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Microsoft config.sys tips
technofile  by al fasoldt
Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology 
Simple gray rule

Microsoft's config.sys tips for DOS 7 and Windows 95
 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Microsoft Windows 95 README for MS-DOS Config.sys Commands

August 1995

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

(c) Copyright Microsoft Corporation, 1995

 

 

This document provides complementary or late-breaking information to

supplement the Microsoft Windows 95 documentation.

 

------------------------

How to Use This Document

------------------------

 

To view Config.txt on screen in Notepad, maximize the Notepad window.

 

To print Config.txt, open it in Notepad or another word processor,

then use the Print command on the File menu.

 

In syntax lines, lowercase text signifies replaceable parameters and

uppercase text must be typed as it appears.

 

NOTE: The Msdosdrv.txt file contains more Help for MS-DOS commands. Also

you can type the name of the command at the command prompt, followed by

a slash and question mark (/?). For example:

CHKDSK /?

 

--------

CONTENTS

 

ACCDATE

BREAK

BUFFERS/BUFFERSHIGH

COUNTRY

DEVICE

DEVICEHIGH

DOS

DRIVPARM

FCBS/FCBSHIGH

FILES/FILESHIGH

INSTALL/INSTALLHIGH

LASTDRIVE/LASTDRIVEHIGH

NUMLOCK

REM

SET

SHELL

STACKS/STACKSHIGH

SWITCHES

---------

 

ACCDATE

=======

 

For each hard disk, specifies whether to record the date that files are

last accessed. Last access dates are turned off for all drives when

your computer is started in safe mode, and are not maintained for floppy

disks by default.

 

Syntax

 

ACCDATE=drive1+|- [drive2+|-]...

 

Parameters

 

drive1, drive 2...

Specifies the drive letter.

 

+|-

Specify a plus sign (+) to indicate that the last access date should be

maintained for files on the drive. Specify a minus sign (-) to indicate

that the last access date should not be maintained for files.

 

 

BREAK

=====

 

Sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking. You can use this command at the

command prompt or in your CONFIG.SYS file.

 

You can press CTRL+C to stop a program or an activity (file sorting, for

example). Typically, MS-DOS checks for CTRL+C only while it reads from the

keyboard or writes to the screen or a printer. If you set BREAK to ON, you

extend CTRL+C checking to other functions, such as disk read and write

operations.

 

Syntax

 

BREAK [ON|OFF]

 

To display the current BREAK setting at the command prompt, use the

following syntax:

 

BREAK

 

In your CONFIG.SYS file, use the following syntax:

 

BREAK=ON|OFF

 

Parameter

 

ON|OFF

Turns extended CTRL+C checking on or off.

 

 

BUFFERS/BUFFERSHIGH

===================

 

Allocates memory for a specified number of disk buffers when your system

starts. Use the BUFFERSHIGH command to load the buffers in the upper

memory area. You can use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

BUFFERS=n[,m]

BUFFERSHIGH=n[,m]

 

Parameters

 

n

Specifies the number of disk buffers. The value of n must be in the

range 1 through 99. The default is 30.

 

m

Specifies the number of buffers in the secondary buffer cache. The value

of m must be in the range 0 through 8. The default is 0 (no secondary

cache buffers).

 

If you specify an invalid value for n or m, BUFFERs uses the default

settings.

 

 

COUNTRY

========

 

Enables MS-DOS to use country-specific conventions for displaying times,

dates, and currency; for determining the order by which characters are

sorted; and for determining which characters can be used in filenames. You

can use this command only in your Config.sys file.

 

The COUNTRY command configures MS-DOS to recognize the character set and

punctuation conventions observed when using one of the supported languages.

 

Syntax

 

COUNTRY=xxx[,[yyy][,[drive:][path]filename]]

 

Parameters

 

xxx

Specifies the country code.

 

yyy

Specifies the character set for the country.

 

[drive:][path]filename

Specifies the location and name of the file containing country

information.

 

 

DEVICE

======

 

Loads into memory the device driver you specify. You can use this command

only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

DEVICE=[drive:][path]filename [dd-parameters]

 

Parameters

 

[drive:][path]filename

Specifies the location and name of the device driver you want to load.

 

[dd-parameters]

Specifies any command-line information required by the device driver.

 

 

DEVICEHIGH

==========

 

Loads a device driver you specify into the upper memory area. Loading a

device driver into the upper memory area frees more bytes of conventional

memory for other programs. If upper memory is not available, the DEVICEHIGH

command functions just like the DEVICE command.

 

You can use this command only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

DEVICEHIGH [drive:][path]filename [dd-parameters]

 

To specify the region(s) of memory into which to load the device driver, use

the following syntax:

 

DEVICEHIGH [[/L:region1[,minsize1][;region2[,minsize2] [/S]]=

[drive:][path]filename [dd-parameters]

 

Parameters

 

[drive:][path]filename

Specifies the location and name of the device driver you want to load

into the upper memory area.

 

dd-parameters

Specifies any command-line information required by the device driver.

 

Switches

 

/L:region1[,minsize1][;region2[,minsize2]...

Specifies one or more regions of memory into which to load the device

driver. By default, MS-DOS loads the driver into the largest free

upper memory block (UMB) and makes all other UMBs available for the

driver's use. You can use the /L switch to load the device driver into a

specific region of memory or to specify which region(s) the driver can

use.

 

To load the driver into the largest block in a specific region of upper

memory, specify the region number after the /L switch. For example, to

load the driver into the largest free block in region 4, you would type

/L:4. (To list the free areas of memory, type MEM /F at the command

prompt.)

 

When loaded with the /L switch, a device driver can use only the

specified memory region. Some device drivers use more than one area of

memory; for those drivers, you can specify more than one region. (To

find out how a particular device driver uses memory, issue the MEM /M

command and specify the device-driver name as an argument.) To specify

two or more regions, separate the block numbers with a semicolon (;).

For example, to use blocks 2 and 3, you would type /L:2;3.

 

Typically, MS-DOS loads a driver into a UMB in the specified region

only if that region contains a UMB larger than the driver's load size

(usually equal to the size of the executable program file). If the

driver requires more memory while running than it does when loaded, you

can use the minsize parameter to ensure that the driver will not be

loaded into a UMB that is too small for it. If you specify a value for

minsize, MS-DOS loads the driver into that region only if it contains a

UMB that is larger than both the driver's load size and the minsize

value.

 

/S

Shrinks the UMB to its minimum size while the driver is loading. Using

this switch makes the most efficient use of memory. This switch is

generally used only by the MemMaker program, which can analyze a device

driver's memory use to determine whether the /S switch can safely be

used when loading that driver. This switch can be used only in

conjunction with the /L switch and affects only UMBs for which a

minimum size was specified.

 

 

DOS

====

 

Specifies that MS-DOS should maintain a link to the upper memory area, load

part of itself into the high memory area (HMA), or both. You can use this

command only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

DOS=HIGH|LOW[,UMB|,NOUMB][,AUTO|,NOAUTO]

 

DOS=[HIGH,|LOW,]UMB|NOUMB[,AUTO|,NOAUTO]

DOS=[HIGH,|LOW,][UMB,|NOUMB,]AUTO|NOAUTO

 

Parameters

 

UMB|NOUMB

Specifies whether MS-DOS should manage upper memory blocks (UMBs)

created by a UMB provider such as Emm386.exe. The UMB parameter

specifies that MS-DOS should manage UMBs, if they exist. The NOUMB

parameter specifies that MS-DOS should not manage UMBs. The default

setting is NOUMB.

 

HIGH|LOW

Specifies whether MS-DOS should attempt to load a part of itself into

the HMA (HIGH) or keep all of MS-DOS in conventional memory (LOW). The

default setting is LOW.

 

AUTO|NOAUTO

Specifies whether MS-DOS should automatically load Himem.sys, Ifshlp.sys,

Dblbuff.sys, and Setver.exe device drivers if they are not explicitly

loaded in your Config.sys file. The default setting, AUTO, automatically

loads these device drivers. The AUTO setting also automatically uses

the BUFFERSHIGH, FILESHIGH, FCBSHIGH, LASTDRIVEHIGH, and STACKSHIGH

commands, whether the -HIGH form of the command was used or not. If

you specify the NOAUTO parameter, you must explicitly load these device

drivers and explicitly use the -HIGH form of the above commands in order

to take advantage of them.

 

 

DRIVPARM

========

 

Defines parameters for devices such as disk and tape drives when you start

MS-DOS. You can use this command only in your Config.sys file.

 

The DRIVPARM command modifies the parameters of an existing physical drive.

It does not create a new logical drive. The settings specified in the

DRIVPARM command override the driver definitions for any previous block

device.

 

Syntax

 

DRIVPARM=/D:number [/C] [/F:factor] [/H:heads] [/I] [/N] [/S:sectors]

[/T:tracks]

 

Switches

 

/D:number

Specifies the physical drive number. Values for number must be in the

range 0 through 255 (for example, drive number 0=drive A, 1=drive B,

2=drive C, and so on).

 

/C

Specifies that the drive can detect whether the drive door is closed.

 

/F:factor

Specifies the drive type. The following table shows the valid values for

factor and a brief description of each. The default value is 2.

 

0 160K/180K or 320K/360K

 

1 1.2 megabyte (MB)

 

2 720K (3.5-inch disk)

 

5 Hard disk

 

6 Tape

 

7 1.44 MB (3.5-inch disk)

 

8 Read/write optical disk

 

9 2.88 MB (3.5-inch disk)

 

/H:heads

Specifies the maximum number of heads. Values for heads must be in the

range 1 through 99. The default value depends on the value you specify

for /F:factor.

 

/I

Specifies an electronically compatible 3.5-inch floppy disk drive.

(Electronically compatible drives are installed on your computer and use

your existing floppy disk drive controller.) Use the /I switch if your

computer's ROM BIOS does not support 3.5-inch floppy disk drives.

 

/N

Specifies a nonremovable block device.

 

/S:sectors

Specifies the number of sectors per track that the block device

supports. Values for sectors must be in the range 1 through 99. The

default value depends on the value you specify for /F:factor.

 

/T:tracks

Specifies the number of tracks per side that the block device supports.

The default value depends on the value you specify for /F:factor.

 

 

FCBS, FCBSHIGH

==============

 

Specifies the number of file control blocks (FCBs) that MS-DOS can have open

at the same time. Use the FCBSHIGH command to load the FCBs in the upper

memory area. You can use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

A file control block is a data structure that stores information about a

file.

 

Syntax

 

FCBS=x

FCBSHIGH=x

 

Parameter

 

x

Specifies the number of file control blocks that MS-DOS can have open at

one time. Valid values for x are in the range 1 through 255. The default

value is 4.

 

 

FILES/FILESHIGH

===============

 

Specifies the number of files that MS-DOS can access at one time. Use the

FILESHIGH command to load the command in the upper memory area. You can

use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

FILES=x

FILESHIGH=x

 

Parameter

 

x

Specifies the number of files that MS-DOS can access at one time. Valid

values for x are in the range 8 through 255. The default value is 8.

 

 

INSTALL/INSTALLHIGH

====================

 

Loads a memory-resident program into memory when you start MS-DOS. Use the

INSTALLHIGH command to load the memory-resident program into the upper

memory area. You can use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

Memory-resident programs stay in memory as long as your computer is on. They

can be used even when other programs are active. You can use the INSTALL

or INSTALLHIGH command to load MS-DOS memory-resident programs--for example,

Fastopen, Keyb, Nlsfunc, and Share.

 

Syntax

 

INSTALL=[drive:][path]filename [command-parameters]

INSTALLHIGH=[drive:][path]filename [command-parameters]

 

Parameters

 

[drive:][path]filename

Specifies the location and name of the memory-resident program you want

to run.

 

command-parameters

Specifies parameters for the program you specify for filename.

 

 

LASTDRIVE/LASTDRIVEHIGH

=======================

 

Specifies the maximum number of drives you can access. Use the

LASTDRIVEHIGH command to load the LASTDRIVE data structures in the upper

memory area. You can use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

The value you specify represents the last valid drive that MS-DOS is to

recognize.

 

Syntax

 

LASTDRIVE=x

LASTDRIVEHIGH=x

 

Parameter

 

x

Specifies a drive letter in the range A through Z.

 

 

NUMLOCK

========

 

Specifies whether the NUM LOCK key is set to ON or OFF when your computer

starts. You can use this command only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

NUMLOCK=[ON|OFF]

 

Parameters

 

ON|OFF

If set to ON, turns on the NUM LOCK key when MS-DOS displays the startup

menu. If set to OFF, turns NUM LOCK off.

 

 

REM

===

 

Enables you to include comments in a batch file or in your Config.sys file.

The REM command is also useful for disabling commands. You can use a

semicolon (;) instead of the REM command in your Config.sys file, but not in

batch files.

 

Syntax

 

REM [string]

 

Parameters

 

string

Specifies any string of characters -- the command you want to disable or

the comment you want to include.

 

 

SET

===

 

Displays, sets, or removes MS-DOS environment variables.

 

You use environment variables to control the behavior of some batch files

and programs and to control the way MS-DOS appears and works. The SET

command is often used in the Autoexec.bat or Config.sys files to set

environment variables each time you start MS-DOS.

 

Syntax

 

SET variable=[string]

 

To display the current environment settings at the command prompt, use the

following syntax:

 

SET

 

Parameters

 

variable

Specifies the variable you want to set or modify.

 

string

Specifies the string you want to associate with the specified variable.

 

 

SHELL

=====

 

Specifies the name and location of the command interpreter you want MS-DOS

to use. You can use this command only in your Config.sys file.

 

If you want to use your own command interpreter (instead of Command.com),

you can specify its name by adding a SHELL command to your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

SHELL=[[drive:]path]filename [parameters]

 

Parameters

 

[[drive:]path]filename

Specifies the location and name of the command interpreter you want

MS-DOS to use.

 

parameters

Specifies any command-line parameters or switches that can be used with

the specified command interpreter.

 

 

STACKS/STACKSHIGH

=================

 

Supports the dynamic use of data stacks to handle hardware interrupts. Use

the STACKSHIGH command to load the stacks in the upper memory area. You

can use these commands only in your Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

STACKS=n,s

STACKSHIGH=n,s

 

Parameters

 

n

Specifies the number of stacks. Valid values for n are 0 and numbers in

the range 8 through 64.

 

s

Specifies the size (in bytes) of each stack. Valid values for s are 0

and numbers in the range 32 through 512.

 

 

SWITCHES

=========

 

Specifies special options in MS-DOS. Use this command only in your

Config.sys file.

 

Syntax

 

SWITCHES= /F /K /N /E[:n]

 

Switches

 

/F

Skips the two-second delay after displaying the "Starting MS-DOS"

message during startup.

 

/K

Forces an enhanced keyboard to behave like a conventional keyboard.

 

/N

Prevents you from using the F5 or F8 key to bypass startup commands.

(SWITCHES /N does not prevent you from pressing CTRL+F5 or CTRL+F8 to

bypass Drvspace.bin or Dblspace.bin; to prevent this, use the D**SPACE /SWITCHES

command to add the SWITCHES /N setting to your D**space.ini file.)

 

/E[:n]

Used without the :n parameter, indicates that Io.sys should suppress

the automatic relocation of EBIOS. (Automatic relocation of EBIOS

increases the conventional memory available to MS-DOS-based programs.)

Supressing automatic relocation results in less conventional memory

available to MS-DOS-based programs. Use the /E switch with the n

parameter to relocate N bytes of EBIOS to low memory, where n is

the number of bytes to be relocated. The minimum value for n is 48 and

the maximum value is 1024. The number specified is always rounded up to

the next multiple of 16.


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