NewDeal Technical Support Document 278
HARDWARE COMPATIBILITY NOTES
To run NewDeal software, your computer must have:
Tips about using NewDeal software with various
computers and peripheral hardware devices
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.
- a 286, 386, 486, or Pentium processor
- CGA, EGA, Hercules, or VGA video display
- a hard drive with at least 10 MB free space
- A mouse or other pointing device is recommended,
but not required.
This document details some issues that NewDeal's technical
support team has encountered with specific brands and models
of computers and computer peripherals.
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.
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:
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).
- boot from the ROM disk (drive D:), which is the default
- boot from the hard disk (if it's got one)
- boot from a floppy (by pressing ALT+SysRq)
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
If the PS/1 mouse driver beeps unexpectedly, try running
NewDeal from the DOS prompt (not from the PS/1 Quadrant).
The Dauphin DTR-1 is reported to work fine with NewDeal software.
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.
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.
- Use the AT&T6300 driver for video.
- 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.
- You might want to create a batch file like this:
That way, the penmouse driver is loaded before you run NewDeal and unloaded
when you quit.
loader %1 %2 %3 %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.
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.
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.
IBM PC Jr
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
- KILL64OR disables certain Multispeed ROM TSR programs that
may interfere with loading NewDeal. (They remain disabled until
you enter COLD at a future C: prompt)
- KILLPOP disables the Multispeed's ROM POP application programs,
which also may interfere with loading NewDeal.
- EL ON will give you a screen message that the LCD's backlit
screen is On and functioning OK.
- EL 10 tells the Multispeed to leave the screen backlit for a
full 10 minutes before automatically turning the backlight OFF
(that's 10 minutes if there hasn't been a key touched).
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
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
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
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
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
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 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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:
- The AUTOEXEC.BAT file created by Stacker had to be changed to
a single line file that launched the AUTOEXEC.BAT on drive E:
- The swap statement in the CONFIG.SYS file had to be changed
to C: E:
- It was necessary to have the device driver for the third floppy
drive in the root directory of both drives C: and E:.
- 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,
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:
The importance of the disk handle 0 is:
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
DTK 286 BIOS
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.
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:
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
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.
Type (R) to reboot
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
NewDeal includes drivers for the following types of keyboards:
- Bilingual Canadian Keyboard
- Belgian Extended Keyboard
- CAN/CSA-Z243.200-91 Keyboard
- Danish Keyboard
- Danish Extended Keyboard
- Dvorak Keyboard
- French Keyboard
- French Canadian Keyboard
- French Extended Keyboard
- French PS/1 Keyboard
- German Keyboard
- German Extended Keyboard
- Italian Keyboard
- Italian Extended Keyboard
- Norwegian Keyboard
- Norwegian Extended Keyboard
- Portuguese Extended Keyboard
- Swiss-French Extended Keyboard
- Swiss-German Keyboard
- Swiss-German Extended Keyboard
- Spanish Keyboard
- Spanish Extended Keyboard
- Swedish Keyboard
- Swedish Extended Keyboard
- Tandy 1000 Keyboard
- UK Keyboard
- UK Extended Keyboard
- U.S. Keyboard
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 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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
- Generic Light Pen
- Generic Touch Screen
- Generic Tablet
- Generic Digitizer
- UnMouse Touch Tablet
- Elographics Touch Screen
- SummaGraphics SummaSketch
- Wacom ArtPad
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.
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:
C:\GPOINT\GPOINT /S31 /P1
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
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.
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:
- First run NewDeal and select the driver for Monitor A.
- Exit NewDeal and in the directory where NewDeal is installed,
copy GEOS.INI to GEOS.AAA.
- Repeat the steps above for Monitor B, naming the copy of the
GEOS.INI file GEOS.BBB.
- 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
Brother Ensemble Dedicated Word Processor
- Can a file created with NewDeal be transferred to the Brother
- 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
After running NewDeal for 10-15 minutes, system performance
starts slowing down drastically.
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.
Last Modified 12 Mar 1999