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PC DOS 2000 Details

PC DOS has many features, and significant enhancements in usability and performance. This article gives details about all of the major features in PC DOS.


PC DOS establishes IBM as the leader in providing new DOS technology to the computer industry. PC DOS is the most full-featured DOS in the marketplace, and its APIs are 100% MS-DOS and Windows compatible, making PC DOS the best choice for all DOS and DOS/Windows users.

With PC DOS, users can get up to 40 KB of additional free memory, Stacker 4.0 compression, file synchronization, REXX programming, docking support, online help, enhanced PCMCIA support, and much more. In addition, PC DOS is available in 18 languages.

Memory Management

DOS users want to maximize the available conventional memory, but running a DOS application while ensuring that enough memory is still available for other programs can be challenging as well as frustrating.

PC DOS addresses this challenge by employing a variety of memory reduction techniques. PC DOS requires less conventional memory than DOS 6.x for comparable function, freeing more memory for user applications. The extra conventional memory available to PC DOS applications typically ranges from 5 KB to 40 KB.

These PC DOS components have been optimized to use less memory:

COMMAND.COM
DOSKEY.COM
MOUSE.COM
MSCDEX.EXE
RAMBOOST.EXE
SMARTDRV.EXE
ANSI.SYS
DISPLAY.SYS
HIMEM.SYS
RAMDRIVE.SYS

The following switches or techniques are implemented in PC DOS for memory savings:

  • MOVEXBDAHIGH loads the XBDA (eXtended BIOS Data Area) into upper memory, if available.
  • FASTA20 increases the A20 handling speed and improves performance.
  • DOSDATA=UMB loads the system tables (FILES, FCBS, BUFFERS, LASTDRIVE, STACKS) into upper memory if available (DOS=UMB must be in effect, and a upper memory manager must be installed).· DOSDATA=NOUMB loads the system tables into conventional memory (this is the default).
  • IBMBIO code has been moved to the High Memory Area (HMA). PC DOS dynamically allocates IBMBIO data as needed.
  • Compression can now be loaded into protected mode using DPMS. This frees up approximately 20 KB of conventional memory.

Memory Manager: PC DOS's memory manager is EMM386 (not to be confused with the RAMBoost optimizer). With EMM386, you no longer have to choose between EMS and XMS when starting their systems.

EMM386 makes use of available UMB (Upper Memory Block) RAM. Its search algorithm finds more free space in the High Memory Area (HMA), as well as in unallocated areas of memory. EMM386 can also allocate expanded and extended memory from shared pools.

Memory Optimizer: PC DOS has an integrated memory optimizer, RAMBoost, that automatically and dynamically keeps your system's memory optimized. RAMBoost attempts to find the best arrangement for device drivers and for terminate and stay resident (TSR) programs within UMB. Because it frees up conventional memory (under 640 KB), you can now run DOS programs that may have previously experienced memory shortage problems.

The RAMBoost optimizer in PC DOS works much like other optimizers. First, it scans your configuration files and determines which TSRs and device drivers are being loaded. Next, it probes memory and orders the TSRs and device drivers in what it determines is the optimal way. Finally, it saves the optimized configuration and restarts your PC.

But RAMBoost goes one step further: it provides "dynamic optimization," an intelligent learning and tracking feature that watches over your system configuration. If you have modified your configuration (such as by adding programs), and the configuration watcher detects a change in any of the tracked files, RAMBoost asks you if you would like to re-optimize. If you respond with YES, RAMBoost goes into LEARN mode and optimizes your system. Otherwise, you can select NO and optimize at a later time.

Alternately, you can set RAMBoost to AUTOMODE. In this mode, RAMBoost does not ask the user whether to re-optimize. Instead, RAMBoost automatically re-optimizes whenever the configuration watcher detects changes. This technique requires no user intervention. In comparison, MS-DOS's MemMaker does not implement dynamic memory optimization. Instead, MemMaker uses the static approach, and you are responsible for knowing when to run MemMaker.

PC DOS's RAMBoost now prompts you if it finds an EMM386 statement in your CONFIG.SYS. You then have the choice of either letting RAMBoost create a new EMM386 statement or using the existing EMM386 statement. (In DOS 6.x, if an EMM386 line was found, it was used as-is, but if it was not configured correctly or optimally, the user would not realize the best possible memory savings.) Although it is usually preferable to permit RAMBoost to create a new EMM386 statement, PC DOS offers a choice to accommodate the user who has previously set up the EMM386 statement in a particular way and wants to continue using that statement.

Another feature in RAMBoost is its multi-configuration awareness. RAMBoost searches the CONFIG.SYS file to determine whether PC DOS's multi-configuration support has been implemented. If found, PC DOS optimizes and tracks each environment separately, giving you dynamically optimized memory utilization in multi-configuration environments. MS-DOS's MemMaker is not multi-configuration-aware.

Additional UMB Device-Driver Support: PC DOS includes support for device drivers found in 8088 and 80286 computers. Users who have video cards or EMS boards can realize as much as 60 KB of additional free memory. By adding these drivers, PC DOS supports users who have EGA, VGA, or EMS cards. With PC DOS, the extra memory found in these cards won't be wasted.

Advanced Upper Memory Usage Editor: If you are an experienced user, PC DOS comes with an easy-to-use graphical editor that allows you to directly manipulate the High Memory Area (HMA).

Data Compression

PC DOS includes Stacker for Windows and DOS. This award-winning data compression standard safely increases your disk capacity. Upgrading from prior compression technologies such as MS-DOS DoubleSpace/DriveSpace, PC DOS SuperStor/DS, or earlier versions of Stacker is fast and easy. Even with its many features, Stacker is designed to use less conventional memory then other compression programs.

Stacker's patented LZS compression and the new Stacker SmartPack, both of which are in PC DOS, combine to give you a better compression ratio and more disk space than any other data compression product. Whereas other compression schemes have, at best, an average 1.7-to-1 compression ratio, Stacker enables a typical 100 MB disk to hold 250 MB of data. Stacker is the first real-time software compression technology that breaks through the 2-to-1 compression barrier, more than doubling your hard disk's capacity.

PC DOS's new compression features give you:

  • Easy access to your Stacker-compressed drives, from either a DOS or Windows Toolbox. You can easily see how much free space is available, how fragmented the drives are, when the data was last backed up, which compression settings are being used, the current compression ratio, and disk usage information.
  • The ability to read and write data on compressed disks on another computer, anywhere - even if that computer does not have Stacker compression installed. Stacker Anywhere, Stacker's transportable floppy technology (called Universal Data Exchange in PC DOS 6.3), makes using compressed diskettes practical in all environments. In contrast, with MS-DOS's compression scheme, you cannot read from or write to compressed diskettes unless both computers are running the same compression scheme, i.e., DriveSpace or DoubleSpace.
  • Easy conversion from DriveSpace, DoubleSpace, SuperStor/DS, or other Stacker drives to the new Stacker 4.0 compression algorithim. The resulting conversion yields more space and reliability.
  • More free memory then other compression schemes, by loading the compression driver into protected mode using DPMS support. The compression driver uses only 17 KB of memory in the address space below 1 MB.
  • Fine-tuning options to control the balance between how tightly and how quickly you want data compressed. The Stacker Tuner controls the balance between how fast Stacker works (MaxSpeed) and how tightly it compresses data (MaxSpace). Stacker Setup automatically sets the Tuner to maximum space, which gives you maximum compression. You can fine-tune your compression settings with the three Toolbox settings, or by editing the STACKER.INI file.
  • Protection for your data. Every time you start your system, PC DOS runs AutoProtect to ensure that your data is in good condition.
  • Reminders, by flashing an icon or sounding an audio tone, when maintenance tasks need to be performed. You can customize PC DOS's compression to let you know when the disk is getting full, it is time to back up files, or it is time to optimize the disk drive.
  • The ability to check the integrity of your Stacker drive and to fix any errors, by using the Check tool option, which examines your data and drive integrity. Checking drive integrity includes:
    • Checking the file structures on the disk
    • Repairing any errors found
    • Checking the disk media (surface scan).
  • An estimate, based on the kind of data on your hard disk, of how much your data will compress. (Compression ratios vary depending on the type of data.) No longer do you have to guess which ratio to enter - PC DOS automatically adjusts its compression based on the data in the system, always giving you the most possible space.
  • Password protection for your compressed drives. By assigning passwords to your compressed drives, you can ensure that only you or users you specify have access to information on these drives. PC DOS supports read/write or read-only passwords.

Backup

PC DOS includes a full-featured DOS and Windows version of Central Point's PC Tools Backup utility program. Both user interfaces are easy and intuitive, using a treeview display of your file system for easy point-and-click operations. However, if you do not want to use the DOS or Windows interface, PC DOS lets you run Backup from the command line.

This full-featured backup utility comes with features not found in other DOS products. These features include valuable file viewers (for both DOS and Windows files) that let you view the contents of files prior to backing them up. The Backup program also includes a very easy-to-use scheduler program that you can use to back up your hard disks during a time when the computer is otherwise idle.

With today's hard disks exceeding 300 MB, a full backup solution must include the ability to back up to tape. PC DOS supports tape backup to many tape formats, including QIC 40/80 and SCSI. You can also specify to have your data compressed during backup to tape.

PC DOS supports a wide array of backup media, including:

  • Tape
  • Optical
  • Hard disk
  • Diskette
  • High-speed diskette
  • Removable disk drive

On-line Help System

The PC DOS Viewer is an online publication viewer. It lets you search, view, and print information in online books created by the OS/2 IPF Compiler. With PC DOS, you can now easily access information online and fast.

This versatile viewer includes features like hypertext links, extended print, and search capabilities. It uses a subset of the IPF standard format, and can read other books that use this format (.INF extension).

Included in PC DOS are three online books:

  • PC DOS Command Reference (CMDREF.INF)
  • REXX Information (DOSREXX.INF)
  • PC DOS Error Messages (DOSERROR.INF)

To create an .INF document viewable by the DOS Viewer, you need to use the OS/2 Toolkit, which contains the OS/2 IPF Compiler. IBM's Information Presentation Facility Guide and Reference, order number S10G-6262, gives detailed information for using and creating IPF-based books.

Note that PC DOS handles only a subset of the IPF tags documented for OS/2. Even though PC DOS can view OS/2 .INF files, it cannot display OS/2 books that use tags not supported by the DOS Viewer. The subset of supported IPF tags is documented in the PC DOS Red Book, order number GG24-4459. The OS/2 Toolkit is included in The Developer Connection for OS/2, a subscription service available by calling 1-800-6-DEVCON.

Features in the PC DOS online help facility are:

  • Multipane viewer, which lets you view the table of contents along with the item.
  • Hyperlinks, highlighted words or phrases that link you to related subjects and topics.
  • Services, which let you search by keyword, print one or more sections, or copy information to an ASCII file.
  • Options, which let you change the way information is displayed on your screen by selecting from: Expand one level, Expand branch, Expand all, Collapse branch, Collapse all, Contents, and Index.

Docking Support

Mobile users who have Plug and Play (PnP)-enabled hardware can take advantage of "cold," "warm," and "hot" docking support. Indeed, PC DOS's docking support could eliminate the need to reboot your docking station whenever you dock your mobile PC. Whether you need to reboot will depend on what is connected to your docking station.

Cold docking means that, when a mobile PC is docked, it must be rebooted in order to recognize any of its associated peripherals. Cold docking support in PC DOS was enhanced with the multi-configuration support implemented in DOS 6.x.

In warm docking, a mobile PC is in a suspended state when a docking event occurs. In this situation, many if not all of the associated peripherals are recognized and activated. In hot docking, a mobile PC is fully active when docked, and many if not all peripherals are recognized and activated. In PC DOS, docking support has been extended to both warm and hot docking.

DOSDOCK: Accompanying this new docking support is the ability to configure a mobile PC to execute a predefined command, batch file, or program when either docking or undocking takes place. This new function, called DOSDOCK, executes at the DOS command line. It loads and remains resident, waiting for the docking or undocking event. When the event occurs, DOS-DOCK examines the environment for the docking or undocking parameters, and (depending on the Plug and Play interrupt received) tells DOS to execute the docking or undocking command. A message informs you that the docking or undocking support is executing. DOS-DOCK greatly enhances usability, and makes docking and undocking a PC simple and painless.

Docking support cannot be activated while running Windows. However, PC DOS notifies you, in a pop-up Windows message, that you must shut down Windows to allow the DOSDOCK operation to commence.

DYNALOAD: A new command, DYNALOAD, enables you to dynamically load certain device drivers from the C: prompt without requiring you to modify your CONFIG.SYS and restart your computer. DYNALOAD does not run under Windows, in a VDM, or while a task swapper is active.

The PC DOS Command Reference lists the drivers shipped with DOS that are supported by DYNALOAD. However, users may find that many additional device drivers are DYNALOAD-able. Because there are no standards for loading DOS device drivers after CONFIG. SYS is processed, the rule of thumb is: Attempt to load the device driver. If any errors occur, or the driver does not behave properly, do not use DYNALOAD with that device driver. Drivers that DYNALOAD definitely cannot load include those that require DOS system initialization, execution via CONFIG.SYS, and Block Device Drivers. (IBM has tested only the drivers listed in the PC DOS Command Reference.)

File Synchronization

PC DOS's File Update keeps your work current wherever your work resides. This new full-screen utility automatically updates files between two personal computers, enabling you to easily synchronize files between your mobile and desktop computers. You don't have to remember which files you have changed - just let PC DOS's File Update synchronize the files!

The PC DOS File Update utility provides filters for ignoring non-data files and for synchronizing files between two computers. To use File Update, you need to establish a connection between two computers, via parallel or serial port, LAN connection, or even sneakernet (on diskette). File Update's full-screen and command-line interface works with any connection that shows a drive letter.

PC DOS has a utility, INTERLNK, that lets you establish a connection between two PCs using a parallel or serial cable. To use INTERLNK:

  1. Connect two systems via either a serial or parallel cable (the parallel transfer rate is much higher than serial).
  2. On both PCs, include in CONFIG. SYS the line
  3. DEVICE=C:\DOS\INTERLNK.EXE
  4. Reboot both PCs to activate the INTERLNK driver.
  5. Establish one PC as the server, and at that computer's keyboard, type
  6. INTERSVR.
  7. Establish the other PC as the client, and at that computer's keyboard, type
  8. INTERLNK.

After you do the steps above, the server displays a screen that shows the remapped driver letters. Now you are able to access the server's drives from the client. An example is given in Figure 1.

Now you can work transparently at your client computer, accessing the server drives as though they were yours. The server cannot otherwise be used during the INTERLNK connection.

Editor

The E Editor was designed by IBM Research to be a full-function editor, giving you all the basic editing functions. Its power and flexibility enable you to perform many functions found only in high-end word processors.

New pull-down menus and mouse support make the E Editor easier to use. You can edit multiple files, view them simultaneously, cut and paste between them, set margins/tab stops, reflow paragraphs, search and replace, and undo previous actions. The E Editor has an autosave feature that helps to ensure that you don't lose any of the data you have created.

Several new features in the E Editor include:

  • Full menu and mouse support. You can easily navigate with a mouse or use pull-down menus to run E Editor commands.
  • Browse mode, which lets you view files without editing.
  • Deletion recovery, which lets you undo the previously deleted text.
  • 132-column support, which allows for more than 80 columns on the screen.
  • Expanded search support, which searches multiple files, places its findings in a separate file, and allows you to toggle back and forth between the searched files and findings.
  • REXX and C auto-syntax support is automatically provided when you use a language-specific keyword, followed by the space bar. For example, suppose you edit a REXX language file, and you use the language keyword IF, followed by the space bar key. When you press the space bar, auto-syntax takes place - the E Editor automatically puts the associated THEN and ELSE keywords in the file for you. This helps eliminate syntax errors.
  • ACALC, a function that supports integer and floating-point arithmetic as well as a rich set of logical operands. ACALC can also be run from the DOS command prompt.
  • Switch capability, offering improved switching among files.
  • Customizable E.INI, which enables you to customize your E Editor functions.
  • Online help, providing information about function keys and commands.

PC DOS's E Editor also comes with the set of powerful macros listed in Figure 2.

Another powerful feature in PC DOS's E Editor is the ALL command. This command creates the file *.ALL, which contains all instances of a search. Once this file is created, you can use the keys Ctrl+Q to toggle between the *.ALL file and the actual file where the occurrence took place. This feature is very useful when debugging code.

Advanced Power Management

To help minimize the power usage of mobile systems, PC DOS supports the latest standard of Advanced Power Management (APM) 1.1. PC DOS continues to support systems that contain an APM 1.0 BIOS, and supports the two-phase broadcast protocol for standby/suspend requests.

Undelete

PC DOS's undelete feature is a full-function, full-screen undelete program that allows you to reaccess files that have been inadvertently deleted. Both DOS and Windows interfaces are provided.

PC DOS's undelete supports three levels of protection. The lowest level is Standard, which gives you the ability to recover files that have not been overwritten.

The middle level of protection is Tracker. With this level of protection, DOS leaves the files on the hard disk, but marks the file's clusters as available. DOS then records the file's cluster address. As long as the clusters have not been overwritten, the chance of recovery is excellent.

The highest level of protection is Sentry. Files protected by Sentry are saved to a hidden directory, and can be retrieved by Sentry in perfect condition. If Sentry detects your that hard disk is running out of space, it automatically removes the oldest files that have been stored in the hidden directory, freeing up space for newer ones. You can customize this feature.

With PC DOS's file viewers, you can examine the contents of files prior to undeleting them. Files are shown in their native format, when it can be determined; otherwise, they are shown in either text or binary format. Windows file viewers are available when using the Windows Undelete interface.

Program Scheduler

PC DOS includes a full-functioning program scheduler that allows you to run any program or DOS command automatically.

It's great to have tools such as BACKUP, DEFRAG, and AntiVirus, but it's not so great to have to bide time waiting for them to finish running. With PC DOS's program scheduler, you can schedule all these utility programs, as well as any other DOS programs or commands, to run at a certain time. PC DOS's scheduler comes with a very easy-to-use calendar interface.

REXX Programming

REXX has been added to PC DOS as the programming language of choice. REXX for PC DOS includes utilities and REXX commands for designing powerful REXX programs that can also run on other operating systems like OS/2 Warp.

PC DOS REXX is a superset of the standard REXX programming language. IBM has added new REXX functions to the classic REXX functions. PC DOS's REXX support includes:

  • Standard and advanced function, .BAT file commands, and arithmetic operations.
  • A REXX-aware kernel. The kernel checks the syntax in the first two bytes of a .BAT file. If it finds a REXX comment, it launches the REXX interpreter and executes the program. If it does not recognize the .BAT file as a REXX program, the kernel processes it as a batch file.
  • Portability. REXX is portable to other operating systems, such as OS/2 Warp, AIX, and VM.

PCMCIA Support

PC cards of all types are expanding the definition of mobile computing. Storage cards enable users to take their information with them wherever they go, and to transfer files as though they are carrying a floppy diskette. Fax/modem cards and LAN cards make communications to and from portable systems easier than ever.

PC DOS comes with PhoenixCARD Manager Plus PCM+), a set of drivers, utilities, and applications designed to provide maximum function for a wide range of PCMCIA cards that conform to the standards of the Personal Computer Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA).

In the past, installing or configuring a PCMCIA card was often messy and frustrating. Each time you removed or inserted a PCMCIA card, you had to use a series of commands to alert the computer, and then the system had to be manually reconfigured to accept the new card. Despite all this, most times the computer still could not recognize t he new card. With PC DOS, all this has changed. Instead of a bookful of new commands filled with arcane utility switch options, PC DOS gives you simple menu selections through either a DOS or Windows interface. Most cards - whether they are flash memory, SRAM, network, fax/modem, or IDE hard drives (ATA) - are configured automatically by PC DOS. On the rare occasions when you need to set up or reconfigure a card, PC DOS has an easy-to-use setup and configuration program.

Do you need to swap out a card in the middle of a program? Go ahead! PC DOS can set up and reconfigure on the fly, so there is no need to back out of an application and begin again each time you want to use a new card.

Many new features have been added to PC DOS's PCMCIA support. First and foremost is the easy-to-use installation program and user interface. A second major feature added is the ability to recognize DOS 6.x's multiple boot configurations. PCMCIA's installation program is now fully aware of multi-config, and makes sure that the installation is being performed with the desired boot configuration. Each PCMCIA component recognizes this support and uses this information accordingly.

Program Association and Hot Pluggability: One of the nicest features in PC DOS's PCMCIA support is the ability to associate cards with programs. With this feature, any time you insert a card that has been associated, the system runs the associated program.

For example, suppose you associate a fax program with a given fax card. When you insert the fax card into the PCMCIA slot, PC DOS's hot pluggability recognizes the card, and then PC DOS determines that the card has been associated with the fax program in your computer. PC DOS then runs the FAX program.

New Features in PCMCIA Support: New features in PC DOS's PCMCIA support include:

  • A setup program that enables the novice user to quickly and easily install PCMCIA support, while also providing a full range of customization features for the sophisticated user
  • Support for Microsoft's Flash File System II (FFSII)
  • Easy-to-use information/configuration utilities for managing PC cards in both DOS and Windows versions
  • Hot insertion and removal of PC cards without the need to reboot
  • Support for power management
  • Support for the largest number of PCMCIA cards: Flash Memory, SRAM Memory, Network/LAN, fax/modem, ATA, hard disks, SCSI, and other I/O cards
  • Card and Socket Services 2.1 compliance
  • Centralized initialization file (.INI) support for all components
  • Support for DOS 6.x's multiple configuration
  • FDISK utility that supports multiple partitions
  • Super Client Driver that supports definable card lists for minimal memory requirements
  • Enhanced resource detection in the Resource utility
  • Improved error reporting mechanism

Here are details about some of these new features.

Socket Services: Socket Services is the API for all card support. Socket Services is a DOS-loadable driver that can be loaded in the CONFIG.SYS file or run as a TSR from DOS. Socket Services works with any OEM 2.0-level socket services in any OEM or IBM system. It also works with existing PC (short for PCMCIA) cards that meet the 2.1 specification. Socket Services complies with the PCMCIA Card Services 2.1 interface specification as defined by the PCMCIA Board.

Additionally, PC DOS includes the socket services required to support the following PCMCIA controllers:

Cirrus Logic CL-PD6710
Cirrus Logic CL-PC6720
Databook 86082
Databook 86082A
IBM Stinger Intel 82365SL (A-step, B-step, and final)
Ricoh RF5C266/RF5C366

Card Services: Card Services is operating- system code that provides a standard application programming interface (API) for clients. PC DOS incorporates PCMCIA Card Services at the 2.1 level.

Super Client Driver: The Super Client Driver is a collection of client drivers that perform PC card configuration. After configuration, the PC card operates exactly as though it was a permanent component when the system was started.

PC DOS's Super Client Driver consists of a set of client drivers that is determined at link time. Each individual client driver can either be linked separately or with a group of other client drivers.

The Super Client Driver does not support every PC card in the industry. If the Super Client Driver does not support a PC card, then a client driver will have to be provided by a third-party supplier.

Information Utility Program: PC DOS's information utility program provides the status of each PC card that has been installed into the PC card socket. After the information utility is run, the status of each socket is displayed, advising the user whether a socket is empty, or whether the socket is in the process of configuring a card. If a card has been installed, the information utility displays the name and information about the PC card. In the case of a non-configurable card, a message is displayed informing the user of that status. This utility has DOS and Windows interfaces.

Super Memory Technology Driver: PC DOS's Super Memory Technology Driver (MTD) is a DOS driver designed to support read, write, erase, and copy functions for PC memory cards. An MTD is needed for each specific memory technology that requires read, write, erase, and copy functions. It is similar in design to PC DOS's Super Client Driver, and consists of a collection of MTDs that operate only with Card Services.

Virtual Driver for FAT Block Devices: In PC DOS, the Virtual Driver for FAT Block Devices supports ATA-compatible fixed disks and SRAM cards formatted in a FAT-structured format.

Windows VxD Driver: The Windows VxD Driver in PC DOS allows fax and modem PC cards to be fully operable under all Windows sessions when inserted into a PCMCIA socket. Card configuration is always performed under Windows. However, Windows only allows the fax/modem cards to be available to the current Windows program. The VxD driver resolves this restriction and makes the fax/modem cards available to every Windows session.

SRAM Format Utility: The SRAM format utility program is a format utility program for SRAM PC cards being accessed as either drive A or drive B. This utility is necessary because a DOS format program limits the capacities available for drives A and B. SRAM cards can also be made bootable by using this utility program.

FAT Diskette Emulation: A driver is provided in PC DOS for FAT diskette emulation. When this driver loads, it performs diskette drive emulation on the specified socket, and then registers it with Card Services as a memory client.

Copy/Erase for FLASH PC Cards: PC Copy and PC Erase for FLASH PC Cards are special utilities that are not part of PC DOS, but are available for OEM customers from their OEM sales reps on an as-needed basis.

Pen Support

With its PenDOS support, PC DOS gives PC hardware manufacturers the ability to include Pen enablement for no additional cost - it's part of the PC DOS operating system!

PC DOS's PenDOS supports existing, unmodified, mouse-aware DOS applications, as well as pen-aware applications. The Pen extensions offered in PC DOS are mouse emulation, gesture recognition, numeric recognition, writing window, and a pop-up soft keyboard.

Mouse emulation enables any current existing DOS mouse-aware application to function with a pen, just as it would with a mouse.

Gesture recognition brings common editing gestures to your current DOS applications (if those applications support the gestures "undo," "cut," "paste," and so on). For example, if you are using a word processing program for DOS that is mouse-aware, you can use the pen to pull down menus, select items or highlight text, and then make an X gesture to delete the highlighted text.

With both mouse emulation and gesture recognition, PC DOS makes current DOS applications function easier and more intuitively.

Numeric recognition enables pen-aware applications or standard DOS applications to accept numeric handwritten text. With a pen-aware application, numbers can be handwritten directly into fields and recognized. If using standard DOS applications, a writing window must be displayed. Once it is displayed, numbers can then be handwritten, recognized, and sent to the DOS application.

Another PenDOS extension in PC DOS is the pop-up soft keyboard. This feature displays a keyboard on the screen, which can be used to send keystrokes to any DOS application.

The only Pen extension not shipped in PC DOS is alphanumeric handwriting recognition. This extension is available in the PenDOS operating system.

Performance Improvements PC DOS has undergone extensive hours of optimization. The focus of this optimization was on memory usage. Other areas that have been optimized include 386/486 performance, interrupt handling, command processor tuning, and character device handling.

Other Items in PC DOS

PC DOS continues to feature several items originally included in PC DOS 6.3.

Clean Boot: PC DOS has an option at bootup called clean boot. When you see the DOS startup screen and press F5, your system bypasses CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, sending you directly to the C: prompt. To bypass both those files and the DBLSPACE.BIN (compression driver) file, press Ctrl+F5.

Interactive Boot: Interactive boot lets you step through your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT. In the DOS startup screen, when you press F8, the system steps through both files line-by-line, prompting you to enter Y or N after each line.

Selective Boot: PC DOS lets you set up multiple configurations within a single computer. This is done within your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT by placing groups of statements into configuration blocks. When the computer is booted, PC DOS displays a customized menu, indicating the different available configurations, and asks you to choose the configuration you want to run. This feature provides flexibility when managing multiple configurations, especially in office environments where one computer might perform various functions.

Improved SmartDRV: PC DOS has an improved SmartDRV disk cache that increases performance of hard disk and CD-ROM drives. Two major improvements in SmartDRV are:

  • The addition of lazy writing, also called delayed writing, which stores information to be written to your hard disk, and writes it to the disk later, when the system is less busy. This results in significant performance improvements for write operations.
  • SmartDRV is now an executable (*.EXE), allowing you to change, enable, or disable caching on the fly.

Disk Defragmentation: Defragmentation reorganizes files on your hard disk so that each file is intact rather than fragmented. Defragmentation minimizes the time it takes your computer to access and retrieve data. PC DOS's defragger uses extended memory to defragment even large hard disks safely and efficiently.

Interactive Batch Processing: Interactive batch processing brings the step-through feature found in interactive boot to batch files. Its functions are similar to interactive boot, except that you do not have to reboot your system in order to step through a batch file. Instead, simply type:

command /y /c filename.bat

where

command      

starts a new copy of the PC DOS command interpreter,

/y           

steps through the batch file,

/c           

executes the command and returns,

filename.bat 

is a sample batch file name.

The command feature is handy for debugging a batch file that is failing. When you execute a batch file in interactive mode, the system steps through each batch command individually, asking you whether you want to execute that command (yes or no). With this feature, you are able to observe where the batch file fails.

In addition to using interactive batch processing for debugging batch files, you can also use it to step through a batch file and omit certain commands.

CHOICE: With the CHOICE command, you can get user input from batch files. By putting CHOICE in a batch file, you can specify what to prompt the user. The user types in a response that is passed to your batch file in an error-level return code. Within the batch file, you can now use the user's response to make conditional branches. Figure 3 shows an example of using the CHOICE command in a batch file.

DELTREE: The DELTREE command lets you delete a whole subtree or a hierarchical directory structure of files at once. If you want to delete a directory, you no longer need to delete all the files and subdirectories first. Instead, you can specify DELTREE followed by the name of the directory you want to remove. PC DOS then deletes all subdirectories and files below and including the level of the directory you specified.

MOVE: The MOVE command gives you the ability to move a file or group of files from one directory to another, or to move a whole directory hierarchy from one directory to another directory. The files in the original directory are placed in the new location, then deleted from the original location.

Installation Enhancements: PC DOS has a "smart" installation, which recognizes the multi-configuration support delivered in PC DOS 6.1 and MS-DOS 6.0 and 6.2. Until now, when upgrading or changing to DOS 6.x, the installation process did not recognize multi-configuration support, and installation files would be randomly placed within the CONFIG.SYS. In PC DOS, installation is now aware of multi-configuration support, and files are added to the CONFIG. SYS correctly.

Additional installation enhancements are:

  • PC DOS accesses CD-ROM drives by using MSCDEX 2.23.
  • An option enables viewing or changing any modifications made to the CONFIG.SYS and AUTO-EXEC. BAT. Once the installation is complete, the CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT are displayed side-by- side in the E Editor. At this point, you can edit either file. PC DOS places comments in these files where you make changes.
  • The DOSKEY command-line statement is now automatically added to your AUTOEXEC.BAT.
  • Mouse navigation is supported.
  • Comment lines are added to CONFIG. SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT to show you what has been added or changed.

QCONFIG Enhancements: The QCONFIG utility in PC DOS provides information about your computer system, including what kind of memory you have and how much of it is available for your programs. QCONFIG loads hard-disk information at initialization. Support has been added for new adapters and planar boards.

No-Swap DISKCOPY: PC DOS's no-swap DISKCOPY copies the entire contents of one diskette to another by using the system's hard disk as temporary storage. This new feature eliminates the task of swapping diskettes multiple times when using DISKCOPY.

File Overwrite: PC DOS's file overwrite feature prompts the user before overwriting files that have identical names. This feature eliminates the accidental deletion of files. PC DOS has a switch that allows the user to turn this feature off.

Default Prompt: The default prompt in PC DOS displays the current drive and path followed by an " >".

FIND: The FIND command supports wildcards in file names and subdirectories to allow easier searches.

COMMAND.COM Switch: The /O switch has been added to the COPY, XCOPY, and MOVE commands to disable the overwrite prompt.

In PC DOS 6.x, whenever you try to overwrite an existing file, the system prompts you that the file already exists, and asks if you want to overwrite it. PC DOS includes the /O switch to disable this prompting.

Additional Keyboard: Additional keyboard support in PC DOS includes the new German keyboard standard, DIN 2137, as well additional support for Eastern European countries.

INSET:

PC DOS's File Update

Do you work on two computers (for example, one at home and one in the office)? Do you need the same files on each computer? Do you have to keep those files synchronized?

If you answered yes, then you should take advantage of a major new feature in PC DOS, the File Update Utility.

This new full-screen utility automatically keeps your work current. It maintains files on two different systems, and keeps them synchronized. No longer do you have to remember which files changed where - File Update remembers for you. This feature is especially valuable if you work with the same files on separate systems (for example, when you use a lap-top on the road or take work home from the office). Your two different systems can be two separate PCs; a PC and a local area network (LAN) server; or two different locations (drives or partitions) on the same PC.

All you need to know before using File Update is how files and directories are organized on each system, and which ones you specifically want to keep synchronized. File Update tracks all changes made to the files and directories you specify.

In addition, File Update handles multiple directory pairs, while other file-synchronization programs only let you synchronize one directory pair at a time. The File Update Utility comes with an easy-to-use, full-screen interface.

Installing File Update

The PC DOS User's Guide lists the steps for installing File Update on your two separate computers. You first install File Update on your first computer. Next, you use the Create Installation Diskette function, which copies your installation information onto a diskette. You then use that diskette to install File Update on your second computer.

File Update's setup functions are:

  • Add Directory Pairs, which adds (and deletes) the directory pairs that track the files that you want to synchronize.
  • Files Being Excluded, which lists file extensions you don't want to synchronize between PCs. For example, you may want to exclude files with extensions .EXE and .COM.
  • Override Excluded Files, which overrides an excluded extension so that a specific file will be part of the synch list.
  • Create Installation Diskette, which creates an installation diskette for the second PC. This diskette automatically installs the File Update Utility on the second PC, and includes the information that you supplied when you installed the File Update Utility on the first PC.
  • Delete Installation, which deletes the current installation and allows you to start again from the beginning.
  • Display Install Data, which lets you review the installation information.

Using File Update

Three types of File Update functions can be performed:

  • Update To Diskette
  • Update From Diskette
  • Update Connected System

Following are explanations of each of these three functions.

Update to Diskette: Update To Diskette is used when the two systems are not physically connected (for example, one is in the office and the other is at home). To make your current PC's files synchronize with your second PC's files, use Update To Diskette. Then, when you are using the second PC, use Update From Diskette to do the synchronization.

Update To Diskette has three functions:

  • Preview tells you everything that has to be done when you do the Update Files function. Preview also gives you a diskette count so that you know how many diskettes are required to do the Update Files function.
  • Custom File Selection enables you to change what is to be synchronized when you do the Update Files function.
  • Update Files writes to your diskette all the files that you have selected for synchronization.

Update From Diskette: Update From Diskette is used on your second PC after you have done an Update To Diskette on your first PC.

Update From Diskette has two functions:

Preview tells you everything that has to be done when you do the Update Files function.

Update Files synchronizes the files on your diskette with the files on the second PC.

Update Connected System: Update Connected System is used when two systems are connected by means of PC DOS's InterLnk program and a cable, or via a Local Area Network (LAN).

Update Connected System has four functions. The first three - Preview, Custom File Selection, and Update Files - are the same functions as in Update To Diskette. The fourth function is Re-Map Connected Drives, which allows you to remap your connected drives, because drive letters can change when you connect to a LAN or use a program such as InterLnk.

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FIGURES

Figure 1. Using INTERLNK/INTERSVR

Before running INTERLNK/INTERSVR:

    Server has A: and C: drives
    Client has A: and C: drives

After running INTERLNK/INTERSVR:

    Client has A:, C:, D:, and E: drives, where
    Client's D: drive is Server's A: drive, and
    Client's E: drive is Server's C: drive

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Figure 2. E Editor Macros

<DRAW> lets you do freehand drawing with the arrow keys

<SORT> lets you mark a block of data and sort it

<ADD> lets you do column addition

<BOX> lets you draw boxes of arbitrary size

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Figure 3. Sample Use of the CHOICE Command

echo off
choice /c:yn Do you want to copy AUTOEXEC.BAT?
if errorlevel 2 goto exit
if errorlevel 1 goto doauto
:doauto copy autoexec.bat autoexec.bak
:exit
cls

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PC DOS has many features, and significant enhancements in usability and performance. This article gives details about all of the major features in PC DOS.


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