Michael Maardt: PC since 1984 • on the net since 1990.

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 conventional 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!

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

?#8364;?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

?#8364;?and so on with normal AUTOEXEC.BAT

goto end

:GAMES1

LH smartdrv

goto end

:GAMES2

:end 

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You are on michaelmaardt.com • © Michael Maardt 21. Jul. 2018