NewDeal Technical Support Document 278


Tips about using NewDeal software with various computers and peripheral hardware devices

To run NewDeal software, your computer must have: NewDeal will run on most IBM-compatible computers and will work with the vast majority of keyboards, input devices, video monitors, disks and drives (including most portable drives), keyboards, modems, and printers that you might attach to your computer.

This document details some issues that NewDeal's technical support team has encountered with specific brands and models of computers and computer peripherals.

Desktop Computers

Installation Problems on Early Clones

Some early clones run the AT bus at the processor clock speed, even though the bus speed is specified for 8MHz. Some peripheral cards do not handle this well.

If you have trouble installing NewDeal on an older clone computer, try turning off the computer's turbo mode and letting the machine run at the slower speed while installing. You may then turn turbo back on and NewDeal will run okay.

Packard Bell Computers

286 Non-standard Boot Sector
Some Packard Bell 286's put non-standard bytes at the start of the boot sector and will not work with version 1.x of NewDeal. Newer versions of NewDeal contain a fix for this situation.

Distorted Printouts
Some older Packard Bell computers were reported to have a problem with the printer port which causes it to build up static that interferes with proper printing. The symptom is that every second or third page has white gaps or missing information. Replacing the printer port is one solution.


You've got three choices for booting the PS/1:
  1. boot from the ROM disk (drive D:), which is the default
  2. boot from the hard disk (if it's got one)
  3. boot from a floppy (by pressing ALT+SysRq)
These three options are available in the IBM DOS section of the four-part screen. You get a screen with a bunch of text options, one of which has to do with system configuration. Double-clicking the option gives you a screen of maybe 10 options, one of which is from where the machine should boot (another of which is where you should end up after the boot: at the DOS prompt, in Your Software, or at the four-part opening screen).

Mouse Trouble
If you have trouble with the mouse on a PS/1, try moving it from the mouse port to a serial port and try the Logitech Serial driver. If the trouble persists, try the mouse on a different computer or try a different mouse to ensure that the mouse is not physically broken.

If the PS/1 mouse driver beeps unexpectedly, try running NewDeal from the DOS prompt (not from the PS/1 Quadrant).

DTR-1 Dauphin

The Dauphin DTR-1 is reported to work fine with NewDeal software.

Toshiba T100X

The Toshiba T100X is reported to work with NewDeal software. It may take some work to find a mouse driver for the T100X pen.

Toshiba 1000SE or T1200HB

On the Toshiba 1000SE laptop, clicking on the 3.5" A: or B: drive in NewDeal may not work. The machine ships with DOS 2.11, which doesn't recognize 720K drives. Toshiba tricks DOS using an illegal device code which NewDeal doesn't recognize.

A work around is as follows: before running NewDeal, insert a formatted disk in A: (or B:) and switch to A: (type A: at the DOS prompt). Examine the GEOS.INI file to make sure that the line "waitpost = false" exists in the [system]. Then start NewDeal.

If you want to format a floppy on these machines, you may need to have accessed a floppy in the drive before running NewDeal. Simply doing a DIR A: at the DOS prompt should work for this purpose. If you don't access the drive before running NewDeal, you may be given formatting options as if the disk were a 360K drive, instead of the 720K drive it is.

Toshiba T1600

If the computer has EGA emulation, try the reverse mono EGA driver, if available. If the laptop is set to use auto gray scaling, it may interfere with the standard mono EGA mode. In that case, use the SETUP2 utility that comes with the computer to make the machine a vanilla EGA system. The symptom to look for is a few very tall, elongated characters on starting NewDeal (the mouse may show up elongated, too). If the machine is CGA only, the reverse mono CGA driver should work.

Toshiba 3200 With Monochrome VGA

NewDeal may not support this machine when it is set up in monochrome VGA. The symptom is a blank screen at video setup, with the software apparently running underneath (i.e. key presses like F3 still work correctly). Switch to VGA 640x480 16-color, which will display in 16 gray shades.

AST GRiDpad 1910

NewDeal is reported to work with the GRiDpad 1910.
  1. Use the AT&T6300 driver for video.
  2. For the pen you need the PENMOUSE.COM driver for the 1910. You can download it from AST's BBS or from CompuServe or elsewhere on the internet. Load that driver before you load NewDeal. This is essentially a mouse driver for the pen on most Grid systems.
  3. You might want to create a batch file like this:
    @echo off
    loader %1 %2 %3 %4
    penmouse /r
    That way, the penmouse driver is loaded before you run NewDeal and unloaded when you quit.
  4. In NewDeal, choose the "Absolute Generic Digitizer" mouse selection and it will work great. Takes a little practice to do pen taps for button presses but it does work.

Leading Technology 6800SX

NewDeal version 1.2 may not work on the Leading Technology 6800SX.

Technical explanation:
All PCs have a chip called an interrupt controller (aka 8259, aka PIC), and AT-class machines contain 2 of them, one acts as an arbiter between the various IRQ lines and the single interrupt line the CPU accepts. The 8259 is what gives the various IRQ levels their ranking.

Because the controller is separate from the CPU, it cannot know when the interrupt it signaled to the CPU is done being serviced, unless the CPU tells it so. There are two commands the 8259 accepts to tell it an interrupt is done: the General End of Interrupt (EOI), and the specific EOI. The general EOI tells it the highest-priority interrupt that's in-service is now complete, while the specific EOI reports when specific other interrupt levels are complete.

On the Leading Technology 6800SX, the specific EOI command is non-standard and the machine doesn't understand when NewDeal 1.2 sends the command, so after the first timer interrupt runs, it never lets a new interrupt get to the processor and the computer locks up completely.

Newer versions of NewDeal have not been specifically tested on the Leading Technology 6800SX.

Tandy 1000 TX and SCSI IDE Smartdrive

Tandy reports that NewDeal may be incompatible with the Tandy 1000 TX when equipped with their SCSI IDE Smartdrive. Their regular RLL controller works fine.

Tandy 1000 S1/2

If you have trouble installing NewDeal on the Tandy 1000 S1/2, it may be because DOS is on ROM. The solution is to add this line to the AUTOEXEC file:
Then reinstall NewDeal.

Tandy 4000

Some Tandy 4000 machines don't have an actual UART (COM port), but emulate one in software somehow. NewDeal may not work with them.

Texas Instruments TIPC

The Texas Instruments TIPC (semi-IBM-compatible) will run NewDeal if the machine has a ComCel compatibility card installed. With some other compatibility cards installed (Romberg and Romberg Graphics Emulator, for example), NewDeal may not work correctly.

Delta Gold and DOS 3.33

NewDeal may be incompatible with the DOS 3.33 that ships on some Delta Gold computers. The symptom is the message "System error: cannot load user-interface library." The solution is to upgrade to a newer DOS.

Macintosh and SoftPC 3.0

SoftPC is a PC emulator software for the Macintosh. Version 2.5 of SoftPC did not support NewDeal, but according to reports, NewDeal works with version 3.0 of SoftPC.

Sharp PC 6220

The Sharp PC 6220 comes with DOS 4.01 on a ROM chip and no floppy drives, so NewDeal must be transferred to the machine via a serial or parallel connection. It has a VGA display. A memory manager named EEM4J.SYS appears to come pre-installed on this machine and may be incompatible with NewDeal. Try running NewDeal with the /nomem switch.


The PC-Junior uses the NMI for keyboard input, which NewDeal doesn't support, therefore NewDeal doesn't officially support the PC-Junior.

One user is running NewDeal successfully on a customized PC-Jr using the /s parameter. The PC-Jr ships with only 256K, no hard drive, no expansion slots, and an incompatible keyboard. He has added some kind of expansion board, a SCSI hard disk, and 101-key keyboard all from "PC-Enterprises." He also has a shareware program called JRCONFIG (by Larry Newcomb) that reallocates video RAM outside standard RAM. He has allocated 32K to video RAM. He says IBM makes products equivalent to all of these PC-Enterprises components. However, he seems to be the only person so far who has gotten it to work. He's using DOS 3.3

PC-Enterprises is a company which makes hardware upgrades for the IBM PC-jr. They have a BIOS compatibility cartridge that fixes many of the BIOS problems on the Jr, too.

ZEOS Computers

On ZEOS and some other computers, you may need to set the interrupt level of NewDeal for the parallel ports to BIOS or DOS instead of 7 or 5 in Preferences, Computer in order to print. This is because the hardware design of ZEOS computers is not 100% IBM compatible and is corrected by the computer's BIOS.

When you select interrupt level 5 or 7, NewDeal attempts to talk directly to the I/O card for speed but, due to the hardware design, the communication fails. This happens on several brands of computers, not just ZEOS. Windows also requires the use of BIOS or DOS on these computers.

Notebook or Laptop Computers

Leading Edge Laptop Screen Blanker

To disable the Leading Edge Laptop screen blanker, type CTRL+ALT+S

Leading Edge DLT

If the Leading Edge DLT 386SX laptop w/LCD display does not show the bottom part of the video display, try using the EGA driver in NewDeal.

GRiD 1810

The GRiD 1810 laptop works with the CGA driver in NewDeal.

AST Premium Exec laptop

The AST Premium Exec 386 Laptop does not print from NewDeal version 1.0 or versions dated prior to May 1991. It should work with newer versions of NewDeal, using the BIOS setting for the LPT port in Preferences, Computer.

A customer installed DOS 5 on an AST Premium Exec laptop and had a lot of problems (not just with NewDeal). AST technical support recommends against using MS DOS 5.0 on that system.


If you try to run NewDeal on a notebook or laptop with Microsoft's POWER.EXE loaded in the CONFIG.SYS, you may experience KR-07 errors or other problems. We recommend that you don't use POWER.EXE if you plan to run NewDeal.

CompAdd Express 325NXL, Black Edges

When you run NewDeal on a CompAdd Express 325NXL laptop hooked to an external VGA monitor, up to 1" or so around the edge of the screen may be black. You can actually click on things blindly in the blackened area and they will work.

The problem seems to be in the computer's video BIOS. You can work around it by running C:\UTIL\SETUP (the computer's SETUP program) and switching the monitor setting from CRT to laptop and back to CRT again.

NEC ProSpeed

Though it has a VGA display, the NEC ProSpeed defaults to monochrome at startup to save power. Before running NewDeal, enter this command at the DOS prompt:
mode co80

NEC Multispeed-HD Laptop

To install NewDeal on an NEC Multispeed laptop, you need to disable the TSR's and the screen blanker, both of which can be done easily from the DOS prompt.


Before running NewDeal, disable the NEC pop-up utilities by entering this command at the C: prompt:

At next C: prompt, enter:
The machine should respond that the pop-up utilities are disabled. Killpop might be incompatible with MS DOS 5 and higher--try loading SETVER and adding it to the SETVER table.

Then disable the screen blanker by entering the command:

The machine should respond that back lighting is now turned on.


The pop-up utilities are built into the Multispeed's hardware and will reload every time the computer starts up, so you must run killpop every time you re-boot the computer. Otherwise, these utilities will completely prevent NewDeal from loading.

The Multispeed has a back lit LCD screen, whose back lighting normally turns off after 1 minute to save power if no key is pressed. Since NewDeal intercepts keystrokes before they reach BIOS (and thus before this screen dimmer detects them), the EL ON command is needed to disable the screen dimmer.

To turn the screen dimmer back on, type the command:

EL x
where x is length of time in minutes before the screen dims. This must be an integer between 1 and 10. EL OFF will make the screen dim immediately. We recommend EL 10.

Now install NewDeal normally. If you have your printer and mouse (and mouse driver) correctly installed on the Multispeed, the installation should go smoothly.

Tip: You could put these commands in a batch file, say NDS.BAT, that will run them automatically.

Philips Maxnavox Metallis Notebook

Eagle VGA Fast Options
The Eagle VGA chipset on the Metallis notebook has a fast option, which (according to the manual) provides improved video access to CPU memory. This fast option is turned on by running the command
\video\eagle fast
This fast option doesn't seem to conflict with anything immediately. DOS works fine. NewDeal starts fine, but there seems to be a conflict (at least on the Metallis) with the PS/2-style mouse. The mouse locks up. The keyboard continues to work, but the mouse doesn't. The remedy, of course, is to not use the fast video option, which is the startup default.

Standby Mode
When running NewDeal, the standby mode of the Metallis laptop causes the real-time clock to lose time. This happens in NewDeal but not at the DOS prompt.

If you have a Philips Metallis 386 SX machine that appears to turn itself off while running NewDeal and other programs, you may need to upgrade the BIOS.

Gateway 2000 Handbook Sub-Laptop

The Gateway 2000 has only one physical port, but you can select in a setup program whether it is seen as COM1, COM2, or software selectable. It needs to be set to 1 or 2, not the software selectable setting. Very early versions of NewDeal might have problems with the keyboard freezing when exiting back to DOS.

Disks and Drives


PCMCIA stands for Personal Computer Memory Card International Association. These slots, sometimes called PC Card slots or Thin Card slots, are becoming increasingly popular, especially in notebook computers. PCMCIA slots are designed for compatibility with memory cards, modems, network cards and other devices that are designed for the PCMCIA standard.

However, each make and model of slot uses its own software drivers. While there has been a move toward standardization of drivers in recent years, many slots, especially early slots, use very proprietary drivers. For this reason, NewDeal cannot guarantee compatibility and support for all PCMCIA slots and PCMCIA devices. However, if you can access the device from a DOS prompt, then NewDeal will probably recognize it, too.

If NewDeal does not recognize your PCMCIA card, make sure a card is in the slot when you start NewDeal. With certain slot drivers, NewDeal may not see the slot unless there is a card in it.

If that doesn't work, try to access the card from the DOS prompt or from another DOS-based software. If you use Windows, you might be loading a Windows driver for the slot that does not provide support for DOS applications. If so, you may need to locate and install the DOS drivers for the slot. Check any diskettes that came with the slot or check with the manufacturer of the slot for DOS drivers.

Drive Mounting Screws Too Tight

If you've been troubled by intermittent "ERROR READING DRIVE" messages on your CD-ROM drive, check the mounting screws that hold the drive in the bay. Creative Labs has found the cause of some drive errors to be over-tightened mounting screws which flex the drive and prevent it from spinning properly. Loosening the screws eliminates the problem. The situation can affect floppy and hard disks, too. The screws that secure these units in place do not need to be tightened excessively. Keep this in mind when adding drives to your system.

Parking Your Hard Drive

Most IDE and SCSI hard drives 80 MB or larger and manufactured since 1992 are self-parking and do not require a parking utility. When in doubt, read your owner's manual or check with the manufacturer of your hard drive.

If you are using an older hard drive, you may want to use a drive parking utility. First a brief note on when and why to park your hard drive. When you turn off your computer, your hard drive is probably still ready for action with the read/write heads just hovering somewhere over the section of the disk that contains data. Most hard drives have the ability to park the heads, moving them to an empty area on your drive and locking them into place. This prevents any possibility that they may bounce around and collide with the disk, cause scratches or other physical damage. You should park your hard drive whenever you transport your computer. There are many utility programs that will do this for you.

Because laptops are moved so much, it's particularly important to park the hard drive.

For an easy exit from a NewDeal product and to park the hard drive heads for safety, try this. Put a parking utility in your world directory. Create a launcher for a better looking icon if you wish.

Double click on your park icon and NewDeal will drop to DOS and park the hard drives. Turn off the computer and away you go. When you turn on the computer and enter the NewDeal software again it will bring everything back just as you had it before. No mess no fuss, everything up and running just how you like it.

JDR Micro Controller

If NewDeal won't boot on a system with the JDR Micro floppy controller, or any other board that supports four drives, try inserting good floppy disks in each drive before running NewDeal. Also try defining the drives specifically with "drive x = nnnn" lines in the [system] section of the GEOS.INI file.

Optical Drives

NewDeal will run from an optical drive, but the installer program won't work. One work around is to install the software on a hard drive, then copy it to the optical drive.

Floppy Disk Trouble, Bus Mouse, Boot Sector

If a PC has a bus mouse card and floppy disks are not being recognized, it might help to open the PC and move the Interrupt jumper on the bus mouse card from "2" to "5". IRQ 5 is a good candidate because 4 and 3 are usually taken by COM1 and COM2, respectively. Of course, this assumes you are not using interrupt 5 for a second LPT port or anything else, like a sound board.

The error message "no or unformatted disk in drive" usually comes about because there is some non-standard code in the boot sector of the disk.

Concept Technologies Disk Controller

If there are no floppy diskettes in the drives when NewDeal loads, then icons for the drives might not appear in NewDeal. If there are disks in the drives, then NewManager and desktop should display buttons for the drives.

The Concept Technologies disk controller requires this line in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file:

If the line is missing from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, then NewDeal may recognize the drives, but you may have trouble formatting diskettes from NewDeal or from DOS. The driver is v. 2.3 HS (HeadStart).

Bernoulli Boxes

Bernoulli drives come with a couple of software drivers. If you are using RCD.SYS, switch to HARDDISK.COM.

The /w flag can be passed to RCD.SYS (version 7 or earlier) to allow NewDeal version 1.x to write to the boot sector. IOMEGA has a prohibition on writing to the boot sector due to a bug in MS DOS 4.0 where creating a directory right near the end of a 32 MB partition can cause DOS to wrap back around and overwrite the boot sector, which makes the disk non-bootable. Since the bug doesn't exist in DOS versions other than 4.0, users should only need to add this flag for DOS version 4.0. The resulting CONFIG.SYS line would look like this:

device = rcd.sys /w
If your Bernoulli box shows up with a CD-ROM icon in NewManager or on the desktop, you may need to upgrade your Iomega drivers. If your Bernoulli box shows up with a floppy drive icon in NewManager or on the desktop, try locking the drive to make NewDeal see it as a hard drive.

Sysgen MobileDisk

NewDeal installed and ran on a SysGen MobileDisk without any problems, provided the LPT ports were set to BIOS or DOS in Preferences, Computer. The MobileDisk is a hard drive that attaches to the parallel port. You can still print over the port by daisy-chaining a printer from the drive.

Plus Passport Removable Hard Drive

Since the drive is removable, early versions of NewDeal will ask the driver for the drive's default geometry (number of sectors, bytes per sector, etc.). DOS mistakenly takes this to be a request for the geometry of the disk currently in the drive and generates a critical error. The call NewDeal makes is a generic I/O Control, Get Device Parameters (major function 8, minor function 60 hex with the special functions byte set to 0 to indicate the default BiosParameterBlock is required, not the current one). This call is not supposed to go to the disk, since the driver should have the default BPB in its data segment.

In newer versions of NewDeal software, try specifying a hard drive type for the disk drive, by adding a line like this to the [system] section of the GEOS.INI file:

drive d = 65535
where d is the drive letter for the Plus Passport drive.

Panasonic DOS 3.3021

Panasonic DOS 3.3021 (actually made by Tandy for Panasonic) apparently caused some floppy drive recognition problems with early versions of NewDeal.

NEC CD Express

A problem that seems to be rather common with users of the NEC CD Express package is the error message "mscdex is not loaded." If you see this message, change to the directory C:\GEOWORKS\CDROM and, at the DOS prompt, enter:
mscdex /d:tslcd /l:d /m:10
The l: parameter indicates the drive letter of the CD ROM player. If you get "mscdex is not loaded," the CD player may not be turned on or may not be properly installed via the SCSI card. If it does load, then check to be sure that MSCDEX is being loaded in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file, and that your version of MSCDEX is appropriate for your version of DOS.

Magnavox HeadStart/SX

There was a problem formatting more than one floppy disk from NewDeal version 1.0 on a HeadStart SX. The problem is fixed newer versions of NewDeal.

If you get a "Critical error: general failure" message when formatting reaches 98% (which is when the volume label gets written to the disk), choosing A to abort usually allows the operation to succeed. You can often get around this by putting a formatted disk in the drive and clicking the drive icon before attempting to format another disk of the same size (the drive is a 1.44 MB drive and you need to have looked at a disk in whatever format you would like the new disk to be in that drive before you attempt the format). This problem is fixed in versions of NewDeal newer than 1.2.9.

Technical explanation:

  1. The HS/SX hard disk is 40 MB, meaning its device driver has the attribute bit set indicating it accepts 32-bit sectors, rather than the 16-bit sectors used before DOS 4.0. Because of this, NewDeal kernels before 1.2.8 get confused and go through DOS to write the boot sector for the new disk. The DOS device driver decides to go look for a volume label in the uninitialized junk that is the root directory of the new disk (in order to see if you've changed disks on it), finds no volume label at all (the sectors are all F6 bytes) and declares that an invalid disk change has taken place. NewDeal version 1.2.8 properly checks to see if the drive contains removable media and the sector being written must be on the 0th track and then uses BIOS to write the sector, rather than DOS, allowing a proper 0-initialized root directory sector to be written before DOS is actually asked to write a sector for later tracks.
  2. When formatting a disk for DOS versions 3.2 or later, NewDeal instructs the DOS device driver about the format of disk it is to create. NewDeal saves the previous format the device driver thought it was accessing, and restores that format when the new disk has been formatted. . . almost. Unfortunately, it restores the format before it writes the new volume label, and a number of device drivers aren't clever enough to recognize this foolishness, so they attempt to write the volume label assuming the disk is the wrong format and fail miserably. Telling the subsequent critical error to abort the operation causes DOS to rebuild its idea of the disk geometry and allows it to properly write the volume name.
  3. Starting with version 1.2.9, NewDeal properly writes the volume label before restoring the previous geometry.

Infochip EXPANZ Disk Expander Card

Accessing floppy drives may give the message: "Illegal function call, executing Kernel code." NewDeal doesn't support compressed floppy diskettes with this card.

Tandy's MLPART.SYS drive partition

If you use Tandy's MLPART.SYS to partition your hard drive, NewDeal may show the drive as a ramdisk that it cannot read (giving the message "no formatted disk in drive"). There is no known work around. You must upgrade to a DOS version that doesn't require third party partition software.

Third Floppy Drive and Stacker

A customer was able to resolve the problem of a third floppy drive (3.5 HD) not being properly recognized by NewDeal. Turned out that several things were necessary:
  1. The AUTOEXEC.BAT file created by Stacker had to be changed to a single line file that launched the AUTOEXEC.BAT on drive E:
  2. The swap statement in the CONFIG.SYS file had to be changed to C: E:
  3. It was necessary to have the device driver for the third floppy drive in the root directory of both drives C: and E:.
  4. Also, it was necessary that the device driver statement for the third floppy drive be listed before the two Stacker device statements.

Write Protected Disk

When NewDeal starts up, it locates all the available drives, then tries to find itself in the directory tree so it can locate the GEOS.INI file, the SYSTEM folder, and the other folders included in a standard installation. Once it has located itself, it changes its current directory to be the top directory, i.e. the folder where NewDeal is installed. Next it checks to see if the disk that directory is on is write-protected. It does this because it needs to be able to write to the GEOS.INI file and to create temporary files like state, spool, clipboard, etc.

In order to see if the disk is write-protected, NewDeal looks at the disk handle for the drive with the top-level directory on it and sees if the disk is marked as writable in that disk handle. If it's not, an error is generated. What's a disk handle? Glad you asked.

In order to deal with floppy disks and the possibility that a user could have two applications running each with a file open to a different floppy disk in the same drive, NewDeal keeps track of individual disks (including hard disks) by means of a disk handle. This disk handle contains several pieces of information, including the name of the disk, the type of disk, in what drive it was encountered, a unique 32-bit ID number (that it gets from the boot sector), and a flag telling if the disk is writable. A disk handle is created when the software tries to access a disk for any reason. Applications do this when the user saves a file on a floppy disk, and the system software does this for all fixed disks at startup.

There are four things that can cause NewDeal to claim a disk is write-protected when it isn't:

  1. NewDeal may just not see the drive. this is true with some networks because they work by intercepting all calls to DOS by applications (such as us) and seeing if they pertain to it (if the call doesn't deal with one of the network drives, the network driver just passes the call on to DOS to let it handle it). If NewDeal doesn't see the drive, when the kernel goes to register the drive on which it found its top-level directory, the registration produces a disk handle of 0, meaning it couldn't be registered. This value is important. Hang on.
  2. NewDeal may see the drive, but when the registrar reads in the boot sector (which normally contains a description of the disk geometry--the number of sectors in a track, the number of tracks, etc.), the sector doesn't look like it contains valid information, or at least it's not in a format the kernel understands. Again the registrar returns a disk handle of 0, as the volume isn't compatible with NewDeal's disk tracking system.
  3. The NewDeal kernel may see the drive, but finds it's actually an alias for another physical drive and decides to ignore it. Some partitioning software may arrange to have this indication returned for all partitions of a disk other than the first one. Again the registrar returns a 0 disk handle since it doesn't think the drive exists.
  4. The disk driver may let NewDeal read the boot sector and it's in a valid format, but it won't let NewDeal write to the boot sector. NewDeal doesn't actually write to the boot sector of a disk, but it checks to see if it can. There may be a virus-scanner that's forbidding access to the boot sector or a disk compression software like Stacker may have found errors on the disk and write protected it to prevent any further corruption. The simplest explanation for a floppy disk is that the write protect tab has been enabled.
The importance of the disk handle 0 is:
To see if a disk is writable, the kernel checks a single bit within the 16 bytes that make up the disk handle. If the bit is clear in the disk handle for the disk on which NewDeal is installed, then NewDeal thinks the system is installed on a write protected disk and generates the "write protected disk" message.


The "RLL" in "RLL Encoding" means "run-length limited" which is a way of storing multiple bits that are the same value in less space than the bits by themselves would require by storing the bit and the number of bits that are the same value. NewDeal works with all the RLL drives we have tested.


Processor Identification

The type of processor is determined by examining a memory location called the "flags" register that, among other things, tells whether the last arithmetic operation was zero, negative, too big to fit in the destination register, etc.

Each new member of the 8088 processor family has defined additional bits in this register. For example, the 8088 uses only 12 of the 16 bits in the register, with the high four bits always being read as 1, while the 80286 defines three of those bits, but they're always 0 when operating in real mode, so if the high four bits are 1, you know the processor is an 8088.

The determination of whether the machine is an XT or AT or PS/2 is based on a set of bytes located at the very end of memory in ROM. These are ostensibly standardized, but in this industry, anything is possible.

AMD chips, slow printing

Users with computers based on AMD's chips (and possibly others, such as Cyrix) instead of Intel's may experience a slowdown in using NewDeal applications while printing. This is due to the different bus arbitration scheme used by these chips. The transfer of information between disk and printer takes up more of the CPU's attention with the AMD version than with the Intel version. Check the setting of the parallel port in Preferences, Computer. If it's set to 7 or 5, try changing it to BIOS.

Crashes On Early 486 Computers

When the 486 chip was first introduced, some of them ran too hot, and many of them shipped without a heat sink or cooling fan. If you have random crashes or bad handle messages on a 486, perhaps you have one of these early units.

If you are familiar with the internal components of a computer, take off the computer cover and look. If the 486 processor chip has no heat sink or fan, consider installing one. If you are unfamiliar, have the computer checked by an experienced friend or by a computer repair shop.


Some computers, including early NEC laptops, use the NEC V20 chip. The V20 is an 8088 clone. NewDeal software will run on computers built with the V20 chip, but performance will be slow. We recommend at least a 286 chip for NewDeal.

AboveDisk by Above Software

The AboveDisk memory or processor board by Above Software may be incompatible with NewDeal.



NewDeal may be incompatible with the DTK 286 BIOS version 3.13. Upgrade to a newer BIOS, like the Phoenix ROM-BIOS 3.07.

AT&T 6300, AT&T BIOS

NewDeal may not run on AT&T 6300 computers with AT&T BIOS 1.1. Upgrade the BIOS to version 1.43 or newer.


There have been unconfirmed reports of incompatibility between NewDeal and the CHIPS-SCAT BIOS v1.29d.


According to a NewDeal customer, the MR BIOS chip produces measurably faster printing of NewDeal documents on a laser printer, compared to the factory installed BIOS on some 386 computers.

MR BIOS is manufactured by SmartMicro Technologies Inc, 143 Triunfo Canyon Road, Suite 103, Westlake Village, CA 91361, phone (800) 266-1576, fax (805) 371-0012. Price is approximately $60 to $90.

Serial Ports

COM Port Disappears

QUESTION: Whenever I start NewDeal, my COM1 serial port does not exist to the software. The only solution to this problem is to exit NewDeal and run one of my DOS-based communication programs and send a command to the modem. Could it be that NewDeal does not initialize the port correctly?

ANSWER: When NewDeal loads its serial-port device driver, the driver runs through the ports found by BIOS and attempts to provoke each one to interrupt the CPU so it can determine at what interrupt level the port is operating (IRQ 4 is typical for COM1 and COM3, while INT 3 is usual for COM2 and COM4). There's a gate between the 8250 and the I/O bus that must be opened to allow the interrupt request from the 8250 to make it to the CPU. On some systems, there's something screwy in the system such that unless the gate is opened before NewDeal starts, the initial interrupt never makes it to the CPU, so the serial driver thinks it can't deal with the port.

One possibility for you to try is to use a batch file to run NewDeal, then create a script (pokeport.dbg) for debug that contains these two lines:

o3fc 8
then have the batch file say
debug < pokeport.dbg
writing 8 to port 3fc will open the gate before NewDeal starts and should perform the same function as starting your other telecom program and typing something at the modem.

IBM VGA and 8514

There is a known conflict with the IBM VGA and 8514 standards at address 2E8 (one of the normal settings for COM port 4). Keep it in mind when you are faced with a mouse, modem, or video problem that is hard to pinpoint. One customer had his modem on COM 4 and spent the better part of two months trying to figure out a problem that seemed mostly to do with video. Now his modem is on COM 1 and the mouse on COM 2 and things are working fine.

Tandy 3000 HD and Serial Ports

A Tandy 3000 running DOS 3.10 was giving the message "Put proper disk in drive x" where x was various numbers. The message would appear when running Preferences, NewComm, NewDex, or at the mouse selection screen during setup. The computer would lock up, requiring a hard reboot. There was nothing unusual in the CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files, just a mouse driver. The computer had one serial port and the mouse driver in NewDeal was "no idea."

Apparently, the serial port was non-standard and NewDeal was causing the Phoenix BIOS on the machine to generate this error message:

Unexpected hardware interrupt 0D at XXXX:XXXX
Type (R) to reboot
NewDeal would trap the error message and display it to the user as "put proper disk in drive X" where X was character right before the colon in the BIOS error message.

We were able to work around the problem by zeroing out the serial port addresses, preventing NewDeal from trying to check the ports. First we created a text file named PORTFIX.DAT, containing these two commands for debug:

e40:0 0 0
Then we added this line to the AUTOEXEC.BAT file:
c:\dos\debug < c:\portfix.dat


Keyboard Drivers

NewDeal includes drivers for the following types of keyboards:

Acer 900PC286 Keyboard 101A

A customer reports that the Acer 101A keyboard that came with his Acer 900PC286 causes NewDeal to crash during graphical setup. The keyboard has a 3-position switch labeled 1,2,3, and no positions work.

Focus Electronic or 8001 Keyboard

A keyboard from Focus Electronic Company was inactive in all NewDeal applications. The problem cleared up when we removed this line from the CONFIG.SYS file:
device=scanman\hhscan.sys /a=288 /i=11 /d=1
Another keyboard on the same system worked fine with NewDeal, even with the scanner driver installed.

The Focus Electronic keyboard has function keys both on the left and on top and diagonal arrow keys as well as the standard up and down and left and right, and it has a built-in calculator complete with LED readout.

There have been unconfirmed reports of incompatibility between NewDeal and the Focus electronic keyboard model 8001. The reported symptom is that the keyboard simply stops functioning in the first screens of NewDeal's setup program.

Num Lock Key

When version 2.0 of the NewDeal software (Geoworks Ensemble 2.0) was released, its U.S. keyboard driver had a problem on some computers. The Num Lock key would spontaneously toggle between on and off. Another symptom of the problem on some computers was that a spurious character 7 would appear at the DOS prompt when exiting NewDeal. The problem was most evident on computers that have a PS/2-style mouse port.

This problem has been corrected in version 2.01 and newer.

Wyse Keyboard

Wyse tech support says that their older keyboard controller chips do not support newer software (like Windows, for example), and that this might cause the characters to be mapped improperly. BIOS versions before 3.53 probably will have this problem, but the way to tell for sure is to check the keyboard chip on the daughterboard (a 40-pin chip in position 3B) which has an eight-digit number on it (six digits a hyphen and then two more digits). On the older (bad) chip, the last two digits are 12.

XT and AT Keyboards

In general, there are two types of keyboard controllers: XT-style and AT-style. AT-style controllers can emulate XT-style controllers, making XT-style the common denominator across PCs.

The XT/AT switch found on the bottom of many keyboards is used to tell the keyboard whether it should talk to the controller XT-style or AT-style. ATs will usually work with either, although NewDeal expects them to be in AT position; true XTs require the switch to be in XT position.

NewDeal talks to the keyboard using XT-style commands, since that is common across PCs. XT-style controllers naturally talk this way; ATs are put into XT-style emulation by a special software command.

BIOS's use whatever is appropriate for that machine (since it defines what the machine is, it knows these things), DOS uses that, and DOS applications frequently use a higher-level function that isolates them even from BIOS. If a computer looks like an AT to NewDeal but has an XT-style controller, then the controller may get confused when NewDeal tells it to emulate an XT-style controller.

Another related topic is an infrequently used GEOS.INI key: keyboardDoesLEDs = true. Normally, XT-style keyboards cannot update the Caps Lock, Scroll Lock, and Num Lock LEDs. However, some XT-style machines such as the Club brand Turbo-XTs have partially AT-style keyboards. Setting the keyboardDoesLEDs key to true tells NewDeal that it is OK to update the LEDs even though the machine is an XT. This affects only the LEDs, it does not change the actual driver being used. However, if the user has this set inappropriately, it could conceivably cause problems.


Tecmar 640+ Expanded Memory Board

The Tecmar 640+ Expanded Memory Board uses a driver named TECMEM.SYS which has been reported to be incompatible with NewDeal. Try running NewDeal with the /nomem switch.

Thesys Expanded Memory Board

The Thesys Fastcard 4 memory board from Thesys Corp in Scottsdale, Arizona (apparently no longer in business) may not be compatible with NewDeal. Run NewDeal with the /nomem switch.

Zenith Z-MEG150

NewDeal may be incompatible with the expanded memory driver from Zenith called Z-MEG150.DVD. A customer reports he had to remove it in order to run NewDeal. It was installed in CONFIG.SYS with the line


In General

NewDeal will recognize most PCMCIA devices automatically, as long as the PCMCIA slot is available to DOS applications. If the Windows drivers for your PCMCIA slot do not provide DOS services, you may need to locate and install the DOS drivers for your slot. These may be available on diskettes that came with your PCMCIA slot, or from the manufacturer, perhaps through their web site.

IBM's PC-DOS 7 and newer includes generic PCMCIA support for most common slots, but may not work with older, proprietary PCMCIA devices.

Toshiba PCMCIA Drivers

As of this writing, you can find DOS drivers for the PCMCIA slots in Toshiba notebooks at these sites: Or try the generic drivers available at

Pointing Devices

Mouse Buttons

If your mouse moves the pointer, but the mouse buttons don't work, check your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files to see if you are loading more than one mouse driver. If so, remove one of the drivers.

Dexxa Mouse

The Dexxa Mouse has a switch on the bottom that switches it from Microsoft Mouse emulation to Mouse Systems PC mouse emulation. If one mode doesn't work, try the other.

Logitech PS/2 Mouse

If the IBM PS/2 mouse driver does not work, try the Logitech PS/2-style mouse driver.

Philips Magnavox Laptop Pen Mouse

On the Metallis laptop, use the PS/2 Style mouse driver for the Pen Mouse that ships with the computer.

Light Pens, Digitizers, and Graphics Tablets

A variation of the generic mouse driver, called ABSEN.GEO, takes the absolute coordinates provided to it by a mouse driver like MOUSE.COM and uses them directly. This is suitable for inherently absolute devices such as touch screens, light pens, tablets, and digitizers. Choosing one of the drivers from this list should work for most of these kinds of devices.

Commodore PC Mouse

Some PCs made by Commodore come with their own mouse attached to a special joystick DB-9 port built in. The mouse is 2-button. This mouse is not compatible with NewDeal.


Joysticks on the PC are difficult to deal with in a multi-tasking operating system, because they aren't autonomous. Most other devices, even if you have to ask them what their position is, work pretty much on their own. Joysticks require the software to place a value in memory and then sit in a very small loop of code counting the number of times through the loop until a value sent by the joystick changes. While it's doing this, the software cannot do anything else. This is why NewDeal does not include a joystick driver.

Crash On Exit or No Mouse In Other Programs

Some computers have a conflict between the mouse and the disk controller that will cause a crash when exiting NewDeal as NewDeal tries to release the interrupt for the mouse, especially if you use a bus mouse. On other computers, the mouse stops working in other software after exiting NewDeal. One fix for these situations is to load a DOS mouse driver like MOUSE.SYS, MOUSE.COM, or the automatic mouse support in Windows and then choose the No Idea driver in NewDeal. This way, NewDeal uses the existing mouse driver and never grabs the interrupt in the first place.

Packard Bell PackMate X16 PS/2-Type Mouse

There was a report from a customer using the Packard Bell PackMate X16 PS/2-type mouse that comes with the computer, that NewDeal appears to crash if the mouse is moved while the hard drive is being read from or written to. Also, as the pointer moves over the screen, NewDeal sometimes seems to be reading button presses when the mouse buttons are not being pushed.

The report sounded suspiciously like a hardware problem, but replacing the mouse didn't help nor did changing mouse drivers. It still could be a bad port or hardware problem having to do with IRQs on the computer.

Another customer with this mouse reported that after a few minutes of correct operation, the mouse pointer scoots off the edge of the screen and disappears.

So far, the only fix has been to replace the mouse with a serial or bus mouse, instead of using the PS/2-style mouse that comes with the computer.

ProHance ProMouse

The ProHance ProMouse that has about a dozen buttons on it: two normal mouse buttons and 10 that handle basic keyboard functions like ESC, ENTER, PgUp, PgDown, etc. Some models also let you customize what the extra buttons do.

This driver for this mouse hides its serial port by zeroing out the BIOS address. If the mouse does not appear to work with NewDeal, you can work around the problem by using debug and some fancy batch files to poke the port address back into the BIOS address. See technical support document 262 (Forcing NewDeal to See COM or LPT Ports).

NewDeal will not use the extra mouse functions, because the NewDeal keyboard driver ignores them, but the regular mouse features will function normally.

Alps Glidepoint Touchpad

The Alps Glidepoint touchpad works with NewDeal. Make sure that a DOS mouse driver (MOUSE.SYS or MOUSE.COM) is installed, or that Windows automatic mouse support is enabled, then use the No Idea driver in NewDeal. You may wish to adjust the Mouse Acceleration and Double Click Time.

If the mouse sensitivity is too high, you may have to adjust it using one of the touchpad utilities, if available. If your touchpad utility accepts command line options, try:

This command can be placed in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file or in the batch file you use to start NewDeal.

Printing Causes Serial Mouse to Freeze

Problem: The mouse stops working while printing. The keyboard and printing continue, but the mouse no longer works.

Solution: It's possible that there's a weak circuit in the serial port. When the extra current load for printing is placed on the parallel port, it may draw power from the serial port and kill the mouse. In this case, the only fix may be to replace the serial port. If the port is built into the motherboard, you'll have to disable the built in serial port and replace it with a serial board.


Ahead Wizard SVGA

Early versions of NewDeal may be incompatible with the Super VGA driver on the Ahead Wizard card. Standard VGA should work.

ATI Wonder or Super

A customer mentioned that he was having trouble with an ATI Wonder Super VGA card in 800x600 mode. We were able to reproduce the problem and we found a solution. This seems to happen only with boards that are bundled with some PC clones.

Track down the VGA utilities disk that came with the board, and run the VGA setup utility (ours was called VSETUP). Set the monitor type appropriately and exit. Reboot your system, then run the VGA test program on the utilities disk (VGATEST, in our case) to make sure that all modes are running correctly. Reconfigure NewDeal to use the ATI Super VGA 800x600 driver in Preferences, Video and that should do it.

Some ATI Super VGA video boards come configured for the worst-case-monitor mode which doesn't even attempt to display resolutions higher than 640x480. The solution is to find the utilities disk that comes with the board and run the VGA setup program. This program asks what kind of monitor is hooked up to the board and will allow 800x600 mode if the monitor can handle it.

If your ATI Wonder XL does not work with the ATI Wonder driver, use the VESA SVGA driver.

Bus Mouse Port Conflict
The ATI VGA Wonder video board has a built-in port for a bus mouse. This mouse circuitry can sometimes conflict with other interrupt settings. Try the Logitech Bus Mouse driver.

Backgrounds Blank On Monochrome Monitor

On certain monochrome display computers, bitmap backgrounds may appear all black or all white or blank. There is no known work around.

IBM PS/2 Model 30

Some IBM PS/2 Model 30 computers come with a MCGA video adapter which does not have enough memory to support color display in NewDeal software. Try the driver named VGA: 640x480 Mono.

Two Monitors

If you have two monitors connected to your computer with an A/B switch and you wish to switch from one to the other, but each requires a different video driver in NewDeal, try this:
  1. First run NewDeal and select the driver for Monitor A.
  2. Exit NewDeal and in the directory where NewDeal is installed, copy GEOS.INI to GEOS.AAA.
  3. Repeat the steps above for Monitor B, naming the copy of the GEOS.INI file GEOS.BBB.
  4. Edit or create batch files to launch NewDeal. In the batch files, first copy the appropriate GEOS.XXX file to GEOS.INI before you launch NewDeal.


A customer reports that the VideoBlaster can be used from within NewDeal if you use NewDeal's CGA video driver.


Video and Sound Board Interference

A problem can arise if your video and sound cards are installed in slots next to or too close to each other. Some video cards can generate enough noise (radio frequency noise) that it will interfere with the operation of your sound card. If IRQ 7 is being shared by your sound card and also used for printing, any noise can cause unwanted interference with the operation of the interrupt. Install the cards in slots that are as far apart as possible.

Brother Ensemble Dedicated Word Processor

Can a file created with NewDeal be transferred to the Brother Ensemble device?
Yes. NewWrite, NewDraw, NewCalc, and Scrapbook files can be used on the Brother Ensemble.
Can I add NewDeal fonts to the Brother Ensemble device?
We would not recommend trying to use add-on fonts on the Brother Ensemble. Storage on the device is limited to what you can fit on a floppy disk, so if add-on fonts work (and we're not sure they do), they'd need to be in the correct directory structure on the floppy and accessing them would be extremely slow.

Emmerson Accusaver UPS

The problem:
After running NewDeal for 10-15 minutes, system performance starts slowing down drastically.

The solution:
This can be caused by the Emerson Accucard inboard UPS (uninterruptable power supply), equipped with the Accusaver auto-backup software. Look for a driver in CONFIG.SYS that installs this program and remove it.

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Last Modified 12 Mar 1999