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7 - Configuration Files

A handy trick to use when booting up a DOS based computer is to press the key as soon as you see the Starting MS DOS... message. This forces the computer to execute the commands in the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files one by one. The computer will prompt you as to whether you want to execute a given command or not. By doing this, you will be able to tell which line in the configuration files that you are having a problem with (if any).

If you are using a DOS based computer (not Windows 95, NT or OS/2), another approach is to simplify the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files. Make sure you have a backup copy of these files, then edit the files and remark out lines that aren't really necessary to get the computer to boot up or use a boot disk to start the computer. For example, let's assume we are having a problem booting up the computer and it has the following AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files:

Original AUTOEXEC.BAT: @ECHO OFF LH /L:0 C:\DOS\SMARTDRV.EXE /X /U 2048 128 PATH=C:\DOS;C:\WINDOWS;C:\UTIL SET PCTCP=C:\PCTCP\PCTCP.INI SET TEMP=C:\TEMP PROMPT $p$g C:\DOS\MODE CON RATE=32 DELAY=1 C:\DOS\MODE CON LINES=50

rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- SET SOUND=C:\SB16 SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6 SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E C:\SB16\DIAGNOSE /S C:\SB16\SB16SET /P /Q rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- LH /L:1,6384 C:\DOS\DOSKEY rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- LH /L:2,36224 C:\DOS\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MTMIDE01 /M:10 rem --------- CD-ROM Drive ---------

Original CONFIG.SYS: DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS I=E000-EFFF BUFFERS=10,0 FILES=80 DOS=UMB FCBS=4,0 DEVICE=C:\DOS\ANSI.SYS

rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- DEVICE=C:\SB16\CTSB16.SYS /BLASTER=A:220 I:5 D:1 H:5 DEVICE=C:\SB16\CTMMSYS.SYS

rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- DEVICE=C:\MTM\MTMCDAI.SYS /D:MTMIDE01 rem --------- CD-ROM Drive ---------

DOS=HIGH STACKS=9,256 SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM C:\DOS\ /p DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\IFSHLP.SYS

To simplify these configuration files, we would remark out the non-essential lines as follows: Revised AUTOEXEC.BAT: @ECHO OFF REM LH /L:0 C:\DOS\SMARTDRV.EXE /X /U 2048 128 PATH=C:\DOS;C:\WINDOWS;C:\UTIL SET PCTCP=C:\PCTCP\PCTCP.INI SET TEMP=C:\TEMP PROMPT $p$g REM C:\DOS\MODE CON RATE=32 DELAY=1 REM C:\DOS\MODE CON LINES=50

REM rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- REM SET SOUND=C:\SB16 REM SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6 REM SET MIDI=SYNTH:1 MAP:E REM C:\SB16\DIAGNOSE /S REM C:\SB16\SB16SET /P /Q

REM rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- REM LH /L:1,6384 C:\DOS\DOSKEY

REM rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- REM LH /L:2,36224 C:\DOS\MSCDEX.EXE /D:MTMIDE01

REM rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- Note, I did not remark out the PATH, PROMPT, and SET statements. The PATH and PROMPT are necessary to boot the computer and the SET statements are environment variables which will not affect anything if left in. Revised CONFIG.SYS: REM DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS REM DEVICE=C:\DOS\EMM386.EXE NOEMS I=E000-EFFF REM BUFFERS=10,0 REM FILES=80 REM DOS=UMB REM FCBS=4,0 REM DEVICE=C:\DOS\ANSI.SYS

REM rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- REM DEVICE=C:\SB16\CTSB16.SYS /BLASTER=A:220 I:5 D:1 H:5 REM DEVICE=C:\SB16\CTMMSYS.SYS

REM rem --------- Sound Blaster --------- REM rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- REM DEVICE=C:\MTM\MTMCDAI.SYS /D:MTMIDE01

REM rem --------- CD-ROM Drive --------- REM DOS=HIGH REM STACKS=9,256 REM SHELL=C:\COMMAND.COM C:\DOS\ /p REM DEVICE=C:\WINDOWS\IFSHLP.SYS

Note, I remarked out everything in the CONFIG.SYS file. Nothing in there is necessary to boot the computer.

We would next reboot the computer to make sure it is working. If it boots properly with these revised AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, then we know our problem lies here. Then it is just a matter of unremarking the lines until we find the problem.

A shortcut we could use here is to first try remarking out the lines that we believe are causing the problems. For example, if we just installed a CD-ROM drive and it isn't working properly or an error displays when the computer boots up, we would simply remark out those lines associated with the CD-ROM drive only. Next we would reboot the computer to make sure that it boots properly and then double check the lines in both the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS for the drive.


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