Info

Table 29.2 Enhanced Settings for config.nt

Command

Description

device=

Installs loadable device drivers. Drivers that attempt to address hardware directly likely won't work; however, you can load display drivers such as ANSI.SYS and memory managers such as EMM.SYS and HIMEM.SYS.

dosonly

Allows only DOS programs to be loaded from a COMMAND.COM prompt. Windows

and UNIX programs won't run.

echoconfig

Tells the VDM to print CONFIG and AUTOEXEC commands as they are executed from the files.

files=

Sets the maximum number of open files. I recommend setting this to 100.

ntcmdprompt

Replaces the COMMAND.COM interpreter with the 32-bit Windows command interpreter, cmd.exe. After you load a TSR or when you shell out of an application to DOS, you will get cmd.exe instead, from which you have the added benefits of the full 32-bit interpreter.

If you want, you can create customized copies of config.nt and/or autoexec.nt and use them just with specific DOS programs. To do this:

1. Use an elevated copy of Notepad to create the new setting file(s) with different names. For example, you might save a modified config.nt as config_wordperfect.nt.

2. Locate the MS-DOS program's .exe or .com file icon in Windows Explorer.

3. Right-click the icon and select Properties. Select the Program tab, and click the Advanced button. Enter the path to your customized config file.

#tip

Editing these files properly is no piece of cake. I suggest you have at hand a good DOS reference, such as Que's Special Edition Using DOS 6.22, Third Edition. It's out of print, but you can get a used copy at www.abebooks.com, among other places.

Issues with doskey and ansi.sys

Two of the most common enhancements used on MS-DOS computers were DOSKEY and ANSI.SYS. DOSKEY provided enhanced command-line editing: for example, the use of the up and down arrow keys to recall previous commands. ANSI.SYS gave DOS applications a way to easily control the position and color of text output onto the screen.

ANSI.SYS can be made available for MS-DOS programs simply by adding the line device=ansi.sys to config.nt (or an alternate config file). Unfortunately, no ANSI cursor support is provided for 32-bit Windows character mode (console) applications.

note

If you make changes to autoexec.nt or config.nt after having run an MS-DOS program from a Command Prompt window, you must close the Command Prompt window and open a new one for the MS-DOS subsystem to reload and take on the new configuration.

Conversely, DOSKEY—which has been enhanced significantly from the old DOS days—functions only in the 32-bit Windows console environment, and even if you attempt to load it in autoexec.nt, it does not function within the MS-DOS COMMAND.COM shell.

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