NewDeal Technical Support Document 243


Running NewDeal software under DR DOS, Novell DOS 7, or Caldera OpenDOS

NewDeal software is compatible with DR-DOS versions 3.41 or newer, including Novell DOS 7 and Caldera OpenDOS. NewDeal is also compatible with the task switching found in DR-DOS 6.0 or newer.


NewDeal software is supported by the taskswitching feature of DR-DOS, but it is not compatible with the multitasking feature of DR-DOS.

Special note about DR-DOS 6 updates

If you have DR-DOS 6, make sure you are using the May 1992 Business Upgrade release of DR-DOS 6.0. If you are, most of the files in your DRDOS directory are dated 4/92. If you are using a different release, obtain the May 1992 Business Upgrade release or consider downloading a newer version of DR-DOS from the Caldera web site.

There is a 1993 release, too. Some customers report no problems using the 1993 update, but others have better results with only the May 1992 Business Upgrade.

Changing your files statement

To run NewDeal software under DR-DOS, you must have the line FILES = 120 (or higher) in your CONFIG.SYS file.

At the DOS prompt, you can type the command

to edit the file. Use the arrow keys to move to the line with the current FILES setting, and change it to FILES=120 (capitalization doesn't matter).

We do not recommend loading the file table into high memory. Each file takes up about 100 bytes of memory, so raising FILES from 30 to 120 uses about 9K of conventional memory.


Unless your hard drive has been compressed, do not load the SSTOR.EXE device driver in the CONFIG.SYS. This may cause the message "Error reading drive D: Abort, Retry, Fail." Pressing F to choose Fail will bring up your program. The error should not occur if the drive is compressed.


SUPERPCK, like any other disk cache, puts heavy demands on your system. Adding the parameter /R:640 to the SUPERPCK line in AUTOEXEC.BAT may make the program more dependable, if you experience any problems.


When using NWCACHE, disable delayed disk writes by using the parameter /DELAY=OFF.


TaskMAX is the taskswitcher included with DR-DOS 6. TaskMGR is the taskswitcher for Novell DOS 7 and newer versions of DR-DOS.

A taskswitcher allows you to run more than one DOS program and switch quickly and easily among them. When you switch from one task to another, the program you are switching "from" is suspended and its exact state is saved to memory or to disk. When you switch back, the program resumes right where you left it, with the same documents open and the cursor or insertion point in the same place.

Loading and configuring TaskMAX under DR-DOS 6

TaskMAX may be loaded from the DOS command line or from a batch file, including the AUTOEXEC.BAT file. The most basic method is to issue the command
without any switches. In this case, TaskMAX runs with the parameters found in the TASKMAX.INI file (usually stored in the \DRDOS subdirectory). The TASKMAX.INI file is created or modified when you run DR-DOS's SETUP program. You can override the settings in the TASKMAX.INI file by using switches at the command line (or in your batch file) when you load TaskMAX.

Here are some examples of common switches and what they mean. For more information about configuring TaskMAX, consult your DR-DOS documentation.

Example #1

TASKMAX /E:1024 - Gives TaskMAX one MB of extended memory in which to swap background tasks. If additional space is needed, TaskMAX will swap to disk.

Example #2

TASKMAX /X:2048 - Gives TaskMAX two MB of expanded memory in which to swap background tasks

Example #3

TASKMAX /L:768 - Allot a maximum of 768 Kb of the available expanded memory to each task. This switch cannot be used when loading TaskMAX. It can only be used after TaskMAX is running. To use it, you must enter two lines, as in the next example.

Example #4

TASKMAX /X:1024 - Loads TaskMAX with one MB of expanded memory for swap
TASKMAX /L:512 - Limits each task no more than 512 Kb of expanded memory
If you do not limit each program's use of expanded memory, then the first program that uses it might use it all, leaving none available for other programs you run later.

You can automatically load several tasks from your AUTOEXEC.BAT file, using the /C switch. Below is an example of the last four lines in one customer's AUTOEXEC.BAT file (this customer has a 386 computer with 4 MB of RAM).

Example #5

TASKMAX /X:1024 - Loads TaskMAX with one MB of expanded memory for swap
TASKMAX /L:1024 - Limits each task to using 768 Kb of expanded memory
TASKMAX /C C:\NEWDEAL\LOADER - Runs Ensemble as a task
TASKMAX /C C:\GRAFWK\GWS - Runs Graphics Workshop as a task

Loading and configuring TASKMGR in Novell DOS 7 or newer versions of DR-DOS

The easiest way to load and configure TASKMGR is to do so by running the SETUP program for DOS and choosing the configuration you want. You can run TaskMGR from the DOS prompt by entering TASKMGR. Enter TASKMGR /? at the DOS prompt to see some of the options available. Consult your DOS documentation for more information.


To switch from one task to another, in most DOS programs you just press CTRL+ESC to pop up the TaskMAX or TaskMGR menu, or you can hold down the CTRL key while pressing a key on the numeric key pad to switch to another task.

In NewDeal software, your background tasks are listed in the Express menu. To switch from NewDeal to another task, simply click on the appropriate item in the Express menu.

To launch a DOS program as new task from within NewDeal, just double click on the appropriate icon to launch the DOS program.

Using Taskswitching with NewDeal

To use TaskMAX or TaskMGR with NewDeal software, you must first enable TaskMAX support in NewDeal Preferences. Here's how:

  1. Run Preferences.
  2. Click Taskswitching.
  3. Select the item DR-DOS 6 TaskMAX and click OK. You can use DR-DOS 6 TaskMAX for all versions of DR-DOS, Novell DOS 7, or Caldera OpenDOS.
When taskswitching is running and enabled, any DOS program you launch from NewManager will be run as a task.

When taskswitching is enabled, NewDeal provides an item called TaskMax Control... in the Express menu. The TaskMax Control panel allows you to switch among tasks, launch new tasks, delete tasks, or change the maximum amount of expanded memory allowed per task (same as using the /L switch described above). The TaskMAX Control panel also allows you to toggle clipboard support on or off. Clipboard support is available in TaskMAX. Clipboard support is not available in TaskMGR.

Clipboard Support in TaskMAX

To copy text from another application into a NewDeal application, press Ctrl and Esc at the same time while in the other application to bring up the TASKMAX menu. Then follow the instructions on the menu to copy some text. Switch back into NewDeal, run an application like Notepad or NewWrite, click the Edit menu and choose Paste, and your text will appear. Clipboard support is available only in DR-DOS 6.

Memory and Taskswitching

When TaskMAX or TaskMGR are swapping their background tasks to memory, switching tasks can take two seconds or less. When swapping to disk, then switching tasks can take as much time as loading a program from your hard drive, up to 30 seconds or more.

If your computer has less than 2 MB of RAM, then we recommend that you do NOT let your taskswitcher swap to memory. You will get much better performance in NewDeal if you let NewDeal use your extended or expanded memory instead. This means your taskswitcher will swap its tasks to disk and switching tasks will be slower, but the benefit of being able to switch among your programs without having to reopen your documents and find your place again will still be valuable.

To prevent your taskswitcher from using extended or expanded memory, configure it that way by running the DOS SETUP program (or edit TASKMAX.INI or TASKMGR.INI file by hand to set extended and expanded memory use to zero).

If your computer has 4 MB, then you may wish to carefully balance your memory use between your applications and your taskswitcher. The exact settings will depend on what software you use, how many tasks you normally run at once, and what you do with your computer. The more memory you allow your taskswitcher to use for swap space, the more quickly you'll be able to switch among your tasks. However, if you give your taskswitcher too much memory, then performance within your applications may suffer. This is especially true of performance in NewDeal, which benefits greatly from being able to swap to memory rather than to disk. We recommend starting out by giving your taskswitcher about one MB of your RAM and leaving the rest available to NewDeal and your other programs. Some trial and error may be necessary to find the optimum value for your specific needs.

If your computer has more than 4 MB, then you should have plenty of memory to give your taskswitcher one or two MB (or more) of RAM for swap space and still have enough for other programs that use it.

For more information about the features and options available when using TaskMAX or TaskMGR and how to configure it, consult your DOS documentation.

Taskswitching and Your Modem

In order to taskswitch to DOS applications with TaskMAX while using your modem, you need to tell the modem not to disconnect when you switch out to the DOS application.

Start up NewComm and type AT&D0&W. The AT&D0 tells the modem to ignore DTR and the last &W tells the modem to save this setting in its non-volatile RAM memory so every time you use the modem this will work. Now you can use NewComm or your modem normally and you'll be able to taskswitch out without hanging up.

Also, your modem must be configured for IRQ 3 or IRQ 4. TaskMAX will not let you exit if a COM port is actively using IRQ 5 or IRQ 7.

Taskswitching and Your Mouse

If you have mouse problems when taskswitching, here are some things to try:
  1. Try the mouse driver named MOUSE.COM or MOUSE.SYS in New Deal, especially if the mouse gets lost when switching tasks.
  2. Run NewDeal with the /nomem switch to determine if the difficulty is due to an upper memory conflict.

TaskMAX and Your Video

On some systems and with certain software, TaskMAX does not always save an application's fonts when you switch tasks. This is especially true with graphics programs. This could cause your screen to go blank or otherwise look strange.

To solve this problem, launch TaskMAX from the DOS prompt using the /F switch or include it in the line that loads TaskMAX in your AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

If that doesn't help, you will have to use the /V option to force your VGA adapter to be accessed in the same way as an EGA display adapter. Use:
Try both.

Advanced Tips for Increasing Conventional Memory with DR-DOS 6

  1. If you have an AMI BIOS or compatible, you can probably add the following switch to the EMM386.SYS command line
    This will add 32k to the UMB pool. Don't use it if you are using a monochrome adapter, since this is where the adapter code resides.
  2. Use /F=C800 for the 64k page frame starting address. It will start after the C000-C7FF block which is normally used by the VGA adapter code.
  3. Add the following address range to the UMB pool
    About 96k will be added to the UMB's.
  4. Change the order in which the TSR's /device drivers are loaded. Use the MEM command to see how much RAM each memory resident program uses and load the largest ones first. Some TSR's or device drivers need more room in which to load before settling down to their installed size.
  5. Use HILOAD with your TSRs. The TSRs will load low if there is no upper memory available.
  6. Add MEMMAX -U -L to your AUTOEXEC.BAT file after loading your TSRs. This will disable access to upper memory.
  7. Alternatively, load EMM386.SYS with the /L parameter. This creates an extra 24k of upper memory. The tradeoff is that the same amount of conventional memory will be used up. The benefit of using this switch is that a much larger TSR which previously resided in lower memory, may now be loaded high. The net gain in RAM may be positive.
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Last Modified 17 Feb 1999