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Object Desktop Tips- by Alexander Antoniades


Many people buy Object Desktop 1.5x specifically for the backup and recovery features such as Object Package and Desktop Backup Advisor. However, when the moment of truth comes and their Workplace Shell is hanging on boot-up (or the ever-popular 'can't find the Desktop' problem) there is often a moment of realization that Object Desktop's healing powers are mostly contingent on having a functioning Workplace Shell.

But, this isn't the end of the world. In most cases you not only can get back to a fully functional Workplace Shell, if you have a recent Object Package of it, you can actually have a better shell than the one you had before your system was trashed.

The first thing to do, before your system is damaged, is to use Object Package to make a backup of your Desktop. This can be done manually by first creating an empty Object Package file (either by dragging a template or selecting 'Create Another...' from an existing Object Package file), then double clicking on it and agreeing to back up the current Desktop. Or it can be done automatically using Object Desktop Professional's Desktop Backup Advisor, which will schedule a routine backup using Object Scheduler.

Now that you have an up-to-date backup of your Desktop, go ahead and toast it! Do something foolish like installing some alpha Workplace Shell modifier from Hobbes, then hit the power switch to shut down your computer. Or just do some normal thing that you've done a thousand times before that, out of the blue, causes your computer to hang when PM (better known as Presentation Manager, the Workplace Shell's subsystem) starts.

OK, now that you've done that and you're reading this article using MORE, here's what you have to do to make your system usable. For starters, when OS/2 starts to load press ALT-F1 and then F2 to go a command line session.

Unfortunately, PM isn't started or loaded at this point so there's not much you can do to restore your Desktop and you can't access the graphical programs you're probably used to working with. At this point, you should be in the root directory of your boot drive. Type

TEDIT CONFIG.SYS
to bring up OS/2's arcane, but useful text editor with your CONFIG.SYS file loaded in it.

Once the editor is loaded press ESC to allow your cursor to move around on the screen and find the statement

SET RUNWORKPLACE=X:\OS2\PMSHELL.EXE
(where x: is your OS/2 drive). Now put a 'REM' in front of that statement to deactivate it, and add the line
SET RUNWORKPLACE=X:\OS2\CMD.EXE
(again, x: is your OS/2 boot drive) underneath it. Press F2 to save and F3 to quit. These changes tell your system to load the PM subsystem, but stop before the Workplace Shell is loaded and go to a command prompt. At this point you should reboot your system, using whatever key combination you usually use to do this (usually Ctrl-Alt-Del).

Now let your system start normally. It should boot to a graphical screen with a command window loaded in the middle of it. From this command window type NEWDESK and press ENTER. That will load Object Desktop's program to reset the contents of your Workplace Shell.

Follow the prompts carefully through this procedure and everything will be fine, but keep in mind a few pieces of information. First, your Desktop directory is usually a directory called (appropriately enough) 'Desktop' that's located on your OS/2 boot drive. Next, you need to keep the class registration table. And finally, NEWDESK will delete that directory in the restoration of your Desktop. This last piece of information is important because any files that are in that directory will be lost forever. You should only have shadows of other folders that contain actual files anyway, but if you're not sure, quit out of NEWDESK and change directory (cd) to the Desktop directory (/Desktop) and look around to make sure.

Once 'NEWDESK' has recreated your Workplace Shell, you should reedit your CONFIG.SYS (you can use the System Editor now that PM is running) by typing E CONFIG.SYS from the command line. Remove the SET RUNWORKPLACE=...CMD.EXE and unREM the SET RUNWORKPLACE=...PMSHELL.EXE line, then reboot.

When your system reboots it will be with a default Workplace Shell, but all your CONFIG.SYS statements are obviously still intact. Now go to wherever it is that you stored the Object Package file of your Desktop and double click on it to restore your old Desktop.

You may come across some classes that you can't register, these are more than likely residue from old components that were removed, simply ignore them for now and if you run into problems restore them later with the update command.

Happy exploring!

Submit your tips today!

There's no reason why I should have all the fun. If you know an Object Desktop tip that you think would help others, please send it to me and I'll put in a future column.


Alexander Antoniades is the former Associate Editor of OS/2 Magazine and the current Vice President of Marketing at Stardock Systems.

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