NewDeal Technical Support Document 227


Tips for solving problems accessing floppy and hard disks and drives

Tell NewDeal what drives you have

Most problems reading, writing, copying or formatting floppy or hard drives can be solved by telling your NewDeal software exactly what type of drives you are using. To notify NewDeal about what type of disks and drives you have you must edit the GEOS.INI file. Simply add the appropriate lines to the [system] section of the file. For example:
drive a = 360
you have a 5.25" Low Density A: drive
drive b = 720 you have a 3.5" Low Density B: drive
drive c = 65535 you have a C: Hard drive
Using the basic format:
drive <letter> = <number>
you can specify a number of possible drive combinations: For removable media like CDROM, Syquest, or ZIP drives, use 65535.

Wait Post Support

NewDeal software provides two different methods of accessing drives: Wait Post ON, and Wait Post OFF. Most computers support Wait Post ON, but some require Wait Post OFF.

If you're having problems accessing your drives, first follow the procedures above. If that doesn't help, try changing the Wait Post setting. To do this, launch Preferences and click on the Newdeal (or NewDOS or GEOS) button. In the Wait Post Support section in the right of the dialog box, Click on the ON button to turn on Wait Post Support. Click on OK, then Yes. NewDeal will shut down and restart itself with Wait Post Support turned on.

If you still have problems, go back into Preferences and turn Wait Post Support off. Sometimes just the process of turning Wait Post Support ON, then OFF again will solve drive access problems.

Wait Post is a small optimization that comes into play when you're trying to make your system do a couple things at the same time. When the computer's BIOS notifies the software that there is a delay accessing the disk, Wait Post allows the software to suspend that task temporarily and switch to some other task, rather than sitting idle waiting for the BIOS. Then, when the hardware allows the BIOS to access the disk, the BIOS posts this notification to software, and the software then switches back to the task that is trying to access the disk.

In early versions of our software, Wait Post was the default behavior. However, a few computers were unable to support it properly and required that customers pass the /nowaitpost switch to the kernel. Therefore, we decided to make it an option in Preferences. If you turn it on, it is automatically disabled for the session following a crash, to allow you to turn it off again in Preferences, if need be.

Volume Names

Be sure your drives or partitions have unique volume names. You can use Disk, Rename Disk in NewManager to rename the drives, or you can use the LABEL command at the DOS prompt.

Configuring External Drives

If you install an external floppy drive, or more than two floppy drives on your computer, you may need to load a device driver in your CONFIG.SYS file. The driver will often be supplied by the manufacturer of the drive. If our software is not recognizing your external floppy drive or a floppy drive with a letter higher than C:, then add ONE of the following lines AFTER the line with the driver and it might help. The line explicitly defines the parameters for a 5.25 inch high density drive.
DRIVPARM=/D:1 /T:80 /S:15 /H:2 /C /F:1
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRIVER.SYS /D:1 /T:80 /S:15 /H:2 /C /F:1
An explanation of the switches follows:
is the logical drive number and is required
(0=A, 1=B, 2=C, etc.)
specifies the number of tracks per side, the default is 80
(use 40 tracks for double sided double density drives)
specifies the no. of Sectors/track, the default is 9
(15 sectors for HD 5.25in drives)
(18 sectors for HD 1.44in drives)
specifies the number of heads, the default is 2
indicates that "changeline" support is required
(for AT and compatibles which sense when a disk is swapped)
specifies that the device is non-removable (a hard drive)
specifies a drive "form factor" index, the default n=2
0 = 160/180K format (single-sided)
0 = 320/360K format (double-sided)
1 = 1.2M high-capacity drive
2 = 720K (3- inch) format
7 = 1.44M high-capacity drive
The advantage of using the DRIVPARM command over DRIVER.SYS is that it uses less memory and does not reassign your drive letters. That is, Drive A is still A, drive B is still B etc. DRIVPARM is an undocumented feature of DOS, so be aware of that.

DR DOS and Tandy portables

A problem has been reported when installing DR DOS 6.0 on Tandy Portables, specifically the 1400 HD. Upon boot completion, DR DOS will not recognize the 3.5" 720 KB floppy drive A:. It thinks that the drive is a 5.25" 360 KB. Ironically, the drive will READ a 720 disk, but it won't let you write to it. The FORMAT command will render your 3.5" disk able to hold only 360 KB of data. The folks at DR DOS and TANDY advise adding a line in CONFIG.SYS that reads:
DEVICE=C:\DRDOS\DRIVER.SYS /D:0 /F:2 /H:2 /S:9 /T:80
This solves the problem. Please note that in /D:0 and /T:80 those are zeros and not the letter "o". The only inconvenience with using this driver, is that it automatically assigns a different drive letter to the drive. Please note that the DRIVPARM statement will NOT work in this case. DRIVER.SYS must be used.
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Last Modified 17 Feb 1999