NewDeal Technical Support Document 206
NOTE: For more information about your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, consult your DOS manual. Please don't ask us for help with fine tuning your DOS settings. Although we're providing the following basic information, our expertise is NewDeal software, not DOS. Please refer to the documentation for your DOS, or contact its manufacturer for assistance. Each computer's configuration is unique, so you need to be familiar with your PC and the software you use before you change these files.
Why two files?
CONFIG.SYS primarily loads device drivers, programs that control your hardware and memory. AUTOEXEC.BAT is mainly used to give instructions about how you want to interact with DOS.
A word to the wise
Don't modify these files without having a bootable floppy disk (also called a system disk) which contains your original, working AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files. If you make changes that cause your system to hang when you reboot, you can always boot from the floppy and copy the files back to the hard drive. For instructions on making a bootable floppy disk, see your DOS manual.
AUTOEXEC.BAT configures the DOS environment, including the way DOS displays information on the screen and where DOS looks for commands you enter at the DOS prompt. You can also include commands to automatically run programs, but these commands need to be put at the end of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. For example, if you want to automatically enter your NewDeal software when you turn on your computer, you can add the line NEWDEAL to the end of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
What do all of these lines in my AUTOEXEC.BAT file mean, anyway?
Here are some common commands you might find in an AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
ECHO OFF - Tells DOS to not display the rest of the commands in AUTOEXEC.BAT on the monitor. The commands still execute, but DOS keeps quiet about it.
PATH - Tells DOS where to look for the commands you type in at the DOS prompt. When you enter something at the DOS prompt, DOS will search the directories in the PATH until it finds the program you typed in. If DOS can't find the program in the PATH or in the directory you're currently in, it tells you "Bad command or file name." A semicolon separates each directory in the PATH statement.
PROMPT - Tells DOS what you want your prompt to look like. For example, the line PROMPT $P$G instructs DOS to display the current directory as part of the prompt.
FILES - This line specifies how many files can be open at the same time. In NewDeal software, a lot of files have to be open at the same time. These files include the NewDeal system software, the application you're in (for example, NewWrite), your personal documents, font files, and driver files that control your printer and mouse. If FILES is set too low, you won't be able to run NewDeal software, or it may give you a message like "Insufficient file handles, increase files in CONFIG.SYS."
If you're using MS-DOS, NewDeal software needs your files to equal at least 30. If you're using DR-DOS 6.0, files should equal at least 120. If everything is working fine, you probably shouldn't change the FILES setting.
BUFFERS - Buffers are temporary holding spaces for information you're moving to and from a disk, be it a hard drive or floppy disk. If your BUFFERS setting is high, you'll be able to read and write information faster, but a high value for BUFFERS also means less memory is available for your programs and documents. If BUFFERS is set too low, your hard disk will seem sluggish and you might not be able to print large documents.
For any version of DOS, NewDeal software needs BUFFERS to equal at least 30. It's best not to change this setting, especially if your NewDeal software is working fine.
SHELL - The SHELL statement tells DOS where to look for COMMAND.COM, the main DOS program file, and how much memory to set aside for DOS to use when executing commands. This is another line you don't want to change unless you're really sure about what you're doing.