BBS.  What is available?

OS/2 is an excellent environment for BBS operation (even using
DOS/Windows software), including large multiline facilities.  Related
software will enable FidoNet capabilities, gateways to Usenet/UUCP,
nodelist processing, additional file transfer protocols, and more.

Five popular OS/2-specific BBSes are Maximus and Simplex (available from
the shareware/freeware sources listed above), Omega Point/2 (BBS tel.
404-564-1961), Magnum (tel. 818-706-9800, BBS tel. 818-706-9805), and
Multi-Net (tel. 503-883-8099, BBS tel. 503-883-8197).


(22)	Can I use COM3 and COM4 in OS/2?

COM3 and COM4 are supported on PS/2s without any additional effort.  On
(E)ISA machines, some additions are required to CONFIG.SYS.  Using a
text editor, include "(port number, base address, interrupt number)"
parameters next to the COM.SYS and VCOM.SYS filenames.  One example:
	DEVICE=C:\OS2\COM.SYS (3,3E8,5) (4,2E8,3)
	DEVICE=C:\OS2\MDOS\VCOM.SYS (3,3E8,5) (4,2E8,3)
You do not have to include parameters for COM1 and COM2 (unless they are
somehow nonstandard).

Note that AT bus COM ports cannot be used at the same time if they share
interrupts because of bus design limitations (cf. Roger C. Alford,
"Under the Hood: How Interrupts Work," Byte, February, 1992, pp. 249-
256).  PolyCom, a replacement driver available from the OS/2
shareware/freeware sources (see Question 9), supports up to eight ports
with the right hardware.

"Smart" (coprocessor controlled) multiport communication adapters should
be used when installing more than four ports.  Such an adapter will work
with OS/2 if the manufacturer has written an appropriate driver.
Examples include IBM's ARTIC products, Digitalk (tel. 213-645-1082) and
Stargate (tel. 800-782-7428) adapters.


(23)	How do I start a background process from the OS/2 command line?

Look up the START and DETACH commands in the online Command Reference.


(24)	What are CSDs, how do I tell which I have, and where do I get

CSDs are Corrective Service Diskettes, or bug fixes, periodically issued
by IBM.  The OS/2 CSD level number may be obtained using the command
SYSLEVEL from the OS/2 command line prompt.  CSDs are cumulative, i.e.
only the most recent CSD is required to bring a system up from any
previous CSD level.  However, CSDs only apply within a major version
number.  For example, an upgrade, not a CSD, would bring OS/2 Version
1.3 up to Version 2.0.  Note also that each national language (e.g.
French, U.K. English) uses a distinct CSD.

CSDs may be ordered by anyone with an IBM customer number (usually large
sites) directly from IBM Defect Support (tel. 800-237-5511).  OS/2 users
without customer numbers should ask authorized IBM dealers to order CSDs
from that source.  Many dealers do not know about this program, so be
persistent.  CSDs may also be downloaded from the IBM NSC BBS,
CompuServe ("GO IBMOS2"), or from other OS/2 shareware/freeware sources
(see Question 9).  And CSDs may be ordered through IBM's new OS/2 BBS.

The most recent OS/2 2.0 CSD level will be listed in this List and in
the PS/2 Assistant files.


(25)	How do I add new Adobe Type Manager typefaces?

OS/2 2.0 comes with built-in Adobe Type Manager for OS/2 and Win-OS/2.
A basic set of typefaces comes with OS/2 2.0 and is installed for use
under OS/2's ATM.  To install these same typefaces for use under Win-
OS/2's ATM, go to the Win-OS/2 ATM Control Panel and install the
typefaces from Printer Diskette 5.

Each typeface should come with three separate files with PFB, AFM, and
PFM extensions.  To install a typeface for use under Win-OS/2, use the
ATM Control Panel.  To install a typeface for use with OS/2-specific
applications, select OS/2 System -> System Setup -> Font Palette -> Edit
Font... -> Add.

PFM files may converted to AFM files using the PFM2AFM utility,
available from many OS/2 shareware/freeware sources (see Question 9).
Also, AFM files for Adobe commercial typefaces can be obtained via
netmail; send a single line message with the word HELP to ps-file-
[email protected] for instructions.

With the exception of the basic set of typefaces that comes with OS/2
2.0, typeface files may be shared by OS/2 ATM and Win-OS/2 ATM.  To do
so, install the typefaces to a directory listed in LIBPATH in CONFIG.SYS
(most conveniently \OS2\DLL).


(26)	How do I tweak OS/2 2.0 for maximum performance?

For OS/2 overall, the parameters MAXWAIT, TIMESLICE, PRIORITY,
PRIORITY_DISK_IO, and cache settings (in the DISKCACHE and/or IFS lines)
can be tweaked.  These parameters are documented in the online Command

If not using HPFS (which should only be used on systems with more than 6
MB of RAM), periodically defragment FAT partitions using an appropriate
utility.  A shareware defragmenter for DOS called DOG (Disk OrGanizer)
works well.  (You can boot DOS from a floppy disk to run such a

For the Workplace Shell, drag shadows of most often used items to the
desktop or folders closer to the "surface" -- opening folders takes
time.  Drag shadows of programs you use often (e.g. the Win-OS/2 full
screen Program Manager) to the Startup folder.  Disable animation (go to
OS/2 System -> System Setup -> System -> Window).

For DOS programs, run full screen instead of windowed if speed is
important.  In DOS Settings for each application: reduce conventional,
XMS, DPMI, and EMS memory allocations to the bare minimum required for
maximum performance; turn off VIDEO_RETRACE_EMULATION unless necessary;
needed; change the HW_TIMER setting (particularly for games); enable
VIDEO_FASTPASTE if possible.  Communications programs should use
hardware handshaking where possible (use OS/2's MODE COMx command if
necessary), and a buffered UART can prove helpful.  For faster printing
set the DOS program's output port to LPTx.OS2 (where x is the printer
port number) -- use a "print to file" option if necessary.  Other,
standard steps to enhance DOS performance (e.g. increasing BUFFERS in
CONFIG.SYS) of course apply.

For Windows programs, run using a full screen desktop if speed is vital.
The Win-OS/2 Full Screen icon set up by the installation program has
poor Settings.  For better performance perform some of the same steps
outlined in the preceding paragraph.  The same advice applies for
printer output.  In addition, the Print Manager should be disabled (OS/2
provides a systemwide spooler).  From the Win-OS/2 desktop close the
Print Manager, uncheck the "Use Print Manager" box from the Win-OS/2
Control Panel -> Printers section, then, using a text editor, edit the
\OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM.INI file, removing the ",!printman" entry from
the MAVDMApps line.  (This last step will keep a warning dialog box from
appearing each time you start the Win-OS/2 desktop.)  Consider disabling
the Public setting in the Clipboard.

Try reducing the number of on screen colors or dropping down in screen
resolution to enhance speed.  Close (not just minimize; check the Window
List) unnecessary objects and applications.  Consider adding more RAM.

Shadow RAM should be disabled (using your system's CMOS setup program)
for best performance unless that RAM is not released by the system for
use by OS/2.


(27)	What networking products are available for OS/2 2.0?

In addition to DOS/Windows products, OS/2-specific TCP/IP support is
available from IBM, Essex Systems (tel. 508-532-5511), FTP Software
(send netmail to [email protected]), and others.  NetWare Requester for OS/2
is available from Novell; NetWare server has been demonstrated by IBM.
IBM offers both NetWare and LAN Server 2.0 (basic and advanced) with LAN
Requesters.  Microsoft offers LAN Manager 2.1 (which comes bundled with
OS/2 1.3) and is working on an OS/2 2.0-specific network requester.  DEC
sells Pathworks for OS/2.  [Banyan Vines?  Others?]


(28)	Should I worry about viruses when running OS/2 2.0?

At present there are no OS/2-specific viruses.  However, DOS/Windows
viruses can conceivably infect an OS/2 2.0 system.  DOS/Windows
antivirus tools are just as useful in preventing such infection.  Also,
IBM has an antivirus package which runs under OS/2 directly (without
DOS/Windows emulation), and others are on the way.

But OS/2 2.0 is likely to be much more resistant to viruses because of
its design.  Viruses running in one virtual DOS/Windows session are
likely to be confined to that session.  Low level disk access is
curtailed under OS/2 2.0, thus preventing most virus infection at that
level.  And when a DOS/Windows virus does trigger, it is far less likely
to disrupt the entire system.

OS/2 2.0 is by no means virus proof -- no system is.  But it should
prove more resistant to virus infection.


(29)	Are there any clever tricks that apply to OS/2 2.0?

If you have installed the optional bitmaps, try clicking on the
Workplace Shell desktop background once with mouse button one and
pressing CTRL-ALT-SHIFT-O.

If you have a color monitor, try editing your CONFIG.SYS file so that
	SET PROMPT=$e[32;40m$e[1m[$P]$e[0m
to obtain a more colorful OS/2 command line prompt.  You can do the same
for your DOS sessions if you edit PROMPT in AUTOEXEC.BAT, assuming you
have ANSI.SYS loaded.

To force DIR to display your directories in alphabetical order, with the
subdirectories listed first, edit CONFIG.SYS so that
and, if you wish the same for your DOS command line sessions, use DOSKEY
in AUTOEXEC.BAT (see the online Command Reference).  DOSKEY also enables
command history.  (Shutdown and reboot for changes to CONFIG.SYS to take

Timothy F. Sipples       Keeper of the OS/2 Frequently Asked Questions
[email protected]  List, available via anonymous ftp from
Dept. of Economics, directory pub/os2/faq, or via
Univ. of Chicago  60637  netmail from [email protected]