Answers from e-Zine!

Welcome back to your source for answers to all your OS/2 questions! Each month we bring you tips, tricks, questions and answers from our readers and contributors. If you've got a question or tip you would like to share with us, send it in!

Q -- Whenever I dial into my local ISP, I get strange errors reporting "invalid fcs" or something. I am using Warp (Red) and Merlin but it happens with both. I started getting the errors after changing ISP's. Why is this happening?

A -- Do you remember watching a Zmodem file transfer? You know, using an ordinary DOS modem program like Qmodem downloading a file from an ordinary BBS? (Nostalgia sets in.) Did you ever notice how every once in a while, Zmodem would indicate that an error occurred, and would retransmit one or more data blocks?

Well, this "invalid fcs" error is the PPP equivalent. It simply means that a data packet has been received that was not "up to snuff", and a retransmission is required. The cleaner the connection, the less frequently this will occur. When I call my ISP using their analog phone lines, I seldom connect faster than 24,000 bps, and get occasional "invalid fcs" messages. They also have digital lines (not ISDN, but digitized voice lines), as does the phone service within my subdivision; when I call using one of those, I always connect at 28,800 bps and never see "invalid fcs" messages.

The bottom line is simply to work on improving the quality of your modem connections. An occasional "invalid fcs" message is nothing to worry about. It's not a problem you can fix with software.

- Larry Bristol

Q -- How can I generate a set of floppies so that I can then perform an OS/2 boot that will allow me to run minimum OS2 and DOS full screen sessions (not WIN-OS/2) with HPFS support? Although I can backup OS2 from HPFS to tape using the supplied DOS program under OS2 I cannot write to HPFS from DOS.

A -- To do this with floppies is probably impossible, as the DOS support takes up about 1 to 1.5 megs. You might want to do what I have done, that is set up an "OS/2 maintenance" partition which boots to an OS/2 command line and allows DOS sessions. I created it using the BOOTOS2 utility (which has various options, one of them being what I just described). My maintenance partition is a 8 MB partition at the end of my drive.

- Ethan Hall-Beyer

Q -- I am running Ultimail Lite v2.10.010... I have been unable to use it to read mail EVER! Every time I click on either In-Basket, New Letter, or Mail Cabinet, it says "Ultimail is initializing", a percentage bar appears, goes up to around 60% and then shows me a dialog box that asks for "username", "password", "real name", and the "reply domain". I fill them in and click "OK" and it says, "New user information changed, others fields ignored" (along the lines of that), and it still waits at that dialog as if waiting for the right entries or something. The only way out is for me to "CLOSE" that dialog box. Ultimedia then starts but all the options for creating mail and reading mail are disabled (greyed out). HELP!!!!!!!!

A -- I have a document that explains some problems with UltiMail, including your problem. This document recommends a full reinstall with the updated UltiMail files from the Retrieve Software Updates facility and then to do the following:

  1. Open an OS/2 Window.
  2. Type CD TCPIP\UMAIL, and press Enter.
  3. At the X:\TCPIP\UMAIL prompt, type E UMAIL.PRO and press Enter.
  4. Go to the end of the file and add the following lines:
:USER    name             = 'bbbbbb bbbbbb'
         reply_domain     = 'mail.server.provider'
         reply_id         = 'bbbbbb'
         other_id         = 'Internet'
         id               = 'bbbbbb'
         .         <------NOTE: Please include the period.

         bbbbbb = Your Internet Information

:USER    name             = 'Firstname Lastname'
         reply_domain     = 'mail.server.provider'
         reply_id         = 'userid'
         other_id         = 'Internet'
         id               = 'userid'
         .         <------NOTE: Please include the period.
After you add the lines, save the file as a Plain Text File. When you start UltiMail for the first time, a prompt asks you to enter additional information that you received from your provider and requests you to set up a password.

In your case a full reinstall may not be necessary. Try just following the numbered steps above and see if that helps.

- Ethan Hall-Beyer

Q -- What is the best way to delete the Ultimail files?

A -- The first thing you should do is open your config.sys file in a text editor. E.EXE will do fine. Search through the file for any occurrences of the ...\umail directory (most likely this will be \tcpip\umail) and delete them all. Typically they appear in path type statements like this:


In the above line you would delete "F:\TCPIP\UMAIL;".

Then reboot. When your system is finished rebooting all references to the UltiMail directories will be removed from memory so you will be able to delete the directories, including all files in them. Make sure you don't have any mail in those directories that you want to keep!

To delete these directories, open the drive object corresponding to the drive you have your Internet Access Kit (including UltiMail) installed on. Open the TCPIP folder (or the corresponding folder if you have named it something else). Left click the UltiMail folder to select it. Click the right mouse button to display the pop-up menu for this folder and select "delete"; or just drag the folder to the shredder. The Umail folder and all its contents will be gone.

- Trevor Smith

Q -- I want to get rid of all the associations for the Windows Notebook (notebook.exe). I thought it would be simple... delete the associated files from notebook.exe and make sure that all those associations were included for my chosen editor (EPM). Well, I can get the notebook icons to disappear... for one session. But as soon as I reboot (Merlin) they're back.

I've tried everything except deleting the Notebook program. Suggestions?

A -- Well, I thought this was supposed to be a simple matter too, but frankly have never been able to get it to work well either. I found a solution called Association Editor v1.3.

Association Editor can be found at hobbes in the /os2/editors/ directory. Strangely this program dates back to 1993 but it still is the simplest way to view and edit associations under OS/2. You can delete, modify and create associations by file type or file extension. Give it a try.

- Trevor Smith

That's it for this month. If you have a tip or question that you don't see covered here, don't forget to send it in!

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