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unofficial PTSDOS - FAQ, Rev.: Jun. 09, 1996

Note: This document is very old. There will be no update. Please visit the main page for a complete list of available PTS-DOS FAQs.
Section II is obsolete. If you need support or if you want to buy PTS DOS please take a look at the links on the main page.
If you need a file mentioned in this FAQ, please visit the download page.

Frequently asked questions, problems, workarounds and solutions for PTSDOS. Compiled by Tobias Ernst. This list is updated continuously and published monthly in the Fidonet echomail area PTSDOS.GER. The latest version of this FAQ is also available as "PTSFAQ.TXT" for download/frequest at my mailbox (numbers see Section II).

Section I - Problems and Bugs, Technical Stuff
Section II - Support, Distribution etc.
Section III - The PTS-DOS Buglist

Section I - Problems and Bugs

Q:  How can I use a CD-ROM drive with PTSDOS?  MSCDEX refuses to work with

A:  Try using NWCDEX (Novell Dos 7.0) or MSCDEX (of IBM PC-DOS), if you
    have access to these drivers.

A:  Use version 6.51CD.  V6.51 provides an internal CD- ROM support so that
    MSCDEX ist not needed any longer.

A:  Use version 6.6. It is able to run MSCDEX directly.

Q:  My Mitsumi ATAPI CD-ROM drive still does not work with PTSDOS

A:  This seems to be a bug in the Mitsumi drivers, because it only happens in
    certain constellations and with certain revisions of the Mitsumi drivers.
    Try one of the following:

    a) Try playing around with the Quiet=xx - Setting in Config.Sys. Using
       Quiet=Yes seems to help in some cases. But also Quiet=No could help.

    b) Load the Mitsumi driver (MTMDCDAI.SYS) first of all.

    c) You may download/frequest the file MITSUMI.LZH from my mailbox
       (numbers see below, section "Support"). It contains a driver which
       replaces the buggy MTMDCDAI.SYS and has solved the problem in most

    d) Use PTSDOS 6.6. It is able to run MSCDEX directly.

Q:  I have strange problems with my hard disk (lost clusters and so on).

A:  It is highly advisable to entirely reformat your harddisk using the
    fdisk and format programs which are included on your PTSDOS disk prior
    to using PTSDOS on your hard disk regularly.

Q:  I tried to entirely repartition and reformat my hard disk using the
    installation routine, but it does not work.

A:  This bug is gone in version 6.6. In the meantime, try the following:

    Several problems were encountered with the installation routine of
    PTSDOS.  Usually, using FDISK to repartition your hard disk is no
    problem, but the installation routine might be unable to format your
    hard disk afterwards.  In this case, do as follows:

    1.  Quit the installation routine and return to the dos prompt.  If,
        after leaving the installation routine, you do not see the dos
        prompt, but the CP menu, and if you are unable to quit CP using
        F10, you must type


        to start the command line.

    2.  Type:

        format c:  /s

        Your hard disk will be reformatted, but you will proably get an
        error message that the system could not be transferred to the hard

    3.  Make sure the installation disk is in the current drive and type:

        sys c:

        Now, the system should be correctly transferred to your hard disk.

    4.  Reboot your computer in order to restart the installation process.
        This time, perform the installation without selecting to start
        FDISK or to format the hard drive, because you already have done it

Q:  I have several timing problems.  Delays take much longer than they
    should; my terminal program is unable to correctly count seconds etc.

A:  Remove the CPU=FAST statement from your Config.Pts.

Q:  I want to install MS Windows for the first time, but the installation
    process is interrupted after the DOS part of SETUP is completed, and
    the system is locked.  This occurs although I used the "windows
    compatible" startup option.

A:  For the installation of MS Windows, make a raw boot (i.e. use a
    Config.Pts and Autopts.Bat with none but the most necessary lines and
    the keyboard driver).  After the installation is completed, you may
    again use the "windows compatbile" startup mode.

A:  Newer releases of PTSDOS allow you to select a "Installations"-Mode in
    the startup menu.  This should work as well.

Q:  Windows refuses to start.  The System is locked.

A:  There are a lot of reasons for that.  First make sure that you use the
    settings of the "windows compatible" startup option.  In the worst
    case, make a raw boot and then add your settings step by step until you
    have found which line was responsible for the problem.  Then let ME

A:  Windows does not like FILES buffers loaded into XMS.

Q:  I am using the german keyboard setting, and Caps Lock does not work.

A:  This problem is fixed in V6.51, but still exists in V6.6 ...

A:  The problem is limited to the german keyboard layout of PhysTechSoft
    versions.  You may fix the problem by using NKD.COM (which allows you to
    define your own keyboard layout) instead of KEYB.COM.  Alternatively, you
    may use your own keyboard driver - there are lots of shareware or
    freeware keyboard drivers which use only about half a kilobyte of memory.

Q:  After using PTSDOS for a few days, I found bugs in my fidonet message
    base, i.e. wrong message texts, "chinese" chars etc.

A:  This problem is known to occur with McMail/IMail/Timed and Crosspoint.
    It was only observed when using PTSDOS on a hard disk which was
    formatted by MSDOS.  Make a backup of your hard disk and repartition
    and reformat it using PTSDOS.

Q:  Although I never had a Windows crash or things like that, I am getting
    lost clusters and other errors in the file structure of my hard disk.

A:  Before you execute CHKDSK, you must disable SMARTDRV.  If the problem
    persists (or if you were not using SMARTDRV ;-), see above:
    Repartition and reformat your hard disk using PTSDOS.

Q:  I tried to load a device driver into UMB memory, but although plenty of
    UMB memory was free, it still took up a considerable amount of
    conventional memory.

A:  Probably the driver's code was correctly put into UMB, but the program
    tried to allocate further memory blocks, which were taken from
    conventional memory.  You can solve this problem by using SETDRV /U to
    load the driver in your Autopts.Bat file instead of using DEVICEHIGH in
    your Config.Pts file.

Q:  UMB?  How can I make PTSDOS use UMB?

A:  PTSDOS is fully capable of handling upper memory blocks with commands
    like DEVICEHIGH and LOADHIGH (LH) - the only problem is that there is
    no program included that makes UMB memory available (like EMM386 in
    most other DOS operating systems).

    You may use a commercial memory manager like QEMM to provide UMB
    memory.  QEMM seems to work fine with PTSDOS.  It is not advisable to
    use MSDOS's EMM386.EXE together with PTSDOS, because it will make the
    system unstable.

    Another way to provide UMB memory is to directly reprogram your
    motherboards's chipset.  Most chipsets set aside 384K of system memory
    as shadow ram, but as the BIOS ROM is only from 32K to 96K of size,
    plenty of memory remains unused.  This memory can be mapped into the
    UMB area and used as normal UMB RAM.  An advantage of this method is
    that your CPU stays in Real Mode, which is considerable faster and more
    compatbile than the V86-Mode into which your CPU is switched by EMM386
    et. al.  Furthermore, UMB RAM is not taken from your extended memory,
    but from reserved memory, which would otherwise remain unused.

    This reprogramming is totally dependent on your system's chipset.  You
    have to search for a program that does it for your specific system.
    These programs are regularly available as freeware or shareware.  Write
    a question in PTSDOS.GER for details.  ;)

Q:  I have problems when using a folder / datacomp drive and a hard disk
    cache (e.g.  SMARTDRV, PTSCACHE, HYPERDISK, ...)

A:  You must disable the cache for the COMPRESSED drive and have it cache
    the host drive (the drive with the uncompressed disk space) ONLY.  As
    all data of the compressed drive is stored on the host drive, this
    measure will not negatively affect your system's performence.

Q:  When I am trying to print out a document on my HP Deskjet printer using
    MS Windows, I always get a "printer is offline" message box on the
    screen.  Although the printing process is not interrupted and the
    message box disappears on its own, I am heavily annoyed of this because
    I can't do other things on my computer while anything is printed.

A:  You can prevent the box from appearing as follows:  Start the Windows
    Control Panel and enter the Printer section.  There you have to
    activate that dialog box in which you can select the printer port.  If
    your printer is connected to LPT1:, change this to LPT1.DOS (at the
    bottom of the list, after the COM ports ;), if it is connected to
    LPT2:, change this to LPT2.DOS.

Q:  I solved the problem with my HP Deskjet Printer as you said, but now
    the printout is intolerable slow.

A:  Get the newest version of the HP Deskjet series driver (V 5.0).
    Printing speed will not be the same as under MSDOS, but at least faster
    than with older printer driver versions.

Q:  PTSDOS does not work on my pentium computer

A:  Use version 6.51 or above.

Q:  Which fossil driver do I have to use with my fidonet mailer?

A:  PTS-Fossil is not compatible to "revision 4".  (At least, FrontDoor
    says so and refuses to start).  BNU does not work (system hangs after
    init screen).  X00 Version 1.53 seems to be OK.  Not that, if you are
    using PTSDOS 6.6, you must not load X00 using device= in CONFIG.PTS.  Use
    loadhigh in AUTOPTS.BAT instead.

Q:  My memory is fragmented:  Although 620K are free, the maximum size for
    an executable program is only about 590K.

A:  This effect is caused by Command.Com if you are using the /E:xxxx
    switch in the SHELL line of CONFIG.PTS.  The environment is then (and
    only then) placed in an odd place where it divides your 620K of free
    memory into a large area of 590K and a small area of 30K. There are two
    possible solutions:

    1.:  Leave out the /E command switch.  Although of course the
         environment is still allocated, it now is in a more convenient

    2.:  If you need to define the environment size via the /E:xxxx switch,
         you may try to stuff the memory hole afterwards:  Remove all
         device= entries from your Config.Pts and load these drivers via
         SETDRV from your Autopts.Bat file.  The effect will be that
         command.com, the 30 KB hole and the environment block will be
         placed earlier in the system memory, and the drivers that are
         loaded after command.com will be placed into the 30KB hole.
         Please note that you must not load Folder.Sys via Setdrv!!!

    3.:  Try to provide UMB Ram and use SHELLHIGH instead of SHELL.  This
         will also eliminate this strange effect.

Section II - Support etc.

Q:  What's this all about with PhysTechSoft, Paragon, PTSDOS, PT$DOS, ... !?

    PTSDOS has originally been developed at PhysTechSoft, Moscow, an
    enterprise which is sponsered by the Russion Defense Ministry.  They
    finally gained allowance to distribute their DOS commercially, which lead
    to the releases of PTSDOS V6.4 and V6.5 in Germany.

    In 1995, some programmers (according to their statements dissatisfied
    with the vast bureaucracy at PhysTechSoft) left PhysTechSoft and took
    copies of the whole source code of PTSDOS with them.  They founded
    "Paragon" and released an own version of their DOS, PT$DOS 6.51CD.  This
    version fixed a lot of urgent bugs in PTSDOS 6.5

    In the meantime, PhysTechSoft released PTSDOS 6.6, which also fixed a lot
    of bugs in V6.5.

    According to the president of PhysTechSoft, Paragon has no permission to
    sell anything abroad and is therefore not only violating copyright laws,
    but also Russian military law.  We are going to see a major lawsuit in
    this case.

Q:  Who is the official distributor of PhysTechSoft PTSDOS in Germany?

    As of this writing, there is nobody who could sell you the legal verison
    of PTSDOS in Germany. :-(

Q:  Who is the official distributor of Paragon PT$DOS in Germany?

A:  ComKom GmbH, Joerresstr.  10, 53474 Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler.
    Tel. 02641-900306, Fax:  02641-900306

    Note that you might be buying an illegal copy of PT$DOS.

Q:  What is the latest version of PTSDOS?

A:  See the above statement on PhysTechSoft and Paragon.

Q:  Are there any means of electronic support?

A:  Well, in Fidonet, there is me and the PTSDOS.GER :-).  It is heard that
    there is also an e-mail address in the Internet somewhere in Germany,
    but this rumour has not yet been proved.  Please contact me, if you
    have any new information about that.

    You may also look into my Mailbox:

    Badnerland BBS, Fido: 2:2476/418
    Analog: 0721-9374498 (v.42,v.42b,v.fc,v.34)
    ISDN:   0721-9374498 (x.75, i.e. ISDNC)

    As this Mailbox is run noncommercially, you must no expect the same
    range of support known from commercial support mailboxes.

Q:  Why the hell is this FAQ written in English?

A:  Because the programmers of PTSDOS don't understand German, but want to
    read the FAQ (and especially the buglist) anyway.  If there are enough
    users requesting a German version, I might one day start keeping a bi-
    lingual list ...  Or is anybody out there, who might want to do the
    translation?  :-)

Section III - PTS-DOS-Buglist

This buglist of PTSDOS was compiled by Tobias Ernst from both own experience and mails in the fido newsgroup PTSDOS.GER. It is intended to be forwarded to the programmes of PTSDOS hoping that they will either fix the bugs mentioned or at least tell us how to work around them. Suggestions welcome.

Bug List, Rev.: 23.06.1996

Bugs which still are not fixed

(Newly found bugs since last revision of this list are marked by an asterisk (*))


Lots of users complain about stability of Lotlan. It crashes system in a lot of situations and combinations (too numerous to be listed here). Users report that Lotlan is inapt for serious work. Curiously enough, Lotlan seems to run a little more stable on MSDOS than on PTSDOS. (These experiences refer to PTSDOS 6.5 and PT$DOS 6.51).


Even with rather slow disk partitions, PTSCACHE complains that the hard disk is too large. It seems that this message occurs more often on SCSI systems than on EIDE systems. Nevertheless, PTSCACHE is loaded correctly and seems to do something, but nobody nows what is really going on inside it, because that warning must mean something ... As hard disks of 1GB and above have become rather widespread recently, this bug should be fixed with priority.


When using the GERMAN keyboard layout, Caps Lock does not work. This bug is limited to PhysTechSoft versions (including 6.6); Paragon has fixed it in 6.51CD.


When moving the file selection bar in a file list using the cursor up/dn keys, the selection bar movement is very "jumpy", i.e. not smooth, but jumping down three or four lines at once. This occurs only if the graphical mouse cursor is activated. Normally, I would not regard this as a real bug, BUT in PTSDOS 6.42, it still worked fine!


The netbios emulator RS232 expects a baud rate of 56000 instead of the standard 57600 as command line parameter. Most users use CP to configure Lotlan and don't get informed about this fact. They will type 57600 into the baud rate field presented to them by CP. This will cause Lotlan to refuse to work properly (Login will always fail). If 56000 is entered as parameter, Lotlan will work, but the transfer speed will be exactly the same as if 38400 would have been specified (probably because the COM Port can't cope with a speed of 56000). 115200 works fine and faster.


Help to the topics "Himem" and "Ramdisk" is unavailable. When one of these topics is selelcted, the help for the Debugger Command "D" is presented instead. - This bug is only present when using the "HELP" command. When using "PTSHELP" (which is new to version 6.6), this bug does not occur. As HELP.EXE also has problems on my 486 computer (simply won't work), I suggest it to be removed. PTSHELP includes any sort of help you need.


When the paramter /e:xxxx is used in the SHELL line of Config.Pts (i.e. SHELL=C:\ptsdos\command.com c:\ptsdos /e:6000 /p), a strange memory fragmentation takes place: COMMAND.COM is placed in the system memory directly after the system data (buffers and so on), then about 30000 bytes are LEFT FREE, and after that, the environment data (in this case 6000 bytes) is stored. This effect has always been observed when the /e switch was used, regardless of the size spezified there. The effect of this fragmentation is that MEM will schow e.g. 562000 bytes of free conventional memory, but only 532000 bytes of maximum size for an executable program, because the 562000 free bytes are splitted into a section of 532000 bytes and a section of 30000 bytes by the environment data.


When CPU=FAST is activated, BIOS Int 15h, Function Function 86h does not work correctly. If CPU=FAST is on, this function's delay is considerably longer (about 6 times) than the desired value.


A program to compare binary files (FC or COMP) is missing.


Prior to deleting resident memory blocks, CP will ask the user if he really wants to do that. Nevertheless, the memory block is afterwards deleted regardless of the user's answer.


When printing to a HP Desjet printer in a MS Windows environment (Driver versions 4.x and 5.x tested), a message box appears periodically telling the user that the printer is not ready to receive data. Though the printing process is not interrupted and the message box disappears after a few seconds, the continued appearance of this message box blocks the system for other purposes while a document is being printed. The problem disappeared when using MSDOS instead of PTSDOS. There is a workaround (see FAQ), but it is not satisfactory.


Some people (including myself) reported lost clusters and/or bad JAM message bases after using PTSDOS for a few days. On my current installation, this error is even reproducable! The problem seems to occur only if the hard disk was formatted using MSDOS and disappears when the hard disk is repartitioned and reformatted using PTSDOS' own FDISK and FORMAT routines. We suggest that a recommendation be added to the printed manual pointing out that for maximum data safety, it is highly advisable to partition and format the hard disk with PTSDOS prior to using PTSDOS regularly.


Loading this driver (X00153.LZH at my mailbox) using the device(high) statment will cause PTSDOS to crash at boot time. However, loading it as a TSR in AUTOPTS.BAT still works fine. This bug is new to V6.6 - with V6.51 it did work also in CONFIG.PTS. (Note that fidonet sysops depend on X00, as FOSSIL.EXE is not satisfactory e.g. for the FrontDoor mailer).

Other suggestions to the programmers


Fossil.Exe is not "revision 4 compatible". It would be a good idea to realise this compatibility in order to get it to work with several Fidonet software.


In PCDOS, MSDOS, DRDOS, OS/2, ..., pressing the "cursor up" key for the first time has the same effect as pressing the F3-key, i.e, showing the last-typed line. If you want to see the line typed last-but-one, you have to press "cursor up" twice.
In PTSDOS with HISTORY.COM, pressing the "cursor up" key for the first time directly shows the last-but-one typed line. If you want to retype the last line, you must use F3. I would not say that this behaviour is better or worse than that of PCDOS, but I think, for conformity reasons, it would be a good idea to adjust HISTORY.COM's behaviour to that of PCDOS et. al.

Historical: Bugs which have been fixed:



If the german keytable is loaded (KEYB GR), Caps Lock won't work properly. Only Z and Y will appear in capital letters; other letters will be small letters regardless of caps lock state.


PTSDOS up to version 6.5 would not work with virtually any CD-ROM drive. Fixed in version 6.51CD


Still problems with Mitsumi CD-ROM in version 6.51CD. Fixed in version 6.6, as it is now able to run MSCDEX directly.


When trying to entirely repartition and reformat the hard disk using the installation routine, there have been several problems. Fixed in version 6.6

You may share this list to others, but PLEASE do not modify it. If you have anything you think to be worth of putting it into this list, contact me and I will probably do it for you.
Tobias Ernst, Fido @ 2:2476/418, BBS: +49-721-9374498 admin@bland.mediaserve.de