First steps towards system programming under MS-DOS7

First steps towards system programming under MS-DOS7
N.G.Hitrovo
First steps
towards system programming
under MS-DOS7
2009
UDC 004.451.9dos
N.G. Hitrovo
First steps towards system programming under MS-DOS7.
This book is for those who intend to seize the most intimate secrets of modern computer technology. In order to be understood easily, narration starts with some elementary
explanations and examples, but its main part presents professional level data with all relevant latest updates. These data will be beneficial for both students and teachers on computer technology as well as for computer maintenance staff, system programmers and developers of x86-platform microprocessor equipment.
This book is distributed according to Attribution-NonCommercial Public License of
Creative Commons organization ( http://creativecommons.org/ ).
Table of contents
Introduction…………………………………………………………….....….
5
Chapter 1. Let's get acquainted with keyboard………………………….........
10
Chapter 2. Command line…………………………………………………….
2.01 Named objects and their names………………………............
2.02 Paths……………………………………………………........
2.03 Tips on command line parsing syntax………………………..
2.04 Syntactic marks with command mission……………………...
20
21
25
28
31
Chapter 3. Internal commands………………………………………………..
36
Chapter 4. Configuration commands…………………………………………
67
Chapter 5. Selected drivers for MS-DOS7…………………………………..
5.01 DOS's system services………………………………………..
5.02 National adaptation drivers………………………………......
5.03 Drivers for "mouse" pointing devices.....………………..…....
5.04 Memory managers………………………………………........
5.05 RAM-disk drivers………………………………………….....
5.06 HDD services……………………………………………...…
5.07 Interface controllers' drivers………………………………….
5.08 Services for installable file systems........……………………..
5.09 Drivers for optical disc drives……………………………......
84
85
89
96
100
109
113
117
128
132
Chapter 6. Selected utilities for MS-DOS7…………………………………..
137
Chapter 7. Debugger's assembler commands…………………….....………..
7.01 Control instructions…………………………………………..
7.02 Prefixes………………………………………………………
7.03 Commands for CPU………………………………………….
7.04 Commands for arithmetic coprocessor……………………….
206
208
211
218
266
Chapter 8. Selected interrupt handlers…………………………………….….
8.01 Interrupt handlers, loaded by PC's BIOS (INT 00 – INT 1C)..
8.02 Interrupt handlers, loaded by MS-DOS7 (INT 20 – INT 2E)..
8.03 Interrupt handlers, loaded by drivers and TSR programs…….
291
292
339
387
Chapter 9. Examples of executable files' composition………………………..
9.01 Simple configuration files…………………………………….
9.02 Command files, interpreted by debugger DEBUG.EXE……...
9.03 Examples of batch files……………………………………….
421
422
428
434
—3—
9.04
9.05
9.06
9.07
9.08
9.09
9.10
9.11
Configuration with relocation to RAM-disk…………………..
Examples of simple utilities…………………………….…….
Value assignment to an environmental variable…………........
Some advices on checking and testing………………………...
Let's try to assemble a driver………………………………….
Exploratory configuration files………………………………..
Experiments with linear addressing…………………………...
MS-DOS7 loading alternatives…………………………….....
446
451
455
467
473
480
491
515
Appendixes……………………………………………………………….......
A.01 Main system data structures………………………………….
A.02 Keyboard codes and national adaptation……………………..
A.03 Disk access databases………………………………………..
A.04 I/O control data tables………………………………………..
A.05 Driver's data structures………………………………………
A.06 Error codes……………………………………………….......
A.07 Execution service structures………………………………….
A.08 Floppy drive’s data structures………………………………..
A.09 Directories and files' data tables………………………….......
A.10 Video data tables……………………………………………..
A.11 PC's hardware specifications…………………………………
A.12 Memory allocation and management………………………....
A.13 Formats of hard disk data…………………………………….
A.14 Ports………………………………………………………….
A.15 CD/DVD service tables…………………………………........
A.16 Some relevant abbreviations………………………………….
528
528
533
544
551
554
561
568
575
578
583
590
596
604
613
619
625
—4—
Introduction
Nowadays the windows of Windows-2000/XP operating system have become familiar
in home interior. You look there for work and for fun. One easily gets an impression of
ability to access just everything. But it's a deceptive impression: the actual origin of all
computer's wonders can't be seen via these windows.
Each advanced user once comes to a sense of a virtual boundary, arranged by the Windows operating system to prevent intrusions into its internal affairs. If you want to understand computer more thoroughly, you have to choose a way leading beyond the familiar
windows. But outside the windows there is darkness with no visible fulcrum for support. If
you are still eager to go further, then this book is just for you.
0.01
Applied and system software
All computer's wonders are performed by programs. More accurately, there is a complex interaction of applied and system software, each playing its own role. For example,
the well-known WORD editor program is a typical application, because it needs run-time
environment, provided by the Windows operating system. On the other hand, system software is the one that creates, configures and maintains the operating environment.
Much attention is now given to application programming. Microsoft corporation, the
owner of Windows operating system, actively promulgates its VISUAL STUDIO packet,
comprising several high-level languages for writing applications. Microsoft's interest is
obvious: the more applications will require Windows operating system, the more Windows
usage licenses will be sold.
Attitude to system programming is quite opposite: leading software vendors are determined to prevent any appearance of rival system products. The right to buy some system
data is given to reliable business partners only, and not every company can afford such
expense. Accepted information policy doesn't foster attention to system programming, but
the latter doesn't become less significant because of that. One can't be a true professional in
computer technology without some knowledge and experience in system programming.
System software is not limited to operating systems only. It also includes hardware
drivers, fixed BIOS programs, various diagnostic and recovery services. Study of these
software functions has always been an important element of computer technology education. Traditionally system programming is taught on the basis of low-level assembler language (MASM or TASM) under documented versions of Microsoft's DOS (MS-DOS).
Now all the documented versions of MS-DOS have become so obsolete, that can't even
give access to large storage media used in modern computers. More recent operating sys-
—5—
Introduction
tems protect themselves against any attempt of intrusion into their affairs and respond with
a known error message "Your program has performed an illegal operation and has to be
shut down". Nevertheless an acceptable solution exists. It is an undocumented operating
system, which can be installed on modern computers and allows to do just everything.
Main purpose of this book is to make you acquainted with that operating system and with
it's usage for solving simple system tasks.
0.02
Real mode and protected mode
Protection against execution of inadmissible functions is hardware implemented inside
processors (CPU), and it is active while the CPU operates in protected mode. Besides the
protection itself, protected mode gives several important advantages, and this is why it has
become the main operating mode for modern CPUs. For application programs and for the
user the protected mode resembles a virtual shell, disabling all actions, which may inflict
any harm to vital functions of operating system. This is the main factor of high reliability,
inherent to modern operating systems.
Contrary to the protected mode, real mode is a "defenseless" mode, making CPU to
emulate archaic processor i8086. One may wonder why this obsolete feature is kept supported in each next CPU generation and is not abandoned yet? There is the only reason:
real mode is necessary for modern computer systems. First, real mode is required by BIOS:
it must have free access to computer hardware for performing the POST tests. Just because of this mission all processors are automatically set into real mode each time the
power supply is switched on. Operating systems too can't obtain control over computer's
hardware unless protection is disabled, and therefore must start while CPU runs in a "defenseless" real mode.
Having got total control over computer, operating systems of the Windows clone prepare protection data structure so that after switching to protected mode the highest privilege level is granted to Windows OS itself, whereas both the user and applications are
given the third (the lowest) privilege level. Since then and for ever the user wouldn't be allowed to change this allocation of rights. Because of the same reason all opportunities beyond the limits of Windows' API become inaccessible for the user and for his application
programs in protected mode.
Nowadays ordinary user's practice doesn't imply experience to act beyond the restrictions, inherent to protected mode. Fundamental concept of modern operating systems is
distinction between the user's and system's spheres of responsibility. Excessive user's curiosity is considered destructive and should be suppressed. Protected mode hasn't proved its
efficiency against malignant viruses; it provides an effective protection ... against you.
—6—
Introduction
0.03
Why MS-DOS 7 ?
If an operating system permits to run applications in real mode, it can't be as stable as
those using protected mode. This is the main reason why old-fashioned DOS-like operating
systems have been ousted by more modern ones. But ordinary ratings are not valid for
emergency services, which often require unlimited access rights. Then the main drawback
of DOS-like operating systems turns into their unique advantage. Therefore computer professionals haven't forgotten DOS. All bootable diskettes (reparatory, diagnostic, disk service, etc.) need an operating system and load just DOS. Most part of bootable compact
disks is DOS-based as well. Besides all, DOS is the simplest operating system, and just for
that it is the most suitable for primary study of system functions.
Though DOS is often considered a real-mode operating system, this opinion is not
completely true. Initially DOS works in real mode, but it wouldn't object against mode
change undertaken either by a driver (5.04-02) or by the user. Thus you get a unique opportunity to assign the highest privilege level to yourself. Only in the latter case the CPU
would obey to just any your command, including those which are allowed for execution
exclusively in protected mode at the highest privilege level. No one other operating system
would transfer its highest privileges to the user. Only DOS can give you full freedom of
action in both real and protected modes.
Practical need of real-mode access forces software vendors to continue development of
DOS-like operating systems. Independent FreeDOS project slowly advances towards completion ( http://www.freedos.org/ ). One more commercial version of ROM-DOS recently
has emerged ( http://www.datalight.com/ ). Some less fresh shareware versions also have
found their interested consumers. A lot of drivers are written in order to supply obsolete
DOS versions (MS-DOS 6.22, IBM PC DOS 2000, etc.) with new properties, including
access to disks with widespread file systems FAT-32 and NTFS. But drivers, not integrated into the DOS's core, give no opportunity to install DOS onto such disks.
If you have ever dared to buy a computer without preinstalled commercial operating
system, you almost certainly found there a typical DOS prompt and a HDD (hard disk
drive) formatted with FAT-32. Most probably neither of the mentioned DOS versions has
any relation to that. Computer initialization is usually done with tools, supplied by Microsoft on emergency diskettes for Windows-95/98 operating systems. Formally it is known as
"command line only" loading mode.
Simple examination reveals, however, that "command line only" mode doesn't resemble
the Windows operating system, but rather is a typical version of DOS. Inside almost every
file's code on emergency diskette you can find the proof - a string "MS-DOS Version 7...".
The 7-th version of MS-DOS is just that Microsoft's undocumented operating system,
which is the main subject of this book. For MS-DOS taken from Windows-95 OSR2 release, function INT 21\AH=30h (8.02-22) reports exact version number 07.0Ah, or decimal 7.10. It is just this version which here and forth is referred to as MS-DOS7.
—7—
Introduction
MS-DOS7 is not the latest version of MS-DOS. Windows-ME release is based on
MS-DOS8. Having been recompiled for modern CPUs, MS-DOS8 became more compact,
but has lost compatibility with some 486 CPU clones. Besides this, it doesn't play an active
role during loading of Windows-ME and thus is unable to implement different loading
schemes. But other features of MS-DOS8 are similar to those of MS-DOS7, so most data
in this book are equally true for both. Each exception is explicitly noted.
0.04
What is this book about?
System programming is a vast theme; its narration tends to grow beyond all affordable
limits. Therefore this book doesn't pretend to completeness: several large topics (in particular, networks) have been deliberately left aside. Some other items are touched in short, as
far as it is enough for comprehension.
Chapters 1 - 4 of this book make the reader acquainted with keyboard, with command
line composition and with internal commands. These short chapters are addressed to newbies who had no deal with MS-DOS7 ever before.
Chapter 5 describes important drivers for computer's hardware, including the most recent ones, developed by various software vendors during 2004 – 2008. Chapter 6 presents
a survey of selected utilities for MS-DOS7. Special attention is paid to programming instrument DEBUG.EXE – the worst documented utility inside the undocumented DOS.
Chapter 7 is devoted exclusively to DEBUG's assembler commands. The 8-th chapter describes various services, which can be called for in MS-DOS7 via interrupts.
The 9-th chapter presents examples of programming with the tools from Windows95/98 standard release. Examples will help you to write your own interpretable and executable files according to your needs. Presented selection of examples illustrates the scope of
opportunities, which can become available in MS-DOS7, if it is properly asked for.
The last "A"-th chapter consists of 16 thematic appendixes with a lot of data tables,
concerning both MS-DOS7 and AT-compatible PCs. The last 16-th appendix is a vocabulary, explaining the abbreviations used in this book.
0.05
Some more remarks
For a long time leading software vendors inculcate hard selling of operating systems,
which inhibit user's access to real mode. But sales of both OS/2 (IBM, 1989) and Windows-NT (Microsoft, 1994) went bad. The next attempt – Windows-2000 – opened an
opportunity to employ DOS's services on disks formatted with FAT-32. As soon as success of Windows-2000 became obvious, Microsoft decided to kill the whole rival Windows-95/98/ME brood. However, this decision doesn't eliminate necessity of real mode and
provides no alternative real-mode tools. I suggest to regard this Microsoft's decision as a
—8—
Introduction
guarantee that your study of MS-DOS7 today will not go in vain tomorrow due to advent
of any better version of MS-DOS.
One more challenge to renewal arose in 2002, when Intel has developed and began to
produce the Itanium CPU, providing no support for old-fashioned 16-bit machine code. All
former real-mode tools, including MS-DOS7, could be turned into trash by forthcoming
emergence of new PCs with 32-bit BIOS code, and then this book were not worth writing.
Seven years have elapsed since, but the expected marvel hasn't happened. Public PCs with
Itanium CPU have not emerged. One has to admit, that preservation of support for 16-bit
code in all newer CPUs must be caused by firm reasons. Until these reasons persist, experience in DOS will still be beneficial for you.
How to get MS-DOS7 launched? If Windows-95/98 is installed already, just keep the
F8 key pressed while PC starts to boot operating system, and you'll get into boot menu;
then choose "command line only" option, and you're there. Otherwise you'll have to get a
Windows-95/98 emergency diskette, and boot your PC with this diskette. Suitable images
of bootable diskettes can be found in many internet sites, for example, in
http://www.bootdisk.com/ . Standard loading procedure leaves you with a "raw" DOS's
command line. MS-DOS7 may appear much more convenient and friendly, if you'll follow
the advices given in parts 6.25 and 9.01 of this book. Part 9.11 suggests some other ways
of launching MS-DOS7, including those sharing common disk with Windows OS.
This book is not based on legal OEM description of MS-DOS7, since it hasn't been
published yet. Author of this book is the only one responsible for all its contents. Despite
genuine desire to check every data item, the 100% veracity of data can't be guaranteed:
author's resources are not infinite. Besides that, evolution wouldn't stop, it permanently
engenders something new. Therefore the author can't admit responsibility for consequences
of your actions, even those inspired by this book. Any risk-bearing affair requires some
caution and competence. However there is a hope that owing to this book your actions will
become competent, effective and safe.
Your remarks and corrections concerning this book should be sent by e-mail to
[email protected] Each relevant message will be accepted with gratitude.
—9—
Chapter 1
Let's get acquainted with keyboard
For all DOS-like operating systems the main input means is keyboard. Each keystroke
invokes execution of at least one preloaded (resident) software module. Sometimes this
execution doesn't reveal itself at all, but more frequently it brings about an appearance of
the corresponding character on the screen. Several keys (the "hot" keys) may be charged
with more complex missions. Resident software modules, which define key's missions, are
loaded in memory by either
– BIOS (Basic Input-Output system);
– DOS loader from IO.SYS file (active during loading only);
– the CON device (console) driver from DOS's core;
– command interpreter (usually COMMAND.COM).
This chapter doesn't describe other "hot" key functions, which may be assigned by
other TSR (TSR = terminate and stay resident) utilities or file managers: Norton Commander, Volcov Commander, etc. Being loaded later, TSRs intercept some original keyboard functions – as most file managers do – or substitute with partial (not exact) emulation. Command line presented by file managers is NOT the same as original DOS's command line: a large part of original keyboard functions is intercepted and made inactive.
The following text describes functions of the most common "enhanced" keyboard,
which usually has from 101 to 108 keys. Evolution of key's functions is shown just as they
are activated while loading MS-DOS7. The assumed final stage of this evolution is that
implemented by command interpreter COMMAND.COM.
1.01
Keyboard functions of PC's BIOS.
When switched on, computer starts under control of its BIOS system. BIOS loads the
INT 09 handler (8.01-09) and thus becomes able to sense keyboard controller calls sent via
the IRQ 1 line. Every keystroke is sensed, but only a few keys and key combinations invoke a certain response. Common BIOS versions assign special mission to the following
keys and key combinations:
Ctrl-Alt-Delete – initiates a "warm" reboot.
Delete
– launches BIOS Setup procedure, which enables to set BIOS' parameters (see notes 1 and 2). This function is deactivated after about 2 seconds, so you have to keep the "Delete" key pressed just when computer
starts.
Pause/Break (or Ctrl-Break) – causes temporary stop until any other key is
pressed, thus giving an opportunity to read screen messages.
— 10 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
Shift-PrtScr – sends current screen to printer via LPT1 port. The printer must be
ready and must be able to respond properly (those "designed for
WINDOWS" or for USB port wouldn't suit!).
There is no uniform standard for BIOS' keyboard functions, so they may somewhat
differ. For example, the 8-th BIOS version from American Megatrends provides supplementary PC's loading menu, invoked with the F8 key. Nevertheless some BIOS' keyboard
functions de-facto have become standard, in particular, these of the DELETE key (note 2)
and of the CTRL-ALT-DELETE key combination.
Keyboard functions set by BIOS may be deactivated later, just as any software implemented function. In particular, the Shift-PrtScr keystroke combination is often deactivated
by embedded software of the video card. Other BIOS' functions may fail because of
INT 09 interception, or because of software crash, affecting data in interrupt table (from
0000:0000h to 0000:0400h) or in BIOS memory area (A.01-1). Therefore the most important reboot function in some PCs is hardware duplicated by a RESET button.
Note 1: BIOS Setup program may make active some other keys – it depends on BIOS
version. These keys enable to change some parameter settings, including the one
preventing BIOS' logo display. Without BIOS' logo you will be able to see current BIOS’ messages.
Note 2: some (largely obsolete) BIOS versions launch BIOS Setup procedure with F1,
F2, F10, ESC keys or with F3-F2, Ctrl-Alt-S, Ctrl-Alt-Ins, Ctrl-Alt-Esc key
combinations.
Note 3: some models of "enhanced" keyboard, developed in 1990-ties, have a supplementary TURBO key. TURBO-F11 key combination toggles keyboard lock ON/OFF,
and TURBO-F12 key combination toggles beeper sound lock ON/OFF. Most
modern keyboards have no TURBO key.
Note 4: for power supply control via keyboard many keyboard models are equipped with
three special keys: POWER, SLEEP and WAKE UP. These keys are intended to
be served by BIOS, but their functions are intercepted, in particular, by Windows-XP and by Windows Vista.
1.02
Keyboard functions of the DOS loader
At some moment during PC's loading the BIOS' logo is replaced by the logo of the operating system. This logo change signifies termination of BIOS's loading mission. Since
that moment control is transferred to operating system's loader.
Both Windows-95/98 and MS-DOS7 operating systems have the same primary loader,
contained as a part inside the IO.SYS file. The loader begins its mission with reading parameters stored in MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01). Then according to these parameters the
DOS loader activates for a time some more "hot" keys and key combinations:
— 11 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
F5
– turns subsequent loading into Safe Mode with WINDOWS' GUI
(graphic user's interface) and default settings, ignoring commands in
configuration files (CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT).
SHIFT-F5 – turns subsequent loading into "command line only" mode with all
drivers, but without WINDOWS' GUI. This is in fact loading of
MS-DOS7.
F6
– turns subsequent loading into Safe Mode (just as F5) plus adds network support.
F8
– invokes display of WINDOWS' standard boot menu and stops further
process until user makes his choice. In MS-DOS8 the CTRL key duplicates the function of F8 key.
SHIFT-F8 – turns execution of configuration files into step-by-step mode; this enables to skip some operations according to the user's choice.
The listed key functions in MSDOS7 and MSDOS8 differ from those implemented in
previous DOS versions. Activation of the mentioned "hot" keys may be affected by parameters (BOOTDELAY, BOOTKEYS, BOOTMULTI), specified in configuration file
MSDOS.SYS (5.01-01). Of course, loading of WINDOWS' GUI can't be performed, when
MS-DOS7 is used as a stand-alone operating system, and the GUI software isn't physically
accessible.
For the time of displaying boot menu the DOS loader activates cursor keys (up, down),
the ENTER key and numerical keys (0 – 9) in the common part of keyboard. NUMLOCK
key is activated too; when NUMLOCK is set ON, numerical (rightmost) keypad may be
used to choose menu items by number. After the choice is made, all menu keys are deactivated. If the chosen menu item doesn't imply anything else, then the DOS loader begins
interpretation of commands from CONFIG.SYS configuration file (example – in 9.01-01).
During step-by-step confirmation the choice may be made by Y (yes), N (no), ENTER
(= yes) and A keys (A = yes for all following lines). Normal (non-step-by-step) execution
doesn't produce any effect on the screen, because at that time Window's logo is displayed.
However, the logo display may be suppressed by setting the "Logo=0" parameter in the
MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01). Then on the screen you will see rapidly scrolling messages
from the drivers being loaded. In order to be able to examine these messages carefully, you
may suspend loading process with a PAUSE/BREAK keystroke or with CTRL-S keystroke combination. Then after any other keystroke the loading process will be resumed.
Having interpreted all the lines in CONFIG.SYS configuration file, the DOS loader
deactivates all its "hot" keys and transfers control to command interpreter
COMMAND.COM.
Note 1: in version 7.00 of MS-DOS the DOS loader activates the F4 key in order to start
previous DOS version loading. Since version 7.10 of MS-DOS this option has
been abolished.
— 12 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
1.03
Keyboard functions during batch file execution.
Control over the PC is given to the main command interpreter when DOS configuration
procedure is not finished yet. The first mission of COMMAND.COM is interpretation of
commands in lines of the last configuration file AUTOEXEC.BAT (example – in 9.01-02).
During interpretation COMMAND.COM is quite self-sufficient, but at the same time the
user's role is not diminished to zero. If Window's logo display is turned off, then user can
monitor current messages. Besides that, command interpreter keeps active some "hot" keys,
which enable user to suspend or to stop interpretation of batch command file.
Both suspension and stoppage of execution initiate a complex succession of calls (see
8.01-95 for details), involving resident modules of DOS's core as well as those installed by
PC's BIOS. Therefore exact action of some "hot" keys may depend on BIOS version. Nevertheless the activated "hot" keys are the same in all AT-compatible computers.
The Break/Pause key provides a temporary stop, enables to read messages, but gives
no opportunity to terminate execution of batch file: any following keystroke resumes execution.
The user can terminate batch file execution with "hot" keystroke combinations
CTRL-C, CTRL-BREAK and ALT-03 (the latter digits "03" must be typed via the rightmost numerical keypad). Action of these keystroke combinations depends on the way the
command interpreter has been launched. When COMMAND.COM starts permanently
with /K or /P parameter (6.04), the mentioned keystroke combinations stop execution and
display an offer
"Terminate batch job? Y/N"
thus providing an explicit choice. But if COMMAND.COM starts with /C parameter
(6.04) for execution of a single job (as inside TSR shells), then CTRL-C, CTRL-BREAK
and ALT-03 keystroke combinations terminate batch file interpretation at once, giving no
chance to resume.
The CTRL-S keystroke combination provides a temporary stop, but (unlike the
BREAK key) always enables to have a choice. You may resume execution by pressing any
other key, except CTRL-C, CTRL-BREAK, ALT-03 and CTRL-2. Action of CTRL-C,
CTRL-BREAK and ALT-03 depends on the way COMMAND.COM has been launched
just as it was described above. CTRL-2 acts similarly, but only when execution has been
suspended already by CTRL-S. Normal batch interpretation will not be affected by
CTRL-2 keystroke combination.
Keyboard functions, breaking interpretation of a batch file, can be disabled by
CTTY NUL command (see 3.07) in a line of the same batch file. But this trick may be justified in special circumstances only (example – in 9.03-02).
— 13 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
Having finished interpretation of commands from AUTOEXEC.BAT file, command
interpreter COMMAND.COM by default must transfer control to the Windows' GUI
loader - the WIN.COM file. But this wouldn't happen, if
– the WIN.COM file isn't found (for example, on a bootable diskette);
– the SHIFT-F5 key combination has been pressed at start (1.02);
– in Windows' boot menu the "command line only" option has been chosen;
– in MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01) the "BootGUI=0" parameter is specified;
– the SINGLE parameter is given to the DOS command (note 1 to 4.08).
In any of the listed cases MS-DOS7 is loaded instead of the Windows operating system,
command interpreter COMMAND.COM begins to accept commands from keyboard, displays its prompt on the screen, and since that moment works with keyboard in a quite different way.
1.04
Keyboard input of commands and textual lines.
When COMMAND.COM presents its command line, it accepts input via the CON device driver. The latter enables to type characters, digits and special symbols according to
keyboard layout table resident in memory. Symbols may be entered either by corresponding keys or by ASCII decimal symbol's numbers. The latter should be typed via numerical
keypad while the ALT key is kept pressed. Each next character appends the current command line and increments by 1 current position pointers for the current line and for the internal memory buffer, where the previous line is automatically stored.
Selection of symbols, typed with literal keys, depends on the state of SHIFT and
CAPSLOCK keys. Pressing CAPSLOCK toggles keyboard into upper case letters selection and back. Pressing SHIFT turns keyboard into upper case selection for a while until
SHIFT key isn't released. Besides that, DOS presents some limited opportunities of editing
current command line (1.05).
All mentioned features are equally true for typing textual lines. Transition from command line input to textual line input is initiated by an explicit request to the CON device
driver, for example, with command
COPY CON Filename.txt
where
FILENAME.TXT is an arbitrary name of a file to store the text.
The COPY command is not a separate utility; it is an internal command of the interpreter
COMMAND.COM (3.06). Textual line input also can be implemented by other utilities,
which are able to address the CON device driver in the same way.
Differences between textual input and command line input evince in what happens with
the typed line when user confirms that typing the line is finished with the ENTER key-
— 14 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
stroke or with equivalent CTRL-M keystroke combination. Textual lines are written into
an internal buffer, replace there the previous line, and then a new line is opened for input.
The end of each textual line is marked with bytes 0Dh 0Ah, and in this form it is appended
to previous lines in memory area, devoted for text storage. The COMMAND.COM interpreter enables to send this text into a specified file or into a selected channel (see 3.06 for
details). Return from textual input back to command line input can be performed with keystroke combinations F6-ENTER, CTRL-Z-ENTER or ALT-26-ENTER. In the latter
combination the digits must be typed via the rightmost numerical keypad.
When the ENTER keystroke signifies entering of a command line, this line is also written into an internal line buffer, just as textual line, but the following events occur otherwise. In buffer the line is parsed in order to extract the command name and to discriminate
whether it is an internal command or a separate utility. While parsing MS-DOS7 regards
upper case letters and lower case letters as identical. Separate utilities are searched for
(2.02-02), read from their media and prepared for execution. When execution terminates,
control is returned back to command interpreter. The latter displays it's prompt in a new
line and begins to wait for the next command line input.
If the main object of the parsed line is a name of a command file, then command interpreter begins to read commands from this file and interprets them line-by-line. When execution of the last command line terminates, command interpreter returns to waiting for
command line input from keyboard.
Specific contents of a command line, of course, depend on the command interpreter it
is addressed to, and this is a subject of a separate consideration, which begins in chapter 2
of this book and is continued along all the following chapters.
1.05
Functional keys for line editing.
The most "hot" input key, no doubt, is the ENTER key. But besides it there are several
other "hot" keys, charged with editing and control functions, which have a long history in
former computer generations. Both interactive command interpreters in DOS –
COMMAND.COM and DEBUG.EXE – inherit these functions. Some of them seem rudimentary, but some are still widely used.
BACKSPACE key (left arrow) decrements by 1 current position pointer for the
current line and in internal memory buffer as well. Contents of internal
memory buffer remain intact, but the last character in the current line
looks lost; in fact this character is prepared to be overwritten with the
following keystroke. Left arrow among cursor keys, left arrow in the
numerical keypad, CTRL-H and ALT-08 keystroke combinations do
just the same.
— 15 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
CTRL-2, CTRL-C, CTRL-BREAK and ALT-03 – all these key combinations
erase contents of the current line and open an empty line to be typed
anew. All previous textual input becomes lost.
CTRL-ENTER, CTRL-J, and ALT-10 key combinations wrap current input line
and give an opportunity to continue it in the next lower row. This enables to see the whole line (up to 128 characters long by default)
within the screen, which is usually 80 characters wide. The wrapped
command line is always accepted just as if it were continuous.
CTRL-G and ALT-07 key combinations insert code 07h "Beep". It does nothing in
textual and command lines, but having been sent to the screen, produces a vile sound signal instead.
CTRL-P and ALT-16 key combinations toggle data output from screen to printer
and back. This is dangerous when printer is not ready, or is not connected, or is connected not to the default port (LPT1). In any such case
INT 24 (8.02-84) is called for with its "Abort, Retry?" offer, but the
"Abort" choice doesn't reset the output state (this seems to be a bug).
In order to get back to normal command line you have to press
CTRL-P once more, otherwise the offer is repeated indefinitely.
DEL (DELETE) key increments by 1 the pointer in internal memory buffer. This
looks as though the previous line in the buffer has been shifted one position to the left. If then copying into the current line is performed, one
character from the preceding line becomes skipped. Formerly this
function was known as "SKIP1".
ESC, CTRL-ESC, CTRL-[ and ALT-27 key combinations cancel the current line
and open a new one. Formerly this function was known as "VOID".
Contents of internal memory buffer remain intact. The cancelled command line is marked on the screen with a backslash "\", but the backslash itself doesn't cause the "VOID" action: you are free to type it in
an ordinary way.
F1 keystroke appends current line with one character, copied from the same position in the previous line, which is kept stored in internal memory
buffer. Formerly this function was known as "COPY1". Right arrow
key in numerical keypad and right arrow cursor key do just the same.
F2 keystroke causes a pause, waiting for one character input. If the inputted character isn't present in the rest part of previous line in internal memory
buffer, the F2 keystroke is aborted; but if the character is present, a
number of characters preceding the inputted one are copied from internal buffer, appending the current line. Formerly this function was
known as "COPYUP".
F3 keystroke fills line's empty space with characters from internal memory buffer,
thus copying the previous command line. If current line contains several symbols already, then only the rest part of characters from inter-
— 16 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
nal memory buffer will be appended to existing part of the current line.
Formerly this function was known as "COPYALL".
F4 keystroke affects internal memory buffer only. When pressed, F4 causes a
pause, waiting for one character input. If the inputted character isn't
present in rest part of internal memory buffer, the F4 keystroke is
aborted; but if the character is present, preceding characters in memory buffer are deleted. This looks as though the contents of internal
buffer became shifted to the left until the inputted character gets the
same position as the cursor in the current line. The F4 function, formerly known as SKIPUP, enables to skip a part of preceding line from
being copied into the current line by F1 or by F3 keystroke.
F5 keystroke copies current line into internal memory buffer, closes the copied line
on the screen with "@" symbol, and opens a next (empty) command
line, which is to be typed anew. The described action isn't caused by
symbol "@" itself, so the latter may be used in an ordinary way.
F7 and ALT-00 insert code 00h, marked by symbol pair ^@. Code 00h interrupts
parsing of command line: all characters after 00h will be ignored. But
00h doesn't interrupt text input: code 00h itself and all the following
characters remain in the saved text.
INS (INSERT) keystroke toggles a bit (see A.02-3, 0040:0017), which controls incrementation of current position pointer in internal memory buffer. If
you have copied a part of previous line, then stop incrementation, type
in some new characters, and then copy the rest part of previous line,
the result will look as if the new characters were inserted between adjacent characters of the previous line. To restore normal incrementation you have to press the INS key once more.
CTRL-I, ALT-09 and TAB keys insert code of horizontal tabulation 09h, which is
expanded by the displaying procedure into 8 empty spaces. When text
is saved into a file, tabulation symbol is not expanded. Some text editing programs can expand the 09h code into other number of spaces.
The listed original key functions are often intercepted by TSR (terminate and stay resident) programs, which can be loaded later. TSR shells (Norton Commander, Volcov
Commander, etc.) usually intercept INS, DEL, F1 – F7 and several other keys, make them
inactive or active in another way (see 6.25 for examples). Nevertheless original command
line editing functions always remain active for input of textual lines and in DEBUG's
(6.05) interactive sessions as well.
— 17 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
1.06
Keyboard layouts and character sets.
By default MS-DOS7 employs American English (US') set of characters, represented
by codepage 437, but gives an opportunity to replace it according to national demands.
Implementation of this opportunity involves several operations for changing both keyboard
and display settings. Microsoft proposes the following sequence of operations:
– change limitations for names and some other setting by loading data from
COUNTRY.SYS file (5.02-01, an example – in 9.01-01);
– prepare a memory place for additional codepage(s) by loading DISPLAY.SYS
driver (5.02-02, an example – in 9.01-01);
– launch MODE.COM utility in order to load codepages and to make one of them
active (6.18, an example – in 9.01-02);
– launch KEYB.COM driver in order to load alternative keyboard layouts (see
5.02-04, an example – in 9.01-02);
– load NLSFUNC.EXE driver (5.02-03) in order to enable switching between prepared codepages and national data sets.
National codepages inside WINDOWS-95 OS release are packed into four data files:
EGA.CPI, EGA2.CPI, EGA3.CPI, ISO.CPI. Each national codepage contains 256 characters in two character sets: american english set (characters 32 – 127) and a national one
(characters beyond the 128-th). Therefore switching between any national language and
english language doesn't require swapping of codepages, it can be performed within any
single national codepage. This is quite enough for all that limited variety of tasks, which
are solved nowadays with MS-DOS7. Because of this reason swapping of codepages has
come out of use.
Switching between different character sets (inside one codepage) is done with "hot"
keys, arranged by KEYB.COM (5.02-04) or by any other keyboard driver (for example,
KEYRUS.COM, see 5.02-05). In particular, KEYB.COM activates CTRL-rightSHIFT
key combination for switching to a national character set and CTRL-leftSHIFT key combination to switch back to common english character set. KEYRUS.COM enables to activate various key combinations, including the mentioned ones.
Microsoft supplies keyboard layout tables packed in special keyboard data files
KEYBOARD.SYS,
KEYBRD2.SYS,
KEYBRD3.SYS.
Among
these
the
KEYBOARD.SYS is the only keyboard data file supporting typewriter form of keyboard
layout. Details concerning the choice of a proper keyboard layout for a particular country
(and of a proper code page too) are shown in appendix A.02-2. An implementation example of Microsoft's proprietary national adaptation is shown in articles 9.01-01 and 9.01-02.
Though Microsoft's keyboard files and codepages include national data for the most
part of the globe, they are no more supported by Microsoft and are not opened for updating. Because of this at least 5 other keyboard drivers have been developed for DOS up to
now. Only one of those alternatives is described in this book – the KEYRUS.COM driver
— 18 —
Chapter 1: Let’s get acquainted with keyboard
(5.02-05). Contrary to most other keyboard drivers, KEYRUS.COM is an open project,
supplied with means for creating new keyboard layouts and for making corrections in codepages. Unfortunately, format of Microsoft's keyboard data files and codepages can't be
accepted by KEYRUS.COM. Examples of national adaptation with KEYRUS.COM are
shown in articles 9.04-01 and 9.09-01.
— 19 —
Chapter 2
Command line
Command line in MS-DOS begins with a machine-generated prompt and then is
implied to be filled with symbols and words, which altogether must be suitable for machine
interpretation according to certain syntax conventions. The final ENTER keystroke
initializes interpretation of command line by a resident program – the command interpreter.
Implementation of syntax conventions by different interpreters is not just the same.
MS-DOS7 provides 3 interpreters: IO.SYS, COMMAND.COM, and DEBUG.EXE.
Each interpreter accepts its own set of commands, described in chapter 4 for IO.SYS, in
chapter 3 for COMMAND.COM and in part 6.05 for DEBUG.EXE. Since the loader
IO.SYS deals with command lines in configuration files only, the user first encounters
command line, presented by COMMAND.COM. The latter is often called resident
interpreter, because it is permanently loaded into computer's memory and therefore is
always ready to perform commands entered from keyboard.
By means of input redirection (see 2.04-02 for details) one can force the interpreter to
accept commands not from keyboard, but from command files. Each line in command files
is in fact a separate command line. Sending command files via input redirection is the only
way to automate execution of command sequences by the DEBUG.EXE interpreter
(examples – in 9.02).
The COMMAND.COM interpreter too can accept commands via input redirection, but
it is not the best way to execute command sequences for COMMAND.COM, because it is
able to handle a special sort of command files – batch files – without redirection. From
batch files the COMMAND.COM interpreter accepts a number of supplementary
commands, which can't be executed from command line or from ordinary command files.
These supplementary commands include substitution of dummy parameters and names of
variables with their values (2.03-03), search for labels and some other commands (3.02,
3.14, 3.21, 3.27). Here and forth in this book the term "batch files" is applied only to this
special sort of command files. Examples of batch files are shown in part 9.03.
Configuration file AUTOEXEC.BAT (9.01-02, 9.04-02, 9.09-02) also represents an
example of a typical batch file.
This chapter describes the most essential conventions, which define command line
composition both in separate command lines and in command files. These conventions are
common to some extent for all the three interpreters in MS-DOS7. Endemic features of
interpreters are presented too. If not specified otherwise, interpretation of commands by the
main interpreter – COMMAND.COM – is implied.
— 20 —
Chapter 2: Command line
2.01
Named objects and their names
Each command line addresses one or more objects. An object may be, for example, a
separate utility, which is to perform the desired action, or an internal command of
command interpreter. The data in command line must be ample enough to identify exactly
the addressed object(s). For this purpose inside any common directory identical names of
objects are not allowed: all files and subdirectories must be given different names. In order
to identify any object outside any particular directory the path to this object is taken into
account. The path may be specified explicitly or set by default.
The main object’s name together with its optional path should be specified the first in
command line and may be followed by other items, including name(s) of other object(s),
parameter(s), reference(s), syntax mark(s), etc. Each line of command files, presented in
part 9.03, can be taken as example of command line.
There are objects, however, – internal commands, ports and some others – which can't
be defined by path specification. The names of such objects must be unique, reserved
words, which shouldn't be assigned to any other object. Therefore the first theme to
consider is which names may be assigned to objects by the user, and which can't.
2.01-01
Reserved words
Reserved words represent names of internal commands, specific for each interpreter,
and names of devices, claimed as existing in a particular computer. Names of these objects
can't be altered or assigned to other objects. Nevertheless the reserved words should be
known in order to prevent attempts to assign such names to other objects, which can be
named by the user.
Internal commands are those performed by a particular interpreter itself. All those
names of internal commands, described in chapter 3, are regarded as reserved words as
long as command line is interpreted by COMMAND.COM. For example, you can't assign
the name PROMPT to a file, since COMMAND.COM, having encountered this name in
command line, "understands" it as its own internal command and has to do nothing but
perform this command. Other command interpreters similarly don't allow to assign names
of their internal commands to other objects.
Reserved names of devices in a PC define sources for obtaining data or targets for
sending data. Most known device names are:
AUX
– first serial port
COM1 – first serial port (equivalent to reserved name AUX)
COM2 – second serial port
CON
– console, i.e. keyboard for input and display for output
LPT1
– first parallel port
NUL
– virtual "nowhere" output port
— 21 —
Chapter 2: Command line
PRN
– first parallel port (equivalent to reserved name LPT1)
Besides these some other device names are regarded as reserved: CLOCK$, COM3,
COM4, CONFIG$, LPT2, LPT3. These words are reserved by device drivers, integrated
into DOS's core, which are loaded always, even if corresponding device is not physically
present. The entire list of devices, which are claimed present in your PC, can be displayed
by the MEM.EXE utility (6.17), if it is launched with /D parameter. This utility displays a
table, and all registered names are shown in its 4-th column. Reserved words are shown
shifted by 3 spaces to the right against other names.
Several installable software drivers also can be identified by name and reserve words
for this purpose. For example, SETVER.EXE driver (5.01-02) reserves word
SETVERXX, HIMEM.SYS driver (5.04-01) reserves word XMSXXXX0,
EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) reserves word EMMXXXX0. Moreover, when you
specify an arbitrary identifier for a CD-ROM drive, for example, MSCD001 (see 5.09-01,
5.09-02, 5.09-03), this name becomes registered by DOS as a reserved word. If later you'll
try to assign this name to a file, DOS will reject your attempt.
2.01-02
Names and suffixes
Naming and renaming operations most often are applied to directories (3.19, 6.20) and
to files (3.24, 3.25), both ordinary and executable ones. Names in DOS consist of no more
than 8 characters and may be appended with an extension (suffix) of no more than 3
characters long. Suffix is separated from the name with a dot. When suffix is assigned, but
is not required for a particular operation and is omitted, then the dot separator must be
omitted too.
Both names and suffixes may be composed of letters, digits and several signs, which
have no dedicated functional mission in parsing of command lines: number sign ( # ),
dollar sign ( $ ), ampersand ( & ), minus (– ), exclamation mark ( ! ), underscore ( _ ) and
a few others (2.04-06). Upper case and lower case letters are regarded equivalent in almost
all operations, except letters in strings to be compared with commands IF (3.15-02),
SEARCH (6.05-16) and FIND (6.14).
Since dot ( . ) is used to separate a name from suffix, it is not allowed to be employed
as an ordinary character. Other prohibited signs are comma ( , ), colon ( : ), semicolon ( ; ),
equality sign ( = ), question mark ( ? ), plus ( + ), left arrow ( < ), right arrow ( > ),
asterisk ( * ), pipe ( | ), slash ( / ), backslash ( \ ), and double quotes ( " ). National
language symbols also can't be employed, unless restrictions on their usage are taken off
by the COUNTRY command (4.05, 5.02-01, A.02-5).
Directory names usually have no suffix. Suffixes in names of files are used to indicate
file's type or origin. Three suffixes – BAT, COM and EXE – have special status, since are
recognized by the COMMAND.COM interpreter as belonging to executable files. When a
— 22 —
Chapter 2: Command line
filename with either of these suffixes is specified the first in command line,
COMMAND.COM automatically tries to execute the file's code. If there is something else
except valid executable code, the PC most probably would get hanged. These suffixes
shouldn't be assigned to files, which are not definitely executable and valid.
Assignment of other suffixes is not so critical, but nevertheless should be submitted to
common restrictions. File managers are able to link files with certain extensions to devoted
applications, for example, files with suffix BAS may be automatically sent for execution to
BASIC language interpreter. It's convenient to have every file automatically directed to
appropriate program (examples – in 6.25-03, 6.25-04). Suffixes also may be helpful for
visual recognition of essential file's classes. The list below shows some suffix associations,
commonly used in DOS environment.
BAK
BAT
BIN
BMP
CAB
COM
CPI
DAT
DOC
DLL
EXE
EXT
GIF
HTM
INI
JPG
RAR
RTF
SCR
SYS
TMP
TXT
ZIP
– archive or old version of a file
– batch file, interpretable by COMMAND.COM
– executable file, which requires fixed placement
– raster image file (Bit-Map-Picture)
– compressed file for software distribution
– executable file without a header
– library file with font data for DOS
– files with non-textual data of various kind
– textual file, produced by the WORD editor
– Dynamically Linked Library of executable codes
– executable file with control data in header
– specifications of functional extensions
– Graphic Image File
– file written in HyperText Markup language
– file with initialization data
– image file, compressed according to JPEG specification
– compressed archive file, packed by RAR.EXE
– textual file of Rich Text Format
– file with command lines, interpretable by DEBUG.EXE
– system file, either textual or installable
– temporary file
– non-formatted textual file
– compressed archive file, packed by PKZIP.EXE
Associations for a lot of other suffixes can be found in internet site
http://www.openwith.org/ .
— 23 —
Chapter 2: Command line
2.01-03
Filemasks and wildcards
Question mark ( ? ) and asterisk ( * ) are known as substitution symbols (or
wildcards), which can't be employed in names and extensions, but can be used to replace
characters in specifications of names and suffixes in command line(s). Name specification
with wildcard(s) is a filemask – a means to address several files at once.
While parsing a command line with a filemask, COMMAND.COM may invoke
wildcard expanding function, which searches for filenames, satisfying to the encountered
filemask. If such file is found, its name is substituted for the filemask, and then command
line with this name is executed. If more than one such file is found, similar procedures are
performed sequentially with each of the found filenames.
Whether words with wildcards will be interpreted – it depends on the command to be
executed: some commands invoke a call for the mentioned wildcard expanding function,
some commands don't. Generally wildcards are not ignored, but there are some exceptions:
– wildcards are not expanded by internal commands ECHO, SET, TYPE and IF
with equality comparison function (see chapter 3).
– wildcards in parameters of a batch file are not expanded (it doesn't matter
whether the CALL command is used or not);
– input redirection notation (2.04-02) doesn't expand wildcards;
– the FOR command (3.13) expands wildcards inside brackets only, but outside
brackets wildcards are transferred "as they are" to the command to be
executed inside the FOR cycle, and further fate of wildcards depends
on that command.
Wildcard ( ? ) means a symbol, which induces comparison procedure(s) to give
positive response for any single letter or digit. When the ( ? ) wildcard in a filename or in a
suffix is not followed by any explicitly specified letter or digit, comparison procedures also
give positive response to absence of any symbol in that place. For example, in a command
DEL readme.??
the object will match all files in the current directory having name "readme" and not more
than two-character suffix: readme.ru, readme.en, readme.f, and so on. Hence the DEL
command (3.09) will delete all such files from the current directory.
Asterisk ( * ) means a symbol, which induces comparison procedure(s) to give positive
response for any number of any following letters or digits up to the end of the word, which
may be marked with either a dot or a space. For example, asterisks in command
DEL C:\TEMP\*.*
match any filename with any suffix, so this DEL command will be applied to all the files
inside the specified directory.
— 24 —
Chapter 2: Command line
Numerous examples of wildcard usage are shown in 2.02-03, 9.09-02 and in several
other batch files in chapter 9.
Note 1: whether the attributes will be taken into consideration during a search for files,
satisfying to a filemask, – it depends on the command to be executed. For
example, wildcard expansion by the ATTRIB command (6.01) includes all files
without exceptions.
Note 2: interpreters IO.SYS and DEBUG.EXE don't accept wildcards. While
CONFIG.SYS file is interpreted by IO.SYS, the question mark is treated not as a
wildcard, but as a prompt (see 4.06, 4.07, 4.15, 4.16, 4.25).
2.02
Paths
Exact placement of each file on a disk is specified in a certain directory. Numerous
directories are usually arranged in a hierarchical structure: each directory of higher rank
may contain data not only about files, but also about placement of several lower rank
directories (subdirectories). In order to access any file you have to point out the disk and
the path – that is a directory and the whole chain of subdirectories, leading to the one,
which contains exact placement data for this particular file.
DOS gives you an opportunity (2.04-01, 3.03) to specify any one particular path as the
default path. This path will be stored in internal DOS's data table (A.03-3). Each time you
enter a command line without path specification, DOS takes into account the stored default
path. The disk and the final directory (subdirectory), specified in the default path, are
known as the current disk and the current directory. DOS's prompt (3.22) is usually
adjusted to show the current path.
2.02-01
Typical path structure
By default the command interpreter searches for the addressed object in the current
directory. If the object must be found in any other directory, object's name should be
preceded by a path, for example
C:\DOS\MS7\Edit.com
where:
Edit.com
C:\DOS\MS7\
– is the addressed executable file;
– is an example of a path to this file.
The shown path specification directs the search process: first it should be switched to
the root of disk C:, there the DOS directory should be entered, then – its MS7
subdirectory, and at last in the latter directory the specified executable file should be
searched for. If you happen to have other directory structure, you'll have to specify other
names, but the principle remains the same: first the disk’s letter-name, followed by a colon,
— 25 —
Chapter 2: Command line
then a chain of directory names, separated with backslashes, and finally a name of the
addressed object.
Specifications terminated with a backslash are considered in MS-DOS as having no
target object and hence not complete. Such paths are either ignored (see 2.04-01) or
regarded as not valid, except one special case – the path, reduced to a single backslash.
Single backslash after a disk's letter-name means a path to the root directory of the
specified disk. For example,
A:\
means a path to the root directory of disk A.
Paths without disk’s letter-name (for example: \DOS\MS7\Edit.com) are reckoned
from the root directory of the current disk, whichever disk is current at the moment. This is
important for writing media-independent batch files (9.01-01, 9.04-01, 9.09-01). Single
backslash is interpreted as a path to the unnamed root directory of the current disk.
Command to change the current directory (3.02) with the following backslash
CD \
performs a jump to the root directory of the current disk, whichever it is.
When there is no both disk and root specification at the beginning of the path, it is
reckoned taking the current directory as the start point. For example, the path
DOS\VC4\Vc.com
implies that the first subdirectory DOS exists inside the current directory, otherwise an
error message will be displayed.
2.02-02
The PATH variable
In order to make command line usage easier DOS provides one more mechanism of
path specification – via the PATH environmental variable. This mechanism comes into
action when 4 conditions are met:
— command is addressed to the COMMAND.COM interpreter;
— PATH variable is present yet in the environment;
— path is not specified in command line;
— the first addressed object isn't found in the current directory.
If all these conditions are met, then DOS will search for the first addressed object
along all the paths, which are implied to constitute the value of the PATH variable. The
PATH variable should be set beforehand with internal PATH command (3.20). Examples
of paths specification with PATH command are shown in 9.01-02, 9.04-02, 9.09-02.
Owing to the PATH variable you can call utilities for execution as easily as though
these were always present in any directory you may choose. This is convenient, but only
— 26 —
Chapter 2: Command line
until it happens to encounter in the current directory a synonymous version-specific utility,
belonging to other version of DOS. Then the latter utility will be found first and will fail,
leaving an error message. Different approaches to the problem of avoiding such conflicts
are discussed in article 5.01-02 and in introduction article to chapter 6. This problem also
may be solved by specifying full paths in command files or in configuration files.
Examples of such solutions are given in part 9.03.
2.02-03
Dot(s) in path specifications
A dot ( . ) in path specifications is interpreted as an alias for the current directory.
Note, for example, the trailing dot, which replaces the target path in the following copy
command:
Copy /B A:\MyDir\*.* .
Sometimes batch files must be written so as to do their job in any current directory
(which may be not known beforehand), and then the dot alias is the only allowable
replacement for required specification of target path to the current directory. Addressing to
the current directory with a dot is also needed when any other (not current) directory will
be implied otherwise.
Dot as the first symbol of a path statement means that the path should be reckoned
taking the current directory as the start point:
.\VC4\Vc.com
Such path is equivalent to the one without preceding backslash (2.02-01), but
nevertheless this form of path may be practical in batch files, because MS-DOS provides
no other means to get rid of preceding backslash. One more reason to use commands with
preceding dot alias and a backslash is to prevent search for synonymous utilities
throughout all the paths, enlisted in the PATH environmental variable, when execution of a
synonymous utility may inflict unwanted consequences.
Some utilities return directory specifications with final backslash, for example:
C:\DOS\MS7\
Such paths are regarded by MS-DOS as invalid, and MS-DOS doesn't provide means
to get rid of the final backslash. Appending a dot to such path solves the problem:
C:\DOS\MS7\.
- this directory specification is regarded valid.
Double dot, or dot-dot ( .. ) may be used in any place within path statements just like
the single dot, but dot-dot is an alias for the parent directory. If, for example, you are given
specification C:\DOS\MS7\ and want to address its parent directory, then the
— 27 —
Chapter 2: Command line
C:\DOS\MS7\..
specification is exactly equivalent to C:\DOS.
While parsing a path, containing a double dot alias, DOS simply throws out the
preceding element of path's chain (the \MS7\ in the last example). DOS doesn't check
whether the thrown element exists, whether it represents a file or a directory. This gives an
opportunity to address a new file in a directory, unknown beforehand, on a basis of a path
to another file, obtained during execution. Examples of such addressing are shown in
article 6.25-03.
Double dot without any preceding path is interpreted as an alias to the parent directory
with respect to the current one, for example, in a command to change current directory
(3.03):
Cd ..
In order to climb two levels up the tree of directories structure, you have to combine
double dot twice:
Cd ..\..
Some even more complex double dot combinations may be used to navigate and to
explore directory trees.
2.03
Tips on command line parsing syntax
2.03-01
Separation symbols
Words in command line are separated with separation symbols: space ( ), comma
( , ), equality sign ( = ) and semicolon ( ; ). Though space is the one most universally used,
either of these is ignored at the beginning of command line and will act as separation
symbol in parsing operations, including parsing of an object list within the FOR command
(3.13). Because of the same reason separation symbols can't be transferred from
parameters of command line into internal dummy parameters of a batch file (2.03-03).
There are some exceptions, though. Commands SET and IF use equality sign ( = ) in a
special way and don't allow to use it for separation. When symbols comma, semicolon or
equality sign precede to ECHO command, then displayed part the line will begin just after
the separation symbol, including possible preceding spaces and the word ECHO itself.
Semicolon ( ; ) is used as special separator in PATH command (see 3.20).
The IO.SYS interpreter deals with semicolon otherwise. Being placed first in a line
within Config.sys or Msdos.sys file (5.01-01), semicolon is interpreted as a command to
jump to the next line, ignoring the rest part of current line (usually containing
commentaries). The DEBUG.EXE interpreter in assembler mode deals with semicolon in a
— 28 —
Chapter 2: Command line
similar way: it ignores the rest part of a line after semicolon and thus enables to
supplement DEBUG's command files with remarks (7.01-05).
2.03-02
A slash
A slash ( / ) in MS-DOS command line specifications is a sign to interpret the
following letter (or word) as a parameter. For example, in command
DEL C:\TEMP\*.* /P
(see 3.07) slash ( / ) forces to interpret the letter P as parameter, inducing a prompt on
whether each file in the specified directory should be deleted. Exact place and form of the
parameter(s) are specific and must conform to particular command's specifications.
Sometimes a slash ( / ) is used within the FOR command as a functional separator,
causing conversion of letters in the following word to the upper case (see 3.13 for details).
2.03-03
Percent sign
Percent sign ( % ) in batch files means substitution of the name of a dummy parameter
or of a variable with the value of the same parameter or variable. These substitutions are
performed before execution of the specified command(s) and redirection(s).
Dummy parameters are named with digits from 0 to 9. Value of the 0-th dummy
parameter is always the name of the batch file itself; other dummy parameters take their
values from the items, specified after the name of batch file in the command line, from
which the batch has been started. So %3 ,for example, will be replaced with the third
item, following the name of batch file in command line. If several dummy parameters are
specified without a space in between, then after substitution their values will be
concatenated. Examples of assigning values to dummy parameters are shown in 2.03-04
and in 9.03-01.
If total number of words, following the name of a batch file in command line, is less
than 3, then the designation %3 of a dummy parameter will be replaced with nothing and
disappears without any error message. If total number of words, following the name of a
batch file, is greater than 9, then the values of the rest can be accessed after applying a
shift to dummy parameter numeration (3.27). There is one exception, though: the
Autoexec.bat file (for example, 9.01-02), automatically executed during DOS loading
procedure, has no dummy parameters at all, so the CALL %0 command (3.02) doesn't
induce its recursive execution.
Names of variables must be a single word with a letter (not a digit!) as their first
character. Values of variables either are assigned by special command SET (3.23) or are
inherited from parent environment, belonging to the program, which has launched
execution of the current program (see 6.04). For performing substitution the name of the
— 29 —
Chapter 2: Command line
variable in command line must be surrounded with percent signs on both sides (%VAR%,
for example). Numerous other examples of command lines with environmental variables
are shown part in 9.03.
Note 1: if percent sign is to be transferred without substitution, you have to specify it
twice ( %% ). During interpretation of command line the doubled percent sign
doesn't induce replacement, it is simply transformed into a single percent sign.
Note 2: the FOR command (3.13) employs its own local variable; its name outside batch
files must be specified with only one (preceding) percent sign. Being used within a
batch file, name of that variable needs two preceding percent signs, for example,
%%A, because substitution shouldn't be performed in advance to the FOR
command (see 3.13 for details).
Note 3: other interpreters (IO.SYS and DEBUG.EXE) ignore percent sign and don't
replace variables and dummy parameters with their values.
.
2.03-04
Double quote sign ( " )
Double quote ( " ) disables interpreter's function of parsing the command line until the
next double quote is met in the same line. Thus any group of words between opening and
closing double quotes (possibly including separation symbols, redirections, etc) will be
interpreted as one item. Enclosing double quotes themselves are considered belonging to
the enclosed item. For example, execution of a line
C:\>Batch.bat 1 " 2 3 " 4 ""
creates a new set of dummy parameters, in which the value of the first parameter is single
digit 1, the value of the second is a string " 2 3 ", the value of the third parameter is digit 4,
and the value of the last fourth parameter is an empty pair of double quotes. This set of
dummy parameters will exist until execution of Batch.bat terminates. Enclosing a group of
words in double quotes is a way to include this group of words as a whole (together with
any symbols inside) in a value of one dummy parameter. This trick is used, in particular,
to preserve integrity of long names in DOS.
An empty pair of double quotes ( "" ) is regarded as a special void symbol, enabling to
preserve parsing sequence unchanged. Most internal commands in MS-DOS7 (except
ECHO, IF and SET) ignore empty pair of double quotes as a separate symbol, but accept
the results of parsing affected by double quotes. For example, command
C:\>cd ""
is executed just as though there were no following symbols at all. When a parameter is
enclosed in double quotes, command is executed as though there were no double quotes:
C:\>cd "C:\dos"
— 30 —
Chapter 2: Command line
Existence of the closing double quote is not checked during parsing of command line,
except parsing parameters for FIND (6.14) and FOR (3.13) commands. Both FIND and
FOR commands perform parsing in a slightly different way: any group of words enclosed
in double quotes is still regarded as one item, but double quotes are not considered
belonging to this item. Therefore empty paired double quotes ( "" ) may be used in FIND
command for counting total number of lines in textual files. For the same reason the FOR
command enables to get rid of enclosing double quotes, when these are no more needed.
2.03-05
Square brackets
Square brackets [ ] are used as a special sign in files, which are to be executed by
DEBUG.EXE and by IO.SYS. Data in square brackets are interpreted by DEBUG.EXE as
references to operands (see introduction article to chapter 7 for details).
In configuration files MSDOS.SYS and CONFIG.SYS, which are to be executed by
the IO.SYS loader, the words enclosed in square brackets are interpreted otherwise: as
headers, marking beginning of a separate configuration block and at the same time as
signs, enclosing name of this configuration block. There are two reserved words, which
denote special configuration blocks in CONFIG.SYS file: [menu] and [common]. The
[menu] block represents multiconfiguration menu; if it exists, it must be placed the first in
CONFIG.SYS file. The menu block is eminent because of a special subset of allowed
commands: the MENUCOLOR (4.19), MENUDEFAULT (4.20), MENUITEM (4.21)
and SUBMENU (4.29) commands may be used only in blocks, announced as menu or
submenu. All other configuration commands, described in chapter 4, except the
NUMLOCK command (4.23), can't be used in menu and in submenu blocks.
Commands to be executed in all configurations are grouped in one or more blocks with
the same name [common]. Outside block headers the names of configuration blocks are
referenced without square brackets (4.14). Examples of configuration file CONFIG.SYS
with blocks [menu], [common] and some others are shown in 9.04-01 and in 9.09-01.
2.04
Syntactic marks with command mission
2.04-01
Colon
Interpretation of a colon ( : ) depends on its place in command line. Being used as the
first character in a line (in batch files only), colon ( : ) forces to interpret the nearest
following word as a label, marking a target address point for a jump. There may be more
than one word in this line, but all the rest words and symbols will be ignored. Double colon
— 31 —
Chapter 2: Command line
( :: ) at the beginning of a line in a batch file is sometimes used in order to disable all
operations, specified in this line, including redirection operations (2.04-02 – 2.04-05).
A colon ( : ) in the second place in command line forces to interpret the preceding letter
as a letter-name of a disk. If the following part of command line is empty, or is reduced to
a single backslash, or is enclosed in backslashes, then the whole line is interpreted not as a
path, but as a command to change current disk (make specified disk the default one). For
example, in order to make disk A: the current default disk you may type either
A:
or
A:\
or
A:\WINDOWS\
and then press the ENTER key. A change of the current disk doesn't alter the default
directory on this disk. If the current directory on the target disk is, for example, A:\DOS, it
will preserve its status after default disk change in each of the examples above. In such
commands any path, enclosed in backslashes, is not checked and even may not exist. In
fact any full address, appended with a backslash, will fit as current disk change command.
2.04-02
Left Arrow
Left Arrow ( < ) denotes an operation of input redirection, prepared by
COMMAND.COM interpreter for execution of the program, specified in command line to
the left of Left Arrow sign. By default the standard input channel (STDIN) is linked with
console (CON) and accepts input from keyboard. In fact Left Arrow is a command to link
STDIN (handle 0000h) with the data source, specified to the right of input redirection sign.
When the utility, specified to the left of input redirection sign, will ask DOS for data input
via the STDIN channel, it will get data from this source. Of course, this works only if the
utility asks for input via the STDIN channel. For example, command
MORE < C:\DOS\Filename.txt
supplies the filter utility MORE.COM (6.19) with data read from specified textual file in
C:\DOS directory. If directory specification is omitted, then current directory is implied. In
any case the file to be read will not be searched for along the paths, enlisted in the PATH
variable. Filemasks instead of the source filename are not allowed, wildcards (2.01-03) are
not expanded.
Besides files, ports (LPT1, LPT2, COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4) may be used as
sources of input data. If default links are disrupted by the CTTY NUL command (3.07),
then for performing input from keyboard you have to use input redirection with explicit
specification of the console (CON) as the data source (example – in 3.07).
— 32 —
Chapter 2: Command line
In any case of input redirection you must be sure, that specified source will be ready to
provide the required data. Waiting for data input from an empty, idle or defective source
most probably will cause hanging.
Note 1: redirections are arranged by data substitution in JFT table (note 3 to A.07-1).
Redirections, prepared by COMMAND.COM for execution of a program, may
be cancelled by the program itself (example – in 9.07-02).
Note 2: other command interpreters (DEBUG.EXE and IO.SYS) ignore left arrow sign as
well as other redirection signs (2.04-02 – 2.04-05). However, the redirections,
prepared by COMMAND.COM, are accepted by DEBUG.EXE (examples – in
9.02).
2.04-03
Right Arrow
Right Arrow ( > ) denotes an operation of output redirection, prepared by
COMMAND.COM interpreter for execution of the program, specified in command line to
the left of the Right Arrow sign. By default the standard output channel (STDOUT, handle
0001h) is directed to the console device (CON) - that is to the display's screen. Output
redirection forces to direct STDOUT to another target - the one specified to the right of
Right Arrow sign. For example, the DEL /? command (3.09) normally presents on-line
help to display, but when it is followed by output redirection sign
DEL /? > Filename.txt
its output wouldn't reach the screen, it will be written into the specified file. A new file
with the specified name (Filename.txt) will be created automatically in order to write there
the redirected output. If a synonymous file exists yet, it will be overwritten without
prompt, and its former contents will be lost.
Besides files, allowable targets for redirection may be ports (LPT1, LPT2, COM1,
COM2, COM3, COM4), printer PRN (which is usually equivalent to LPT1), display
( CON ) and special quasi-device NUL, which acts just as a "black hole": any output
becomes lost there for ever (example – in 3.21). This is often used in order to get rid of
unwanted messages.
If the default link between the STDOUT channel and the display device is disrupted by
the CTTY NUL command (3.07), then sending output to display is still possible, but it
needs explicit output redirection to CON device (examples – in 9.03-02).
Output redirection can intercept only those data, which are sent via DOS's normal
STDOUT channel. Data sent via BIOS' interrupts (8.01-17, 8.01-21, 8.01-33), via DOS'
INT 29 (8.02-88) and via STDERR channel for error messages (handle 0002h) can't be
affected by STDOUT redirection.
— 33 —
Chapter 2: Command line
If you combine input and output redirections in one line, then the main executable
command must be first followed by input redirection with full source specification. Output
redirection should be specified afterwards. Examples of combined redirections are shown
in 6.14, 6.25-03 and 9.03-02.
All symbols of redirection (2.04-02 - 2.04-05) are assigned higher priority, than
common operations, except labels (2.04-01) and double quotes (2.03-04). For example,
after string input commands (ECHO, SET) all redirection symbols will not be processed as
a member of the string, but rather will cause redirection. Because of the same reason
redirection ignores conditions, set by IF command, and the only way to execute redirection
conditionally is to bypass its line with conditional "IF ... GOTO" jump (3.15, 3.14).
Redirection will be executed even if the main operation in the same line is invalid,
disabled or provides no output at all. Empty output redirection after the REM command
(3.24) is often used to create a file of zero length.
Output of a batch file as a whole may be redirected only via loading a separate module
of command interpreter COMMAND.COM with /C parameter (6.04) in order to execute
this batch file (examples - in 3.22, 9.01-03). Without launching a new interpreter's module
the output of a batch file may be redirected in a line-by-line manner from inside of this
batch file, but not as a whole.
Output redirection should be used with caution, because together with anticipated
output it may affect some warnings or invitations for certain action(s) sent to the user. For
example, the DIR /P command stops its output after each screenful and sends a message
via STDOUT, reminding that output will be resumed after any keystroke. When such
messages and warnings are redirected, the screen remains empty, and PC seems having got
hanged.
2.04-04
Double Right Arrow
Double Right Arrow ( >> ), just as single Right Arrow (2.04-03), is also a sign of
output redirection, but its action is different, when target file for redirection exists yet.
Rather than overwrite the target file anew, redirection with Double Right Arrow appends
new data to former contents of the existing target file. All other peculiarities of output
redirection with the Right Arrow (2.04-03) are applicable to Double Right Arrow as well.
2.04-05
Vertical bar (or "pipe")
Vertical bar or "pipe" separator ( | ) is a sign of intermediate redirection, i.e. data
transfer from one utility (or command) to another. Especially for this purpose
COMMAND.COM interpreter creates a temporary file. Utility placed to the left of "pipe"
is executed first, and its output via STDOUT channel (via handle 0001) is written into this
temporary file. Then control is transferred to the utility (or command) placed to the right of
— 34 —
Chapter 2: Command line
"pipe". When this utility issues a request for reception of data via STDIN channel (via
handle 0000), these data are taken from the prepared temporary file. When execution of the
latter utility terminates, temporary file is automatically deleted.
For example, following command sequence enables to avoid query on whether the user
really wants to delete all the files in specified directory:
ECHO Y | DEL C:\TEMP\*.*
First an empty temporary file is created. Then the ECHO command is performed, and
its output message (a single letter Y) is written into that temporary file. Then the DEL
command is executed. Having found the *.* filemask, it issues a request for the user's
permission and begins to wait for a reply from STDIN channel. But since its STDIN
channel is redirected, execution will not be suspended: the reply – letter Y – will be
automatically read at once from the prepared temporary file.
There may be more than two commands linked by "pipes" in one command line.
Examples of such command lines are shown in 3.08 and in 3.28.
If command, specified to the right of "pipe" sign, doesn't need the contents of
temporary file, then the command to the left of the "pipe" sign is not obliged to send a
message into STDOUT channel. Hence the "pipe" sign can potentially act as a separator,
enabling to specify several commands in one line. However, such usage of "pipes" can't be
recommended: the FOR cycle (3.13 ) can do just the same much faster and without access
to a writable disk for creation of temporary file(s).
Note 1: the "pipe" separator implies creation of a temporary file either in current directory
or in the directory, pointed out by environmental variable TEMP. However, both
these attempts may fail when DOS is loaded from a non-writable optical disk or
from any write-protected media. In such cases an error message informs that the
intermediate redirection can't be performed. Then command specified to the right
of "pipe" sign will not be executed too.
2.04-06
The "at" ( @ ) sign
Being used as the first symbol in batch file's command line, the "at" sign ( @ ) is
interpreted as a command to prevent display of this line on the screen. Therefore almost
each batch file begins with the "at" sign, followed by the ECHO OFF command.
Sometimes such action is necessary not only in the first line (see 3.13, 6.25-02, 6.25-03 for
examples).
Note 1: DOS doesn't restrict usage of the "at" sign in filenames, but wrong interpretation
of filenames with the "at" sign in a place of the first letter may lead to harmful
consequences.
— 35 —
Chapter 3
3.01
3.02
3.03
3.04
3.05
3.06
3.07
3.08
3.09
3.10
3.11
3.12
3.13
3.14
3.15
3.16
3.17
Internal commands
Break
Call
CD
CHCP
CLS
Copy
CTTY
Date
DEL
DIR
Echo
Exit
For
GOTO
IF
LFNFOR
LH
37
37
38
39
40
40
43
44
44
45
47
48
49
51
52
55
56
3.18
3.19
3.20
3.21
3.22
3.23
3.24
3.25
3.26
3.27
3.28
3.29
3.30
3.31
3.32
3.33
3.34
Lock
MD
Path
Pause
Prompt
RD
REM
REN
Set
Shift
Time
TrueName
Type
Unlock
VER
Verify
VOL
57
57
58
58
59
60
61
62
62
63
63
64
64
65
65
66
66
Internal commands are those executed by command interpreter itself. Contrary to other
utilities, which are to be searched for and read from their media, the interpreter is
permanently present in memory, and therefore internal commands are executed much
faster. Since internal commands are not to be searched for, the path for internal commands
shouldn't be specified. One more common property of all internal commands is that after
execution they don't leave errorlevel code.
This chapter presents internal commands of Microsoft's proprietary command
interpreter COMMAND.COM (file size 93812 bytes, file date 12.06.1996). Localized
versions of this interpreter usually are slightly larger and have somewhat later date, but
nevertheless execute the same set of internal commands. Among the described internal
commands are those intended for batch files only (3.02, 3.14, 3.21, 3.27).
The COMMAND.COM interpreter provides a short help for its internal commands. In
order to display help text you have to type the command's name, followed by a space and
the /? parameter, and then press the ENTER key. But the provided short help is often
found too short. This chapter presents a lot of clarifications, which will help you to avoid
common mistakes and to make internal commands usage much more effective.
— 36 —
Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.01
BREAK — disk access intercept control
The BREAK command is similar to synonymous configuration command (see 4.02 for
details). They both affect the same binary flag, which controls checks of BREAK and
CTRL-C keystrokes during disk access operations. This binary flag doesn't lose its state
when current resident module of command interpreter finishes its job, and local
environment becomes lost. Contrary to the IO.SYS loader (4.02), the COMMAND.COM
interpreter shows current state of the mentioned binary flag in response to the BREAK
command entered without parameters.
3.02
CALL – batch file execution with return
CALL is a command to execute one batch file (the secondary batch) from another
batch file (the primary batch). Batch files are non-formatted textual command files, from
which the COMMAND.COM interpreter accepts an extended set of commands. The
CALL command is just one of those intended to be entered not from keyboard, but only
from lines of batch files.
Each line in a batch file may include a name of an internal command, or a name of an
external utility, or a name of another batch file as well. When command interpreter
encounters a name of external utility, it transfers control to this utility, but takes control
back after the utility finishes its job, and proceeds to the next line in the same batch file.
However, batch files don't behave like ordinary utilities. Having found a name of a batch
file (the secondary batch) in a line of another batch file (the primary batch), the
COMMAND.COM interpreter begins execution of the secondary batch and doesn't return
to the primary one. In order to enable a return to execution of the primary batch file, the
secondary one should be launched with CALL command, for example:
CALL C:\DOS\VC4\Help.bat J 96
where:
C:\DOS\VC4\ – an example of a path to HELP.BAT file. If path is omitted, the
file will be searched for inside current directory and then according to
all path(s), specified by PATH variable.
Help.bat – an example of a name for the secondary batch file.
J 96
– specific parameters to be transferred to HELP.BAT file (other batch
files may need other parameters or may not need them at all).
In fact the CALL command prevents closure of the primary batch file, keeps stored
segment of the primary batch file, its dummy parameters and its file pointer position (as a
target to return), lets command interpreter to execute another (secondary) batch file,
specified after the CALL command in the same line, and then restores access to requisites
of the primary batch file, thus enabling a return back to execution of the next operation in
the primary batch file.
— 37 —
Chapter 3: Internal commands
Note 1: the secondary batch file inherits not a copy of primary environment, but an access
to the same primary environment. The values of variables, which have been
assigned during secondary batch file execution, will become accessible after
resumption of primary batch file execution.
Note 2: execution of batch files with the CALL command is allowed to be nested more
than twice.
Note 3: the CALL command enables to perform recursive calls, that is a batch file may be
called from a line inside the same batch file. But it's the user's responsibility to
prevent uncontrolled deepening of recursion nesting level.
Note 4: if the secondary batch file is not found in the specified directory or in the current
directory and throughout all the paths, defined by the PATH variable (2.02-02),
then execution will be transferred to the next line of the primary batch file without
any error message.
Note 5: redirection signs (2.04-02 - 2.04-05) are not allowed in lines with the CALL
command.
Note 6: the described CALL command, intended for COMMAND.COM interpreter,
shouldn't be mixed up with synonymous assembler command (7.03-08) which is
to be interpreted by DEBUG.EXE debugger.
3.03
CD – change directory
When disk and path are not specified in command line, then MS-DOS implies presence
of the addressed object in default (current) directory of the default (current) disk. Default
disk assignment has been described in article 2.04-01. Default directory assignment is
performed by CD command.
The CD command enables to change current directory on any disk (but not the current
disk itself) according to a specified path. For example, command
CD C:\DOS
will set current directory \DOS, if the current (default) disk is disk C:. CD command may
be addressed to a disk, which is not the current one, but then specified path is taken into
account as a preset, which will become the current (default) directory later, when the disk,
specified in CD command, will be given status of the current disk (2.04-01).
The path in CD command may be expressed in any of its allowed forms (2.02-01). The
final word in the path must be either a name of target directory or any combination of alias
signs (2.02-03, 2.03-02). Such combinations enable to perform transition into the root
directory ( CD \ ), into parent directory ( CD .. ), to climb two levels up along the directory
structure ( CD ..\.. ) and so on.
CD command without path specification, for example
CD C:
— 38 —
Chapter 3: Internal commands
shows a path to the current directory on the specified disk. When disk is not specified too,
then the current disk is implied.
Note 1: CHDIR is another valid name for the same CD command.
Note 2: the directory, which is assigned current by CD command, can't be deleted with
RD command (3.23), even if this directory doesn't belong to the current disk.
Note 3: preset paths to current directories for all logical disks are stored in CDS table
structure (A.03-3). By default it is filled with paths to root directories.
3.04
CHCP – change code page
Codepage is an array of characters and symbols used to display messages on the
screen. When the CHCP command is used without following codepage number, it shows
the number of the codepage, which is currently active. Codepage changing function is
usually disabled,
– unless 2 or more memory buffers for codepages have been prepared by
DISPLAY.SYS driver (5.02-02),
– unless these buffers are filled yet with different codepages by the MODE.COM
CON CP PREP command (6.18-03),
– and unless NLSFUNC.EXE driver (5.02-03) is loaded beforehand.
Common practice is to load only one national codepage, because each national
codepage contains not only national character set, but american english character set too.
Switching between these character sets doesn't imply codepage change: it is performed
inside any single national codepage.
Loading several national codepages becomes needed when there is no one codepage,
containing character sets for the languages, which you intend to use. For example, if you
prepared norwegian codepage 865 and russian codepage 866, then commands CHCP 865
and CHCP 866 will perform switching between these codepages.
Note 1: codepages may be changed with MODE.COM CON CP SEL command
(6.18-03), which doesn't need to have NLSFUNC.EXE driver loaded.
Note 2: the CHCP command can't cope with national codepages, loaded by
non-Microsoft's drivers, for example by KEYRUS.COM (5.02-05).
Note 3: if you use national version of an important utility or of a TSR shell (for example,
Norton Commander with russian notation), then changing of the codepage will
make this national notation totally non-readable! Only american english notation
(characters 32 – 127, common for all codepages) will not be affected by codepage
change.
— 39 —
Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.05
CLS – clear screen
The CLS command erases all contents of the current screen page in video card memory
and also sets colors to default values, thus providing for white text display on a black
background.
3.06
COPY – make copy of a file
The COPY command is used to copy one file or several files at once. It also enables to
concatenate files and to combine copying with renaming. Here is an example of copying
one file into another location:
COPY /A C:\DOS\MS7\Trial.txt A:\DOS /V /Y
where:
/A
– parameter, indicating that the specified source file must be copied no
further than the first end-of-file mark (1Ah). For copying only one file
into a target file, the opposite /B parameter is taken instead by default.
It forces to copy a file as a whole, ignoring end-of-file byte 1Ah, which
might play quite different role(s) inside executable files and in binary
data files.
C:\DOS\MS7\ – is an example of a path to the source file. For allowable
alternative forms of path specifications see 2.02-01 - 2.02-03. If path
to the source file is not specified, this source will be searched for
within the current directory only (paths inside the PATH variable are
ignored by COPY command).
Trial.txt – an example of a name for the source file to be copied. If source file
name has an extension, it must be specified. Source file may have "A"
(Archive) and "R" (Read-only) attributes. Source files with "H"
(Hidden) and "S" (System) attributes are not copied.
A:\DOS – an example of a path to the existing target directory, where the copy
should be placed. But if the \DOS directory doesn't exist, DOS will be
interpreted as a new name for the copy, and a copy named DOS will
be created in the root directory of disk A:. If you don't intend to
rename the copy, target path must differ from the source path. If the
source is not in the current directory, target path may be omitted, and
in this case the current directory will be implied as the target.
/V
– an optional parameter, inducing verification of the copy. It makes
copying more slow and is not needed, when the target media is a hard
disk. But when the target media is a floppy, the /V parameter may be
worth the delay.
/Y
– an optional parameter, giving permission to overwrite any synonymous
file in the target directory without prompt. The /Y parameter may be
— 40 —
Chapter 3: Internal commands
preset in the COPYCMD environment variable (by command
SET COPYCMD= /Y ), and then you will not need to specify it in
command line. This preset may be overridden with /–Y parameter in
command line, when prompt is really needed.
When the /A parameter is the last item in command line, its action is quite different: it
doesn't prevent from copying the file as a whole, but rather forces the COPY command to
append the copy with end-of-file mark (1Ah), if the latter isn't there yet.
The first path, specified in the COPY command, is always interpreted as a source path,
and the last - as the target path. Specifying more than two paths (or filenames) within one
COPY command is regarded as an error, except specifying intermediate source(s),
preceded by plus symbol ( + ) for copying with concatenation, for example:
COPY /B T1.dat + T2.dat /A + Remark.txt C:\DOS
where:
/B
– copying mode parameter, which precedes the first source name, retains
its effect for all following source names until an opposite parameter
specification is encountered (/A in this example). The latter spreads its
effect for all remaining source names, if there are any. Since
concatenation is applied mainly to non-executable files, the /A
parameter is taken as default for copying with concatenation.
T1.dat, T2.dat, Remark.txt
– these are three source files for copying with
concatenation. Since the paths to the source files are omitted, all these
files are implied to be present in the current directory. The following
source file names, except the first, must be preceded by plus ( + ) sign
of concatenation.
C:\DOS – is an example of a path to the target directory. When the target
directory exists, the result of concatenation will be placed there, and it
will inherit the name of the first source (T1.DAT). But if the C:\DOS
directory doesn't exist, then the last name DOS will be interpreted as a
new name for the combined file, and the result of concatenation named
DOS will be written into the root directory of disk C:.
A filemask instead of the source filename is allowed, but such specifications should be
used with great caution. Let's consider an example:
COPY /B T*.dat C:\DOS\Concat.dat
The COPY command checks the last word in the target path (to the right of the last
backslash) on whether it is a name of an existing subdirectory or not. If subdirectory
CONCAT.DAT doesn't exist, all copies of files, conforming to the given filemask, will be
concatenated into a new file, which will be created in the C:\DOS directory and will be
given name Concat.dat. But if a subdirectory with CONCAT.DAT name exists yet, all
files, conforming to the filemask, would not be concatenated, but rather would be copied
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
one-by-one separately into this subdirectory. The latter example shows that the COPY
command gives you an opportunity to obtain quite different results with just the same
command line. This is why you must know exactly, whether the last name you specify does
or doesn't coincide with the name of an existing subdirectory.
For copying with concatenation the same file may be specified as a target and as the
first source, and this file will be appended with contents of the following source file(s).
Specifying a non-first source as the target is not allowed (contents of this source will be
lost). When new name for the copy can't be misinterpreted, then you may specify the same
path to the source and for the target or even omit both paths at all (current directory will be
implied).
Copying of one file into itself is qualified as an error. Nevertheless the form of copying
with concatenation allows to specify the same paths for a non-renamed copy and for the
source. At the same time the name of the second file for concatenation may be omitted, for
example:
COPY /B \DOS\File.ext +,,\DOS
This form of pseudocopying doesn't change file's contents, but is used in order to
assign current date to the file or in order to delete the file if it is empty (see notes 1 and 2
below).
The reserved word CON (= console) in place of source in COPY command causes the
command interpreter not to parse the following input lines as command lines, but to accept
the following input as text:
COPY CON C:\DOS\Remarks.txt
This command enables to write text typed from keyboard into Remarks.txt file, created in
C:\DOS directory, until F6-ENTER key combination is pressed to return to command line
input (see 1.04 for more details).
Reserved words PRN (printer), LPT1 - LPT4 (parallel port), COM1 - COM4 (serial
port) or NUL (virtual "black hole") may be used as targets for copying instead of a file.
The command
COPY CON PRN
turns computer into a typewriter. Of course, the chosen target must be properly configured,
and the connected terminal device must be able to respond to DOS's request. When the
target is a device, then the /A parameter (copy as ASCII text) is taken by default. Contrary
to real terminal devices, virtual device NUL is always configured properly. Copying of a
real file from physical media (for example, from a floppy) into virtual "black hole" NUL is
sometimes used to test whether this file is not empty or whether it is readable.
Note 1: empty files (having zero length) are not copied.
Note 2: if both target and source(s) are empty, target file is deleted.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
Note 3: the result of copying can't be redirected, redirection affects screen messages only.
Note 4: attributes of the source file are not copied.
Note 5: the copy is always given the "A" attribute.
3.07
CTTY – redirection of I/O links
The CTTY command changes settings for all the tree standard I/O channels: STDIN,
STDOUT and STDERR. Initial default I/O settings are equivalent to those set by the
CTTY CON command: all channels are linked with the CON device (console), that is with
the keyboard for input and with display for output. Instead of the console (CON) the
CTTY command may accept one of following ports: COM1 (AUX), COM2, COM3,
COM4, LPT1 (PRN), LPT2 and also virtual device NUL (for output into "nowhere").
CTTY is an archaic command. Its name (CTTY = Change TeleTYpewriter) reminds
about the times when there were no displays, and the I/O consoles resembled old-fashioned
teletypes.
Nowadays there are 2 reasons to use CTTY in batch files. The first is to prevent
accidental interruption of execution; the second is to prevent indication of undesirable error
messages, sent via DOS's STDERR channel, which can't be redirected otherwise. In both
cases the problem is solved by redirection into nowhere, represented by virtual NUL
device: CTTY NUL precedes the group of commands to be protected, and later
CTTY CON restores normal communication with keyboard and display. Inside the
protected group of commands (between CTTY NUL and CTTY CON) both internal and
interactive interruptions of execution are not allowed, because otherwise no message will
be displayed, no input will be accepted, and PC may seem to get hanged. Reboot via
CTRL-ALT-DELETE usually remains accessible, though.
CTTY command affects only implicit I/O settings, but it doesn't affect redirections,
which are specified in command lines explicitly (2.04-02 - 2.04-05). For example, let's
consider the following piece of a batch file:
@ctty nul
copy /B Trial.dat Suit.dat
echo Press any key to exit > con
pause < con
ctty con
Here a message from the COPY command will not reach the screen, even if it will be
an error message. But the message "Press any key to exit" will be shown, because it is
directed to the CON device explicitly. The next PAUSE command will work properly too,
because its input is explicitly linked with keyboard. This form of CTTY usage needs some
caution, but opens attractive opportunities to affect interaction with the user. An example
of a batch file with this form of CTTY usage is shown in article 9.03-02.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
Note 1: having been banned by CTTY NUL command, the STDERR (error) messages
can't be redirected explicitly and are lost.
3.08
DATE – date display and reset
In order to set a new date one has to specify this new date after the name of the DATE
command in command line, for example:
DATE 11.07.2002
When date is not specified, the current date will be shown, and then you will be offered
to input a new date via keyboard (pay attention to note 2 below). If you don't want to
change the date, just respond to the offer by pressing the ENTER key.
Letters and other textual files are often appended with a line with data signature. For
this purpose the DATE command should be used, for example, in the following way:
ECHO= | DATE | Find.exe "Current" >> Anyfile.txt
Here the first redirection ( ECHO= | DATE ) automatically responds to the displayed
offer and enables non-stop action, the second redirection ( DATE | Find.exe ) excludes
undesirable output lines, and the third redirection ( >> Anyfile.txt ) appends date signature
to the specified file.
Of course, all conditions for performing redirections (2.04-05) and for finding files
(Find.exe and the one to be appended) should be met.
Note 1: date and month data order is country-specific and should be set by COUNTRY
command (4.05).
Note 2: the offer for date change is supplemented with a prompt for a two-digit year data,
but it is a bug: MS-DOS7 demands 4-digit year data.
3.09
DEL – file(s) deletion
The DEL (DELete) command doesn't physically erase files, but rather disables their
entries in directory specification. The clusters, occupied by a file with invalid entry, are
considered free and may be overwritten during following operations. But until these
clusters are not overwritten, the deleted file may be restored, for example, by the
UNDELETE.EXE utility from Norton Utilities release.
Here is an example of a command line with the DEL command:
DEL D:\TEMP\Filename.ext /P
where:
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
D:\TEMP\ – an example of disk and path specification for the directory,
containing the file(s) to be deleted. If path is omitted, then current
directory is implied.
Filename.ext
– a name example of a file to be deleted;
/P
– optional parameter, causing a prompt for confirmation before deletion
of each file.
When a filemask (2.01-03) is specified instead of a filename, then all files conforming
to this filemask will be deleted. But an attempt to delete all files in a directory by means of
filemask *.* causes a stop and a query to the user on whether all files really should be
deleted. Execution will be stopped even if the /P parameter is not specified. The user has to
respond to the query with Y (yes) or N (no) keystroke.
In batch files a non-stop operation is often desirable, without any prompts and queries.
This may be achieved, for example, by execution of the DEL command within a FOR
cycle:
FOR %%Z in (*.*) do DEL %%Z
This form of cycle always displays a list of deleted files (even despite redirection to
NUL ). You may avoid undesirable messages by implementing the DEL command in
another way:
ECHO Y | IF EXIST D:\TEMP\*.* DEL D:\TEMP\*.* > NUL
In the example above the ECHO Y command provides an automatic response to the
query, and the only reason for IF EXIST condition is to avoid the "File not found" error
message, when the specified directory (D:\TEMP\) initially is empty.
Note 1: ERASE is another valid name for the same DEL command.
Note 2: files with attributes R (read-only), H (hidden), S (system) and directories can't be
deleted with the DEL command. To delete directories the RD command (3.23)
should be used instead.
Note 3: the DEL . command (appended with a dot) is equivalent to DEL *.*.
Note 4: the DEL \ command (appended with a backslash) deletes in the root directory of
the current disk all the files, which are not protected by attributes.
3.10
DIR – display of directory contents
In MS-DOS the DIR ( DIRectory ) command is the main instrument of exploring the
directories' contents. Here is an example of a command line with the DIR command:
DIR C:\DOS /P /A:HS /O:GN /S /L /V
where:
C:\DOS – an example of a path to the directory to explore. If not specified,
current directory is implied.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
/P
/A:HS
/O:GN
/S
/L
/V
– optional parameter causing a stop after each screenful of output data
until any key is pressed by the user.
– a parameter specifying permission to show the items with particular
attributes: H (hidden), S (system), A (new or changed files, not saved
in an archive yet), R (read-only), D (directories). Prefix "–" may be
used to reverse the choice: –H (except hidden), –D (except directories),
and so on. Parameter /A without following attributes forces to show
all the items in the directory. When parameter /A is omitted, hidden
and system files are not displayed.
– specification of the sorting order for the displayed items: G –
directories first, N – by name (the default), S – by size (smallest first),
E – by extension, D – by date and time (earliest first), A – by last
access date (earliest first). Prefix "–" may be used to reverse the order:
–N – by name with inverse alphabetic order, –S – by size with largest
the first, and so on.
– an optional parameter, forcing to show contents of subdirectories too.
– an optional parameter, forcing conversion of the shown filenames to
lower case, otherwise these names will be shown just as they were
originally specified.
– an optional parameter, causing display of supplementary data:
attributes, time of the last access, allocated disk space, total disk space
and its usage. Other parameters, having preference over /V, are:
/W – show item names in 5 columns,
/B – show item names in one column, without disk summary; no
time loss for preparing summary makes the DIR /B
command much more fast.
The DIR command can be used to show data about a particular file or about all files
conforming to a given filemask:
DIR *.txt /P /S /B
Absence of path specification in combination with /S parameter in the latter example
means that the DIR command in fact will perform a search for files with *.txt suffix in
the current directory and in all its subdirectories. If current directory is the root, the search
will proceed throughout the current disk. If you are interested in finding a forgotten file
only, the /B parameter will make the result more concise and easy to apprehend.
Parameters for the DIR command may be preset in the DIRCMD environmental
variable (for example, with command SET DIRCMD= /P /S /B ), and then you will get the
desirable action of DIR command by default. If needed, you may later override any preset
parameter by prefixing a hyphen "–" to it in command line (for example, /–P ).
When DIR command is executed with /A parameter, then the *.* filemask (all files)
doesn't exclude directories. If you need to display files only, you ought to provide /A: –D
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
parameter instead. This feature enables to explore whether a directory (or a disk) is empty
or not. Consider, for example, the following lines from a batch file:
@echo off
set DIRCMD=/a /b
dir *.* > C:\Temp\Found.lst
copy C:\Temp\Found.lst NUL | Find.exe "0 file" > nul
if errorlevel 1
echo Current directory is NOT empty
if not errorlevel 1 echo Current directory is empty
The second line specifies parameters so that DIR command will display nothing, if the
directory under test is empty. In third line the output of DIR command is redirected into
file FOUND.LST. COPY command in the fourth line wouldn't copy an empty file and in
this case issues a message "0 files copied". Having caught this message via redirection, the
FIND.EXE utility sets errorlevel to zero. The rest two lines are used to sense errorlevel
and to display appropriate conditional response.
When the DIR command is executed without /W or /B parameters, it may display
filenames in two different ways, depending on operating system environment. Inside DOS
window of WINDOWS operating system filenames are displayed "as they are", but in
MS-DOS7 environment names of files and their suffixes are displayed separately without a
dot between them. This feature may be used as a simple test to determine current operating
environment.
Note 1: the DIR \ command shows all files in the root directory.
Note 2: during the DIR command display scrolling of output lines on the screen may be
stopped by pressing CTRL–S or BREAK keys; then after any other keystroke
scrolling will be resumed.
3.11
ECHO – string output via STDOUT
The words, specified in the same command line after the name of ECHO command are
sent as a message into the STDOUT channel; unless redirected, its default terminal point is
the CON (console) device, displaying the message on the screen. Examples of string output
with the ECHO command are shown, in particular, in previous article 3.10.
The message to display may be up to 123 characters long. Actual message length is
limited by the line itself or by the first encountered redirection symbol (2.04-02 – 2.04-05).
Message string may include ASCII service marks, shown in appendix A.02-8. But message
string must not be empty or begin with words ON or OFF. These and several other
exceptions are used to perform special functions:
ECHO ON – switches ON the ECHO flag, enabling to display batch file lines as
they are executed (this is the default status).
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
ECHO OFF – switches the ECHO flag OFF (no lines display). Outside batch files
this causes disappearance of command prompt.
ECHO – (without following message) shows current status of ECHO flag.
ECHO= – (appended with equality sign) – sends bytes 0Dh 0Ah via STDOUT
channel, just as if the ENTER key were pressed (example – in article
3.08). On the screen or in a file this causes insertion of an empty line.
ECHO+ – sends bytes 0Dh 0Ah via STDOUT, but also sends words specified
after plus sign, if there are any, including words ON and OFF. The
ECHO command acts similarly, when it is appended with slash or dot
ECHO flag is a local flag, maintaining its state until batch files share common
environment, but this state is not inherited and is reset to default each time the command
interpreter creates a derived (child) environment.
Command lines displayed in the default ECHO ON state are not the same as original
command lines in batch files: in displayed lines all aliases are replaced with their values.
This is helpful for debugging. But it is not needed, when file has proved to have no errors.
Therefore almost each completed batch file starts with @ECHO OFF command. The "@"
character, preceding the ECHO command, prevents display of this command itself.
3.12
EXIT – closure of current interpreter session
Command interpreter COMMAND.COM (6.04) is a resident program, which arranges
environment for execution of other programs. On the other hand, command interpreter
itself may be launched just as an ordinary program in order to arrange a separate (local)
environment, if it is required. In such cases several resident modules of command
interpreter may coexist in memory simultaneously, but only one of them may be active –
the one which is loaded the last. The EXIT command closes current session of the active
resident module, releases the memory occupied by the module, and transfers control to the
parent program (which has launched the mentioned resident module).
Just as current interpreter session is closed, its local environment with all values and
variables becomes lost. At the same time the former environment of the parent program
becomes accessible again, and execution of this program is automatically resumed.
The very first resident module of command interpreter is launched by the IO.SYS
loader with the SHELL command (4.26) in CONFIG.SYS file (9.01-01). This first
resident module can't transfer control to its "parent", since the IO.SYS loader is not
resident and has finished its job yet. If the first resident module of command interpreter
were able to execute the EXIT command, then computer were get hanged. To prevent such
outcome the COMMAND.COM interpreter must be launched for the first time with the /P
parameter (6.04), which disables EXIT command.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.13
FOR – cycle operator
The FOR cycle operator arranges cyclic execution of other command(s). Assume, for
example, that we need to display three short files: First.txt, Second.txt and Third.txt.
Instead of sending these files to display with separate commands, the FOR operator
enables to do the same in one line:
FOR %Z IN (First Second Third) DO TYPE %Z.txt
where:
%Z
IN
DO
– an example of a name for cycle variable, which is sequentially set
equal to each of the items specified in parenthesis. Cycle variable
name shouldn't commence with a digit. Usually it is a one-letter name,
preceded by a percent symbol ( % ), when the cycle is executed from
command line, or by double percent symbol ( %% ), when the cycle is
executed from a batch file.
– a required reserved word, introducing the following list of variable's
values, specified inside parenthesis.
– a required reserved word, introducing the following name of the
command, which is to be executed in the cycle as many times as many
values are specified for the cycle variable. In each iteration a new
value is substituted for the name of cycle variable.
Item(s) in parenthesis may be any word(s), including environmental variable
substitutions (such as %TEMP%) and dummy parameter substitutions (2.03-03). Items in
parenthesis may be separated by spaces, or by semicolons ( ; ), or by commas ( , ). Note,
that paths in PATH variable value are separated by semicolons, hence the PATH's value
will be disintegrated by the FOR cycle into a group of separate paths. This operation is
often used in order to determine accessibility of a given file or in order to provide explicit
path specification for it. The following piece of a batch file shows a typical path
determination example:
@echo off
set P=
FOR %%Y IN (. %PATH%) DO if exist %%Y\Fc.exe set P=%%Y\Fc.exe
if %P%"==" echo Requested file hasn't been found!
if not %P%"==" echo Path to the requested file is %P%
Here in the second line an auxiliary variable P is assigned an empty value, and in the
third line - the path to the specified file, if the latter happens to be found. Note, that cycle
variable name ( %%Y ) is preceded by double percent symbol, as it must be in batch files.
The last two lines check presence of auxiliary variable's value and issue a corresponding
message according to the result.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
Item(s) in parenthesis may include wildcards (2.01-03), but items with wildcards
become interpreted as filenames, which should be searched for in the current directory or
according to the preceding path, if it is specified. Automatic search along all the paths in
the PATH variable is not implied. Each of several items in parenthesis may include
wildcards, for example:
FOR %%X IN (A:\*.txt A:\*.doc) DO COPY /B %%X C:\DOS
Sometimes it is desirable to display separately each operation performed within FOR
cycle, but not the cycle itself. This opportunity may be illustrated by the following
modification of the preceding example:
ECHO ON
@FOR %%X IN (A:\*.txt A:\*.doc) DO COPY /B %%X C:\DOS
@ECHO OFF
If the file, specified in parenthesis with wildcards, is not found, then corresponding
operation is skipped without any error message. This is why the FOR cycle sometimes is
used as a means to get rid of undesirable error messages (see 3.09 for an example). One
more "side effect" of the FOR cycle is that it enables to parse a multi-word value of an
environmental variable and to get rid of extra spaces, which may precede or follow
separate words within this value.
Inside parenthesis a string, including separation symbols, may be regarded as one item,
if it is enclosed in double quotes (absence of the closing quote is qualified as an error).
Double quotes themselves are not regarded as belonging to the item. This enables to
specify several different commands in one line, for example:
FOR %%Z IN ("set E=%W%" "echo E is set" "goto L23") DO %%Z
There are sequences of operations, which can't be performed in separate lines, but can
be performed within the FOR cycle. Examples of such sequences are shown in 46-th line of
batch file in article 9.03-02, and also in the 6-th line of batch file in article 9.01-03.
Inside parenthesis the commands, enclosed in double quotes, may include substitutions
of variable's values (as %W%), conditional commands ( IF ), jump commands (GOTO)
and redirections (2.04-02 - 2.04-05). When a jump to a label is performed from within the
FOR cycle, the next operations (placed to the right, if such exist) will be skipped.
Redirections inside the FOR cycle spread their action on all following commands. For
example, in a cycle
For %%Z in ("echo 1-st line >> Q.txt" "echo 2-nd line") do %%Z
the words "2-nd line" will not be shown on the screen, but rather will be appended to the
Q.txt file. Redirection for the following operation(s) can be changed, but it must be
specified explicitly.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
The ability of FOR cycle to take away enclosing double quotes from its arguments is
essential not only for execution of commands, but also for displaying messages, protected
from parsing by double quotes.
Nested FOR cycles are not allowed, but an internal FOR cycle may be executed by a
separate resident module of command interpreter (COMMAND.COM), which itself is
launched within an external FOR cycle, specified in the same command line. If inside a
batch file the FOR cycle is used to execute another (secondary) batch file, this secondary
batch file may contain its own internal FOR cycles.
Note 1: the name of the cycle variable must be chosen so as to prevent interference with
any of currently used other variables.
Note 2: inside parenthesis the forward slash ( / ) is regarded as separator, but any single
item preceded by the forward slash will be appended to this slash and converted to
the upper case (in earlier DOS versions slash acts otherwise).
Note 3: attempts to redirect all messages from FOR cycle affect only the first operation
within this cycle. If the following operations have no explicit redirections, they
will be subjected to default settings.
Note 4: when interpreter COMMAND.COM is explicitly launched from command line in
order to execute a FOR cycle, the cycle variable must be preceded by double
percent signs, just as in batch files.
3.14
GOTO – jump to a label
The GOTO command performs a jump within batch file to a label, which must be
specified in any line of the same batch file. A line with label begins with a colon ( : ), and
after the colon an arbitrary label's name follows. The same name must be specified after
GOTO command. When label's name is long, its first 8 characters only are taken into
account. Synonymous labels in one batch file are not allowed. If, for example, there is a
label :L36 in some line of a batch file, then a jump to this label is performed by command
GOTO L36
The GOTO command may be preceded in the same line by conditional operator IF
(3.15). A lot of jump examples, both conditional and unconditional, can be found in
articles 9.03-02, 9.09-02.
Note 1: label name after the GOTO command can be obtained by substitution for a
variable's name (%VAR%, for example).
Note 2: a value of dummy parameter (%1, %2..) cannot be used after the GOTO
command as name of a label, but it may constitute a part of this name after any
preceding letter(s).
Note 3: the GOTO command doesn't affect errorlevel, thus giving an opportunity to
continue errorlevel checks after the jump.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.15
IF – condition operator
Condition operator enables to perform three types of condition checks: existence
check, equality check and errorlevel check.
Command line with conditional execution of any operation must commence with
conditional operator IF, followed by condition type definition, condition specification and
full specification of the command, which should be executed if the condition is met.
Several condition operators with separate condition definitions and specifications may be
written sequentially in one line, and then logical operation AND is applied implicitly to
results of separate condition checks. Examples of combining several condition checks in
one line are shown in articles 3.15-03, 9.03-01, 9.09-02. Peculiar composition of command
line for each type of condition checks is described below in detail.
3.15-01
Existence condition check
Existence condition check, performed by IF EXIST command, can be applied to files,
directories and logical devices. Inversion of existence condition – absence condition check
– is performed by IF NOT EXIST command. Here are two examples of existence check
usage:
IF EXIST C:\DOS\Format.com C:\DOS\Format.com A: /S
IF NOT EXIST C:\DOS\Format.com ECHO Format.com isn't found!
where:
EXIST
– a reserved word, defining type of check and forcing to interpret the
following element as a name or a mask (may be with path) of the
object to be searched for.
C:\DOS\Format.com
– an example of a filename to be searched for; preceded
by a path. This filename will be searched for in the specified directory
only. When path is omitted, then current directory is implied.
C:\DOS\Format.com A: /S
– an example of a utility to be launched if the
preceding condition is met ( if the check returns TRUE). Note, that
utility name should be followed by all necessary parameters. When
path is not specified, the utility will be searched for in current
directory and then along all the paths, stored in PATH variable’s
value.
NOT
– a reserved word, meaning a logical inversion of the result (TRUE or
FALSE), returned by a check of any condition type.
ECHO Format.com isn't found! – another example of a command to be executed
depending on preceding condition (when the utility is NOT found).
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
Given examples enable to execute a specified utility (FORMAT.COM), when it is
found in its proper place, or to have an intelligible message displayed, when this utility isn't
found.
Names of logical devices are reserved words (2.01-01), assigned by DOS's core or by
drivers during loading procedure. By existence check, applied to a logical device name, one
can clear up whether a particular driver is loaded. Full list of logical devices in your
computer is shown by the MEM.EXE utility being launched with /D parameter (6.17). For
example, the EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) driver reserves logical device name EMMXXXX0.
Hence the loading check for this driver can be done with the following line:
IF NOT EXIST EMMXXXX0 ECHO The EMM driver isn't loaded!
When you use a filemask with wildcards instead of utility name to be searched for, it
will be referred to conforming files only, but not to directories. Existence condition with
filemask *.* is true, when there is at least one file (or more, example – in 3.09). In order
to check existence of a directory you should append the directory name with a name of
virtual file NUL:
IF EXIST C:\DOS\NUL ECHO The C:\DOS directory exists!
However, the shown check for existence of a directory may fail on CD-ROMs because
of peculiarity of their file system (ISO 9660).
It is often important to provide non-stop execution of batch files. The existence check
provides non-stop execution on accessible media only: the file or directory may not exist,
but disk must exist (must be inserted) and must be formatted with a file system accessible
for MS-DOS7 (FAT12, FAT16, FAT32) or accessible by means of installed drivers.
When it is not known whether the media is accessible, a non-stop execution of the
existence check still may be performed, but it needs special measures to prevent critical
error handler calls (8.02-84) and to avoid appearance of undesirable messages (example –
in 9.03-02).
3.15-02
Equality condition check
Equality condition check is applied to two words, separated by double equality symbol
( = = ). Since there is no sense in comparing a-priori known words, equality condition
implies using aliases, which may be dummy parameter(s) or variable's value(s) (2.03-03).
Wildcard symbols ( ? and * ) in words to compare are allowed, but these are interpreted as
ordinary symbols and are not expanded as wildcards. Contrary to ordinary DOS' practice,
upper and lower case letters in words to compare are regarded as NOT equal. Here are two
examples of equality check usage in batch files:
IF %VAR%==%2 GOTO L23
IF NOT %VAR%==%2 GOTO HELP
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
where:
%VAR% – an alias to be replaced with value of environmental variable VAR;
%2
– an alias (dummy parameter) to be replaced with the second
parameter's value of the batch file;
GOTO L23 – a command to be executed if the %VAR%= =%2 condition is met;
NOT
– a reserved word, meaning a logical inversion of the result (TRUE or
FALSE), returned by condition check;
GOTO HELP – a command to be executed if the %VAR%= =%2 condition is
NOT met.
Of course, any one of the words to compare may be specified directly, without aliases.
Each of the words to compare may combine one or more aliases with directly specified
part(s). But words to compare are not allowed to be empty: this is regarded as syntax
error. Since any batch file may be executed without parameters, it must be prepared to the
case when its dummy parameter ( %2 in the example above or any other) becomes empty.
The simplest way to solve the problem is to append any certain symbol (for example, a
dot) to both left and right parts of the equation:
IF %VAR%.==%2. GOTO L23
IF NOT %VAR%.==%2. GOTO HELP
These equality checks do the same as in the previous example, but are immune against
the empty value of the aliases. The same principle is used to compose a check on whether
the value of a variable (or of a dummy parameter as well) is empty:
IF .==%CASH%. ECHO The CASH variable has an empty value
Special care should be taken when the value of a variable may include spaces. The
word to the right of the double equality symbol doesn't allow space(s) in its value. If the
value of the variable CASH (in the example above) includes spaces, it will be interpreted
as syntax error. But the word to the left of double equality symbol is allowed to have
spaces inside. When this word consists of several items, separated by spaces, only the first
(leftmost) item will be taken into account. This is illustrated by the following three
examples (all three are valid):
IF NOT A: B: C:.==. ECHO Compared items are not equal
IF .A: B: C:==.A: ECHO Compared items (.A: and .A:) are equal
IF . B: C:==. ECHO Compared items (dots) are equal too
In all these three examples presence of the B: and C: items is ignored.
3.15-03
Errorlevel condition check
When execution of any utility in DOS is about to terminate, it may leave errorlevel
code, which is in fact a message to the following algorithms. Errorlevel informs whether
the terminated execution has been successful or not, and if not, then what kind of obstacle
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
has been encountered. Errorlevel is a 8-bit binary code in DOS's swappable data area
(offset 14h in A.01-03), but it is presented as decimal number from 0 to 255 (without
sign). Errorlevel 0 means successful termination, other errorlevel values usually mean
different kinds of errors, interpreted specifically for each utility.
Errorlevel condition is identified by presence of the word ERRORLEVEL. It gives an
opportunity to check whether the errorlevel code is equal or greater than a specified
decimal number, for example:
IF ERRORLEVEL 1 ECHO Execution has failed
IF NOT ERRORLEVEL 1 ECHO Execution has terminated successfully
The check in the first line of the example above returns TRUE for all errorlevel values
from 1 to 255, that is for all possible unsuccessful outcomes. The check in the second line
includes reserved word NOT and this is why acts as logical inversion, returning TRUE for
errorlevels lower than 1, that is for a single value 0, which means successful termination.
When you need to execute a separate procedure for a single type of erroneous outcome,
you may concatenate errorlevel checks. Suppose, for example, that in the case of errorlevel
15 you need to perform a jump to label ERROR15. This may be achieved by the
following command line:
IF NOT ERRORLEVEL 16 IF ERRORLEVEL 15 GOTO ERROR15
The first check in the line above returns TRUE for all errorlevels from 0 to 15, and the
second - for all errorlevels from 15 to 255. The result is that errorlevel 15 becomes the
single errorlevel value, which enables to execute the following GOTO command.
Note 1: non-zero errorlevel code is used by some utilities to indicate different
circumstances of normal (not erroneous) outcome.
Note 2: all internal commands (3.01 - 3.34) don't return and don't change errorlevel code.
Note 3: mixed successive concatenation of several existence checks, equality checks, and
errorlevel checks in one line is allowed in the same way as that shown above for
two errorlevel checks.
3.16
LFNFOR – long filenames display mode
LFNFOR is an undocumented local switch, which may be set ON (LFNFOR ON) or
OFF (LFNFOR OFF). Being used without parameters, LFNFOR command shows the
state of this switch. It's default state is OFF. Under "bare" MS-DOS7 the state of
LFNFOR is ignored, but inside DOS box under Windows OS switching LFNFOR ON
enables non-truncated treatment of long file names by the FOR command (3.13), for
example, by
FOR %%Z in (*.*) do echo %%Z
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
When LFNFOR is switched OFF, the FOR command truncates long file names to 8
characters, just as it always does in MS-DOS7.
3.17
LH – load beyond conventional memory
The LH command (LH = Load High) loads drivers and TSR utilities beyond the 640
kb boundary of conventional memory in computers having the 80386 or higher processor.
Access beyond the 640 kb boundary must be enabled in advance by command DOS=UMB
(4.08) in CONFIG.SYS file and by loading memory managers: the HIMEM.SYS driver
(5.04-01) and then either EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) or UMBPCI.SYS (5.04-04) driver. In
both cases access to the TSR modules, loaded by the LH command, will be performed via
the UMB region (640 - 1024 kb) of address space. When there is no more free space in
UMB region, the LH command issues no error message and continues to load drivers and
TSR utilities into conventional memory below 640 kb.
LH acts similar to the INSTALLHIGH command (4.16); the main difference is that
INSTALLHIGH command is performed by the IO.SYS loader and can't take part in
memory optimization procedure (5.04-03). The LH command is performed by
COMMAND.COM interpreter from ordinary command line or (preferably) from a line in
AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Here is an example of a line from AUTOEXEC.BAT file, in
which the LH command is used to load MSCDEX.EXE driver:
LH /L:1,23680 \DOS\DRV\Mscdex.exe /D:CD1 /E /S /V /L:O /M:32
The name of the driver is preceded by a path ( \DOS\DRV\ ), which may take any of
its allowed forms (2.02-01). If the path is omitted, the driver will be searched for in the
current directory and throughout all the paths, specified in PATH variable’s value
(2.02-02). All items following the driver's name are not identified by LH command, but
rather are transferred to the driver as its specific parameters.
Between the name of LH command and specification of the software to be loaded there
may be an optional /L parameter, which gives an opportunity to point out a particular
part of USB memory region, which should be devoted for access to each TSR module (see
also 4.07). In the example above this parameter looks as /L:1,23680, where /L:1 means
addressing via the first part of UMB region, and the number 23680 is the size of space (in
bytes) required for TSR module of MSCDEX.EXE driver.
Size specification after the /L parameter is optional, but when the size is specified, the
LH command can accept one more parameter /S, for example:
LH /L:1,2160 /S \DOS\COM\Escape.com
The /S parameter means that allocated UMB block should be truncated to the
specified size. This results in the most efficient usage of address space, but doesn't
guarantee from a crash, if size specification is not quite correct. It is not recommended to
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
use the /S parameter apart from memory optimization procedure, performed by memory
optimization utility MEMMAKER.EXE (5.04-03). During this procedure the /L and /S
parameters together with exact size specification will be automatically inserted in all those
lines of AUTOEXEC.BAT file with LH command.
Note 1: if access beyond conventional memory is opened by UMBPCI.SYS driver
(5.04-04), then LH command loads TSR modules into UMB memory region
(640 - 1024 kb). But EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) acts otherwise: it adjusts
processor's address translation table (TLB) so that access to memory beyond
1088 kb is performed via the same UMB region of address space. This is why in
the latter case the same LH command physically loads TSR modules not into the
UMB region, but elsewhere beyond 1088 kb.
3.18
LOCK – forbid concurrent access
Requests of various programs for disk access are controlled by MS-DOS7 in order to
provide proper order of access and effective buffering. Programs, which require direct
access to a disk, must coordinate their operations with MS-DOS7 by means of the
INT 13\AH=45h interrupt (8.01-58). But some programs don't do that, for example, the
program for recovering deleted files UNDELETE.EXE from MS-DOS6.22 release. In
order to permit such programs to do their job the COMMAND.COM interpreter in
MS-DOS7 provides the LOCK command. It gives exclusive rights to access the requested
disk for the program, which will be launched next.
Arguments for the LOCK command are one or more letter-names of the disks, which
should acquire exclusive treatment. During execution of LOCK command you will be
asked for confirmation (Y or N) from keyboard. In order to avoid stops for confirmation in
batch files you have to prepare a response in advance, for example
ECHO Y | LOCK C: D:
The result of the shown command line will be excusive non-interrupted access to disks
C: and D: for the program which will be launched next. When this program terminates, the
locked state of disk(s) should be turned off by UNLOCK command (3.31). Since direct
access operations may be nested, up to 256 lock levels are allowed. Of course, each
involved program must be supported by proper sequence of LOCK and UNLOCK
commands.
3.19
MD – make directory
The MD command enables to create a new directory or subdirectory, for example:
MD C:\DOS\ARC
where:
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
C:\DOS\ – an example of a path to an existing directory, where the new
subdirectory should be created;
ARC
– an example of a unique name for the new subdirectory to be created.
Backslash after this name is not allowed.
The unique new name is a required argument, but the preceding path is optional. When
it is omitted, new (sub)directory will be created in the current directory of the current disk.
Note 1: MKDIR is another valid name for the same MD command.
3.20
PATH – search path(s) specification
The PATH command defines the default paths for searching programs, which have no
prescribed path and are not present in the current directory. The paths, specified by PATH
command, constitute the value of synonymous environmental variable PATH. Its value
may be defined by SET command (3.26) as well. But there is an important difference:
unlike SET command, PATH command automatically converts all the characters in the
specified path(s) into upper case (otherwise search procedure may go wrong). The PATH
command must be followed by one or more existing paths, separated by semicolon(s), for
example:
PATH C:\DOS\VC4;C:\DOS\MS7;C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND
Ability of PATH command to convert arbitrary word(s) into upper case is sometimes
used in order to avoid ambiguities further in course of case-sensitive equality check.
Note 1: within a string of path specifications there must be no spaces on both sides of
each semicolon separator.
Note 2: there must be no semicolon at the end of a string of path specifications.
Note 3: the PATH command with no following arguments just displays the defined paths
and leaves them unchanged.
Note 4: the PATH ; command (followed by one semicolon only) deletes all previously
defined paths.
Note 5: the name of PATH command may be separated from the following string of path
specifications by either a space or by equality sign ( = ) as well.
3.21
PAUSE – temporary stop
The PAUSE command, being encountered in a line of a batch file, stops execution of
this batch file and displays message "Press any key to continue...". This message is not
quite true, because CTRL-C, CTRL-BREAK and ALT-03 keystroke combinations
terminate execution, enabling to bypass all the rest lines of batch file (this action doesn't
depend on the BREAK status). When PAUSE's message is not desirable, it may be
redirected:
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
PAUSE > NUL
PAUSE command may be followed in the same line by a commentary string, just like
the REM command. This commentary will not be displayed unless the ECHO flag (3.11)
is set ON.
When default communication with console is halted by the "CTTY NUL" command
(3.07), then PAUSE command must be given explicit input redirection:
PAUSE < CON
In batch files redirection of the 03h symbol (shown as © , see A.02-8) to PAUSE
command provides the shortest way to quit execution of the batch file at once, without any
pause:
ECHO ©| PAUSE > NUL
Symbol 03h may be inserted into command line with ALT-03 keys, the digits should be
entered via numerical keypad while the ALT key is kept pressed. But you shouldn't dare to
disable such line by a preceding REM command (3.24): the ECHO command only will be
disabled, redirected symbol wouldn't be received by PAUSE command, and the computer
will get hanged.
3.22
PROMPT – prompt specification
Command PROMPT redefines the value of synonymous environmental variable
PROMPT, which specifies the form of DOS's command prompt. Usually the PROMPT
command is written in a line of AUTOEXEC.BAT file, but it also may be entered from an
ordinary command line. The name PROMPT should be followed by the suggested prompt
text. In this text pairs of characters, beginning with a dollar symbol ( $ ), are interpreted in
a special way and are substituted with other data, which can't be written into prompt text
directly. Here is a table of correspondence between character pairs and the substituting
data:
$Q
equality sign ( = )
$$
single dollar symbol ( $ )
$T
current time
$D
current date
$P
current disk’s letter-name and path to current directory
$V
Windows' version number
$N
current disk’s letter-name
$G
right arrow (or greater-than) sign ( > )
$L
left arrow (or less-than) sign ( < )
$B
vertical bar (or pipe) sign ( | )
$H
the 08h code "Backspace" (A.02-8)
$_
carriage return (0Dh) and linefeed (0Ah)
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
$E
code 1Bh "Escape" (A.02-8)
The PROMPT command without arguments deletes the variable PROMPT, and then
DOS's prompt would present current disk’s letter-name appended with right arrow sign
( > ), the same prompt as after command PROMPT $N$G. By default MS-DOS7 assigns
to the PROMPT variable another value ( PROMPT $P$G ), which corresponds to most
common form of command prompt: full path to the current directory appended with right
arrow sign.
The data, displayed by prompt, can be written into a file and then assigned as a value
to an environmental variable. Consider the following example of batch file lines:
prompt @echo off$_Set Ret$q$p
C:\Command.com /c Ret.bat > Ret.bat
Call Ret.bat
The first line in the example above sets a complicated form of a prompt, and the
second line writes this prompt into a new batch file RET.BAT. Obtained RET.BAT file's
contents may look as follows:
@echo off
Set Ret=D:\BACKUP
Note, that prompt parameter
"Set Ret$q$p"
has been transformed into
"Set Ret=D:\BACKUP", where "D:\BACKUP" is an example of current disk’s lettername followed by actual current path at the moment of batch line execution. If you execute
the RET.BAT file with CALL command (3.02), then actual full path will become written
into value of environmental variable RET. After that you can delete RET.BAT file and
may use the RET variable whenever necessary in order to return to the former disk and
directory:
%Ret%\
CD %Ret%
Another example of PROMPT command usage for obtaining current disk’s letter-name
is shown in article 9.01-03. Current time, date and OS version number can be written into
environmental variable(s) in a similar way.
3.23
RD – remove directory
The RD command (Remove Directory) enables to delete a directory, if the following
conditions are met:
– the directory to be deleted is empty;
– the directory exists on a writable disk;
– the directory is not the root directory of a disk;
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
– the directory is not the current directory on its disk, even if the addressed disk is
not the current disk.
Here is a RD command usage example:
RD D:\TEMP\NOTES
where:
NOTES
– is the name of a directory to be deleted;
D:\TEMP\ – is an example of a path to the directory to be deleted. The path may
be specified in any of its allowed forms (2.02-01, 2.02-03). If path is
omitted, a subdirectory of the current directory is implied.
Note 1: RMDIR is another valid name for the same RD command.
3.24
REM – remark line
The REM command (REMark) forces COMMAND.COM interpreter to ignore all the
following character(s) in the same command line up to any nearest sign of redirection
(2.04-02 - 2.04-05) or up to the end of the line. Main mission of the REM command is to
provide an opportunity to insert lines of commentaries in batch files. Commentaries may be
up to 123 characters long in one line. The REM command is used for those commentaries,
which shouldn’t be displayed during normal execution of a batch file, but rather are to be
displayed only for tracing while the ECHO flag is kept ON (3.11).
The REM command is sometimes used to disable an executable line in a batch file, but
it can't disable redirection. Double colon "::" (2.04-01) is more suitable for this purpose.
The other mission of REM is an "empty" command, which is accepted as valid and
formally is executed, but does nothing (see VCEDIT.EXT in 6.25-03 for an example).
Since the REM command sends no output into STDOUT channel, redirection
REM > Anyfile.ext
is used to create an empty file with specified name. If a synonymous file exists there yet, it
will be overwritten and will become empty. Overwriting of a real file with a file of zero
length erases address of its first cluster in directory specification. Therefore files,
overwritten by a file of zero length, can't be restored by UNDELETE.EXE or by other
similar utilities.
Note 1: REM command shouldn't be used to disable command lines with intermediate
redirection (2.04-05). The REM command disables only the first command in
such line, its output is not sent, and command in the rest part of command line
never gets the awaited data. Therefore computer may get hanged (example – in
article 3.21).
Note 2: inside "DOS box" of Windows OS empty redirections are not performed, so there
the REM command can't be used to create a file of zero length.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.25
REN – rename a file
The REN command (REName) enables to rename one file or several files at once if
their names conform to a certain mask. Here is an example of renaming one file with REM
command:
REN C:\DOS\Notes.txt Notes.old
where:
C:\DOS\ – an example of a path to the file to be renamed; the path may be
specified in any of its allowed forms (2.02-01, 2.02-03) or may be
omitted.
Notes.txt – current name of the file to be renamed.
Notes.old – an example of new name for the same file; the new name must be
specified without preceding path, even if the file to be renamed exists
anywhere else beyond the current directory.
Specifying wildcards within the first (old) name only is allowed, but often leads to an
error: attempt to create several synonymous files in one directory. Therefore it is
recommended to specify wildcards in the same positions in both old and new filenames, so
as to retain unique features of each filename. Characters hidden under wildcards will not
be changed. Suppose there is a group of files Part_01.txt – Part_12.txt, which should be
renamed into Chap_01.txt – Chap_12.txt. This operation is performed with one command:
REN Part_??.txt Chap_??.txt
Note 1: directories and files with H (hidden) attribute can't be renamed by the REN
command.
Note 2: attributes of the renamed file(s) remain unchanged.
3.26
SET – value assignment to a variable
When SET command is specified without parameters, it displays all variables of the
current environment together with their values. But if name of the SET command is
followed by any word, this word is interpreted as a name of environmental variable, which
should be assigned a new value, for example:
SET TEMP=D:\Temp
where:
TEMP – is an example of variable's name;
D:\Temp – is the value to be assigned to the variable TEMP. Equation sign(s) and
redirection symbols (2.04-02 – 2.04-05) inside value specification are
forbidden.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
Note 1: any space to the right of the equation sign between valid characters, preceding or
following valid characters (up to the end line mark) will be included in variable's
value.
Note 2: if a part to the right of the equation sign is empty, then specified variable will be
deleted (will cease to exist).
Note 3: the SET command is able to expand environmental space, when it is not enough
to accommodate the new value of a variable.
Note 4: in batch files the value to the right of the equation sign may include substitutions
for other variable's names (for example, %VAR%) and for dummy parameters
(2.03-03). All such aliases will be replaced with their values before defining the
new variable.
Note 5: a synonymous command SET (4.25) in lines of CONFIG.SYS file is interpreted
by IO.SYS loader. The latter doesn't perform substitutions and redirections, but
thus it gives an opportunity to include corresponding symbols in variable's
value(s).
3.27
SHIFT – dummy parameter’s order shift
The SHIFT command shifts by –1 (minus one) the numerical order of dummy
parameters (2.03-03) in a batch file, so that former %0 is lost, former %1 becomes %0,
former %2 becomes %1, and so on. It's important to notice, that the dummy parameter,
which becomes the 9-th, previously was the 10-th and couldn't be accessed. Thus the
SHIFT command gives an opportunity to specify more than 9 dummy parameters for a
batch file and to access them sequentially, shifting their numeration from one iteration to
each next. An example of such numeration shift is presented by a subroutine in lines 29 –
38 of DISK.BAT file in article 9.03-02. When the shifted address order comes to the end
of parameter's sequence, the last dummy parameter becomes empty, and this is a sign to
terminate execution of the whole cycle containing the SHIFT command.
3.28
TIME – time display and reset
In order to set a new time one has to specify this new time after the name of the TIME
command in command line, for example:
TIME 11:39:23,24
where the successive numbers mean hours, minutes, seconds and the hundredth parts of a
second. Separation symbols within the shown time specification are colons and a comma,
but it depends on what national conventions are set by the COUNTRY command (4.05).
When time is not specified, the current time will be shown, and then you will be offered
to input a new time via keyboard. If you don't want to change time, just respond to the
offer by pressing the ENTER key.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
In order to append a textual file with a time signature, the TIME command should be
used, for example, in the following way:
ECHO= | TIME | Find.exe "Current" >> Anyfile.txt
Here the first redirection ( ECHO= | TIME ) automatically responds to the displayed
offer and enables non-stop action, the second redirection ( TIME | Find.exe ) excludes
undesirable output lines and the third redirection ( >> Anyfile.txt ) appends time signature
to the specified file. Of course, all conditions for performing redirections (2.04-05) and for
finding files (FIND.EXE and the one to be appended) should be met.
3.29
TRUENAME – canonical form for path and name
Any specification, following TRUENAME command in the same command line, is
interpreted as name of an object (file or directory), which may be preceded by a path. The
TRUENAME command doesn't check whether the given specification corresponds to a
real file or to a real directory structure, but rather tries to translate it into canonical form,
which must commence with disk’s letter-name and must include full path to the object. If
the given specification isn't complete, it may be automatically supplemented with
letter-name of the current disk and a path to the current directory. If the given specification
contains dot aliases (2.02-03), these will be expanded to full paths which they denote.
Besides this, all letters are uppercased, forward slashes are converted to backslashes,
asterisks (2.01-03) are converted into appropriate number of question marks, long names
are truncated to 8 characters, long suffixes – to 3 characters.
If the original specification points out a fake path, arranged by utilities
ASSIGN.COM, JOIN.EXE or SUBST.EXE, then the TRUENAME command returns
the true path. When used without following specification, the TRUENAME command
returns full path to the current directory, just as CD command (3.03).
Note 1: the TRUENAME command doesn't display error messages.
Note 2: the TRUENAME command can't be applied to network paths, unless a LAN
driver is installed.
Note 3: the action of TRUENAME command is based on INT 21\AH=60h (8.02-72).
3.30
TYPE – read a file to STDOUT
The TYPE command reads contents of a specified file and sends it line-by-line into
STDOUT channel, which has the CON device (display) as its default terminal point.
Sending may be terminated by CTRL-C or CTRL-BREAK keystrokes, or suspended by
pressing CTRL S or BREAK keys and then resumed by any other keystroke. Usage
example:
TYPE C:\DOS\Notes.txt
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
where:
Notes.txt – a name example of the file to be displayed; wildcards in a name are not
allowed by TYPE command.
C:\DOS\ – is an example of a path to the file to be displayed; the path may take
any of allowed forms (2.02-01, 2.02-03) or be omitted. In the latter
case the file is implied to exist in the current directory.
Output of the TYPE command may be redirected, for example, to the printer,
connected to LPT1 port:
TYPE A:\Config.sys > PRN
The TYPE command is often used together with the MORE.COM viewer (6.19),
which displays long STDOUT messages page-by-page.
3.31
UNLOCK – concurrent access permission
After termination of each program, which has been given direct access to a disk with
LOCK command (3.18), the original access state should be restored by the UNLOCK
command, applied to the same disk, for example:
UNLOCK C:
In fact the UNLOCK command doesn't permit concurrent access, but rather decreases
by 1 the count of nested ban levels, forbidding concurrent access. Thus a proper treatment
of nested program calls is provided. But if the original ban level was 1, then UNLOCK
command will reactivate a queue of requests for access to the disk. This is important in
multitasking operating environment, for example, in "DOS box" under Windows95/98 OS.
If a disk originally is not locked, no action will be taken by the UNLOCK command. In
any case no message will be displayed.
3.32
VER – operating system version display
In MS-DOS7 and in MS-DOS8 the VER command (VERsion) shows version number
of the corresponding WINDOWS software release. Having been supplied with /R
parameter
VER /R
the VER command appends its version message with a remark about whether the
DOS's kernel is loaded into high memory area or not.
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Chapter 3: Internal commands
3.33
VERIFY – verification function control
VERIFY command, being launched without parameters, indicates the state of
verification function, which defines whether or not each written file should be re-read and
compared with its origin. By default the verification function is turned OFF, and
verification is not performed. You can change the state of verification function with
VERIFY ON or VERIFY OFF commands (more about this – in note 2 to 8.02-60).
Note 1: high reliability of modern HDDs makes verification unnecessary, it leads to time
loss and to excess disk wear. It is better to initialize verification by the /V
parameter of COPY command (3.06) for copying file(s) only to diskette(s).
Note 2: the VERIFY function acts as a global switch: it doesn't loose its state when
current resident module of command interpreter finishes its job and local
environment becomes lost.
3.34
VOL – disk’s label and serial number
Disk's label is a string of up to 11 characters long, chosen by the user. If the user
wouldn't define label while formatting, disk will be given the NO NAME label. Later
disk's label may be changed with the LABEL.EXE utility (6.16) or by means of some TSR
shells (Norton Commander, Volcov Commander, etc.).
Serial number is a 8-digit hexadecimal identifier, which is automatically assigned to a
disk during formatting procedure. Diskettes may have no serial number, if their production
technology employs formatting by magnetic contact copying. Contrary to this during
ordinary copying procedures both label and serial number are inherited by diskette-copy
from diskette-origin.
In order to display label and serial number of a particular disk, you have to specify its
letter-name after the name of the VOL (= VOLume) command in the same command line,
for example:
VOL A:
If disk’s letter-name is omitted, then volume label and serial number of the current disk
will be displayed.
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Chapter 4
4.01
4.02
4.03
4.04
4.05
4.06
4.07
4.08
4.09
4.10
4.11
4.12
4.13
4.14
4.15
Configuration commands
ACCDATE
Break
Buffers
Buffershigh
Country
Device
Devicehigh
DOS
DRIVPARM
FCBS
FCBSHIGH
Files
Fileshigh
Include
Install
68
68
69
69
69
70
71
72
73
74
74
74
75
75
76
4.16
4.17
4.18
4.19
4.20
4.21
4.22
4.23
4.24
4.25
4.26
4.27
4.28
4.29
4.30
Installhigh
LastDrive
Lastdrivehigh
MenuColor
MenuDefault
MenuItem
Multitrack
NUMLOCK
REM
Set
Shell
Stacks
Stackshigh
Submenu
Switches
77
77
78
78
78
78
79
80
80
80
81
82
82
83
83
MS-DOS7 loading configuration is prescribed by configuration options in three
non-formatted textual files, which must be present in root directory of the bootable disk:
MSDOS.SYS (5.01-01), CONFIG.SYS (9.01-01) and AUTOEXEC.BAT (9.01-02).
Among these the CONFIG.SYS file has the most long history in previous versions of
DOS. It defines a number of very important parameters and a set of software drivers to be
loaded at boot time. Each line in CONFIG.SYS is a command to the IO.SYS loader
(5.01-01). Interpretation of commands by the latter differs considerably from that by the
most known command interpreter, the COMMAND.COM (6.04). There must be other
commands and other syntax in CONFIG.SYS file.
Though several configuration commands (4.02, 4.24, 4.25) are synonymous to those
executed by the COMMAND.COM interpreter, the IO.SYS loader deals with them in a
different way. The loader doesn't allow to omit file's suffixes, doesn't execute redirections,
doesn't substitute variable's values for their names. Command execution order in
CONFIG.SYS depends not only on line's order, but also on command's priorities (see 4.15
and 4.25 for details). There is a group of commands (4.19, 4.20, 4.21, 4.29), which can be
specified in menu and submenu blocks only, and other commands (except 4.23) in these
blocks can't be used.
Several commands (4.01, 4.04, 4.11, 4.13, 4.18, 4.28) have no equivalents in previous
versions of MS-DOS; some other commands (4.08, 4.30) have been changed in MSDOS7, new parameters have been added. Inherited configuration commands, which invoke
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
loading procedures, in MSDOS7 are treated otherwise – as loading beyond conventional
memory by default: DEVICE is executed just as DEVICEHIGH, BUFFERS – as
BUFFERSHIGH, and so on. If a certain driver must be loaded into conventional memory,
implicit defaults should be discarded by specifying the NOAUTO parameter in DOS
command (4.08). These and other peculiarities of configuration commands and of their
interpretation by IO.SYS loader are described in detail in articles below.
4.01
ACCDATE – registration of last access date
The ACCDATE command (ACCess DATE) enables or disables writing the date of
last access into a directory entry (A.09-1), related to the accessed file. By default the last
access date is registered in hard disk drives, but is not written on floppies. In a command
line after the name of ACCDATE command you may specify any number of disk’s
letter-names with following plus sign (= permit registration) or minus sign (= prohibit
registration), for example:
ACCDATE C+ D- E- RWhen access date registration is disabled, disk access operations are performed faster.
4.02
BREAK – disk access intercept control
The BREAK command affects the state of a binary flag, which controls disk access
intercepts. By default the BREAK flag is turned off, and then the BREAK and CTRL-C
keystrokes (1.03) are checked only during the CON driver addressing operations. Hence
the user can suspend or terminate execution of current procedure only when the latter
addresses the CON driver: sends output to screen or waits for input from keyboard.
The BREAK flag can be turned on with command:
BREAK ON
Since that moment the BREAK and CTRL-C keystrokes will be checked during disk
access operations too. This gives an opportunity to suspend or to terminate execution of
current procedure at the moments it addresses disk drives. Additional check makes disk
operations a little slower. To disable the check the BREAK flag should be turned off with
command:
BREAK OFF
After successful termination of IO.SYS loader's mission the BREAK command
remains supported by command interpreter COMMAND.COM (3.01).
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
4.03
BUFFERS – number of buffers
Command BUFFERS reserves memory for buffers each 512 bytes long, which serve
as a cash for sectors read from disks. By default MS-DOS7 arranges 30 primary buffers
and 0 secondary buffers. The BUFFERS command enables to create from 1 to 99 primary
buffers and from 0 to 8 secondary buffers. Secondary buffers are needed when double
buffering should be arranged by the DBLBUFF.SYS driver (5.06-02). For example,
command
BUFFERS=12,6
reserves 9 kb of memory for 12 primary and 6 secondary buffers. Disk reading and writing
operations may become slow when number of buffers is less than 30. But when the
SMARTDRV.EXE driver (5.06-01) is installed, then the number of buffers can be
reduced to 10.
Note 1: by default the buffers are created beyond the 640 kb boundary of conventional
memory, but may be arranged below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08) the
NOAUTO parameter is specified, and also if the address space in UMB region is
insufficient or unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case no error
message will be displayed.
Note 2: in some computers the DMA controller can't provide access to UMB region or to
its part, though the whole UMB region is opened by UMBPCI.SYS driver
(5.04-04). In such computers it's better to arrange buffers outside UMB region: in
conventional memory or in a space beyond 1088 kb, opened by EMM386.EXE
driver (5.04-02). Sometimes this problem can be solved by auxiliary
LOWDMA.SYS driver, supplied together with UMBPCI.SYS.
4.04
BUFFERSHIGH – number of buffers in UMB address space
The BUFFERSHIGH command is almost equivalent to BUFFERS command (4.03),
except that BUFFERSHIGH command attempts to arrange buffers beyond conventional
memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08). All other
information in article 4.03 is equally applicable to BUFFERSHIGH command.
4.05
COUNTRY – loading national adaptation data
The COUNTRY command initializes selective copying of national adaptation data
from COUNTRY.SYS data file (5.02-01) into internal DOS's data tables (A.02-4,
A.02-5). Thus DOS settings become adapted to localized rules of a particular country.
Besides other features, national adaptation enables access to files and directories having
specific national characters inside their names. Here is an example of a line with
COUNTRY command:
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
COUNTRY=007,866,C:\DOS\DRV\Country.sys
where:
007
– country code, in particular for Russia
866
– number of codepage with Russian character set
C:\DOS\DRV\ – example of a path to Country.sys file
Note 1: for other country codes and codepage numbers see appendix A.02-2
4.06
DEVICE – loading a device driver
The DEVICE command is used to load those drivers, which have a header of special
format (A.05-1) and should be loaded into memory when DOS's system structure
arrangement is not finished yet. Most often (but not necessarily) these drivers are given the
*.SYS suffix. Drivers with *.COM and *.EXE suffixes may have no special header, and
then such drivers should be loaded not by DEVICE command, but by INSTALL command
(4.15).
Here is an example of a line with DEVICE command loading a driver with *.SYS
suffix:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Himem.sys /EISA /V
where:
Himem.sys – an example of driver’s name
C:\DOS\DRV\ – an example of a path to the driver
/EISA /V – an example of a parameters group for the driver; it must conform to
parameters specifications for this particular driver.
Here is one more example of a DEVICE command loading another driver:
DEVICE?=\DOS\DRV\Emm386.exe RAM /V
Besides the driver itself, the latter string presents two differences. First, the path
(\DOS\DRV\) without preceding disk’s letter-name is suitable for loading from any disk,
even when the disk’s letter-name is not known beforehand. The second difference is an
optional question mark "?", appended to the DEVICE command. This mark forces the
IO.SYS loader to suspend further execution and to display the line, followed by a query
whether to load the specified driver or not:
[Enter=Y, Esc=N]?
Thus the DEVICE command may be used to compose selective loading configurations.
Note 1: by default the drivers are loaded beyond conventional memory (above 640 kb),
but may be loaded below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08) the NOAUTO
parameter is specified, and also if address space in UMB region is insufficient or
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case no error message will
be displayed.
Note 2: DEVICE command can't be involved in address space optimization procedure in
UMB memory region. If this feature is significant, the DEVICEHIGH command
(4.07) should be used instead.
4.07
DEVICEHIGH – loading a driver via UMB address space
The main purpose of DEVICEHIGH command is almost the same as that of the
DEVICE command (4.06), but DEVICEHIGH command attempts to load drivers beyond
conventional memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08).
Of course, the UMB region address space must be made accessible beforehand. Therefore
the following conditions must be met:
– computer must be equipped with 80386 or newer processor;
– the UMB parameter must be specified in DOS command (4.08);
– HIMEM.SYS driver (5.04-01) must be loaded yet by DEVICE command;
– either EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) or UMBPCI.SYS (5.04-04) driver must be
loaded yet by DEVICE command in the following line of
CONFIG.SYS file.
When DEVICEHIGH command is used in its simplest form, for example
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\DRV\Setver.exe
the specified driver (Setver.exe) will be loaded so that it could be addressed via that part of
UMB region, which has the largest free block of address space, provided this free block is
sufficient for the specified driver.
Just as DEVICE command, the DEVICEHIGH command can be appended by a
question mark: DEVICEHIGH?=... . It will cause this line to be displayed, then execution
will be suspended with an offer for the user to decide whether the shown driver is to be
loaded or not.
The DEVICEHIGH command gives an opportunity to specify a particular area of
UMB address space for access to the loaded driver, for example:
DEVICEHIGH /L:1,15792 =C:\DOS\DRV\Display.sys CON=(EGA,,1)
where:
/L:1
15792
– an example of UMB address space area number: it may be found from
listing, shown by the MEM.EXE utility (6.17), being executed with /F
parameter.
– optional size of address space to be devoted to the specified driver
(generally it is not equal to driver's file size).
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
If a particular driver is composed of several parts, which can be addressed via different
areas of UMB address space, then several address space areas may be allocated in one
command, with or without size specification for each area, for example
/L:2;3
or else
/L:2,12192;3,3600
Note, that size is preceded by a comma, and different area specifications are separated by a
semicolon.
If size of the devoted area is specified, then the DEVICEHIGH command can accept
optional /S parameter:
DEVICEHIGH /L:1,35008 /S =C:\DOS\DRV\MOUSE.SYS
The /S parameter means that allocated UMB block should be truncated to specified
size. This leads to the most efficient address space usage, but doesn't guarantee from a
crash, if size specification is not quite correct. Both block size and the /S parameter
shouldn't be specified unless a memory allocation optimization procedure is performed by
the MEMMAKER.EXE utility (5.04-03). As a result of this procedure both /S and /L
parameters together with exact area specifications will be automatically written into each
line with DEVICEHIGH command.
Note 1: if address space in UMB region is insufficient or unavailable, then the
DEVICEHIGH command will load driver(s) into conventional memory (below
640 kb), and no error message will be displayed.
4.08
DOS – introduction of DOS’s loading options
By default the core of MS-DOS7 is loaded into conventional memory. If the
HIMEM.SYS driver is already installed, the DOS's core may be loaded into high memory
region 1024 – 1088 kb. For this purpose the CONFIG.SYS file must contain a line with
command
DOS=HIGH
Furthermore, if UMB address space is opened yet by either the EMM386.EXE driver
(5.04-02) or by UMBPCI.SYS driver (5.04-04), then MS-DOS7 may be allowed to use
UMB space for addressing DOS's system structures and drivers. This is achieved by
command:
DOS=UMB
In MS-DOS7 one more optional parameter NOAUTO is introduced. It means that the
IO.SYS loader must disable its defaults for implicit loading of several drivers
(HIMEM.SYS, DBLBUFF.SYS, IFSHLP.SYS, DBLSPACE.SYS) as well as for loading
beyond 640 kb with ordinary loading commands DEVICE, INSTALL and some others
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
(4.03, 4.06, 4.10, 4.12, 4.15, 4.17, 4.27). In fact the NOAUTO parameter enables to
configure MS-DOS7 as a separate operating system. All parameters of the DOS command
may be specified in one line:
DOS=HIGH,UMB,NOAUTO
Note 1: the DOS command can accept one more parameter SINGLE, which enables to
load MS-DOS7 when otherwise the Windows-95/98 OS were loaded. But this
way to load MS-DOS7 is accompanied with inappropriate questions to the user
and entails increased risk to fall into reboot. Therefore other methods of loading
MS-DOS7 should be preferred, those which are enlisted in article 1.03.
4.09
DRIVPARM – replacement of drive’s parameters
The DRIVPARM command (DRIVe PARaMeters) is a means to provide access to
storage media in those devices, which can't be identified properly by PC's BIOS. In fact
those devices are implied, which were known yet to MS-DOS7 at the moment of it's release
in 1996, but were not known to BIOS of obsolete computers, produced in early 1990-ties
or even earlier. Here is an example of DRIVPARM command usage for providing access
to a 3,5-inch floppy drive in an old PC with BIOS support only for 5,25-inch floppy
drives:
DRIVPARM /D:1 /c /f:7 /h:2 /i /s:18 /t:80
where:
/D:1
/c
/f:7
/h:2
/i
/s:18
– specifies physical drive number, "1" means drive B:, "0" should be
used for drive A:, "2" - for drive C:, and so on.
– optional parameter, enabling removable media change detection. For
non-removable media the "/n" parameter should be specified instead.
– defines type number of the drive:
0
– 160/180/320/360 kb 5,25 inch drive;
1
– 1.2 Mb 5,25-inch drive;
2
– 720 kb 3.5-inch drive;
5
– hard disk drive;
6
– magnetic tape device (streamer);
7
– 1.44 Mb 3.5-inch drive;
8
– optical disk drive;
9
– 2.88 Mb 3.5-inch drive.
– defines number of heads, default is 2 for double-sided diskettes.
– support for 3.5-inch drives if these are not supported by BIOS.
– specifies number of sectors per track
8
– for old 320 kb 5.25-inch diskettes;
9
– for 360 kb and 720 kb diskettes;
15 – for 1.2 Mb 5.25-inch diskettes;
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
18 – for 1.44 Mb 3.5-inch diskettes.
–specifies number of tracks
40 – for old 360 kb diskettes;
80 – for 720 kb and 1.44 Mb diskettes.
/t:80
Note 1: default settings for /f and /s parameters correspond to 5.25-inch diskettes with 9
sectors per track.
4.10
FCBS – number of file control blocks
The FCBS command (File Control BlockS) reserves memory for a specified number of
file control blocks – from 1 to 255, each 80 bytes long. FCBS is an obsolete form,
providing access to open files in current directory only. FCBS can't be applied to media
having FAT32 file system. Modern DOS programs use "file handles" (4.12) instead of
FCBS. Nevertheless MS-DOS7 supports FCBS, because they are used by some oldfashioned programs and network services (INTERLNK.EXE, SHARE.EXE, etc.). In most
cases the default value
FCBS=4
is quite enough.
Note 1: by default a place for FCBS is reserved beyond conventional memory (above 640
kb), but may be reserved below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08) the
NOAUTO parameter is specified, and also if the address space in UMB region is
insufficient or unavailable (availability conditions - in 4.07). In any case no error
message is displayed.
Note 2: the FCBS specification doesn't limit available number of "unopened" file control
blocks (A.09-5), which are used inside PSP (A.07-1), and also by some file
search procedures.
4.11
FCBSHIGH – file control blocks in UMB address space
The FCBSHIGH command is almost equivalent to FCBS command (4.10), except that
FCBSHIGH command attempts to arrange file control blocks beyond conventional
memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08). All other
information in article 4.10 is equally applicable to FCBSHIGH command.
4.12
FILES – reservation of SFT entries
The FILES command reserves address space for a specified number of SFT table
entries (A.01-4). Each entry defines state of an opened object – a file or a channel, and also
defines association of this object with its numerical reference, the so called "handle" used
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
to address the object. By default there is 60 entries in SFT. This number of entries is often
excessive. For ordinary work you may need
FILES=30
SFT with 30 entries takes about 1800 bytes. For operating with large databases the
number of SFT entries should be increased to 40.
Note 1: by default a place for SFT entries is reserved beyond conventional memory
(above 640 kb), but may be reserved below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08)
the NOAUTO parameter is specified, and also if address space in UMB region is
insufficient or unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case no error
message is displayed.
4.13
FILESHIGH – number of SFT entries in UMB address space
The FILESHIGH command is almost equivalent to FILES command (4.12), except
that FILESHIGH command attempts to arrange SFT entries beyond conventional memory
despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08). All other information
in article 4.12 is equally applicable to FILESHIGH command.
4.14
INCLUDE – reference to a block of commands
The INCLUDE command inserts a named block of commands into general succession
of configuration commands to be executed. The inserted block of commands may be placed
elsewhere inside the same CONFIG.SYS file, but it must be announced in its first line by a
unique block name – a word or a number, enclosed in square brackets, for example,
[L055] (example is taken from 9.09-01). End of the block must be marked with similar
line, containing a name of the next block. If there is no need to specify other blocks, a line
with reserved name [common] should be specified afterwards. All commands following a
line with this name (if there are any) will be executed in each specified configuration.
In order to execute commands, in particular, of the block [L055], in the desired
position in CONFIG.SYS file there must be a line
INCLUDE=L055
Note that name of the block should be specified to the right of equality sign without
enclosing square brackets.
If the same block of commands should be executed in several loading configurations,
then each configuration specification must contain identical lines with INCLUDE
command. Segregation of repeated command sequences into separate blocks makes the
structure of CONFIG.SYS file simpler and more clear. Examples of such CONFIG.SYS
file's structures are shown in articles 9.04-01, 9.09-01 and 9.11-03.
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
4.15
INSTALL – loading a TSR executable
The INSTALL command is used to load program's resident modules and those drivers,
which have no special header (A.05-1) and therefore can't be loaded with DEVICE (4.06)
or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) commands. Most often such drivers are marked with suffix
*.COM or *.EXE. Drivers and utilities to be loaded with INSTALL command must meet
the following conditions:
– they must not need environment space;
– they must not send calls for handling critical errors;
– they must not rely on services of COMMAND.COM interpreter, which is not
loaded yet at that time.
The mentioned conditions are satisfied, though, by a large part of those drivers and TSR
utilities, which are designed to be loaded from AUTOEXEC.BAT file or from command
line. Loading from CONFIG.SYS file with INSTALL command is considered more
reliable and takes a little less memory space.
Lines with INSTALL command are interpreted after all lines with DEVICE,
DEVICEHIGH and SET commands, but before the line with SHELL command, even if
succession of lines in CONFIG.SYS file is different. Contradiction between sequence of
lines and sequence of execution can cause confusion and therefore should be avoided.
Preferable line's order must correspond to sequence of execution.
Here is an example of a line with INSTALL command:
INSTALL=\DOS\DRV\Mkecdex.com /B /L:0
In the shown line to the right of equality sign there are path to the driver, driver's name and
a group of its parameters. Just like the DEVICE command (4.06), the INSTALL command
may be appended with question mark (INSTALL?=...), enabling the user to see this line on
the screen and make a choice ([Enter=Y, Esc=N]) about whether to execute it or to skip.
The INSTALL command can be used for temporary loading of those modules, which
are to be uninstalled after termination of their mission. Peculiarity of such operations is
that DOS automatically releases occupied memory space within conventional memory
only, below 640 kb. When the NOAUTO parameter is specified in DOS command (4.08),
then the INSTALL command will load modules into conventional memory, and then,
therefore, you can afford temporary loading of command interpreter module in order to
suspend execution for a while and give an opportunity to read displayed messages:
INSTALL=C:\Command.com /low /c pause
One more example of command interpreter's temporary loading with INSTALL
command is shown in article 9.09-01.
Note 1: unlike the DEVICEHIGH command, INSTALL command is not involved in
memory allocation optimization procedure, performed by MEMMAKER.EXE
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
(5.04-03). Because of this reason the INSTALL command doesn't allow to affect
memory allocation with auxiliary parameters /L and /S (4.07).
Note 2: by default the drivers and TSR modules are loaded beyond the conventional
memory (above 640 kb), but may be loaded below 640 kb, if in DOS command
(4.08) the NOAUTO parameter is specified, and also if address space in UMB
region is insufficient or unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case
no error message is displayed.
4.16
INSTALLHIGH – loading a TSR via UMB address space
The INSTALLHIGH command is almost equivalent to INSTALL command (4.15),
except that INSTALLHIGH command attempts to load drivers and TSR modules beyond
conventional memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08).
The INSTALLHIGH command shouldn't be used for loading those modules, which are to
be uninstalled after termination of their mission. All other information in article 4.15 is
equally applicable to INSTALLHIGH command.
4.17
LASTDRIVE – reservation of CDS entries
The LASTDRIVE command defines number of entries in DOS's CDS table (A.03-03).
Entries in CDS table store names of current directories for logical disks, both real and
virtual. At boot time MS-DOS7 creates one valid CDS entry record per each logical disk,
identified by PC's BIOS system, and then appends CDS structure with dummy entries
(reservations). The last entry corresponds to the last disk’s letter-name, specified by
LASTDRIVE command. By default MS-DOS7 assumes
LASTDRIVE=Z
Such CDS table with 26 entries occupies 2288 bytes. If you consider this excessive,
you may specify other disk’s letter-name by LASTDRIVE command, but in any case there
must be enough CDS entries for all logical disks, including those which will be made
accessible later, after installation of CD-ROM drivers, network services, etc.
Note 1: by default CDS table is arranged beyond conventional memory (above 640 kb),
but may be arranged below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08) the NOAUTO
parameter is specified, and also if address space in UMB region is insufficient or
unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case no error message is
displayed.
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
4.18
LASTDRIVEHIGH – CDS entries in UMB address space
The LASTDRIVEHIGH command is almost equivalent to LASTDRIVE command
(4.17), except that LASTDRIVEHIGH command attempts to arrange CDS table beyond
conventional memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08).
All other information in article 4.17 is equally applicable to LASTDRIVEHIGH
command.
4.19
MENUCOLOR – menu color choice
The MENUCOLOR command may be used optionally only in those blocks of
configuration commands, which are named [menu] or are announced as submenu in their
parent menu or submenu. Color palette for each menu or submenu may be set by a
separate MENUCOLOR command, specified in this menu or submenu. The default color
settings are equivalent to command:
MENUCOLOR=7,0
In the shown example the first digit means code of text color (7 – white), and the second
digit (after comma) means code of background color (0 – black). You are allowed to
choose other colors. All permissible color codes together with their meanings are enlisted in
appendix A.10-5.
4.20
MENUDEFAULT – choice of default menu item
The MENUDEFAULT command may be used only in those blocks of configuration
commands, which are named [menu] or are announced as submenu in their parent menu or
submenu. The MENUDEFAULT command is placed in the last line of menu block and
defines that menu item, which should be chosen automatically if the user has not made his
choice during a prescribed time, for example:
MENUDEFAULT=L007,20
In the shown example the first group of characters just after equality sign means a name of
configuration block [L007], which is to be chosen by default, and a number after comma
means 20 seconds waiting for the user's choice before automatic default choice will be
made. Delays from 0 to 99 seconds are allowed. Examples of configuration menu with
MENUDEFAULT command are shown in articles 9.04-01, 9.09-01, 9.11-03.
4.21
MENUITEM – specification of menu entry
The MENUITEM command may be used within the first menu block of commands
(named [menu]) in CONFIG.SYS file and in those blocks, which are announced as
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
submenu in their parent menu or submenu. Each alternative, presented in menu or in
submenu, must be linked with corresponding block of configuration commands and must
be given an intelligible title. This is just what is done by MENUITEM command, for
example:
MENUITEM=L007, Relocate DOS to 5600 kb RAM-disk R:
In the example above the "L007" is a name of a block of commands (taken from 9.09-01),
which must be present in CONFIG.SYS file and must be preceded by a header line with
the same name [L007] in square brackets (2.03-05). The rest part of the shown command
line (after comma) is a title text, representing this menu entry on the screen. Title text may
include spaces between words, but square brackets [ ], semicolons ( ; ) and slashes ( / \ )
are not allowed.
During interpretation of menu block the IO.SYS loader creates an environmental
variable CONFIG and assigns as its value the name of the chosen configuration block
( L007 in the shown example). This value may be used later in order to adapt execution of
AUTOEXEC.BAT file (or any other batch file as well) according to the chosen
configuration.
Note 1: total number of MENUITEM and SUBMENU (4.29) commands in each menu
block must not exceed 9.
4.22
MULTITRACK – drive addressing mode
For access to a disk, DOS must specify starting sector and a number of sectors to be
read (or written). In obsolete PCs produced in early 1980-ties disk drives and BIOS
versions performed access operations within one track at a time, so that the sum of starting
sector number and the number of sectors to be accessed could not exceed total number of
sectors on a track (otherwise the process was "wrapped" to the beginning of the same
track). Being forced to cope with obsolete hardware, MS-DOS7 also couldn't afford
multitrack addressing, and then the CONFIG.SYS file must contain a line
MULTITRACK OFF
Since late 1980-ties all disk drives and BIOS versions are able to prevent the
mentioned wrapping: access automatically is switched to the next track. This gives an
opportunity to address several tracks in one operation and makes disk access much faster.
MS-DOS7 performs multitrack access and in fact takes MULTITRACK ON option as
default. Therefore now the MULTITRACK command is almost always omitted.
4.23
NUMLOCK – numerical keypad state control
The NUMLOCK command (NUMerical keypad LOCK) defines status of numerical
keypad (at the right edge of standard keyboard). Most often the NUMLOCK switch is kept
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
OFF, and then the numerical keypad keys duplicate functions of keys in main part of
keyboard (arrows, PgUp – PgDn, etc.). If other status should be avoided, the
CONFIG.SYS file must contain command
NUMLOCK OFF
In order to enable input of digits and arithmetic symbols the NUMLOCK status should
be reversed with command
NUMLOCK ON
Either state of NUMLOCK switch is suitable for choosing items in configuration
menu. While NUMLOCK is OFF, you may scroll selection up-down as with arrow keys,
but when NUMLOCK is set ON, you may select items in configuration menu by their
number, entered via numerical keypad.
Note 1: NUMLOCK switch state affects key codes, returned by INT 16\AX=10h
(8.01-83). More about this – in note 6 to appendix A.02-1.
4.24
REM – remark line
REM command (REMark) forces the IO.SYS loader to ignore all following words up
to the end of line. Main purpose of REM command is to provide an opportunity to specify
comments, which should not be displayed on the screen. Insertion of the REM command at
the start of any command line enables to skip this line during interpretation of
CONFIG.SYS file.
Note 1: during interpretation of lines in CONFIG.SYS file the IO.SYS loader doesn't
provide those extra opportunities, which are provided by the COMMAND.COM
interpreter for its synonymous REM command (3.24).
4.25
SET – value assignment to a variable
The SET command in CONFIG.SYS file is used to assign or to redefine a value of an
environmental variable, for example:
SET Var_Name=New_Var_Value
where:
Var_name – a name example of environmental variable; it must begin with a
letter and may contain digits.
New_Var_Value – an example of a string value for the named environmental
variable; it must not contain equation sign(s) inside. If there are spaces
in the value, preceding the value or following the value (up to the end
of line mark), all these spaces will be included in the assigned value.
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
The SET command, executed by IO.SYS within CONFIG.SYS file, causes a bit
different effect than synonymous command (3.25), executed by COMMAND.COM
interpreter from command lines or in batch files. The differences are:
– when used without following variable's parameters, the SET command in
CONFIG.SYS file doesn't display the current environment.
– in CONFIG.SYS file the SET command, appended with a question mark
(SET?=...), causes execution to stop with a query [Enter=Y, Esc=N],
thus enabling the user to make a choice on whether to execute this line
or not.
– SET commands in CONFIG.SYS file are performed after all DEVICE and
DEVICEHIGH commands, but before execution of INSTALL,
INSTALLHIGH and SHELL commands. This is a reason to prefer
this order of lines in CONFIG.SYS file.
– aliases (2.03-03), redirections (2.04-02 – 2.04-05) and value substitutions in
CONFIG.SYS file are not performed. Hence any symbol of redirection
and substitution can be included in a value of a variable, assigned by
the SET command in CONFIG.SYS file.
4.26
SHELL – interpreter shell specification
The SHELL command is used to launch an executable file, which will not return
control back to IO.SYS loader. This is why SHELL command is executed the last in
CONFIG.SYS file, and preferably should be specified in its last line. Executables loaded
with the SHELL command may be loaders of other operating systems (as LOADLIN.EXE
for LINUX OS) or command interpreters, which are to take control over PC after the
IO.SYS loader finishes its job. Here is an example of control transfer to command
interpreter NDOS.COM:
SHELL=C:\DOS\NU\Ndos.com /f @C:\DOS\NU\Ndos.ini
where:
C:\DOS\NU\
– is an example of a path to command interpreter file;
/f @C:\DOS\NU\Ndos.ini – an example of parameters string for NDOS.COM
command interpreter.
When the SHELL command isn't present in CONFIG.SYS file, the IO.SYS loader
attempts to find the MS-DOS's proprietary command interpreter – COMMAND.COM –
in the root directory of the current disk. In this case the COMMAND.COM interpreter will
be launched with default parameters. It is better, though, to specify parameters explicitly,
for example:
SHELL=Command.com A:\ /e:1008 /p
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
In the latter example absence of a path before interpreter's name implies its presence in
the current directory. Parameter's assignments for COMMAND.COM interpreter are
described in detail in 6.04. Other examples of control transfer to the COMMAND.COM
interpreter are shown in articles 9.01-01, 9.04-01 and 9.09-01.
4.27
STACKS – number of auxiliary stacks
The STACKS command in CONFIG.SYS file specifies number of auxiliary DOS's
stacks used for treatment of nested interrupts. Parameters of STACKS command define a
number of auxiliary stacks and amount of address space devoted for each stack. The
default parameters are equivalent to command
STACKS=9,256
where:
9
256
– number of auxiliary stacks (from 8 to 64 and 0 are allowed);
– size of each auxiliary stack in bytes (from 32 to 512 and 0 are
allowed).
Since each stack overflow fault forces to reboot the PC and may cause data loss, the
actual size of auxiliary stacks should not be less than the default value.
Note 1: by default auxiliary stacks are arranged beyond the conventional memory (above
640 kb), but may be arranged below 640 kb, if in DOS command (4.08) the
NOAUTO parameter is specified, and also if address space in UMB region is
insufficient or unavailable (availability conditions – in 4.07). In any case no error
message is displayed.
4.28
STACKSHIGH – number of stacks in UMB address space
The STACKSHIGH command is almost equivalent to the STACKS command (4.27),
except that STACKSHIGH command attempts to arrange auxiliary stacks beyond
conventional memory despite presence of NOAUTO parameter in DOS command (4.08).
All other information in article 4.27 is equally applicable to STACKSHIGH command.
4.29
SUBMENU – introduction of a submenu
The SUBMENU command announces a menu entry, just as the MENUITEM
command (4.21), but unlike the latter, the SUBMENU command forces to treat the
corresponding block of commands as a submenu. Of course, the SUBMENU command
itself may be used only in those blocks of configuration commands, which are named
[menu] or are announced as submenu in their parent menu or submenu, for example:
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Chapter 4: Configuration commands
SUBMENU=6000, Relocation to RAM-disk
In the shown example "6000" means a name of corresponding configuration block, and
words after comma denote title text for the proposed menu entry. This text is subjected to
the same restrictions as text in MENUITEM command (4.21). Submenu configuration
block (named [6000] in the shown example) must have the same structure as the main
menu block and may include up to 9 entries, each represented by a separate line with
MENUITEM or SUBMENU command. The main specific feature of submenu block is its
name: it must be unique and must differ from reserved names [menu] and [common].
4.30
SWITCHES – supplementary options
The SWITCHES command enables to specify up to four optional configuration items,
for example:
SWITCHES= /K /N /F /E:64
where:
/K
/N
/F
/E:64
– enables old programs, consigned for 86-key keyboard, to cope with
newer "enhanced" 101/108-key keyboard.
– disables opportunity to skip execution of configuration files
(CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT) with F5 and F6 keys.
– excludes two-second delay after displaying the message "Starting
WINDOWS...".
– allots 64 bytes of conventional memory (from 48 to 1024 bytes
allowed) to a "handle" for EBIOS, which is BIOS system extension,
enabling LBA access to HDDs (see note 4 to A.13-6). If the number
after /E parameter is omitted, then the whole EBIOS code, if it will be
found necessary, will be loaded into conventional memory. In modern
PCs the /E parameter is not needed, because LBA access is supported
by their main BIOS system.
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Chapter 5
Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
Drivers are files with executable resident code inside. Resident code is the code
adapted for being written into RAM (random accessed memory) and left there, waiting for
its chance of being requested on certain occasion(s). When this particular occasion
happens, driver's code is executed, performs its mission and then again is left waiting for
the next request. This mode of action is similar to the "life" of operating system's core.
MS-DOS combines a limited number of main core's functions with various functional
extensions, provided by drivers. Proper choice and renewal of drivers is an important
factor for DOS's survival amongst ever changing PC's hardware.
Drivers may be presented in a form of files with special header (A.05-1), most often
marked with *.SYS suffix, or in a form of ordinary executable files (*.COM or *.EXE)
having a TSR (Terminate and Stay Resident) part. Drivers with *.SYS suffix must be
loaded by DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) commands from lines of configuration
file CONFIG.SYS. Composition examples for CONFIG.SYS file are shown in articles
9.01-01, 9.04-01 and 9.09-01. Loading by DEVICE or DEVICEHIGH commands gives
more chances to affect DOS system structures construction, because it is not finished yet
at that moment.
Drivers with *.COM and *.EXE suffixes usually are loaded later either from
CONFIG.SYS file with INSTALL (4.15) or INSTALLHIGH (4.16) commands, or from
AUTOEXEC.BAT file (9.01-02, 9.04-02, 9.09-02), or from command line - directly or
with LH command (3.17). Loading from CONFIG.SYS file is less subjected to mutual
software interference and therefore is considered more safe. On the other hand, INSTALL
and INSTALLHIGH commands can't be involved in memory optimization procedure by
MEMMAKER.EXE optimizer. If memory optimization is significant, loading with LH
command from AUTOEXEC.BAT file should be preferred.
The main group of drivers for MS-DOS7 constitute those supplied within
WINDOWS-95/98 operating system release and on its rescue diskette. In case of standard
operating system installation all drivers for MS-DOS7 are in directories \WINDOWS and
\WINDOWS\COMMAND. But if MS-DOS7 is installed as an independent operating
system, it's better to arrange a separate directory for drivers, for example, C:\DOS\DRV.
This path is shown in the most part of presented examples. When you will intend to follow
these examples in practice, it's important to remember: the path you specify must not be
necessarily C:\DOS\DRV, it must be exactly the one that leads to each particular driver in
your particular computer.
Beside "native" Microsoft's drivers, a lot of drivers for MS-DOS7 have been developed
since 1995 by other software vendors and by manufacturers of PC's hardware. Existing
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
drivers are too numerous, and only a limited selection of them can be described here. The
following text doesn't include descriptions of some other Microsoft's drivers (that can be
found in MSDOSDRV.TXT, supplied with WINDOWS-95 software release) as well as of
drivers for some non-common equipment (MO, PD and ZIP drives, LS120 floppies,
streamers, etc.). Preference has been given to those drivers which are the most necessary
for reparatory works.
5.01
DOS’s system services
5.01-01
The core file IO.SYS and parameters file MSDOS.SYS
In the root directory of the disk used to load WINDOWS-95/98 or MS-DOS7, there
are two hidden system files: IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS. These files are there since
installation of the operating system, they implement its loading. File IO.SYS combines the
core of MS-DOS7 with interpreter and with DOS loader. The MSDOS.SYS file contains a
set of loading parameters. If you have no such files, you may get them from a disc with
WINDOWS-95/98 release, or else you may download them, for example, packed into
archive DOS7.ZIP from internet site http://www.micosyen.com/msdos.php .
In order to make a disk bootable with MS-DOS7, presence of the mentioned system
files is necessary, but not sufficient. Boot-sector's executable code will not "know" where
control should be transferred, unless the name of loader is written into boot-sector. This is
why copying of system files is combined with boot-sector updating in joint mission of
SYS.COM utility (6.24).
Having got control over booting process, DOS loader reads loading parameters from
MSDOS.SYS file. These parameters define the alternatives, described in article 1.02, and
also define which operating system should be loaded: MS-DOS7 or WINDOWS-95/98. If
the HRS attributes (H = Hidden, R = Read-only, S = system) of the MSDOS.SYS file are
taken off by the ATTRIB.EXE utility (6.01), then MSDOS.SYS becomes an ordinary nonformatted textual file, which can be opened, changed and rewritten with editor utility, for
example, with EDIT.COM (6.09).
Several or even all parameters may be not specified in MSDOS.SYS file, and then the
omitted parameters will be given the default values. Contrary to other system files,
MSDOS.SYS is not copied by SYS.COM utility, but rather is created empty anew, and
this doesn't hamper normal loading of WINDOWS-95/98 operating system. At least some
of the default parameter's values wouldn't fit, though, if you intend to load MS-DOS7 as a
stand-alone operating system. Suitable values of all parameters are shown in an example of
MSDOS.SYS file presented below.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
[Paths]
WinDir=C:\WINDOWS
; path for environmental variables TMP, TEMP and PATH
WinBootDir=C:\WINDOWS
; path for environmental variable WINBOOTDIR
HostWinBootDrv=C
; announcement of the disk used to boot the PC
[Options]
Logo=0
; hide loading messages under logo (= 1) or not (= 0)
BootMenu=0
; display Windows’s boot menu (= 1) or not (= 0)
BootMenuDelay=20
; delay in seconds of default menu item choice
BootMenuDefault=1
; menu item number to be chosen as default
BootKeys=1
; enable (= 1) or disable (= 0) the "hot keys" F5,
; Shift-F5, F6, F8 and Shift-F8, described in article 1.02
BootDelay=2
; waiting time (in seconds) for "hot key" keystroke
BootMulti=0
; disable the F4 key (1.02) for previous DOS version
BootWin=1
; load MS-DOS7 and Windows (= 1) or previous DOS (= 0)
BootSafe=0
; load Windows in ordinary (= 0) or in safe mode (= 1)
BootWarn=0
; don’t warn about loading Windows in safe mode
BootGUI=0
; load Windows with its GUI (= 1) or MS-DOS7 (= 0)
LoadTop=0
; load Command.com and Dblspace.bin below 640 kb
AutoScan=0
; Scandisk.exe automatic launching conditions:
;
– never launch automatically (= 0),
;
– launch after each identified failure (= 1)
;
– launch during each PC loading procedure (= 2)
DBLSpace=0
DRVSpace=0
; don’t load compression on-the-fly drivers. Otherwise
; value = 1 may be specified for one such driver only
Network=0
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
; load (= 1) or don’t load (= 0) network support
DoubleBuffer=0
; cancel default loading of Dblbuff.sys driver (5.06-02)
DisableLog=1
; don’t write loading report into Bootlog.txt file.
Lines of the MSDOS.SYS file are read by an interpreter, integrated into the same IO.SYS
file. The interpreter ignores all lines starting with semicolon, and this is why such lines are
used to insert comments. Of course, lines with comments can be omitted, but there is one
argument against it: for compatibility with obsolete antivirus programs the length of hidden
system files must be not less than 1024 bytes. For most modern antivirus programs this
restriction is not significant.
All parameter's values in the shown example of MSDOS.SYS file are compatible with
variants of configuration files, presented in articles 9.01, 9.04, 9.09 and 9.11. Settings in
the [PATHS] section are taken into account by WINDOWS operating system only; for
MS-DOS7 the corresponding values of environmental variables should be ignored or
reassigned later, during interpretation of the second configuration file - AUTOEXEC.BAT.
A large part of parameters in the [OPTIONS] section can be omitted too. Nevertheless the
shown complete list of parameters will help you to decide, whether any particular
parameter should be specified and which value it should be given. Having prepared your
own version of MSDOS.SYS file, don't forget to return back its original attributes HRS
(Hidden, Read-only, System).
In accordance with the prepared parameters the DOS loader loads the core of
MS-DOS7. The core is responsible for system DOS services and for main INT 21
handlers, described in part 8.02. The last loader's mission is execution of commands from
configuration file CONFIG.SYS, which define loading of most drivers. Several variants of
CONFIG.SYS file are shown in articles 9.01-01, 9.04-01 and 9.09-01. Later MS-DOS7
never calls the IO.SYS file for execution, but its presence is nevertheless necessary for
copying each time, when you have to make bootable any other disk.
Note 1: in earlier versions of MS-DOS the MSDOS.SYS file was not a textual file, it
contained the core of DOS and was loaded almost as an ordinary driver.
Note 2: In 2001 a bug has been revealed in the core of MS-DOS7: it didn't cope properly
with HDD's LBA-errors. Therefore Microsoft issued a patched core file IO.SYS
inside SFX-archive 311561usa8.exe. The latter can be downloaded from
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/311561/en-us?spid=6519&sid=global
.
WINRAR version 3.2 (or higher) unpacks 311561usa8.exe as CAB-archive. Two
subversions of IO.SYS file are hidden there under nicknames Winboot.98s and
Winboot.98g. If the VER command (3.32) reports version 4.10.2222, then
IO.SYS should be obtained by renaming Winboot.98s. If reported version is
4.10.1998, then Winboot.98g should be similarly renamed and used as IO.SYS.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
5.01-02
DOS version number substitution: driver SETVER.EXE
Evolution of OS versions is complicated by a problem of application programs, which
have been developed for previous versions of DOS. Compatibility of any application with
future OS versions is a matter of faith rather than prediction. Microsoft suggested to solve
this problem by informing definitely compatible application programs via INT 21\AH=30h
(8.02-22) about not the actual, but the required DOS version number. SETVER.EXE is
just that driver, which is charged with mission of deceiving application programs by
substitution of DOS version number.
In case of standard installation of WINDOWS-95/98 the SETVER.EXE driver is in
the \WINDOWS directory. But if you want to use MS-DOS7 separately, it's better to have
a copy of SETVER.EXE in common directory with other DOS drivers. It has to be loaded
by DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file:
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\DRV\Setver.exe
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – is a path example to SETVER.EXE driver stored in separate
directory for DOS drivers.
Application program will receive the substituted DOS version number only if the name
of this program together with the required DOS version number is in advance registered in
internal versions table inside the loaded TSR module of SETVER.EXE driver. Though
such substitution doesn't guarantee a proper outcome, nevertheless most old programs are
able to operate properly in MSDOS7.
The SETVER.EXE driver can be launched from command line just as an ordinary
utility, for example, in order to display its short help text:
Setver.exe /?
Being run from command line without parameters, SETVER.EXE driver displays its
internal table of versions. Originally table of versions is not empty: its entries reflect
Microsoft's recommendations. In order to append the table of versions with one more entry
you should type
Setver.exe Qbasic.exe 6.22
where:
Qbasic.exe – name example of the utility to be "deceived". The name must have
suffix *.COM or *.EXE.
6.22
– an example of required DOS version number.
Command to delete the same entry from internal table of versions requires the /D
parameter and looks as
Setver.exe Qbasic.exe /D
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
After any operation with its internal table the SETVER.EXE driver leaves one of the
following errorlevel values (more about errorlevels – in 3.15-03 and in 9.07-03):
0
– successful completion
1
– invalid command line switch specification
2
– invalid filename specification
3
– no memory enough to carry out the command
4
– invalid version number format
5
– specified entry isn't found in the table of versions
8
– too many parameters in command line
9
– one or more necessary parameters are missing
10
– an error detected while reading the table of versions
11
– the table of versions is corrupt
13
– no more space in table of versions for a new entry
14
– an error while writing SETVER.EXE with new table
All successful operations affecting contents of internal table are finished in the same
way: former internal table on a disk is overwritten with its updated variant, containing
changed entries. But writing the changes in a file on a disk is not enough to make them
active. They will become active when the changed table of versions is transferred from a
file into driver's TSR module, loaded into memory by DEVICE or by DEVICEHIGH
command. This is why the changes come into effect only after PC's reboot.
5.02
National adaptation drivers
5.02-01
COUNTRY.SYS – specifications data file
In case of standard installation of WINDOWS-95/98 OS the COUNTRY.SYS file can
be found in \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory. COUNTRY.SYS is in fact a set of data
tables, one of which is to be loaded from CONFIG.SYS file with special COUNTRY
command (4.05), for example:
COUNTRY=007,866,C:\DOS\DRV\Country.sys
where:
007
– country code (A.02-2), in particular for Russia;
866
– number of codepage (A.02-2), defining character set for Russia;
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to file COUNTRY.SYS, copied into common
directory for DOS drivers.
Having been loaded, data from COUNTRY.SYS change several internal DOS settings,
related to country-specific conventions on displaying time, dates, currency and punctuation
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
symbols, character sorting and national restrictions on character set for names (A.02-5).
The latter feature is of special importance, since otherwise the files, having national
characters in their names, may become inaccessible.
5.02-02
DISPLAY.SYS – character generator driver
DISPLAY.SYS driver prepares memory buffers for one or more national codepage
tables, specifying character set and outline (A.02-2). Normally the DISPLAY.SYS driver
can be found in \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory. This driver must be loaded by a
DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command from a line in CONFIG.SYS file:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Display.sys CON=(EGA,866,2,1)
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – example of a path to DISPLAY.SYS driver, copied into special
directory for DOS drivers.
CON
– (console) – specification of display as output device (no alternative).
EGA
– means that PC is equipped with EGA, VGA or SVGA video card;
alternatives to EGA type are:
LCD – video module used in obsolete portable PCs (notebooks);
CGA – obsolete color video card without codepage switching;
MONO – obsolete monochrome MDA video card, also without
codepage switching.
When type of video card is omitted, then DISPLAY.SYS driver will
try to determine it, but this leaves a chance for mistake.
866
– number of primary codepage (A.02-2), this one is in particular for
Russia. Several codepages are supplied in each of the files EGA.CPI,
EGA2.CPI, EGA3.CPI and ISO.CPI. Later the MODE.COM utility
(6.18) enables to select proper codepage and write it into memory
buffer prepared by DISPLAY.SYS driver.
2
– number of memory buffers to be prepared for character sets, besides
the one prepared for the primary character set, specified by preceding
codepage number. From 0 to 6 auxiliary buffers are allowed for EGA,
VGA and SVGA video cards, no more than 1 – for LCD video
modules, and only 0 – for CGA and MDA video cards.
1
– number of hardware supported fonts for each codepage. This number
may be omitted together with preceding comma. Default is 1 for LCD
type and 2 for EGA, VGA and SVGA video cards.
Note 1: all parameters in parenthesis may be omitted (brackets left empty), and then
DISPLAY.SYS driver will appoint default settings.
Note 2: TSR module of DISPLAY.SYS driver is opened for interaction with programs
via INT 2F\AX=AD00-AD03h (8.03-26, 8.03-27).
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
5.02-03
NLSFUNC.EXE – codepage switch
The NLSFUNC.EXE driver activates CHCP command (3.04) for switching between
different codepages, coordinated with changing of other national settings. Normally this
driver can be found in \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory. The NLSFUNC.EXE driver
may be loaded directly or with LH command (3.17) from command line or from
AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or else from CONFIG.SYS file with INSTALL (4.15) or
INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command, for example:
INSTALLHIGH=C:\DOS\DRV\Nlsfunc.exe C:\DOS\DRV\Country.sys
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to NLSFUNC.EXE driver, copied into common
directory for DOS drivers.
C:\DOS\DRV\Country.sys
– path and name examples for a file with national
specifications data (5.02-01).
Note 1: switching between american english and any other national notation doesn't imply
changing codepages: american english notation is accessible within any single
national codepage (A.02-02).
Note 2: switching between different national codepages can be performed by
MODE.COM utility too (6.18-03). The latter is usually preferred, because
MODE.COM is not a TSR program and releases occupied memory after
termination.
5.02-04
KEYB.COM – keyboard driver
Control over keyboard layouts is provided by Microsoft's keyboard driver
KEYB.COM. Normally it can be found in \WINDOWS\COMMAND directory. The
KEYB.COM driver can be loaded directly or with LH command (3.17) from
AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or else from CONFIG.SYS file with INSTALL (4.16) or
INSTALLHIGH (4.17) command, for example:
INSTALL=C:\DOS\DRV\Keyb.com UK,850,C:\DOS\DRV\Keybrd3.sys /E /ID:168
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to KEYB.COM driver, copied into common
directory for DOS drivers.
UK
– example of a two-letter national keyboard layout code (other layout
codes - in appendix A.02-2 ).
850
– example of national codepage number (A.02-2). When it is specified
just here, it will not be changed automatically following display
codepage change by CHCP command. If synchronous change of
codepages (on both display and keyboard) is preferable, then codepage
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
number here should be omitted, but both enclosing commas must
remain intact (. . .UK, ,C:\DOS\DRV\Keybrd3.sys. . .).
C:\DOS\DRV\KEYBRD3.SYS – path and name examples for keyboard data file.
Each such file contains several national layout tables (A.02-2).
/E
– this parameter specifies that keyboard layout should be adapted to
"enhanced" 101/108-key keyboard.
/ID:168 – identifier of a certain keyboard subtype, needed for those countries
only, where more than one keyboard layout is used (A.02-2). Most
countries, including Russia, use only one keyboard layout, and then
the subtype identifier /ID should be omitted.
When loaded, KEYB.COM driver activates the following "hot" key combinations:
CTRL-RightSHIFT
– to type symbols 128-255, specific for each selected
national codepage;
CTRL-LeftSHIFT
– to type symbols 032-127 (english letters, digits and
punctuation symbols), common for all codepages;
CTRL-ALT-F1 – to activate original american codepage 437 (selected national
codepage becomes disabled);
CTRL-ALT-F2 – to return from american codepage 437 back to selected national
codepage;
CTRL-ALT-F7 – to enable typewriter keyboard mode, if it is supported by the
loaded keyboard layout table.
All those "hot" keys switchings are accompanied with lousy beep sound, and there is no
simple way to get rid of it.
Note 1: TSR module of KEYB.COM driver is opened for interaction with programs via
INT 2F\AX=AD80h-AD83h (8.03-28, 8.03-30).
5.02-05
KEYRUS.COM – combined keyboard and display driver
KEYRUS.COM driver (written by D.Gurtjak, Donetzk) is a combined keyboard and
character generator driver. It is popular among russian users, because it is originally
supplied with internal 866 (russian) codepage and with russian keyboard layout. But the
original release of KEYRUS.COM also contains supplementary programs, which enable
the user to write, to install and to activate any codepage and any keyboard layout. The
KEYRUS.COM driver can be downloaded for free from many russian internet sites. The
last version 8.0b (1994), packed into keyrus8b.zip archive, is available from author's site
http://www.gurtjak.skif.net/pages/programs.htm .
The KEYRUS.COM driver may be loaded from CONFIG.SYS file with INSTALL
(4.15) or INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command, or else from command line or from a line of
AUTOEXEC.BAT file - directly or with the LH command (3.17), for example
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
LH C:\DOS\DRV\Keyrus.com
When default settings don't suffice, options should be specified after the driver name in
the same command line. As options may be numerous, they can be specified inside a
separate file; arbitrary name of this file must be preceded by symbol "@" (at):
LH C:\DOS\DRV\Keyrus.com @Opt_file.ext
KEYRUS.COM is not loaded and doesn't affect its loaded TSR part when it is
executed in command line to show default options:
Keyrus /?
or to extract internal fonts and keyboard layout:
Keyrus /FILES
or to change the default specifications. In the latter case the driver name (KEYRUS.COM)
must be followed by a group of options, and the last option in this group must be /SAVE.
KEYRUS.COM driver consists of three TSR modules: keyboard module, character
generator module and interface module. Each module accepts its own set of options. If not
specified otherwise, acceptance of option "ON" by KEYRUS.COM instead of option
"OFF" (and vice versa) everywhere in examples below is always allowed and leads to
reverse results.
Options for keyboard module are:
/KEYBOARD=Off
– don’t load keyboard module, use BIOS’ layout.
/BASE_KEYS – enables key reallocation ( default is OFF).
/KEYS=filename.ext
– take keyboard layout from a file. This file (either 212 or
318 bytes long) may be created by KEYEDIT utility, supplied together
with the driver. When KEYRUS.COM is launched with /SAVE
option, then specified file is not loaded, but rather becomes
KEYRUS’s internal default layout.
/BUFFER=ON – expands keyboard’s buffer up to 31 characters.
/FAST=ON,10,1
– set keyboard’s speed (0 – the fastest, then 1, 2, 4, 8, 10,
13, 16, 20, 31 – the slowest) and delay from 0 (0,25 s) to 3 (1 s).
/RUSALT=ON – enables typing symbols [ ] ; ' , . / in any national keyboard
layout while the ALT key is kept pressed.
/BEEP=OFF,rus – no beep at keystroke in RUS (any national) keyboard layout.
Instead of RUS the LAT (latin) and ALT (pseudographic) layouts may
be specified.
/CLICK=OFF,rus
– no click at keystroke in RUS (any national) keyboard
layout. Instead of RUS the LAT (latin) and ALT (pseudographic)
layouts may be specified.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/LAMP=ON,rus – lit ScrollLock lamp in RUS (any national) keyboard layout.
Instead of RUS the LAT (latin) and ALT (pseudographic) layouts may
be specified.
/COLOR=0,2 – indicate keyboard layout with border color. Left color code
(0 = black) is for RUS (any national) keyboard layout. Right color
code (2 = dark green) is for ALT (pseudographic) keyboard layout.
Other allowable color codes – in appendix A.10-5.
/ALT=87,4 – set a "hot" key for switching to pseudographic keyboard layout. Shift
4 and scancode 87 mean switching by CTRL-F11 key combination
(see notes 3 and 4 below). /ALT=OFF means no access to
pseudographic keyboard layout.
/SCAN=54,4 – set a "hot" key for switching to RUS (any national) keyboard
layout. Shift 4 and scancode 54 mean switching by
CTRL-RightSHIFT key combination (see notes 3 and 4 below).
/LAT=42,4 – set a "hot" key for switching to latin keyboard layout. Shift 4 and
scancode 42 mean switching by CTRL-LeftSHIFT key combination
(see notes 3 and 4 below). /LAT=OFF means using one "hot" key for
toggling to national keyboard layout and back.
/MODESHIFT=87,1
– set a "hot" key for temporary switching keyboard
layouts while this "hot" key is kept pressed. Shift 1 and scancode 87
correspond to RightSHIFT-F11 key combination (see notes 3 and 4
below). /MODESHIFT=OFF disables temporary switching.
/CLRSCAN=ON
– reset all "hot keys" to original defaults.
Reconfiguration of "hot" keys requires KEYRUS's interface module to be loaded. The
hooked "hot" keys must be chosen so as to be not intercepted later by resident shells or by
other TSRs.
Character generator's module accepts the following options:
/BLANK=ON,9,ON,ON – blank screen after, for example, 9 minutes idle, the
second "ON" means enabling to feel mouse's movement, the rightmost
"ON" means to sense screen output.
/SWITCH=22,6 – set a "hot" key to switch character generator to DOS's default
codepage 437; scancode 22 corresponds to letter "U", shift 6 means
keeping pressed both CTRL and LeftSHIFT keys (see notes 3 and 4
below). Switching of codepages doesn't affect keyboard's layout.
/SWITCH=OFF means no access to codepage 437.
/EGA
– assume the PC is equipped with EGA-compatible video card. Instead
of /EGA you may specify /VGA to assume a VGA-compatible video
card. Both /EGA and /VGA options are not saved by /SAVE
operation.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/8x8=ON – load 8x8 font for 80x43, 80x50 and similar textual videomodes. This
option may be set to OFF and AUTO, the latter means loading on
software request.
/8x14=ON – load 8x14 font (used by MS WORD for DOS). This option also may
be set to OFF and AUTO, just as the /8x8 option.
/8x16=ON – load 8x16 font for 80x25 main DOS's videomode 03. This option
also may be set to OFF and AUTO, just as the /8x8 option.
/FULL – load all 3 sorts of internal fonts.
/ROM
– don't load internal fonts, use DOS's default fonts.
/FONT=filename.ext
– load an external font given in a separate file; when used
together with /SAVE option, the font is not loaded into memory, but
becomes accepted as the default internal font of KEYRUS driver.
/DELETEFONT
– delete the font, which was installed the last.
/COMPRESS=OFF
– don't compress fonts (ON is allowed for textual
videomodes only). Choose OFF for graphic videomodes and for "DOS
window" of WINDOWS operating system.
/ALL
– load all symbols 0 - 255. Implies no font compression
(/COMPRESS=OFF)
/128
– load symbols 128 - 255. Implies no font compression
(/COMPRESS=OFF)
/RANGE=128-175,224-239
– load symbols within 2 specified ranges, shown
as an example.
/RUSSIAN – load the same ranges as in the example above, but with font
compression (/COMPRESS=ON). To switch compression OFF the
option /COMPRESS=OFF must be specified explicitly.
Interface module of KEYRUS.COM driver accepts the following set of options:
/ANYWAY – allow to load driver's TSR modules into memory once more.
/DELAY_INIT – suspend initialization of driver's TSR modules until the
KEYRUS.COM driver is launched from command line.
/INTERFACE=OFF
– keep interface module inactive. When it is inactive,
programmable reconfiguration is disabled, the KEYRUS.COM driver
can't detect presence of its TSR modules in memory and can't unload
them from memory.
/RELEASE – unload TSR modules of the KEYRUS.COM driver from memory.
This operation needs the interface module to be active (by default
/INTERFACE=ON).
Note 1: the KEYRUS.COM driver is not compatible with Microsoft’s drivers
DISPLAY.SYS (5.02-02) and KEYB.COM (5.02-04), as well as with
Microsoft's keyboard layout tables KEYB*.SYS (A.02-2). Those files shouldn't
be used, if you intend to load KEYRUS.COM driver.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
Note 2: resident interface module of the KEYRUS.COM driver interacts with programs
via INT 2F\AX=4352h (8.03-24).
Note 3: the shift here is a sum of digit 1 for the RightSHIFT key, digit 2 for LeftSHIFT
key, digit 4 for CTRL key, digit 8 for ALT key, number 16 for ScrollLock
switch, number 32 for NumLock switch, number 64 for CapsLock switch and
number 128 for Insert switch (see 8.01-85, the byte returned in AL). For
example, shift 12 means holding CTRL and ALT keys while pressing the main
"hot" key, defined by its scancode.
Note 4: the KEYRUS.COM driver accepts decimal scancodes, so hexadecimal values
from the second column in table A.02-1 must be translated into decimal form.
Besides this, KEYRUS.COM can't discriminate properly scancodes with and
without prefix E0h.
Note 5: inside "DOS window" of Windows-95/98 operating systems the KEYRUS.COM
driver operates properly only in textual videomodes, that is when this "DOS
window" is extended to whole screen with ALT-ENTER keystroke. The "DOS
window" of Windows-2000/XP operating systems can be served by
KEYRUS.COM driver too, but in this case it must be loaded either from
CONFIG.NT file or from AUTOEXEC.NT file, which both are present in
\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32 directory.
5.03
Drivers for "mouse" pointing devices
Functions of mouse pointing device become accessible, when four conditions are met.
First, you must have a mouse, which is able to perform the desired function(s) and can be
connected to your computer. Second, you must load a driver, supporting execution of the
desired function(s) by the mouse with appropriate type of connection. Third, the desired
functions must be called by the program, which you want to employ these functions.
Fourth, both the driver and the program must be able to operate under the operating
system, which is installed in your computer.
As to the mouse pointing devices, the MS-DOS7 operating system seems inconsistent.
On one hand, the Windows-95/98 release provides no mouse driver for MS-DOS7. On the
other hand, mouse's functions are needed, for example, for editor utility EDIT.COM
(6.09), and mouse drivers from previous versions of DOS operate properly under
MS-DOS7. All those mouse drivers for DOS interact with application programs in the
same way – via interrupt INT 33 (8.03-31 – 8.03-55).
Connection of mouse pointing device to a PC is defined by port address (A.14-1) and
by IRQ – interrupt request line number. Mouse drivers, described below in part 5.03, are
able to search for mouse pointing devices throughout all relevant ports and IRQ numbers.
Though connection specification is not necessary, it nevertheless may be given in order to
avoid search and make loading faster.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
Since new millennium another breed of "mice" has appeared – those with USB port
connection. Such "mice" rely on pointing device BIOS interface (INT15\AX=C2xx) and on
driver's interaction with this interface (5.03-3). In obsolete PCs, where BIOS system
doesn't respond to INT15\AX=C2xx calls, necessary support may be provided by a choice
of appropriate driver for USB controller (5.07-05), and then any mouse driver, described
below in part 5.03, will be able to suffice a mouse, connected via USB port.
5.03-01
GMOUSE.COM – mouse driver from KYE Systems Corp.
The GMOUSE.COM driver is supplied in software packets for mouse pointing devices
with a well-known trade mark GENIUS, belonging to KYE Systems Corporation. This
driver also can be found on compact discs, containing collections of drivers. Version 10.20
of GMOUSE.COM driver (1996) packed into GMOUSE.ZIP archive is available for free
downloading from internet site http://www.dosbootsector.narod.ru/drivers.htm .
The GMOUSE.COM driver can be loaded either directly or by LH command (3.17)
from command line or from AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or else by INSTALL (4.15) or
INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command from CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
INSTALLHIGH=C:\DOS\DRV\Gmouse.com
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – an example of a path to GMOUSE.COM driver.
Normally the GMOUSE.COM driver doesn't needs parameter specifications, but
nevertheless it can accept any one of the following mutually excludible parameters:
/1
– mouse connection via serial port COM1
/2
– mouse connection via serial port COM2
/3
– mouse connection via serial port COM3
/4
– mouse connection via serial port COM4
/P
– mouse connection via PS2 Port.
/P2
– 2-button mouse, connected via PS2 port.
/P3
– 3-button mouse, connected via PS2 port.
/U
– unload GMOUSE.COM driver from memory.
/?
– display short help.
The listed parameters are also suitable for newer versions of GMOUSE.COM driver,
which have increased file size and several superfluous functions, such as automatic
determination of language for messages on basis of the loaded codepage. Contrary to
newer versions, version 10.20 of GMOUSE.COM driver can accept some more
parameters from a special parameter file GMOUSE.INI, if it is present in the same
directory with the driver.
Note 1: if during loading a search for mouse pointing device is stopped by BREAK
keystroke, for example, in order to read the displayed messages, then after any
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
other keystroke the GMOUSE.COM driver is unable to resume the search, and
PC gets hanged.
Note 2: when mouse pointing device is connected to port COM3 or COM4, the
GMOUSE.COM driver doesn't provide compatibility with Windows OS.
5.03-02
MOUSE.COM – "mouse" driver from Microsoft Corp.
The MOUSE.COM name was common for several mouse drivers, written at different
times by different authors. Here the version 8.20 is described of Microsoft's
MOUSE.COM driver (file size 37681 bytes, file date 29.06.93). It was supplied within
MS-DOS6.22 release, but was found compatible with MS-DOS7 too. Archive
MOUSE.ZIP containing MOUSE.COM driver can be downloaded from internet site
http://www.computerhope.com/download/hardware.htm#05 .
The MOUSE.COM driver may be installed either from CONFIG.SYS file with
INSTALL (4.15) or INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command, or else directly or with LH
command (3.17) from AUTOEXEC.BAT file or later from command line:
C:\DOS\DRV\Mouse.com /C1 /R1 /S50 /P2 /N50 /Y
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – an example of a path to MOUSE.COM driver.
/C1
– select COM1 port. Instead of /C1 there may be:
/C2 – for mouse connected to COM2 port;
/Z – for mouse connected to PS2 port;
/I1 – for mouse on LPT1 port;
/I2 – for mouse on LPT2 port;
/B – for bus mouse.
/R1
– specifies interrupt rate 30 Hz (the default). Alternatives are:
/R2 – interrupt rate 50 Hz,
/R3 – interrupt rate 100 Hz,
/R4 – interrupt rate 200 Hz.
/S50
– specifies sensitivity; the number after /S is allowed within range
0 - 100, 50 is the default. Instead of /S50 there may be separate /H50
– horizontal and /V50 – vertical sensitivity specifications.
/P2
– slow acceleration profile number. Alternatives are:
P1 – profile without acceleration
P3 – moderate acceleration profile;
P4 – fast acceleration profile.
/N50
– number after /N specifies cursor redraw rate (0 – 255 is allowed).
/Y
– use hardware cursor feature.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
In most cases all optional specifications are not needed, since the default values are
sufficient, and the driver is able to search for mouse pointing devices throughout all
relevant ports.
In order to disable mouse you may unload this driver by launching it with single OFF
parameter:
C:\DOS\DRV\Mouse.com OFF
5.03-03
CTMOUSE.EXE – freeware "mouse" driver
The CTMOUSE.EXE driver is developed since 2002 as a part of FreeDOS project,
but it is made compatible with MS-DOS7. Version 2.1 of CTMOUSE.EXE (dated 2007),
packed in archive CTMOUS21.ZIP, may be downloaded from internet site
.Another address,
http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/mouse/
where recent versions of this driver can be found, is http://cutemouse.sourceforge.net/ .
Functionally CTMOUSE.EXE is similar to other mouse drivers for DOS, but it
occupies less memory and supports pointing devices equipped with a wheel. One more
important feature of this driver is its interaction with pointing device BIOS interface
(INT15\AX=C2xx). Therefore it provides better chances to suffice USB mice in modern
PCs. CTMOUSE.EXE driver has an elaborated set of defaults, which make command line
parameters in most cases unnecessary. It may be loaded either from command line or from
AUTOEXEC.BAT file – directly or by LH command (3.17), or else from CONFIG.SYS
file by INSTALL (4.15) or INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command, for example:
INSTALL=\DOS\DRV\Ctmouse.exe /S14 /3 /R33 /N
where:
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to Ctmouse.exe driver.
/S14
– search for mouse pointing device through serial ports only. The first
digit denotes serial port number (=COM1), the second – interrupt
request line number (=IRQ 4). If the /S parameter is not specified,
driver will examine PS2 port first, and then – all serial ports.
/3
– activate mouse's third button. This function can't be applied to mice of
Mouse System type and to mice with a wheel instead of middle button.
/R33
– sensitivity settings: first digit is a grade of horizontal sensitivity,
second digit – of vertical sensitivity. If only one digit is specified, it is
applied to both coordinates. Default /R parameter value is /R33.
/N
– load Ctmouse.exe driver even if some mouse driver has been loaded
yet. This parameter enables to compose batch files so that after
unloading of Ctmouse.exe driver the configuration returns back to its
original state, whichever this state was.
Besides the shown parameters, Ctmouse.exe driver can accept the following options:
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/?
/P
/Y
/V
/O
/L
/B
/W
/U
5.04
– display a short help;
– examine the PS2 port only;
– don’t search for "mouse" of Mouse System type;
– reverse search order: examine serial ports first;
– disable mouse wheel detection;
– adapt buttons order for left-handed people;
– don’t load Ctmouse.exe, if some mouse driver is loaded yet;
– load Ctmouse.exe into conventional memory;
– unload CTMOUSE.EXE driver from memory (this can't be done if
functions of the driver are intercepted).
Memory managers
In AT-compatible computers the 640 – 1024 kb memory region is hardware consigned
for special usage as BIOS code "shadow", as a "window" into video memory, as a page
frame "window", etc. (see notes 2 and 3 to A.12-1 for more details). Because of 16-bit
addressing and because of special status of 640 – 1024 kb memory region the accessible
memory space for DOS programs is considerably limited. Since early 1980-ties
researchers in all leading software companies attempted to overcome memory space
restrictions. Nowadays these attempts are continued by many independent software
vendors. The best solutions of this problem are presented here in the following articles.
5.04-01
HIMEM.SYS – extended memory driver
HIMEM.SYS is Microsoft's memory driver for PCs with CPU 80386 or higher,
providing machine-dependent access to memory beyond the 1024 kb boundary according
to eXtended Memory Specification (XMS). Therefore the memory, opened by
HIMEM.SYS, is often called XMS memory. Since version 3.10 of HIMEM.SYS driver
the upper limit of XMS memory is 65535 kb.
Besides access to XMS memory, the HIMEM.SYS driver performs two important
functions: control over switching of A20 line gate and allocation of memory space,
requested by different programs. Both these functions are necessary in order to prevent
conflicts between programs, addressing memory beyond conventional memory limit (640
kb). Due to HIMEM.SYS driver each program, requesting some space in UMB region or
in XMS memory, is given exclusive access rights to the allocated part of memory space.
Official explanations of HIMEM's operation principle are not known, but analysis of
its code gives some grounds to suppose, that it uses 32-bit linear addressing in real mode
(more about that – in 9.10). In any case, HIMEM's operation principle gives no chance to
execute programs in XMS memory, it gives only an opportunity to copy executable code
together with data from conventional memory into XMS memory and back.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
Version 3.95 of HIMEM.SYS driver (1995) is supplied in WINDOWS-95/98 release
and normally may be found in \WINDOWS directory. The HIMEM.SYS driver should be
loaded with DEVICE command (4.06) preferably in the first executable line of
CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Himem.sys /V
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to HIMEM.SYS driver;
/V
– display loading information. The same may be achieved if the ALT
key is kept pressed while HIMEM.SYS is being loaded.
HIMEM.SYS has internal default settings, which are suitable for a wide variety of
PC's hardware. In rare cases you may have to specify other settings by optional
parameters. Allowable optional parameters are:
/a20control:OFF – allows HIMEM.SYS to take control over A20 bus if it is not
active only, thus preventing A20 bus interruptions (default is to take
control always).
/cpuclock:ON – activate CPU clock frequency control, when this frequency
becomes affected by upper memory access. This parameter makes
HIMEM.SYS work slower.
/eisa
– provides access beyond 16 Mb on PCs with EISA bus.
/hmamin=40
– prevents reserving of HMA area (1024 – 1088 kb) to any
program demanding less than 40 kb (range is 0 – 63 kb). By default
HMA area is allocated to the first program that requests it, regardless
of how much of HMA space the program intends to use.
/int15=128 – reserve 128 kb (range 64 – 65535, default is 0) for programs,
accessing memory via interrupt INT 15\AH=87h (8.01-76).
/machine:AT
– specification of PC types, which HIMEM.SYS can't identify
properly, by number (from 1 to 17) or by literal identifier (see table
A.11-2). Default is number 1 or identifier AT (both correspond to
IBM's PC/AT).
/noabove16 – don't use INT 15\AX=E801h (Compaq Bigmem support) to scan for
memory beyond 16 Mb. In this case HIMEM.SYS can't provide XMS
access beyond 16 Mb.
/noeisa – prohibit search for memory extension cards on EISA bus.
/numhandles=32
– maximum number of active references (handles) to
XMS memory blocks, which can be kept open simultaneously; allowed
range is from 1 to 128, 32 is the default.
/shadowRAM:ON
– don't prevent BIOS to RAM transfer into segment
address space F000 - FFFFh. When HIMEM.SYS detects RAM size
2 Mb or less, it tries to prevent BIOS to RAM transfer in order to get
more memory free.
/testmem:OFF – bypass XMS memory test.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/X
– don't explore memory with INT 15\AX=E820h (8.01-80).
Note 1: HIMEM.SYS driver gives no access to memory beyond 16 Mb, if CMOS BIOS
parameter "Memory hole 15 – 16 Mb" is enabled.
Note 2: HIMEM.SYS driver accepts program's requests via CALL FAR commands
(7.03-08). Address for CALL FAR commands can be obtained with
INT 2F\AX=4310h function (8.03-23). A list of operations, which can be
requested by programs, is shown in table A.12-3.
Note 3: several similar XMS memory drivers have been developed by different authors.
J.R.Ellis wrote QHIMEM2.SYS driver, which extends XMS memory limit to
4 Gb. Version 3.1 of this driver (dated 2005) is available inside SFX diskette
image USB18.EXE from site http://johnson.tmfc.net/dos/usbdrv.html . The most
recent 4 Gb XMS memory driver XMGR.SYS can be downloaded from page
http://johnson.tmfc.net/dos/driver.html . One more similar driver – Himem.exe –
is developed as a part of FreeDOS project and is supplied together with
Emm386.exe (see note 4 to 5.04-02). Alternative XMS memory drivers accept
different sets of options, described in attached files.
Note 4: in MS-DOS8 the XMS access code is integrated into the core, hence there is no
need to load Himem.sys.
5.04-02
EMM386.EXE – memory mapping driver and VCPI server.
EMM drivers (EMM = Expanded Memory Manager) originally were developed in
1983 – 1984 in order to provide access to memory banks on expansion cards for IBM PC,
so that any memory bank can be addressed through the same "window" in address space
(usually in segment addresses E000 – EFFFh). This method of addressing memory banks
was institutionalized by LIM EMS specification. Among other details, LIM EMS
specification stipulates division of the address space "window" into several pages of 16 kb
each, which independently direct addressing to different memory banks.
Later the main computer's memory has grown far above 1 Mb, and expansion cards
with memory banks have come out of use. But some popular programs still relied on
old-fashioned LIM EMS access, and compatibility with these programs had to be
preserved. Therefore the fundamental principle of EMM driver's operation has been
changed: control over expansion cards has been replaced by control over address
translation mechanism, which is embedded in all CPU's since 80386. This is why such
memory managers are named EMM386. They enable to address the main computer's
memory above 1 Mb through the same LIM EMS "window" in address space.
Here is just a place to remind, that main computer's memory above 1 Mb is controlled
by XMS driver HIMEM.SYS (5.04-01), and memory space allocation according to
program's requests is just its prerogative. Hence the EMM386 driver plays a role of an
intermediary transactor: having got a program's request for LIM EMS access to a memory
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
space, it asks the HIMEM.SYS driver and gets a suitable piece of memory beyond 1 Mb.
Then EMM386 rewrites data in CPU's TLB table so that the caller program becomes able
to access the allocated piece of memory via the LIM EMS "window" in address space.
When there is no a single piece of requested size, the EMM386 driver combines several
pieces of smaller size. Due to address translation in CPU, the LIM EMS "window" in
address space enables not only access, but execution of programs too.
Mission of EMM386 driver is complicated by the fact that address translation
mechanism is activated only when CPU works in protected mode. Therefore the EMM386
driver switches CPU into virtual 8086 (V86) mode, which is a variant of protected mode,
and then all DOS programs are executed in this mode at the third (the lowest) privilege
level. Of course, PC must have a CPU of 80386 type or newer, which is able to implement
V86 mode. EMM386 driver gives to DOS programs a permission for I/O operations at the
lowest privilege level, so that conditions of access to disks and to ports are the same as in
real mode. Additional features, inherent to the V86 mode, are used by EMM386 driver for
loading other drivers "through" free areas of UMB address space (640 – 1024 kb) and for
control over attempts of other programs to affect implementation of protected mode.
At least three types of programs pretend to control protected mode implementation in
DOS. These are extender programs (for example, DOS4GW.EXE), DPMI servers (for
example, CSWDPMI.EXE), and loaders of operating systems (for example, the Windows'
GUI loader WIN.COM). Such contenders can't perform their mission in V86 mode at the
lowest privilege level. In order to enable smooth control transfer to such programs the
VCPI protocol (VCPI = Virtual Control Program Interface) has been adopted in 1989. It
was developed jointly by Phar Lap Software and Quarterdeck Office Systems. According
to VCPI protocol, the program, which switches CPU into V86 mode, must perform several
extra functions on request, including transition to the highest privilege level. Since
EMM386 implements these extra functions, it is also called VCPI server. Some of VCPI
server's functions are described in articles 8.03-71 - 8.03-73.
Direct execution of programs beyond 1088 kb boundary is necessary for loading
drivers there, but that's not enough. Ordinary driver's code is not adapted to page-by-page
addressing. Therefore for loading drivers the EMM386 manager arranges static mapping
of memory beyond 1088 kb onto UMB blocks, which can be squeezed in all free stretches
of address space between 640 and 1024 kb. If EMM386 memory manager is loaded yet,
and then is launched from command line once more (without parameters), it will show on
the screen the exact allocation of entrusted address space.
Windows-95/98 release includes version 4.95 of EMM386.EXE driver (date
6/12/1996, size 125495 bytes). This version is not intended, though, for service to a
separate operating system MS-DOS7. Version 4.95 transfers exception calls to protected
mode handlers, installed by Windows OS. But when MS-DOS7 runs alone, exception calls
don't find their handlers, and PC gets hanged. This is why earlier versions 4.49 or 4.50 of
EMM386.EXE driver are more suitable for MS-DOS7. These versions are loaded in the
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
same way and accept the same set of options. Version 4.49 (date 31/05/1993, size 120926
bytes) can be downloaded from server ftp://ftp.vgt.ru/dos/ inside diskette image
Dos622_1.img, which can be written to diskette by IMG.EXE (6.06). Then file
EMM386.EX_ should be unpacked by EXPAND.EXE (6.10). Version 4.50 (date
30/04/1998, size 119390 bytes) from IBM's PC DOS 2000 release can be downloaded
inside SFX archive Pcdos2k.exe from server ftp://ftp.eesnet.ru/dos/ .
Loading of DOS structures and of other drivers beyond conventional memory by LH
(3.17), DEVICEHIGH (4.07) and other commands, ending with ...HIGH, requires memory
manager to be loaded yet. But access beyond conventional memory must be provided in
advance, before the EMM386.EXE driver is loaded. Therefore EMM386.EXE driver
should be loaded by DEVICE command (4.06) from that line of CONFIG.SYS file, which
follows HIMEM.SYS (5.04-01) loading line, but precedes to all lines with commands,
having the ...HIGH ending. A line loading EMM386.EXE driver may look, for example, as
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Emm386.exe RAM V
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to EMM386.EXE driver;
RAM
– allow arrangement of EMS pages and UMB blocks (another form of
RAM parameter usage is shown further);
V
– display allocation of EMS pages and UMB blocks.
Besides the shown options, EMM386.EXE driver can accept optional parameters from the
following list:
OFF
– suspend activation of EMM386.EXE until command "EMM386.EXE
ON" is launched from command line. Parameter AUTO (instead of
OFF) also allows activation on software request. While
EMM386.EXE is not active, it doesn't support loading beyond
conventional memory by LH command and by all other commands
ending with "…HIGH".
8196
– an example of requested EMS-memory size in kb, from 16 kb up to
actual size of free XMS-memory (latter is the default), but not more
than 32768 kb. If NOEMS switch is specified (see further), the default
value is set to zero. EMM386 rounds any requested value down to the
nearest multiple of 16 kb.
min=256 – don't establish EMS-memory, if its available amount doesn't exceed
this minimum value, ranging from 0 up to requested memory size, 256
kb is the default (unless the NOEMS switch is specified).
W=ON – enable Weitek coprocessor support (default is OFF). When EMM386
is active, it accepts from command line commands
EMM386 W=OFF
EMM386 W=ON
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
M4
– an example of start segment address specification for page frame
placement. Page frame is a region for successive continuous placement
of EMS pages 0 – 3 (16 kb each). The number after "M" is a code
(from 1 to 14), which denotes segment addresses
1 = C000h, 2 = C400h, 3 = C800h, 4 = CC00h,
5 = D000h, 6 = D400h, 7 = D800h, 8 = DC00h,
9 = E000h (the default setting),
10 = 8000h,
11 = 8400h, 12 = 8800h, 13 = 8C00h, 14 = 9000h
FRAME=CC00 – an example of direct specification for the same page frame start
address. Other start addresses, except those shown above, are not
allowed. In order to prohibit frame page you may specify
FRAME=NONE, and this will be equivalent to the NOEMS
parameter (see further).
/PCC00 – one more example of another form for the same page frame start
address specification; the same 14 values can be specified after the /P
parameter.
P4=DC00 – an example of specification for adding one more EMS page P4 (the
fifth) to the page frame CCOOh – DBFFh. There may be several "P"
parameters for EMS pages denoted by numbers from 4 to 14. When
page frame start address is not specified otherwise, numbers 0 – 3 are
allowed too, but sequential continuous allocation of EMS pages 0 – 3
must be preserved.
X=F000-FFFF – a specification example for a prohibited region of segment
addresses (within A000h – FFFFh range), which must be left intact.
Specified segment addresses will be rounded down to the nearest
4-kilobyte multiple.
I=BC00-BFFF – a specification example for a region of segment addresses to be
allocated for UMB blocks. Specified segment addresses will be
rounded down to the nearest 4-kilobyte multiple. When "I" and "X"
specifications overlap, the "X" option takes preference.
B=4000 – lowest boundary segment address (within range 1000h – 4000h) of
allowed EMS pages placement region. Default lowest boundary is
4000h.
L=256 – size of memory space (in kb) reserved for XMS-type access (default is
0 kb).
A=7
– number of register banks to provide support for multitasking (0 – 254
allowed, default is 7). Each register bank takes about 200 bytes.
h=64
– number of references (handles) to EMS memory areas, which can be
kept open for access simultaneously (2 – 255 allowed, default is 64).
d=32
– size of reserved Direct Memory Access (DMA) buffer (16 – 256 kb
allowed, default is 32 kb).
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
RAM=C000-EFFF
– a specification example of region boundaries for UMBs
and EMS pages placement. When "RAM" parameter is not followed
by boundary segment addresses, all available memory space is
regarded as allowable.
WIN=E000-EFFF – an example of segment addresses, specifying boundaries of
address space region, reserved for being used by Windows OS.
ROM=F000-FFFF– load BIOS shadow into a part of address space, specified by
segment addresses of its boundaries, if this is not done by PC’s BIOS
itself. Copying of BIOS code can make your PC more fast.
NOEMS – don't create EMS page frame, don't provide LIM EMS memory
access, but use all available address space in 640 – 1024 kb region for
arranging UMBs and for loading drivers.
NOHI
– load the whole resident module of EMM386.EXE driver into
conventional memory below 640 kb.
NOMOVEXBDA – cancel default loading of BIOS shadow.
NOTR – exclude network card search (for EMM386.EXE versions 4.45 – 4.95)
NOVCPI – disable support for VCPI functions (see note 2 below), requested by
other programs. This switch should be used together with the NOEMS
switch.
HIGHSCAN
– launch a thorough search for free stretches of address space,
thus making its usage more efficient. But there is a chance to consider
engaged space as free, and then your PC may get hanged.
ALTBOOT – replace hot reboot handler (only if CTRL-ALT-DEL "hot key"
combination stops responding or goes wrong after loading of
EMM386.EXE driver).
NOBACKFILL – prevent conventional memory from being backfilled, when
EMM386 attempts to create UMBs in a PC having total memory
640 kb or less.
When the EMM386.EXE driver is loaded yet and active, it can accept commands
"EMM386 OFF" and "EMM386 AUTO" from command line. But these commands will
not be executed, if at that moment UMB address space has been used already for loading
other drivers, which must remain available for DOS.
Note 1: the EMM386.EXE driver accepts requests from other programs via INT 67
(8.03-57 – 8.03-74).
Note 2: VCPI services, provided via INT 67\AX=DE00h-DE0Ch, give a chance to
perform their mission for programs, which have to affect V86 mode of CPU
operation, set by EMM386.EXE. Due to VCPI services, in particular, the
Windows OS can be loaded even if the V86 mode is set yet. But the Windows OS
itself inside its "DOS window" disables VCPI services, thus excluding risk to lose
control over the PC.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
Note 3: a version of EMM386.EXE from MS-DOS8 is not compatible with some model
types of obsolete 486 processor and may cause hanging.
Note 4: several similar EMM386 managers are known to be developed. The most
advanced is JEMM386.EXE driver, written by a group of authors under auspices
of Tom Ehlert. Now, in december 2007, archive JEMM568.ZIP with version 5.68
of this driver can be downloaded from internet site http://japheth.de/ . One more
version of EMM386.EXE driver is developed as a part of FreeDOS project; it
can be downloaded from server ftp://ftp.devoresoftware.com/downloads/ . Both
mentioned drivers are more compact, than original EMM386.EXE, and accept
different sets of options, described in attached files.
5.04-03
Memory allocation optimization: CHKSTATE.SYS
CHKSTATE.SYS is a special service utility for memory optimization procedure,
developed for MS-DOS6, but proved to be suitable in MS-DOS7. A line loading
CHKSTATE.SYS is inserted into CONFIG.SYS file automatically by memory
optimization manager MEMMAKER.EXE, and is deleted in the same way when memory
optimization procedure terminates. Being executed, CHKSTATE.SYS utility forms a
textual report file, containing exact data about memory areas, allocated for each loaded
driver.
Note 1: for performing memory optimization procedure the main optimization manager
MEMMAKER.EXE must be in one directory with auxiliary files
CHKSTATE.SYS, EMM386.EXE, HIMEM.SYS, MEMMAKER.HLP,
MEMMAKER.INF and SIZER.EXE. All these files are present in MS-DOS6.22
release, and also are contained in SFX archive OLDDOS.EXE, freely available
from server ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/ .
Note 2: the MEMMAKER.EXE optimizer is unable to make proper corrections in
AUTOEXEC.BAT file and in CONFIG.SYS file, if the latter contains a menu
with several loading alternatives. Each alternative variant should be optimized
separately. Nevertheless the data, obtained for each loading alternative separately,
enable to compose optimized configuration files with several loading alternatives.
5.04-04
UMBPCI.SYS – freeware UMB region driver
In order to open UMB address space (C000h – EFFFh) for loading drivers, the
EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02) arranges address translation via CPU's TLB
tables and forces to pay for that with switching CPU into V86 mode. But when it is
necessary to stay in real mode, access to UMB address space may be opened by
reprogramming memory controller, which is a part of chipset on PC's motherboard. This
alternative way of access to UMB address space is implemented by UMBPCI.SYS driver.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
The UMBPCI.SYS driver has a long development history with a lot of participants.
Now it is continued by Uwe Sieber. The most recent version of UMBPCI.SYS can be
found in internet site http://www.uwe-sieber.de/ , packed in archive UMBPCI.ZIP with
attached texts in german, or else in archive UMBPCI_E.ZIP with attached texts in english.
The description below is based on version 3.66 of UMBPCI.SYS, dated march 2006.
By no means, UMBPCI.SYS is not a replacement of EMM386.EXE, it does not
implement LIM EMS specification. UMBPCI.SYS performs only functions, stipulated by
XMS specification, but just those, which are incumbent upon EMM386.EXE driver (see
note 6 to A.12-3).
In order to affect memory controller's settings, the UMBPCI.SYS driver calls BIOS's
interrupt handlers INT 1A\AH=B1h, related to PCI bus services. This is why the
UMBPCI.SYS driver can perform its mission only in computers, which are equipped with
PCI bus, controlled by PC's BIOS. These conditions are met by almost all AT-compatible
computers, produced after 1996. One exception is represented by computers with
AMD-K7 processor: in such computers the UMB blocks, created by UMBPCI.SYS driver,
can't be used for loading those drivers, which control expansion cards on PCI bus.
The UMBPCI driver provides access to free parts of "shadow" memory area, intended
for copying executable codes from slow fixed storage BIOS chips. Not every chipset is
able to provide direct memory access (DMA) into this "shadow" memory region. The
DMA access is necessary for floppy disks controller, for SMARTDRV.EXE driver (5.0601), and even for the WINDOWS OS, if it would be loaded later. The archives with
UMBPCI.SYS driver contain some auxiliary utilities, enabling to avoid undesirable
consequences of restrictions on DMA access to "shadow" memory areas. In the same
archives there are files with advices, helping to overcome problems, specific for some
particular chipsets. Of course, relevant peculiarities must be taken into account.
The UMBPCI.SYS driver should be loaded by DEVICE command (4.06) from that
line of CONFIG.SYS file, which follows loading of HIMEM.SYS driver (5.04-01) and
precedes all lines with commands LH and those having the ...HIGH ending. The line
loading UMBPCI.SYS driver may look, for example, as
DEVICE=\DOS\DRV\Umbpci.sys /I=D000–DFFF
where
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to UMBPCI.SYS driver.
/I=D000–DFFF – an optional specification of segment address space, which
should be allocated for UMB blocks. Boundaries of the allocated
space must be multiples of 16 kb (that is C800, CC00, D000, D400,
D800 and so on).
If the /I= parameter is specified, then UMBPCI.SYS will not examine address space
areas on whether they are free or not. Presence of several /I= parameters in one command
line is allowed, and then each UMB area will be given a serial number. The
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
DEVICEHIGH (4.07) and LH (3.17) commands accept serial number of UMB area after
their /L: parameter, and due to that there is an opportunity to load any particular driver
through the prescribed part of UMB address space. The latter is important for those
drivers, which use direct memory access (DMA), because some chipsets – for example,
i430TX – provide DMA access only inside the E000 – EFFFh part of UMB region. Most
often the /I= parameter is not needed, since popular modern chipsets (i815, i820, i845,
i850, i855 and many others) apply no restrictions on DMA access to UMB region.
Note 1: in obsolete computers, having no PCI bus, access to UMB address region may be
provided by HIRAM.EXE driver (written in 1993) and its auxiliary utilities. This
set of software can be downloaded as one archive from internet site
http://www.uwe-sieber.de/files/hiram.zip .
5.05
RAM-disk drivers
RAM-disk drivers occupy a part of computer's random access memory (RAM) in
order to simulate a virtual disk drive. This provides access to writable disk space during
exploratory and reparatory works, when physical disk space may not exist or must be
preserved free from traces of access. Virtual RAM-disks are much faster, than any
physical disk. Since contents of RAM-disk is lost each time the PC is switched off, RAMdisks sometimes are used as a place for temporary files in order to avoid pollution of
physical disk space.
A common drawback of many RAM-disk drivers is that they are unable to assign a
certain letter-name for the created virtual disk. DOS always assigns to virtual disk the first
free letter-name, which can’t be known beforehand. One solution, presented in article
9.04-02, is a search for a particular letter-name, assigned to the arranged virtual disk.
Another solution is to write a special driver, which will deceive DOS with a false number
of registered disks, so that the next disk could be given an arbitrary prescribed letter-name.
An example of the latter solution is presented in article 9.08.
5.05-01
RAM-disk driver RAMDRIVE.SYS
RAMDRIVE.SYS is Microsoft's RAM-disk driver for DOS, supplied within
WINDOWS-95/98/ME releases. Normally it can be found in \WINDOWS directory.
RAMDRIVE.SYS should be loaded by a DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07)
command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Ramdrive.sys 16000 512 256 /E
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – a path example to RAMDRIVE.SYS driver.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
16000
512
256
/E
– an example of requested RAM-disk size in kilobytes, 4 – 32767 kb
range is allowed, 64 kb is the default value.
– an example of sector size in bytes; 128, 256 and 512 bytes are
allowed, 512 is the default value. If sector size is specified, RAM-disk
size must be specified too.
– an example specification of entries number in the root directory of
RAM-disk, 2 – 1024 are allowed, 64 is the default value. If number of
entries is specified, sector size must be specified too.
– optional parameter, forcing to arrange RAM-disk in XMS memory,
provided by HIMEM.SYS driver. Instead of /E you may specify /A
parameter, forcing to use EMS memory access, provided by
EMM386.EXE driver.
You may set up as many RAM-disks as free memory space allows: just add one such
line to your CONFIG.SYS file per each extra RAM-disk.
Note 1: RAM-disk driver RDISK.COM with 2 Gb size limit may be downloaded from
http://johnson.tmfc.net/dos/driver.html . This driver should be used together with
XMS memory managers providing 4Gb XMS memory limit (note 3 to 5.04-01).
5.05-02
Reconfigurable drivers TDSK.EXE and BITDISK.EXE
Freeware drivers TDSK.EXE and BITDISK.EXE enable to define RAM-disk size not
only at the moment of loading, as RAMDRIVE.SYS driver does, but also enable to
postpone RAM-disk size definition, and even enable to do it repeatedly. This feature is
very important for installation of MS-DOS7 on an unknown computer, because you need
to determine available amount of memory before a decision can be made about whether to
arrange a RAM-disk and of what size.
Both TDSK.EXE and BITDISK.EXE drivers were written by Garcia de Celis,
Valladolid, Spain, in 1992 – 1995, and then the last was version 2.3. Later these drivers
were modernized and became a part of FreeDOS project. Now both these drivers can be
downloaded from http://www.ibiblio.org/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/ramdisk/ .
Original drivers of Garcia de Celis are there in archive TDSK23.ZIP, and modernized
version 2.42 of the TDSK.EXE driver – in archive TDSK242B.ZIP.
BITDISK.EXE is a simplified version of TDSK.EXE. While the latter is able to
employ EMS, XMS or conventional memory, BITDISK.EXE can cope with XMS memory
only. Therefore it always needs the HIMEM.SYS driver to be loaded in advance.
TDSK.EXE can accept all BITDISK's options and, besides that, some options of its own.
Original drivers of Garcia de Celis should be initialized by DEVICE (4.06) or
DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command in a line of CONFIG.SYS file. Modernized version 2.42
of the TDSK.EXE driver must be loaded in conventional memory only by DEVICE
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
command (4.06), provided that CONFIG.SYS file also contains a line with
DOS=NOAUTO command (4.08). RAM-disk initialization line may include all required
parameters (see further), and then RAM-disk will be created at once. But when creation of
RAM-disk should be retarded, command line in CONFIG.SYS file must not include
particular parameter's values; it may look, for example, as
DEVICEHIGH=C:\DOS\DRV\Bitdisk.exe 0
or else as:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Tdsk.exe 0
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to the driver;
0
– zero size denotes that RAM-disk shouldn't be arranged at once.
The shown command doesn't cause memory allocation for the RAM-disk, but induces
loading and initialization of driver's TSR module (about 600 bytes). At this stage DOS
registers new RAM-disk and assigns its letter-name. If you repeat this line in
CONFIG.SYS file more than once, you can initialize several RAM-disks.
In order to make RAM-disk accessible, the same driver must be invoked later by a
command, written into a line of AUTOEXEC.BAT file or directly into DOS' command
line, for example:
C:\DOS\DRV\Bitdisk.exe R: 5600 512 384 4 /F:2
or else
C:\DOS\DRV\Tdsk.exe R: 5600 512 384 4 /F:2 /E /M /I=1
where:
R:
5600
512
384
4
– letter-name of the addressed RAM-disk, if there are several RAMdisks. Letter-name of a single RAM-disk may be omitted.
– an example of required disk's size specification (in kb). Minimum size
is 4 kb, maximum – 32766 kb for BITDISK.EXE and 65534 kb for
TDSK.EXE. Command with size 0 releases all occupied memory,
except that for driver's TSR module: it remains loaded and ready to
rearrange RAM-disk on request.
– optional specification example for sector size (in bytes); sector sizes
64, 128, 256 and 512 bytes are allowed, the latter is the default.
– optional number of entries in the root directory. Allowed values are
from 1 to disk size limit, 384 is the default. When number of entries
isn't omitted, sector size must be specified too.
– optional number of sectors per cluster, in MS-DOS7 must be a power
of 2. Default is the minimum number corresponding to RAM-disk's
size. When number of sectors per cluster isn't omitted, then number of
entries in the root directory must be specified too.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/F:2
– specifies creation of TWO copies of FAT, as in real disks (default is
creation of a single FAT table). In rare cases some disk addressing
utilities can't work properly with virtual disks, having only one FAT.
Command line, addressed to TDSK.EXE, contains some additional options, accepted by
TDSK.EXE only. Allowable additional options for version 2.42 of TDSK.EXE driver are:
/E
– arrange RAM-disk in XMS memory (the default), provided by
HIMEM.SYS driver, which has to be loaded yet.
/C
– arrange RAM-disk in conventional memory.
/X
– (or equivalently /A) – arrange RAM-disk in EMS memory, provided
by EMM386.EXE driver. In this case both EMM386.EXE and
HIMEM.SYS memory drivers must be loaded in advance.
/B
– don't load TDSK.EXE driver, if at least one real disk drive is found
(this option isn't accepted by original version 2.3 of TDSK.EXE
driver).
/M
– display screen messages in monochrome (default is color).
/I=1
– display messages in english (the default); besides this, spanish (/I=34)
and german (/I=49) languages may be chosen.
Auxiliary options /E, /C, /X, /A are mutually exclusive and usually are omitted,
because TDSK.EXE driver itself is able to choose optimum place to arrange RAM-disk.
The shown form of command can be repeatedly used to call either TDSK.EXE or
BITDISK.EXE in order to change RAM-disk's size. Each time after this command RAMdisk is rearranged anew, and all its contents becomes lost. RAM-disk data are not affected
by either driver in two cases:
– if it is called without parameters to show current status;
– if it is called with a single /? parameter to show help.
In order to solve the problem of RAM-disk letter-name determination, version 2.42 of
TDSK.EXE driver is able to assign this letter-name as a value to environmental variable
named TURBODSK or RAMDRIVE. An environmental variable with any of the
mentioned names should be prepared in advance with SET command (3.26), and it should
be given a question mark and a colon as its preliminary value:
SET RAMDRIVE=?:
If a variable with the same name has another value, it will be preserved intact. But if
this variable has just the shown value, and if at that moment RAM-disk is arranged
already, then after execution of TDSK.EXE driver the question mark in variable's value
will be replaced by letter-name of the RAM-disk. When RAM-disk’s letter-name is known
yet, then it's easy to compose AUTOEXEC.BAT file so that this letter-name is
automatically written into all relevant paths (an example – in article 9.09-02).
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
After execution the TDSK.EXE driver returns errorlevel code (3.15-03, 9.07-03).
Errorlevel values from 1 to 128 denote a reference number (handle) for XMS or EMS
access to allocated memory area; other errorlevel values mean the following:
0
– RAM-disk is not arranged since it isn't defined;
252
– syntax error;
253
– attempt to define a RAM-disk under Windows OS;
254
– incorrect specification of disk’s letter-name;
255
– TSR module of TDSK.EXE driver is not loaded.
5.06
HDD services
5.06-01
SMARTDRV.EXE – cache buffer driver
The SMARTDRV.EXE driver arranges and maintains disk's cache buffer. Data
transfer operations in this buffer are performed via DMA controller. DMA access gives
some relief to CPU and makes transfer operations faster for both HDDs and CD drives.
Time saving effect becomes essential in case of large data amounts transfer, for example,
during installation of operating systems Windows ME/2000/XP under DOS.
The SMARTDRV.EXE driver is a part of Windows-95/98 release and must be present
in \WINDOWS directory. But WINDOWS OS itself performs buffering otherwise and
doesn't need SMARTDRV.EXE. It is needed only in DOS, and in MS-DOS7 as well.
Since the cache buffer is expedient beyond conventional memory, access above 640 kb
must be opened in advance. Therefore appropriate memory manager(s) (5.04-01, 5.04-02,
5.04-04) must be loaded before SMARTDRV.EXE. If you intend to access CD-ROMs
with MSCDEX.EXE (5.08-03), the latter also should be loaded in advance. Most often
SMARTDRV.EXE is loaded either by INSTALL command (4.15) from CONFIG.SYS
file or from a line in AUTOEXEC.BAT file, for example:
C:\DOS\DRV\Smartdrv.exe /X A- B- C+ /U /N /L /V 128 /E:2048 /B:4096
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to SMARTDRV.EXE driver.
/X
– disable write-behind caching for disks, except those enlisted after the
/X parameter with plus sign (as C+). On disks followed by minus sign
(as A–, B–) read-ahead buffering is disabled too. If the /X parameter
is omitted, then write-behind caching is enabled only for HDDs.
/U
– don't load CD-ROM caching module.
/N
– allow to accept the next command when write cache is not written yet
onto disk. This parameter affects those drives only, where write-behind
caching is enabled. If the /N parameter is omitted, command prompt
does not appear until cache writing to disk operation terminates.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/L
– forces to arrange cache buffer in conventional memory. This is needed,
when DMA controller has no access to UMB address space.
/V
– display status message (by default nothing is displayed, when
SMARTDRV.EXE is launched for the first time). Instead of /V there
may be /S – display status message and cache statistics.
128
– cache size in kilobytes. It must be specified, if a large part of XMSmemory is to be used for other purposes, for example, as a RAM-disk.
/E:2048 – size in bytes of transferred data blocks; 1024, 2048, 4096 and 8192
are allowed, 8192 is the default.
/B:4096 – size in bytes of read-ahead buffer, it must be a multiple of transferred
data block, 16384 is the default.
When SMARTDRV.EXE is running yet, it may be called from command line with
other set(s) of options for execution of a command or for reconfiguration, for example:
C:\DOS\DRV\Smartdrv.exe /X C– D+ /R /F /Q
where:
/X
/R
/F
/Q
– disable write-behind caching for all disks (if not followed by particular
disk's letter-names). This parameter may be applied, if write-behind
caching was not disabled in current state of SMARTDRV.EXE. Here
C– and D+ letter-names mean disable write-behind caching for disk C:
and enable it for disk D:.
– clear the cache and restart SMARTDRV.EXE. One more operation to
be performed immediately (instead of /R) is /C – write information
currently present in write-behind cache to disk.
– discard the /N parameter, if it is active in current state, and return to
default state, when command prompt doesn't appear until cache
writing operation terminates. If the state should be reversed in opposite
direction, then /N parameter should be specified instead of /F.
– cancel default status message display. Instead of /Q there may be /S –
display status message plus cache statistics.
Note 1: /C operation (writing cache) ignores /V and /S parameters, nothing is displayed.
Note 2: DMA data transfer, arranged by SMARTDRV.EXE driver, doesn't involve
operations, performed by SHSUCDX.COM (5.08-04).
Note 3: in order to cope with SATA drives and with UltraDMA data transfer the
UIDE.SYS cache driver should be preferred. This driver can be downloaded from
site http://johnson.tmfc.net/dos/driver.html .
5.06-02
Double buffering driver DBLBUFF.SYS
The DBLBUFF.SYS driver provides compatibility for some HDD controllers, which
otherwise may be unable to work with EMS memory and with WINDOWS OS. In
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
particular, double buffering may be needed for HDDs with SCSI interface. The
DBLBUFF.SYS driver is included in WINDOWS-95/98 release and normally can be
found in \WINDOWS directory.
A way of loading DBLBUFF.SYS depends on contents of configuration parameter file
MSDOS.SYS (5.01-01). If there is a line with "DoubleBuffer=1" parameter, then MSDOS7 will attempt to load DBLBUFF.SYS by default. Otherwise it should be loaded
explicitly by DEVICE command (4.06) from a line in CONFIG.SYS file:
DEVICE=C:\DOS\DRV\Dblbuff.sys /D+
where:
C:\DOS\DRV – path example to DBLBUFF.SYS driver.
/D+
– an optional parameter, instructing to arrange permanent doublebuffering for all disks. Otherwise only I/O to UMB blocks (5.04-02)
will be double-buffered, and it wouldn't be done automatically if it
appears to be unnecessary.
Note 1: status message, displayed by SMARTDRV.EXE driver (5.06-01), contains a
column "buffering". If there is at least one "yes" in this column, then
DBLBUFF.SYS driver must be loaded.
Note 2: if double buffering is needed, then a non-zero number of secondary buffers should
be reserved by BUFFERS (4.03) or by BUFFERSHIGH (4.04) command in
CONFIG.SYS file.
5.06-03
DRVSPACE.SYS – compressed drive's shell loader
DRVSPACE.SYS is a loader for TSR program DRVSPACE.BIN, which provides
on-the-fly compression and decompression for logical disks. Data flow is processed just in
the course of access operations. Compression improves disk space usage, since compressed
data are written continuously, and free disk space is not lost in partially filled clusters.
Files DRVSPACE.SYS and DRVSPACE.BIN are included in WINDOWS-95 release
and normally must be written in the same directory outside compressed region of logical
disk (most often in the root directory). When MS-DOS7 discovers presence of a
compressed region on the bootable disk, both DRVSPACE.SYS and DRVSPACE.BIN are
loaded by default. Default loading may be discarded either by a line with parameter
"DRVSPACE=0" in MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01) or by a "DOS=NOAUTO" command in
CONFIG.SYS file (4.08, 9.01-01).
When DRVSPACE.SYS is to be loaded explicitly, it should be loaded before memory
managers (5.04-01, 5.04-02) just as a driver by DEVICE command (4.06) from a line of
CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICE=C:\Drvspace.sys /MOVE /NOHMA /LOW
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
where:
C:\
– path example to DRVSPACE.SYS loader.
/MOVE – initiates relocation of DRVSPACE.BIN from upper part of
conventional memory into UMB or HMA areas, because original
placement may be incompatible with other software. Relocation takes
place after execution of all DEVICE and DEVICEHIGH commands in
CONFIG.SYS file. If address space beyond 640 kb is inaccessible, the
/MOVE option induces relocation to lower part of conventional
memory.
/NOHMA – don't relocate TSR compression module into HMA (1024 – 1088 kb).
/LOW
– forces relocation of TSR compression module into lower part of
conventional memory even when address space beyond 640 kb is
accessible.
When DRVSPACE.BIN is loaded, the DRVSPACE word becomes a command,
invoking a dialog shell. This shell gives an opportunity to convert ordinary disks (and
diskettes) into compressed ones and back, to create new compressed disks, to test and
defragment compressed disks, to arrange protection of compressed disk space, etc.
Disk compression with DRVSPACE hasn't got much success because of several
reasons. The first is incompatibility with other versions of DOS and with other operating
systems (WINDOWS-95 is an exception). The second reason is that compression makes
disks more vulnerable to possible errors and less accessible for data recovery procedures.
The third reason is that nowadays the problem of disk's space is not so acute, as in early
1990-ties. Large and fast modern disk drives make compression "on the fly" not worth that
loss of access speed, which is caused by compression and decompression operations. This
is why DRVSPACE usage is not included in examples of configuration files, presented in
chapter 9.
Note 1: the DRVSPACE.BIN program provides compression for logical disks formatted
with file systems FAT-12 or FAT-16. Disks formatted with FAT-32 can't be
compressed by DRVSPACE.BIN.
5.07
Interface controller's drivers
5.07-01
ATAPI interface BIOS extension: ATAPIMGR.SYS
Disk drives with Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE) were developed by Western
Digital Corp. and were employed for the first time in IBM's PC-AT in 1984. Since then
such drives became the most widely used. Protocol of IDE drive's interaction with HDD
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controller has been named ATA (= Advanced Technology Attachment). In 1994 it has got
status of standard ANSI X3.221-1994. With advent of CD-ROMs and other types of
removable drives the ATA protocol was supplemented with new commands, including
those for packet data transfer, and since 1998 became known as ATA Packet Interface, or
ATAPI.
In computers, produced after 2003, the ATAPI interaction protocol is implemented by
PC's BIOS. A specific symptom of ATAPI support is BIOS's ability to load OS from
optical DVD discs. In those PCs, which can't load OS from DVD disks, the ATAPI
functions may be provided by interface driver ATAPIMGR.SYS, developed under
"Panasonic" trade mark by Matsushita Corp. Due to this driver a standard (obsolete) IDE
controller becomes able to give access to DVD disks, to removable magnetic,
magnetooptical and solid-state media of high capacity. SFX archive 85X_DOS.EXE,
containing version 2.04 of ATAPIMGR.SYS driver, can be downloaded from internet site
http://panasonic.co.jp/pcc/products/drive/internal/support/info_dd2.html .
The ATAPIMGR.SYS driver should be loaded from CONFIG.SYS file before any
other driver, which will need ATAPI interface support. A line loading the
ATAPIMGR.SYS driver with DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command may
look like this:
DEVICE=DOS\DRV\Atapimgr.sys /P:170,15 /W:2 /NDR /NRS /C:2 /T:5 /LUN
where:
DOS\DRV\ – path example to ATAPIMGR.SYS driver.
/P:170,15 – hexadecimal address of I/O port and decimal interrupt request line
number (IRQ). Allowable port addresses are 1F0, 170, 1E8, 168
(A.14-1). Allowable IRQ numbers are 10, 11, 12, 14, 15. If /P
parameter is omitted, the driver will search for disk drives throughout
all mentioned port addresses and IRQ lines.
/W:2
– number of waiting cycles (0 – 99 allowed) for data I/O operations in
old PCs, not supporting readiness confirmation (IOCHRDY) check.
Recommended number of waiting cycles depends on CPU clock
frequency: for 50 MHz – /W:2, for 75 MHz – /W:6, for 100 MHz –
/W:9, for 166 MHz – /W:19, for 240 MHz – /W:30. For PCs with
higher CPU clock frequency the /W parameter is not needed.
/NDR
– don't issue the reset command to CD/DVD-ROM drives. This option
is essential for booting from a CD/DVD disc, since otherwise the reset
command will disrupt booting process.
/NRS
– don't return request sense confirmation, when drive sends a request for
conditions check.
/C:2
– recalculate PIO mode for a particular drive:
0
– for master drive at primary IDE controller,
1
– for slave drive at primary IDE controller,
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/T:5
/LUN
2
– for master drive at secondary IDE controller,
3
– for slave drive at secondary IDE controller.
– set timeout (in seconds) for waiting drive's response; default is 30
seconds.
– selectively support addressing to a device with LUN (= Local Unit
Number) zero. The LUN numbers enable to regard multifunctional
disc drives as different devices, for example, a drive with inserted
DVD-RAM disc – as equivalent of hard disk drive, and the same drive
with inserted CD-ROM disc – as an ordinary CD-ROM drive.
Addressing with LUN numbers is not supported by default.
If "above" MS-DOS7 with loaded ATAPIMGR.SYS the Windows-95/98 OS is
launched, the latter will run in "MS-DOS compatibility mode" unless you add the
following line into the \Windows\IOS.INI file:
ATAPIMGR.SYS ; MKE ATAPI Manager
If ATAPIMGR.SYS driver will find, that ATAPI interface functions are supported yet
by PC's BIOS, it wouldn't be loaded. When ATAPIMGR.SYS is not loaded, some
CD-ROM drivers (in particular, SR_ASPI.SYS) wouldn't be loaded too. Hence, in
cooperation with ATAPIMGR.SYS those CD-ROM drivers should be preferred, which
use ATAPI functions regardless of their origin, for example, as OAKCDROM.SYS
(5.09-01) and VIDE-CDD.SYS (5.09-02). Such drivers provide access to DVD-ROM
discs in any case, whether ATAPIMGR.SYS will "agree" to be loaded or not.
5.07-02
PCMCIA interface drivers
Since early 1990-ies portable PCs of "notebook" class were equipped with special
68-pin slot for external memory expansion cards. Interface for these cards was
standardized in 1990 by PC Memory Card International Association (PCMCIA). In 1995
it was renamed into PC card interface, because at that time it was also used for a variety of
peripheral equipment: modems, external disk drives, etc. The last 8-th version of PC card
interface standard was adopted in 2001. Later PC card interface was ousted by USB 2.0
interface (5.07-05).
In early 1990-ies there were several mutually exclusive types of PCMCIA controllers,
and then external devices with PCMCIA interface had to be supplied with a number of
PCMCIA drivers for DOS. Thus, CD-ROM drive Panasonic KXL-DN720A (1995) was
supplied with 3 drivers for different PCMCIA controllers. These drivers enable to address
the device with unified ASPI commands, just as devices with SCSI (5.07-03) or USB
interface (5.07-05). This set of drivers, packed into SFX archive 720PCM32.EXE, can be
downloaded from server ftp://ftp.panasonic.com/pub/Panasonic/Drivers/CDROM/ .
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Later PCMCIA controllers of i82365 type and those compatible with i82365 have
ousted all other types. Most modern portable PCs are sold with pre-installed WINDOWS
operating system, and are not supplied with PCMCIA drivers for DOS. In order to enable
usage of external disk drives with PCMCIA interface for emergency maintenance, some
hardware vendors have developed PCMCIA drivers, which directly address from DOS to
ports of i82365 controller. In particular, such drivers are proposed by Novac Co: driver
NVIHD.EXE for non-optical storage devices and driver NVICDF.EXE for optical disc
drives. From site http://www.driver.novac.co.jp/driver/hd150p/hd150p_drv.html you can
download archive compact_PCMCIA.zip with version 4.0 (2000) of NVIHD.EXE driver.
Version 4.0 (2001) of NVICDF.EXE driver, packed in archive FDOS.ZIP, can be
downloaded from http://www.driver.novac.co.jp/driver/sta_PCMCIA/pcm_drv.html .
Both mentioned Novac's PCMCIA drivers should be loaded without parameters by
DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file.
Then, after a storage device card is inserted into a PCMCIA slot, the same driver should
be launched from command line once more, for example
Nvicdf.exe /E
or
Nvihd.exe /E /I
where parameters mean:
/E
– initialize PCMCIA card;
/I
– spin drive's motor.
The NVICDF.EXE driver doesn't need the /I parameter, because motor in optical disc
drives is activated automatically, just after insertion of optical disc. Given information
about the mentioned PCMCIA drivers should be treated with some caution, since the
author had no opportunity to test these drivers.
Note 1: Windows-ME release includes a DOS PCMCIA driver CARDDRV.EXE for
external storage devices. However, exact information about it hasn't been found.
5.07-03
SCSI interface drivers
Small Computer's System Interface (SCSI) has been developed in 1982 by Shugart Co.
and became widely known due to its implementation in PCs of Apple Co., which were
popular then. In 1986 SCSI interface has got status of standard ANSI X3.131-1986. Since
then it has been modernized several times. For AT-compatible PCs the SCSI bus is a rare
requisite, it is used predominantly in servers. Because of this reason SCSI bus driver's
features are not described here in detail. Nevertheless a short survey of SCSI bus access
principles is given below.
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SCSI bus access may be provided either by PC's BIOS or by special drivers. Server's
motherboards usually have embedded SCSI controller and BIOS extensions, enabling to
access SCSI devices just as IDE devices, without special SCSI drivers. Known BIOS
extensions need at least one active device to be present on SCSI bus when PC starts, and
wouldn't be loaded otherwise. Removable disk drives without media inside are considered
inactive. If a particular removable SCSI drive must be taken under BIOS control (for
example, in order to be formatted as a HDD), you should manage to insert a media in this
drive before BIOS launches its start tests. If BIOS senses a valid media inside a SCSI
drive, the latter can be used to boot the PC, but beforehand you have to mark this drive as
bootable in BIOS setup options. Those SCSI drives, which are initially registered by BIOS
as inactive, can't be taken under BIOS control, even if SCSI BIOS extensions are loaded
and provide access to other drives.
Some SCSI controllers on extension boards have internal read-only memory,
containing BIOS software extensions for SCSI bus, and then SCSI bus access is just as
that provided by embedded controllers. You can easily determine presence of BIOS
software extensions by exploring BIOS setup options. However, most cheap SCSI
extension boards have no BIOS software extensions. SCSI devices, which are not
supported by BIOS software extensions, can't be used to boot the PC, and access should be
arranged by drivers. This form of access is preferable for removable disk drives, because
many drivers are able to register each current media partition structure (while most BIOS
versions register media partition structure only once at start-up).
SCSI driver sets for DOS have been developed by several vendors; the most known are
Adaptec, DTC, Mylex, Tekram. Each driver set consists of SCSI controller driver
(ASPI8U2.SYS from Adaptec, AS80DOS.SYS from DTC, etc.), HDD driver for SCSI
(ASPIDISK.SYS from Adaptec, DISKDOS.SYS from DTC, etc.) and a CD-ROM driver
for SCSI (ASPICD.SYS from Adaptec, CDDOS.SYS from DTC, etc.). Drivers of either
set must be loaded by DEVICE or DEVICEHIGH command from a line in CONFIG.SYS
file. SCSI controller driver always must be loaded in advance, before drivers for other
devices connected to SCSI bus.
Drivers for HDDs and CD-ROMs, proposed by SCSI controller vendors, accept
standardized ASPI command codes and are suitable for almost any device of the same
class with SCSI interface. This is not true for all devices: those having unique functions
definitely need proprietary drivers. Most SCSI controller drivers are suitable for series of
SCSI controller types. Emergency diskettes for Windows-95/98 include two sets of SCSI
drivers: from Adaptec and from Mylex. This is often thought to be enough for almost any
PC with SCSI bus. In any case configuration file(s) on these diskettes may be taken as
example of loading drivers for SCSI bus.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
5.07-04
IEEE1394 (FireWire) interface drivers
The FireWire interface has been developed by Apple Company in 1987 for connecting
devices having large data transfer rates, up to 393 Mb/sec. Such data transfer rates are
typical for video cameras, for video storage devices, for external hard disk drives. Since
1995 the FireWire interface specification has been adopted as standard IEEE1394. For
AT-compatible PCs expansion cards with IEEE1394 interface controllers are produced,
but up to now the FireWire interface hasn't become widely used.
Now two drivers for IEEE1394 interface controllers are known, which are claimed to
be suitable under MS-DOS7. The first is ASPI1394.SYS driver, developed by Iomega
Company. From site http://www.stefan2000.com/darkehorse/PC/DOS/Drivers/USB/ you
can download archive iomega_usb_firewire_dos_driver_boot_disk.zip with version 1.01 of
ASPI1394.SYS driver (dated 2002). Just there is an example of loading this driver, but
explanation of parameters isn't given. Version 1.02 of another driver – SBP2ASPI.SYS,
developed by Medialogic Company, is contained in SFX archive DAT.EXE, which can be
downloaded from site http://www.datoptic.com/fw25fr.html .
Since both mentioned drivers implement the same unified set of ASPI commands,
hence for HDDs and for CD-ROM drives, connected via IEEE1394 bus, potentially just
those drivers are suitable, which are used for devices of the same class on SCSI bus
(5.07-03) and on USB bus (5.07-05). But this feature hasn't been tested by the author, and
is reported here for contemplation only.
5.07-05
USB interface drivers
Universal Serial Bus (USB) is a joint development of Compaq, Intel, Microsoft and
NEC. In 1996 these companies have adopted version 1.0 of USB bus specification. Since
then an embedded USB controller has become ordinary requisite of motherboards in almost
all AT-compatible computers. Practical importance of USB bus has increased even more
in 2002 with adoption of USB 2.0 specification, stipulating data transfer rates up to 480
Mb/s. Now a vast majority of external devices is designed for connection via USB bus.
USB controllers implement three different types of interaction with PC's software:
– Open Host Controller Interface (OHCI),
– Universal Host Controller Interface (UHCI),
– Enhanced Host Controller Interface (EHCI).
Each type of interaction needs a specific treatment. All modern USB controllers match
USB 2.0 specification and implement EHCI type of interaction, but are able to simulate
USB controllers of previous generation, implementing either OHCI or UHCI type of
interaction. UHCI controllers transfer data via an allotted port, whereas OHCI controllers
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transfer data via a buffer zone in memory. The OHCI type of interaction is implemented by
chipsets from SIS and ALI, whereas UHCI – by chipsets from INTEL, VIA and some
others.
Access from DOS to peripheral devices, connected via USB bus, can be provided
either by PC's BIOS system or by loaded drivers. Access provided by BIOS is necessary,
when operating system must be loaded from an external storage device. Solutions of this
problem are considered in detail in article 9.11-01. But PC's BIOS is not necessarily ready
to cope with any external device: some BIOS systems accept external devices of a certain
class only, for example, floppy drives with USB interface. Besides that, BIOS systems
register properties of storage media only once, just after PC is switched on. If, for
example, in a USB adapter slot the originally inserted storage card will be replaced by
some other card, then BIOS wouldn't provide access to that other card. An opportunity to
access removable storage media can be obtained by loading an appropriate driver for
storage devices of a particular class.
In order to avoid possible conflicts between driver(s) and PC's BIOS, parameter
"Legacy USB support" on page "Advanced" of BIOS Setup settings should be set to
"Disabled". If there is no similar parameter(s) in BIOS Setup settings of your computer,
then, most probably, this BIOS system doesn't support USB storage devices. Access to
media in these devices is still possible, but only by means of appropriate driver(s).
Generally, USB controller driver should be loaded first, and then – drivers for all USB
devices, which you intend to use.
The very first drivers for USB controllers – UHCI.EXE and OHCI.EXE – were
developed in 1998 – 2001 by SoftConnex Co. Version 2.3 of these drivers is present in
bootable diskettes, formed by a known software packet Norton Ghost (up to it's version
8.0). Version 2.5 of the same drivers can be downloaded from internet site
http://www.stefan2000.com/darkehorse/PC/DOS/Drivers/USB/ . In order to suffice any
USB controller, the mentioned drivers should be loaded sequentially, one after the other,
but actually only one of them will be loaded – the one that corresponds to interaction type,
implemented by a particular USB controller. Loading may be performed either just from
command line, or by LH command (3.17) from a line of AUTOEXEC.BAT file, or else by
DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for
example:
DEVICEHIGH = \DOS\DRV\Uhci.exe
DEVICEHIGH = \DOS\DRV\Ohci.exe
Drivers from SoftConnex Co. are devised for USB keyboards, for USB mouse pointing
devices and for external ports on USB bus. Obviously, a driver for a particular external
device should be loaded afterwards. In particular, for mouse pointing devices any of those
drivers will suit, which are described in part 5.03. But you have to connect your external
device to port of the first USB controller, because all other USB controllers, which may be
present in modern computers, can't be detected by drivers from SoftConnex Co. Besides
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that, these drivers don't provide functions for access to storage cards and to external disk
drives.
Problem of access from DOS to USB storage devices has become especially urgent
now. There is a lot of different advices about that in various internet sites. Author of this
book had to undertake some experiments in order to form his own opinion. In these
experiments the role of a drive under test was played by USB adapter ImageMate-2 for
Compact Flash cards.
Among USB controller's drivers the USBASPI.SYS driver from Matsushita (trade
mark Panasonic) has been acknowledged the best. Latest version 2.27 of this driver (dated
22.10.2008), packed into SFX archive F2H_USB.EXE, can be downloaded from site
http://panasonic.co.jp/pcc/products/drive/other/f2h_usb.html . This driver is able to detect
all active USB controllers of any type. Then it scans each USB bus, and registers all
connected devices with all their LUN numbers (see note 1 to appendix A.03-2 for details).
Unlike most other USB drivers, version 2.27 of this driver doesn't cause conflicts with
PC's BIOS when "Legacy USB support" parameter is enabled. Complete specification for
USBASPI.SYS driver isn't made public. Nevertheless the following options have been
discovered:
/e
– activate USB controllers of EHCI class only.
/o
– activate USB controllers of OHCI class only.
/u
– activate USB controllers of UHCI class only.
/nocbc – don't search for USB adapters in PCMCIA slots.
/w
– display a prompt for the user, that he has to connect and to switch on
external device(s), which should be registered on USB bus.
/slow
– decrease speed of polling the connected devices, so that even the most
lazy devices have enough time to respond.
/v
– display data about registered USB controllers and about all devices,
detected on USB bus(es).
/r
– don't decline loading of the driver because of errors and in case of
BIOS's control over USB controller(s).
/norst
– don't send the RESET command to USB devices in order to prevent
disruption of OS loading process from one of those devices.
The /e, /o, /u parameters give a chance to save some time, if class of USB controller(s)
in a particular computer is known in advance. The last two parameters (/r and /norst) are
necessary, when operating system is to be loaded from a USB device under BIOS control,
because otherwise either the loading process will be disrupted or else other USB devices
will be left inaccessible. One more warning: the USBASPI.SYS driver doesn't allow
loading of drivers for optical disc drives in advance, even if these disc drives have a
non-USB interface.
The best driver for mass storage devices is still ASPIDISK.SYS, originally developed
by Adaptec for hard disk drives with SCSI interface. But ASPIDISK.SYS has no direct
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relation to interface type, because it addresses storage devices via standardized set of ASPI
functions, provided by SCSI controller's driver. Since just this set of ASPI functions is
provided by USBASPI.SYS driver too, the ASPIDISK.SYS driver is able to cope with
storage devices, connected to USB bus.
Version 4.01b of the ASPIDISK.SYS driver (size 15060 bytes, dated 02.12.1998) can
be got inside SFX archive DOSDRVR.EXE from Adaptec's internet site
http://www.adaptec.com/en-US/speed/scsi/dos/dosdrvr_exe.htm . This driver gives access
to logical disks with file systems FAT-12, FAT-16, FAT-32 and "Big Floppy". If
removable media is not present in the storage device at the moment of initialization, then
this storage device will be given one of reserved letter-names. But there are removable
media, which may be formatted as hard disk drives with several FAT-16 partitions, each
representing a separate logical disk. The ASPIDISK.SYS driver can provide access to all
such partitions (including those beyond the first), if an appropriate number of disk's letternames is reserved beforehand by specifying this number after the /r parameter in command
line. The whole set of allowed command line options includes the following:
/id=2:0+1 – an example of specification for devices, which should be taken under
driver's control: the device number 2, connected to USB bus of the
first USB controller, and devices number 0 and 1, connected to USB
bus of the second USB controller.
/nospinup – don't issue command to switch on drive's motor at the moment of
driver's initialization.
/d
– display status message about devices, which are taken under driver's
control.
/pause
– suspend further execution until any keystroke in order to give an
opportunity to read the status message.
/r4
– an example of request to reserve 4 disk's letter-names for non-first
partitions on removable media in drives, taken under driver's control.
From 1 to 24 letter-names can be reserved.
If specification for controlled devices is not given in command line, then the
ASPIDISK.SYS driver will examine each encountered device and will attempt to take
under it's control all mass storage devices, even those having no removable media inside at
that moment. When specification for controlled devices is given, no time will be lost for
examination of unsuitable devices. In the example above the specification of device number
2 means that driver will not examine devices 0 and 1, connected to bus of the first USB
controller, since these devices may happen to be, for example, a scanner and a printer.
For external optical CD/DVD-ROM drives with USB interface the NJUSBCDA.SYS
driver from Workbit Corp. may suffice. Archive BST_DOS.ZIP, containing version 3.9 of
NJUSBCDA.SYS driver (dated 2000), can be downloaded from internet site
http://www.driver.novac.co.jp/driver/sta_black/bst_drv.html . As many other CD/DVDROM drivers, NJUSBCDA.SYS accepts from command line the /D: parameter, followed
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by an arbitrary identifier (for example, /d:USBCD001) of up to 8 characters long. It is
used for drive's identification by file system translation utility – either MSCDEX.EXE
(5.08-03) or SHSUCDEX.EXE (5.08-04), one of which should be loaded afterwards. It
should be given exactly the same identifier in its command line.
The described drivers of USB devices should be loaded by DEVICE (4.06) or by
DEVICEHIGH (4.07) commands from lines of CONFIG.SYS file. Let's assume, that all
mentioned drivers are present in the \DOS\DRV directory of bootable disk; then lines for
loading these drivers may look, for example, as
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Usbaspi.sys /slow /v
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Aspidisk.sys /nospin /d /pause
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Njusbcda.sys /d:USBCD001
Parameters in the shown example are selected for loading MS-DOS7 from a device
with some other (non-USB) interface, when it is not known in advance, how many USB
controllers there are in the PC and which devices are connected to USB bus(es). But when
PC's hardware is known, and MS-DOS7 loading is performed not for the first time, then
parameters /SLOW and /PAUSE may be omitted. Besides that, loading goes faster, if
parameters specify the type of USB controller and particular devices, which should be
registered.
The described USBASPI.SYS driver, developed by Matsushita (version 2.27, file
length 39729 bytes), is often messed with synonymous driver, supplied by Novac (version
1.07, file's size 43528 bytes). The latter driver detects only the first USB controller, works
according to the USB 1.1 specification exclusively, ignores all devices with non-zero LUN
number (note 1 to appendix A.03-2), and accepts from command line a somewhat different
set of options:
/w
– display a prompt for the user, that he has to connect and to switch on
external device(s), which should be registered by USB controller.
/v
– display data about detected devices on USB bus of the first USB
controller.
/r
– don't unload driver's resident module when the first USB controller is
under control of PC's BIOS.
/m=D0 – an example of contact memory zone specification for USB controller
of OHCI class. D0 denotes segment addresses zone D000 – DFFFh.
/p=A400 – an alternative example of port address specification for USB controller
of UHCI class.
The Novac's USBASPI.SYS driver, packed into archive HD352u_dos.zip, can be
downloaded from site http://www.driver.novac.co.jp/driver/hd352u/hd352u_drv.html .
Besides the USBASPI.SYS driver itself, the HD352u_dos.zip archive contains version 2.0
of the Novac's driver Di1000dd.sys for mass storage devices. The Di1000dd.sys driver
accepts from command line parameter
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/dS
– an example of disk's letter-name ("S"), which should be appointed to
the logical disk, opened for access by the Di1000dd.sys driver.
However, letter-name appointment by the Di1000dd.sys driver goes "dirty", created
dummy disks (phantoms) are not hidden. The Di1000dd.sys driver can't cope with multiple
LUN numbers, can't provide access to disks with FAT-32 file system, to devices beyond
the bus of first USB controller, needs a media to be present in storage device(s) at the
moment of initialization. Though capabilities of both mentioned Novac's drivers seem
substantially limited, they may be sufficient for performing main data transfer operations
in computers with known hardware.
One more way of access to USB storage devices from DOS is opened by combined
driver DUSE.EXE, developed by Cypress Semiconductor. Version 4.9 of this driver (dated
2003), packed into archive Duse_4_9.zip, is available in subdirectory "downloads" of site
http://www.pocketec.net/support.taf . The DUSE.EXE driver combines USB controller
driver with driver for CD-ROMs and with driver for non-optical storage devices, including
HDDs and solid-state storage cards.
The opportunity to get all-in-one seems attractive, but is accompanied with unexpected
and unpleasant surprise. Because of a strange reason DUSE.EXE requires DOS working
in real mode only, that is without the EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02), which gives access
to UMB memory region. Having no access to UMBs, DOS is forced to load all drivers into
conventional memory (below 640 kb), and then resident module of DUSE.EXE with
default settings occupies yet more 233 kb of precious conventional memory, so that no free
space is left there for normal operation of other programs.
Some tolerable configuration can be obtained, if access to UMB region is provided in
real mode by UMBPCI.SYS driver (5.04-04) and if you decline loading of DUSE's
CD/DVD-ROM support module. Thus total size of DUSE's resident module has been
reduced to 153 kb, but all attempts to load it beyond conventional memory have failed. For
comparison: resident modules of USBASPI.SYS and ASPIDISK.SYS drivers provide
nearly the same functions, but together occupy 45 kb only and can be loaded beyond
conventional memory either in CPU's real mode or in V86 mode as well. If circumstances
will force you to use the DUSE.EXE driver, then a line in CONFIG.SYS file for loading
DUSE.EXE may look, for example, as
DEVICE=\DOS\DRV\Duse.exe NOC EMU XFER=8
where the shown options mean::
NOC
– decline loading of CD/DVD-ROM support module.
EMU
– emulate IRQ calls in order to prevent driver's mutual incompatibility.
XFER=8 – reduce buffer size to 8 kb (1 to 64 kb are allowed, default is 64 kb).
Whole list of DUSE's options can be found in file DUSEUsersGuide.pdf inside the
same archive Duse_4_9.zip. The INT option, proposed there among other options,
deserves special notice. It claims to provide an opportunity to divide external HDDs into
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
partitions with FDISK.EXE utility (6.13), but in fact doesn't. Moreover, making HDD
partitions with ASPI functions (note 5 to 6.13) was not available too, either with or
without the INT option, whereas the USBASPI.SYS driver enables to do it easily.
Two personal attempts to create sets of USB drivers for DOS became known recently.
Version 1.0 of driver's set, developed by G.Potthast, appeared in december 2006 at internet
site http://www.georgpotthast.de/usb/ . Later, in august 2009, B.Johnson has uploaded
version 0.08 of another USB driver's set at his site http://bretjohnson.us/ .
The set, developed by G.Potthast, presents drivers for USB controller, for non-optical
storage devices and for some types of USB printers. Besides drivers, it includes a number
of service utilities, enabling to detect and to fix errors of USB interface configuration. This
set of drivers can't determine actual number of USB storage devices, can't detect devices
on bus(es) of non-first USB controller(s), requires a media to be present in storage device
at the moment of initialization, provides access to the first partition only of a physical disk
and has some other considerable drawbacks.
The set, developed by B.Johnson, besides the same main drivers and some service
utilities, includes drivers for USB keyboard, for USB mouse and provides access to disks
formatted with FAT-32. USB controller must be either of UHCI or EHCI type and can be
used with 12 Mb/s transfer speed only. Probably, some drawbacks are not revealed yet,
because this set of drivers appeared in the last moment and wasn't tested thoroughly.
Despite all drawbacks of early versions, those sets of drivers, presented by G. Potthast
and by B.Johnson, are worth serious attention. Both sets are still under development, and
their future versions may be much better. But the most valuable feature of these driver's
sets is their partially opened executable code. There is a lot of interesting details for all
those who intend to have a closer deal with USB interface.
5.08
Services for installable file systems
5.08-01
IFSHLP.SYS – IFS service driver
Auxiliary driver IFSHLP.SYS provides service functions for IFS (= Installable File
Systems) procedures. IFS file system is a form of hiding real data structures and real ways
of access, enabling to avoid explicit technical complications and implement selective
access rights.
Original 16-bit access to storage devices is performed by BIOS's INT 13 handlers,
which require CPU's real mode and can't do their job indirectly, for example, via a
network. When CPU works in protected mode or in V86 mode, each call to INT 13 handler
implies a callback with switches to real mode and back. These switches make a slow 16-bit
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
access even more slower. Service functions, provided by IFSHLP.SYS driver, enable a
much faster 32-bit direct and indirect disk access without callbacks in both protected and
V86 modes. But If you intend to work in real mode only and without network
communications, then, most probably, the IFSHLP.SYS driver will not be needed.
The IFSHLP.SYS driver is present in Microsoft Network Client packet, and also in
Windows-3.11\95\98\ME releases. MS-DOS7 searches in the \Windows directory for the
IFSHLP.SYS driver and loads it by default, unless default loading is forbidden by
DOS=NOAUTO command (4.08) in CONFIG.SYS file.
5.08-02
NTFSDOS.EXE – NTFS file system translator
An opportunity of access from DOS to disks with NTFS file system is provided by
driver NTFSDOS.EXE, written by Mark Russinovich and Bryce Cogswell. Full-functional
versions of this driver (latest the 5-th) were not free. Here a freeware version 3.02 (dated
2001) is described, which enables only reading NTFS volumes, including reading
programs into memory for execution. However, NTFSDOS driver and several other
helpful items disappeared from their author's personal site since 2006, when the authors
joined Microsoft's developers team. Now archive Ntfs30r.zip containing NTFSDOS.EXE
driver is still available from, for example, server ftp://ftp.uni-koeln.de/pc/msdos/diskutils/
and from http://web.archive.org/web/20020123013310/www.sysinternals.com/new.shtml .
It's just the moment to remind, that Windows-2000/XP installation program, being
launched from a CD-ROM disc, gives an opportunity to open the so called Recovery
Console. Default settings of the Recovery Console enable writing to NTFS volumes, but
prohibit copying of file(s) from NTFS volumes. Consequently, version 3.02 of the
NTFSDOS.EXE driver enables to do just what is not allowed by Recovery Console.
The NTFSDOS.EXE driver uses XMS-memory and therefore needs the HIMEM.SYS
driver (5.04-01) to be loaded beforehand. Besides that, NTFSDOS.EXE needs much space
in conventional memory. In particular, for access to a 10 Gb NTFS disk the
NTFSDOS.EXE driver occupies 285 kb of conventional memory. Because of such
memory requirements it's not reasonable to keep the NTFSDOS.EXE driver constantly
loaded. Therefore it is loaded from command line just before access to NTFS disk becomes
necessary, for example:
C:\DOS\DRV\Ntfsdos.exe /L:K /C:1024 /N /X /U /V
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to NTFSDOS.EXE driver.
/L:K
– an option, assigning the "K" letter-name to the first found NTFS disk.
The next NTFS disks, if there are any, will be given next letter-names
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
after "K". If /L: parameter is omitted, NTFS disk(s) name assignment
will start from the first free letter-name.
/C:1024 – an option, forcing to create a 1024 kb cache buffer in XMS memory.
Default cache buffer size is 500 kb.
/N
– this option prevents loading of decompression module. It is not needed,
when NTFS volume contains no compressed fragments. The /N option
decreases conventional memory requirements.
/X
– this option forbids usage of extended INT 13 functions (8.01-55). The
/X parameter should be specified for old PCs, produced before 1996
and having a HDD not larger than 8.4 Gb.
/U
– this option enables translation of names written in unicode (two bytes
per character).
/V
– this option forces to display driver's memory usage. By default
assigned disk's letter-names only are displayed.
Note 1: NTFSDOS.EXE driver loads handlers, enabling to read long names of files and
directories in NTFS volume(s). Non-truncated names are displayed by Volcov
Commander file manager (6.25) and can be got by any program, which is able to
address the mentioned handlers. However, file copying commands and utilities in
DOS truncate long names.
Note 2: attempts of access to disk(s) with damaged NTFS file system may cause PC's
hanging. Suspected NTFS file system should be checked and fixed in advance by
CHKDSK procedure, provided by Recovery Console.
5.08-03
MSCDEX.EXE – optical disc's file system translator
MSCDEX.EXE is a resident program, which cooperates with one or more CD/DVDROM drivers, enables disk's letter-names assignment and access to the associated logical
disks. In fact it is a file system translator for CD-ROM's file systems "High Sierra" and
ISO 9660, which differ from those "understandable" to DOS' core.
The MSCDEX.EXE program is contained in Windows-95/98 releases and normally
can be found in \Windows\Command directory. MSCDEX.EXE should be loaded after all
necessary CD-ROM drivers, but before SMARTDRV.EXE (5.06-01) cache driver, if the
latter is used. Most often the MSCDEX.EXE program is loaded from CONFIG.SYS file
with INSTALL (4.15) or INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command, but may be launched from
AUTOEXEC.BAT file with LH command (3.17) or just from command line, for example:
C:\DOS\DRV\Mscdex.exe /D:MSCD001 /e /k /s /v /L:N /M:12
where:
C:\DOS\DRV\ – path example to MSCDEX.EXE file.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/D:MSCD001 – is an example of arbitrary identifier ("MSCD001") of up to 8
characters long for association with a particular CD/DVD-ROM
driver, which must be loaded yet and must be given the same identifier
in its command line. If there are several CD/DVD-ROM drivers, these
must be given different identifiers, and each must be specified after a
separate /D: parameter in command line loading MSCDEX.EXE.
/e
– this option gives preference to arrangement of buffers beyond
conventional memory, provided that access beyond conventional
memory is opened yet by EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02).
/k
– this option gives preference to secondary volume descriptor with
Japanese characters (Kanji), if it can be found. By default primary
descriptor is used, secondary descriptor even is not searched for.
/s
– this option forces to make preparations for subsequent loading of
network server software; this helps to avoid letter-name allocation
conflicts and enables sharing of CD-ROM logical disks.
/v
– display information about status of CD-ROM drives.
/L:N
– optional assignment of letter-name "N:" to the drive, which
corresponds to the first /D:MSCD001 identifier; drive(s) related to
the following identifier(s), if there are any, will be given the next letternames. By default CD/DVD drive(s) are given the nearest spare letternames, but MSCDEX.EXE can't exceed the limit, set by
LASTDRIVE command (4.17) in CONFIG.SYS file.
/M:12
– is an example of reserving 24 kb of memory for arranging 12 buffers
(2048 bytes each) in order to increase reading speed; figures between 4
and 64 are recommended, 12 is the default.
Note 1: resident module of MSCDEX.EXE program accepts other program's requests via
INT 2F\AX=1500–150Fh (8.03-13 – 8.03-19).
5.08-04
SHSUCDX.COM – optical disc's file system translator
In recent years several amendments to CD/DVD-ROM file system specifications have
been adopted, stipulating usage of long filenames. The MSCDEX.EXE program (5.08-03)
can't cope with modified file systems on optical discs: it shows truncated long names, but
gives no access to such files. This drawback isn't inherent to SHSUCDX.COM program;
except this, SHSUCDX.COM is a close functional equivalent of MSCDEX.EXE.
Development of SHSUCDX.COM program has been started by John McCoy and now is
continued by Jason Hood. Archive Shcdx302.zip, containing version 3.02 (dated 2005) of
SHSUCDX.COM program, can be downloaded from http://www.shsucdx.adoxa.cjb.net/ .
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
The SHSUCDX.COM program can be loaded from a line of AUTOEXEC.BAT file
by LH command (3.17) or just from command line, but usually it is loaded by INSTALL
(4.15) or by INSTALLHIGH (4.16) command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for
example:
INSTALLHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Shsucdx.com /D:?CD001,N,0,2 /~+ /R /Q
where
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to SHSUCDX.COM file
/D:?CD001 – specification of an arbitrary identifier ("CD001") of up to 8
characters long for association with a particular CD/DVD-ROM
driver, which must be loaded yet and must be given the same identifier
in its command line. If there are several CD/DVD-ROM drivers, these
must be given different identifiers, and each must be specified after a
separate /D: parameter in command line loading SHSUCDX.COM.
The question mark preceding the identifier marks those drives, which
may be absent in some configurations, since PC's hardware may be not
known beforehand.
,N,0,2
– a group of options for that CD/DVD-ROM driver, which is given the
same identifier after the /D: parameter. The first letter ("N") is an
example of letter-name to be appointed to the corresponding logical
disc. The second digit ("0") is an example of disc drive number in a list
of disc drives, controlled by this driver. The third digit ("2") is number
example of disc drives, accepted by SHSUCDX.COM program from
this driver. By default all disc drives will be accepted, and next disc
drives will get letter-names, following the specified letter-name or the
first spare letter-name.
/~+
– this option forces to insert the tilde sign ( ~ ) as the last character in
long names, truncated to standard length (8 characters). Action of this
option may be cancelled later by launching the SHSUCDX.COM
program from command line with inverse parameter /~–.
/R
– this option prescribes to take off the "Read only" attribute from files,
copied from non-writable optical discs.
/Q
– this option forbids display of status message, the letter-name
appointment(s) only will be displayed. If you want just nothing to be
displayed, you should specify the /QQ parameter instead.
Besides the parameters shown above, SHSUCDX.COM program can accept the following
options:
/L:N
– an alternative form of prescription to appoint the specified letter-name
("N") to the first optical disc drive, taken under control of
SHSUCDX.COM program. The next disc drives, if there are any, will
be given next letter-names. The /L: parameter is equivalent to
synonymous parameter of MSCDEX.EXE program (5.08-03). The
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/C
/V
/U
SHSUCDX.COM program accepts the /L: parameter if only
additional group of options to the /D: parameter is not specified.
– load resident module of SHSUCDX.COM program into conventional
memory. By default resident module is loaded in UMB address space,
if it is accessible.
– show some more details in displayed status message. Having been
loaded in advance, SHSUCDX.COM program can be launched with
this parameter once more from command line. Obviously, the /V
parameter is incompatible with /Q and /QQ parameters.
– unload resident module of SHSUCDX.COM program from memory.
This parameter is accepted from command line only, provided that
resident module is loaded yet. Unloading releases occupied memory
and disables all logical disks, controlled by that resident module.
Note 1: data transfers, arranged by SHSUCDX.COM program, are not supported by
SMARTDRV.EXE cache buffer driver (5.06-01), but are supported by
UIDE.SYS cache buffer driver (note 3 to 5.06-01).
5.09
Drivers for optical disc drives
Optical disc drives with different interfaces usually need different drivers. Some
drivers for optical disc drives with SCSI and USB interfaces are mentioned in articles
5.07-03 and 5.07-05. But in AT-compatible PCs a vast majority of internal disc drives has
the IDE (ATA) interface, and drivers for such disc drives are presented here, in part 5.09.
Popular types of motherboards are equipped with two IDE controllers. Each of them
enables to connect two devices, which may be optical disc drive(s) and magnetic hard disk
drive(s) as well. Connection of optical and magnetic drives to one IDE controller is
allowed, but can't be recommended, since relatively slow optical disc drives cause
reduction of total data transfer rate. It's better to connect optical device(s) to a separate
IDE controller, which must be enabled in settings of BIOS Setup program.
In modern PCs the BIOS Setup programs propose several operation modes for IDE
controllers, including that with polling serial ATA buses only (S-ATA). Since most optical
disc drives have parallel ATA interface, a compatible operation mode should be preferred.
If BIOS Setup program enables to affect direct memory access (UltraDMA), then an
ordinary mode of IDE access should be set ("Legacy IDE mode"). These settings guarantee
proper operation of optical disc drives and drivers in modern PCs under MS-DOS7.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
5.09-01
OAKCDROM.SYS – CD-ROM driver from OTI Corp.
The OAKCDROM.SYS driver is developed by Oak Technology for CD-ROM disc
drives with standard IDE interface. OAKCDROM.SYS file, dated 1997, is present in
WINDOWS-95/98 emergency diskettes. The same version of OAKCDROM.SYS can be
downloaded from site http://www.computerhope.com/download/hardware.htm#02 .
In modern PCs, equipped with a DVD drive, the OAKCDROM.SYS driver enables
access to both CD and DVD discs. But in PCs, produced before 2003, presence of a DVD
drive is not enough, since BIOS system may provide no support for ATAPI protocol (see
5.07-01 for details), and then OAKCDROM.SYS will enable access to CD discs only. In
such computers access to DVD discs is still possible, but requires ATAPI protocol support
module to be installed in advance by ATAPIMGR.SYS driver (5.07-01).
The OAKCDROM.SYS driver should be loaded by DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH
(4.07) command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Oakcdrom.sys /D:MSCD001 /V
where:
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to OAKCDROM.SYS driver.
/D:MSCD001 – announcement of an arbitrary identifier up to 8 characters long.
This identifier enables recognition of the driver by MSCDEX.EXE
program (5.08-03) or by SHSUCDX.COM program (5.08-04). One of
these should be loaded afterwards, and it must be given the same /D:
parameter followed by exactly the same identifier in its command line.
/V
– this option causes status message display.
The OAKCDROM.SYS driver is able to search for CD/DVD-ROM disc drives
throughout all IDE-controllers having typical port addresses (1F0h, 170h) and typical
interrupt request (IRQ) line numbers. If PC is equipped with several such disc drives, the
OAKCDROM.SYS driver will take under its control all drives, which will be found.
5.09-02
VIDE-CDD.SYS – CD-ROM driver from Acer Co.
Version 2.14 of the VIDE-CDD.SYS driver, dated 1998, is a close functional
equivalent of OAKCDROM.SYS driver (5.09-01), but VIDE-CDD.SYS is more compact
(size 11.8 kb) and can accept port address(es) together with IRQ line number(s) from
command line. The latter feature is important when non-standard interface specifications
are used, and search for disc drives must be avoided. SFX archive Apicd214.exe,
containing VIDE-CDD.SYS driver, can be downloaded via internet, for example, from
ftp://ftp.benq.co.uk/cd-rom/drivers/apicd214.exe .
If PC's BIOS doesn't support ATAPI protocol, then VIDE-CDD.SYS can provide
access to DVD discs, but needs the ATAPIMGR.SYS driver (5.07-01) to be loaded in
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
advance. VIDE-CDD.SYS must be loaded from a line in CONFIG.SYS file with DEVICE
(4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07) command, for example:
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Vide-cdd.sys /D:MSCD001 /P:170,15
where:
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to VIDE-CDD.SYS driver.
/D:MSCD001 – announcement of an arbitrary identifier up to 8 characters long.
This identifier enables recognition of the driver by MSCDEX.EXE
program (5.08-03) or by SHSUCDX.COM program (5.08-04). One of
these should be loaded afterwards, and it must be given the same /D:
parameter followed by exactly the same identifier in its command line.
/P:170,15 – an optional specification for port base address and for interrupt
request line number (IRQ).
There may be more than one /P parameter specified in one line. When at least one /P
parameter is given, all other port addresses and IRQ line numbers will not be examined.
When /P parameter is omitted, a search for CD/DVD-ROM drives will be initialized
throughout all typical IDE port addresses and IRQ line numbers: /P:1F0,14, /P:170,15,
/P:1E8,12, /P:168,10 (A.14-1). The VIDE-CDD.SYS driver will take under its control all
optical disc drives, which will be found.
5.09-03
QCDROM.SYS – a freeware CD/DVD-ROM driver
Version 4.2 of QCDROM.SYS driver was developed in 2007 by J. R.Ellis on the basis
of his earlier driver XCDROM.SYS. Contrary to the latter, the QCDROM.SYS driver is
able to provide access to DVD discs and doesn't need ATAPI protocol support neither
from PC's BIOS, nor from ATAPIMGR.SYS driver. The QCDROM.SYS driver can
control up to three CD/DVD-ROM drives, connected to IDE controller(s) with standard
port base address(es) and standard interrupt request line(s): 1F0h with IRQ 14 and/or 170h
with IRQ 15.
The QCDROM.SYS driver, packed into archive QCDROM42.ZIP, can be
downloaded from internet site http://cyberia.dnsalias.com/Cyb.05.Htm .
QCDROM.SYS should be loaded by DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07)
command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Qcdrom.sys /D:MSCD001 /L
where:
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to QCDROM.SYS driver.
/D:MSCD001 – announcement of an arbitrary identifier up to 8 characters long.
This identifier enables recognition of the driver by MSCDEX.EXE
program (5.08-03) or by SHSUCDX.COM program (5.08-04). One of
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
/L
these should be loaded afterwards, and it must be given the same /D:
parameter followed by exactly the same identifier in its command line.
If the /D: parameter is omitted, QCDROM.SYS will appoint default
identifier QCDROM1.
– this option prescribes to refrain from direct memory access (DMA)
beyond conventional memory (640 kb). This may be necessary, when
PC's memory controller doesn't support DMA access to UMB memory
region, while UMBs are opened for ordinary access, for example, by
UMBPCI.SYS driver (5.04-04). If the /L option is specified, then data
transfer is performed via a buffer in XMS-memory; therefore in this
case the HIMEM.SYS driver (5.04-01) must be loaded in advance.
Besides the shown parameters, QCDROM.SYS driver can accept from command line the
following options:
/A
– forces to use old alternate IDE controller addresses 01E8h–01EFh on
primary channel, and 0168h-016Fh on secondary channel. This may
be required for "odd" SATA BIOS or other unusual cases.
/I
– forces QCDROM.SYS to arrange its own XMS buffer. This enables
to avoid possible conflicts with "odd" DMA and BIOS services.
/UF
– prescription to enable accelerated direct memory access (UltraDMA).
Feasibility of UltraDMA is confirmed for many motherboard's
chipsets, but not for all. A check whether the /UF parameter is
permissible can be recommended for each particular case.
/UX
– refrain from UltraDMA usage, even if both disc drive and
motherboard claim support for UltraDMA. The /UX option is used for
diagnostics and testing purposes. When /UX option is specified, the
QCDROM.SYS driver doesn't need XMS memory.
/PM
– (= Primary Master): don't search for disc drives, but check presence of
master disc drive only on the bus of primary IDE controller.
/PS
– (= Primary Slave): don't search for disc drives, but check presence of
slave disc drive only on the bus of primary IDE controller.
/SM
– (= Secondary Master): don't search for disc drives, but check presence
of master disc drive only on the bus of secondary IDE controller.
/SS
– (= Secondary Slave): don't search for disc drives, but check presence
of slave disc drive only on the bus of secondary IDE controller.
Up to three parameters, prohibiting search for disc drives, may be specified in one
command line. Disc drives will be numerated according to order of corresponding
parameters in command line. If specified checks don't reveal presence of disc drive(s), then
all other optical disc drives will be ignored, and resident module of QCDROM.SYS driver
wouldn't be loaded.
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Chapter 5 Selected drivers for MS-DOS7
5.09-04
DVS.SYS – CD/DVD-ROM driver from DVS Corp.
The DVS.SYS driver has been developed in 1999 by Digital Video Systems Corp.
DVS.SYS driver is able to provide access to DVD discs and doesn't need ATAPI protocol
support neither from PC's BIOS, nor from ATAPIMGR.SYS driver. Version 1.1 of
DVS.SYS driver, packed into SFX archive Drdvdwd.exe, can be downloaded from internet
site http://web.archive.org/web/20030212210152/www.dr-tech.com/drivers/cdroms.html .
The DVS.SYS driver should be loaded by DEVICE (4.06) or DEVICEHIGH (4.07)
command from a line of CONFIG.SYS file, for example:
DEVICEHIGH=\DOS\DRV\Dvs.sys /D:MSCD001
where:
\DOS\DRV\
– path example to DVS.SYS driver.
/D:MSCD001 – announcement of an arbitrary identifier up to 8 characters long.
This identifier enables recognition of the driver by MSCDEX.EXE
program (5.08-03) or by SHSUCDX.COM program (5.08-04). One of
these should be loaded afterwards, and it must be given the same /D:
parameter followed by exactly the same identifier in its command line.
The DVS.SYS driver is able to search for disc drives, but performs search more
slowly, than other similar drivers. An experiment has confirmed, that DVS.SYS driver can
take under its control at least two optical disc drives, connected to either of IDE controllers
with standard specifications of port base addresses and interrupt request line numbers
(1F0h with IRQ 14 and/or 170h with IRQ 15).
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Chapter 6.
6.01
6.02
6.03
6.04
6.05
6.06
6.07
6.08
6.09
6.10
6.11
6.12
6.13
Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Attrib.exe
Chkdsk.exe
Choice.com
Command.com
Debug.exe
Diskcopy.com
Doskey.com
Deltree.exe
Edit.com
Expand.exe
Extract.exe
Fc.exe
Fdisk.exe
138
138
139
141
143
162
163
165
166
168
169
171
172
6.14
6.15
6.16
6.17
6.18
6.19
6.20
6.21
6.22
6.23
6.24
6.25
6.26
Find.exe
Format.com
Label.exe
Mem.exe
Mode.com
More.com
Move.exe
Scandisk.exe
Sort.exe
Subst.exe
Sys.com
Vc.com
Xcopy.exe
174
176
178
179
179
182
183
184
186
187
188
189
204
Functions of command interpreter in MS-DOS7 are complemented and extended by
separate executable files (utilities). Several utilities for DOS are supplied within
Windows-95/98 OS release. If the origin of utility is not specified explicitly in this chapter,
hence, it is one of these Microsoft's utilities, which normally can be found in
\Windows\Command directory. Besides these, many other utilities can be successfully used
in MS-DOS7, including those from previous versions of DOS and those written by various
private and non-private software vendors.
MS-DOS utilities contain internal help text. It can be displayed, when the utility is
launched from command line with a single "/?" parameter. Rarely other utilities can be
encountered, which display help text when are launched with "–h" parameter or without
parameters at all.
Some MS-DOS utilities request DOS version number and wouldn't perform their
mission, if the number, returned by DOS, isn't equal to the expected one. It is not
necessarily caused by incompatibility: most such version-specific utilities successfully
operate under MS-DOS7, when the Setver.exe driver (5.01-02) substitutes expected
version number from its table for the actual DOS version number.
Mismatch of DOS version numbers may cause a problem of other kind: when a
synonymous utility, belonging to a different DOS version, is encountered in the current
directory, the proper utility from MS-DOS7 can't be addressed via the PATH
environmental variable (2.02-02), because DOS begins its search in the current directory
and finds the improper utility first. In MS-DOS7 version-specific utilities are: Attrib.exe,
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Chkdsk.exe, Command.com, Debug.exe, Diskcopy.com, Doskey.com, Fc.exe, Find.exe,
Format.com, Label.exe, Mem.exe, Mode.com, Sort.exe, Subst.exe, Xcopy.exe. There is
one obvious solution for this problem: name of each version-specific utility in command
line should be preceded by full path. It will be wise to prepare special batch files or file
manager's menu entries for execution of version-specific utilities with properly specified
paths (examples –- in 9.03).
Most examples of utilities usage, presented in this chapter, contain no path
specifications. It's implied, that the Setver.exe driver, the PATH environmental variable
value and file's placements are prepared in advance so, that each particular utility can be
called just by name.
6.01
ATTRIB.EXE – attribute changing utility
In directories each file is represented by a record (A.09-1). Attribute byte 0Bh in this
record specifies file's status and rights of access (A.09-2). Attribute byte 0Bh in record(s),
related to particular file(s), can be changed by ATTRIB.EXE utility, launched, for
example, in the following way:
Attrib.exe +R –A C:\DOS\COM\*.txt /S
where:
+R –A
– set attribute R (read-only) and remove attribute A (prescribed for
archiving); there may up to four attributes specified: A, H (hidden), R
and S (system), each preceded by "+" (to be set up) or "–" (to be
removed). Attributes, which are not mentioned, remain unchanged.
C:\DOS\COM\*.txt
– an example of path and mask specifications for the files
to be processed (= all textual files in C:\DOS\COM directory). If path
is not specified, files in current directory are implied. A particular
filename may be used instead of a mask.
/S
– this option prescribes to continue the search for file(s) to be processed
in subdirectories of the specified (or of implied current) directory.
Note 1: if attributes are not specified in command line, the ATTRIB.EXE utility shows
which of the requested files have been found and displays a summary of their
features, including attributes.
6.02
CHKDSK.EXE – disks checking tool
CHKDSK.EXE is a utility for analyzing and repairing FAT (File Allocation Tables)
on diskettes and on hard disk drives, formatted with file systems FAT12, FAT16 or
FAT32. By comparing data in first and second FAT tables (and in directories as well),
CHKDSK.EXE reveals crosslinks and lost clusters. The latter are transformed into files
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
with *.CHK suffix, written in the root directory of the same disk. Having finished the
check, CHKDSK.EXE shows a summary of results.
Being executed without parameters, CHKDSK.EXE checks the current disk with
default settings. Besides this, you may specify the following options:
Chkdsk.exe C: /F /V
where:
C:
/F
/V
– specification example for the disk to be checked.
– permission to fix the found errors at once.
– prescription to display name of every processed file with full path.
Note 1: the SCANDISK.EXE utility (6.21) performs the all the checks which
CHKDSK.EXE does, and some extra checks besides that. Therefore
CHKDSK.EXE is worthy only as an information utility, displaying summary of
disk's usage.
Note 2: CHKDSK.EXE shouldn't be applied to network drives, CD-ROMs, and to virtual
disks, arranged by utilities Assign.com, Subst.exe and Join.exe.
Note 3: the CHKDSK.EXE utility doesn't check whether the files are readable or
damaged.
Note 4: the CHKDSK.EXE utility with /F parameter shouldn't be applied to disks
suspected of being infected by virus: an antivirus program should be applied first.
Note 5: the CHKDSK.EXE utility shouldn't be applied to disks having from 4085 to 4087
clusters, because it may report nonexistent errors in such disks, and an attempt to
fix these errors may destroy stored data.
6.03
CHOICE.COM – choice input utility
The CHOICE.COM utility is intended for arranging interactive menu in the course of
batch file(s) execution by command interpreter. CHOICE.COM accepts a character, sent
from keyboard or via redirection, and then sets ERRORLEVEL value (3.15-03, 9.07-03)
according to the number of the accepted character in a succession of prescribed
alternatives. Here is an example of CHOICE.COM usage, charged with its main mission:
Choice.com /C:YNC /T:C,10 Yes, No or Continue
where the options are::
/C:YNC – the /C: parameter introduces a list of characters to be accepted.
Returned errorlevel value corresponds to the order of accepted
character in this sequence example: Y – 1, N – 2, C – 3. When the /C:
option is not specified, default is YN ( Y – 1, N – 2 ).
/T:C,10 – set waiting time limit 10 seconds (0 – 99 allowed) and then, if no key
is pressed, take the C choice as default (errorlevel 3 in this example).
When time limit is not set, CHOICE.COM will wait indefinitely. Time
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
limit 0 forces to make default choice at once: thus the CHOICE.COM
utility can be used to set errorlevel.
Yes, No or Continue
– an example of a optional prompt to be displayed just
before waiting time begins. If final part of line contains a group of
words, not preceded by a slash, this group of words will be displayed
as prompt message.
Just before prompt message two more optional parameters may be specified:
/S
– treat choice characters as case sensitive.
/N
– don't append displayed prompt message with a list of alternative
choices and with question mark.
Errorlevel values, returned by CHOICE.COM, remain intact during execution of
interpreter's internal commands and may be taken into account in order to affect further
course of batch file interpretation. Errorlevel values can be examined in the following lines
of batch file by a succession of "if errorlevel" conditions (3.15-03) or else within a FOR
cycle (3.13), assigning errorlevel value to an environmental variable, for example:
FOR %%Z in (1 2 3) DO if errorlevel %%Z set Err=%%Z
In a similar way the FOR cycle can be used to perform conditional jumps with
"GOTO L%%Z" command, but for this purpose the expected errorlevel values in
parenthesis should be enlisted in reverse order.
Quite different application for CHOICE.COM utility is word parsing. The word to be
parsed may be, for example, a path, if you have to check writability of specified disk,
existence of each directory in the path, etc. Let's assume that file CHECK.BAT contains
an analyzing program, which needs the word to be presented letter-by-letter. For this
purpose the CHOICE.COM utility should be used as follows:
ECHO ; | Choice /S /C:;Anyword; Call Check.bat > Temp.bat
Call Temp.bat
Here the word to be parsed (example: Anyword) is enclosed in semicolons, which
guarantee proper separation of first and last letters. Besides this, semicolons guarantee
non-stop execution because of presence of redirected answer (ECHO ;) among allowable
alternatives. Prompt message is represented by group of words "Call CHECK.BAT".
Being sent to STDOUT, this output message will be redirected into temporary file
TEMP.BAT. After execution of the first line the created TEMP.BAT file will contain the
following string:
Call Check.bat [;,A,n,y,w,o,r,d,;]?
The second of the shown lines calls execution of the TEMP.BAT file. During this
execution all letters of the word to be parsed will be presented to CHECK.BAT as its
parameters (from %2 and on) and can be analyzed separately one-by-one.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Note 1: if user breaks batch execution by pressing CTRL-BREAK or CTRL-C key
combinations, then CHOICE.COM utility returns errorlevel 0.
Note 2: when user presses any other key instead of those expected, CHOICE.COM sends
a beep signal (the 07h control symbol) to the console.
Note 3: when CHOICE.COM encounters any error, it returns errorlevel 255.
6.04
COMMAND.COM – command interpreter
Command interpreter COMMAND.COM is a resident program, which presents
command prompt, enables execution of commands from command line and automatic
execution of commands from batch files as well. File COMMAND.COM contains code of
all internal commands, specified in chapter 3.
COMMAND.COM gets control over PC at final booting stage, when IO.SYS
interpreter executes the SHELL command (4.26) in CONFIG.SYS file. This first
execution loads resident module of COMMAND.COM and arranges its primary (parent)
environment with global variables. After that each next execution COMMAND.COM
creates a derived (child) environment, inheriting copies of all the variables from the former
(parent's) environment.
Contrary to ordinary utilities, COMMAND.COM leaves no reference in its PSP (=
Program Segment Prefix, A.07-1) to the parent's PSP, so the parent's environment is
preserved hidden with no legal access. Repeated execution of COMMAND.COM enables
to change local environmental variables and execute application files otherwise (run stepby-step, for example). Having accomplished its mission, the last loaded resident module of
COMMAND.COM can be unloaded out of memory with EXIT command (3.12). Then its
derived (child) environment becomes lost with all its variables, active state of the former
(parent) resident module is restored, and the former (parent) environment again becomes
accessible.
Here is an example of loading the command interpreter, in particular, for step-by-step
execution of a single batch file:
Command.com C:\dos\ CON /E:1008 /L:512 /U:255 /Y /C R:\Trial.bat
where:
C:\dos\
CON
– an example of a path to COMMAND.COM file. This path (with final
backslash!) is used to compile a value of
%COMSPEC%
environmental variable in the new environment. The path item should
precede all other parameters. If the path is omitted, then
%COMSPEC% variable will inherit its value from the parent
environment.
– an example of device specification for I/O operations. CON stands for
console, that is display for output plus keyboard for input. CON is the
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
default device, therefore its specification may be omitted. Other device
specifications (3.07) are allowed too, but the chosen device must be
ready to support interactive activity of COMMAND.COM.
/E:1008 – optional prescription to reserve 1008 bytes of memory for
environmental variables (256 – 32768 allowed). Default environment's
size is that sufficient for all inherited variables, but not less than 160
bytes.
/L:512 – optional specification of internal buffer's size in bytes (128 – 1024 is
allowed, 256 is the default). This size must be large enough for
placement of command line with all substitutions of explicit values and
commands.
/U:255 – optional specification of input buffer size in bytes (128 – 255 is
allowed, 128 is the default). This size sets maximum length of original
command line (before alias substitutions are made).
/Y
– this option forces step-by-step interpretation of lines in batch files.
When used together with /P parameter (permanent loading, see below),
the /Y option is ignored.
/C
– this optional parameter announces, that the following name is a name
of a program to be executed, and that the interpreter's resident module
must automatically unload itself after execution of this program. /K or
/P parameters should be used instead of /C if the interpreter's resident
module ought to stay loaded. The /K parameter does the same, but
enables to unload resident module later with EXIT command (3.12).
The /P parameter doesn't announce a name of a program, it denotes
permanent loading of interpreter's resident module with EXIT
command disabled. The /P parameter must be the last in command
line, when COMMAND.COM is loaded for the first time with SHELL
command (4.26) from a line of CONFIG.SYS file.
R:\Trial.bat – a name example for a file to be executed by COMMAND.COM
interpreter. Name of an executable file may be specified after the /C
or /K parameter, which must be the last COMMAND.COM's
parameter in command line. All following parameters, if there are any,
will be regarded as belonging to the specified executable file.
Besides the shown parameters, COMMAND.COM interpreter accepts the following
options:
/MSG
– load error message texts into memory. In case of an error, which
hinders reading of message texts from disk, this option ensures display
of an adequate error message.
/LOW
– this option forces to load command interpreter's resident module into
conventional memory (below 640 kb). The /LOW parameter is used
together with /P parameter for permanent loading.
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/F
/Z
– this option prescribes to skip query on possible error(s) and to go on as
in the case of user's answer "Fail". The /F parameter is active only
when used together with /C parameter for execution of a single
command. But the FOR command (3.13) keeps the /F parameter active
over all operations of a cycle, and the CALL command (3.02) keeps it
active over all operations in a secondary batch file.
– this option forces to display errorlevel value after execution of any
utility, which returns errorlevel value.
Note 1: the /C parameter affects keyboard functions used to terminate execution of batch
files (1.03).
Note 2: when COMMAND.COM is loaded permanently with /P parameter, its first
default task is interpretation of AUTOEXEC.BAT file, which is implied to exist
in the root directory of the current disk.
Note 3: when execution of AUTOEXEC.BAT is launched implicitly via the SHELL
command (4.26), then the %0 parameter inside AUTOEXEC.BAT can't be used
to initiate recursion.
Note 4: having been loaded with /K parameter, COMMAND.COM is able to accept
commands from other processes or from command file(s) via input redirection
(see 2.04-02, 2.04-05, and also note 1 to part's 6.05 introduction article).
Note 5: being executed, batch files (with *.BAT suffix) share a common environment with
their interpreter COMMAND.COM. Ordinary executable files (with *.COM or
*.EXE suffix) get a copy of that environment.
6.05
DEBUG.EXE – debugger and mini-assembler
DEBUG.EXE is a specialized command interpreter (debugger), written by Tim
Patterson as an instrument for creation of that operating system, which later has been
bought by Microsoft and became known as first version of MS-DOS. DEBUG.EXE helps
to find out and to fix errors in both program's executable code and PC's hardware settings.
Capabilities of DEBUG.EXE are not limited to a set of its internal commands, because
these commands enable to assemble just any machine code and to execute it at once. Of
course, DEBUG.EXE is not a tool for writing complex programs; it can't compete with
high-level languages. But circumstances dictate other criteria, when you can't rely on
known compilers, when you have to examine something or to clear up. If you do it with
DEBUG.EXE in CPU's real mode, then all AT-compatible computers obediently submit
themselves at your disposal. You'll get direct access to disks, to ports, to memory and to
code inside executable files.
Command line for launching DEBUG.EXE may include name of a file to be loaded
just at start and prepared for debugging, for example:
Debug.exe Trial.com /B /S
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
where:
Trial.com – an example of a file to be examined, and all following items ( "/B /S"
in this example) are regarded as options for this file (but not for
debugger itself!). These options are written into file's PSP (= Program
Segment Prefix) just as it is done when the file is loaded for execution
by interpreter COMMAND.COM. Exact layout of the file in RAM
depends on file's suffix (more about that – in article 6.05-10).
If the file to be loaded is not specified in command line, it may be defined and loaded
later with debugger's internal commands "N" (6.05-12) and "L" (6.05-10). The retarded
loading gives an opportunity to start code's layout from an arbitrary address. This is
important, in particular, for assembling and debugging drivers (details – in article
6.05-18).
Just as COMMAND.COM interpreter, DEBUG.EXE activates command line editing
keys (1.05) and accepts commands from command line. If there is any redirected input
(2.04-02), DEBUG accepts it as a sequence of commands instead of commands from
keyboard. This feature enables to write command sequences into textual command file(s)
and then send it to DEBUG.EXE for automatic execution:
Debug.exe < Cmnd_txt.scr
All specifications of the code to be loaded or written may be included into such command
files (examples – in articles 9.02, 9.06, 9.08, 9.10).
Note 1: when interpreter accepts redirected commands from a command file, it loses
communication with keyboard via the STDIN channel, and hence data input can't
be performed by interrupts INT 21\AH=01h, 06h, 07h, 08h, 0Ah (8.02-02,
8.02-04, 8.02-06). Because of the same reason the interpreter may hang, if there
is no command to restore communication with keyboard in the last line of
command file. Most often this mission is performed by the "Q" command,
terminating each debugger's session. Another way to restore communication with
keyboard without termination of debugger's session is shown in article 9.07-02.
Note 2: an enhanced modification of DEBUG.EXE is developed by Paul Vojta. The main
difference from original Microsoft's debugger is that enhanced modification is
able to "understand" machine commands of modern processors. Archive
Debug113.zip, containing version 1.13 (2008) of the enhanced debugger, can be
downloaded from site http://www.japheth.de/dwnload4.html . If not specified
otherwise, all following articles in part 6.05 are equally applicable to Paul Vojta's
enhanced debugger.
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6.05-01
DEBUG.EXE: commands and addresses
Having been started, DEBUG.EXE presents its "–" (hyphen) prompt. It means that
DEBUG.EXE is ready to accept a command.
Debugger's commands consist of a one-letter or two-letter instruction name, which may
be followed by parameters, separated by space(s) or by comma(s). Separators may be
omitted, if their absence in any particular position doesn't cause ambiguity. DEBUG.EXE
treats numbers as hexadecimal, upper and lower case letters as identical; the only
exception from this rule is data comparison with SEARCH command (6.05-16).
Most often the first parameter following command's name specifies a start point
memory address. It may be presented in full form – as a segment address and offset (for
example, 1FA5:0100), or with an explicit reference to a segment register (for example,
CS:0100), or in a short form – as an offset only (for example, 0100). In the latter case
segment will be defined by CS (Code Segment) register for "A" (Assemble), "G" (Go), "L"
(Load), "P" (Proceed), "T" (Trace), "U" (Unassemble) and "W" (Write) commands; for
other commands it will be defined by DS (Data Segment) register. Offset specifications
less than 4 digits long are regarded as having preceding zero(s). For example, offset 100 is
interpreted as 0100h.
Initial segment address in all segment registers is the same, allocated by DOS on
request of DEBUG.EXE in order to lay the code, which is to be debugged. This code will
be written not just from the start of the allocated segment, but from a certain shifted point,
defined by offset in IP (=Instruction Pointer) register. Initial setting for offset is 0100h (i.e.
256 decimal). Reserved 256 bytes at the start of allocated segment are known as PSP =
Program Segment Prefix (details – in appendix A.07-1).
If action of debugger's command is directed to a group of bytes, then this group is
defined either by its start point address and length or by start point address
(segment:offset) and end point offset. Parameter, specifying size (length) of a group, is
marked by preceding letter "L" – for example, L20 specifies a group of 20h bytes. Sum of
start offset and length must not exceed FFFFh. If a hexadecimal number in place of length
specification is not preceded by letter "L", it is interpreted as end point offset inside the
same segment. Separate segment specification for the end point is not allowed. Obviously,
end point offset must be greater than start point offset.
Having typed a command, the user initiates its execution by pressing the ENTER (or
"CR") key.
The simplest debugger's commands consist of nothing more than a single character and
don't need much comments:
Q
– ("Quit") – terminate debugger's session, exit to DOS.
?
– display a list of debugger's commands.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
However, the displayed list of commands presents no intelligible guidelines for their
usage. All necessary guidelines are given in this book in the following articles of part 6.05.
Note 1: if you have mistaken typing a command, DEBUG.EXE displays a message
"Error" in the following line, and points with a ^ (caret) to the first character it is
unable to "understand". Most often just this character is the cause of the error,
but sometimes the cause may be a mistake in preceding part of command line.
Note 2: absolute memory address is calculated as a sum of offset with segment address,
multiplied by 10h (i.e. 16 decimal). If segment address is, for example, 1FA5h,
and offset is 0100h, then absolute memory address will be
(1FA5h x 10h) + 0100h = 1FB50h.
6.05-02
DEBUG.EXE: the "A" (= Assemble) command
The "A" command switches DEBUG.EXE to translation of assembler language
instructions (see chapter 7) into executable machine code. This code is not executed at
once, but rather is written into memory, thus forming a succession of machine commands.
When translation is finished, the formed succession can be executed or saved in a file. Here
is an example of the "A" command specification in debugger's command line:
A 0100
Letter-name of the ASSEMBLE command is followed by address of a memory cell,
where the first byte of the formed machine code should be written. In the shown example
this start address is represented by an offset only, but it may be specified in any of
allowable forms, enlisted in article 6.05-01. If segment is not specified explicitly, then it is
defined by segment register CS:. Start address may be omitted at all, and then the start cell
is pointed at by contents of registers CS:IP.
Having accepted the "A" command, DEBUG.EXE shows full address of a memory
cell, where the first byte of translated machine code will be written, and displays a blinking
cursor, thus inviting you to type an assembler instruction, which should be translated. At
that moment DEBUG.EXE doesn't accept commands, described in part 6.05, but accepts
only assembler instructions, described in chapter 7. The user confirms an end of each
assembler instruction by ENTER keystroke. DEBUG.EXE translates the entered
instruction, writes its machine code into memory cell(s), and shows a new line with a new
full address, inviting to type the next assembler instruction.
In order to terminate translation of assembler instructions you have to ignore
debugger's invitation and just press ENTER, while the line is left empty. Then
DEBUG.EXE returns to normal interactive operation, shows its hyphen prompt and again
becomes ready to accept commands, described in part 6.05. If DEBUG.EXE received
assembler instructions from a file via input redirection, then an empty line should be left in
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
this file (7.01-04), and this empty line will force DEBUG.EXE to terminate translation of
assembler instructions.
6.05-03
DEBUG.EXE: the "C" (= Compare) command
The "C" command shows non-coincident bytes from two successions of memory cells.
Identical bytes are skipped. Command line with a call for the "C" command may look, for
example, as follows:
C 113 L8 153
After the letter-name "C" the first and the third parameters are start addresses of those
memory cell successions, where are the bytes to be compared. Start addresses may be
specified in any of their allowable forms (6.05-01). In the shown example both start
addresses are represented by offsets only, and then default segment for both sequences is
defined by segment register DS:. The second parameter after letter-name "C" defines either
offset of the last memory cell in the first succession or the length of byte successions to be
compared (if the number is marked by preceding letter "L"). In the shown example L8
means length 8 bytes. All three parameters after the "C" command are required.
6.05-04
DEBUG.EXE: the "D" (= Dump) command
The "D" command displays hexadecimal contents of a group of memory cells, and at
the same time in the right part of display screen shows the same contents, represented by
characters and symbols of ASCII code. Here is an example of debugger's command line
with a call for the "D" command:
D 19A9:02E0 L10
Just after the letter-name "D" there is a full address of the first memory cell in a group
to be displayed. Address may be specified in any of allowable forms (6.05-01). If segment
is not specified, then it will be defined by segment register DS:. The second parameter after
the letter-name "D" defines either offset of last memory cell in a group or a length of that
group (if the number is marked by preceding letter "L"). In the shown example L10 means
length 10h (i.e. 16 decimal) bytes. If the second parameter is not specified, 80h bytes (i.e.
128 decimal) will be shown. If both parameters are omitted, then 80h bytes will be shown,
starting from current offset, which is increased by length of the shown bytes group at each
execution of the "D" command. This is why each next execution of the "D" command
without parameters will show not the same, but the next group of bytes. Examples of
dumps, displayed by the "D" command, are shown in fig. 8 – 12 (in chapter
"Appendixes").
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.05-05
DEBUG.EXE: the "E" (= Enter) command
The "E" command writes new contents into one or more memory cells. Debugger's
command line with a call for the "E" command may look like this:
E 0211
In the shown example the letter-name "E" is followed by address (offset) of the
memory cell, where writing of new data should start. When segment is not specified, then it
is defined by DS: segment register. Address may be specified in any of its allowable forms
(6.05-01), but it can't be omitted. Having accepted this command, DEBUG.EXE shows
full address of the requested memory cell and shows the data byte, present in this memory
cell at that moment. The shown line ends with a dot, which should be regarded as a prompt
to type a new data byte for this memory cell. Data in ASCII codes are not accepted by "E"
command via keyboard, data should be presented in a form of two hexadecimal digits per
byte. Then a SPACEBAR keystroke should follow. If a new data byte has been typed in, it
will be written into memory cell, but if a new byte hasn't been typed, the former contents of
this memory cell is preserved. In any case DEBUG.EXE will show contents of the next
memory cell, inviting to change it in the same way. If instead of the SPACEBAR keystroke
the "–" (minus, or hyphen) key will be pressed, then the user will be given an opportunity
of another attempt to change contents of the previous memory cell. In order to terminate
data input, you have to press ENTER instead of SPACEBAR.
The "E" command is executed otherwise, without waiting for data input via keyboard,
if new input data are specified in the same command line after the memory cell address, for
example:
E 03E0 'Data error' 0D 0A
New input data in command line may be represented either by two hexadecimal digits
per byte, or as string(s) of ASCII characters, enclosed at both sides in quotes or in double
quotes. Both forms of representation may interlace in one line in arbitrary order. Before
being written into memory, ASCII characters are translated into hexadecimal form
byte-by-byte, except the enclosing quotes, which are not translated and are not stored. If a
byte is represented by a single hexadecimal digit, it will be interpreted as the lower
half-byte, for example, the "A" digit will be interpreted as 0Ah. In any case data will be
written into sequential memory cells, starting from the specified address, in the order of
their placement in command line.
6.05-06
DEBUG.EXE: the "F" (= Fill) command
The "F" command fills a succession of memory cells with a repeated record of a single
byte or of any given sequence of bytes. In debugger's command line a call for the "F"
command may look, for example, like this:
F 03E0 L2E 0D 0A 'Reserved' 90 90
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The first parameter after the letter-name "F" is start address of memory cell succession
which is to be filled. Though start address may be specified in any of its allowable forms
(6.05-01), in the shown example it is represented by an offset only, and then segment is
defined by DS: segment register. The second parameter specifies either a length of memory
cells succession (if the number is marked by preceding letter "L") or offset of the last cell
in that succession. In the shown example length 2Eh bytes (46 decimal) is declared. The
third and the following parameters represent that sequence of bytes, which should be used
to fill memory cell succession. At least one byte of this sequence must be specified.
Data in command line may be represented either by two hexadecimal digits per byte or
by a group(s) of ASCII characters, enclosed at both sides in quotes or in double quotes.
Both forms of representation may interlace in one line in arbitrary order. Before being
written into memory, ASCII characters are translated into hexadecimal form byte-by-byte,
except the enclosing quotes, which are not translated and are not stored. If the data,
presented in command line, are not enough to fill the whole succession of memory cells, the
process is repeated: the next cells are filled with a copy of the same sequence of bytes. On
the contrary, if succession of memory cells is too short, filling process terminates at the
last cell without error message.
6.05-07
DEBUG.EXE: the "G" (= Go) command
The "G" command initiates execution of machine code commands, prepared in memory
beforehand. Here is an example of debugger's command line with "G" command:
G =100 143
Optional parameters following letter-name "G" are addresses. The first address,
preceded by equality sign, points at the first byte of that machine command, which is to
start the execution procedure. Though start address may be specified in any of its
allowable forms (6.05-01), in the shown example it is represented by offset only; hence,
default segment will be defined by CS: segment register. If an address, marked by
preceding equality sign, in not present in command line, then the start memory cell will be
pointed at by contents of CS:IP registers.
Those addresses, which are not preceded by equality sign, are breakpoints. Up to 10
breakpoints may be specified in command line for different branches of the program under
test. In those memory cells, which are pointed at by breakpoints, DEBUG.EXE replaces
original machine code by code CCh of INT 03 interrupt (8.01-04).
Interrupt INT 03 handler returns control back to DEBUG.EXE, and then debugger
restores original machine code in breakpoint memory cells, and also stores the state of
registers and flags, thus preparing further continuation of debugging procedure. For
successful termination of the described operations two conditions must be met. First,
breakpoint address(es) must correspond to first byte(s) of machine command(s), since
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otherwise the CCh code will be interpreted not as INT 03 call, but as a part of previous
machine command. Second condition is that execution shouldn't be stopped in any other
way, besides the prepared breakpoints, because otherwise DEBUG.EXE will not store
states of registers and flags, will not restore the replaced contents of memory cells, and the
program under test will become corrupted. You'll have nothing to do but reload it with "L"
command (6.05-10).
If you have no intention to apply breakpoints, there are two methods to stop execution,
initiated by the "G" command. The first is a call for INT 21\AH=4Ch handler (8.02-55),
which stops execution, terminates debugger's session and returns control back to DOS.
The second method is a call for INT 20 handler (8.02-01), which stops execution, but
doesn't terminate debugger's session. The RET command (7.03-73) at original stack's
position also induces a INT 20 call with the same consequences. DEBUG.EXE gets
control back and begins to accept next command(s) either from keyboard or from
redirection – according to the way it was launched. After a stop of execution via a INT 20
call the code under test most probably wouldn't be corrupted, but final states of registers
and flags will be lost.
6.05-08
DEBUG.EXE: the "H" (= Hexadecimal) command
The "H" commands calculates and displays a sum and a difference of two hexadecimal
numbers, each of up to four digits long. In debugger's command line it may look like this:
H 12BA 00AE
In the shown example two parameters after letter-name "H" are original numbers
presented for calculation. Any of them or both may comprise less than four digits, and then
zero(s) in senior positions will be implied. Presence of both parameters is required.
6.05-09
DEBUG.EXE: the "I" (= Input) command.
The "I" command reads a byte from the specified port and shows it on the screen. The
shown byte can't be written elsewhere or stored. A single parameter in command line after
the letter-name "I" is port address, for example:
I 03f8
Unlike ordinary memory addresses, port addresses have no relation to segments and
segment registers. Port address is just a hexadecimal number of up to four digits long.
Zeros in senior positions may be omitted. Addresses of several common ports are enlisted
in appendix A.14-1.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.05-10
DEBUG.EXE: the "L" (= Load) command
The "L" command reads a succession of codes from disk and loads it into memory,
starting from specified address and on. Succession of codes to be read may be defined
either by a name of a file or by a number of disk's sector. Here is an example of "L"
command usage for loading a succession of codes from a file:
L 0100
Single parameter in the shown example is a memory cell address, where writing of
code succession should start. Address may be specified in any of its allowable forms
(6.05-01), but when segment is omitted, it is defined by CS: segment register. It is
assumed, that the name of a file to be read is written already into PSP (A.07-1) by "N"
command (6.05-12) or was initially transferred there from parameter of that command line,
which has launched the debugger. Moreover, it is assumed, that contents of DS: segment
register has not been changed since this name was written into PSP, and hence the "L"
command can still refer to segment address in DS: for reading this name from PSP.
Address after the letter-name "L" may be omitted, and then succession of codes will be
loaded from address CS:0100 an on, except loading from files with suffixes *.EXE and
*.HEX. These files contain a header with supplementary loading specifications.
Supplementary offset from the header of *.HEX files is added to that taken by default
(0100h) or to that specified after the "L" command. For *.EXE files the offset specified
after the "L" command is ignored, header of the *.EXE files is not loaded. In order to see
"as they are" those files loaded without a header or not loaded at all, their suffix should be
replaced (preferably with *.BIN). In any case length of the file is stored in CX register. If
length exceeds 64 kb, then senior digits of length are written into BX register.
For loading a succession of codes from sectors of logical disk, command line must
contain four required parameters, for example:
L 0100 2 0 1
The first parameter, just as in previous example, is address of that memory cell, where
writing of code succession should start. The second parameter is interpreted as logical disk
number: 0 – disk A:, 1 – disk B:, 2 – disk C:, and so on. The third parameter represents
actual hexadecimal number of the first sector to be read, the fourth parameter – total
hexadecimal number of sectors to be read. Up to 80h sectors can be read in one operation.
In particular, the shown example specifies reading of a single sector number 0 (the bootsector) from logical disk C: and writing its contents into memory starting from address
CS:0100. Contrary to loading from files, loading from disk's sectors doesn't induce writing
of loaded succession's length into registers. Physical disk's sectors beyond logical disk(s)
are not accessible to "L" command.
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6.05-11
DEBUG.EXE: the "M" (= Move) command
The "M" command copies a block of data from one place in memory into another. In
debugger's command line a letter-name "M" must be followed by three required
parameters, for example:
M 0100 L20 0180
In the shown example the first parameter specifies start address of the source data
block, and the third parameter – a similar start address of the target memory space. Both
these addresses may be specified in any of their allowable forms (6.05-01). If address is
represented by offset only, then segment is defined by DS: segment register. The second
parameter in command line represents either the length of the source data block (if the
number is marked by preceding letter "L") or offset of its final byte. In the shown example
second parameter L20 denotes length 20h bytes (32 decimal) of the source data block.
If the source data block and target memory space are not superimposed, then data in
the source block remain unchanged. But when target memory space overlaps source data
block, data in the overlapped part of this block will be overwritten without error message.
In any case the order of copying is chosen so that the bytes to be overwritten are copied
first.
6.05-12
DEBUG.EXE: the "N" (= Name) command
The "N" command declares a name of a file, which is to be loaded later by "L"
command (6.05-10) or written later by "W" command (6.05-19). Letter-name "N" must be
followed by a name of a file, for example:
N Trial.com /S /D
If suffix of the specified name exists, it can't be omitted. Name of a file may be
preceded by a path and may be followed by a group of parameters (as "/S /D" in the shown
example).
All data, declared by the "N" command, are written into PSP area (A.07-1) at address
DS:0081 and on. Besides that, length of the written string is stored at DS:0080, file's name
without suffix – at DS:005D, suffix – at DS:0065. As far as the mentioned addresses refer
to DS: segment register, its contents must not be changed up to the moment when the
written data will be requested by "L" or by "W" command. When the "N" command is
executed without parameters, it overwrites data in DS:005C – DS:0080 memory cells and
writes code 0Dh in memory cell DS:0081.
Note 1: initial settings in CS: and DS: registers are the same. Therefore loading of the
program under test below default address CS:0100 may cause overwriting of PSP
data (A.07-1), including the stored filename(s). Moreover, loaded code itself may
be damaged later because of writing data into PSP by "N" command.
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6.05-13
DEBUG.EXE: the "O" (= Output) command
The "O" command sends a data byte into specified port. Letter-name "L" in debugger's
command line must be followed by two parameters, for example:
O 0378 00
The first parameter represents port address, the second parameter is the byte to be sent.
Unlike ordinary memory addresses, port addresses have no relation to segments and
segment registers. Port address is just a hexadecimal number of up to four digits long.
Zeros in senior positions may be omitted. Addresses of several common ports are enlisted
in appendix A.14-1.
Note 1: incautious usage of the "O" command may affect important PC's settings and
cause serious malfunctioning.
6.05-14
DEBUG.EXE: the "P" (= Proceed) command
The "P" command initiates execution of a prescribed number of machine instructions,
prepared or loaded into memory beforehand. If execution is initiated by the "P" command,
then loops (7.03-55 – 7.03-57), subroutine calls (7.03-08), repetitions (7.02-03, 7.02-04)
and interrupts (7.03-28) are not traced step-by-step, but rather are executed as though it
were one machine instruction. This feature is the main difference between "P" and "T"
(6.05-17) commands. Debugger's command line with "P" command may look like this:
P =0100 5
The first parameter after letter-name "P" is address of machine instruction, intended to
start execution. This address may be specified in any of its allowable forms (6.05-01), but
it must be preceded by equality sign. If address is represented by offset only, as in the
shown example, then default segment is defined by CS: segment register. The second
parameter specifies the number of machine instructions to be executed. Both parameters
may be omitted, and then only one instruction will be executed, the one pointed at by
CS:IP.
After execution of machine instructions the "P" command displays current states of
registers and flags, and also presents result of unassembling the next, not executed yet
machine instruction.
Note 1: the "P" command shouldn't be applied to machine instructions, which are read
directly from fixed storage chips or from read-only memory (ROM). For such
purposes the "T" command (6.05-17) should be used instead.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.05-15
DEBUG.EXE: the "R" (= Register) command
If you type into command line a single letter R and press ENTER, then DEBUG.EXE
will show you current states of CPU's main registers and flags. Typical initial states of
registers and flags, set by DEBUG.EXE at the moment when it is launched, are shown
below in fig.1.
Fig 1
Let's notice, that in all shown segment registers (DS, ES, SS, CS) the same
hexadecimal number is written: it is segment address of memory space, allocated by DOS
for debugging experiments. Other registers and flags acquire predetermined initial states.
Bi-letteral designations of flag's initial states have the following meaning:
NV
No oVerflow;
UP
count UP, or incremental calculation of offsets;
EI
Enable Interrupts;
PL
Positive number;
NZ
Non-Zero value or inequality;
NA
No Auxiliary carry in the 4-th digit position;
PO
Parity Odd, odd sum of bits in least significant byte;
NC
No Carry in most significant digit position.
The last line of displayed message (fig.1) shows machine instruction code in memory
cell, pointed at by CS:IP, together with unassembled representation of that code. Just this
machine instruction will be executed, if DEBUG.EXE will be given "T" (6.05-17) or "P"
(6.05-14) command with default parameters.
You may get an opportunity to change flag's states, if letter-name "R" in debugger's
command line will be followed by parameter "F":
R F
DEBUG.EXE responds to this command by showing current flag's states together with
a hyphen, which is an invitation to input bi-letteral designations of desired flag's states.
Flag's states, opposite to those shown in fig.1, can be set by typing the following input:
OV
OVerflow after arithmetic operation;
DN
count DowN, or decremental calculation of offsets;
DI
Disable Interrupts;
NG
NeGative number;
ZR
ZeRo value or equality;
AC
Auxiliary Carry in the 4-th digit position;
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
PE
CY
Parity Even, even sum of bits in least significant byte;
CarrY in most significant digit position.
The order of flag's states input is indifferent. If new state for some flags is not
specified, those flags preserve their former state.
In order to get an opportunity to change a state of a register, letter-name "R" in
debugger's command line must be followed by a name of that register, for example:
R AX
The shown command opens the AX register for writing new value. The "R" command
also enables to open registers BX, CX, DX, BP, SP, DI, SI, CS, DS, ES, SS, IP (and
PC – it is another name for the same IP register). Having got the shown command,
DEBUG.EXE displays former contents of that register and a colon, thus inviting you to
input new value of up to four hexadecimal digits long. If you wouldn't type new data and
just press ENTER, the former value in this register will be preserved. The "R" command
doesn't provide separate access to senior byte and to least significant byte of 16-bit
registers, for example, to AH and to AL inside the AX register. If you want to change the
state of only one byte, you have to specify unchanged former value for the other byte of the
same register.
Note 1: the 8 flags, mentioned in this article, are not all the flags in modern CPU's. For a
more complete list of flags see appendix A.14-4.
6.05-16
DEBUG.EXE: the "S" (= Search) command
The "S" command performs a search for a specified sequence of bytes throughout a
limited search region. Both sequence of bytes and search region must be defined by
parameters, following the "S" command in debugger's command line, for example:
S 0100 L200 20 'st'
The first parameter after the letter-name "S" is start address of search region. Though
start address may be specified in any of its allowable forms (6.05-01), in the shown
example it is represented by an offset only, and then default segment is defined by DS:
segment register. The second parameter specifies either a length of search region (if the
number is marked by preceding letter "L") or offset of the last cell of that region. In the
shown example length 200h bytes (512 decimal) is declared. The third and all the
following parameters represent that sequence of bytes, which is to be searched for. At least
one byte of this sequence must be specified.
Bytes of the sequence may be represented either by two hexadecimal digits per byte or
by a group(s) of ASCII characters, enclosed at both sides in quotes or in double quotes.
Both forms of representation may interlace in one line in arbitrary order. Before being
taken into account, ASCII characters are translated into hexadecimal form byte-by-byte,
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
except the enclosing quotes, which are not included in the prepared sequence sample. In the
course of search similar letters in upper case and in lower case will be considered different.
When the search is finished, DEBUG.EXE shows all addresses in the search region,
where the sought sequence has been found. It's important to notice, that DEBUG.EXE
doesn't analyze the mission of the found bytes sequence(s). Data strings and machine
instructions may include just the same sequences of bytes. Solving of such uncertainties is
a user's prerogative.
6.05-17
DEBUG.EXE: the "T" (= Trace) command
The "T" command initiates execution of a prescribed number of machine instructions,
prepared or loaded into memory beforehand. The "T" command can trace execution of
machine instructions inside loops, subroutine calls, interrupt handlers, etc. This feature is
the main difference between "T" and "P" (6.05-14) commands. Here is an example of
debugger's command line with "T" command:
T =0100 5
The first parameter after letter-name "T" is address of machine instruction, intended to
start execution. This address may be specified in any of its allowable forms (6.05-01), but
it must be preceded by equality sign. If address is represented only by offset, as in the
shown example, then default segment is defined by CS: segment register. The second
parameter specifies number of machine instructions to be executed. Both parameters may
be omitted, and then only one instruction will be executed, the one pointed at by CS:IP.
After execution of machine instructions the "T" command displays current states of
registers and flags, and also presents result of unassembling the next, not executed yet
machine instruction.
Note 1: as far as the "T" command traces execution of machine instructions inside loops,
subroutine calls and interrupt handlers, it may involve very long sequences of
instructions, taking too much time to trace. In such cases the "P" command
(6.05-14) should be preferred.
6.05-18
DEBUG.EXE: the "U" (= Unassemble) command
The "U" command displays assembler instructions obtained by translation of
executable machine code from a group of memory cells. A debugger's command line with
"U" command may look like this:
U 014B L10
The first parameter of the "U" command is an address of the first memory cell in
selected group. Address may be specified in any of its allowable forms (6.05-01). If
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
segment is not specified, then it is defined by CS: segment register. The second parameter
after the letter-name "U" defines either offset of the last memory cell in selected group or a
length of that group (if the number is marked by preceding letter "L"). In the shown
example L10 means length 10h (i.e. 16 decimal) bytes. If parameters are omitted, then
code of 20h bytes will be translated, starting from current offset inside CS: segment.
Current offset is increased by length of the translated bytes group at each execution of the
"U" command, so that each next execution of the "U" command without parameters shows
translation of code from not the same, but from the next group of memory cells.
It's important to notice, that the "U" command can't discriminate between executable
code and other data, can't find the first byte of long machine instructions. When specified
start address doesn't correspond to the first byte of instruction, or when unassembling is
applied to data, then translation produces garbage. Two examples of unassembling are
shown below in fig.2: the first corresponds to proper specification of start address (0181h),
the other shows consequences of improper specification.
Fig. 2
In case of improper start address specification (0180h) translation of bytes at offsets
0180h and 0184h produces invalid results, but after that the "phase" of unassembling
comes to a proper steady state. If translated machine instructions are correct and are
known to DEBUG.EXE, then stochastic process of reaching the proper steady state
usually takes up to 10h bytes and doesn't affect further translation.
Of course, commands should be unassembled just as they are apprehended by
processor. However, the same machine code may be interpreted in different ways. One
reason of differences is that machine codes of short jump instructions don't comprise jump
target address, but rather contain a target offset relative to current contents of IP register.
Debugger calculates target addresses by addition of these offsets to IP register contents.
The latter depends on start offset, where the first byte has been loaded of that code, which
is to be unassembled. Therefore unassembling of short jump instructions can't be
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
performed correctly, unless the code, which is to be unassembled, is loaded just as it must
be loaded for execution, i.e. starting at CS:0000 address for drivers and at CS:0100
address for programs with suffixes *.COM and *.EXE.
Another reason of differences between processor's and debugger's interpretations of
machine codes is the effect of processor's type and state. Interpretation depends on operand
size byte in code segment descriptor (note 5 to A.12-2). Besides that, there are several
machine codes, which are interpreted in a special manner by 64-bit processors. However,
proper processor's type and state for a particular presented machine code isn't "known" to
DEBUG.EXE. It is able to unassemble those machine codes only, which are designed for
16-bit execution. There is no sense in forcing DEBUG.EXE to unassemble other machine
codes.
Invalid results of unassembling may be caused by those machine instructions, which
are not "known" to debugger. Because of this reason Microsoft's version of DEBUG.EXE
can't be recommended for unassembling modern programs. Another version of
DEBUG.EXE, proposed in note 2 to part's 6.05 introduction article, should be preferred.
Of course, recent versions of "respectable" unassemblers (IDA, SoftICE, etc.) are much
more "clever", but can't give comparable freedom of access and even can't work under
DOS. For those constrained to use Microsoft's version of DEBUG.EXE some "unknown"
machine codes are given in the table below. Its first column presents first bytes of machine
codes, which are shown by DEBUG.EXE as parameters of DB command (7.01-01) in a
separate line. First byte together with second byte, given in the second column, are often
enough to understand the type of operation. If necessary, names and references from the
fourth column enable to find more information about particular instruction(s).
First
byte
Second
byte
Data
bytes
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
0F
60
00
01
02
03
05
2(0–3)
4(0–F)
8(0–F)
9(0–F)
A(0,8)
A(1,9)
A2
A(4–7)
B(2,4,5)
1–3
1–3
1–3
1–3
1–3
2
1–2
0–2
Operation, instruction
loading of task register (LTR)
appeals to registers GDTR, IDTR, MSWR
load access rights (LAR)
load segment limit (LSL)
loading of system registers (LOADALL)
MOV CR, MOV DR (note 1 to 7.03-58)
conditional copying (CMOV)
conditional jumps inside one segment
bit's conditional set/reset (SET)
PUSH FS, PUSH GS (7.03-69)
POP FS, POP GS (7.03-67)
identification of CPU (CPUID)
double word shift (SHLD, SHRD)
load segment registers (LSS, LFS, LGS)
copying of AX – DI into stack (PUSHA)
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Continuation of table 6.05-18
61
62
3
63
2
6(4,5)
66
67
6(8,A)
1–2
6(9,B)
1–3
6(C,D)
6(E,F)
8(C,E)
E(0–F)
C(0,1)
E(0–7)
1
C(0,1)
E(8–F)
1
6.05-19
popping stack data into AX – DI (POPA)
check of array's bounds (BOUND)
adjustment of access rights (ARPL)
segment prefixes FS:, GS: (7.02-01)
operand size prefix (7.02-06)
address size prefix (7.02-07)
push a number into stack (PUSH, 7.03-69)
multiplication (IMUL, note 1 to 7.03--25)
group input from port (INSB, INSW)
group output into port (OUTSB, OUTSW)
MOV FS, MOV GS (note 2 to 7.03-58)
SHL bl,0f, SHL bx,0f (7.03-82)
SHR bl,0f, SHR bx,0f (7.03-83)
DEBUG.EXE: the "W" (= Write) command
The "W" command copies a code's succession from PC's memory onto a logical disk,
either in a form of a file or just into disk's sectors. Here is an example of "W" command
usage for writing a succession of codes into a new file:
W 0100
A single parameter in the shown example is a memory cell address, where reading of
code succession should start. Address may be specified in any of its allowable forms
(6.05-01), but when segment is omitted, default segment is defined by CS: segment
register. If address is not specified, reading of code succession starts at CS:0100. Length
of code succession, counted from start address, must be prepared beforehand: least
significant two bytes of length – in CX register, most significant byte – in BX register.
It is assumed, that name of new file to be created is written already into PSP (A.07-1)
by "N" command (6.05-12). The name may have any suffix except *.HEX and *.EXE,
because DEBUG.EXE is unable to compile a header for such files. One more assumption
is that contents of DS: segment register has not been changed since name of new file was
written into PSP, and hence the "W" command can still refer to segment address in DS: for
reading this name from PSP. If the prepared name is not preceded by a path, new file will
be created in the current directory. If a file with the same name exists yet, it will be
overwritten without error message.
For writing into sectors of a logical disk the letter-name "W" must be followed by four
required parameters, for example:
W 0100 0 0 1
Here the first parameter presents start address of code succession, just as in previous
example of writing into a file. The second parameter is interpreted as logical disk number:
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
0 – disk A:, 1 – disk B:, 2 – disk C:, and so on. The third parameter represents actual
hexadecimal number of the first sector to be written, the fourth parameter – total
hexadecimal number of sectors to be written. Up to 80h sectors may be written in one
operation. Total number of sectors defines the length of written code succession, contents
of CX and BX registers are ignored. In particular, the shown example specifies writing of
a single sector number 0 (the boot-sector) onto logical disk A:. Physical disk's sectors
beyond logical disk(s) are not accessible to the "W" command.
Note 1: when it is necessary to write a code succession from PSP region (A.07-1) into a
file, you can't declare file's name by "N" command before a spare memory space
for writing file's name is prepared. This may be done either by moving code
succession out of PSP memory region or by changing DS: segment register
contents so that file's name wouldn't overwrite code succession in PSP (example –
in article 9.08).
6.05-20
DEBUG.EXE: the "XA" (= Allocate) command
The "XA" command appeals to EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02, 8.03-59)
with a request to allocate a specified memory space beyond conventional memory and to
assign a hexadecimal reference number – a handle – to the allocated memory space.
Requested operation can't be performed unless the EMM386.EXE memory manager is
loaded yet and unless memory above 1088 kb is available. In debugger's command line the
name "XA" must be followed by requested number of logical memory pages of 16 kb each,
for example:
XA 1A
The shown requested memory space is 1Ah (26 decimal) logical pages, which will be
enumerated from 00h to 19h. DEBUG.EXE responds to the request with a message, for
example, "Handle created 0006". Hence, the allocated memory space can be referenced
with hexadecimal number 0006h. But this is not enough for access to the allocated memory
space, one more operation must be performed: a limited number of selected logical pages
from the allocated memory space must be mapped onto physically addressable memory
space by "XM" commands (6.05-22).
6.05-21
DEBUG.EXE: the "XD" (= Deallocate) command"
The "XD" command appeals to EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02, 8.03-61)
with a request to deallocate a particular memory space, which has been allocated yet by
"XA" command (6.05-20). It is assumed, that EMM386.EXE memory manager is loaded
and that memory beyond 1088 kb is available. In debugger's command line the name "XD"
must be followed by a hexadecimal reference number (a handle), identifying the memory
space, which is to be deallocated, for example:
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
XD 0006
DEBUG.EXE responds to the shown example: "Handle 0006 deallocated". Since that
moment the 0006h handle becomes invalid, access to logical pages in deallocated memory
space is lost, and this space is regarded as free.
6.05-22
DEBUG.EXE: the "XM" (= Map) command
The "XM" command appeals to EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02, 8.03-60)
with a request to map a 16 kb logical page in allocated memory space onto a "physical"
page of the same size. Here the term "mapping" means adjustment of address translation
mechanism in CPU so that ordinary 16-bit addresses within "physical" page address space
are translated by CPU into 32-bit addresses of real memory cells in that part of address
space, which corresponds to specified logical page. It is assumed, that PC has a 32-bit
CPU, that amount of memory exceeds 1 Mb, that EMM386.EXE memory manager is
loaded yet and that reference number (a handle) is assigned yet to the allocated memory
space by "XA" command (6.05-20).
In debugger's command line the name "XM" must be followed by three required
parameters, for example:
XM 0B 03 0006
The first parameter – 0Bh in the shown example – is a number of requested logical
page in allocated memory space. The second parameter – 03h in the shown example – is a
number of "physical" page. The third parameter is a reference number (a handle), which is
assigned to that allocated memory space, where the requested logical page belongs.
Numbers of "physical" pages may be selected from 00h to 1Bh, but it should be taken
into account, that "physical" pages from 04h and on occupy address space in conventional
memory. This is why the most actively used are "physical" pages 00h – 03h, which by
default correspond to segment addresses E000h, E400h, E800h and EC00h accordingly.
But their placement in address space may be affected by PC's BIOS requirements and by
EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) memory manager's settings. Therefore in each particular case
placement of "physical" pages should be checked by the "XS" command (6.05-23) or by a
call to INT 67\AX=5800h handler (8.03-70).
6.05-23
DEBUG.EXE: the "XS" (= Show) command
The "XS" command appeals to EMM386.EXE memory manager (5.04-02, 8.03-70)
with a request to display data, related to memory usage and to placement of "physical"
pages. It is assumed, that PC's amount of memory exceeds 1 Mb and that EMM386.EXE
memory manager is loaded yet. Since "XS" command needs no parameters, command line
with "XS" command looks like this:
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XS
DEBUG.EXE responds to "XS" command with display of a table showing valid
reference numbers (handles) and how many logical pages is associated with each handle.
Then segment addresses are shown for each "physical" page. The last lines display
statistics: total number of logical pages, number of free logical pages, maximum available
number of handles and a number of handles, which are assigned yet. However, displayed
table will be too long and wouldn't fit the screen, if it will comprise data about all 28
"physical" pages, stipulated by EMS 4.0 specification. In order to see the whole length of
the table, you may either redirect output into a file (2.04-03), or set video mode 108h
(A.10-1), or else limit actual number of "physical" pages by means of EMM386.EXE
driver's settings (5.04-02).
6.06
DISKCOPY.COM – diskette copying utility
DISKCOPY.COM copies the whole contents of one floppy disk onto another,
including volume label and serial number. Both floppies (diskettes) must be of the same
type. Here is an example of command line for copying a diskette in a PC equipped with
two floppy drives:
DISKCOPY.COM A: B: /V
where:
A:
B:
/V
– letter-name example of a drive with source diskette;
– letter-name example of a drive with target diskette;
– optional prescription to verify the copy.
Besides the shown options, DISKCOPY.COM can accept also
/1
– prescription to copy one side only of a diskette (for obsolete diskettes
with a single writable side).
/M
– prescription to perform multi-pass copying via memory, when one
floppy drive only is available and a buffer-file on a HDD shouldn't be
arranged.
If computer is equipped with only one floppy drive, then the same letter-name must be
specified both for source and for target. In this case DISKCOPY forms a temporary
buffer-file on a HDD in a directory, specified by environmental variable %TEMP%, then
suggests to replace the source diskette with target diskette, and copies data from buffer-file
onto target diskette. After that buffer-file is automatically deleted. But when the
%TEMP% variable is not defined (or when /M option is specified), the source diskette is
partially copied into available memory space, and therefore you'll have to exchange source
and target diskettes several times in the same floppy drive.
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DISKCOPY.COM is not designed to create a non-temporary file-image of a diskette.
Besides that, DISKCOPY.COM can't cope reasonably with damaged sectors. Because of
these drawbacks nowadays other copying programs are preferred. For example, the
IMG.EXE utility can be recommended. Archive file IMG.ARJ, comprising the IMG.EXE
utility, can be downloaded from server ftp://ftp.elf.stuba.sk/pub/pc/utildisk/ .
Note 1: DISKCOPY.COM and similar diskette copying utilities can't be applied to hard
disk drives, to network drives, to CD/DVD-ROMs and also to virtual disks,
arranged by utilities ASSIGN.COM, JOIN.EXE and SUBST.EXE.
6.07
DOSKEY.COM – command line manager
DOSKEY.COM is a resident supplement to command line functions of
COMMAND.COM interpreter. DOSKEY.COM enables to edit command line text, to
recall former commands, to create and execute macrocommands, comprising simple
sequences of operations. Procedures, specified via macrocommands, become available
after loading of their definitions by DOSKEY.COM into special memory buffer. Besides
this buffer, resident module of DOSKEY.COM occupies about 4 kb.
DOSKEY.COM in MS-DOS7 has been changed relative to its former versions: it has
been given an ability to load a list of macrocommand's definitions from a textual file and to
increase sizes of both keyboard buffer and command line editing buffer.
DOSKEY.COM can be loaded from command line or from a line of a batch file
(AUTOEXEC.BAT or other), either directly or with LH command (3.17), for example:
LH Doskey.com /bufsize:1024 /insert /file:C:\DOS\MS7\Macro.scr
where:
/bufsize:1024 – macrocommand buffer's size definition (minimum is 256 bytes,
default is 512). This option should be used when DOSKEY.COM is
loaded for the first time or is reloaded with /reinstall option (see
further). Free part of the same buffer is used to store previous
command lines (the history).
/insert
– turns command line into character insertion mode, enabling to insert
each next character between those typed earlier. Default is overstrike
mode, when next characters replace the former ones.
/file:C:\DOS\MS7\Macro.scr
– is a specification example for loading
macrocommand's definitions from a textual file (an example of such
file is given further). The path, preceding filename, may be omitted, if
this file exists in the current directory. Filename and suffix of this file
are arbitrary, but if suffix exists, it must be specified.
Other options, allowable for loading operations, are:
/echo:off – disable display of executed macrocommands on the screen.
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/keysize:31 – increase size of keyboard's type-ahead buffer (default is 15 bytes).
/line:256 – set size of a buffer for editing command line (default is 128 bytes).
/reinstall – install a new resident module of DOSKEY.COM. This may be needed
in order to change buffer's size or in order to revive functions, lost
because of interference with other TSR utilities. Each reinstallation
increases amount of occupied memory by about 4 kb (since former
resident module of DOSKEY.COM can't be unloaded).
When DOSKEY.COM is loaded yet, it may be called again with /H option in order to
show stored previous commands (the history):
Doskey /H
or else with /M option in order to show stored macrocommands:
Doskey /M
Besides this, DOSKEY.COM may be called again in order to load one more definition
of a macrocommand into memory buffer from command line, for example:
Doskey count=C:\DOS\COM\Find.exe /v /c "" $1
Here the word "count" is interpreted as a name of new macrocommand. This name,
being typed into command line close to command prompt, will initiate execution of
command(s), specified within macrocommand's definition to the right of equality sign. The
shown definition consists of one command, which counts lines in any textual file,
represented here by dummy parameter $1. In the course of macrocommand's execution
dummy parameter is replaced by actual filename, specified after macrocommand's name in
the same command line.
Commands within macrocommand's definition may contain equality signs and
substitutions of variable's values (such as %Temp%). When symbol "$" is encountered
within macrocommand's definition, it is interpreted together with the following letter (or
digit) in a special way as:
$G
– output redirection sign ">" (right arrow);
$L
– input redirection sign "<" (left arrow);
$B
– intermediate redirection sign "|" (the "pipe");
$T
– a separator between commands within one macrocommand;
$1-$9
– dummy parameters, equivalent to %1 – %9 in batch files;
$*
– all words following macrocommand's name on command line;
$$
– one character "$" (dollar sign).
Textual file for loading macrocommand's definitions must contain one definition per
line, which may look, for example, as follows:
count=C:\DOS\COM\Find.exe /v /c "" $1
newbat=echo @echo off$G %Temp%\New.bat $T Edit.com %Temp%\New.bat
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You may delete any loaded macrocommand from buffer by specifying its name
followed by nothing more than equality sign, for example:
Doskey count=
When DOSKEY.COM is loaded, it activates the following "hot" keys:
Left and right arrows
CTRL-left arrow
CTRL-right arrow
HOME
END
INS
ESC
ALT+F10
F7
PageUp
PageDown
UP and DOWN arrows
F9
Alt+F7
F8
– shift cursor to the left and to the right
– shift cursor to the left by one word
– shift cursor to the right by one word
– shifts cursor to the beginning of command line
– shifts cursor to the end of command line
– toggles overstrike and insert keyboard modes
– clears current command line
– deletes all macrocommands from memory buffer
– displays a list of previous commands (the history)
– recalls the oldest line from the history list
– recalls the newest line from the history list
– shift command's selection along history list
– selects a command from history list by number
– clears list of previous commands (the history)
– appends character(s) in command line with the rest
part of command's name, if suitable name is present
in history list.
Note 1: macrocommand wouldn't be executed, if its name in command line is preceded by
at least one space.
Note 2: when macrocommand is synonymous to a command, it disables the latter
(macrocommand will be executed instead).
Note 3: DOSKEY.COM is NOT compatible with TSR file managers (Norton
Commander, Volcov Commander, etc). File managers usually are preferred.
6.08
DELTREE.EXE – directories eraser
DELTREE.EXE is an extremely dangerous utility, because it enables to delete
directories with all their subdirectories and files, regardless to file's attributes. Only root
directories of logical disks can't be deleted with DELTREE.EXE. An example of its usage
may look like this:
Deltree /Y C:\TEMP\TDIR1
where:
/Y
– an option, prescribing to delete without prompts and confirmations.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
C:\TEMP\TDIR1
– an example specification of a directory to be deleted.
There may be several such specifications in one line, but wildcards are
not allowed.
6.09
EDIT.COM – editor utility
EDIT.COM is a popular double-window editor program mainly for textual files, but
also with limited capabilities for editing binary files. EDIT.COM enables to keep open up
to ten files simultaneously. Fig.3 shows two different files opened in separate windows of
EDIT.COM editor.
Fig. 3
The file(s) to be edited may be as large as PC's memory allows. EDIT.COM arranges
a clipboard, enabling to send selected parts of text between opened files. Besides that,
EDIT.COM is able to cooperate with mouse device drivers, thus making editing much
easier and faster.
The EDIT.COM editor may be launched from command line without parameters, and
then it will show an empty window. The user will have to open file(s) to be edited via menu
"FILE". Otherwise the file(s) to be edited may be specified just in command line, for
example:
Edit.com C:\DOS\Addons.txt Part6.txt
Name of the first file to be edited is preceded by a path; without a path the EDIT.COM
editor can open those file only, which are present in the current directory. Thus, the second
file (Part6.txt), specified without path, must be present in the current directory. By default
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
both files will be opened for textual editing, but only the first opened file will be shown in
displayed editor's window. The user is given an opportunity either to open second window
by CTRL-F6 keystroke or to switch the initial window with F8 keystroke to editing of the
second opened file.
Some presets and help texts for EDIT.COM are stored in files EDIT.INI and
EDIT.HLP (implied to be present in the same directory), but EDIT.COM can cope without
help and with default settings only. When EDIT.INI is absent, the user is still allowed to
save optional presets via the OPTIONS menu, and this will induce EDIT.COM to
regenerate EDIT.INI file anew.
EDIT.COM preserves functions of some "hot" keys, which were active in DOS.
Among these are the BACKSPACE key and combinations of ALT keystroke with digit(s)
in numerical keypad, enabling to enter characters by their ASCII code. But most other
"hot" key functions are redefined. The ALT keystroke makes active literal "hot" keys for
selecting items in upper bar menu, and also makes active digit keys in literal part of
keyboard for selecting opened files by their number, if more than one file is opened. Arrow
keys shift cursor anywhere inside editor's window. If the SHIFT key is kept pressed while
cursor is shifted over a part of text, then this part of text becomes selected (highlighted) for
being deleted or copied into clipboard. The same effect is achieved when cursor is dragged
over a part of text by mouse, while its left button is kept pressed.
Besides the mentioned key functions, EDIT.COM activates the following "hot" keys
and key combinations:
CTRL C
CTRL F4
CTRL F6
CTRL F8
CTRL Home
CTRL End
CTRL P
CTRL-PageDown
CTRL-PageUp
CTRL Q
CTRL-Space
CTRL V
CTRL W
CTRL X
CTRL Y
– copies selected part of text into clipboard (CTRL-INS
key combination acts similarly);
– closes active window (if both windows are opened);
– splits window in two (if one window only was opened);
– resizes both windows (if both windows are opened);
– shifts cursor to the start of opened file;
– shifts cursor to the end of opened file;
– enables to insert non-literal symbols of ASCII code
(further prompt is shown in the bottom line);
– shifts window by line's length to the right;
– shifts window by line's length to the left;
– access to find/replace/delete functions (further prompt is
shown in the bottom line);
– deletes selected part of text;
– pastes clipboard's contents into cursor's position;
– scrolls the text one line down (key combination
CTRL-UpArrow acts similarly);
– cuts selected block of text into clipboard buffer;
– deletes the line, pointed at by cursor, even if this line is
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CTRL Z
Delete
F3
F6
F8
PageUp
PageDown
not selected;
– scrolls the text one line up (key combination
CTRL-DownArrow acts similarly);
– deletes one character at cursor's position, if no text is
selected, otherwise deletes selected part of text;
– finds next item, specified beforehand via CTRL-Q-F
key combination;
– toggles active and passive windows (if both are opened);
– switches active window to display of the next file (if
several files are opened);
– shifts the displayed text one page up;
– shifts the displayed text one page down.
Several "hot" key combinations are shown in upper bar menus. These menus and
separate items in these menus can be opened not only with keystrokes, but also with
mouse's left button as well.
As far as binary files have no line structure, line wrapping specification in command
line will make their editing more convenient, for example:
Edit.com /78 Sc_sct.dat
where
/78
– an option for wrapping lines to 78 characters wide. Instead of 78 any
number up to 255 may be specified, but 78 corresponds to actual
editor's window width in 80x25 screen display mode.
EDIT.COM is able to accept from command line also the following options:
/B
/H
/R
/S
/?
6.10
– turn display to monochrome;
– turn display to maximum allowable number of screen lines;
– open file(s) for reading only, exclude risk of change(s);
– force usage of short filenames;
– display on-line help.
EXPAND.EXE – unpacker for compressed files
EXPAND.EXE is unpacker for files compressed with Microsoft's COMPRESS.COM
utility. Each such compressed file contains only one original file and inherits its name,
except that the last character in suffix is replaced with underscore, for example *.TX_
instead of *.TXT. Releases of previous MS-DOS versions and several other software
packets comprise such compressed files together with EXPAND.EXE unpacker utility. In
particular, EXPAND.EXE is present in SFX archive DOS62SP.EXE, which can be
downloaded from Microsoft's FTP-server ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/ .
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Name of EXPAND.EXE unpacker utility must be followed in command line by name
of that compressed file, which is to be unpacked, and then by a name, which should be
appointed to the restored original file, for example:
Expand.exe E:\DOS\MSDOS622\Country.tx_ C:\DOS\MS6\Country.txt
Both paths in the shown example are optional. The path preceding a name for the
restored file is interpreted as a prescription to write the result of unpacking into that
directory. If paths are omitted, then compressed file will be searched for inside current
directory only, and the result will be placed just there, but in this particular case it is
permissible, because compressed file and original file have different names.
Wildcards (2.01-03) in filenames are not allowed by EXPAND.EXE, but there may be
several names of compressed files in one command line. In this case the last specified name
must be a directory name (without final backslash), where unpacked files should be
written. Name of the current directory with this mission can't be omitted, but may be
represented with a dot (2.02-03).
Source files, compressed with old versions of COMPRESS.COM, comprise no
information about original names of compressed files. Such files will be unpacked
properly, but their original names will not be restored, if explicit new name specification is
not given in command line. Therefore sharing of a common directory as both source and
target should be avoided because of possible name conflicts.
Note 1: compressed files in Windows-2000/XP releases also are marked with underscore
at the end of suffix, but these files are compressed by other algorithm. Their
unpacking in MS-DOS7 can be performed by EXTRACT.EXE (6.11).
6.11
EXTRACT.EXE – unpacker for *.CAB files
The EXTRACT.EXE utility unpacks files, compressed by MAKECAB.EXE packer.
Microsoft uses this algorithm for compression of separate files in Windows-2000/XP
releases, and also for compiling large multi-volume archives with *.CAB suffix in releases
of Windows-95/98/ME. EXTRACT.EXE enables to extract separate files from large
*.CAB archives and to display their contents. Here is an example of command line for
extracting a list of contents from a multi-volume *.CAB archive:
Extract.exe /A /D E:\Win95\OSR2.PE\Win95_21.cab > C:\Temp\List.txt
where:
E:\Win95\OSR2.PE\
– example of a path to one *.CAB archive from
Windows-95 release. Other volumes of the same archive are implied to
exist in the same directory. If path is omitted, archive is searched for
in current directory only.
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/D
/A
– an option, prescribing to display a table of contents without unpacking
of archive's volume(s).
– an option, prescribing to apply the same operation to all following
volumes of the same archive. In this particular case it induces
processing of CAB-archive volumes from 22-nd to 26-th.
As far as *.CAB archives contain a large number of files, it's difficult to perceive their
long tables of contents from a scrolling screen. This is why in the shown example output is
redirected into file List.txt, which may be analyzed more conveniently with a viewer (6.19)
or with an editor program (6.09).
Here is one more example of EXTRACT.EXE usage for extracting of a single file
from a multi-volume archive, when it is not known beforehand, which particular volume
contains the required file:
Extract.exe /A /Y /L C:\Windows\System Win95_02.cab Msvcrt40.dll
where:
/Y
– an option, prescribing to overwrite any synonymous file in the target
directory without prompt.
/L
– an option, prescribing to interpret the following item
(C:\Windows\System) as a target path for unpacking. When /L
parameter is omitted, default target for unpacking is the current
directory.
Msvcrt40.dll
– a name example for the file to be unpacked (there may be
several filenames specified for unpacking).
In the shown example the first specified filename (Win95_02.cab) is interpreted as a
name of that archive volume, where a search for the required file should start. All
following filenames are interpreted as names of those files, which should be extracted and
decompressed. Execution of the shown command line initiates a search procedure through
volumes from 02 to 26 for the specified file. In fact it will be found in the 13-th volume
and will be unpacked into C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM directory, overwriting there a
corrupted sample of the same file. Such procedures are much more fast, than total
unpacking of a software release.
EXTRACT.EXE doesn't allow wildcards (2.01-03) in filenames, but accepts one more
optional parameter /E , which forces to unpack all contents of the specified CAB-file. In
this case a particular name(s) for the files to be unpacked shouldn't be specified. The /E
parameter is expedient for unpacking non-cabinet compressed files (those marked with
underscore at the end of suffix) from Windows-2000/XP releases. But total unpacking of
large *.CAB files in DOS takes too much time. A combination of /A and /E parameters
deserves special caution, because it may initiate a process, which will take hours of time
and a lot of disk's space.
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Note 1: some software vendors supply *.CAB archives, which are produced by other
compression algorithm. Besides that, several mutually incompatible versions of
EXTRACT.EXE are known. The most suitable unpacker for any given software
release is that one, which is supplied within this release.
6.12
FC.EXE – files comparison utility
The FC.EXE utility enables to compare two files, either binary or textual. Binary
comparison is expedient for finding changed bytes in nearly identical binary files: FC.EXE
displays byte number for each pair of mismatched bytes and these bytes themselves, taken
from each of the compared files.
Here is an example of command line for performing binary comparison:
Fc.exe /B Trial2.com D:\Temp\Trial1.com
where:
/B
– an option, prescribing binary comparison.
Trial2.com – an example of the first file to compare; since its name isn't preceded
by a path, it is implied to exist in the current directory.
D:\Temp\Trial1.com
– a name example of the second file with preceding path.
Binary comparison doesn't imply searching for match in mutually shifted successions
of bytes.
Textual comparison is based on line structure of textual files. FC.EXE compares
textual files line-by-line and displays mismatched lines side-by-side. When order of
correspondence between line successions becomes disrupted, FC.EXE can restore it by
searching for a next group of matching lines. Both comparison and search conditions are
specified by options in command line, for example:
Fc.exe /A /C /L /LB9 /N /T /W /1 A:\Config.sys C:\Config.sys
where:
/A
/C
/L
/LB9
/N
/T
/W
/1
– display 2 lines only (the first and the last) from each mismatched
group of lines.
– disregard letter's case (for ASCII codes up to 127).
– prescription for ASCII textual comparison.
– limit example (9 consecutive mismatched lines) for a region of match
search; default is 100 lines.
– prescription to display line numbers.
– prescription to avoid expansion of tabulation codes (09h) into spaces.
– prescription to ignore empty space (tabulation codes and spaces).
– a number example of consecutive lines that must match after a group
of mismatched lines.
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Note 1: binary comparison is the default for files having suffixes BIN, COM, EXE, LIB,
OBJ, SYS. Other files are compared as textual by default.
Note 2: in special applications one of the files to compare (or both) may be replaced by
other sources (2.01-01), for example, by virtual device NUL or by CON device –
the console. The latter enables to perform comparison with keyboard input (1.04).
6.13
FDISK.EXE – partitioning tool for HDDs
Disks, known by their letter-names, are logical disks. Contrary to those, physical hard
disk storage devices have no letter-names. Writable storage space in physical storage
devices may be divided into several partitions, and each partition may represent a separate
logical disk. The FDISK.EXE utility is a proprietary MS-DOS7's tool for arranging
partition structures in physical HDDs (Hard Disk Drives).
Being launched without parameters, FDISK.EXE asks the user whether large disk
support should be provided or not. Rejection of the offer means that arranged partitions
within range 512 – 2048 Mb will be of FAT-16 type, otherwise FAT-32 type will be
preferred. FAT system for partitions outside the mentioned range is assigned by default:
FAT-32 for partitions larger than 2048 Mb, FAT-16 for partitions between 512 and 16
Mb, FAT-12 – for 16 Mb and smaller volumes.
Those apt to trust theirselves may specify command line parameters, enabling to get rid
of undue questions and restrictions:
Fdisk.exe /fprmt /actok
The /fprmt parameter cancels query about large disks support and gives all rights on
file system choice to the user. The /actok parameter enables to arrange an active partition
in any physical hard disk drive (otherwise an active partition may be arranged in the first
physical HDD only). Being launched in the shown way, FDISK.EXE presents a menu to
select an operation: to display current partition structure, to delete or to create a partition
or to make it active. The user is allowed to compose partition structure, but the latter is not
written to disk at once. FDISK.EXE gives a chance to correct it. If a partition ought to be
bootable, don't forget about making it active. Then you may exit FDISK.EXE.
If partition structure has been changed, FDISK.EXE writes it to disk and exits into
reboot, because created partitions must be registered by BIOS. PC's BIOS system appoints
letter-names to registered partitions. Since that moment all registered partitions become
"visible" in DOS as logical disks, but new logical disks are not yet formatted and therefore
are inaccessible. New logical disks become accessible after formatting by FORMAT.COM
utility (6.15).
Besides interactive arrangement of partition structures, FDISK.EXE may be used as
ordinary console utility with the following options:
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Fdisk.exe /?
Fdisk.exe /status
Fdisk.exe /mbr
Fdisk.exe /cmbr 2
– display a short help.
– show available physical HDDs and logical disk's
allocation.
– write or rewrite MBR (master boot record) on the first
HDD, leaving its partition table intact (note 1).
Confirming message is not displayed.
– acts just as /mbr, but enables to specify the addressed
HDD by physical number: 1, 2, 3 and on are allowed, if
these HDDs exist. Confirming message is not displayed.
Regardless to purpose of FDISK.EXE usage, its command line may be complemented
with /X option, which forces to avoid extended support functions for access to disk(s).
The /X option should be remembered, when ordinary usage attempts fail: the HDD either
is not recognized, or is found inaccessible, or the PC gets hanged with "Stack overflow"
message. Such outcomes may take place because of incorrect configuration, hardware
faults, virus MBR infection. Not necessarily, but in some such cases the /X option may
help.
If an identical partition structure should be formed on several new HDDs, then
automatic (non-interactive) arrangement of partitions should be preferred. Automatic
writing of a partition structure onto a HDD can be initialized by the following example of
command line:
Fdisk.exe 1 /PRI:2000 /EXT:8000 /LOG:8000 /Q
where:
1
– addressed physical HDD number (1, 2, ...).
/PRI:2000 – arrange a primary partition, for example, 2000 Mb. If FAT-16 file
system should be formed in this partition, then /PRIO: parameter
(instead of /PRI:) should be specified.
/EXT:8000
– arrange extended partition, for example, 8000 Mb.
/LOG:8000
– arrange logical disk, for example, 8000 Mb, inside the extended
partition. For sizes not larger than 2000 Mb parameter /LOGO:
(instead of /LOG:) means that FAT-16 file system should be formed.
/Q
– "quiet" option, i.e. run without screen messages.
Having finished its job successfully, FDISK.EXE initializes reboot.
Note 1: overwriting of MBR enables to get rid of MBR bugs, including those inflicted by
viruses. However, some BIOS extensions and boot managers use non-standard
types of MBR, which can't be restored by FDISK.EXE. In such circumstances
other ways of MBR restoration should be preferred (example – in 9.02-03).
Note 2: Microsoft's FDISK.EXE doesn't support non-sequential placement of partitions
and therefore gives no opportunity to bypass worn-out regions of physical disk's
surface. FDISK.EXE can't arrange correctly those partitions, which cross the
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8.4 Gb boundary in physical disk's space. FDISK.EXE often can't cope properly
with partitions, arranged by other operating systems: either can't delete such
partitions, or may arrange new partitions, overlapping the former ones.
Note 3: most significant drawbacks of original Microsoft's FDISK.EXE have been
corrected in its new unofficial version (dated 2006), which can be downloaded
from site http://radified.com/Files/FDISK.EXE . Besides that, completely new
synonymous utility has been compiled by Brian E. Reifsnyder. Version 1.30
(dated 2003) of this utility, packed into archive fdisk130.zip, can be downloaded
from server ftp://ftp.uni-koeln.de/pc/msdos/diskutils/
Note 4: any change of existing partitions structure, performed by FDISK.EXE, causes
total data loss within affected partition(s). Partition(s) rearrangement without data
loss may be performed by more powerful tools, for example, by PowerQuest's
Partition Magic utility (bought now by Symantec Co.).
Note 5: FDISK.EXE can't arrange partitions in HDDs, accessed via a network or
controlled by drivers. Because of the latter reason FDISK.EXE often can't cope
with external storage devices having SCSI or USB interface. In such cases other
utilities may suit, for example, BTFDISK.EXE (from Buslogic) or TFDISK.EXE
(from TEKRAM). Archive DC390FBW.ZIP, comprising TFDISK.EXE, can be
found in internet site http://www.neuron.alt.ru/drivers/Driver/Controllers/ , in its
subdirectory TEKRAM. A SFX archive DOSASPI.EXE, comprising
BTFDISK.EXE, is present in subdirectory BUSLOGIC of the same site.
6.14
FIND.EXE – word(s) searching filter
The FIND.EXE utility acts as a filter for textual data: it receives lines of text from a
file or via redirection, selects lines with or without a certain combination of characters, and
sends selected lines into standard output channel (STDOUT) for being displayed on the
screen by default. Here is an example of word(s) filter usage for searching lines with a
specified string of characters:
Find /N /I " INT 13 " C:\DOS\SRV\Drives.txt
where:
/N
– an option, prescribing to accompany the displayed lines with their line
numbers.
/I
– an option, prescribing to ignore the case of letters in specified string of
characters.
" INT 13 " – an example of characters string to be searched for, enclosed in
double quotes. Note spaces between words and each of adjacent
double quotes – this guarantees finding of whole words, but not parts
of other words.
C:\DOS\SRV\Drives.txt – an example of a file to be analyzed (with preceding
path). If path is not specified, the file is implied to exist in the current
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
directory. There may be several filenames specified in one line
one-by-one or by means of wildcards (2.01-03).
The shown example of command line will display on the screen all lines of the
analyzed file, containing words INT 13, and a short message reminding which file has been
analyzed. Lines will be shown preceded by their numbers: this will help you to find them
later while editing the same file. If you expect that the displayed listing may happen to be
too long, you may send output into a file (2.04-03) or to the viewer MORE.COM (6.19).
Having finished the search, FIND.EXE returns errorlevel 0, if it has found the
specified string of characters at least once, or errorlevel 1, if this string hasn't been found
in the analyzed text. Errorlevel may be used to determine the outcome of search (see
articles 3.15-03 and 6.03).
The next less typical example shows FIND.EXE counting lines in a textual file:
Find.exe /V /C "" < Draft.txt
where:
/V
– an option, prescribing to display all lines NOT containing the specified
string.
/C
– an option, prescribing to display only the count of lines meeting the
specified condition.
""
– an empty specification of a string to be searched for.
< Draft.txt
– an example of a file to be analyzed, sent via input redirection
(2.04-02). Since the filename is not preceded by a path, this file is
implied to exist in the current directory. Having got input via
redirection, FIND.EXE doesn't add its reminding message to the
displayed result.
Void string to be searched for is regarded by FIND.EXE as a special non-existing
object. Therefore FIND.EXE will simply count all the lines, including the empty ones.
After counting the lines FIND.EXE always returns errorlevel 0.
The third usage example presents lines of a batch file. Suppose that the target path is
given as a value of environmental variable %P%, and it is not known, whether it has a final
backslash or not. Since DOS is not indifferent to absence of a the final backslash, you need
to append it, if it isn't specified yet. This may be done in the following way:
echo %P%\\ | Find.exe "\\\" > nul
if errorlevel 1 set P=%P%\
In the first line FIND.EXE analyses redirected output of the ECHO command and tries
to find specified combination of symbols, which will be present there if the given path
contains final backslash. STDOUT output of FIND.EXE presents no interest and is sent to
NUL (into nowhere). The result becomes known via the errorlevel value, left by
FIND.EXE. It is analyzed in the second line of the presented example. Errorlevel 1 means
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
that FIND.EXE has found no final backslash in the given path, and then the SET
command (3.26) will append the missing backslash.
The last (fourth) usage example is also a part of a batch file. Suppose that you have
activated a procedure, which prepares a list of files (%Temp%\Files.lst) to be packed into
an archive, and want to prevent twice-fold packing, when this list contains nothing more
except archives of the same kind (RAR, for example). This can be achieved by the
following command lines:
Find /C /I /V ".rar" < %Temp%\Files.lst | Find ": 0" > nul
if not errorlevel 1 echo Chosen file(s) – already RAR-archive(s)
if not errorlevel 1 goto NO_PACK
In the first line the leftmost call for FIND.EXE reads filenames from the list
line-by-line via input redirection, and counts only those lines, which don't contain filenames
with ".RAR" suffix. The count result is redirected via STDOUT to the second (rightmost)
call for FIND.EXE, which is "waiting" for zero count. When the count result really is zero
(i.e. there are no other files except RAR archives), the rightmost call for FIND.EXE leaves
errorlevel 0. This errorlevel value is checked in second and third lines of the example. The
second line displays an error message, and the third line performs a jump to label
"NO_PACK", thus enabling to bypass packing operation.
6.15
FORMAT.COM – formatting tool for disks
The FORMAT.COM utility arranges logical disks on storage media, including
diskettes and partitions of hard disks. Formatting includes testing of each sector's
readability, writing sector's headers, creation of boot sector, of file allocation table (FAT)
and of root directory. Clusters found to have non-readable sectors are marked in FAT as
"BAD" and thus get out of use. Disks of 16 Mb and smaller are formatted with file system
FAT-12. Choice of file system (FAT-16 or FAT-32) for partitions of hard disks is made
with respect to FAT type identifier (A.13-6), assigned to particular partition beforehand by
FDISK.EXE (6.13). Cluster size is calculated automatically as allowable minimum for
given disk's size and FAT type.
Formatting of floppy disks (diskettes) implies low-level recalibration of tracks, so that
actual capacity of a diskette may be altered. An example of command line for formatting a
diskette may look like this:
Format.com A: /V:Archives /Q /F:1.44 /B
where:
A:
– a required letter-name specification of the disk to be formatted. Valid
letter-names are appointed to disks at boot time, when disks are
registered by BIOS. Those letter-names, which are appointed or
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
changed later by software means, are regarded by FORMAT.COM as
invalid.
/V:Archives – an example of optional specification for volume's label: any word(s)
of up to 11 characters long altogether. If this option is omitted,
FORMAT.COM offers to specify volume's label at the final stage of
formatting procedure. The user may reject the offer and just press
ENTER; then this logical disk is given the NO_NAME label.
/Q
– "quick format" – an option prescribing to skip most time consuming
operations: sectors test and headers writing. Formatting with "Q"
option is used to delete all contents of those disks, which have been
formatted yet and have sector headers as well as sectors themselves in
good condition. If there is a doubt about it, quick formatting can't be
recommended.
/F:1.44 – optional size specification (for floppy disks only). Allowable sizes are:
160, 180, 320, 360, 720 (kb) and 1.2, 1.44, 2.88 (Mb). Instead of the
/F option you may use other forms of size specification, which are
shown in note 1 below. When neither of allowable size options is
specified, FORMAT.COM is able to determine suitable size based on
BIOS' CMOS settings and on drive's sensor signals.
/B
– an option prescribing to reserve space for system files in order to make
the disk bootable later. Instead of /B you may specify /S, which
means the same plus copying of DOS's system files into the root
directory of the formatted disk. System files (COMMAND.COM,
IO.SYS) are implied to exist in the root directory of PC's main
bootable disk. Contrary to other system files, MSDOS.SYS is not
copied: FORMAT.COM creates an empty sample of this file anew.
Modern hard disk drives have a fixed track structure. It can't be altered by formatting
procedure. Therefore disk's size, number of sectors and other similar format parameters
shouldn't be specified for formatting HDD's partitions, for example:
Format.com D: /s /c /z:64
where:
/c
/z:64
– an option prescribing to test clusters that are currently marked "BAD".
Sometimes this enables to revive disks and diskettes, which have got a
marked "BAD" sector in their first track. But testing of numerous bad
clusters may considerably increase the time spent for formatting.
– an option forcing to arrange 32-kb clusters, each containing 64
sectors. It may be needed, if you intend to expand this partition later.
The /z:1 option enables to arrange FAT-16 file system on small disks
(from 4 to 16 Mb). But most often the "/z:" specification is omitted,
because the default cluster size is considered the best.
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Note 1: instead of total size of a floppy disk you may specify number of tracks and
number of sectors in each track, for example:
/T:80 /N:18.
One more alternative is to use the following parameters (instead of the /F option):
/1 – format an obsolete one-sided diskette;
/4 – format a 360 kb floppy in 1.2 Mb 5.25-inch drive;
/8 – format 8 sectors per track.
Note 2 original Microsoft's FORMAT.COM (dated 1998) can't cope properly with
formatting partitions beyond 64 Gb. Corrected version of FORMAT.COM (dated
2006), packed into SFX archive FDSKFRMT.EXE, can be downloaded from
http://www.mdgx.com/files/FDSKFRMT.EXE .
6.16
LABEL.EXE – volume's label changing tool
Volume's label is a word or a group of words of up to 11 characters long, used as a
storage media identifier. Volume's label is written into boot sector (A.03-4) and, besides
that, into a hidden entry of the root directory. Most often volume's label is appointed
during formatting procedure, but it may be assigned or changed later by the LABEL.EXE
utility, for example:
Label.exe R:RAMDRIVE
where:
R:
– a specification example for a disk which should have its volume label
altered; when disk is not specified, the current disk is taken by default.
RAMDRIVE – an example of volume label to be assigned to specified disk.
When volume label is omitted, LABEL.EXE shows current label of specified disk and
offers to type a new one. New label specification may be accepted via redirection too
(2.04-02, 2.04-05). If user rejects the offer, he is prompted to delete (or to preserve) the
current label.
Having finished its job, the LABEL.EXE utility leaves behind the following errorlevel
values:
082
015
002
000
– label writing attempt has failed.
– invalid letter-name, no corresponding drive.
– drive has no removable storage media inside.
– disk is either accessible or non-formatted. Anyway, writing of
volume's label hasn't been attempted.
The returned errorlevel value may be determined just as it is shown in articles 3.15-03
and 6.03. As far as the returned errorlevel value is informative, the LABEL.EXE utility is
sometimes used to test disk's accessibility (example - in article 9.03-02).
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.17
MEM.EXE – memory allocation explorer
The MEM.EXE utility is called in order to display information about amount of
available memory, about its allocation, about loaded resident modules, for example:
Mem.exe /A /C /P
where options are:
/A
– append summary with data about free space in HMA area.
/C
– show a summary table of memory usage. The first column of this table
enlists names of resident modules, the rest columns – details of
memory allocation. Instead of the /C option there may be specified:
/D – show status of resident modules and drivers;
/F – show nothing but amount of free memory;
/M:HIMEM
– show details about a particular resident module
(HIMEM in this example). Its name, specified after the /M
option, must be separated by a colon. Names of modules
should be taken from the first column of summary table.
/P
– make a pause after each screenful of information.
6.18
MODE.COM – peripherals interface tuner
The MODE.COM utility implements a number of interface configuration functions for
ports, for video card and for character generator. A summary table of current subordinate
equipment settings is displayed by MODE.COM utility, when it is called with /STATUS
option:
Mode.com /STATUS
6.18-01
MODE.COM: ports tuning operations
Interface tuning operations for serial ports (COM1, COM2, COM3, COM4) are
performed by MODE.COM as it is shown in the following example:
Mode.com COM1:11,E,8,2,B
where:
11
E
8
2
– set the 110 baud rate; values 11, 15, 30, 60, 12, 24, 48, 96, 19 are
allowed and correspond to baud-rates 110, 150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400,
4800, 9600 and 19200 accordingly.
– implement even parity check; instead you may specify:
O – implement odd parity check;
N – no parity check.
– set 8 information bits per codeword (8 or 7 allowed).
– set number of stop bits (1 or 2 allowed).
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
B
– means normal reaction on port's errors. Instead of B there may be
specified:
E – return ERROR message if connected device is busy;
N – don't repeat appeals to port after an error;
P – appeal to port repeatedly until CTRL-BREAK keystroke;
R – force switching to a new job even if the connected device
didn't finish its previous job.
Interface tuning operations for parallel ports (LPT1, LPT2, LPT3) imply that the
connected device is a printer. This is why for parallel ports the MODE.COM utility
accepts other parameters, for example:
Mode.com LPT1:80,6,B
where:
80
6
B
– number of characters per line (80 or 132 allowed);
– number of lines per inch (6 or 8 allowed),
– means normal reaction on printer errors. Instead of B there may be
specified just those options as for serial ports in the previous example.
The MODE.COM utility can readdress messages from parallel port (LPT1 – LPT3) to
any serial port (COM1 - COM4), thus enabling to use a printer with serial interface:
Mode LPT1:=COM2
In order to cancel readdressing the MODE.COM utility should be called once more
without further specifications after the same parallel port's name:
Mode.com LPT1:
6.18-02
MODE.COM: textual video modes switching
The MODE.COM utility allows two forms of commands for switching textual video
modes (A.10-1). Here is an example of the first (most obsolete) form of command:
Mode.com co80
where:
co80
– means color video mode with 80 characters per line. Instead of co80
there may be specified:
bw40 – monochrome video mode, 40 characters per line;
bw80 – monochrome video mode, 80 characters per line;
co40 – color video mode, 40 characters per line.
The second form of command for switching textual video modes looks like this:
Mode.com 80,25
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
where:
80
25
– number of characters in a line (40 or 80 allowed);
– number of lines per screen height (25, 43 or 50 allowed).
Note 1: switching of textual video modes is accompanied with loading fonts anew. If
current font has been installed by some other program (except MODE.COM),
then change of a video mode by MODE.COM may cause a return from national
font to default american font codepage 437.
6.18-03
MODE.COM: codepage selection
Commands for codepage preparation and selection operations, performed by
MODE.COM utility, usually are written into the AUTOEXEC.BAT file (9.01-02). All
these operations need the DISPLAY.SYS driver (5.02-02) to be loaded yet. The first of
these operations is preparation of several codepages for further activation:
Mode.com CON CP PREP=((437,850,866) EGA3.CPI)
where:
CON
– is a specification of the device, addressed by this operation. Instead of
CON (console, i.e. keyboard and display) ports LPT1, LPT2 and PRN
(printer) may be specified.
CP PREP – abridged name of operation "Code Page PREPare".
(437,850,866) – numbers of codepages (A.02-2) to be prepared. Only these
codepages will be available for switching by CHCP command (3.04).
EGA3.CPI – name example of a file, containing all those codepages, which should
be prepared.
Then one of prepared codepages should be made active by means of selection
operation:
Mode.com CON CP SEL=866
where:
CP SEL – abridged name of operation "Code Page SELect".
866
– number example of the codepage to be activated.
The codepage, activated for the CON (console) device, defines visual presentation of
letters and symbols on the screen. In order to determine which codepage is currently active
for a particular output device, you should call for the MODE.COM utility with device
specification (CON, PRN, LPT1 or LPT2), with CP (Code Page) operation name and with
the /STATUS option:
Mode.com CON CP /STATUS
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Any loaded codepage may become corrupted because of malfunction or because of
undue actions of other software. In such cases the MODE.COM utility enables to load the
active codepage once more with command:
Mode.com CON CP REF
where:
CP REF – abridged name of operation "Code Page REFresh".
6.19
MORE.COM – page-by-page viewer
When long messages are sent to display as a whole, text is scrolled over the screen too
fast to be perceived. In order to make long messages readable, the MORE.COM viewer
sends them to display in a page-by-page manner. Each time the screen is full with text, the
MORE.COM viewer suspends output, giving an opportunity to read the text. Each user's
keystroke initiates display of the next text page.
The MORE.COM viewer intercepts the messages, sent into standard output channel
(STDOUT), either by means of input redirection (2.04-02):
More.com < D:\MyDocs\Part2.txt
or by means of intermediate redirection (2.04-05):
Type D:\MyDocs\Part2.txt | More.com
where:
D:\MyDocs\Part2.txt
– is a name example of a file to be displayed, preceded by
full path. When the path is omitted, the file is implied to exist in the
current directory.
Type D:\MyDocs\Part2.txt
– is an example of a command (3.30), sending its
output via STDOUT output channel. Any other command, sending its
output to STDOUT, may be specified instead.
Note 1: messages sent to display via BIOS' interrupts or via STDERR output channel
can't be intercepted by MORE.COM.
Note 2: when the MORE.COM viewer accepts a message by means of intermediate
redirection (2.04-05), this message is written into a temporary file, and access to
a writable media is necessary. If current disk is non-writable or write-protected,
and if a path to a writable media is not defined in environmental variable
%TEMP%, then the MORE.COM viewer can't perform this mission. Therefore
interception by means of input redirection should be preferred.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.20
MOVE.EXE – copying and renaming utility
The MOVE.EXE utility is used to rename directories and to move files from one
directory into another.
When source and target directories belong to different logical disks, moving is
equivalent to copying, followed by deleting the copied file in the source directory. But
when both source and target directories belong to the same logical disk, moving can be
performed much faster by rearranging directory entries: reference record to file's first
cluster is moved from one directory table into another without touching the file itself. The
MOVE.EXE utility is able to decide, which way of moving should be implemented in each
particular case.
Moving of file(s) may be accompanied by renaming. Renaming of a directory is also
performed by correcting an entry in parent directory table.
Here is an example of MOVE.EXE usage for moving files from one directory into
another:
Move.exe /Y D:\MyDocs\Part*.txt C:\Dos\Chap*.txt
where:
/Y
– an option prescribing to overwrite synonymous file(s) in the target
directory without prompt. When this option is not present in command
line, MOVE.EXE tries to find it in the value of COPYCMD
environmental variable. If COPYCMD value contains this option, you
may overcome its action by specifying an opposite /-Y option in
command line.
D:\MyDocs\Part*.txt
– specification example for source file(s) with preceding
path. Path may be omitted, if the file(s) reside in current directory.
There may be several source specifications in one command line.
C:\Dos\Chap*.txt
– target specification example, including a mask for
renaming the files to be moved. The last of all such specifications in
command line is interpreted as target directory specification. If the last
name in this specification is not a name of an existing object, then this
new name is assigned to the moved file. But when the last name in
target specification is a name of an existing directory, file(s) are
moved into that directory without renaming.
In order to rename a directory, the last name in source specification must be not a
mask and not a filename, but a name of an existing directory. In this case the target
specification must consist of a new name only without path, even if the directory to be
renamed is not a subdirectory inside the current directory.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
6.21
SCANDISK.EXE – disk(s) repairing tool
SCANDISK.EXE is a program for examination and repairing diskettes and hard disk
drives, formatted with FAT12, FAT16 or FAT32 file systems. SCANDISK.EXE checks
boot sector, reveals lost clusters, corrects crosslinks in FAT table, examines writeability of
disk's surface in each cluster. Non-readable clusters are marked in FAT as BAD and
therefore get out of further use. The course of testing and location of bad clusters are
displayed in a chart, shown below in fig.4.
Fig. 4
SCANDISK.EXE tries to rewrite information from bad clusters into good ones so as to
restore integrity of each file. Being launched regularly, SCANDISK's maintenance
procedures enable to keep your computer in good health for a long time.
Details of test's structure are defined by parameters, stored in a separate file
SCANDISK.INI, which must be present in the same directory with main
SCANDISK.EXE file. SCANDISK.INI is a textual file. It contains comprehensive
commentaries and can be edited by the user. If you have to check and repair a drive
according to all parameters in SCANDISK.INI, you have to launch SCANDISK.EXE
with /CUSTOM option in command line. When /CUSTOM option is not specified, only
those parameters in [ENVIRONMENT] section of SCANDISK.INI file will be taken into
account.
Parameters in command line have priority over those specified in SCANDISK.INI file.
SCANDISK.EXE is able to fix automatically most part of the errors it finds, but for that it
has to be launched with parameters in command line, for example:
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Scandisk.exe C: /AUTOFIX /NOSAVE /NOSUMMARY /SURFACE
where:
C:
– specification example of a disk to be examined. If you want all
accessible disks to be processed, you should specify /ALL instead of
particular letter-name. Compressed disks should be specified with their
volume-name, for example: C:\DRVSPACE.000
/AUTOFIX – fix errors without prompt. On the contrary, when automatic
repairing isn't desirable, you may specify the /CHECKONLY option
instead of /AUTOFIX.
/NOSAVE – delete lost clusters rather than save them as files. This option can be
used only if the /AUTOFIX option is specified too. By default lost
clusters are transformed into files *.CHK in the root directory of the
same disk.
/NOSUMMARY
– don't stop at summary screens. This option can be used
together with either /CHECKONLY or /AUTOFIX options.
/SURFACE – perform a surface scan after other checks (surface scan shouldn't be
applied to compressed disks).
When /AUTOFIX option is not specified, then before making any changes
SCANDISK.EXE offers you to write disk's current state onto UNDO-diskettes. This gives
an opportunity to restore current disk's state later, if fixes will happen to inflict something
wrong. While making a decision about UNDO diskettes, it should be taken into account,
that amount of data in current state record may be enormous. Large partitions of modern
HDDs may require hundreds of UNDO-diskettes and a lot of time. This is why
SCANDISK's offer about UNDO-diskettes most probably should be rejected.
If nevertheless original disk's state was saved in UNDO-diskette(s), and restoration of
this state has been found necessary, then restoration procedure must be performed at once,
before any new files are written onto this disk:
Scandisk.exe /UNDO B:
where:
/UNDO – parameter initiating restoration procedure.
B:
– specification example of a drive, which will be used to read the
UNDO-diskette(s).
One more operation, performed by SCANDISK.EXE, is exploration of whether a
particular file is fragmented or not:
Scandisk.exe /FRAGMENT C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\Kernel32.dll
where:
/FRAGMENT – an option, inducing exploration of file's fragmentation.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\KERNEL32.DLL
– a specification example for a
file to be explored. If path is omitted, this file will be searched for in
current directory only.
Regardless to performed operation, SCANDISK.EXE accepts from command line one
more option – the /MONO option, prescribing to configure its output for a monochrome
display (by default the output messages are displayed in color).
Note 1: SCANDISK's procedures can't be applied to network drives, to CD/DVD-ROMs,
to RAM-disks and to virtual disks, created by utilities ASSIGN.COM,
JOIN.EXE and SUBST.EXE. SCANDISK.EXE also can't cope with those
damages of disk's data, which make this disk inaccessible. However, inaccessible
disks with damaged boot sector sometimes may be restored with NDD.EXE or
with DISKEDIT.EXE utilities from Symantec Co.
Note 2: SCANDISK.EXE needs direct access to the processed disk and therefore can't be
used inside a multi-tasking environment. A call for SCANDISK.EXE inside the
DOS "window", arranged by WINDOWS OS, in fact invokes another program –
the SCANDSKW.EXE from the \WINDOWS directory.
Note 3: SCANDISK.EXE with /AUTOFIX option shouldn't be applied to disks,
suspected of being infected by virus. This may cause irreparable data loss. Such
disks should be processed by an antivirus scanning program first (for example, by
DRWEB.EXE).
Note 4: by default SCANDISK.EXE regards as an error each long filename, appointed by
WINDOWS OS. Attempts to fix all such errors may have awful consequences.
SCANDISK.EXE wouldn't do harm to long names, if section [ENVIRONMENT]
of SCANDISK.INI file contains lines:
LfnCheck = Off
SpaceCheck = Off
Improved version of SCANDISK.EXE from WINDOWS-ME software release is
more tolerant to long names and can be used under MS-DOS7.
Note 5: data rewriting from bad clusters into good ones can't be performed, unless there
are some free clusters on the same disk. Of course, you can remove any file in
order to get some free space, but there are utilities (version 2.50 of PKZIP.EXE
archiver, for example), which fill diskette(s) with a single file leaving no free
space at all. Because of one corrupted sector such file can't be neither read nor
repaired, since there are no spare sectors. Filling of the whole media with one file
should be avoided.
6.22
SORT.EXE – lines sorting filter
The SORT.EXE utility accepts textual lines from a file or via redirection and sends the
same lines in another – sorted – order via STDOUT channel to the screen (the default), or
to another file or device. Sorting is defined by the order of characters in ASCII code table.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
The following example shows SORT.EXE usage for displaying a changed order of
textual lines on the screen:
Sort.exe /R /+12 D:\MyDocs\Unsort.txt
where:
/R
– an option, prescribing to reverse sorting order, i.e. from Z to A and
then from 9 to 0.
/+12
– specification example for sorting lines according to characters in
column 12. If this option is omitted, characters in column 1 will be
taken by default.
D:\MyDocs\Unsort.txt – specification example for the file to be processed (with
preceding path). File without preceding path will be searched for in
current directory only.
Second usage example shows input from a source file via redirection and output
redirected into another (target) file:
Sort.exe /+9 < D:\MyDocs\Unsort.txt > D:\MyDocs\Sort.txt
where:
D:\MyDocs\Sort.txt
– specification example for the target file. If this file
exists, it will be overwritten without prompt. Specification of the same
file for both the source and the target is not allowed (data will be
lost!).
The last example shows input via intermediate redirection from another command and
output of sorted lines to a printer:
Type D:\MyDocs\Unsort.txt | Sort /+3 > PRN
Note 1: redirection to a printer shouldn't be attempted unless you are sure that your
printer is properly connected to LPT1 port, is switched on and is able to
cooperate with MS-DOS.
Note 2: both output redirection ( > ) and redirection via a "pipe" ( | ) need access to a
writable media and can't be performed, if this condition is not met (2.04-03 –
2.04-05).
6.23
SUBST.EXE – arrangement of virtual disks
The SUBST.EXE utility arranges virtual disks, used as an equivalent replacement for
real paths. Originally SUBST.EXE has been developed as a means of access to
subordinate directories for old programs (from DOS versions earlier than 3.0). Early DOS
versions didn't "know" hierarchical directory structures, all files were stored in a single
root directory. The SUBST.EXE utility enables to address a file in any subdirectory as
though it were in the root directory of a disk. Nowadays the SUBST.EXE utility is used
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
rarely in order to squeeze more data into a limited length of command line and of
environmental variable %PATH%.
Here is an example of arranging a virtual disk with SUBST.EXE:
Subst.exe V: D:\DATA386\For_K\MyDocs
where:
V:
– example of a letter-name for the virtual disk to be arranged.
Letter-name must be free (not belonging to any real drive) and must be
chosen within the limit, set by LASTDRIVE command (4.17, 4,18) in
CONFIG.SYS file.
D:\DATA386\For_K\MyDocs – example of real disk and path to be assigned to
virtual disk. If path is not specified, current disk and path are implied.
In order to delete virtual disk, command line with a call for SUBST.EXE utility may
look like this:
Subst V: /D
where:
V:
/D
– letter-name example for the virtual disk to be deleted.
– an option, prescribing to delete virtual disk.
Being executed without parameters, the SUBST.EXE utility displays a list of currently
active virtual disks.
Note 1: virtual disks, arranged by SUBST.EXE, can't be subjected to actions of the
following utilities: Assign.com, Backup.exe, Chkdsk.exe, Defrag.exe,
Diskcomp.com, Diskcopy.com, Fdisk.exe, Format.com, Label.exe, Mirror.exe,
Recover.exe, Restore.exe, Scandisk.exe, Sys.com, Undelete.exe, Unformat.com.
Note 2: the paths assigned to virtual disks remain accessible in an ordinary way.
Note 3: virtual disks can be accepted by WINDOWS OS, but can't be arranged, when
WINDOWS OS is loaded yet. If necessary, virtual disk(s) should be arranged
before loading WINDOWS, preferably by SUBST.EXE utility launched from a
line of AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
6.24
SYS.COM – utility making disks bootable
At a certain stage of PC's booting process control is transferred to executable code,
read from boot sector of the boot disk. In its turn, this executable code transfers control to
a loader file, specified inside the same boot sector. In order to make a disk bootable with
MS-DOS7, an appropriate executable code and the name IO.SYS of MS-DOS7 loader file
must be written into disk's boot sector beforehand. Besides that, the IO.SYS loader itself
together with command interpreter COMMAND.COM and MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01)
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
must be present in the root directory of bootable disk. These boot ability conditions are
prepared by SYS.COM utility.
Command line for making a disk bootable may look like this:
Sys.com C:\ A:
where:
C:\
A:
– example of a path to the source directory with those system files
(IO.SYS and COMMAND.COM), which should be copied to new
disk. If source path is omitted, system files will be searched for in the
root directory of that disk, which has been used to boot the PC.
– letter-name example of that disk, which is to be made bootable. It must
be recognized by PC's BIOS and must be formatted yet under the same
version of DOS.
Note 1: SYS.COM utility can't be applied to network disks, to CD/DVD-ROMs and to
virtual disks, created by RAM-disk drivers or by utilities ASSIGN.COM,
JOIN.EXE and SUBST.EXE.
Note 2: the operations, performed by SYS.COM utility, are necessary, but are not
sufficient for making bootable a HDD's partition. This partition must be marked
active in disk's MBR by FDISK.EXE (6.13) or by some other similar program.
Executable code of boot sector will be read for execution just from that single
active partition.
Note 3: contrary to IO.SYS and_COMMAND.COM system files, the MSDOS.SYS file
(5.01-01) is not copied. SYS.COM creates it empty anew. Loading from a new
disk with default settings is considered more safe, because former settings may be
unsuitable in other circumstances.
Note 4: in the 8-th version of MS-DOS the SYS.COM utility has been changed: it always
uses the default path to the source directory, and can't accept this path from
command line.
6.25
VC.COM – file manager
6.25-01
Main properties of Volcov Commander shell
File manager Volcov Commander (VC), written by Vsevolod V. Volcov (Kiev,
Ukraine), resembles the known Norton Commander file manager, but VC is more compact
and more flexible for adaptation to user's demands. Though VC is an unfinished project
and can't be considered quite good, nevertheless it is the best for making reparatory work
comfortable under MS-DOS7. Version 4.99.07 of VC, packed into archive vc499.zip, can
be downloaded from internet site http://www.fdd5-25.net/shells.php . Just this version,
dated 1998, is described below. The latest alfa-version 4.99.08 of VC Shell is dated 2000.
— 189 —
Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
This latest version, packed into archive vc49908a.zip, can be downloaded from site
http://vvv.kiev.ua/download/ .
VC.COM is not a file manager itself, it is just a start file. The whole VC release
includes the main overlay VC.OVL, a number of code translation tables *.TBL, and the
following configuration files:
VC.INI
VC.MNU
VC.EXT
VCARCH.EXT
VCEDIT.EXT
VCVIEW.EXT
– non-textual file with general configuration settings.
– configuration of a menu, invoked by F2 keystroke.
– suffix-defined services, invoked by ENTER keystroke.
– specifications of archive services.
– suffix-defined services, invoked by F4 (Edit) keystroke.
– suffix-defined services, invoked by F3 (View) keystroke.
All VC's configuration files, except VC.INI, are ordinary textual files, which can be
edited with EDIT.COM (6.09) or with any other editor program for non-formatted textual
files. Examples of several VC's configuration files are shown in articles 6.25-02 – 6.25-04.
All files of the VC release must be stored in one directory, and the path to this
directory should be assigned as a value to environmental variable VC. Therefore file
AUTOEXEC.BAT should include a line, for example:
set VC=C:\DOS\VC4
VC Shell may be launched from command line as an ordinary program, but it is
usually launched automatically from the last line in AUTOEXEC.BAT file, for example:
C:\DOS\VC4\Vc.com /TSR /no2E /noswap /nozoom
where options are:
/TSR
– activate TSR supervisor, which monitors all loaded later TSR modules
and unloads them at VC Shell shutdown. This may help to release
memory and sometimes enables to avoid necessity of PC's reboot. On
the contrary, when TSR supervisor is not desirable, the /noTSR
parameter should be specified instead.
/no2E
– exclude execution of programs via undocumented INT 2E interrupt
(8.02-89), use legal INT 21\AX=4B00h (8.02-53) for this purpose.
INT 2E is shorter and faster, but is not reentrant and gives no access
to local variables of the caller. If nevertheless INT 2E is preferred, you
may specify /2E parameter instead.
/noswap – prescription to avoid swapping of VC's data from memory to a file on
a HDD. VC's data swapping is based on CHS access, which is not
compatible with large modern HDDs. On the contrary, in obsolete PCs
data swapping may be desirable, and then you may specify the
opposite /swap option.
/nozoom – don't zoom message windows (zooming is adopted as the default).
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Other allowable options for VC.COM are:
/BW
– set black and white palette for monochrome displays. An alternative to
/BW is /LCD – set special palette for LCD displays. Default is 16color palette, typical for textual video mode 03h (A.10-1).
/std
– load VC into conventional memory. By default VC Shell prefers other
choices, if there are any. When VC loads itself into conventional
memory, you may specify also
/big – load the whole VC's resident module;
/small – load a part of module's code, requiring periodic
replenishment from disk.
/XMS
– prescription to load VC into XMS memory, if XMS memory manager
HIMEM.SYS (5.04-01) is installed yet. Alternatives to /XMS option
are:
/noXMS – avoid XMS memory usage;
/EMS
– prefer EMS memory, if EMM386.EXE memory
manager (5.04-02) is installed yet;
/noEMS – avoid EMS memory usage.
/ini:Alter.ini – use another configuration file with arbitrary name (Alter.ini in this
example) instead of VC.INI. You may rename current VC.INI file,
change VC configuration and press Shift-F9 "Save Setup": VC will be
forced to create a new VC.INI file. Thus you may store a number of
alternative settings in different *.INI files.
/?
– display a short help.
Fig 5
— 191 —
Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Behind all parameters in command line VC.COM allows to specify a command, which
should be executed just after launching the VC Shell itself. This opportunity may be
expedient, for example, for refreshing a record of interrupt table contents, saved
beforehand by ESCAPE.COM utility.
When VC Shell is running, its appearance on the screen may be different, depending on
initial settings, stored in VC.INI file. Usually directory's contents are displayed in one or
two panels, as it is shown in fig.5.
Main functions of VC Shell are accessible via "hot keys" and via mouse's buttons
clicks as well. Those "hot keys", which are kept active by VC Shell, are enlisted below in
decreasing importance order.
Ctrl B
– toggles on/off the bottom keybar
F9
– activates the upper functional bar
Ctrl F1 – toggles on/off the left panel
Ctrl F2 – toggles on/off the right panel
Tab
– toggles active left panel/active right panel
Alt F1
– enables to choose disk in the left panel
Alt F2
– enables to choose disk in the right panel
Ctrl O
– toggles on/off both panels
Ctrl Q
– toggles on/off Quick View window in non-active panel
Ctrl L
– toggles disk info on/off in non-active panel
Ctrl [
– types the path from left panel into command line
Ctrl ]
– types the path from right panel into command line
Ctrl i
– types name of a selected file into command line
Ctrl P
– toggles non-active panel on/off
Ctrl U
– swaps panels
Arrows – shift menu item or selected file in active panel
Home
– shifts selection to the start of current directory
End
– shifts selection to the end of current directory
F2
– displays a user-defined menu (6.25-02)
F3
– invokes viewer to read a selected file
F4
– invokes text editor, if it is defined by the user
F5
– copies selected file or group into opposite panel
Ctrl F5 – as F5, but copies only one file, ignores group list
F6
– moves or renames selected file or prepared group
Ctrl F6 – as F6, but moves only one file, ignores group list
F7
– enables to create a directory
F8
– deletes a selected file or prepared file group
Ctrl F8 – as F8, but deletes only one file, ignores group list
Ins
– adds highlighted item to a list for group operation
Shift F9 – writes current VC's settings into VC.INI file
Ctrl A
– shows file attributes and enables to alter them
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Ctrl C
Ctrl E
Ctrl F
Ctrl N
Ctrl R
Ctrl F4
Ctrl F9
Ctrl \
Alt-letter
Alt F6
Alt F8
Alt F10
Alt F11
Alt F12
F10
– invokes directories comparison, marking endemic files
– moves last line from history table back into command line
– enables to define suffix(es) for selection with a mask
– toggles appearance of file's suffixes in panels
– causes re-reading of current directory contents
– enables to alter volume label for the active disk
– changes display video mode (Alt-F9 changes it too)
– causes a jump to the root of disk in the active panel
– search for a file in the current directory by name
– size of selected directory (in panel's "full" mode)
– displays previous command lines (the history)
– shows active panel tree, enables jump to any directory
– enables to make panels shorter with ARROW UP key
– enables to make panels longer with ARROW DOWN key
– exits current session and unloads Volcov Commander.
Functions of some "hot keys" are duplicated. Ctrl-J and Ctrl-Enter act just as Ctrl-i:
write name of the selected file into command line. Ctrl-Z acts as ALT F10 – shows active
panel tree. "0" in the numerical keypad acts just as INS: adds the selected item to a list of
items, being prepared for performing a group operation. Items, included in the list, are
highlighted with colour. Several keys in the numerical keypad are charged with auxiliary
functions for preparing group operations:
Ctrl +
– includes all files of the current directory in group list
+
– includes in group list the files, selected with a mask
Ctrl –
– discards current selection of files
–
– excludes files selected with a mask (wildcards allowed)
Ctrl *
– inverts files selection in current directory
*
– acts as "+", if list of files in current directory is not formed, or as "–",
if group list of files exists yet
When a list of highlighted items is prepared, then operations F5 (copy), F6 (move), F8
(delete) involve all the items in the list. List of highlighted items exists as a temporary file
VCLIST.000 in the directory, defined by environmental variable %Temp%. Inside VC
configuration files (*.MNU, *.EXT) the prepared list of highlighted items is accessible via
special macro commands [email protected] (for the active panel) and %[email protected] (for the passive panel).
Thus the user is given an opportunity to define its own group operations (examples – in
article 6.25-02).
If both VC's panels are switched OFF, VC shell provides more opportunities to
navigate along the command line with LEFT ARROW and RIGHT ARROW keys, to
insert characters into command line, and enables to access its history list with UP and
DOWN arrow keys. When NUMLOCK key is switched OFF, arrow keys in numerical
keypad act in the same way.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Development of the described VC's version (4.99.07) has not been completed. Some
functions, defined by the user via configuration files, may go wrong, when there are alien
*.EXT or *.MNU files in the current directory, and also when an archive file is left opened
in the non-active panel. Several "hot keys" are claimed active, but in fact are not or act in a
wrong way:
Alt F4
– (edit) – has no effect, use F4 instead
Alt F5
– (memory usage) – has no effect
Alt F7
– (file's search) – implemented since version 4.99.08
Ctrl M – (restore group) – has no effect
Ctrl N
– (long file names) – in rare cases may cause hanging
Ctrl Z
– (show tree) – may go non-stop until ESC keystroke
F1
– (VC's internal help) – isn't available
F6
– (move and rename) – being applied to a directory, disables mouse,
compels to reload mouse driver.
6.25-02
Volcov Commander's menu file VC.MNU.
VC's wide capabilities of adaptation are achieved due to a variety of macrocomands,
which are available inside its menu files (*.MNU) and inside its extension files (*.EXT).
Certain groups of syntax symbols and digits, being encountered in VC's configuration files,
are interpreted by VC Shell as a call for a macrocommand, and then are replaced by the
result, returned by the same macrocommand. This result may be a name, a path, a line, etc.
Here is a list of syntax symbol groups and corresponding macrocommands, provided by
VC file manager version 4.99.07:
![prompt]
!0...!9
!:
%:
!~\
%~\
!~
%~
– invitation to input word(s) from keyboard. The other word(s),
specified inside the square brackets, constitute a prompt, displayed
before this invitation. Up to 10 independent similar invitations are
allowed, implicitly enumerated from 0-th to 9-th.
– mark for a place to insert a copy of the word(s), which were typed
in by the user in response to an invitation, enumerated by the
specified number, from 0-th to 9-th.
– mark to insert letter-name of the disk, opened in active panel.
– mark to insert letter-name of the disk, opened in passive panel.
– mark to insert the path, opened in VC's active panel. Returned path
ends with a backslash.
– mark to insert the path, opened in VC's passive panel. Returned
path ends with a backslash.
– mark to insert short name (without suffix) of the file, selected with
left mouse's button in VC's active panel.
– mark to insert short name (without suffix) of the file, selected with
left mouse's button in VC's passive panel.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
!~.!
%~.%
[email protected]
%[email protected]
!!
%%
– mark to insert short name (with suffix) of the file, selected with left
mouse's button in VC's active panel.
– mark to insert short name (with suffix) of the file, selected with left
mouse's button in VC's passive panel.
– mark to insert name of temporary file, containing a list of
filenames, highlighted with right mouse's button in VC's active
panel.
– mark to insert name of temporary file, containing a list of
filenames, highlighted by right mouse's button in VC's passive
panel.
– mark to be replaced with a single exclamation sign.
– mark to be replaced with a single percent sign.
Combinations of symbols, including the tilde sign ( ~ ), invoke those macrocommands,
which truncate "long" filenames to 8 characters, and "long" suffixes – to 3 characters. In
all such combinations of symbols the tilde sign ( ~ ) can be omitted, and then the same
macrocommands, being executed in "DOS window" of WINDOWS-95\98\ME OS, return
long filenames "as they are", without truncation.
The user is given an opportunity to specify groups of symbols, invoking any
macrocommand, in any command line inside menu file (*.MNU) and inside extension files
(*.EXT). All lines in these files can be typed with editor program for non-formatted textual
files (6.09). Each item of menu is represented in VC.MNU file by a header line and by at
least one command line. VC file manager considers command lines are those non-empty
lines, which begin with at least one space (ASCII code 20h). On the contrary, the header
lines must not begin with a space. In the header lines the first group of characters, followed
by a colon, is interpreted as specification of the "hot key" to invoke function of this menu
item. The rest group of words to the right of colon is interpreted as a name, representing
this item of menu, when menu is displayed on the screen.
When the user has chosen a menu item for execution, the VC file manager replaces all
groups of symbols, used to call any macrocommand, by those data returned by
corresponding macrocommand. This is done at once in all command lines, following the
header line of the chosen menu item. Then these command lines are sent one-by-one for
execution to COMMAND.COM interpreter, which is called anew for each command line.
Because of this reason jumps between command lines are not allowed, and the values of
environmental variables can't be transferred from one command line to the following
command lines within the same menu item. Of course, all conditions for proper execution
of batch files should be met (see introduction article to chapter 9).
An example of VC.MNU file is shown below. Mentioned there files Edit.com (6.09),
Fc.exe (6.12), Scandisk.exe (6.21) are programs taken from Windows-95/98 release. Files
Arc.bat and Turn_off.com are those described in articles 9.03-01 and 9.05-02 of this book.
All these files must be present inside directories, specified in the value of the %PATH%
— 195 —
Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
environmental variable (2.02-02). As far as VC file manager has no internal help, file
HELP.TXT, mentioned in the first item of the menu, is implied to contain a text written by
you yourself. A path to HELP.TXT file is required to exist on one disk with
COMMAND.COM interpreter.
F1: Help
@for %%Z in (%%comspec%%) do %%Z\
@Edit.com /R \DOS\VC4\Help.txt
@!:\
F4: Search for a file or filemask in the current subtree
@rem ![Type filename or mask to search for & press ENTER:]
@echo.
@if not !0"==" Dir !0 /P /A:-D /S /B
F5: Compare a file with synonymous file in non-active panel
@if !:!~\==%:%~\ echo Other panel must show other folder!!
@if not !:!~\==%:%~\ Fc /L /N !~.! %:%~\!~.! > %%Temp%%\Y.t
@if not !:!~\==%:%~\ Edit.com %%Temp%%\Y.t
@if not !:!~\==%:%~\ del %%Temp%%\Y.t
F6: Pack file(s) marked in the active panel into a ZIP-archive
@Arc.bat ZIP !: !~\ !~ [email protected] %: %~\
F7: Pack file(s) marked in the active panel into a RAR-archive
@Arc.bat RAR !: !~\ !~ [email protected] %: %~\
F8: Repair a disk with Scandisk
@rem ![Type letter-name of the disk to repair & press Enter]
@if not !0"==" Scandisk.exe !0: /custom
F10: Switch the PC off
cls
@Turn_off.com
Each group of command lines related to one menu item can be regarded almost as a
batch file. The purpose of the first item is just display of a prepared text. But when DOS is
transposed to a RAM-disk (9.04, 9.09), letter-name of this RAM-disk can't be known
beforehand. Letter-name problem is solved otherwise: the first command line makes
current the disk, specified in a reference to command interpreter. If DOS is transposed, the
HELP.TXT file is copied to the same disk too. Therefore the path to HELP.TXT file in the
second command line refers to the root directory of a current disk, whichever it is. After
that the last command line of the first menu item restores former appointment of the
current disk.
The second menu item, called with "hot key" F4, presents a simple example of a query,
performed by VC file manager, and also an example of conditional execution of a
command, if user's response to the query isn't empty. Just the same can be said about the
sixth menu item, called with "hot key" F8. Appeal to SCANDISK.EXE program via menu
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
is expedient because otherwise a very important /CUSTOM parameter (6.21) is often
forgotten, and therefore testing procedures may go wrong.
The third menu item, called with "hot key" F5, presents a useful procedure of finding
differences between synonymous textual files, shown in the left panel and in the right panel
simultaneously. The first command line checks, whether different directories are opened in
VC's panels. If yes, the FC.EXE utility in the second command line compares selected files
and sends a report into a temporary file. The third command line displays this report on the
screen, and the fourth command line deletes temporary file.
Unfortunately, the described procedure of finding differences doesn't include all the
checks, which should be conducted. The reason is that VC file manager performs
substitutions of macrocommand's data in its own buffer. As far as this buffer is only 128
bytes long, returned data increase risk of truncating command line before it is sent to
command interpreter COMMAND.COM for execution. The threat of truncation is quite
real, in particular, for the second command line with a call to FC.EXE. Besides that, a call
to a version-specific utility via the %PATH% environmental variable is not reliable enough
(see introduction article to chapter 6), and separate loading of command interpreter for
each command line makes execution slow, especially when command interpreter is loaded
from a diskette.
It's better to arrange complex procedures in a form of separate batch files. An example
of this alternative approach is represented by batch file ARC.BAT (9.03-01), called from
command lines in the 4-th and 5-th menu items. Batch files decrease risk of command line's
truncation, eliminate restrictions on jumps, on searchless addressing, on usage of
environmental variables.
At last, a batch file, launched from VC.MNU, is executed much faster, than
equivalent separate command lines.
Note 1: in command lines of VC's configuration files, including VC.MNU, VC file
manager allows to specify other menu files with *.MNU suffix, i.e. a submenu
may be specified instead of a call for an executable utility. Potentially this gives
an opportunity to compose hierarchical menu structures.
Note 2: in VC's configuration files, including VC.MNU, all lines, beginning with a quote
sign ( ' ), are skipped. The rest part of these lines may be filled with
commentaries.
6.25-03
Extension files VC.EXT and VCEDIT.EXT.
Volcov Commander is able to arrange specific treatment for selected types of files
according to their suffixes. Suffix-dependent VC's reaction on ENTER keystroke (and
equally on mouse's left button double-click) is defined by textual configuration file
VC.EXT. Similarly suffix-dependent reaction on F3 (VIEW) keystroke is defined by
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
textual file VCVIEW.EXT, and reaction on F4 (EDIT) keystroke - by textual file
VCEDIT.EXT.
Suffix definitions in these files are specified just at the left edge of a line and must be
followed by a colon. To the right of a colon there is specification of a command to be
performed. If a keystroke must invoke more than one command, lines with the next
commands follow just below; these lines must begin with one or more spaces (instead of
suffix definition). If suffix definition is not followed by a command, then a file with this
suffix invokes command(s) specified in the nearest line(s) below. Suffix definitions may
include wildcards (? and *).
Each user has to choose particular programs, called via extension files, according to
his own needs. The following example of VC.EXT file is not intended to show as much
functions as can be invented, it just reflects the author's taste.
bas: Qbasic.exe /run !~.!
bmp:
gif:
jpg:
pcx: Lxpic.com !~.! /A
1st:
diz:
doc:
lsm:
me:
rus:
txt:
?!!: @echo _______ > [email protected]\..\t.txt
@copy [email protected]\..\t.txt /B + !~.! [email protected]\..\.
@Emagic.exe -q -n3 [email protected]\..\t.txt
@Svtxt.com [email protected]\..\t.txt
htm: @echo _______ > [email protected]\..\t.txt
@Html2txt.com < !~.! >> [email protected]\..\t.txt
@Emagic.exe -q -n3 [email protected]\..\t.txt
@Svtxt.com [email protected]\..\t.txt
scr: @rem ![Press ENTER to get listing or ESC to quit]
@echo Processing goes on. Wait...
@Debug.exe < !~.! > [email protected]\..\Listing.txt
@Edit.com [email protected]\..\Listing.txt !~.!
ima:
wbt: Diskimg.mnu
The shown example of VC.EXT file begins with a simple line: command files written
in QBASIC language are directed to their interpreter. The latter can be found in MSDOS6.22 release or in SFX archive OLDDOS.EXE, available at Microsoft's ftp-server
— 198 —
Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/ . You have to remember, that a corresponding
record must be written into versions table of SETVER.EXE driver (5.01-02) in order to
enable QBASIC.EXE usage under MS-DOS7.
The next group of lines in VC.EXT file directs picture files (*.BMP, *.GIF, *.JPG,
*.PCX) to picture viewer LXPIC.COM, developed by Stefan Peichl. Version 7.3 of this
viewer (dated 2002), packed into archive LXPIC.ZIP, can be downloaded from internet
site http://hplx.pgdn.de/ .
Further in VC.EXT file a large group of suffixes is enlisted (*.1ST, *.DIZ, etc.),
which usually denote textual files. The main problem of reading textual files in russian is
caused by a large variety of possible codes. This problem is solved by utility
EMAGIC.EXE, written by Sergey Gernshtein. EMAGIC.EXE analyses statistics of text,
determines the type of code and then automatically translates text into codepage CP866.
Archive EMAGIC.ZIP with EMAGIC.EXE utility inside can be downloaded from internet
ftp-server ftp://ftp.botik.ru/pub/msdos/convert/ . Those, who don't use codepage CP866,
are suggested to delete a line with a call for EMAGIC.EXE out of VC.EXT file.
Display of textual files on the screen is a mission of viewer SVTXT.COM, written by
Lo Hung Che for FreeDos project. This viewer, packed in archive PG116.ZIP, can be
downloaded from server ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/util/file/pg/ .
The SVTXT.COM viewer shows long textual lines in wrapped form and is able to cope
with the first 64 kb of indefinitely long files. The SVTXT.COM viewer can't extract parts
of text, but this can be done later with EDIT.COM editor (6.09), because a copy of the
shown text, translated into codepage CP866, will be saved as T.TXT file in a directory
intended for temporary files.
Hypertext files with *.HTM suffix may be treated just as ordinary textual files, if their
hypertext markup is taken off beforehand. The latter mission is performed by
HTML2TXT.COM utility, written by Shin Chan. Archive HTML2T08.LZH, containing
the HTML2TXT.COM utility, can be downloaded from internet site
http://www.vector.co.jp/download/file/dos/net/fh050307.html . The shown sequence of
hypertext file's translations can't be recommended for those who don't read in russian. It's
better for them to send *.HTM files directly to hypertext viewer VH.EXE. This viewer,
packed into VIEWHT25.ZIP archive, can be downloaded from internet server
ftp://ftp.bu.edu/pub/mirrors/simtelnet/msdos/html/ .
Suffix *.SCR most often marks command files for debugger DEBUG.EXE, but there
may be exceptions. Besides that, execution of some debugger's command files may inflict
undesirable consequences. Therefore for files with *.SCR suffix a query is issued by
Volcov Commander. If the user responds to the query with ENTER keystroke, command
file will be sent to debugger, and the returned listing will be presented for editing on the
screen. This procedure is very convenient for correcting those errors in command files,
which are revealed in returned listing (9.07-01).
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Files with *.IMA suffix are images of diskettes. These files may be either subjected to
unpacking or written back onto a diskette. An appeal to user's choice compels to create a
new submenu. Let it be named DISKIMG.MNU. In this submenu writing to disk is
performed by utility IMG.EXE, and unpacking – by utility DDI2HDD.EXE. Both these
utilities can be downloaded from internet ftp-server ftp://ftp.elf.stuba.sk/pub/pc/utildisk/
inside archives IMG.ARJ and DDI2HDD.ZIP accordingly. An example of submenu is
shown below; its text must be stored as unformatted textual file DISKIMG.MNU in
common directory with other VC's configuration files. In DISKIMG.MNU, just as in
VC.MNU, names of "hot keys" must be typed just at the left edges of lines without
preceding spaces.
F4: Write the image onto diskette in drive A:
@Img.exe !~.! A:
F8: Unpack files from the diskette image
@if not %~\"==" Ddi2hdd.exe !~.! %:%~\. /d /s
@if %~\"==" echo Archive in passive panel must be closed
@if not %~\"==" echo Unpacked files are in %:%~\!~ folder
While composing your own samples of VC's extension files you have to keep in mind,
that besides explicitly specified operations Volcov Commander performs some implicit
suffix-dependent processing. In particular, after interpretation of all lines in VC.EXT file,
selected files with *.BAT, *.COM and *.EXE suffixes are by default transferred to
command interpreter for execution, and archive files are further processed according to
specifications in VCARCH.EXT file (6.25-04). If the mentioned suffixes are specified
inside VC.EXT file, then the default treatment of the corresponding files will be intercepted
and wouldn't be performed. Because of this reason suffixes of archives and of executable
files are not specified in VC.EXT.
Similarly, after F3 (VIEW) keystroke Volcov Commander transfers to its internal
viewer only those files, which are not intercepted by suffix specifications in extension file
VCVIEW.EXT. Internal VC's viewer shows contents of any file in binary and textual
forms. The opportunity to view any file "as it is" is itself valuable, and therefore the
VCVIEW.EXT file, in my opinion, is not needed. If your opinion is different, you may
write your own version of VCVIEW.EXT, taking the shown VC.EXT file as example.
Syntax of records in VCVIEW.EXT and VC.EXT files is identical.
When a file, which is to be viewed or edited, is selected inside an opened archive in
active panel, then both F3 and F4 keystrokes invoke file's unpacking from that archive into
temporary directory %TEMP%\VC.000. Then the !~.! mark in lines of VCVIEW.EXT
and VCEDIT.EXT files is replaced by corresponding macrocommand with name of the
unpacked file, preceded by path to that temporary directory. Thus the F3 keystroke enables
viewing inside archives without their explicit unpacking. Similarly the F4 keystroke
subjects the unpacked file to just any operation, specified in lines of VCEDIT.EXT file.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Editing operation isn't as safe as viewing: the editor program may inflict damage to the
subjected file, especially harmful, when the subjected file is not an unpacked copy.
Succession of commands in VCEDIT.EXT file must protect susceptible non-textual files
against accidental damage. Therefore binary files and archives in the example below are
intercepted by an empty operation (REM) and thus escape the risk of being damaged.
bas:
bin:
cab:
com:
exe:
rar:
zip:
bmp:
gif:
jpg:
pcx:
*:
Qbasic.exe !~.!
@rem
Lxpic.com !~.! /A
Edit.com !~.!
Picture files are protected by separate interception: it enables to view pictures inside
archives. All the rest files are directed to editor program by asterisk wildcard specification
(instead of suffix) in the last line. As far as version 4.99.07 of Volcov Commander
provides no internal editor, in the proposed example of VCEDIT.EXT file the EDIT.COM
editor (6.09) is charged with this mission.
Note 1: all *.EXT files are read by VC shell once when it starts. Changes in *.EXT files
will not come into effect unless VC shell is shut down and then launched anew.
Note 2: in VC's extension files all lines, beginning with a quote sign ( ' ), are skipped. The
rest part of these lines may be filled with commentaries.
6.25-04
Archives processing configuration file VCARCH.EXT
In panels of VC's version 4.99.07 archives can be opened just as directories. This
feature is achieved by intercepting STDOUT output of archiver utilities and parsing it
word-by-word according to a predetermined order. If the output line is found conforming
to the order, then selected words from this line can be identified as a name of a file, its
date, length, etc. These data are displayed in VC's panel just as it is done for an ordinary
directory.
As far as output data display format is not the same for different archiver utilities, VC
shell has to adapt the parsing order according to type of archive file, defined by its suffix.
Parsing order models for different archive types are specified in configuration file
VCARCH.EXT. Moreover, VCARCH.EXT enables to specify several parsing order
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
models for archives of one type, and the output line will be parsed if it is found conforming
to at least one model.
VCARCH.EXT consists of separate entries for each archive type, each entry is up to 5
lines long. The first line in each entry defines archive suffix (it must be specified just at the
left edge of the line) and corresponding parsing order model(s). Suffix is separated from
parsing order model(s) with a colon. Definitions of parsing order models are composed of
space separators and upper case characters, interpreted in the following way:
A
C
D
L
M
N
P
S
T
W
Y
;
' or "
\
– attributes of a file, stored inside archive;
– size of a file after compression;
– day or date of the last change;
– line feed to continue parsing in the following line;
– month;
– name of a file, stored inside archive;
– path, stored inside archive;
– original size of a file, stored inside archive
– time of the last change;
– a word to be ignored;
– year;
– semicolon separator between parsing order models;
– quotes to enclose any recognizable symbol(s) or text;
– backslash as the first symbol of a parsing order model signifies
that this model refers to a directory.
The next four lines in each entry commence with at least one space and define calls to
the corresponding archiver utility for performing particular operations:
2-nd line:
3-rd line:
4-th line:
5-th line:
send table of archive's contents into STDOUT. This operation is
initiated automatically each time when panels are redrawn.
unpack selected archive file(s). Unpacking is initiated by F5 (copy)
keystroke, if archive is opened in active panel.
add file(s) to the archive. Adding is initiated by F5 (copy) keystroke, if
archive is opened in passive panel.
delete file(s) from archive. This operation is initiated by F8 (delete)
keystroke.
Unpacking operation, specified in the 3-rd line, can also be initiated by F3 (view) and
F4 (edit) keys. In this case the result of unpacking is written into directory for temporary
files and is immediately presented for viewing or editing according to specifications in
extension files VCVIEW.EXT and VCEDIT.EXT.
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
Out of a large variety of archive types only a few are actively used for packing. Most
part of other entries in VCARCH.EXT file is preserved for a single purpose: for access to
archives types, which may be occasionally encountered in software stores. Entries for such
archive types in VCARCH.EXT file may be reduced to three lines.
During interpretation of command lines in VCARCH.EXT file Volcov Commander
gives no access to environmental variables, but provides specific macrocommands, which
differ from those available in other extension files. Macro command calls in
VCARCH.EXT file are induced by the following marks:
!A
!T
!F
!M
[email protected]
– mark to be replaced by archive file name with preceding path.
– mark to be replaced by path to directory for temporary files.
– mark to be replaced by a filename, selected with left mouse's button
click.
– mark to be replaced by one or more filenames, selected by right
mouse's button click.
– mark to be replaced by a name of temporary file, containing a list of
filenames, selected by right mouse's button click.
Proposed examples of entries for VCARCH.EXT file are shown below. All executable
files, mentioned in entry examples, must be accessible along path(s), specified in value of
environmental variable %PATH% (2.02-02).
ARC: N S W C W D T W
Pkxarc.exe –v !A
Pkxarc.exe –e !A @[email protected]
BSA:
BSN: W S C W W D "–" M "–" Y T A L N; W S C W W D "–" M "–1" Y T A L N
Bsa.exe v !A
Bsa.exe x –S !A @[email protected]
CAB: M "–" D "–" Y T A S N; N ":" W W W W W W W
Extract.exe /d !A
Extract.exe /e !A !M
RAR:
R0?:
R1?:
R2?: "*" N L S C W D T A W W W; N L S C W D T A W W W
Unrar.exe v –r –w!T !A
Unrar.exe x –r –w!T !A @[email protected]
Rar.exe a –std –ds –r –rr -ems- –w!T !A @[email protected]
Rar.exe d -std –r –rr -ems- –w!T !A @[email protected]
TAR: A W S N L
Tar.exe -tvf !A
Tar.exe -xnf !A !M !F
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
UHA: N S D "-" M "-" Y T A
Uharcd.exe l -y+ !A
Uharcd.exe x !A !M !F
ZIP:
??!:
?$:
??$: S W C W D T W A N
Pkunzip.exe –v !A
Pkunzip.exe –d !A @[email protected]
Pkzip.com –b!T –P –wHS !A @[email protected]
Pkzip.com –b!T -d !A @[email protected]
1:
2:
3:
4:
Z: M "–" D "–" Y T S A C N
Command.com /c Icomp.exe –l –h !A
Command.com /c Icomp.exe –d –i –h !A !F
Volcov Commander's version 4.99.07 release is supplemented with VCARCH.EXT
file, containing entries for many archive types. Examples of entries, shown in this article,
shouldn't be regarded as a complete VCARCH.EXT file. These examples represent
separate entries, which differ from those in original release. Proposed entries may be added
to original VCARCH.EXT file or may replace original entries in this file. All archiver
programs, mentioned in proposed entries, can be downloaded from a vast collection of
archivers in ftp-server ftp://ftp.elf.stuba.sk/pub/pc/pack/ .
6.26
XCOPY.EXE – copying utility
The XCOPY.EXE utility copies files and can copy directories with all their contents,
including subdirectories. XCOPY.EXE needs an auxiliary file XCOPY32.EXE to be
present in the same directory. A command line with a call for XCOPY.EXE may look like
this:
Xcopy.exe D:\TEMP\*.* C:\DOS /A /D /P /S /V /W
where:
D:\TEMP\*.* – path and mask examples for the files to be copied.
C:\DOS – example of a target path for copying.
/A
– copy those files only, which have the "A" attribute set, and leave this
attribute intact. The /M option means the same, but the "A" attribute
will be taken off.
/D
– copy those files only, whose source is newer than synonymous sample
in the target directory. If after the /D parameter a date is specified (for
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Chapter 6: Selected utilities for MS-DOS7
/P
/S
/V
/W
example, /D:18/12/2003), then those files only will be copied, which
are newer than that date (see note 2 below).
– prompt before copying each file into target directory.
– copy directories and subdirectories except empty ones. Specification of
both /S and /E options forces to copy empty directories too.
– verify each copied file.
– wait for permission to copy, confirmed by keystroke (in order to give
time for changing either source or target storage media)
Note 1: being launched under MS-DOS, XCOPY.EXE can't copy files having H (Hidden)
or S (System) attributes. This and some other functions can be performed by
XCOPY.EXE inside Windows's "DOS box" only.
Note 2: data format, specified after the /D parameter, depends on national settings,
defined by COUNTRY command (4.05). In any case data format must be just
that returned by DATE command (3.08).
Note 3: in MS-DOS8 auxiliary file XCOPY32.EXE is renamed to XCOPY32.MOD.
Note 4: a synonymous utility XCOPY.EXE has been written as a part of FreeDOS
project in 2003 by Rene Ableidinger. This utility needs no auxiliary files and is
able to copy files with HS attributes under MS-DOS7. Archive RXCOPY2.ZIP,
containing this utility, can be downloaded from internet server
ftp://sunsite.unc.edu/pub/micro/pc-stuff/freedos/files/dos/ .
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Chapter 7
Debugger's assembler commands
Are commands of archaic DEBUG.EXE worth the time to get acquainted with? This
question invokes recollections. More than a half century ago computers have implemented
time sharing for several terminals. Each terminal was used to launch a separate program,
and computer's memory had to be distributed among these programs. For claiming memory
requirements program's file headers were introduced. Since then those assemblers, which
couldn't automatically compile file's headers, have been regarded obsolete.
Nowadays high-level languages have ousted assemblers from compiling applications.
Automation advantages of known assemblers MASM and TASM in applications
compiling have turned into unnecessary complexity. For firsthand acquaintance with CPU
and for exploration purposes much simpler tools are preferable. Years have reversed those
criteria, which induced to regard obsolete the predecessors of DEBUG.EXE.
Of course, new problems can't be solved by a return backward. Evolution evinces itself
in development of new tools, in particular, of a simple and convenient assembler FASM
( http://www.flatassembler.net/ ). However, even in comparison with new tools,
DEBUG.EXE has a number of advantages, which make it a more suitable tool for your
first attempts in system programming:
– first, it gives the most clear notion of machine codes usage;
– second, it combines assembling and debugging capabilities;
– third, it provides access to hardware and to OS structures;
– fourth, it is able to interact with the user.
As far as the listed properties are valuable, a project is undertaken to compile a new
debugger (see note 2 to 6.05), which inherits both the name and the best properties of
DEBUG.EXE. Contents of this 7-th chapter are limited to commands set of original
DEBUG.EXE from Windows-95/98 release. But all these commands are valid for the new
debugger as well. Though these commands constitute a subset of all modern CPU's
commands, this subset plays a very important role. It includes the most widely used
commands. About 96% of the whole currently active computer park "understands" these
commands. Compatibility of machine codes for the vast majority of modern computers is
based on just this subset, which is represented here by assembler commands of
DEBUG.EXE.
More recent commands in modern CPU's may differ. Nevertheless a number of such
commands is widely acknowledged and is necessary for tuning modern computers. As
exception, the 7-th chapter includes descriptions of several commands, which are not
"known" to DEBUG.EXE. Descriptions elucidate the ways to employ these commands in a
form of machine codes. In any case this wouldn't be an obstacle for debugging programs
with these codes.
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
DEBUG.EXE accepts assembler commands, when it is switched to translation of
assembler language into executable machine codes (6.05-02). Though each dialect of
assembler language has its peculiarities, general composition of assembler commands is
common. A line begins with command name, followed by operand(s). Operands in some
commands must be preceded by a marker of operand's type. If an assembler command
contains several operands, these are separated by a comma. Commands, which produce
any numerical result, overwrite their first (leftmost) operand with this result. Former
contents of this register (or memory cell) become lost. Examples of command files with
switching DEBUG.EXE to assembler language translation and with a lot of assembler
commands are presented in articles 9.05, 9.06, 9.08, 9.10.
As far as alternative command's specifications are too numerous, some variables and
operands in chapter 7 are given easily recognizable fixed lower case designators, just the
same in all examples. Allowable substitutions for these designators together with some
other terms, used in DEBUG's assembler dialect, are shown and explained in the table
below.
Table 7.00
Designators
Explanations and allowed alternatives
bl
bx
ss
ST
ST(0-7)
far
byte ptr
word ptr
dword ptr
qword ptr
tbyte ptr
f
±7f
ff
ffff
aaaa
[bp+si+ffff]
any of 8-bit registers: AL, CL, DL, BL, AH, CH, DH, BH.
any of 16-bit registers: AX, CX, DX, BX, SP, BP, SI, DI.
any of segment registers: CS, DS, ES, SS.
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) (see note 1 below)
any coprocessor's stack register from ST(0) to ST(7)
marker of a 4-byte address (segment + offset).
marker of a one-byte operand (ptr = "pointer")
marker of a 2-bytes operand (a word)
marker of a 4-bytes operand (a double word)
marker of a 8-bytes operand (a quadruple word)
marker of a 10-bytes operand
any single hexadecimal digit from "0" to "F"
any signed hexadecimal number from –7Fh to +7Fh
any hexadecimal number from 00h to FFh
any hexadecimal number from 0000h to FFFFh
address for "short" jumps (see note 2 below)
expression enclosed in square brackets means addressing to
operand in memory. Offset of the corresponding memory
cell(s) is to be found by evaluating the given expression.
Two groups of expression forms are allowed (see notes 3
and 4 below).
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 1: coprocessor's top stack register is normally named ST(0), but in several positions,
where no other register can be addressed instead, DEBUG.EXE accepts abridged
name ST.
Note 2: offset is specified as "aaaa" for control transfer commands with one address byte.
This offset must be within ±7Fh vicinity from the next machine command. If
vicinity condition is violated, DEBUG.EXE responds with error message.
Note 3: expressions of the first group produce offset, alluding by default to segment
address in DS. These expressions are either
just an offset specification:
[ffff].
or a single register reference:
[BX], [DI], [SI],
or a sum of 2 registers:
[BX+DI], [BX+SI],
or a sum with displacement:
[BX±7f], [BX+ffff],
[BX+DI±7f], [BX+DI+ffff], [BX+SI±7f], [BX+SI+ffff],
[DI±7f], [DI+ffff], [SI±7f], [SI+ffff].
Note 4: expressions of the second group include a reference to BP register and produce
offset, alluding by default to segment address in SS:
[BP+DI], [BP+SI], [BP±7f], [BP+ffff], [BP+DI±7f],
[BP+DI+ffff], [BP+SI±7f], [BP+SI+ffff].
Note 5: register names in expressions may be separated by minus sign, but this doesn't
affect the result: sum is counted in any case.
Note 6: the default segment register may be changed by explicit specification of a prefix
byte (7.02-01).
Note 7: when operand's type marker ("byte ptr", "word ptr"...) isn't present in assembler
command, DEBUG.EXE determines type of operand according to the register,
containing the other operand: 16-bit register (AX, BX...) sets word type, 8-bit
register (AL,AH,BL...) sets byte type. If a command doesn't address to a register,
then operand's type marker becomes a required item. In any case these markers
may be truncated to 2 characters: "by", "wo", etc.
7.01
Control instructions
Having been switched to translation of assembler commands, DEBUG.EXE accepts
commands and also control instructions. The latter are not translated into machine code,
but rather affect the process of translation and may play a very important role.
7.01-01
DB – data bytes insertion instruction
The DB (= Data Byte) instruction informs DEBUG.EXE, that the following string of
bytes must be treated not as an assembler command, but rather as separate bytes of data,
which should to be written into assembled code "as they are". Each byte is represented by
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
two hexadecimal digits without the trailing "h". String of bytes may include group(s) of
ASCII characters, enclosed in quotes or in double quotes. ASCII characters (except the
enclosing quotes) are translated into hexadecimal code byte-by-byte. Comments after the
DB instruction are not allowed. Here is a DB instruction usage example:
DB 71 6C 65 'data array'
Note 1: while unassembling machine codes there may be encountered byte(s), which can't
be identified as machine commands, "known" to DEBUG.EXE. Then "DB" is
displayed as a prefix to each such byte.
7.01-02
DW – data words insertion instruction
The DW (= Data Word) instruction informs DEBUG.EXE, that the following string
must be treated not as an assembler command, but rather as separate words of data, which
should be written into assembled code "as they are". Each word consists of up to 4
hexadecimal digits. If there are less than 4 digits in a word, it will be automatically
supplemented to 4 digits with higher order zeros. In assembled machine code the least
significant 2 digits of each word constitute the first byte, and the most significant 2 digits
constitute the following byte. String of words after the "DW" instruction may include
group(s) of ASCII characters, enclosed in quotes or in double quotes. These characters
(except the enclosing quotes) are translated into hexadecimal representation one byte per
character, just as after the "DB" instruction (7.01-01). Comments after the DW instruction
are not allowed. Here is a DW instruction usage example:
DW 71A0 F01 06D5 "other key" 0FFF
7.01-03
ORG – target address change instruction
The ORG instruction informs DEBUG.EXE, that machine codes of the assembled
commands, from the next one and on, must be written into other place, starting from that
address, which is specified after the ORG instruction. Processor's registers are not affected
by ORG instruction. In course of interactive debugger's sessions the ORG instruction
enables to navigate along the assembled code in order to correct errors and those references
forward, which couldn't be specified in advance.
In debugger's trial command files the ORG instruction is used to fix positions of restart
points and of jump target points (example – in 9.02-02). Reserved free space, preceding
positions of fixed points, helps to avoid tedious address recalculations, which otherwise
would be necessary each time you have to add or delete bytes of code in any previous part
of command file. Comments after the ORG instruction are allowed. Usage examples are
shown in the following table:
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Examples
Performed action
ORG
ORG
ORG
ORG
Set explicitly both segment address and offset
Leave segment address intact, set offset 0fffh
Refer to segment register "ss:", set offset ffffh
Refer to segment register "ss:", offset 0000h is implied
7.01-04
ffff:ffff
fff
ss:ffff
ss:
Instruction "Empty line"
Empty line, containing no commands, no instructions, no data and no comments, is
itself regarded by DEBUG.EXE as an instruction, forcing to return from translation of
assembler commands, described in chapter 7, to normal control with those commands,
described in articles 6.05-02 – 6.05-23. In order to input this instruction from keyboard
you have to leave the last presented line empty and just press ENTER. When assembler
commands are received from a command file via input redirection, return to normal control
is induced by the first encountered empty line in this command file. Therefore a care
should be taken about absence of empty lines inside any block of assembler commands in
command file(s), and equally about presence of an empty line, marking the end of each
block of assembler commands.
7.01-05
Semicolon – comments insertion instruction
Being encountered in any position in a line with assembler command, semicolon ( ; ) is
interpreted by DEBUG.EXE as instruction to proceed to the next assembler command line
at once, skipping translation into machine codes of the semicolon itself and of all following
characters in the rest part of current command line. This mission of semicolon is used in
order to append comments to assembler commands.
Note 1: a line beginning with semicolon is not regarded empty (7.01-04) and doesn't force
DEBUG.EXE to cease translation of assembler commands into machine code.
This gives an opportunity to insert headers and multi-line commentaries.
Note 2: DEBUG's message " ^ Error" pointing upwards just towards semicolon in the
previous line means that an error is present in preceding part of this line. Most
probably command line is considered not complete because of absence of some
required parameter.
Note 3: semicolon can't be used to append commentaries to those assembler command
lines, which begin with control instruction DB or DW, and also when
DEBUG.EXE is not switched to translation of assembler commands.
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.02
Prefixes
In machine code of x86 platform CPU's several particular bytes are given a special
prefix status. Each such byte is not a separate machine command. But a prefix byte, being
encountered preceding a machine command, forces CPU to change the manner of it's
interpretation or execution. Effect of a prefix byte isn't spread beyond the nearest following
command.
DEBUG.EXE allows to specify a prefix byte in a separate line before that assembler
command, which is to be affected by prefix, for example:
CS:
ADD byte ptr [BX],0F
Specification of a prefix byte just before the affected command in the same line is
equally allowable:
CS: ADD byte ptr [BX],0F
Machine command's code may be preceded by up to four prefixes, if their effects don't
contradict to each other. All prefixes in one command must be different, duplicate prefixes
are not allowed.
7.02-01
Segment override prefixes
Most assembler commands don't include explicit segment address specification.
Absolute memory addresses (see note 2 to 6.05-01) for such commands are calculated by
CPU on the basis of default segment register assignment (see notes 3 and 4 to table 7.00).
Segment override prefixes force CPU to read segment address from another segment
register instead of the default one for the nearest following command. Naturally, segment
override prefixes can be applied to those commands only, which appeal to memory and
therefore imply calculation of absolute address.
DEBUG.EXE "knows" four segment override prefixes, inheriting names of
corresponding segment registers (see second column of the table below). Examples of CS:
prefix usage have been shown in article 7.02. Numerous other similar prefix usage
examples can be found in assembler texts, presented in articles 9.06 and 9.08.
Modern CPUs have not four, but six segment registers. Segment override prefixes for
auxiliary segment registers FS and GS are not "known" to DEBUG.EXE, but it allows to
specify these prefixes as data by means of DB instruction (7.01-01) and doesn't hinder to
proper interpretation of these prefixes by CPU. Of course, for proper interpretation of
these prefixes the 80386 or newer CPU is required.
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Codes
Examples
Comments
2E
3E
26
36
64
65
CS:
DS:
ES:
SS:
DB 64
DB 65
relative to FS: segment register
relative to GS: segment register
Note 1: segment override prefixes can't affect default assignment of ES: register, in
particular, for string commands CMPSB, CMPSW, INSB, INSW, MOVSB,
MOVSB, SCASB, SCASW, STOSB, STOSW.
7.02-02
LOCK – system bus lock prefix
Prefix LOCK corresponds to prefix byte F0h, which induces CPU to send "Bus busy"
signal and to keep it active until execution of the following command terminates. This is
necessary in computers with several processors in order to prevent uncoordinated access to
shared memory resources. For ordinary computers with a single processor prefix LOCK is
not needed.
The LOCK prefix can be specified for writing into memory with commands ADC,
ADD, AND, DEC, INC, NEG, NOT, OR, SBB, SUB, XCHG, XOR. But when the same
commands perform reading only or operate with registers, then LOCK prefix shouldn't be
specified. In such cases CPU responds to byte F0h with exception 06h, inducing a call for
interrupt INT 06 handler (8.01-07).
Code
Example
F0
LOCK
Note 1: Intel's CPUs don't allow combinations of LOCK prefix with any of repetition
prefixes (7.02-03, 7.02-04) in one command.
Note 2: modern processors, having more than 8 control registers, allow prefix byte F0h
for access to control registers with MOV command (note 1 to 7.03-58). In this
case F0h byte is interpreted not as LOCK prefix, but as a prefix for access to
registers CR8 – CR15.
7.02-03
Repetition prefix REPNZ
Name REPNZ stands for "REPeat while Not Zero". The REPNZ prefix induces cyclic
execution of the nearest following command. Repetition cycle terminates, when at least one
of two conditions is met:
— 212 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
- the executed command finds equal operands and therefore sets zero flag (ZF) into
ZR state (6.05-15).
- a number in CX register becomes zero because the prescribed number of
repetitions in CX register has exhausted.
Prefix name REPNE, standing for "REPeat while Not Equal", is accepted by
DEBUG.EXE as equivalent of REPNZ. Both correspond to the same prefix byte F2h,
which forces CPU to perform cyclically the following operations:
- first, to check the CX= = 0 condition. If it is met, then terminate the cycle. If it is
not met, then decrement by a unity the number in CX register.
- second operation is to reset zero flag into NZ state.
- the next operation is to perform that command, which is preceded by repetition
prefix.
- the last operation is to check whether the zero flag is set into ZR state. If yes,
then terminate the cycle. If no, then return to the first operation, to
CX= = 0 check.
As long as both described conditions are not met, CPU continues to perform the cycle.
As soon as at least one condition is met, CPU leaves the cycle and proceeds to the next
command, following the one executed within the cycle.
Repetition prefixes are used with string commands, which automatically increment or
decrement contents of index register (SI, or DI, or both) at each iteration. Hence the actual
address of their operand(s) is shifted from one iteration to the other. String commands
CMPSB, CMPSW, SCASB, SCASW affect not index only, but also the state of ZF flag.
Therefore repetition prefixes with these commands enable to analyze string(s) of bytes or
words. When repetition prefix is used with commands, not affecting the ZF flag (INSB,
INSW, MOVSB, MOVSW, OUTSB, OUTSW, STOSB, STOSW), then these commands
will be just repeated that number of times, which is preset in CX register.
Code
Examples
F2
F2
REPNE
REPNZ
Note 1: when a command is preceded by several prefixes, including a repetition prefix,
then archaic processors (more obsolete, than 80386) sometimes can't resume
execution of the repetition cycle after interrupts. If such combination of prefixes
can't be avoided, one has either to recheck explicitly the conditions of cycle's
termination or else inhibit interrupts with CLI command (7.03-12) for the time of
cycle execution.
Note 2: repetition prefixes shouldn't be applied to non-string commands, because it results
in those byte combinations, which may be interpreted by modern processors as
operation code extensions (7.02-08), in particular, denoting the SSE commands.
— 213 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 3: when repetition prefix is used in combination with operand size override prefix
(7.02-06), the prescribed number of repetitions is read not from 16-bit CX
register, but from 32-bit ECX register. For such cases it's important to remind
about preparation of a proper value in upper part (bits 31 – 16) of ECX register.
7.02-04
Repetition prefix REPZ
Name REPZ stands for "REPeat while Zero". The REPZ prefix causes iterative
execution of the command it precedes. Repetition cycle terminates, when at least one of the
following two conditions is met:
- the executed command finds different operands and therefore resets zero flag
(ZF) into NZ state (6.05-15).
- a number in CX register becomes zero because the prescribed number of
repetitions in CX register has exhausted.
Prefix names REP (=REPeat), REPE (= REPeat while Equal) and REPZ are regarded
by DEBUG.EXE as equivalent: either of them corresponds to the same prefix byte F3h.
Having encountered byte F3h, processor performs the same sequence of operations as for
prefix REPNZ (7.02-03), except that initial state of ZF flag is reversed to ZR, and the
target state of ZF flag is the opposite (NZ). All other peculiarities of command's execution
with REPNZ prefix, described in article 7.02-03 and in the following notes, are equally
inherent to execution of commands with prefix REPZ.
Code
Examples
F3
F3
F3
REP
REPE
REPZ
Note 1: prefix REPZ is often used with commands CMPSB and CMPSW for comparison
between two strings of characters – names, paths, signatures. When comparison
cycle terminates, the result is expressed by state of ZR flag: the set state (ZR)
proves identity, the reset state (NZ) is an evidence of difference.
7.02-05
Synchronizing prefixes WAIT and FWAIT
Prefix names WAIT and FWAIT correspond to the same prefix byte 9Bh. It is used
with commands, which imply code transfer between CPU and asynchronous coprocessor.
Byte 9Bh forces CPU to wait for arrival of readiness confirmation signal from coprocessor
to CPU's pin "BUSY". In particular, prefix byte 9Bh should precede to ESC commands
(7.03-22) and to coprocessor's commands (7.04), if machine code is to be executed by a
CPU without internal arithmetic coprocessor.
— 214 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
For modern CPUs, comprising an integrated arithmetic coprocessor with hardware
synchronization means, former mission of prefix byte 9Bh is not needed. Byte 9Bh is
ignored, if bit 01h "coprocessor synchronization" in control register CR0 (A.11-4) is reset
to zero. By default bit 01h is set, and then byte 9Bh may induce a call for INT 07 handler,
if at the same time task switch flag (bit 03h in CR0) is set too. Task switching is conjoined
with necessity to process exceptions, registered by coprocessor. The INT 07 handler can
be charged with this mission, and then it's fulfillment will be ensured by pertinent usage of
the WAIT prefix.
7.02-06
Code
Examples
9B
9B
FWAIT
WAIT
Operand's size override prefix
In real mode modern CPUs by default emulate 16-bit operations of obsolete processor
8086. But in fact modern CPUs have 32-bit general purpose registers. Sometimes it is
desirable to get access to the whole 32-bit register, while CPU is still kept in real mode.
This can be achieved with operand size override prefix byte 66h, which is properly
"understood" by all 32-bit CPUs, belonging to x86 platform.
As far as DEBUG.EXE doesn't "know" operand size override prefix, it should be
introduced by DB instruction (7.01-01), for example:
DB 66
SHR AX,CL
In the shown example presence of prefix byte 66h modifies action of SHR command
(7.03-83) so that it will affect the whole 32-bit register EAX. In particular, if the number
of shifts, preset in CL register, is 10h (= 16 decimal), then contents of bits 31 - 16 in EAX
will be shifted into bits 15 - 0 and will become accessible in AX as an ordinary 16-bit
operand.
Being preceded by prefix byte 66h, stack commands PUSH, PUSHF, POP, POPF
operate with four bytes at once. Bytes are pushed into stack in descending significance
order: from the most significant to the least. Contents of bits 31 - 16 in EAX register may
be read via stack in the following way:
DB
PUSH
POP
POP
66
AX
BX
BX
In this example prefix byte 66h forces to push into stack the whole contents of 32-bit
register EAX. Then first POP command moves into BX register two least significant bytes
— 215 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
of EAX, but these are available just from AX and therefore are not needed. The next POP
command overwrites former data in BX register with the required most significant bytes of
EAX contents.
The CMP command (7.03-14) with operand size override prefix compares four-byte
operands, including those stored in 32-bit registers. For commands with operand size
override prefix the operands stored in memory as well as operands, specified directly in
executable code, also must be of the DWORD type, i.e. 4 bytes long. Unfortunately,
DEBUG.EXE can't assemble machine commands for CPU with attached operands of
DWORD type. If necessary, extra data bytes may be appended by DB instruction
(7.01-01).
Note 1: programs using operand size override prefix can't be executed by 16-bit CPUs.
Note 2: operand size override prefix can't be specified before commands with one-byte
operand(s), including those in one-byte registers (AH, AL, BH, etc.), and also
before one-byte string commands (CMPSB, INSB, LODSB, MOVSB, OUTSB,
SCASB, STOSB). These combinations of codes may be interpreted by modern
processors as SSE commands.
Note 3: operand size override prefix can't be specified before commands with operands in
segment registers, since these are 16-bit registers in both 16-bit and 32-bit
processors. However, this restriction doesn't relate to commands, which read
segment address for access to a particular memory cell.
Note 4: when a program is tested with commands "Proceed" (6.05-14) or "Trace"
(6.05-17), then DEBUG.EXE doesn't show as the next machine command that
one, which follows prefix byte 66h. Nevertheless 32-bit CPUs always accept
prefix byte 66h together with the following machine command and execute both at
one step.
Note 5: operand size override prefix always forces the non-default size of operands. When
bit 6 in byte 06h of code segment descriptor (note 5 to A.12-2) specifies default
32-bit size of operands, then prefix byte 66h forces 16-bit operand's size. Here
and further in this book default 16-bit operand's size is implied, just as it is
automatically set by CPU's "shadow" registers, when CPU begins to work in real
mode after being switched on.
7.02-07
Address size override prefix
For testing memory and for several other tasks it is necessary to get access to the
whole address space without those restrictions, which are inherent to 32-bit addressing in
protected mode. In real mode access to the whole address space is possible, but it needs the
utmost 4-Gb segment size to be set (example - in article 9.10-01) and, besides that,
non-default 32-bit addressing to be allowed. Address size override prefix byte 67h allows
non-default 32-bit addressing to a single nearest following command.
— 216 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Prefix byte 67h is not "known" to DEBUG.EXE. Therefore it has to be introduced as
data by DB instruction (7.01-01). When a command is preceded by several prefixes, then
prefix byte 67h is specified before operand size override prefix (7.02-06), but after
segment override prefix (7.02-01). Naturally, there is no sense in combination of prefix
byte 67h with those commands, which have no deal with memory cells.
Prefix byte 67h affects code length of many machine commands and changes
interpretation of all indirection expressions, listed in notes 3 and 4 to table 7.00. Only
commands with implicit indirection remain unchanged: CMPSB, CMPSW, LODSB,
LODSW, MOVSB, MOVSW, SCASB, SCASW, STOSB, STOSW. For assembling all
other commands with prefix byte 67h capabilities of DEBUG.EXE are insufficient.
The table below shows original interpretation of indirection expressions (in the left
column) in comparison with interpretation, affected by address size override prefix byte
67h (in the right column). The table lists only those interpretations, which correspond to
machine commands of the same length, performing the same operation(s). Hence the shown
interpretations can be exchanged, and thus DEBUG.EXE can be "deceived". You are free
to specify to DEBUG.EXE that indirection expression from the left column, which
corresponds to the desirable CPU's interpretation, chosen in the right column.
Original form
Affected by prefix 67h
[BP+DI]
[BX]
[BP+DI±7f]
[BX±7f]
[BP±7f]
[DI±7f]
[EBX]
[EDI]
[EBX±7f]
[EDI±7f]
[ESI±7f]
[EBP±7f]
Note 1: programs using address size override prefix can't be executed by 16-bit CPUs.
Note 2: when a program is tested with commands "Proceed" (6.05-14) or "Trace"
(6.05-17), then DEBUG.EXE doesn't show as the next machine command that
one, which follows prefix byte 67h. Nevertheless 32-bit processors always accept
prefix byte 67h together with the following machine command and execute both at
one step.
Note 3: address size override prefix always forces the non-default address size. When bit
6 in byte 06h of code segment descriptor (note 5 to A.12-2) specifies default
32-bit address size, then prefix byte 67h forces 16-bit address size for the nearest
following command. Here and further in this book default 16-bit address size is
implied, just as it is automatically set by CPU's "shadow" registers, when CPU
begins to work in real mode after being switched on.
— 217 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.02-08
Operation codes extension prefixes
Operation codes of x86 platform CPUs have been formed as a result of long evolution.
At each stage of evolution a set of machine commands has been supplemented with new
commands. Therefore several bytes have been used as operation code extension prefixes,
affecting interpretation of operation codes in CPU's instruction decoder. These prefixes
have no common specific function, except that each such prefix is able to introduce a
separate group of various machine commands.
Long ago, at times of huge mainframes, byte FFh has been charged with mission of
operation code extension prefix. Now it is regarded as first byte in operation codes of
many different machine commands, described in part 7.03. Later bytes D8h – DFh were
devoted to introduce arithmetic coprocessor's commands, described in part 7.04. In
1990-ties new commands for Pentium processor were introduced by prefix byte 0Fh;
several of these commands are mentioned in table 6.05-18.
Nowadays there is no more free bytes for being charged with prefix mission. For
modern processors the SSE group of new commands was introduced by those
combinations of operation codes with prefixes 66h (7.02-06), F2h (7.02-03), F3h
(7.02-04), which previously were regarded invalid. New 64-bit processors transfer into
prefix class the bytes 40h – 4Fh, which are interpreted by all other x86 platform
processors as commands DEC (7.03-20) and INC (7.03-27). Such changes can't be
ignored, even if the goal of this book is limited to acquaintance with 16-bit programming
under DOS. Recommendations for ensuring compatibility of 16-bit codes with modern
processors are given in notes to descriptions of affected machine commands.
7.03
Commands for CPU
7.03-01
AAA – decimal correction of unpacked sum
AAA name stands for Adjust After Addition. The AAA command transforms a binary
sum, obtained in AX register after addition of unpacked decimal digits, into a proper
unpacked decimal word, containing one decimal digit per byte (for correction of a sum in
packed decimal format see 7.03-18).
The AAA command checks whether a binary sum in AX violates decimal overflow
condition. Violation is expressed in that either flag AF is set into AC state, or a number in
four least significant bits of AL (junior nimble) exceeds 9. If decimal overflow hasn't
happened, then AAA command does nothing but clears CF flag (resets it into NC state).
Otherwise AAA command adds AL =(AL + 6), AH =(AH + 1), and sets flags AF and CF
into states AC and CY respectively. In any case four most significant bits in AL (senior
nimble) are cleared to zero. Flags OF, SF, ZF and PF acquire indefinite state.
— 218 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-02
Code
Example
37
AAA
AAD – decimal preparation to division
The AAD command (AAD = Adjust AX for Division) implies, that AX register
contains an unpacked decimal word, i.e. one decimal digit per byte. This decimal word is
transformed by AAD command into binary form, so that it may be subjected to binary
division (7.03-21).
The AAD command calculates AL = AL+(10•AH), and then clears AH to zero. Flags
SF, ZF, PF are set according to the result. Flags OF, AF, CF acquire indefinite state.
Code
Example
D5 0A
AAD
Note 1: machine codes "D5 (1-F)(0-9,B-F)" are improperly unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as "AAD ff" command.
Note 2: numbers in packed decimal format can't be processed by AAD command, these
must be unpacked beforehand.
7.03-03
AAM – decimal correction of a product
AAM stands for Adjustment After Multiplication. It is implied, that AX register
contains a binary product of two bytes, each representing an unpacked decimal digit and
having four most significant bits (senior nimble) zeroed. The AAM command divides the
product in AX by 10, writes quotient into AH, and the remainder – into AL, so that result
is a proper unpacked decimal word, containing one decimal digit per byte. Flags SF, ZF,
PF are set according to the result. Flags OF, AF, CF acquire indefinite state.
In a similar way the AAM command is able to transform any binary number (up to
63h) into an unpacked decimal word.
Code
Example
D4 0A
AAM
Note 1: machine codes "D4 (1-F)(0-9,B-F)" are improperly unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as "AAM ff" command.
Note 2: a product of packed decimal bytes can't be corrected by AAM command. Packed
decimal numbers must be unpacked before multiplication.
— 219 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-04
AAS – decimal correction of unpacked remainder
The AAS command (AAS = Adjust After Subtraction) transforms a binary remainder,
obtained in AX register after subtraction of unpacked decimal digits, into a proper
unpacked decimal word, containing one decimal digit per byte (for correction of a
remainder in packed decimal format see 7.03-19).
The AAS command checks whether a binary remainder in AX violates decimal
overflow condition. Violation is expressed in that either the AF flag is set into AC state, or
a number in four least significant bits of AL (junior nimble) exceeds 9. If decimal overflow
hasn't happened, then AAS command does nothing but clears CF flag (resets it into NC
state). Otherwise AAS command subtracts AL =(AL – 6), AH = AH – 1, and sets flags
AF and CF into states AC and CY respectively. In any case four most significant bits in
AL (senior nimble) are cleared to zero. Flags OF, SF, ZF and PF acquire indefinite state.
7.03-05
Code
Example
3F
AAS
ADC – binary addition with carry
The ADC command performs addition of specified integers, taking into account a
carry in the least significant bit. Carry reflects the result of previous operation, and since
then it must be preserved, being represented by a state of CF flag. After addition flags OF,
SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF acquire new states according to the sum, which replaces the first
operand of ADC command.
ADC is a binary operation, but there are two exceptions. If the first operand is in AX
register, then ADC command may be applied to unpacked decimal numbers, and the
obtained binary sum in AX should be transformed into proper unpacked decimal number
by AAA command (7.03-01). If the first operand is in AL register, then ADC command
may be applied to packed decimal bytes, and the obtained binary sum in AL should be
transformed into proper packed decimal byte by DAA command (7.03-18).
First byte
Second byte
10
10
11
11
12
13
14
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
Examples
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
— 220 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.03-05
15
80
(1,5,9)(0-7)
80
D(1-7)
81
(1,5,9)(0-7)
81
D(1-7)
83
(1,5,9)(0-7)
83
D(1-7)
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
ADC
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: machine codes "1(2,3) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (1,5,9,D)(0-7)" are also unassembled
by DEBUG.EXE as ADC command.
7.03-06
ADD – binary addition
The ADD command performs addition of specified integers, ignoring carry in the least
significant bit, represented by a state of CF flag. After addition flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF,
CF acquire new states according to the sum, which replaces the first operand of ADD
command.
ADD is a binary operation, but there are two exceptions. If the first operand is in AX
register, then ADD command may be applied to unpacked decimal numbers, and the
obtained binary sum in AX should be transformed into a proper unpacked decimal number
by AAA command (7.03-01). If the first operand is in AL register, then ADD command
may be applied to packed decimal bytes, and the obtained binary sum in AL should be
transformed into proper packed decimal byte by DAA command (7.03-18).
First byte
Second byte
00
00
01
01
02
03
04
05
80
80
81
81
83
83
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(1-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(1-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(1-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
Examples
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
ADD
— 221 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 1: machine codes "0(2,3) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (0,4,8,C)(0-7)" are also unassembled
by DEBUG.EXE as ADD command.
7.03-07
AND – logical "AND" operation
he AND command analyses pairs of corresponding bits in two operands. If FALSE
(zero) state is found in at least one bit in a pair, then corresponding bit of the result is
cleared to FALSE (zero). If both bits in a pair are in TRUE state, then corresponding bit
of the result is set to TRUE state too. Result replaces the first operand. Flags SF, ZF, PF
acquire new states according to the result. Flags CF and OF are cleared to states NC (No
Carry) and NV (No oVerflow) respectively.
First byte
Second byte
20
20
21
21
22
23
24
25
80
80
81
81
83
83
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(1-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(1-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(1-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
AND
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: machine codes "2(2-3) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (2,6,A,E)(0-7)" are also unassembled
by DEBUG.EXE as AND command.
7.03-08
CALL – call for a subroutine
The CALL command saves return address in stack and then performs a jump to
subroutine according to specified target address. States of flags are not altered by CALL
command.
Several forms of CALL command should be distinguished. A call to subroutine outside
code segment of caller program is a CALL FAR, it operates with full 4-byte target address
(segment : offset). A call to subroutine within code segment of caller program is a "near"
CALL, it doesn't change current code segment and operates with 2-byte target offset only.
— 222 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
There are two different forms of "near" CALL command with machine codes FFh and
E8h.
The "near" CALL command with machine code FFh pushes current contents of IP
(Instruction Pointer) register into stack and then overwrites IP register with target offset,
read either from memory or from a general-purpose register.
The "near" CALL command with machine code E8h, followed by a data word, acts
otherwise: after saving IP's contents in stack, it adds this data word to offset in IP. Having
found explicit target offset in command line after the CALL command, DEBUG.EXE
automatically calculates difference between the given target offset and offset of the next
machine command, which is currently present in IP register. This difference constitutes
just that data word, which is written after E8h byte into assembled executable code.
Since both forms of "near" CALL command execute jumps inside current code
segment, return back to the caller program from a subroutine, called with a "near" CALL
command, must be performed by RET command (7.03-73), which restores from stack the
contents of IP register only.
The CALL FAR command pushes into stack contents of both CS (Code Segment) and
IP registers. Double-word operand of CALL FAR command replaces former contents in
both CS and IP registers. Thus a jump to other segment is performed. Therefore a return
back to the caller program from a subroutine, called with CALL FAR command, must be
performed by RETF command (7.03-74), which restores from stack the contents of both
CS and IP registers.
First
byte
9A
E8
FF
FF
FF
Second
byte
(1,5,9)(0-7)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(0-7)
Data
bytes
4
2
0-2
0-2
Examples
Comments
CALL
CALL
CALL
CALL
CALL
note *1
FAR ffff:ffff
ffff
[bp+si+ffff]
FAR [bp+si+ffff]
bx
note *2
note *2
note *3
Note 1: in the shown example the first number is target segment address, the second
number – target offset. Specification of marker FAR in this line is allowed, but
isn't necessary: in any case a call FAR is performed.
Note 2: when target address is read from memory, operation depends on presence (or
absence) of marker FAR. If it is present, a four-byte target address is read, and
CALL FAR is performed. If marker FAR is not specified, then a 2-byte target
offset is read, and a "near" call is performed.
Note 3: if operand of CALL command is in a register, then target offset must be written
into this register beforehand. An appeal of CALL command to a 16-bit register
always causes a "near" call.
Note 4: machine code "FF D(8-F)" is unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as "CALL far bx".
— 223 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 5: repetition prefixes F2h (7.02-03), F3h (7.02-04) can't be applied to the CALL
command.
7.03-09
CBW – byte to word conversion
The CBW command (CBW = Convert Byte to Word) converts a signed byte in AL
register into a signed word (2 bytes) in AX register by filling the AH part of AX with sign
bit of original signed byte. States of flags are not altered by CBW command.
7.03-10
Code
Example
98
CBW
CLC – carry flag reset
The CLC command clears carry flag CF to the default "NC" (No Carry) state, which
is often referred to as CF=0.
7.03-11
Code
Example
F8
CLC
CLD – direction flag reset
The CLD command (CLD = CLear Direction) resets direction flag DF into it's default
state "UP". This causes ascending direction of offset count in index registers (DI and/or
SI) during execution of string operations (CMPSB, LODSB, MOVSB, SCASB, STOSB,
etc.).
7.03-12
Code
Example
FC
CLD
CLI – interrupt flag reset
The CLI command (CLI = Clear Interrupt Flag) resets interrupt flag IF to the "DI"
(= Disable Interrupts) state. The CLI command forces CPU to ignore external interrupts,
except the non-maskable interrupt INT 02 (8.01-03).
Code
Example
FA
CLI
— 224 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 1: programmable interrupts are performed by INT command (7.03-28) in any case,
regardless of the IF flag state.
Note 2: the CLI command wouldn't be executed, if privilege level of the current program
is lower than privilege level for I/O operations, defined by bits 0Ch and 0Dh in
flags register (A.11-4).
7.03-13
CMC – reversion of carry flag state
The CMC command (CMC = CompleMentary Carry) changes any current state of
carry flag CF to the reverse state: NC (No Carry) to CY (CarrY) or vice versa.
7.03-14
Code
Example
F5
CMC
CMP – comparison of operands
The CMP command sets flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF according to difference
between the first operand (the minuend) and the second (the subtrahend). The difference
itself is not saved. Both operands are preserved intact.
Interpretation of flag's states, left by CMP command, depends on whether the operands
were signed or unsigned numbers. Conditional jump commands JA, JB, JBE, JNB should
be used after comparison of unsigned numbers. Other conditional jump commands JG,
JGE, JL, JLE should be used after comparison of signed numbers. Full names of all
conditional jump and loop commands reflect status relation of the first (left) operand of
CMP command to the second (right) operand. For example, JA = "jump if above" means
that the left operand of CMP command must be above, or greater than the right operand.
First byte
Second byte
38
38
39
39
3A
3B
3C
3D
80
80
81
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(9-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
Examples
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
CMP
— 225 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.03-14
81
F(9-F)
83
(3,7,B)(8-F)
83
F(9-F)
2
1-3
1
CMP bx,ffff
CMP word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
CMP bx,±7f
Note 1: machine codes "3(A,B) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (3,7,B,F)(8-F)" are also unassembled
by DEBUG.EXE as CMP command.
7.03-15
CMPSB – serial comparison of byte pairs
Though the name CMPSB stands for "CoMPare Strings of Bytes", the CMPSB
command in fact compares one pair of bytes. Addresses of bytes to compare must be
loaded beforehand into DS:SI and ES:DI pairs of registers. If bytes are equal, CF (carry
flag) is cleared to NC (No Carry) state, ZF (zero flag) is set to ZR state. If bytes are not
equal, CF flag is set to CY state, ZF flag is cleared to NZ (No Zero) state. Flags OF, SF,
AF, PF acquire the states corresponding to the difference between compared bytes, but this
difference itself is not saved.
After comparison both offsets – in SI (source index) register and in DI (destination
index) register – are incremented by 1 or decremented by 1: it depends on the state ("UP"
or "DN") of direction flag DF. The state of DF flag can be altered by CLD (7.03-11) and
STD (7.03-85) commands. Automatic change of index register(s) contents prepares
conditions for comparison of the next bytes pair.
The CMPSB command is often preceded by repetition prefixes F2h (7.02-03) or F3h
(7.02-04), which enable to execute it cyclically and thus compare strings of bytes. The
CMPSB command also may be preceded by a segment override prefix (2Eh or 26h or 36h,
see 7.02-01); it enables to refer to other segment register instead of segment register DS for
one of compared bytes. For the other compared byte the default segment register ES can't
be overridden by prefix.
Code
Example
A6
CMPSB
Note 1: when CMPSB command is preceded by repetition prefixes F2h or F3h, the order
of operations within the cycle includes assignment of flags states, then
incrementation (or decrementation) of index register's contents, and after that
cycle termination condition check. Therefore, the offsets in index registers at the
moment of cycle termination are pointing not to those bytes, which have caused
cycle termination, but rather to the next pair of bytes.
— 226 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-16
CMPSW – serial comparison of word pairs
The CMPSW command (CMPSW = CoMPare Strings of Words) compares a pair of
words and then increments (or decrements) contents of SI and DI index registers by 2, thus
preparing addresses to comparison of the next words pair. The operand size override prefix
66h (7.02-06) forces CMPSW command to compare pairs of four-byte operands (of
DWORD type) and to increment (or decrement) contents of index registers by 4. All other
peculiarities of CMPSW command execution are the same as those for CMPSB command
(7.03-15).
7.03-17
Code
Example
A7
CMPSW
CWD – word to double word conversion.
The CWD command (CWD = Convert Word into Double word) converts a signed
word in AX register into a four-byte signed number (of DWORD type). The DX register is
dedicated for the two most significant bytes of dword operand. Conversion is performed by
filling the DX register with the sign bit of original signed word. States of flags are not
altered by CWD command.
7.03-18
Code
Example
99
CWD
DAA – decimal correction of packed sum
The DAA command (DAA = Decimal Adjustment after Addition) transforms a binary
sum of packed decimal bytes in AL register into a proper packed decimal byte,
representing 2 decimal digits of the sum (for decimal correction of unpacked sum see
7.03-01).
Binary sum of packed decimal bytes may violate decimal overflow condition in both
junior and senior 4-bit parts (nimbles) of AL register. The junior part is checked first: if
the value there exceeds 9 or flag AF is set into AC state, then DAA command adds
AL = (AL + 6). After that similar check is applied to senior 4-bit part (nimble) of AL
register: if the value there exceeds 9Fh or CF flag is set into CY state, then DAA command
adds AL = (AL + 60h). Flags AF, CF, SF, ZF, PF acquire new states according to the
result. The OF flag is left in indefinite state.
— 227 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-19
Code
Example
27
DAA
DAS – decimal correction of packed remainder
The DAS command (DAS = Decimal Adjustment after Subtraction) transforms a
binary difference of packed decimal bytes in AL register into a proper packed decimal
byte, representing 2 decimal digits of the remainder (for decimal correction of unpacked
difference see 7.03-04).
Binary difference of packed decimal bytes may violate decimal overflow condition in
both junior and senior 4-bit parts (nimbles) of AL register. The junior part is checked first:
if the value there exceeds 9 or flag AF is set into AC state, then DAS command subtracts
AL = (AL – 6). After that a similar check is applied to senior 4-bit part (nimble) of AL
register: if the value there exceeds 9Fh or CF flag is set into CY state, then DAS command
subtracts AL = (AL – 60h). Flags AF, CF, SF, ZF, PF acquire new states according to the
result. The OF flag is left in indefinite state.
7.03-20
Code
Example
2F
DAS
DEC – a unity decrement
The DEC command decrements its operand by 1. Flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF acquire
new states according to the result. The CF flag preserves its former state.
First byte
Second byte
4(8-F)
FE
FE
FF
(0,4,8)(8-E)
C(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-E)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
DEC
DEC
DEC
DEC
bx
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: bytes 48h – 4Fh can be interpreted by 64-bit processors as prefixes. Therefore
2-byte codes "FF C(8-F)" should be given preference over 1-byte codes 4(8-F).
Codes "FF C(8-F)" are interpreted as "DEC bx" command by all x86 platform
processors and are properly unassembled by DEBUG.EXE, but during
assembling these codes should be presented to DEBUG.EXE as data by DB
instruction (7.01-01).
— 228 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-21
DIV – division of unsigned integers
The DIV command performs division of unsigned binary integers (for division of
signed integers see 7.03-24). Explicit operand is the divisor. If divisor is a byte, dividend is
implied to exist in AX register, quotient is left in AL, and the remainder is placed in AH. If
divisor is a word, dividend is implied to exist in DX register (most significant 2 bytes) and
in AX register (less significant 2 bytes), quotient is left in AX, the remainder is placed in
DX. Flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF acquire indefinite state.
Though DIV is a binary operation, unpacked decimal words may be subjected to
binary division, if they are transformed in advance into acceptable quasi-binary form by
AAD command (7.03-02).
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(0-7)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
DIV
DIV
DIV
DIV
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
Note 1: if division operation causes overflow in quotient register, CPU automatically
generates an exception: a call for INT 00 handler (8.01-01). Outcome depends on
that handler.
7.03-22
ESC – code transfer to asynchronous coprocessor
Originally the ESC (= ESCape) command has been used to send data and commands
from CPU to external asynchronous coprocessor. Each ESC command has been preceded
by WAIT prefix (7.02-05), forcing CPU to wait for arrival of readiness confirmation
signal from coprocessor to CPU's pin "BUSY". Later arithmetic coprocessor's commands
have got their specific names (7.04), but the rest machine codes, starting with bytes
D8h - DFh, are still unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as ESC command:
D9 (0,4,8)(8-F), D9 D(1-7), DA (C-F)(0-F), DB (0,4,8,C,D,F)(8-F),
DB (2,3,6,7,A-D,F)(0-7), DB E(4 – F), DD (0,2,6)(8-F),
DD (E,F)(0-F), DE D(8,A-F), DF (0,4,8)(8-F), DF (E,F)(0-F).
Some of the mentioned codes are assigned yet to new commands of modern arithmetic
coprocessors. As all coprocessor's commands, starting with bytes D8h – DFh, the ESC
command is executed by CPU, if in control register CR0 (A.11-4) it's bit 02h
("Coprocessor emulation") is cleared to zero. But if bit 02h is set, then CPU responds to
each such command with a call to INT 07 handler (8.01-08). It is implied, that a special
INT 07 handler should be loaded, which is able to emulate functions of arithmetic
coprocessor or other asynchronous device(s).
— 229 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Potentially the ESC command can be used to send data and commands to external
asynchronous device(s), but for modern processors this opportunity is not documented.
The first operand of ESC command is a hexadecimal number, the second is read from the
specified source. Interpretation of both operands is a prerogative of each particular target
device. States of flags are not altered by ESC command.
7.03-23
First byte
Second byte
Examples
DA
DA
DA
DA
DA
DA
DA
DA
C(0-7)
C(8-F)
D(0-7)
D(8-F)
E(0-7)
E(8-F)
F(0-7)
F(8-F)
ESC
ESC
ESC
ESC
ESC
ESC
ESC
ESC
10,bl
11,bl
12,bl
13,bl
14,bl
15,bl
16,bl
17,bl
HLT – set CPU to a standstill
The HLT command (= HaLT) forces processor to stop. Being stopped, processor
preserves contents of CS:IP registers and states of flags, so that an opportunity of proper
activation is secured. Processor can be turned back to normal functioning either by a
reboot or by external interrupt signal, received either via NMI pin (8.01-03) or via
interrupt controller (8.01-09).
Code
Example
F4
HLT
Note 1: the HLT command can be used in programs, which are to be executed at the
highest privilege level. Beyond the highest privilege level the HLT command is
ignored.
Note 2: a way to determine that particular external interrupt, which has turned CPU out
of a standstill state, is shown in article 8.01-09.
7.03-24
IDIV – division of signed integers
The IDIV (= Integer DIVision) command performs division of signed binary integers
(for division of unsigned integers see 7.03-21). Explicit operand is the divisor. If divisor is
a byte, dividend is implied to exist in AX register, quotient is left in AL, the remainder is
placed in AH. If divisor is a word, dividend is implied to exist in DX register (more
significant 2 bytes) and in AX register (less significant 2 bytes), quotient is left in AX, the
— 230 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
remainder is placed in DX. Sign of the remainder is always the same as that of dividend.
Flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF acquire indefinite state.
Though IDIV is a binary operation, unpacked decimal words may be subjected to
binary division, if they are transformed in advance into acceptable quasi-binary form by
AAD command (7.03-02).
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
IDIV
IDIV
IDIV
IDIV
0-2
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
Note 1: if division operation causes overflow in quotient register, CPU automatically
generates an exception: a call for INT 00 handler (8.01-01). Outcome depends on
that handler.
7.03-25
IMUL – multiplication of signed integers
The IMUL (Integer MULtiplcation) command multiplies signed integers (for unsigned
integers see 7.03-61). Explicit operand of IMUL command represents multiplier. If this
operand is a byte, then the other operand is implied to exist in AL register; after
multiplication the product is left in AX register. If explicit operand is a word, then the
other operand must exist in AX register; after multiplication the less significant 2 bytes of
product are left in AX register, the most significant 2 bytes of product – in DX register.
If most significant part of product in AH or in DX register represents non-zero values,
then flags OF and CF are set by IMUL command to OV and CY states correspondingly.
On the contrary, clear states NV and NC of these flags indicate, that most significant part
of product is filled with sign bits only. Flags SF, ZF, AF, PF acquire indefinite state.
The IMUL command can be applied to binary integers and to unpacked decimal
numbers. Packed decimal operands must be unpacked beforehand. Product of unpacked
decimal numbers needs to be transformed into unpacked decimal format by AAM
command (7.03-03).
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
IMUL
IMUL
IMUL
IMUL
— 231 —
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 1: other forms of IMUL command with 2 explicit operands (codes 69h and 6Bh) are
not supported by DEBUG.EXE.
7.03-26
IN – data input from port
While performing the IN command, CPU generates a signal, which switches CPU's
buses from memory to I/O ports and enables asynchronous data transfer. First operand of
IN command specifies the register, where the received data should be written. This register
must be chosen according to format of received data: a byte register AL, if a byte is to be
received, or a double-byte register AX, if a word is to be received. The second operand of
IN command defines port address. The latter may be specified either explicitly as a doubledigit hexadecimal number or indirectly – as contents of DX register. States of CPU's flags
are not altered by IN command.
First byte
Second byte
E4
E5
EC
ED
Data
bytes
1
1
Examples
IN
IN
IN
IN
AL,ff
AX,ff
AL,DX
AX,DX
Note 1: selected port addresses are shown in appendix A.14-1. Direct forms of IN
command don't allow port addresses above FFh. Indirect addressing via DX
register is not subjected to this restriction.
Note 2: the IN command wouldn't be executed, if privilege level of the current program is
lower than privilege level for I/O operations, defined by bits 0Ch and 0Dh in flags
register (A.11-4).
7.03-27
INC – a unity increment
The INC command increments its operand by 1. Flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF acquire
new states according to the result. The CF flag preserves its former state.
First byte
Second byte
4(0-7)
FE
FE
FF
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
INC
INC
INC
INC
bx
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: bytes 40h – 47h can be interpreted by 64-bit processors as prefixes. Therefore
2-byte codes "FF C(0-7)" should be given preference over 1-byte codes 4(0-7).
— 232 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Codes "FF C(0-7)" are interpreted as "INC bx" command by all x86 platform
processors and are properly unassembled by DEBUG.EXE, but during
assembling these codes should be presented to DEBUG.EXE as data by DB
instruction (7.01-01).
7.03-28
INT – a call for interrupt handler
The INT (= Interrupt) command transfers control to that interrupt handler, which
number is defined by operand of INT command. But before control is transferred, the INT
command prepares conditions for further return back to the current program after
termination of interrupt handler's job. Therefore the following actions are undertaken by
INT command:
– current state of flags register is saved in stack;
– current state of CS register (segment address) is saved in stack;
– offset of the next command is calculated and saved in stack in order to enable
further restoration of IP register state;
– the IF flag is cleared to DI state, so that intake of interrupt requests via interrupt
controller is blocked;
– queue of prefetched commands in CPU is reset;
– multiplication of interrupt number by 4 gives address of that memory cell, where
interrupt handler's address is stored;
– copying of interrupt handler's address (segment and offset) from memory cell into
registers CS:IP transfers control to the handler.
The order of data, left in stack by INT command, enables a return back to current
program by means of IRET command (7.03-30), which must be the last command,
performed by each interrupt handler. Resumed execution of interrupted program will start
from that command, which follows the INT command.
Almost each interrupt handler can't perform its mission unless some specific conditions
are met or unless some required data are present in CPU's registers or in memory. These
conditions and data must be prepared in advance, before execution of INT command.
Relevant requirements of selected interrupt handlers are described in chapter 8 of this
book.
First byte
CC
CD
Second byte
Data
bytes
1
Examples
INT 3
INT ff
Note 1: original state of interrupt flag IF doesn't affect execution of INT command. Flag
IF affects only those external interrupt requests, which are received via interrupt
controller.
— 233 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 2: a unique feature of INT 3 command (code CCh) is that it doesn't depend on
privilege level: at any privilege level it is executed just as in real mode.
Note 3: offset of the next command is stored in stack by commands INT and INTO
(7.03-29) only. All other internal interrupts (exceptions) leave in stack the current
command's offset.
Note 4: data in stack are available to interrupt handlers. If the state of stack pointer (SP)
is saved in BP register just after control transfer, then [BP+00] address points at
return offset, [BP+02] address points at return segment, [BP+04] address points
at flag's states of interrupted program.
7.03-29
INTO – a call for overflow handler
Immediate response to overflow via INT 00 (8.01-01) sometimes isn't expedient. More
flexible and retarded response to overflows can be provided by INTO command (INTO =
INTerrupt if Overflow). If OV (= OVerflow) state of OF flag indicates fact of overflow,
then INTO command calls for interrupt INT 04 handler (8.01-05), which must be designed
for handling overflow errors. A call for INT 04 handler by INTO command includes all
those precautions, which are undertaken by INT command (7.03-28).
Code
Example
CE
INTO
Note 1: the default INT 04 handler does nothing but returns control to the caller program.
In order to obtain a desirable response to overflows the user has to prepare
another INT 04 handler instead of the default one. New handler becomes active
since its address is written into interrupt table (8.02-18).
7.03-30
IRET – return from interrupt handler
The IRET (= Interrupt RETurn) command restores from stack all the data, providing a
return to execution of the caller program: its segment address in CS register, the former
states of flags, and prepared offset of the next command in IP register. The IRET
command must be the last executed by every interrupt handler.
Code
Example
CF
IRET
Note 1: restoration of flag's states by IRET command is not subjected to those
restrictions, which are imposed on POPF command (7.03-68). Thus IRET
command gives a chance to bypass these restrictions.
— 234 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 2: the IRET commands resets a queue of prefetched commands in CPU. This is done
because commands decoding rules for interrupt handler may differ from those
accepted for the caller program.
7.03-31
JA – Jump if above
The JA command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if both flags CF and ZF
are cleared to states NC (No Carry) and NZ (No Zero) correspondingly. As far as data
byte represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short"
transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
Most often the JA command is used after operations with unsigned integers, in
particular, after commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with signed integers the
same condition "above" is checked by JG command, 7.03-35).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JA command: JNBE – "jump if not below or
equal", but code 77h is always unassembled as JA.
First byte
Second byte
77
7.03-32
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JA aaaa
JB – Jump if below
The JB command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if flag CF is set to CY
(CarrY) state. As far as data byte represents difference between target and current offsets,
its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh
vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JB command is used for performing jumps after various failures, marked by
setting CF flag into CY state. JB command is also used after operations with unsigned
integers, in particular, after commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with signed
integers the same condition "below" is checked by JL command, 7.03-37).
DEBUG.EXE accepts two more names for JB command: JNAE –"jump if not above or
equal" and JC – "jump if carry", but code 72h is always unassembled as JB.
First byte
72
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JB aaaa
— 235 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-33
JBE – Jump if below or equal
The JBE command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if either flag CF is set
to CY (CarrY) state or flag ZF is set into ZR (ZeRo) state. As far as data byte represents
difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump)
to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JBE command is used after operations with unsigned integers, in particular, after
commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with signed integers the same condition
"below or equal" is checked by JLE command, 7.03-38).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name of this command: JNA – "jump if not above",
but code 76h is always unassembled as JBE.
First byte
Second byte
76
7.03-34
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JBE aaaa
JCXZ – Jump if CX is Zero
The JCXZ command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if value in CX
register is zero. As far as data byte represents difference between target and current
offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within
±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
As far as CX register is often used as iterations counter, the JCXZ command enables
to bypass loops, if necessary condition is not met before entering the loop.
First byte
Second byte
E3
7.03-35
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JCXZ aaaa
JG – Jump if Greater
The JG command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if flag ZF is cleared to
NZ (No Zero) state and at the same time flags SF and OF have the same state, i.e. either
both are cleared or both are set. As far as data byte represents difference between target
and current offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset
within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JG command is used after operations with signed integers, in particular, after
commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with unsigned integers the same condition
"greater" is checked by JA command, 7.03-31).
— 236 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JG command: JNLE – "jump if not lower or
equal", but code 7Fh is always unassembled as JG.
First byte
Second byte
7F
7.03-36
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JG aaaa
JGE – Jump if Greater or Equal
The JGE command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if flags SF and OF are
in the same state, i.e. either both are cleared or both are set. As far as data byte represents
difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump)
to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JGE command is used after operations with signed integers, in particular, after
commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with unsigned integers the same condition
"greater or equal" is checked by JNB command, 7.03-40).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name of this command: JNL – "jump if not lower",
but code 7Dh is always unassembled as JGE.
First byte
Second byte
7D
7.03-37
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JGE aaaa
JL – Jump if Lower
The JL command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if flags SF and OF are in
different states, i.e. when any of them is cleared, while the other is set. As far as data byte
represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short"
transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
The JL command is used after operations with signed integers, in particular, after
commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with unsigned integers the same condition
"lower" is checked by JB command, 7.03-32).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name of this command: JNGE – "jump if not greater
or equal", but code 7Ch is always unassembled as JL.
First byte
7C
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JL aaaa
— 237 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-38
JLE – Jump if Lower or Equal
The JLE command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if either flag ZF is set
to ZR (ZeRo) state or flags SF and OF are in different states, i.e. when any of them is
cleared, while the other is set. As far as data byte represents difference between target and
current offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset
within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JLE command is used after operations with signed integers, in particular, after
commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with unsigned integers the same condition
"lower or equal" is checked by JBE command, 7.03-33).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JLE command: JNG – "jump if not greater",
but code 7Eh is always unassembled as JLE.
First byte
Second byte
7E
7.03-39
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JLE aaaa
JMP – unconditional jump
The JMP command performs a transition (jump) to execution of another machine
command by changing former contents either in IP (instruction pointer) register only or
simultaneously in both CS (code segment) and IP registers. If JMP command is given a
double-word operand, it is executed as "JMP FAR": the first word replaces former segment
address in CS register, the second word replaces former offset in IP register. The JMP
command with one-word operand replaces offset in IP register only, thus performing a
"near" jump within the same segment. The JMP command with a single byte of data
performs a "short" jump otherwise: it adds its data byte to current offset in IP register.
While CPU operates in real mode, the JMP command doesn't affect flags.
First
byte
E9
EA
EB
FF
FF
FF
Second byte
(2,6,A)(0-7)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(0-7)
Data
bytes
2
4
1
0-2
0-2
Examples
Comments
JMP
JMP
JMP
JMP
JMP
JMP
note *1
note *2
note *1
note *3
note *3
note *4
ffff
ffff:ffff
aaaa
[bp+si+ffff]
FAR [bp+si+ffff]
bx
— 238 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 1: having been given a target offset in an assembler command line, DEBUG.EXE
automatically calculates difference between specified target offset and offset of
the next command. If this difference doesn't exceed ±7fh, JMP command is
translated into machine code EBh ("short" jump), otherwise it is translated into
machine code E9h ("near" jump).
Note 2: in the shown example the first number is segment address, the second number – the
target offset. Marker FAR in such command lines is allowed, but isn't necessary:
a FAR jump will be performed in any case.
Note 3: when JMP command gets target address via indirection, then the type of jump
depends on presence of marker FAR: if it is specified, a 4-byte full address will
be read from memory, and a far jump will be performed. If marker FAR is
absent, then a 2-byte word will be read from memory. This word will be
interpreted as target offset, and a "near" jump will be performed.
Note 4: if JMP command appeals to a register, then target offset must be prepared in this
register beforehand. An appeal of JMP command to a 16-bit register always
causes a "near" jump.
Note 5: almost each switching of CPU from real mode and back is followed by a JMP
FAR command, transferring control to the next command in the same code
segment. This JMP command is needed not for a jump, but for other purposes.
First, it brings status of a word in CS register (segment address or selector) in
accordance with CPU's mode. Second, this JMP command resets a queue of
prefetched commands in CPU, because these commands were decoded according
to the rules of former CPU's mode.
Note 6: codes "FF E(8-F)" are unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as command "JMP far bx".
7.03-40
JNB – Jump if Not Below
The JNB command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if flag CF is cleared to
NC (No CarrY) state. As far as data byte represents difference between target and current
offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within
±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
The JNB command is used for performing jumps after successful terminations, marked
by clearing CF flag to NC state. JNB command is also used after operations with unsigned
integers, in particular, after commands CMP, SBB, SUB (after operations with signed
integers the same condition "greater or equal" is checked by JGE command, 7.03-36).
DEBUG.EXE accepts two more names for JNB command: JAE – "jump if above or
equal" and JNC – "jump if not carry", but code 73h is always unassembled as JNB.
First byte
73
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JNB aaaa
— 239 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-41
JNO – Jump if No Overflow
The JNO command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if OF flag is cleared to
NV (No oVerflow) state. As far as data byte represents difference between target and
current offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset
within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
First byte
Second byte
71
7.03-42
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JNO aaaa
JNS – Jump if No Sign
The JNS command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if SF flag is cleared to
PL state, which indicates positive integer result of previous operation. As far as data byte
represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short"
transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
First byte
Second byte
79
7.03-43
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JNS aaaa
JNZ – Jump if No Zero
he JNZ command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if ZF flag is cleared to
NZ (No Zero) state, which indicates inequality or non-zero result of previous operation. As
far as data byte represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes
a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest
next command.
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JNZ command: JNE – "jump if not equal",
but code 75h is always unassembled as JNZ.
First byte
75
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JNZ aaaa
— 240 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-44
JO – Jump if Overflow
The JO command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if OF flag is set to OV
(OVerflow) state. As far as data byte represents difference between target and current
offsets, its addition causes a "short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within
±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next command.
First byte
Second byte
70
7.03-45
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JO aaaa
JPE – Jump if Parity Even
The JPE command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if PF flag is set to PE
(Parity Even) state, which indicates an even sum of bits in the least significant byte of
previous operation result (other bytes of the result are not taken into account). As far as
data byte represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a
"short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JPE command: JP – "jump if parity", but
code 7Ah is always unassembled as JPE.
First byte
Second byte
7A
7.03-46
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JPE aaaa
JPO – Jump if Parity Odd
The JPO command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if PF flag is cleared to
PO (Parity Odd) state, which indicates an odd sum of bits in the least significant byte of
previous operation result (other bytes of the result are not taken into account). As far as
data byte represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a
"short" transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JPO command: JNP – "jump if not parity",
but code 7Bh is always unassembled as JPO.
First byte
7B
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JPO aaaa
— 241 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-47
JS – Jump if Sign
The JS command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if SF flag is set to NG
state, which indicates negative integer result of previous operation. As far as data byte
represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short"
transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
First byte
Second byte
78
7.03-48
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JS aaaa
JZ – Jump if Zero
The JZ command adds its data byte to contents of IP register, if ZF flag is set to ZR
(ZeRo) state, which indicates equality or zero result of previous operation. As far as data
byte represents difference between target and current offsets, its addition causes a "short"
transition (jump) to appointed target offset within ±7Fh vicinity of the nearest next
command.
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for JZ command: JE – "jump if equal", but code
74h is always unassembled as JZ.
First byte
Second byte
74
7.03-49
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
JZ aaaa
LAHF – copying flags into AH register
The LAHF command (LAHF = Load AH with Flags) copies into AH register the
states of flags from the lower byte of flags register. Bit 0 in AH corresponds to CF (carry
flag), bit 2 – to PF (parity flag), bit 4 – to AF (auxiliary flag), bit 6 – to ZF (zero flag), bit
7 – to SF (sign flag). Bits 5, 3, 1 have no corresponding flags. Bit 1 is always set to binary
unity, bits 5 and 3 are always cleared to zero.
Code
Example
9F
LAHF
— 242 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-50
LDS – Loading of DS register
The LDS command regards its second operand as address of a double word. Bytes 1
and 2 in this double word are interpreted as offset, bytes 3 and 4 – as segment address.
LDS command copies this segment address into DS segment register, and offset – into that
register, which is specified as the first operand of LDS command. Thus this register
together with segment register DS become ready to be referenced as segment: offset pair.
States of flags are not altered by LDS command.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
C5
(1,5,9)(8-F)
0-2
LDS bx,[bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: codes "C5 (C-F)(0-F)" are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as LDS command.
Note 2: by default the DS:SI pair of registers represents source address; therefore SI
register is the most frequent substitution for "bx" in the shown example of LDS
command.
Note 3: both segment in DS register and offset in specified register may be used for
addressing and be reassigned in the same operation; for example, command
DS: LDS SI,[SI] is valid.
7.03-51
LEA – offset calculation
The LEA command (LEA = Load Effective Address) calculates expression in square
brackets, given as the second operand. Result of calculation represents a certain offset.
This offset is written into that register, which is specified as the first operand of LEA
command. States of flags are not altered by LEA command.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
8D
(0-B)(0-F)
0-2
LEA bx,[bp+si+ffff]
7.03-52
LES – Loading of ES register
The LES command regards its second operand as address of a double word. Bytes 1
and 2 in this double word are interpreted as offset, bytes 3 and 4 – as segment address.
LES command copies this segment address into ES segment register, and offset – into that
register, which is specified as the first operand of LES command. Thus this register
together with segment register ES become ready to be referenced as segment: offset pair.
States of flags are not altered by LES command.
— 243 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
C4
(1,5,9)(8-F)
0-2
LES bx,[bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: codes "C4 (C-F)(0-F)" are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as LES command.
Note 2: by default the ES:DI pair of registers represents destination address; therefore DI
register is the most frequent substitution for "bx" in the shown example of LES
command.
Note 3: both segment in ES register and offset in specified register may be used for
addressing and be reassigned in the same operation; for example, command
ES: LES DI,[DI] is valid.
7.03-53
LODSB – serial copying of bytes
Though the name LODSB stands for "LOaD String of Bytes", the LODSB command
in fact copies into AL register a single byte, read out of memory according to address,
which is written beforehand into DS:SI pair of registers. After copying offset in SI (source
index) register is incremented by 1 or decremented by 1: it depends on state ("UP" or
"DN") of direction flag DF. The state of DF flag can be altered by CLD (7.03-11) and
STD (7.03-85) commands. Automatic change of SI register contents prepares conditions
for copying of the next byte. States of flags are not altered by LODSB command.
The LODSB command may be preceded by a segment override prefix (7.02-01); it
enables to refer to other segment register instead of default source segment register DS.
7.03-54
Code
Example
AC
LODSB
LODSW – serial copying of words
The LODSW command (LODSW = LOaD a String of Words) copies into AX register
a single word and then increments (or decrements) contents of SI index register by 2, thus
preparing offset to copying of the next word. The operand size override prefix 66h (7.0206) forces LODSW command to copy a four-byte operands (of DWORD type) and to
increment (or decrement) contents of SI register by 4. All other peculiarities of LODSW
command execution are the same as those for LODSB command (7.03-53).
Code
Example
AD
LODSW
— 244 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-55
LOOP – arrangement of a cycle
The LOOP command first decrements an integer in CX register by 1, and then checks
whether the remainder is zero. Until the remainder is not zero, the LOOP command adds
its data byte to current offset in IP register. Thus a "short" jump is performed within ±7fh
vicinity of the nearest next command. But when the remainder in CX register becomes
zero, then LOOP command does nothing, so that CPU exits the cycle and just proceeds to
execution of the nearest following command beyond the cycle's body. States of flags are
not altered by LOOP command.
Count of iterations in CX register is based on supposition, that LOOP command
follows the cycle's body. In this case cycle's body is executed once before cycle entering
condition is checked by LOOP command for the first time. In order to prevent uncontrolled
execution the cycle's body should be preceded by JCXZ command (7.03-34). The same
result can be obtained by cycles with exported body, but in the latter case the preset integer
in CX register must be by a unity greater, than required number of iterations.
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
E2
1
LOOP aaaa
7.03-56
LOOPNZ – cycle with ZF = ZR exit condition
First byte
Second byte
The LOOPNZ command (LOOPNZ = Loop if Not Zero) first decrements an integer in
CX register by 1, not affecting flags, and then checks two conditions: whether the
remainder in CX register is zero and whether ZF flag is set into ZR (ZeRo) state. Until
both conditions are not met, LOOPNZ command adds its data byte to current offset in IP
register. Thus a "short" jump is performed within ±7fh vicinity of the nearest next
command. But when either of the mentioned conditions is met, then LOOPNZ command
does nothing, so that CPU exits the cycle and just proceeds to execution of the nearest
following command beyond the cycle's body. Other peculiarities of cycle's arrangement
with LOOPNZ command are the same as for LOOP command (7.03-55).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for LOOPNZ command: LOOPNE (= loop, if
not equal), but code E0h is always unassembled as LOOPNZ.
First byte
E0
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
LOOPNZ aaaa
— 245 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-57
LOOPZ – cycle with ZF = NZ exit condition
The LOOPZ command (LOOPZ = Loop if Zero) first decrements an integer in CX
register by 1, not affecting flags, and then checks two conditions: whether the remainder in
CX register is zero and whether ZF flag is cleared to NZ (No Zero) state. Until both
conditions are not met, LOOPZ command adds its data byte to current offset in IP register.
Thus a "short" jump is performed within ±7fh vicinity of the nearest next command. But
when either of the mentioned conditions is met, then LOOPZ command does nothing, so
that CPU exits the cycle and just proceeds to execution of the nearest following command
beyond the cycle's body. Other peculiarities of cycle's arrangement with LOOPZ command
are the same as for LOOP command (7.03-55).
DEBUG.EXE accepts one more name for LOOPZ command: LOOPE (loop, if equal),
but code E1h is always unassembled as LOOPZ.
First byte
Second byte
E1
7.03-58
Data
bytes
Example ("aaaa" – target offset)
1
LOOPZ aaaa
MOV – data copying command
The MOV command copies a byte or a word, specified directly or indirectly by the
second operand, into register or memory cell, specified by the first operand. Explicit
specification of data size to be copied (byte or word) is not needed, when it can be
determined by the size of involved register. States of flags are not altered by ordinary
forms of MOV command, except forms appealing to control, debugging and test CPU's
registers. These forms, shown in note 1 below, may leave flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF in
indefinite state.
First
byte
88
88
89
89
8A
8B
8C
8C
8E
8E
A0
Second byte
(0-B)(0-5, 7-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-5, 7-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-5, 7-F)
(0-B)(0-5, 7-F)
(0,1,4,5,8,9)(0-F)
(C,D,E)(0-F)
(0,1,4,5,8,9)(0-F)
(C,D,E)(0-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
2
Examples
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
— 246 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
[bp+si+ffff],ss
bx,ss
ss,[bp+si+ffff]
ss,bx
AL,[ffff]
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.03-58
A1
A2
A3
B(0-7)
B(8-F)
C6
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C7
(0,4,8)(0-7)
2
2
2
1
2
1-3
2-4
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
MOV
AX,[ffff]
[ffff],AL
[ffff],AX
bl,ff
bx,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
Note 1: DEBUG.EXE doesn't "know" those forms of MOV command, which appeal to
debugging and control registers of 32-bit CPUs, but codes of these commands
may be entered as data by DB instruction (7.01-01). Codes of these commands
are 3 bytes long, commencing with OFh byte. The second byte defines direction
of copying:
20h – from control register (CR0, CR2 – CR4)
21h – from debugging register (DR0 – DR3, DR6, DR7)
22h – into control register (CR0, CR2 – CR4)
23h – into debugging register (DR0 – DR3, DR6, DR7)
The third byte in such codes defines particular register:
C0h – CR0 or DR0, for example, 0F 20 C0 = MOV EAX,CR0
C8h – DR1, for example,
0F 23 C8 = MOV DR1,EAX
D0h – CR2 or DR2, for example, 0F 20 D0 = MOV EAX,CR2
D8h – CR3 or DR3, for example, 0F 20 D8 = MOV EAX,CR3
E0h – CR4, for example,
0F 22 E0 = MOV CR4,EAX
F0h – DR6, for example,
0F 21 F0 = MOV EAX,DR6
F8h – DR7, for example,
0F 23 F8 = MOV DR7,EAX
In order to use other register instead of EAX, you have to add to the third byte the
number of that register (from 00h to 07h) in the following list: EAX, ECX, EDX,
EBX, ESP, EBP, ESI, EDI, for example:
0F 20 C3 = MOV EBX,CR0
DEBUG.EXE can't unassemble these codes, but doesn't hamper debugging of
programs with these codes, if programs are executed by 32-bit CPU. Operand
size override prefix (7.02-06) before these commands isn't needed.
Note 2: DEBUG.EXE doesn't "know" commands appealing to segment registers GS and
FS of 32-bit CPUs, but codes of these commands can be entered as data by DB
instruction (7.01-01). Codes of these commands are 2 bytes long:
8C E0
= MOV AX,FS
8C E8
= MOV AX,GS
8E E0
= MOV FS,AX
8E E8
= MOV GS,AX
In order to use other register instead of AX, you have to add to the second byte
the number of that register (from 00h to 07h) in a list, given in second line of
table 7.00, for example:
8E E3
= MOV FS,BX
— 247 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
DEBUG.EXE improperly unassembles codes of these commands as related to ES
and CS segment registers, but this doesn't hamper debugging of programs with
these codes, if programs are executed by a 32-bit CPU.
Note 3: the MOV command can't copy data into CS segment register; this can be done by
control transfer commands only (CALL, JMP, RETF, etc.).
Note 4: the MOV command copying data into SS register induces hardware blocking of
external interrupts for the time of execution of one next command. It is implied,
that the next command must write new offset into SP register. Only this order of
commands excludes failures, caused by external interrupts, at the moment of
transition to other stack.
Note 5: codes 8(A,B) (C-F)(0-F), 8(C,E)(2,3,6,7,A,B,F)(0-F) and C(6,7) (C-F)(0-F)
are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as MOV command.
7.03-59
MOVSB – serial copying of bytes
Though the name MOVSB stands for "MOVe String of Bytes", the MOVSB command
in fact copies a single byte. The source byte address must be loaded beforehand into DS:SI
pair of registers, the destination address – into ES:DI pairs of registers. After copying both
offsets – in SI (source index) register and in DI (destination index) register – are
incremented by 1 or decremented by 1: it depends on the state ("UP" or "DN") of direction
flag DF. The state of DF flag can be altered by CLD (7.03-11) and STD (7.03-85)
commands. Automatic change of index registers contents prepares conditions for copying
of the next byte in the next memory cell. States of flags are not altered by MOVSB
command.
The MOVSB command is often preceded by repetition prefixes F2h (7.02-03) or F3h
(7.02-04), which enable to execute it cyclically and thus copy a string of bytes. The
MOVSB command also may be preceded by a segment override prefix (7.02-01); it
enables to refer to other segment register instead of default source segment register DS.
Destination segment register ES can't be changed by prefix.
7.03-60
Code
Example
A4
MOVSB
MOVSW – serial copying of words
The MOVSW command (MOVSW = Move String of Words) copies a word and then
increments (or decrements) contents of SI and DI index registers by 2, thus preparing
source and destination offsets to copying the next word into the next pair of memory cells.
Operand size override prefix 66h (7.02-06) forces MOVSW command to copy four-byte
operands (of DWORD type) and to increment (or decrement) contents of index registers
— 248 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
by 4. All other peculiarities of MOVSW command execution are the same as those for
MOVSB command (7.03-59).
7.03-61
Code
Example
A5
MOVSW
MUL – multiplication of unsigned integers
The MUL command (MUL = MULtiplcation) multiplies unsigned integers (for
multiplication of signed integers see 7.03-25). Explicit operand of MUL command
represents a multiplier. If this operand is a byte, then the other operand is implied to exist
in AL register; after multiplication the product is left in AX register. If explicit operand is
a word, then the other operand is implied to exist in AX register; after multiplication the
less significant 2 bytes of product are left in AX register, and the most significant 2 bytes
of product – in DX register.
If the most significant part of product in AH or in DX register represents non-zero
values, then flags OF and CF are set by MUL command to OV and CY states
correspondingly. On the contrary, cleared states NV and NC of these flags indicate, that
the most significant part of product is filled with zeros. Flags SF, ZF, AF, PF acquire
indefinite state.
The MUL command can be applied to binary integers and to unpacked decimal bytes.
Packed decimal operands must be unpacked beforehand. Product of unpacked decimal
bytes needs to be transformed into unpacked decimal format by AAM command (7.03-03).
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
7.03-62
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
MUL
MUL
MUL
MUL
0-2
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
NEG – operand's sign reversal
The NEG command (NEG = NEGate) subtracts its operand from zero. Thus the sign
of non-zero operands is reversed, but zero operands are left unchanged. Flags (OF, SF,
ZF, AF, PF, CF) acquire new states according to the result.
— 249 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Data
bytes
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
7.03-63
NOP – a void operation
Examples
0-2
NEG
NEG
NEG
NEG
0-2
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
Though the NOP command (NOP = No operation) is known to do nothing, it in fact
increments IP (instruction pointer) by 1, so since that IP points at the next command.
7.03-64
Code
Example
90
NOP
NOT – inversion of operand's bits
The NOT command subjects to logical NOT operation every bit in its operand. States
of flags are not altered by NOT command.
First byte
Second byte
F6
F6
F7
F7
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
7.03-65
Data
bytes
Examples
0-2
NOT
NOT
NOT
NOT
0-2
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bl
word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
bx
OR – logical OR operation
The OR command analyses pairs of corresponding bits in two operands. If TRUE state
is set in at least one bit in a pair, then corresponding bit of the result is set to TRUE state
too. If both bits in a pair are cleared to FALSE state, then corresponding bit of the result is
also cleared to FALSE state. Result replaces the first operand. Flags SF, ZF, PF acquire
new states according to the result. Flags CF and OF are cleared to states NC (No Carry)
and NV (No oVerflow) respectively. Flag AF acquires indefinite state.
— 250 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
08
08
09
09
0A
0B
0C
0D
80
80
81
81
83
83
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(9-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(9-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(9-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
OR
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: codes "0(A,B) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (0,4,8,C)(8-F)" are also unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as OR command.
Note 2: when OR command is applied to equal operands, these operands wouldn't be
changed. For example, OR AX,AX command is often used just to set flags.
7.03-66
OUT – data output to port
While performing the OUT command, CPU generates a signal, which switches CPU's
buses from memory to I/O ports. First operand of OUT command specifies target port
address either explicitly as a double-digit hexadecimal number or indirectly – as contents
of DX register. The second operand of OUT command defines data source register: a byte
register AL, if a byte is to be sent, or a double-byte register AX, if a word is to be sent.
States of CPU's flags are not altered by OUT command.
First byte
E6
E7
EE
EF
Second byte
Data
bytes
1
1
Examples
OUT
OUT
OUT
OUT
ff,AL
ff,AX
DX,AL
DX,AX
Note 1: selected port addresses are shown in appendix A.14-1. Direct forms of OUT
command don't allow port addresses above FFh. Indirect addressing via DX
register is not subjected to this restriction.
— 251 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 2: the OUT command wouldn't be executed, if privilege level of the current program
is lower than privilege level for I/O operations, defined by bits 0Ch and 0Dh in
flags register (A.11-4).
7.03-67
POP – data ejection out of stack
The POP command copies a data word (2 bytes) from stack's top into specified register
or memory cell, and then shifts stack's top by incrementing offset in SP register (stack
pointer) by 2. States of flags are not altered by POP command.
First byte
07
0F
0F
17
1F
5(8-F)
8F
Data
bytes
Second byte
A1
A9
(0,8)(0-7)
0-2
Examples
POP ES
DB 0F A1
DB 0F A9
POP SS
POP DS
POP bx
POP [bp+si+ffff]
Comments
= POP FS
= POP GS
Note 1: commands popping data from stack into FS and GS segment registers are not
"known" to DEBUG.EXE, but may be entered by DB instruction (7.01-01).
DEBUG.EXE can't unassemble codes of these commands. Nevertheless
DEBUG.EXE enables to debug programs with such codes, if programs are
executed by a 32-bit processor.
Note 2: codes "8F (C-F)(0-F)" are unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as "POP bx".
7.03-68
POPF – restoration of flag's states out of stack
The POPF command copies data word (2 bytes) from stack's top into flags register,
and then shifts stack's top by incrementing offset in SP register (stack pointer) by 2. Flags
acquire new states, defined by bits of the ejected data word.
Code
Example
9D
POPF
Note 1: the POPF command can't alter states in I/O privilege level field (bits 0Ch and
0Dh) of flags register (A.11-4), if current program is executed at any non-highest
privilege level.
Note 2: the POPF command can't alter state of IF flag, if privilege level of current
program is lower than privilege level for I/O operations, defined by bits 0Ch and
0Dh in flags register (A.11-4).
— 252 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 3: being preceded by operand size override prefix 66h (7.02-06), the POPF
command pops 4 bytes from stack into extended 32-bit flags register. However,
this way of access to V86 mode flag is blocked by hardware (more about that – in
notes 4 and 5 to A.11-4).
7.03-69
PUSH – copying of a data word into stack.
The PUSH command decrements SP register (stack pointer) by 2, thus extending stack
by two memory cells for new data. Then data are copied into these memory cells from that
source, which is defined by operand of PUSH command. States of flags are not altered by
PUSH command.
First byte
06
0E
0F
0F
16
1E
5(0-7)
68
6A
FF
Second byte
Data
bytes
A0
A8
(3,7,B)(0-7)
2
1
0-2
Examples
PUSH ES
PUSH CS
DB 0F A0
DB 0F A8
PUSH SS
PUSH DS
PUSH bx
DB 68 ff ff
DB 6A ff
PUSH [bp+si+ffff]
Comments
= PUSH FS
= PUSH GS
= PUSH ffff
= PUSH 00ff
Note 1: commands pushing explicit integers and segment addresses from FS and GS
registers are not "known" to DEBUG.EXE, but may be entered as data by DB
instruction (7.01-01). DEBUG.EXE can't unassemble codes of these commands.
Nevertheless DEBUG.EXE enables to debug programs with such codes, if
programs are executed by a 32-bit processor.
Note 2: it is recommended to avoid PUSH SP operation. Obsolete CPUs first decrement
SP, and then copy its value. Most modern CPUs store original SP contents.
Therefore in some computers PUSH SP operation may cause unpredictable
program's behavior.
Note 3: code "FF F(0-7)" is also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as "PUSH bx".
7.03-70
PUSHF – copying of flag's states into stack
The PUSHF command (PUSHF = PUSH Flags) copies two bytes from flags register
into stack, just as PUSH command (7.03-69) copies a data word. All peculiarities of
execution are the same.
— 253 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Code
Example
9C
PUSHF
Note 1: being preceded by operand size override prefix 66h (7.02-06), the PUSHF
command copies into stack 4 bytes from extended 32-bit flags register (see note 4
to A.11-4). However, copying of the V86 mode flag state by PUSHF command is
blocked by hardware.
7.03-71
RCL – leftward shift through carry flag
The RCL command (RCL = Rotate through Carry Leftward) arranges a circular shift
of its first operand through carry flag to the left, towards more significant bit positions. At
each step the most significant bit becomes the state of CF flag, while the least significant
bit of operand acquires previous state of CF flag. State of OV flag may be altered too, but
other flags preserve their former states.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the left. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
7.03-72
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
Examples
RCL
RCL
RCL
RCL
RCL
RCL
RCL
RCL
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
RCR – shift through carry flag to the right
The RCR command (RCR = Rotate through Carry to the Right) arranges a circular
shift of its first operand through carry flag to the right, towards less significant bit
positions. At each step the least significant bit becomes the state of CF flag, while the most
significant bit of operand acquires previous state of CF flag. State of OV flag may be
altered too, but other flags preserve their former states.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the right. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
— 254 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
7.03-73
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
RCR
RCR
RCR
RCR
RCR
RCR
RCR
RCR
0-2
0-2
0-2
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
RET – return within the same segment
The RET command performs a return to the caller program from subroutines, which
are present inside the same code segment and are called by CALL command with doublebyte target address (for those called by CALL FAR command with 4-byte target address
the RETF command must be used, 7.03-74).
The RET command implies, that top stack register contains return offset, i.e. offset of
the next command in the caller program. Operand for RET command is not needed, if
terminating subroutine leaves nothing in stack. However, subroutines may accept
parameters via stack, and at the moment of termination these parameters must be deleted.
Therefore operand of RET command defines the number of bytes, which are to be deleted
from stack. The RET command pops return offset from stack into IP (instruction pointer)
register, and then adds its operand to contents of SP (stack pointer) register. Thus a return
is executed to the caller program, and original position of stack's top is restored. States of
flags are not altered by RET command.
First byte
C2
C3
Second byte
Data
bytes
2
Examples
RET ffff
RET
Note 1: stack's top position can be preserved at return offset, if return is executed by
RET FFFE command.
Note 2: if code, assembled by DEBUG.EXE, is to be executed inside debugger's
environment, then the RET command may be used to terminate execution of this
code (example – in 9.02-03).
— 255 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-74
RETF – return from another segment
The RETF command (RETF = RETurn Far) performs all operations of RET command
(7.03-73) and, besides that, restores segment address in CS register from stack. Therefore
a return to the caller program from other code segment is implemented.
The RETF command is used as exit in those subroutines and drivers, which are called
from other code segments by CALL FAR command (7.02-08) with full 4-byte address, so
that original segment address of the caller program is saved in stack.
First byte
Second byte
CA
CB
7.03-75
Data
bytes
2
Examples
RETF ffff
RETF
ROL – circular shift leftward
The ROL command (ROL = ROtate Leftward) arranges a circular shift of its first
operand to the left, towards more significant bit positions. At each step the least significant
bit acquires the "ejected" former state of the most significant bit. States of CF and OV
flags are altered according to result, but all other flags preserve their former states.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the left. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
7.03-76
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
ROL
ROL
ROL
ROL
ROL
ROL
ROL
ROL
0-2
0-2
0-2
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
ROR – circular shift to the right
The ROR command (ROR = ROtate to the Right) arranges a circular shift of its first
operand to the right, towards less significant bit positions. At each step the most significant
— 256 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
bit acquires the "ejected" former state of the least significant bit. States of CF and OV
flags are altered according to result, but all other flags preserve their former states.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the right. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
7.03-77
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
Examples
ROR
ROR
ROR
ROR
ROR
ROR
ROR
ROR
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
SAHF – copying AH into flags register
The SAHF command (SAHF = Store AH in Flags) copies a byte from AH register into
lower part of flags register. Bit 7 will define the state of SF (sign flag), bit 6 – the state of
ZF (zero flag), bit 4 – the state of AF (auxiliary flag), bit 2 – the state of PF (parity flag)
and bit 0 – the state of CF (carry flag). Though SAHF command doesn't define the state of
overflow flag OF, nevertheless the latter may acquire indefinite state. Bits 5, 3, 1 in AH
register don't correspond to real flags, their states are ignored.
7.03-78
Code
Example
9E
SAHF
SAR – signed integer shift to the right
The SAR command (SAR = Shift Arithmetic to the Right) shifts its signed integer
operand to the right, towards less significant bit positions. At each shift's step the state of
the rightmost bit becomes lost, and the leftmost bit acquires state of sign bit. Flags ZF, PF,
CF acquire new states according to the result. Flags OF and AF acquire indefinite state.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the right. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
— 257 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
7.03-79
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
SAR
SAR
SAR
SAR
SAR
SAR
SAR
SAR
0-2
0-2
0-2
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
SBB – binary integers subtraction with borrow
The SBB command subtracts its second operand (the substrahend) from the first
operand (the minuend), taking into account the borrow, left after previous operation and
represented by state of CF (carry flag). Remainder replaces the first operand. Flags OF,
SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF acquire new states according to the result.
Interpretation of flag's states, left by SBB command, depends on whether the operands
were signed or unsigned numbers. Conditional jump commands JA, JB, JBE, JNB should
be used after subtraction of unsigned numbers. Other conditional jump commands JG,
JGE, JL, JLE should be used after subtraction of signed numbers. Full names of all
conditional jump and loop commands reflect status relation of the first (left) operand of
SBB command to the second (right) operand. For example, JA = "jump if above" means
that the left operand of SBB command (the minuend) must be above, or greater than the
right operand (the subtrahend).
SBB is a binary operation, but there are two exceptions. If the first operand is in AX
register, then SBB command may be applied to unpacked decimal words: binary difference
of unpacked decimal words in AX register can be transformed into valid unpacked decimal
word by AAS command (7.03-04). If the first operand is in AL register, then SBB
command may be applied to packed decimal bytes: binary difference of packed decimal
bytes in AL register can be transformed into valid packed decimal byte by DAS command
(7.03-19).
First byte
Second byte
18
18
19
19
1A
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
Examples
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
— 258 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.03-79
1B
(0-B)(0-F)
1C
1D
80
(1,5,9)(8-F)
80
D(9-F)
81
(1,5,9)(8-F)
81
D(9-F)
83
(1,5,9)(8-F)
83
D(9-F)
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
SBB
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: codes "1(A,B) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (1,5,9,D)(8-F)" are also unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as SBB command.
7.03-80
SCASB – search for a particular byte
Though the name SCASB stands for "SCAn a String of Bytes", the SCASB command
in fact compares a byte in AL register with another byte, read out of memory. Address of
that another byte must be loaded beforehand into ES:DI pair of registers. If bytes are
equal, ZF (zero flag) is set to ZR state. If bytes are not equal, ZF flag is cleared to NZ (No
Zero) state. Flags OF, SF, AF, PF, CF acquire the states according to difference between
compared bytes, but this difference itself is not saved.
After comparison offset in DI (destination index) register is incremented by 1 or
decremented by 1: it depends on the state ("UP" or "DN") of direction flag DF. The state of
DF flag can be altered by CLD (7.03-11) and STD (7.03-85) commands. Automatic
change of index register contents prepares conditions for comparison of AL contents with a
byte in the next memory cell.
The SCASB command is often preceded by repetition prefixes F2h (7.02-03) or F3h
(7.02-04), which enable to execute it cyclically and thus search for a particular byte in a
string of bytes. Default segment register ES for that string of bytes can't be altered by
segment override prefixes.
Code
Example
AE
SCASB
Note 1: when SCASB command is preceded by repetition prefixes F2h or F3h, the order
of operations within the cycle includes assignment of flags states, then
incrementation (or decrementation) of index register's contents, and after that
cycle termination condition check. Therefore, the offset in DI register at the
moment of cycle termination is pointing not to that data byte, which has caused
cycle termination, but rather to the next byte.
— 259 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.03-81
SCASW – search for a particular word
The SCASW command (SCASW = SCAn a String of Words) compares a word in AX
register with another word, read out of memory, and then increments (or decrements) offset
of that another word in DI index register by 2, thus preparing comparison of AX contents
with a word in next memory cells. The operand size override prefix 66h (7.02-06) forces
SCASW command to compare a four-byte operand in EAX register with other operand of
the same DWORD type, and to increment (or decrement) offset in DI index register by 4.
All other peculiarities of SCASW command execution are the same as those for SCASB
command (7.03-80).
7.03-82
Code
Example
AF
SCASW
SHL – Shift to the left
The SHL command shifts its first operand step-by-step to the left, towards more
significant bit positions. At each step the state of the most significant bit becomes shifted
into carry flag CF, and the least significant bit acquires zero (cleared) state. Flags SF, ZF,
PF acquire new states according to the result. Flags AF and OV acquire indefinite state.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the left. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
C0
C1
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(0-7)
E(0-7)
E(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
1
Examples
SHL
SHL
SHL
SHL
SHL
SHL
SHL
SHL
see
see
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
note 2
note 2
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
Note 1: SHL command is an exact equivalent of SAL command, accepted by other
assemblers, but DEBUG.EXE doesn't accept the SAL name.
— 260 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Note 2: since CPU model 80286, processors execute SHL command with explicit
specification of shift steps. This form of SHL command is not known to
DEBUG.EXE, but may be entered as data by DB instruction (7.01-01). For
example, machine codes of 4-step shift to the left may look as
C0 E0 04
= SHL AL,4
C1 E0 04
= SHL AX,4
The last byte defines the number of shift steps. In order to apply shift to other
register you have to add to the second byte (E0h) the number (00h – 07h) of the
desired register in lists, presented in first and second lines of table 7.00.
7.03-83
SHR – shift to the right
The SHR command shifts its first operand step-by-step to the right, towards less
significant bit positions. At each step the state of the least significant bit becomes shifted
into carry flag CF, and the most significant bit acquires zero (cleared) state. Flags SF, ZF,
PF acquire new states according to the result. Flags AF and OV acquire indefinite state.
The second operand (1 or CL) defines the number of shift steps to the left. When the
number of shift steps is read from CL register, only 5 less significant bits are taken into
account; hence maximum number of shift steps is 31. The preset number of shift steps in
CL register is preserved intact.
First byte
Second byte
D0
D0
D1
D1
D2
D2
D3
D3
C0
C1
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(8-F)
E(8-F)
E(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
1
Examples
SHR
SHR
SHR
SHR
SHR
SHR
SHR
SHR
see
see
byte ptr
bl,1
word ptr
bx,1
byte ptr
bl,CL
word ptr
bx,CL
note 1
note 1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],1
[bp+si+ffff],CL
[bp+si+ffff],CL
Note 1: since CPU model 80286, processors execute SHR command with explicit
specification of shift steps. This form of SHL command is not known to
DEBUG.EXE, but may be entered as data by DB instruction (7.01-01). For
example, machine codes of 4-step shift to the right may look as
C0 E8 04
= SHR AL,4
C1 E8 04
= SHR AX,4
— 261 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
The last byte defines the number of shift steps. In order to apply shift to other
register you have to add to the second byte (E0h) the number (00h – 07h) of the
desired register in lists, presented in first and second lines of table 7.00.
7.03-84
STC – set carry flag
The STC command sets carry flag CF to the "CY" (CarrY) state, which is often
referred to as CF=1.
7.03-85
Code
Example
F9
STC
STD – set direction flag
The STD command sets direction flag DF into it's non-default state "DN". This means
descending direction of offset count in index registers (DI and/or SI) during execution of
string operations (CMPSB, LODSB, MOVSB, SCASB, STOSB, etc.).
7.03-86
Code
Example
FD
STD
STI – set interrupt flag
The STI command sets interrupt flag IF into its default "EI" (= Enable Interrupts)
state, thus enabling intake of interrupt requests via interrupt controller.
Code
Examples
FB
STI
Note 1: the STI command wouldn't be executed, if privilege level of the current program
is lower than privilege level for I/O operations, defined by bits 0Ch and 0Dh in
flags register (A.11-4).
7.03-87
STOSB – filling memory with a byte
Though the name STOSB stands for "STOre String of Bytes", the STOSB command
in fact copies a byte from AL register into a memory cell. Address of that memory cell
must be loaded beforehand into ES:DI pair of registers. States of flags are not altered by
STOSB command.
— 262 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
After copying offset in DI (destination index) register is incremented by 1 or
decremented by 1: it depends on the state ("UP" or "DN") of direction flag DF. The state of
DF flag can be altered by CLD (7.03-11) and STD (7.03-85) commands. Automatic
change of index register contents prepares conditions for copying a byte from AL register
into the next memory cell.
The STOSB command is often preceded by repetition prefixes F2h (7.02-03) or F3h
(7.02-04), which enable to execute it cyclically and thus fill a succession of memory cells
with copies of the same byte. Default segment register ES for these memory cells can't be
altered by segment override prefixes.
7.03-88
Code
Example
AA
STOSB
STOSW – filling memory with a word
The STOSW command (STOSW = STOre String of Words) copies a word from AX
register into memory according to address in ES:DI pair of registers and then increments
(or decrements) offset in DI index register by 2, thus preparing copying of AX contents in
next memory cells. Operand size override prefix 66h (7.02-06) forces STOSW command
to copy a four-byte operand of DWORD type from EAX register and to increment (or
decrement) offset in DI index register by 4. All other peculiarities of STOSW command
execution are the same as those for STOSB command (7.03-87).
7.03-89
Code
Example
AB
STOSW
SUB – binary integers subtraction
The SUB command subtracts its second operand (the subtrahend) from the first
operand (the minuend), ignoring the state of CF flag (the borrow). Remainder replaces the
first operand. Flags OF, SF, ZF, AF, PF, CF acquire new states according to the result.
Interpretation of flag's states, left by SUB command, depends on whether the operands
were signed or unsigned numbers. Conditional jump commands JA, JB, JBE, JNB should
be used after subtraction of unsigned numbers. Other conditional jump commands JG,
JGE, JL, JLE should be used after subtraction of signed numbers. Full names of all
conditional jump and loop commands reflect status relation of the first (left) operand of
SUB command to the second (right) operand. For example, JA = "jump if above" means
that the left operand of SUB command (the minuend) must be above, or greater than the
right operand (the subtrahend).
— 263 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
SUB is a binary operation, but there are two exceptions. If the first operand is in AX
register, then SUB command may be applied to unpacked decimal words: binary difference
of unpacked decimal words in AX register can be transformed into valid unpacked decimal
word by AAS command (7.03-04). If the first operand is in AL register, then SUB
command may be applied to packed decimal bytes: binary difference of packed decimal
bytes in AL register can be transformed into valid packed decimal byte by DAS command
(7.03-19).
First byte
Second byte
28
28
29
29
2A
2B
2C
2D
80
80
81
81
83
83
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(9-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(9-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(9-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
SUB
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: codes "2(A,B) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (2,6,A,E)(8-F)" are also unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as SUB command.
7.03-90
TEST – logical test of bit's states
The TEST command sets flags SF (sign flag), ZF (zero flag) and PF (parity flag)
according to result of logical AND bit-to-bit operation upon operands, but this result itself
is not saved. Both operands of TEST command remain intact. Carry flag CF and overflow
flag OF are cleared by TEST command to states NC (No Carry) and NV (No Overflow)
correspondingly. AF flag acquires indefinite state.
First byte
Second byte
84
84
85
85
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
TEST
TEST
TEST
TEST
— 264 —
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.03-90
A8
A9
F6
(0,4,8)(0-7)
F6
C(1-7)
F7
(0,4,8)(0-7)
F7
C(1-7)
7.03-91
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
TEST
TEST
TEST
TEST
TEST
TEST
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
XCHG – operands exchange
The XCHG command exchanges contents between specified registers or between a
memory cell and a register. States of flags are not altered by XCHG command.
Data
bytes
First byte
Second byte
86
86
87
87
9(1-7)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(1-7,9-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(1-7,9-F)
7.03-92
0-2
0-2
Examples
XCHG
XCHG
XCHG
XCHG
XCHG
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bx,AX
XLAT – tabular translation
The XLAT command calculates a sum (AL + BX) and then copies a byte from
DS:(AL + BX) address into AL register, replacing its former contents. States of flags and
contents of BX register are not altered by XLAT command.
XLAT command is used for translation of codes via a code table (up to 256 bytes
long), which must be loaded beforehand starting at DS:BX address and on. Another
segment register may be referred instead of the default segment register DS, if XLAT
command is preceded by an appropriate segment override prefix (7.02-01).
7.03-93
Code
Example
D7
XLAT
XOR – exclusive OR logical operation
The XOR command analyses pairs of corresponding bits in two operands. If states of
both bits in a pair are identical (both set or both cleared), then corresponding bit of the
result is cleared to FALSE (zero). If states of bits in an analyzed pair are different, then
corresponding bit of the result is set to TRUE state. Result replaces the first operand.
Flags SF, ZF, PF acquire new states according to the result. Flags CF and OF are cleared
— 265 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
to states NC (No Carry) and NV (No oVerflow) respectively. Flag AF acquires indefinite
state.
First byte
Second byte
30
30
31
31
32
33
34
35
80
80
81
81
83
83
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(C-F)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(0-B)(0-F)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(1-7)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(1-7)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(1-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
0-2
1
2
1-3
1
2-4
2
1-3
1
Examples
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
XOR
[bp+si+ffff],bl
bl,bl
[bp+si+ffff],bx
bx,bx
bl,[bp+si+ffff]
bx,[bp+si+ffff]
AL,ff
AX,ffff
byte ptr [bp+si+ffff],ff
bl,ff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],ffff
bx,ffff
word ptr [bp+si+ffff],±7f
bx,±7f
Note 1: the XOR command with specifications of the same source as each of two
operands is often used in order to clear that source to zero.
Note 2: codes "3(2,3) (C-F)(0-F)" and "82 (3,7,B,F)(0-7)" are also unassembled by
DEBUG.EXE as XOR command.
7.04
Commands for arithmetical coprocessor
Those assembler's commands, whose name begins with letter "F" (float), are
transferred for execution to arithmetical coprocessor. All modern computers are able to
perform these commands, because their arithmetical coprocessor is integrated in the main
CPU.
Computers with obsolete processors, including some 486 models, may have no
arithmetical coprocessor. Then execution of coprocessor's commands may be performed by
software emulation, but for that two conditions must be met:
– first, generation of a call for INT 07 handler (8.01-08) must be ensured in
response to each coprocessor's command. This is achieved by setting
bit 02h ("coprocessor emulation") in control register CR0 (A.11-4).
– second, an appropriate INT 07 handler must be loaded, which is able to emulate
execution of coprocessor's commands.
— 266 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
In some old computers both these conditions are met automatically due to their BIOS
system, in some others the user has to bother about that. In any case presence or absence
of arithmetical coprocessor is reported by INT 11 handler (8.01-36, A.11-1).
If there is a chance that your program will be executed by old CPUs with a separate
coprocessor chip, then each coprocessor's command should be preceded by WAIT prefix
(7.02-05), which synchronizes command's transfer from CPU to coprocessor. Modern
CPUs have an integrated coprocessor with hardware synchronizing means. Therefore for
modern CPUs the WAIT prefix is not needed, its presence is allowed, but most probably is
ignored.
7.04-01
F2XM1 – approximation for fractional power of 2
The F2XM1 command calculates a sum of series, used for fractional power of 2
function approximation within limits of power index from –1 to +1. The power index is
implied to be prepared in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0). Calculated sum of series
replaces power index in ST(0) register. Final result can be expressed by formula
ST(0) = –1+2^ST(0)
7.04-02
Code
Example
D9 F0
F2XM1
FABS – absolute value
The FABS command clears sign bit in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) to zero,
thus making the operand in ST(0) a positive value.
7.04-03
Code
Example
D9 E1
FABS
FADD – addition of real values
The FADD command adds a real value being read out of memory or from any
coprocessor's register, if it is specified as the second operand, to another real value in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in any other register ST(1-7), if the latter is
specified as the first operand. The sum replaces former value in ST(0) or in ST(1-7), if it
is specified as the first operand.
— 267 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
7.04-04
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FADD
FADD
FADD
FADD
0-2
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
FADDP – addition and stack shift up
The FADDP command (FADDP = "ADD and Pop") adds its second operand in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) to the first operand in any other specified stack
register ST(1-7). The sum replaces former value in specified ST(1-7) stack register, and
then coprocessor's stack pointer is incremented by 1, so that access to former ST(0) is lost,
and all other stack registers ST(1-7), including the one where the sum has been stored,
become renamed into ST(0-6), as though their number is decremented by 1.
7.04-05
Code
Example
DE C(0-7)
FADDP ST(1-7),ST
FBLD – loading with binary transform
The FBLD command (FBLD = "Binary LoaD") reads from memory, starting at
specified address, a 10-byte packed decimal integer, containing two decimal digits per
byte. This decimal integer is transformed to real binary value and is loaded into
coprocessor's register ST(7), which must be empty at that moment. Then FBLD command
decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into
ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the loaded value is found
in top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
DF
(2,6,A)(0-7)
0-2
FBLD tbyte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: the FBLD command doesn't check, whether its operand is really a packed decimal
number or not. If not, the result of performed binary transform is invalid.
Note 2: the default 10-byte binary real format includes mantissa (bits 0 – 63), power
index (bits 64 – 78) and sign bit 79. By changing contents of precision control
field in CWR register (note 2 to 7.04-35) coprocessor may be turned to 8-byte
double precision format (52 bits – mantissa, 11 bits – power index) or to 4-byte
single precision format (23 bits – mantissa, 8 bits – power index).
— 268 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-06
FBSTP – store with decimal transform
The FBSTP command (FBSTP = Binary STore and Pop) transforms a real binary
value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) into a 10-byte packed decimal integer,
containing two decimal digits per byte. Transform includes rounding of fractional part.
Transformed integer is written into memory, starting from specified offset and on. Then
FBSTP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that access to former
ST(0) is lost, and registers ST(1-7) become renamed into ST(0-6).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
DF
(3,7,B)(0-7)
0-2
FBSTP tbyte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-07
FCHS – change sign
The FCHS command reverses sign of real binary value in coprocessor's top stack
register ST(0).
7.04-08
Code
Example
D9 E0
FCHS
FCLEX – clear exceptions flags
The FCLEX command clears those bits in coprocessor's status word register SWR,
which are used as flags to register coprocessor's states and exceptions. In particular, the
following bits are cleared:
bit 0 – flag of invalid operation
bit 1 – flag of denormalized operand
bit 2 – flag of division by zero
bit 3 – coprocessor's overflow flag
bit 4 – antioverflow (lost result) flag
bit 5 – flag of lost precision
blt 7 – interrupt request flag
bit 15 – "coprocessor busy" flag
Code
Example
DB E2
FCLEX
— 269 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-09
FCOM – comparison of real values
The FCOM command compares a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0)
with contents of specified register or memory cells. Flags C0, C2 and C3 in coprocessor's
register SWR acquire new states according to the result. First the state of C2 flag should
be checked: C2 = 1 marks uncomparable operands, so that there is no sense in further
checks. If operands are equal, then C3 = 1. If value in ST(0) is less than the other operand,
then C0 = 1. The way of performing checks for flags C0, C2 and C3 in coprocessor's
SWR register is described in article 7.04-64.
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FCOM dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FCOM ST(0-7)
FCOM qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
0-2
Note 1: code "DC D(0-7)" is also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as FCOM ST(0-7).
7.04-10
FCOMP – compare and shift stack up
The FCOMP command performs comparison just as FCOM operation does (7.04-09),
but then increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that access to former ST(0) is lost,
and registers ST(1-7) become renamed into ST(0-6).
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Example
FCOMP dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FCOMP ST(0-7)
FCOMP qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: codes "DC D(8-F)" and "DE D(0-7)" are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as
FCOMP command.
7.04-11
FCOMPP – compare and twice shift stack up
The FCOMPP command compares operands in coprocessor's stack registers ST(0) and
ST(1) and then increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 2, so that access to former
operands in both ST(0) and ST(1) is lost. Registers ST(2-7) become renamed into ST(0-5).
The result of comparison affects states of flags C0, C2 and C3 in coprocessor's SWR
register, just as it is done after FCOM command (7.04-09).
— 270 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Code
Example
DE D9
FCOMPP
Note 1: DEBUG.EXE unassembles code "DE D9" as "FCOMPP ST(1)", but while
assembling doesn't accept the "ST(1)".
7.04-12
FDECSTP – DECrement Stack Top Pointer
The FDECSTP command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that
registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7). The last stack register ST(7) is renamed into
ST(0). All stack register's contents remain accessible and are not altered.
Code
Example
D9 F6
FDECSTP
Note 1: coprocessor's stack pointer is a tree-stage reversible counter, involving bits 11, 12
and 13 of status word register SWR.
Note 2: most commands pushing data into coprocessor's stack are performed by copying
data into ST(7) register and decrementing coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so
that ST(7) register becomes renamed into ST(0). All such commands can't be
performed, if ST(7) register originally isn't empty.
7.04-13
FDISI – disable interrupts
The FDISI command disables interrupts for obsolete 8087 arithmetical coprocessor.
Since model 80287 coprocessors don't need this command and ignore it.
7.04-14
Code
Example
DB E1
FDISI
FDIV – division of real values
The FDIV command divides a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in
any non-top register ST(1-7), if it is specified as the first operand, by a real divisor from
specified memory cell or other coprocessor's register, if it is specified as the second
operand. The quotient replaces dividend in ST(0) or in other stack register ST(1-7), if it is
specified as the first operand.
— 271 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(0-7)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
F(8-F)
7.04-15
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FDIV
FDIV
FDIV
FDIV
0-2
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
FDIVP – divide and shift stack up
The FDIVP – divide a real value in any coprocessor's non-top stack register ST(1-7)
with divisor in top stack register ST(0). The quotient replaces the dividend in non-top stack
register ST(1-7). Then FDIVP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so
that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6), including that one, where the quotient has
been written. The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7) and is announced free. Access to its
former contents (the divisor) is lost.
7.04-16
Code
Example
DE F(8-F)
FDIVP ST(1-7),ST
FDIVR – divide in reverse order
The FDIVR command divides a real value, being read out of a memory cell or from
coprocessor's stack register, if it is specified as the second operand, by a real divisor in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in any non-top stack register ST(1-7), if it is
specified as the first operand. The quotient replaces divisor in ST(0) register or in non-top
stack register ST(1-7), if it is specified as the first operand.
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
F(0-7)
7.04-17
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
FDIVR
FDIVR
FDIVR
FDIVR
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
FDIVRP – divide in reverse order and shift stack up
The FDIVRP command divides a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0)
with divisor in any other stack register ST(1-7), replaces the divisor by the quotient in
non-top stack register ST(1-7) and then increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so
that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6), including that one, where the quotient has
— 272 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
been written. The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7) and is announced free. Access to its
former contents (the dividend) is lost.
7.04-18
Code
Example
DE F(0-7)
FDIVRP ST(1-7),ST
FENI – enable interrupts
The FENI command enables interrupts for obsolete 8087 arithmetical coprocessor.
Since model 80287 coprocessors don't need this command and ignore it.
7.04-19
Code
Example
DB E0
FENI
FFREE – announce register as free
The FFREE command marks specified coprocessor's stack register as free by writing
"11" binary value into corresponding bits of coprocessor's tag register TWR.
Code
Example
DD C(0-7)
FFREE ST(0-7)
Note 1: code "DF C(0-7)" is also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as FFREE command.
7.04-20
FIADD – addition with an integer
The FIADD command adds an integer from specified memory cell to a real value in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0). The sum is a real value, replacing the former
contents in ST(0) register.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(0,4,8)(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
0-2
0-2
FIADD dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FIADD word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
— 273 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-21
FICOM – comparison with an integer
The FICOM command reads an integer from specified memory cell, transforms it into
a real value and compares the result with a real value in coprocessor's top stack register
ST(0). The comparison itself is performed just as it is done by FCOM command
(7.04-09).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(1,5,9)(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
0-2
0-2
FICOM dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FICOM word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-22
FICOMP – compare with an integer and shift stack up
The FICOMP command reads an integer from specified memory cell, transforms it into
a real value, and compares the result with a real value in coprocessor's top stack register
ST(0). The comparison itself is performed just as it is done by FCOM command
(7.04-09), but then FICOMP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so
that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7)
and is announced free. Access to its former contents is lost.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(1,5,9)(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
0-2
0-2
FICOMP dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FICOMP word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-23
FIDIV – division by an integer
The FIDIV command divides a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) by
an integer divisor, read from specified memory cell. The quotient replaces the dividend in
top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(3,7,B)(0-7)
(3,7,B)(0-7)
0-2
0-2
FIDIV dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FIDIV word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
— 274 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-24
FIDIVR – integer division in reverse order
The FIDIVR command performs division of integer dividend, read from specified
memory cell, by a divisor in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0). The quotient replaces
the divisor in top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(3,7,B)(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
0-2
0-2
FIDIVR dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FIDIVR word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-25
FILD – loading of an integer
The FILD command transforms an integer, read from specified memory cell, into a real
value and loads this value into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be empty at
that moment. Then FILD command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore
registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so
that at last the loaded value is found in top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DB
DF
DF
(0,4,8)(0-7)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
0-2
0-2
0-2
FILD dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FILD word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FILD qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-26
FIMUL – multiplication by an integer
The FIMUL command multiplies a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0)
by an integer value, read from specified memory cell. The product replaces former value in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(0,4,8)(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
0-2
0-2
FIMUL dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FIMUL word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-27
FINCSTP – increment stack top pointer
The FINCSTP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that registers
ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). The top stack register ST(0) is renamed into ST(7). All
stack register's contents remain accessible and are not altered.
— 275 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Code
Example
D9 F7
FINCSTP
Note 1: coprocessor's stack pointer is a tree-stage reversible counter, involving bits 11, 12
and 13 of status word register SWR.
Note 2: when incrementing of coprocessor's stack pointer is performed by other
commands, then top stack register ST(0) after being renamed into ST(7) acquires
status of empty register (tag 11b). Therefore access to former contents of ST(0) is
lost. This operation is often referred to as popping ST(0) contents out of stack.
7.04-28
FINIT – setting coprocessor's initial state
The FINIT command writes initial states into CWR, SWR, TWR, IPR and DPR
registers of arithmetical coprocessor. Control word register CWR acquires the state
037Fh: it defines 80-bit format of operands, masking of all exceptions and rounding to
nearest integer. Tags register TWR is set to FFFFh state, which means that all
coprocessor's stack registers are free. Other coprocessor's registers (SWR, IPR and DPR)
are cleared to 0000h.
7.04-29
Code
Example
DB E3
FINIT
FIST – storing of an integer
The FIST command (FIST = Integer STore) reads a real value from coprocessor's top
stack register ST(0), translates it into an integer, rounds it according to specified format,
and writes the result into specified memory address.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DB
DF
(1,5,9)(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
0-2
0-2
FIST dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FIST word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-30
FISTP – store an integer and shift stack up
The FISTP command stores in memory a translated value from ST(0) register, just as
FIST command does (7.04-29). Besides that, FISTP command increments coprocessor's
stack pointer by 1, so that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). Access to former
value in top stack register ST(0) becomes lost.
— 276 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
DB
DF
DF
(1,5,9)(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
7.04-31
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FISTP dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FISTP word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FISTP qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
0-2
FISUB – subtraction of an integer
The FISUB command subtracts an integer subtrahend, stored in specified memory cell,
from a real value – the minuend – in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0). The remainder
replaces minuend in top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(2,6,A)(0-7)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
0-2
0-2
FISUB dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FISUB word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-32
FISUBR – subtract in reverse order
The FISUBR command performs reverse order subtraction of a real subtrahend in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) from an integer minuend, stored in specified memory
cell. The remainder replaces former subtrahend in top stack register ST(0).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Examples
DA
DE
(2,6,A)(8-F)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
0-2
0-2
FISUBR dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FISUBR word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-33
FLD – loading of a real value
The FLD command reads a real value from specified register or from specified
memory cell and loads this value into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be
empty at that moment. Then FLD command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1;
therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into
ST(0), so that at last the loaded real value is found in top stack register ST(0).
— 277 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
First byte
Second byte
D9
D9
DB
DD
(0,4,8)(0-7)
C(0-7)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
(0,4,8)(0-7)
7.04-34
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FLD
FLD
FLD
FLD
0-2
0-2
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(0-7)
tbyte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FLD1 – loading of a unity constant
The FLD1 command loads a unity constant into coprocessor's stack register ST(7),
which must be empty at that moment. Then FLD1 command decrements coprocessor's
stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register
ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the loaded constant becomes stored in top
stack register ST(0).
7.04-35
Code
Example
D9 E8
FLD1
FLDCW – loading of CWR register
The FLDCW command (FLDCW = LoaD Control Word) copies a data word, saved
by FSTCW command (7.04-55), from specified memory cell into coprocessor's control
word register CWR. If selected bits in this data word have been intentionally altered, then
after loading with FLDCW command the changes will come into effect.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
D9
(2,6,A)(8-F)
0-2
FLDCW word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: bits 5 – 0 in CWR register represent masks for exception flags in corresponding
bits 5 – 0 of SWR register (7.04-08). By default masks in CWR register are set,
but if a mask is cleared, then occurrence of an exception invokes a request
IRQ 13 for interrupt handler INT 75 (8.03-75), which must be able to cope with
the problem.
Note 2: bits 9 and 8 in CWR register represent PC (= precision control) field. Default
state 11b of PC field defines 10-byte format of operands. State 10b of PC field
defines rounding to 8-byte format, state 00b – rounding to 4-byte format
(7.04-05). However, reduction of precision doesn't make calculations faster.
— 278 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-36
FLDENV – loading into service registers
The FLDENV (= LoaD ENVironment) restores states of coprocessor's service
registers (CWR, SWR, TWR, IPR, DPR) according to a record, which is read from
memory starting at specified address. This record must be formed and stored beforehand
by FSTENV command (7.04-56).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
D9
(2,6,A)(0-7)
0-2
FLDENV word ptr [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-37
FLDL2E – loading of "log e" constant
The FLDL2E command loads a log e = 1.44269... constant (i.e. base 2 logarithm of
e = 2.71828...) into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be empty at that
moment. Then FLDL2E command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore
registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so
that at last the loaded constant becomes stored in top stack register ST(0).
7.04-38
Code
Example
D9 EA
FLDL2E
FLDL2T – loading of "log10" constant
The FLDL2T command loads log10 = 3.32192... constant (i.e. base 2 logarithm of 10)
into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be empty at that moment. Then
FLDL2T command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(06) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the
loaded constant becomes stored in top stack register ST(0).
7.04-39
Code
Example
D9 E9
FLDL2T
FLDLG2 – loading of "lg2" constant
The FLDLG2 command loads lg2 = 0.301029... constant (i.e. base 10 logarithm of 2)
into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be empty at that moment. Then
FLDLG2 command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(06) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the
loaded constant becomes stored in top stack register ST(0).
— 279 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-40
Code
Example
D9 EC
FLDLG2
FLDLN2 – loading of "ln2" constant
The FLDLN2 command loads ln2 = 0.693147... constant (i.e. base e = 2.71828...
logarithm of 2) into coprocessor's stack register ST(7), which must be empty at that
moment. Then FLDLN2 command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore
registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so
that at last the loaded constant becomes stored in top stack register ST(0).
7.04-41
Code
Example
D9 ED
FLDLN2
FLDPI – loading of "PI" constant
The FLDPI command loads PI = 3.14159... constant into coprocessor's stack register
ST(7), which must be empty at that moment. Then FLDPI command decrements
coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and
register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the loaded constant becomes stored in
top stack register ST(0).
7.04-42
Code
Example
D9 EB
FLDPI
FLDZ – loading of zero constant
The FLDZ command loads 0 (i.e. zero) constant into coprocessor's stack register
ST(7), which must be empty at that moment. Then FLDZ command decrements
coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into ST(1-7), and
register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last the loaded constant becomes stored in
top stack register ST(0).
Code
Example
D9 EE
FLDZ
— 280 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-43
FMUL – multiplication of real values
The FMUL command multiplies a real value in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0)
or in any non-top register ST(1-7), if it specified as the first operand, by another real value
– the multiplier, which is read from memory or from other stack register, if it is specified
as the second operand. The product replaces former contents in top stack register ST(0) or
in other stack register ST(1-7), if it is specified as the first operand.
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
(0,4,8)(8-F)
C(8-F)
7.04-44
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
FMUL
FMUL
FMUL
FMUL
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
FMULP – multiply and shift stack up
The FMULP command multiplies a real value in specified coprocessor's non-top stack
register ST(1-7) by a real multiplier in top stack register ST(0). The product overwrites
former value in specified non-top stack register ST(1-7). Then FMULP command
increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into
ST(0-6), including that one, where the product has been written. The ST(0) register is
renamed into ST(7) and is announced free. Access to its former contents (the multiplier) is
lost.
7.04-45
Code
Example
DE С(8-F)
FMULP ST(1-7),ST
FNOP – a void operation
Though the FNOP command is known to do nothing, it in fact increments IP
(instruction pointer) by 2, because machine code of FNOP command itself takes 2 bytes,
so since that IP points at the next command.
Code
Example
D9 D0
FNOP
— 281 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-46
FPATAN – Partial arctangent.
The FPATAN command divides a positive real dividend in coprocessor's top stack register
ST(0) by a positive real divisor in stack register ST(1). The divisor must be equal or
greater, than the dividend. The quotient is used to calculate approximation of
Arctg(ST(0)/ST(1)) function in radians. Result replaces divisor in stack register ST(1),
and then FPATAN command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that registers
ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). Former ST(1) register, where the result has been
written, becomes top stack register ST(0). Access to former contents of ST(0) register (the
divisor) is lost.
7.04-47
Code
Example
D9 F3
FPATAN
FPREM – Partial remainder
The main purpose of FPREM command is reduction of periodic trigonometric
function's arguments into limits of their main interval. FPREM command divides a real
dividend in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) by a real divisor in stack register ST(1).
The remainder replaces dividend in top stack register ST(0). If this remainder is greater,
than divisor in ST(1) register, then this remainder is considered as a partial remainder and
is marked by setting flag C2 = 1 in SWR register. In this case the FPREM command
should be executed repeatedly until cleared state of flag C2 in SWR register indicates
acquisition of final remainder.
When final remainder is obtained, the states of flags C3, C1 and C0 in SWR register
point at that circle's sector, which corresponds to final value of trigonometric argument.
The way of performing checks for flags C3, C2, C1 and C0 in coprocessor's SWR register
is described in article 7.04-64.
7.04-48
Code
Example
D9 F8
FPREM
FPTAN – Partial tangent
The FPTAN command accepts in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) angular
argument in radians for calculation of Tg(ST(0)) value approximation. FPTAN command
decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are renamed into
ST(1-7), and angular argument occurs in register ST(1). Calculated value of tangent
— 282 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
function replaces argument in register ST(1), and a unity constant is written in register
ST(0). In case of success bit C2 in SWR register is cleared to 0, otherwise it is set to 1.
Code
Example
D9 F2
FPTAN
Note 1: if coprocessor's stack register ST(7) isn't empty, stack pointer can't be
decremented, and then FPTAN command wouldn't be executed.
Note 2: obsolete arithmetical coprocessors (up to model 80287) require argument of
FPTAN command to be within limits from 0 to PI/4.
7.04-49
FRNDINT – round to integer
The FRNDINT command transforms a real value in coprocessor's top stack register
ST(0) into an integer by rounding operation. The way rounding is performed depends on
the state of RC (Rounding Control) field in CWR register: if RC=00 – round to the nearest
integer, if RC=01 – round to the nearest lower integer, if RC=10 – round to the nearest
greater integer, if RC=11 – round by omitting fractional part of original real value.
Code
Example
D9 FC
FRNDINT
Note 1: bits 11 and 10 in coprocessor's CWR register constitute the RC (Rounding
Control) field. States of all bits in CWR register can be written into memory by
FSTCW command (7.04-55), and then states of desired bits can be intentionally
changed. Changed states come into effect after loading back into CWR register by
FLDCW command (7.04-35).
7.04-50
FRSTOR – restoration of coprocessor's state
The FRSTOR command (FRSTOR = ReSTORe) loads states of all coprocessor's
registers, including control registers and stack, from a record of 96 or 108 bytes long,
starting at specified memory address. This record must be stored in memory beforehand by
FSAVE command (7.04-51). Actual length of this record depends on CPU's mode: real
mode or protected mode. Therefore it is important to perform restoration of coprocessor's
state in exactly that CPU's mode, under which this record has been stored.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
DD
(2,6,A)(0-7)
0-2
FRSTOR [bp+si+ffff]
— 283 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-51
FSAVE – save coprocessor's state
The FSAVE command stores in computer's memory, starting at specified address,
states of all stack registers and control registers in arithmetical coprocessor, and then
resets coprocessor's registers CWR, SWR, TWR, IPR, DPR just as FINIT command does
(7.04-28). The whole record, formed by FSAVE command, is either 96 or 108 bytes long it depends on CPU's mode: real mode or protected mode. Later this record may be read by
FRSTOR command (7.04-50), which enables to restore coprocessor's former state.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
DD
(3,7,B)(0-7)
0-2
FSAVE [bp+si+ffff]
7.04-52
FSCALE – multiplication by power of 2
The FSCALE command multiplies a real value in coprocessor's top stack register
ST(0) by a power of 2 with integer power index, either positive or negative. Power index
must be prepared in ST(1) register as a real value. If it is not an integer, it will be rounded
to the nearest lower integer. Final product replaces the first multiplier in top stack register
ST(0).
7.04-53
Code
Example
D9 FD
FSCALE
FSQRT – square root
The FSQRT calculates square root of a real positive value in coprocessor's top stack
register ST(0). Square root value replaces operand in top stack register ST(0).
7.04-54
Code
Example
D9 FA
FSQRT
FST – store a real value
The FST command copies a real value from coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) into
any other stack register ST(1-7) or into memory according to specified address and format.
— 284 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
If specified format is shorter, than original 10-byte format in coprocessor's stack registers,
then the stored value is rounded according to specified format.
First byte
Second byte
D9
DD
DD
(1,5,9)(0-7)
(1,5,9)(0-7)
D(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Example
FST dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FST qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
FST ST(1-7)
Note 1: code "DF D(0-7)" is also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as FST command.
Note 2: FST command enables to copy new contents into a stack register, which is not
free. Former contents of this register will be overwritten.
7.04-55
FSTCW – store a state of CWR register
The FSTCW command copies current state of coprocessor's control register CWR into
a data word, stored in memory according to specified address.
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
D9
(3,7,B)(8-F)
0-2
FSTCW [bp+si+ffff]
Note 1: later the stored state of CWR register can be restored by FLDCW command
(7.04-35).
7.04-56
FSTENV – store states of service registers
The FSTENV (= Store environment) command writes into memory, starting from
specified address, states of all coprocessor's service registers: CWR (Control Word
Register), SWR (Status Word Register), TWR (Tags Word Register), IPR (Instruction
Pointer Register), DPR (Data Pointer Register). Contrary to FSAVE command (7.04-51),
FSTENV command doesn't reset coprocessor's service registers and doesn't save contents
of stack registers. Data from the record, formed by FSTENV command, may be later used
to restore former states of service registers by FLDENV command (7.04-36).
First byte
Second byte
Data
bytes
Example
D9
(3,7,B)(0-7)
0-2
FSTENV [bp+si+ffff]
— 285 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-57
FSTP – store and shift stack up
The FSTP command copies a real value from coprocessor's top stack register ST(0)
into any other stack register ST(1-7), which must not necessarily be free, or into memory
according to specified address and format. If specified format is shorter, than original
10-byte format in coprocessor's stack registers, then the stored value is rounded according
to specified format. Then FSTP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so
that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7)
and is announced free. Access to former contents of ST(0) register is lost.
First byte
Second byte
D9
DB
DD
DD
(1,5,9)(8-F)
(3,7,B)(8-F)
(1,5,9)(8-F)
D(8-F)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
0-2
Examples
FSTP
FSTP
FSTP
FSTP
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
tbyte ptr [bp+si+ffff]
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7)
Note 1: codes "D9 D(8-F)" and "DF D(8-F)" are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as
FSTP command.
7.04-58
FSTSW – store status word
The FSTSW command copies into specified address the state of coprocessor's status
word register SWR, chiefly for analyzing results after comparisons. The role of several
bits in SWR register is described in articles 7.04-08 and 7.04-64.
First byte
Second byte
DD
DF
(3,7,B)(8-F)
E0
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
Comments
FSTSW [bp+si+ffff]
ESC 3C,AL
see note 1
Note 1: CPU models 80486 and higher perform FSTSW AX operation (code "DF E0"),
copying coprocessor's status word into CPU's AX register. This operation is not
"known" to DEBUG.EXE, but DEBUG.EXE accepts it under its former name
ESC 3C,AL.
7.04-59
FSUB – subtraction of real values
The FSUB command (FSUB = SUBtract) subtracts a real value – the subtrahend,
stored in a memory cell or in coprocessor's stack register ST(0-7), if it is specified as the
second operand, from a real minuend in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in other
stack register ST(1-7), if it is specified as the first operand. The remainder replaces
— 286 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
minuend in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in other stack register ST(1-7), if it is
specified as the first operand.
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(8-F)
(2,6,A)(0-7)
E(8-F)
7.04-60
Data
bytes
0-2
Examples
FSUB
FSUB
FSUB
FSUB
0-2
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
FSUBP – subtract and shift stack up
The FSUBP command subtracts a real value – the subtrahend, stored in coprocessor's
top stack register ST(0), from another real value – the minuend, stored in specified
coprocessor's non-top stack register ST(1-7). The remainder overwrites the minuend in
specified non-top stack register ST(1-7). Then FSUBP command increments coprocessor's
stack pointer by 1, so that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6), including that one,
where the remainder has been written. The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7) and is
announced free. Access to its former contents (the subtrahend) is lost.
7.04-61
Code
Example
DE E(8-F)
FSUBP ST(1-7),ST
FSUBR – subtract in reverse order
The FSUBR command subtracts a real value – the subtrahend, stored in coprocessor's
top stack register ST(0) or in any non-top stack register ST(1-7), if it is specified as the
first operand, from a real minuend, stored in a specified memory cell or in another
coprocessor's stack register, specified as the second operand. The remainder replaces
subtrahend in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) or in other stack register ST(1-7), if it
is specified as the first operand.
First byte
Second byte
D8
D8
DC
DC
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(0-7)
(2,6,A)(8-F)
E(0-7)
Data
bytes
0-2
0-2
Examples
FSUBR
FSUBR
FSUBR
FSUBR
— 287 —
dword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST,ST(0-7)
qword ptr [bp+si+ffff]
ST(1-7),ST
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-62
FSUBRP – subtract in reverse order and shift stack up
The FSUBRP command subtracts a real value – the subtrahend, stored in any
coprocessor's non-top stack's register ST(1-7), from real minuend in top stack register
ST(0). Remainder replaces subtrahend in coprocessor's non-top stack's register ST(1-7).
Then FSUBRP command increments coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that registers
ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6), including that one, where the remainder has been
written. The ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7) and is announced free. Access to its
former contents (the minuend) is lost.
7.04-63
Code
Example
DE E(0-7)
FSUBRP ST(1-7),ST
FTST – comparison with zero
The FTST (= TeST) command compares a real value in coprocessor's top stack
register ST(0) with zero constant. States of flags C3, C2 and C0 in coprocessor's status
word register SWR are altered according to the result. State of flag C2 should be checked
first: if C2 = 1, the operands are incomparable, so there is no sense in further checks. Flag
C3 = 1 indicates equality, i.e. zero value in top stack register ST(0). Flag C0 = 1 indicates
negative value in top stack register ST(0). If top stack register ST(0) contains a positive
real value, then all three flags C3, C2, C0 are cleared to zero. The way of performing
checks for flags C0, C2, C3 in coprocessor's SWR register is described in article 7.04-64.
7.04-64
Code
Example
D9 E4
FTST
FXAM – operand's type check
The FXAM (= eXAMine) command determines type of operand in coprocessor's top
stack register ST(0). States of flags C3, C2, C1 and C0 in coprocessor's status word
register SWR indicate the result. Flag C1 reflects the sign of operand. Interpretation for
states of flags C3, C2 and C0 is given in the following table:
C3
C2
C0
Operand's type
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
1
0
- unknown format
- any non-numerical format
- correct real number
— 288 —
Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
Continuation of table 7.04-64
0
1
1
1
0
0
1
0
1
1
1
0
- infinity (tag = 10)
- zero (tag = 01)
- empty ST(0) register (tag = 11).
- any denormalized number
In order to analyze the result, status word should be copied by FSTSW command
(7.04-58) from coprocessor's SWR register preferably into CPU's AX register. Then states
may be either tested by TEST command (7.03-90) or loaded into CPU's flags by SAHF
command (7.03-77). As far as flags C0, C1, C2, C3 are represented in SWR register (and
in AX register as well) by bits 08, 09, 10 and 14 correspondingly, in AH register the same
flags are represented by bits 0, 1, 2, 6. After loading into CPU's flags by SAHF command
the state C3 flag is represented by CPU's zero flag ZF, state of C2 flag – by CPU's parity
flag PF, state of C0 flag – by CPU's carry flag CF.
7.04-65
Code
Example
D9 E5
FXAM
FXCH – register's contents exchange
The FXCH (= eXCHange) command exchanges contents between coprocessor's top
stack register ST(0) and any other specified stack register ST(1-7).
Code
Example
D9 C(8-F)
FXCH ST(1-7)
Note 1: codes "DD C(8-F)" and "DF C(8-F)" are also unassembled by DEBUG.EXE as
FXCH command.
7.04-66
FXTRACT – separation of mantissa and exponent
The FXTRACT (= eXTRACT) command decomposes a real value in coprocessor's
top stack register ST(0) into its mantissa (i.e. significand) and binary exponent (i.e. binary
power index). Mantissa is written into stack register ST(7), which must be empty at that
moment. Exponent replaces original value in top stack register ST(0). Then FXTRACT
command decrements coprocessor's stack pointer by 1; therefore registers ST(0-6) are
renamed into ST(1-7), and register ST(7) is renamed into ST(0), so that at last mantissa
occurs in coprocessor's top stack register ST(0), and exponent – in register ST(1).
Code
Example
D9 F4
FXTRACT
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Chapter 7: Debugger's assembler commands
7.04-67
FYL2X – logarithm of arbitrary base
The FYL2X command calculates a base 2 logarithm of a positive real value in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0), and then multiplies logarithm by a real multiplier in
register ST(1). Multiplication enables to transform a base 2 logarithm to any arbitrary
base. Product overwrites multiplier in register ST(1). Then FYL2X command increments
coprocessor's stack pointer by 1, so that registers ST(1-7) are renamed into ST(0-6). That
register, where the product has been written, becomes top stack register ST(0). The former
ST(0) register is renamed into ST(7) and is announced free, access to its contents is lost.
Final result of FYL2X command is expressed by formula ST(0)=ST(1)•log(ST(0)).
7.04-68
Code
Example
D9 F1
FYL2X
FYL2XP1 – sum of series logarithm
The FYL2XP1 command calculates a logarithm of arbitrary base, just as FYL2X
command does (7.04-67), but FYL2XP1 command implies, that its argument in
coprocessor's top stack register ST(0) is a sum of series, calculated by F2XM1 command
(7.04-01). For obtaining high precision of calculations this sum of series must be within
limits from (–1 + 1/SQRT2) to (–1 + SQRT2), which correspond to base 2 logarithm
values from –1/2 to +1/2. Further multiplication of base 2 logarithm value by a multiplier
in stack register ST(1) and incrementation of coprocessor's stack pointer is performed just
as it is done by FYL2X command (7.04-67). Calculated logarithm is left in top stack
register ST(0). Final result of FYL2XP1 command is expressed by formula
ST(0)=ST(1)•log(1+ST(0)).
Code
Example
D9 F9
FYL2XP1
— 290 —
Chapter 8.
Selected interrupt handlers
There are occasions, when normal succession of CPU's operations has to be
interrupted in order to respond to an urgent request. Interruptions can be initiated by both
hardware and software. CPU itself invokes interrupts in case of unexpected errors
(exceptions). Other hardware devices send their interrupt requests via interrupt controller
lines IRQ 00 – IRQ 15. Programs cause "software" interrupts with INT command
(7.03-28). In any case interrupt leads to execution of a certain subroutine – interrupt
handler, which performs the requested action.
A large number of interrupt handlers is permanently present in computer's memory
since computer is switched on. These handlers can be regarded as a library of standard
subroutines. Effectiveness of your programming efforts depends largely on your skill in
making use of this library.
Entry point addresses of interrupt handlers are stored in interrupt table. Different
interrupt tables are used in CPU's real and protected modes.
Protected mode interrupt table is filled with 8-byte descriptors, specifying access rights
and entry point addresses of interrupt handlers and API services. Selection of interrupt
handlers, their arrangement and placement of interrupt table in memory are arbitrary
regulated by that program or by that operating system, which controls computer's
functioning in protected mode.
Contrary to that, real mode interrupt table is strictly institutionalized. In all ATcompatible computers it occupies the same memory area: from 0000:0000h to
0000:03FFh. It is filled not by descriptors, but by 4-byte addresses of interrupt handler's
entry points. Unified addresses placement for particular BIOS functions constitutes the
basis of software compatibility. The latter feature defines an important role of real mode
interrupt table and induces our special interest in it.
After switching CPU to protected mode the real mode interrupt table is preserved intact
and still may be addressed. Real mode interrupt handlers may be needed for specific
motherboard hardware and for execution of DOS functions, called by programs from
"DOS box". For the time of execution of real mode interrupt handlers the protected mode
operating systems switch CPU back to real mode. Due to these hidden manipulations DOS
programs inside "DOS box" are executed considerably slower, than in real mode.
Offset of any required address in real mode interrupt table is calculated automatically
by multiplying interrupt number by 4. Each address is a double word pointer, which should
be interpreted in reverse order: fourth and third bytes constitute segment address, second
and first bytes constitute entry point offset. For example, dump 59 F8 00 F0 corresponds
to handler's entry point address F000:F859h.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Any interrupt request implies that submitted address points at an entry point to
handler's executable code. There are exceptions, though: offsets 0074h, 0078h, 007Ch,
0104h, 010Ch, 0118h in real mode interrupt table point at non-executable data tables
(A.12-1). Corresponding numbers 1Dh, 1Eh, 1Fh, 41h, 43h, 46h can't be used to
enumerate interrupts.
Interrupt table is partially filled by BIOS, generally up to INT 1C. The core of
MSDOS7 adds its own pointers (most known INT 20 - INT 2E), and later almost each
driver sets double-word (dword) pointer(s) to its own handler(s). At each step any
previously loaded pointer may be replaced; some are overwritten more than twice. Thus
interrupts may become intercepted by new handlers. Most often interrupt interception is
intended to provide conditional access to new functions, otherwise readdressing the call to
the former handler. For a large part of interrupts one can't be sure whether their handlers
belong to BIOS or to DOS or to something else: it may depend on particular configuration
settings in your PC.
Since interrupt handling depends on PC's BIOS and may be changed by software,
MS-DOS7 can't be responsible for keeping it strictly defined once and for ever. The
validity of results has to be checked after almost any interrupt call. Nevertheless there is a
large number of API functions, which are preserved intact for compatibility reasons and
almost certainly will be encountered in any PC under MSDOS7. Selected interrupt calls
invoking such functions are described below in this chapter.
8.01
Interrupt handlers, loaded by PC's BIOS (INT 00 – INT 1C)
8.01-01
INT 00 – divide by zero error
If after DIV (7.03-21) or IDIV (7.03-24) commands the quotient overflows the result
register, then CPU generates a call for INT 00h handler. The default INT 00 handler
terminates execution of current program, displays a message: "Your program caused a
divide overflow error...", and transfers control to DOS.
Note 1: if a call for INT 00 handler is initiated by CPU, then CPU leaves in stack a return
address, pointing not to the next command, but to that division command, which
has caused the overflow.
8.01-02
INT 01 – single step interrupt
If trap flag TF (A.11-4) in flags register is set, then CPU calls for INT 01 handler after
execution of each command. This feature is used in order to trace execution of programs
step-by-step. Besides that, modern CPUs, from model 80386 and on, have internal
debugging registers (A.11-5), invoking INT 01 handler each time, when CPU addresses
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
predefined memory region(s) or predefined port(s). INT 01 handler may also be invoked by
execution of undocumented code F1h.
Instead of INT 01 handler's address the PC's BIOS system installs a reference to IRET
command (7.03-30), which just returns CPU to execution of the next command.
Debugging utilities have to replace this reference in interrupt table by an address of their
own handler, enabling to transfer control to that process, which has initiated execution of
the program under test (for example, to debugger DEBUG.EXE).
Note 1: trap flag TF is cleared after execution of each command, but its original state (the
one before it has been cleared) is saved in stack together with return address just
when INT 01 handler is called. Therefore INT 01 handler's code itself is
performed while TF flag is cleared, but final handler's command IRET restores
that original state of TF flag from stack.
Note 2: return address, saved in stack at the moment INT 01 handler is called, usually
points at the next command in a program under test. But when a call for INT 01
handler is invoked by a debugging register, then return address points just to that
command, which has met the predefined condition. Flags in debugging register
DR6 (A.11-5) enable to discriminate the cause of INT 01 call.
8.01-03
INT 02 – non-maskable interrupt
A call for INT 02 handler is caused by a signal sent to NMI (Non-Maskable Interrupt)
CPU's pin. Contrary to other hardware interrupts, a call via NMI pin can't be blocked by
CLI command (7.03-12) or by a mask in interrupt controller. INT 02 handler has a special
mission: it responds to emergency accidents, for example, to memory failures. For most
such accidents INT 02 handler displays an error message and halts further execution,
bringing CPU to a standstill. In many PCs a signal sent to NMI pin informs about first
symptoms of imminent power supply failure. In such cases INT 02 handler undertakes
urgent actions, aimed to prevent data loss, and then returns control to interrupted process:
it is given a chance to be resumed, if alarm turns to be false, and power supply failure
really wouldn't happen.
Note 1: a call to CPU's NMI pin can be temporary blocked, if a byte with 7-th bit set is
sent by OUT command (7.03-66) to CMOS memory port 70h. This operation is
implied to be followed by sending another byte to port 71h (note 1 to A.14-1).
Blocking of NMI requests for the time of access to CMOS memory prevents
distortion of CMOS data.
8.01-04
INT 03 – a breakpoint
When code CCh (7.03-28) is encountered in place of the first byte in machine
command, then processor generates a call for INT 03 handler. Code CCh is usually
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
inserted by debugging utilities in order to stop execution of the program under test at the
desired point (breakpoint). In particular, just in this way breakpoints are set by debugger
DEBUG.EXE.
Instead of INT 03 handler's address the PC's BIOS system installs a reference to IRET
command (7.03-30), which just returns CPU to execution of the next command.
Debugging utilities have to replace this reference in interrupt table by an address of their
own handler, which is to serve the INT 03 calls.
8.01-05
INT 04 – response to overflow error
Contrary to interrupt INT 00, which compels to respond to overflow errors at once,
interrupt INT 04 enables a retarded response to overflows, initiated by INTO command
(7.03-29). Having encountered code CEh of INTO command, processor checks the state of
overflow flag OF: if it is not cleared, the INT 04 handler is called for. The default INT 04
handler just returns control to the caller program. Each program is given an opportunity to
replace the default INT 04 handler with its own INT 04 handler, providing a desirable
response to overflow errors.
8.01-06
INT 05 – screen dump and boundaries check
Due to IBM's and Intel's mutually inconsistent technical decisions the INT 05 real
mode handler has been charged with two different missions.
In IBM-compatible PCs the BIOS system installs interrupt INT 05 handler, which
sends active screen page to printer. Printing procedure is initiated by user's Shift-PrtSc
keystroke. Having identified this key combination, INT 09 handler (8.01-09) calls for
IBM's INT 05 handler. The latter checks printer's status byte at address 0000:0500h in
BIOS data area (A.12-1). States of printer status byte have the following meaning:
00h
– printer is connected to LPT1 port and is ready;
01h
– printer is busy, previous task isn't finished yet;
FFh
– previous request to printer has failed.
If status byte has 00h state, then active screen page is sent to LPT1 port and is printed.
Intel's processors, from model i80286 and on, call for INT 05 handler, if violation of
bounds is detected by the BOUND machine command (code 62h). Obviously, this mission
of INT 05 handler must be quite different.
The BOUND command is not "known" to DEBUG.EXE and this is why it is not
described in chapter 7. In order to avoid conflicts, caused by using the BOUND command
in real mode, the concerned program must install its own interrupt handlers, which are able
to cope with the problem of call source ambiguity. This problem is not inherent to
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
protected mode, because interrupt table for protected mode is arranged anew so that
INT 05 calls are not charged with screen page printing mission.
Note 1: original INT 05 handler is often replaced by another one, supplied by video card
and invoked by PrtSc keystroke (8.01-66).
Note 2: if a call for INT 05 handler is induced by BOUND command, then CPU leaves in
stack return address not of the next command, but of the BOUND command
itself. Such calls shouldn't be directed to IRET command, because PC will get
hanged in endless cycle of calls and returns.
8.01-07
INT 06 – invalid code exception
CPU responds with a call for INT 06 handler to invalid code execution attempts, in
particular, to
- protected-mode commands while processor works in real mode;
- applying LOCK prefix to commands, which don't write to memory;
- specifying register for commands, accepting memory operands only;
- command codes, which can't be recognized by CPU.
As far as a call for INT 06 handler is induced by any "unknown" machine code,
INT 06 handlers are sometimes used in order to emulate commands of modern CPUs in
PCs with obsolete CPU. But the default INT 06 handler just returns control back to the
next command in the caller program.
8.01-08
INT 07 – coprocessor service exception
CPU calls for INT 07 handler in response to attempts to execute the ESC command
(7.03-22) or any coprocessor's command (7.04), if in control register CR0 (A.11-4) its bit
02h ("Coprocessor emulation") is set. Bit 02h may be set intentionally in order to call for a
handler, emulating coprocessor's functions. Some BIOS systems do it automatically in
those PCs, which are not equipped with arithmetical coprocessor.
Modern PCs have arithmetical coprocessor integrated in main CPU, so that emulation
of coprocessor's functions is not needed. Therefore INT 07 handler can be charged with
another mission: undertaking of appropriate measures in response to registration of nonmasked exceptions in arithmetical coprocessor. For this purpose a call for INT 07 handler
may be induced by WAIT prefix (7.02-05), if in control register CR0 (A.11-4) both bits
01h and 03h are set. In order to ignore the WAIT prefix, bit 01h in CR0 register should be
cleared.
Implementation of any INT 07 mission implies loading of appropriate handler. The
default INT 07 handler just returns control back to the next command in the caller
program.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-09
INT 08 – INT 0F: interrupt requests IRQ 0 – IRQ 7
While CPU is in real mode, the INT 08 – INT 0F group of interrupt handlers responds
to requests, sent via IRQ 0 – IRQ 7 lines from various devices to the first interrupt
controller. Some IRQ lines have dedicated hardware sources, listed in the fourth column of
the following table, but some other IRQ lines are free to receive a request from any device,
which is tuned to send requests via one of these lines and is supported by a driver, loading
a handler for the corresponding interrupt.
Besides responding to external IRQ requests, some interrupt handlers in the same INT
08 – INT 0F group may be called by CPU in order to cope with certain specific errors
(exceptions). Those exceptions, which may induce calls for INT 08 – INT 0F handlers in
real mode, are described in notes to the following table. Interrupt controller doesn't register
interrupt calls, generated by CPU. If a byte 0Ah is sent by OUT command (7.03-66) into
port 20h of interrupt controller, then from the same port 20h the IN command (7.03-26)
will be able to read a byte, marking reception of a request via each IRQ line by setting
TRUE state of corresponding bit, specified in the third column of the following table.
Cleared state of corresponding bit is an evidence that this particular interrupt is initiated by
CPU.
If a call for interrupt handler is induced by exception, then CPU leaves in stack return
address not of the next command, but of that current command, which has induced the
exception call. This gives an opportunity to repeat the operation, if the cause of exception
can be removed, but, on the other hand, such calls shouldn't be directed to IRET command,
because PC will get hanged in endless cycle of calls and returns. If interrupt handler can't
emend the situation, repetition must be prevented either by terminating execution or by
correction of return offset in stack. Besides that, while the handler performs its job,
reception of concurrent interrupt requests via interrupt controller must be blocked. This
can be done by OUT command (7.03-66), sending into port 21h a mask byte with TRUE
state of that bit, which corresponds to concurrent IRQ line, as it is shown in third column
of the following table.
Interrupt
Line
Mask
Source of requests
Comments
INT 08
INT 09
INT 0A
INT 0B
INT 0C
INT 0D
INT 0E
INT 0F
IRQ 0
IRQ 1
IRQ 2
IRQ 3
IRQ 4
IRQ 5
IRQ 6
IRQ 7
bit 0
bit 1
bit 2
bit 3
bit 4
bit 5
bit 6
bit 7
System timer
Keyboard controller
2-nd interrupt controller
Note *1
Note *2
Note *3
Note *4
Note *5
Note *6
Note *7
Serial port COM 1
Floppy drive controller
Parallel port LPT 1
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: calls for INT 08 handler proceed regularly 18.2 times per second in order to
sustain time counting. In its turn, INT 08 handler invokes INT 1C (8.01-96),
giving an opportunity to intercept the latter to application programs. INT 08
handler also can be called by CPU in case of "double fault" exception, which
usually leads to reboot.
Note 2: the INT 09 handler senses each keystroke, controls keyboard buffer and prepares
codes, shown in appendix A.02-1 and presented to application programs via
INT 16. But INT 09 handler responds with explicit immediate actions only to a
few key combinations, listed in article 1.01.
Note 3: the second interrupt controller accepts interrupt requests via lines IRQ 8 –
IRQ 15 and induces calls to INT 70 – INT 77 handlers (8.03-75).
Note 4: most probable source of interrupt requests for the IRQ 3 line is second serial port
COM 2 (if it exists).
Note 5: the INT 0C handler also can be called by CPU in case of "stack overflow"
exception, when stack grows beyond its predefined limit.
Note 6: the INT 0D handler can be called by CPU in case of segment limits violation
exception, i.e. attempt to address code or data beyond predefined segment limits.
Note 7: a call for INT 0E handler may be initiated by CPU in response to an attempt to
address "closed" memory pages (those, which can't be found in CPU's TLB
buffer).
Note 8: mapping of external requests IRQ 0 – IRQ 7 onto calls for INT 08 – INT 0F
handlers can be changed by reprogramming interrupt controller, so that external
requests wouldn't invoke those handlers, which are designed to cope with CPU's
exceptions. Such reprogramming is usually performed in course of preparation to
switching CPU into protected mode in coordination with formation of a new
interrupt table for protected mode.
8.01-10
INT 10\AH=00h – setting of a videomode
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 00h
– code of videomode to be set (A.10-1)
On return:
AL contents may be altered
Note 1: this function switches all video cards, including modern ones, to videomodes,
compatible with obsolete VGA video cards. Modern SVGA videomodes should be
set by function INT 10\AX=4F02h.
Note 2: code of current videomode is written in BIOS data area (A.10-6) at address
0040:0049h.
Note 3: videomode switching coordinated with mouse pointing device parameters
switching may be performed by mouse driver, called via interrupt
INT 33\AX=0028h.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 4: switching of videomodes causes screen blanking (darkening) for up to 2 seconds,
discomfortable for visual perception. Therefore excessive switching of
videomodes should be avoided. For screen clearing a call INT 10\AH=06h
(8.01-15) should be preferred.
8.01-11
INT 10\AH=01h – cursor's size in textual videomodes
Prepare:
AH
CH
CL
= 01h
– bits 7, 6, 5:
– bits 0 – 4:
– bits 7, 6, 5:
– bits 0 – 4
– cleared to zero
– cursor's topmost line number
– cleared to zero
– cursor's bottom line number
Note 1: lines are counted within current font height from top downwards. Current
numbers of topmost and bottom cursor's lines are written into BIOS data area
(A.10-6) at address 0040:0060h. Current font height may be determined via a call
for INT 10\AX=1130h handler or may be directly read from 0040:0085h memory
cell.
Note 2: setting bit 5 in CH register to TRUE state makes cursor invisible.
8.01-12
INT 10\AH=02h – set cursor's position
Prepare:
AH
BH
DH
DL
= 02h
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
– row number (counted from 00h – the topmost row)
– column number (counted from 00h – the leftmost column)
Note 1: cursor's position is defined separately for each screen page.
Note 2: pairs of cursor's coordinates for up to 8 screen pages are written into BIOS data
area at addresses from 0040:0050h and on (A.10-6).
8.01-13
INT 10\AH=03h – determination of cursor's size and position
Prepare:
AH
BH
= 03h
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
CH
CL
DH
DL
– cursor's size topmost line number
– cursor's size bottom line number
– row number (counted from 00h – the topmost row)
– column number (counted from 00h – the leftmost column)
On return:
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: some BIOS versions return zero in AX register.
8.01-14
INT 10\AH=05h – selection of active screen page
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 05h
– requested screen page number
Note 1: if requested page number is greater than maximum allowable page number for
current videomode, then selection will not be confirmed by INT 10\AH=0Fh
function. Maximum allowable page number for VGA videomodes is shown in a
table, returned by INT 10\AX=1B00h function (A.10-2, offset 29h), and for
SVGA videomodes – in a table, returned by INT 10\AX=4F01h function (A.10-7,
offset 1Dh).
Note 2: screen pages are numerated from 00h and on, so that maximum allowable page
number is by 1 less than total number of screen pages. The most popular textual
videomode 03h provides 4 screen pages numerated from 00h to 03h.
Note 3: selection of a screen page, coordinated with mouse cursor switching to the same
page, may be performed by mouse driver, called via interrupt INT 33\AX=001Dh
(8.03-47).
8.01-15
INT 10\AH=06h-07h – scrolling over screen window
The term "scrolling" denotes moving the displayed contents up or down within the
whole screen or inside a "window", i.e. a rectangular region, constituting a part of the
whole screen. The lines, appearing from beneath the "window's" border, have no contents
and are just filled with prescribed color. Being given AL = 00h, scrolling procedure
enables to clear and to fill with uniform color the whole rectangular "window" or the whole
screen.
Prepare:
AH
AL
BH
CH
DH
– scrolling direction:
= 06h – to scroll up,
= 07h – to scroll down
– number of lines to scroll (or 00h – clear the whole window)
– color to fill new lines:
bits 0 – 3:
– clear to zero,
bits 4 – 7:
– color code from column 1 of table A.10-5.
– row, CL – column of window's upper left corner
– row, DL – column of window's lower right corner
Note 1: scrolling procedure is valid exclusively for textual videomodes.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: scrolling procedure affects active screen page only, other screen pages are
preserved intact.
Note 3: on return from scrolling procedure some BIOS versions may alter contents of BP
or DS register.
8.01-16
INT 10\AH=08h – read a character at cursor's position
Prepare:
AH
BH
= 08h
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
AH
AL
– color byte as in table A.10-5 (in textual videomodes only)
– ASCII code of the read character
On return:
Note 1: in graphic videomodes, only those characters drawn with white foreground pixels
can be recognized properly. If character can't be recognized, then AL = 00h is
returned.
8.01-17
INT 10\AH=09h-0Ah – character display at cursor's position
Prepare:
AH
AL
BH
BL
CX
= 09h
– ASCII code of the character to be displayed
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
– color byte, shown in appendix A.10-5.
– number of times to repeat writing of the character
Note 1: all symbols are displayed, including 0Dh (CR), 0Ah (LF), 08h (BS) and other
special symbols, mentioned in appendix A.02-8.
Note 2: in graphic videomodes with less than 256 colors, if the TRUE state of bit 7 in BL
register is set, then specified character is written into video memory by means of
XOR logical operation.
Note 3: in graphic videomodes the prescribed number of repetitions in CX register must
not exceed the number of character positions in the same row to the right of
current cursor's position.
Note 4: the INT 10\AH=0Ah handler displays character(s) in the same way, but ignores
color byte in BL. The displayed character(s) will have the same color as all the
previous screen contents.
Note 5: cursor's position is not shifted by display operation and doesn't depend on number
of repetitions, specified in CX register.
Note 6: for 256-color graphic videomodes (for example, in videomode 13h) BH register
must specify background color byte, and BL register must specify foreground
color byte.
— 300 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-18
INT 10\AH=0Bh – background or border color
For graphic videomodes this function defines background color, but for textual
videomodes it defines the border color.
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 0Bh
– bits 3 – 15:
– bits 2, 1, 0:
– cleared to zero
– correspond to red, green and blue color
Note 1: many modern LCD displays either can't show screen border properly or don't
show it at all.
8.01-19
INT 10\AH=0Ch – painting of a dot
Prepare:
AH
AL
BH
CX
DX
= 0Ch
– pixel's color byte (A.10-5)
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
– pixel's column number
– pixel's row number
Note 1: dot painting function is valid for graphic videomodes only.
Note 2: in graphic videomodes with less than 256 colors, if the TRUE state of bit 7 in AL
register is set, then dot is written into video memory by means of XOR logical
operation.
Note 3: BH contents is ignored, if active videomode supports one screen page only.
Note 4: the INT 10\AH=0Ch function is convenient for drawing lines, but it is too slow
for filling screen areas. For the latter purpose more fast direct writing into video
memory (8.01-39) should be preferred.
8.01-20
INT 10\AH=0Dh – read pixel's color
Prepare:
AH
BH
CX
DX
= 0Dh
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
– pixel's column number
– pixel's row number
AL
– color byte (A.10-5)
On return:
Note 1: the INT 10\AH=0Dh function is valid for graphic video modes only.
Note 2: BH contents is ignored, if active videomode supports one page only.
— 301 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-21
INT 10\AH=0Eh – characters display in teletype manner
The INT 10\AH=0Eh function displays a character at current cursor's position and
then shifts cursor to the next character cell. If there is no free space in the current row,
cursor is transferred to the start of next row.
Prepare:
AH
AL
BH
BL
= 0Eh
– ASCII code of the character to be displayed
– screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
– foreground color (in graphic videomodes only)
Note 1: special codes, listed in appendix A.02-8, including 07h (BEL) and 08h (BS), are
not displayed, but are executed as commands.
Note 2: in textual videomodes the displayed character inherits the color, which has been
specified for the preceding character cells.
8.01-22
INT 10\AH=0Fh – determination of current videomode
Prepare:
AH
= 0Fh
AH
AL
BH
– number of character columns in a row or in a line
– code of current videomode (A.10-1)
– active screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
On return:
Note 1: if code of videomode was originally specified with its 7-th bit set to TRUE state
(screen not cleared), then the returned code will have its 7-th bit set to TRUE
state too.
Note 2: codes of SVGA videomodes can't be determined by INT 10\AH=0Fh function
properly: for textual SVGA videomodes it returns either AL=07h (monochrome
videomode) or AL=03h (color videomode).
8.01-23
INT 10\AX=1003h – switching of 7-th bit mission
In textual videomodes the 7-th bit in color byte (A.10-5) may define either blinking or
background intensity: it depends on state of control bit, which can be changed by
INT 10\AX=1003h function.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 1003h
– type of operation:
= 0000h – enable background intensity control;
= 0001h – enable foreground blinking control.
— 302 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: the state of control bit is expressed by 5-th bit in a byte at address 0040:0065h in
BIOS data area (A.10-6), and also by 5-th bit in a byte at offset 2Dh in data
block (A.10-2), returned by INT 10\AX=1B00h function.
8.01-24
INT 10\AX=1010h – setting of color intensities
The INT 10\AX=1010h function writes into one of DAC's registers the desired partial
intensities (from 00h to 3Fh) of main colors – red, green and blue. Combination of partial
intensities results in that color tone, which should be defined by this particular DAC's
register.
Prepare:
AX
BX
CH
CL
DH
= 1010h
– target DAC's register number
– partial intensity of green color
– partial intensity of blue color
– partial intensity of red color
Note 1: all DAC's registers are available for writing, but not all of them are active: it
depends on current videomode. In particular, background color palette in 16-color
videomodes is defined by DAC's registers 0000h – 0007h.
8.01-25
INT 10\AX=1015h – reading of color intensities
The INT 10\AX=1015h function reads partial intensities of main colors – red, green
and blue, stored in one of DAC's registers. Combination of these partial intensities results
in that color tone, which is defined by this particular DAC's register.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 1015h
– target DAC's register number
On return:
value in AX register may be altered;
CH – partial intensity of green color;
CL
– partial intensity of blue color;
DH – partial intensity of red color.
8.01-26
INT 10\AX=1018h – setting of color mask
Prepare:
AX
BL
= 1018h
– new mask to be set
— 303 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: in a mask bits 0 – 2 switch on blue, green and red colors of background. Bits 3
– 5 do the same for foreground colors. States of bits 6 and 7 are indifferent.
Normal state of color mask is represented by byte FFh: all colors are switched on.
Note 2: the CLS command (3.05) doesn't reset color mask to its normal state.
8.01-27
INT 10\AX=1100h – font loading for textual videomodes
Prepare:
AX = 1100h
BH – number of bytes per each character pattern
BL
– identifier of target memory block (note 1 to 8.01-28)
CX – number of character patterns to be loaded or replaced
DX – offset for loading, counted from the start of target memory block
ES:BP – pointer to table of patterns which is to be loaded
Note 1: it is implied, that the whole font table contains FFh character patterns.
Note 2: each byte in a character pattern represents one screen line, hence the number of
bytes in a pattern (the value in BH register) is the same as number of screen lines
in font's height.
Note 3: this function sets textual video mode, corresponding to the loaded font, but video
buffer is not cleared.
Note 4: if several fonts are to be loaded, then the same number of character generator's
memory blocks must be prepared beforehand by DISPLAY.SYS driver (5.02-02).
Otherwise only one default memory block with identifier 00h will be available.
Note 5: the INT 10\AX=1110 function also loads a font for textual videomodes and
accepts the same specifications, but recalculates current state of video controller.
A call for INT 10\AX=1110 must be preceded by setting a textual video mode
with active video page 00h.
8.01-28
INT 10\AX=1103h – switching between loaded fonts
The INT 10\AX=1103 function switches character generator to another font, which
must be loaded beforehand into one of character generator's memory blocks. Character
generators in EGA-compatible and in VGA-compatible videocards are able to keep active
two memory blocks simultaneously, thus giving an opportunity to show characters of two
fonts. Selection of a font for each character depends on bit 3 in color byte (A.10-5), which
is accepted by character displaying functions, in particular, by INT 10\AH=09h and by
INT 10\AH=0Eh functions, accepting color byte from BL register.
Prepare:
AX
BL
= 1103h
– identifier of selected memory block (see note 1 below)
— 304 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: identifier of character generator's memory block is a byte with two dedicated
fields. One field is represented by bits 4, 1, 0. The other field is represented by
bits 5, 3, 2. In each field a number of memory block (from 0 to 7) should be
written. A font in this memory block must be loaded yet. If numbers of memory
blocks in both fields are equal, then one font will be addressed, and then bit 3 in
color byte (A.10-5) will define intensity. In particular, in EGA-compatible video
cards, allowing not more than 4 fonts, their memory blocks may be addressed by
identifiers 00h, 05h, 0Ah, 0Fh.
Note 2: the possibility to keep active two fonts simultaneously is indicated by the value of
9-th byte in static functionality table (A.10-3). Address of that table is reported
by INT 10\AX=1B00h function.
Note 3: in order to activate two fonts simultaneously, in two fields of identifier byte
different memory block numbers should be stored. Those characters having bit 3
in color byte cleared will be selected from that memory block, whose number is
stored in the first identifier's field (bits 4, 1, 0). Those characters having bit 3 in
color byte set will be selected from that memory block, whose number is stored in
the second identifier's field (bits 5, 3, 2).
8.01-29
INT 10\AX=1104h – loading of standard 8x16 font
The INT 10\AX=1104 function loads into character generator's memory block that
BIOS's default 8x16 font, which represents american codepage CP437. At the same time
textual videomode 03h is set, because its format (80x25) corresponds to 8x16 font.
Prepare:
AX
BL
= 1104h
– identifier of selected memory block (note 1 to 8.01-28)
Note 1: the INT 10\AX=1114 function also loads BIOS's standard 8x16 font for textual
videomode 03h and accepts the same specifications, but recalculates current state
of video controller. A call for INT 10\AX=1114 must be preceded by setting
videomode 03h with active video page 00h.
Note 2: if several fonts are to be loaded, then the same number of character generator's
memory blocks must be prepared beforehand by DISPLAY.SYS driver (5.02-02).
Otherwise only one default memory block with identifier 00h will be available.
Note 3: 8x8 and 8x14 CP437 fonts also can be loaded from BIOS's read-only memory.
The 8x8 font is loaded similarly by INT 10\AX=1102h and by
INT 10\AX=1112h functions. Monochrome 8x14 font is loaded similarly by
INT 10\AX=1101h and by INT 10\AX=1111h functions. The calls for
INT 10\AX=1111h and INT 10\AX=1112h functions cause recalculation of
video controller's current state and must be preceded by setting of adequate
textual videomode.
— 305 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-30
INT 10\AX=1121h – font loading for graphic videomodes
Prepare:
AX
BL
= 1121h
– character rows number specification:
= 01h – 14 rows,
= 02h – 25 rows,
= 03h – 43 rows,
= 00h – number of rows is defined via DL register.
CX – number of bytes per character pattern
DL – number of rows, if BL = 00h (otherwise DL is ignored)
ES:BP – pointer to table of character patterns to be loaded
Note 1: a call for INT 10\AX=1121h function must be immediately preceded by setting
(or resetting) of graphic videomode.
Note 2: fonts for graphic videomodes don't require preparation of character generator's
memory blocks. Instead of that a pointer to the loaded font must be written into
interrupt table at address 0000:010Ch. This pointer is sometimes referred to as
vector INT 43.
Note 3: user-defined patterns for characters 80h – FFh for BIOS's 8x8 default font can be
loaded similarly by INT 10\AX=1120h. As far as format of this font is known,
contents of BL, CX and DL registers are ignored, and font table has a fixed
length 400h. A pointer to loaded font must be written into interrupt table at
address 0000:007Ch. This pointer is sometimes referred to as vector INT 1F.
8.01-31
INT 10\AX=1124h – loading of standard graphic font
The INT 10\AX=1124h function loads BIOS's standard 8x16 font, representing
american codepage CP437 for graphic videomodes. A pointer to that font is written into
interrupt table at address 0000:010Ch. This pointer is sometimes referred to as vector
INT 43.
Prepare:
AX
= 1124h
Note 1: a call for INT 10\AX=1124h function must be immediately preceded by setting
(or resetting) of graphic videomode.
Note 2: 8x14 font from BIOS's read-only memory can be loaded similarly by
INT 10\AX=1122h function.
Note 3: double-dot 8x8 font from BIOS's read-only memory can be loaded similarly by
INT 10\AX=1123h function.
— 306 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-32
INT 10\AX=1130h – get information about font
Prepare:
AX
BH
= 1130h
– requested pointer to font table:
= 00h – pointer to 8x8 graphic font (from 0000:007Ch)
= 01h – pointer to current graphic font (from 0000:010Ch)
= 02h – pointer to BIOS's 8x14 textual font (CP437)
= 03h – pointer to BIOS's 8x8 font, characters 00h – 7Fh
= 04h – pointer to BIOS's 8x8 font, characters 80h – FFh
= 05h – pointer to BIOS's alternate 9x14 font
= 06h – pointer to BIOS's standard 8x16 textual font (CP437)
= 07h – pointer to BIOS's alternate 9x16 font
On return:
ES:BP – pointer to the first byte of requested font table
CX – number of bytes per character for the current font
DL – highest character row on the screen for the current font
Note 1: data returned in CX and DL registers relate not to the requested font, but to that
one which is currently displayed on the screen.
8.01-33
INT 10\AH=13h – display of a characters string
The INT 10\AX=13h function displays a string of characters, specified either as a
succession of ASCII bytes or as a video memory string in textual videomodes, where each
ASCII byte is followed by color byte (A.10-5). In the latter case a value in BL register is
ignored.
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 13h
– bits 7 – 2: – cleared to zero
– bit 1 set – string with alternating ASCII and color bytes
– bit 0 set – shift cursor along the displayed characters
BH – screen page number (notes 1 and 2 to INT 10\AH=05h)
BL
– color byte (A.10-5), if string consists of ASCII codes only
CX – number of characters in the string to be displayed
DH – character's row to start display
DL – character's column to start display
ES:BP – pointer to first byte of the string to be displayed
Note 1: special codes ASCII, listed in appendix A.02-8, are not displayed, but are
executed as commands.
— 307 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: some obsolete models of videocards can't execute backspace (BS) and carriage
return (CR) special codes properly, if character string is directed to currently
inactive screen page.
8.01-34
INT 10\AX=1B00h – get video status information.
Prepare:
AX = 1B00h
BX = 0000h
ES:DI – pointer to 64-byte buffer for data table
On return:
AL
= 1Bh, if this function is supported by BIOS
ES:DI – pointer to the first byte of table with video status data. Table's
contents are described in appendix A.10-2.
8.01-35
INT 10\AX=4F00h – information about BIOS's VBE extensions
The INT 10\AX=4F00h function reports about available video BIOS extensions and
about supported videomodes. If video BIOS extensions are not present in a particular
computer, then all INT 10\AX=4Fxxh functions in this computer are not supported.
Prepare:
AX = 4F00h
ES:DI – pointer to a 512-byte buffer for data table
On return:
AL
AH
= 4Fh – any other value signifies absence of VBE
= 00h – successful termination, data table is written;
= 01h – table writing attempt failed;
= 02h – function is not supported by hardware configuration;
= 03h – function is invalid in current videomode.
ES:DI – pointer to the first byte of returned VBE data table (A.10-4).
8.01-36
INT 10\AX=4F01h – information about SVGA videomode
Prepare:
AX = 4F01h
CX – code of SVGA videomode
ES:DI – pointer to a 256-byte buffer for data table
On return:
AL
AH
= 4Fh – any other value signifies that function is not supported
= 00h – successful termination
= 01h – operation failed.
ES:DI – pointer to returned videomode data table (A.10-7).
— 308 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-37
INT 10\AX=4F02h–4F03h – set/get SVGA videomode
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 4F02h – set videomode anew;
= 4F03h – get code of current videomode
– for AX = 4F02h only: code of videomode (A.10-1), including
bit 14 set: – enable linear frame buffer
bit 15 set: – don't clear video memory
On return:
AL
AH
BX
= 4Fh – any other value signifies that function is not supported
– termination code, as after INT 10\AX=4F01h (8.01-36)
– code of current videomode (A.10-1), including
bit 14 set: – linear frame buffer enabled
bit 15 set: – contents of video memory are preserved
Note 1: switching of videomode, coordinated with switching of mouse control parameters,
can be performed by mouse driver, if it is called via interrupt INT 33\AX=0028h.
Note 2: display devices don't necessarily support all SVGA videomodes. Before switching
to any videomode you have to know, whether this particular videomode is
supported by your display device.
Note 3: videomode switching causes screen blanking (darkening) for up to 2 seconds,
discomfortable for visual perception.
8.01-38
INT 10\AX=4F04h – save/restore SVGA videomode
Prepare:
AX
CX
= 4F04h
– part of configuration saved (or to be saved):
= 0001h – video hardware state (bit 0 in CX is set)
= 0002h – BIOS data (bit 1 in CX is set)
= 0004h – color registers and DACs (bit 2 in CX is set)
= 0008h – SVGA state (bit 3 in CX is set)
= 000Fh – whole video configuration (bits 0 – 3 are set)
DL –subfunction:
= 00h – determination of buffer's size for saving videomode
= 01h – save current state of video controller
= 02h – restore former state of video controller
ES:BX – pointer to the first byte of prepared buffer (for subfunctions 01h and
02h only, for subfunction 02h it must be filled with data).
On return from subfunction DL = 00h:
BX – required number of 64-byte memory blocks
On return from :subfunction DL = 01h:
ES:BX – pointer to buffer with stored videomode data
— 309 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-39
INT 10\AX=4F05h – control over "windows" into video memory
In obsolete computers video memory occupied a part of address space region
A000:0000 – B000:FFFFh. Active regions of address space for EGA-compatible and for
VGA-compatible videomodes are shown in table A.10-1. But modern video cards are
designed for SVGA videomodes, which require much larger memory. The whole devoted
address space region is too narrow for SVGA videomodes. Therefore SVGA BIOS
arranges sliding "windows", enabling access to specified areas of video card's large
memory via address space A000:0000 – B000:FFFFh.
Quantity, size and place of sliding "windows" in address space may depend on both
video card and selected videomode. These data for particular video card and videomode
can be found out in table A.10-7, returned by function INT 10\AX=4F01h (8.01-36). Most
probably one or two 64-kbyte "windows" are arranged: "window A" A000:0000h –
A000:FFFFh and "window B" B000:0000h – B000:FFFFh. The INT 10\AX=4F05h
function reports current mapping of video memory onto specified address space "window"
and enables to change it.
Prepare:
AX = 4F05h
BH = 00h – set start point of mapped area in video memory
= 01h – get start point of mapped area in video memory
BL
= 00h – request for window "A"
= 01h – request for window "B"
DX – pointer to mapped area in video memory (for BH = 00h only)
On return:
AL
= 4Fh – any other value signifies that function is not supported
AH – termination code, as after INT 10\AX=4F01h (8.01-36)
DX – pointer to mapped area in video memory (after BH = 01h only)
Note 1: position of mapped area in video memory is expressed in granularity units. Size
of one granularity unit is not fixed, but it is given in kilobytes in a word at offset
04h in table A.10-7, returned by INT 10\AX=4F01h function (8.01-36).
Note 2: the INT 10\AX=4F05h function can also be called for by CALL FAR command
(7.03-08) with address, given in double word at offset 0Ch in table A.10-7.
Note 3: interpretation of data, sent to video memory via the "window", depends on model
type, specified by byte 1Bh in table A.10-7. Besides that, some model types allow
variants of interpretation. For example, graphic EGA model implements 3
interpretation modes:
mode 00h – 8 pixels per byte – for overwriting pixel values
according to bit mask and color mask;
mode 01h for copying from one video memory address into another,
taking into account the addresses only;
— 310 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
mode 02h for filling 8 successive pixels with color, defined by 4
least significant bits of the sent byte.
Some opportunities to alter model type and interpretation mode are described in
notes 3 and 4 to table A.14-1.
8.01-40
INT 10\AX=4F06h – logical length of displayed line
The INT 10\AX=4F06h function enables to set logical length of displayed line equal to
integer power of 2 or to its multiple. Thus some affordable loss in effective video memory
capacity is exchanged for a considerable gain in simplicity and speed of coordinates
calculations. This function is equally feasible in both textual and graphic videomodes.
Prepare:
AX = 4F06h
BL
= 00h – set logical line's length in pixels
= 01h – get actual length of displayed line
= 02h – set logical line's length in bytes
= 03h – get maximal length of displayed line
CX – line's length (for BL=00h and BL=02h only)
On return:
AL
= 4Fh – any other value signifies that function is not supported
AH – termination code, as after INT 10\AX=4F01h (8.01-36)
BX – logical line's length in bytes
CX – logical line's length in pixels
DX – maximum available number of screen lines of specified length.
Note 1: actual line's length may exceed nominal value, but can't exceed maximum value,
specific for particular videocard. If requested line length is less than nominal line
length for the current videomode, then actual line length may be given the nearest
acceptable value, not necessarily equal to the requested line length.
8.01-41
INT 10\AX=4F07h – control over displayed part of video memory
The INT 10\AX=4F07h function enables to implement screen scrolling and also
switching to another screen page within available space of video memory. This function is
equally feasible in both textual and graphic videomodes.
Prepare:
AX
BX
CX
DX
= 4F07h
= 0000h – set new start position of displayed part immediately
= 0001h – get start position of displayed part
= 0080h – set new start position during field retrace interval
– number of the leftmost pixel in a line (not needed for BX = 0001h)
– number of the first displayed line (not needed for BX = 0001h)
— 311 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
AL
AH
CX
DX
8.01-42
Prepare:
= 4Fh – any other value signifies that function is not supported
– termination code, as after INT 10\AX=4F01h (8.01-36)
– number of the leftmost pixel in a line (after BX = 0001h only)
– number of the first displayed line (after BX = 0001h only).
INT 11 – get equipment list
nothing
On return:
AX
– equipment list word. Explanation is given in appendix A.11-1.
Note 1: while functioning in protected mode or in V86 mode, CPUs may generate calls for
INT 11 handler in case of misalignment exception, that is being given operand's
address not on a multiple of operand's length. Misalignment monitoring is
performed at the third (the lowest) privilege level only, if bit 12h in flags register
and bit 12h in control register CR0 are both set to TRUE state (note 6 to A.11-4).
Programs using misalignment monitoring must intercept calls for INT 11 handler
in interrupt table for protected mode.
8.01-43
Prepare:
INT 12 – size of conventional RAM below 1 Mb
nothing
On return:
AX
– size of conventional RAM in kilobytes (notes 2 and 3)
Note 1: INT 12 handler reads size of conventional RAM from a word at address
0040:0013h in BIOS data area (A.01-1). Besides this, RAM size is stored in
CMOS RAM cells 15h and 16h (note 1 to A.14-1).
Note 2: INT 12 handler doesn't inform about PC's RAM beyond 1 Mb boundary, but
these data are reported by functions INT 15\AH=88h, INT15\AX=E801h and
INT15\AX=E820h.
Note 3: whole RAM size includes that memory, which is not free or is not accessible for
16-bit addressing. Size of free conventional RAM, which can be allotted by DOS
to programs, is reported by INT 21\AH=48h function (note 1 to 8.02-50).
8.01-44
INT 13\AH=00h\0Dh – disk controller reset
Reset operation forces disk controller to fill its internal registers anew with data read
from a table of parameters for specified disk drive (A.08-2, A.13-1). Reset operation must
— 312 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
follow each failure of access to a HDD or to a floppy disk, and only after reset the access
attempt may be repeated.
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 00h
– apply to floppy disk controller
= 0Dh
– apply to HDD controller
– disk drive number (note 1)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1)
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: numeration of floppy disk drives is zero-based: 00h – first, 01h – second, and so
on. Numeration of HDDs starts from 80h: 80h – first, 81h – second, and so on.
Numbers of disk drives (physical disks) have no relation with letter-names of
logical disks: each physical HDD may comprise several logical disks.
Note 2: if two disk drives are connected to one controller, then reset operation causes head
shift to zero track (recalibration) in both disk drives. When controller's reset is not
needed, recalibration should be initiated by a call for INT 13\AH=11h function
(all other specifications are the same).
8.01-45
INT 13\AH=01h – status of the last disk operation
Prepare:
AX
DL
= 0100h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
AH
– status code (A.06-1)
On return:
Note 1: some obsolete BIOS versions return status code in AL.
8.01-46
INT 13\AH=02h – read disk sector(s) into memory
Prepare:
AH
AL
CH
CL
= 02h
– number of sectors to be read (note 1)
– 8 less significant bits of cylinder (track) number
– bits 0-5: start sector number (from 1 to 63),
– bits 6-7: two most significant bits of cylinder (track) number
DH – head number (note 2)
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
ES:BX – pointer to buffer for the data to be read
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
— 313 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AL
– number of sectors which actually have been read (note 5)
ES:BX – pointer to buffer filled with data read from disk.
Note 1: number of sectors specified in AL register must not be zero. Some obsolete BIOS
versions don't allow the value in AL exceeding the number of remaining sectors
on the current track (more about that – in article 4.22).
Note 2: some obsolete BIOS versions accept only 4 lower bits in DH, thus allowing to
specify not more than 16 heads. Modern BIOS systems, marked with signature
A0h in data block A.13-1, accept transformed CHS parameters, allowing up to
256 heads. In any case the utmost parameter's values for any particular disk drive
are reported by INT 13\AH=08h function (8.01-49).
Note 3: when reading from a floppy disk fails, after that reading attempts should be
repeated at least twice with applying reset (8.01-44) to floppy controller before
each next attempt.
Note 4: under Windows OS direct access to disk via INT 13 functions is prohibited unless
the addressed disk is locked for concurrent access by LOCK operation (note 2 to
INT 21\AX=440Dh).
Note 5: some obsolete BIOS versions don't return in AL register the number of sectors,
which actually have been read. In case of reading error (error code AH = 11h)
modern BIOS systems return in AL register the length of corrected data block.
Note 6: the INT 13\AH=0Ah function (all other specifications are the same) reads HDD's
sector(s) along with 22-byte "tail", containing from 4 to 7 bytes of error
correcting code. INT 13\AH=0Ah function doesn't correct errors and stops
reading after having encountered the first damaged sector.
8.01-47
INT 13\AH=03h – write data into disk's sector(s).
Prepare:
AH = 03h
AL
– number of sectors to be written (must be nonzero)
CH, CL, DH, DL – just the same as for INT 13\AH=02h (8.01-46)
ES:BX – pointer to buffer with data to be written
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AL
– number of sectors which actually have been written
Note 1: notes 1 – 4 to INT 13\AH=02h function (8.01-46) are equally applicable to
INT 13\AH=03h function.
Note 2: written data may be verified against buffer contents by INT 13\AH=04h function
(all other specifications are the same).
— 314 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 3: sectors with ECC (error correcting code) can be written onto a HDD by
INT 13\AH=0Bh function (all other specifications are the same).
8.01-48
INT 13\AH=05h – low-level formatting of a track
Low-level formatting may be applied to those media only, which have no intrinsic track
structure. Hence INT 13\AH=05h function can be applied to floppies, but shouldn't be
applied to modern HDDs: their original track structure may be damaged by low-level
formatting.
Table of parameters for formatting must be prepared in PC's memory beforehand by
INT 10\AH=18h function (8.01-54). For obsolete floppy types similar table is prepared by
INT 10\AH=17h function. In particular, a pointer to a table with formatting parameters for
floppies is stored in 0000:0078h memory cell (A.08-2).
Prepare:
AH = 05h
AL
– number of sectors to be formatted
CH – track number
DH – head number
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
ES:BX – pointer to data buffer, containing 4 bytes for each sector in a track:
first – track number, second – head number, third – sector number,
fourth – sector size (00h, 01h, 02h, 03h correspond to size 128, 256,
512, 1024 bytes per sector).
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: in data block, pointed at by ES:DX, count of tracks and heads is zero-based,
count of sectors is unity-based.
Note 2: the utmost values of sector number, head number and track number should be
determined by INT 13\AH=08h function (8.01-49). Though physical values may
be different, but the returned utmost values reflect those transformations
(A.13-1), which may be applied to disk parameters by BIOS system of a
particular computer.
8.01-49
INT 13\AH=08h – determination of drive's parameters
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 08h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
— 315 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
BL
– drive type (for removable media drives only):
= 01h – drive for 360-kb diskettes,
= 02h – drive for 1.2-Mb diskettes,
= 03h – drive for 720-kb diskettes,
= 04h – drive for 1.44-Mb diskettes,
= 06h – drive for 2.88-Mb diskettes,
= 10h – drive of any other type.
CH – 8 less significant bits of maximum cylinder (track) number
CL
– bits 0-5: maximum sector number (from 1 to 63),
– bits 6-7: most significant bits of maximum cylinder number
DH – maximum head number
DL – number of attached drives of the same type (note 2)
ES:DI – pointer to parameters table A.08-2 (returned for floppy drives only).
Note 1: status of successful termination (AH = 00h) may be returned even if the requested
drive doesn't exist. In order to be convinced in validity of the returned data, one
has to check the state of CF flag and the number, returned in DL register.
Note 2: some BIOS systems can't return in DL register a number greater than 2.
Suspicion in presence of more drives should be checked separately by
INT 13\AH=15h function (8.01-52).
Note 3: signature A0h in a byte at offset 03h in table A.13-1 signifies, that for HDDs the
INT 13\AH=08h function returns not physical, but transformed CHS parameters.
In this case just these transformed CHS parameters should be taken into account
in calculations of requested values for functions INT 13\AH=02h –
INT 13\AH=18h (8.01-46 – 8.01-54).
8.01-50
INT 13\AH=0Ch – move disk drive's head to desired track
Prepare:
AH = 0Ch
CH, CL, DH, DL – just the same as for INT 13\AH=02h (8.01-46)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
8.01-51
INT 13\AH=10h – check whether HDD is ready
The status code, returned by INT 13\AH=10h function, signifies whether the requested
HDD exists and whether it is ready to perform the next task.
— 316 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 10h
– drive number (80h = first HDD, 81h = second HDD, and so on)
On return:
AH – status byte (table A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Set state of CF flag signifies an error.
8.01-52
INT 13\AH=15h – disk drive type check
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 15h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
AH – disk drive type:
= 00h – requested drive doesn't exist;
= 01h – floppy drive without media change line support;
= 02h – any drive with removable media change line support
= 03h – fixed disk drive (HDD).
CX:DX – 4-byte number of 512-byte sectors (returned for HDDs only).
Note 1: HDDs with removable media may be ranked to type 01h or 02h.
Note 2: the INT 13\AH=15h function doesn't rely upon stored data, it scans controller's
bus in order to get valid data anew.
8.01-53
INT 13\AH=16h – media change detection
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 16h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
if disk has not been changed, then CF flag is cleared and AH = 00h;
if CF flag is set, and AH = 06h, then disk has been changed;
if CF flag is set, but AH has any other value, then this value should be
interpreted as return code according to table A.06-1.
Note 1: before sending a request to INT 13\AH=16h function about an unknown disk
drive, one has to investigate with INT 13\AH=15h function whether this disk
drive supports media change line.
Note 2: media change line in most disk drive models is activated by opening (or closing)
of disk slot lid, even if disk change event hasn't actually happen.
— 317 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 3: each media change event is reported only once: after a call for INT 13\AH=16h
function media change flag is cleared to its original state.
Note 4: extended media change function INT 13\AH=49h (with the same other
specifications) may be applied to just any disk drive, including CD drives with
physical number 80h and higher. BIOS support for these extended capabilities
should be confirmed by INT 13\AH=41h function (8.01-55).
8.01-54
INT 13\AH=18h – set media type for formatting
Prepare:
AH = 18h
CH, CL, DH, DL – just the same as for INT 13\AH=02h (8.01-46)
On return:
AH
– status code:
= 00h – requested parameters are supported;
= 01h – requested function isn't available;
= 0Ch – current disk type either isn't supported or is unknown;
= 80h – removable media isn't present in the drive.
ES:DI – pointer to floppy drive's parameters table A.08-2
Note 1: the INT 13\AH=18h function doesn't write the returned pointer to floppy drive's
parameter table into memory address 0000:0078h, else known as INT 1E vector
(A.12-1). INT 1E vector preparation is considered the caller's responsibility.
Note 2: being applied to a HDD, INT 13\AH=18h function returns CF flag set and status
code AH = 01h. To obsolete 5.25" floppies and to 720 kb diskettes the
INT 13\AH=17h function should be applied instead.
8.01-55
INT 13\AH=41h – INT 13 extensions check
Owing to INT 13 extensions many customary features of modern computers have been
implemented since 1997, in particular, possibility to boot the PC from a CD-ROM and
LBA addressing to large HDDs (note 4 to A.13-6).
Prepare:
AH = 41h
BX = 55AAh
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1). Error code 01h
means that requested function is not supported.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
AH – INT 13 extension version:
= 01h – version 1.x,
— 318 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
BX
CX
= 20h – version 2.0,
= 21h – version 2.1.
= AA55h signature confirms support for INT 13 extensions
– API subset word's bits signify support for functions:
bit 0 – INT 13\AH=42h-44h,47h,48h;
bit 1 – INT 13\AH=45h,46h,48h,49h, INT 15\AH=52h;
bit 2 – INT 13\AH=48h,4Eh;
bit 3 – extended disk address packet support (note 2)
Note 1: data in AL and DH registers may be lost on return.
Note 2: all versions of INT 13 extensions support 10-byte packet addressing to disks with
capacity up to 127 Gb. Besides that, support for 20-byte extended disk address
packets enables addressing beyond 127 Gb. Structures of both 10-byte and
20-byte address packets are shown in appendix A.13-4.
8.01-56
INT 13\AH=42h – extended read disk function
Prepare:
AH = 42h
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
DS:SI – pointer to disk address packet (A.13-4)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: on return the number of successfully read data blocks is written into a word at
offset 02h inside disk address packet.
Note 2: a pointer to buffer with read data is presented by a double word at offset 04h
inside disk address packet.
Note 3: track seek function INT 13\AH=47h, being initiated beforehand with the same
other specifications, enables CPU to perform a lot of job while disk drive is
moving its head to the specified track. Pertinent usage of track seek function
makes actual access to a particular track much faster.
8.01-57
INT 13\AH=43h – extended write to disk function
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 43h
– flags:
= 00h – skip verification procedure,
= 02h – verify written data.
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
DS:SI – pointer to disk address packet (A.13-4)
— 319 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: a buffer with the data to be written is pointed at by a dword at offset 04h inside
disk address packet.
Note 2: on return the number of data blocks successfully written (or successfully verified)
is saved in a word at offset 02h inside disk address packet.
Note 3: versions 1.x of INT 13 extensions used flag AL = 01h for verification of written
data. If verification is requested, but is not supported, then INT 13\AH=43h
function returns flag CF set and AH = 01h (invalid function).
Note 4: verification may be initiated separately by INT 13\AH=44h; other specifications
are the same, except that value in AL is ignored.
8.01-58
INT 13\AH=45h – lock/unlock a drive
Several disk treatment procedures, being interrupted by alien access requests, may
inflict severe data loss. Typical example of such procedure is defragmentation. While such
procedure lasts, alien access attempts to the subjected disk must be blocked. Having been
blocked, removable disk can't be ejected from its drive. Disk blocking in multitasking
environment enables to avoid concurrent interventions. Up to 255 levels of nested
procedures are allowed, requiring exclusive access to a disk. Having finished its job, each
such procedure must release the subjected disk with unlock operation.
Prepare:
AX
DL
– subfunction:
= 4500h – lock media in drive: increase lock level by 1
= 4501h – unlock the media: decrease lock level by 1
= 4502h – report media lock level
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AL
– media lock level (= 00h if unlocked)
8.01-59
INT 13\AH=46h – eject removable media
Prepare:
AX
DL
= 4600h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
— 320 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: before ejection the INT 13\AH=46h handler calls for INT 15\AH=52h function in
order to be certain, that specified media at the current moment is not engaged in
data transfer with cache buffer or with other programs in multi-tasking
environment.
8.01-60
INT 13\AH=48h – request for drive's parameters
Prepare:
AH = 48h
DL – disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
DS:SI – pointer to buffer for data. The first word in buffer must declare its
available length, not less than:
001Ah – for INT 13 extensions versions 1.x,
001Eh – for INT 13 extensions versions 2.x,
0049h – for INT 13 extensions versions 3.x.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
DS:SI – pointer to buffer filled with data table A.13-2.
Note 1: if actually specified length corresponds to more obsolete version, then newer
versions truncate the returned table according to format of specified length.
8.01-61
INT 13\AX=4A00h – drive emulation from CD
This function arranges a virtual logical disk copied from a disk image stored in an
optical CD or DVD disc.
Prepare:
AX = 4A00h
DS:SI – pointer to boot specification packet A.15-1
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: the INT 13\AX=4C00h function accepts the same other specifications (except
AX) and does the same, but then proceeds with booting the PC from the arranged
virtual disk.
8.01-62
INT 13\AH=4Bh – drive emulation subfunctions
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 4Bh
– subfunction:
— 321 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
= 00h – terminate disk emulation
= 01h – get emulation status
DL – emulated disk number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
DS:SI – pointer to 13h-byte buffer for boot data packet
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
DS:SI – pointer to buffer filled with boot data packet A.15-1.
Note 1: having been given DL = 7Fh, subfunction AL = 00h terminates all current
emulations.
Note 2: if emulation hasn't been performed, then clear state of CF flag is returned.
8.01-63
INT 13\AH=4Dh – read sectors of optical disc
Prepare:
AX = 4D00h
DS:SI – pointer to command packet (A.15-2)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: returned data are written into a prepared buffer. A pointer to this buffer must be
specified by a dword at offset 02h inside command packet (A.15-2).
Note 2: most often the INT 13\AH=4Dh function is used to read boot catalog of optical
disc. Boot catalog structure is shown in table A.15-3.
8.01-64
INT 13\AH=4Eh – control over drive's hardware
Prepare:
AH
AL
DL
= 4Eh
– subfunction:
= 00h – enable prefetch (reading into drive's buffer)
= 01h – disable prefetch
= 02h – set maximum PIO data transfer mode
= 03h – set PIO data transfer mode 0
= 04h – set default PIO data transfer mode
= 05h – enable INT 13 DMA maximum mode
= 06h – disable INT 13 DMA data transfer
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
— 322 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
AL
= 00h – command affected specified drive only
= 01h – other devices are affected too (note 2)
Note 1: DMA and PIO data transfer modes are mutually exclusive. Selecting DMA
disables PIO, and selecting PIO disables DMA.
Note 2: change of data transfer mode may affect other devices, connected to the same
controller.
8.01-65
INT 14\AH=00h – initialize serial port
Prepare:
AH
AL
DX
= 00h
– data transfer parameters:
bits 7–5: values from 000b to 111b correspond to data rates 110,
150, 300, 600, 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600 bits per second
bits 4–3: 00b or 10b – no parity check, 01b – odd parity check,
11b – even parity check.
bit 2:
if cleared – 1 stop bit, if set – 2 stop bits.
bits 1–0: values from 00b to 11b correspond to data word lengths
5, 6, 7, 8 bits.
– serial port number (0000h – 0003h)
AH
AL
– line status byte (A.14-2)
– status of modem, if it is connected to the requested port.
On return:
8.01-66
INT 14\AH=01h – send a character to serial port
Prepare:
AH
AL
DX
= 01h
– character to be sent
– serial port number (0000h – 0003h)
AH
– line status byte (A.14-2)
On return:
Note 1: transmission error is marked by set state of bit 7 in returned status byte: it means
that waiting time for response exceeded a preset time limit (timeout).
8.01-67
INT 14\AH=02h – read a character from serial port
Prepare:
AX
DX
= 0200h
– serial port number (0000h – 0003h)
AH
– line status byte (A.14-2)
On return:
— 323 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
AL
8.01-68
– received character, if bit 7 in returned line status byte is clear.
INT 14\AH=03h – get status of serial port
Prepare:
AX
DX
= 0300h
– serial port number (0000h – 0003h)
AH
AL
– line status byte (A.14-2)
– status of modem, if it is connected to the requested port.
On return:
8.01-69
INT 15\AH=52h – query whether a drive is busy
The INT 15\AH=52h function reports whether a drive is busy with data traffic at this
moment. INT 15\AH=52h function is called for, in particular, by INT 13\AH=46h handler
in order to prevent removable media ejection while data transfer procedure isn't finished
yet.
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 52h
– disk drive number (note 1 to 8.01-44)
On return:
if flag CF is set, then drive is busy, and AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies that requested drive is not busy.
Note 1: before applying INT 15\AH=52h function, BIOS support for this function should
be checked with a call for INT 13\AH=41h.
Note 2: by default BIOS installs a dummy handler for INT 15\AH=52h, which always
returns CF flag cleared. Responses will reflect real status of drive's traffic, when
calls for INT 15\AH=52h function are intercepted yet by another handler,
installed by disk caching driver.
8.01-70
INT 15\AX=5301h – activate APM real mode interface
When computer is switched on, its power management system (APM) stays inactive.
While CPU is in real mode, APM interface activation can be initiated by a call for
INT 15\AX=5301 function.
Prepare:
AX = 5301h
BX = 0000h (identifier of BIOS's APM extensions)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
— 324 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: the INT 15\AX=5301h function forces APM system to emulate specifications of
APM's version 1.0. In order to perform operations, which are not defined for
APM's version 1.0, emulation of newer APM versions should be forced by
INT 15\AX=530Eh function (8.01-72).
8.01-71
INT 15\AX=5307h – switching of power supply modes
Computers of ATX form factor can be switched off by a machine command, turning
their power supply block into standby mode. Then power is supplied to those blocks only,
which enable an opportunity to switch the PC on. Naturally, standby mode of power
supply block must be hardware supported by power supply block itself and by PC's
motherboard.
Prepare:
AX = 5307h
BX = 0001h (identifier of all APM-controlled devices)
CX = 0003h (code of switch off request)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
On success all the rest doesn't matter.
Note 1: switch off operation is defined by specifications of APM version 1.2. If APM
system emulates version 1.0 (note 1 to 8.01-70), then an opportunity to switch the
PC off should be unblocked by INT 15\AX=530Eh function (8.01-72).
Note 2: in obsolete computers of AT form factor a call for INT 15\AX=5307h function is
allowed, but is ignored.
8.01-72
INT 15\AX=530Eh – APM version emulation request
In order to preserve compatibility with operating systems, specifications of newer
APM versions stipulate an opportunity to emulate previous APM versions. That program
or that operating system, which is to control power management, may request emulation of
the desired APM version. In response APM BIOS emulates the requested or the nearest
feasible APM version and returns number of that version. Further power management
must be performed according to the actually emulated APM version.
Prepare:
AX = 530Eh
BX = 0000h (identifier of BIOS's APM extensions)
CX – requested APM version emulation (note 1)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – actually emulated APM version (note 1).
— 325 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: integer and fractional parts of APM version number must be specified in separate
bytes of CX register. In particular, for version 1.2 request the CX = 0102h value
should be specified. Returned in AX version number fits the same format.
Note 2: version emulation request is defined by specifications of APM version 1.1. If
version emulation request returns error code 80h or 86h, whereas function
INT 15\AX=5301h (8.01-70) has terminated successfully, hence this computer
implements APM version 1.0 only.
8.01-73
INT 15\AH=83h,86h – BIOS timer control
Prepare:
AX
– subfunction:
= 8300h – initiate delay count and let the caller process to go on
= 8301h – halt count session (CX, DX, ES:BX are ignored)
= 8600h – initiate delay count and suspend the caller process until
delay count expires (AL and ES:BX are ignored)
CX – most significant 16 bits of 32-bit delay (in microseconds)
DX – least significant 16 bits of 32-bit delay (in microseconds)
ES:BX – pointer to marker byte: its most significant 7-th bit is set when delay
count expires (note 3).
On return:
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
CF flag is set on error or else when count session is initiated yet, and then AH
register returns error code (A.06-1).
Note 1: most probable resolution of time period is 977 microseconds.
Note 2: some obsolete BIOS versions don't support subfunction 8301h.
Note 3: default address of marker byte is 0040:00A0h (A.12-1). When delay count
expires, some BIOS versions assign 80h value to marker byte.
Note 4: BIOS timer is inaccessible from "DOS box" under Windows OS.
8.01-74
INT 15\AH=84h – read joystick state
Prepare:
AH
DX
= 84h
– subfunction:
= 0000h – read states of switches
= 0001h – read signals of position sensors
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
— 326 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
– DX=0000h subfunction returns states of switches in bits 4 – 7 of AL
register;
– DX=0001h subfunction returns the following data:
AX – x-coordinate value of the 1-st manipulator
BX – y-coordinate value of the 1-st manipulator
CX – x-coordinate value of the 2-nd manipulator
DX – y-coordinate value of the 2-nd manipulator
Note 1: typical resistance of position sensors is 250 kOhm, and typical limits for
coordinate values are 0000h – 01A0h.
Note 2: it is implied, that joystick is connected via a game port. If game port isn't present
in a particular PC, then subfunction DX=0001h returns zero coordinate values,
and subfunction DX=0000h returns AL=00h, equivalent to disconnected states of
switches.
8.01-75
INT 15\AH=85h – PrintScreen key activity hook
The INT 15\AH=85h function is called for by INT09 handler in response to user's
PrtScr keystroke. It is implied, that a handler for INT 15\AH=85h function should be
installed by videocard driver in order to implement an enhanced Print Screen procedure,
based on specific resources of a particular videocard. But until this specific handler is not
installed, BIOS's dummy handler just returns control to the caller as if its request were
satisfied.
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 85h
= 00h – procedure initiation when PrintScreen key is pressed
= 01h – procedure initiation when PrintScreen key is released
CF flag must be cleared beforehand
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag and AH = 00h signify successful termination.
8.01-76
INT 15\AH=87h – copying with access to extended memory
The INT 15\AH=87h function copies a data block within 16 Mb address space.
Maximum size of data block is 64 kb. Copying is performed in protected mode while
external interrupts are disabled, so that there is no need to prepare interrupt table for
protected mode. But GDT table is needed, and it should be prepared according to the
following template:
— 327 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Reserved descriptor:
Reserved descriptor:
Source segment descriptor:
Destination segment descriptor:
Reserved descriptor:
Reserved descriptor:
00
00
ss
ss
00
00
00
00
ss
ss
00
00
00
00
aa
dd
00
00
00
00
aa
dd
00
00
00
00
aa
dd
00
00
00
00
93
93
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
00
In the shown template letter "a" denotes linear address field for source segment, letter
"d" denotes linear address field for destination segment, letter "s" denotes size field for both
source and destination segments. As far as size of data block is specified in CX register by
number of double-byte words to be copied, both segment sizes (in bytes) must be not less
than (2*CX) –1. In size fields and in address fields the first are the least significant bytes;
most significant bytes are specified the last. Attribute byte in both source segment
descriptor and destination segment descriptor must be 93h. More detailed explanation of
descriptor's structure is given in appendix A.12-2.
Reserved descriptors, originally filled with zeros, will be filled with data by
INT 15\AH=87h handler and will be used in protected mode. Having finished copying, the
INT 15\AH=87h handler switches CPU back into real mode and restores original state for
continuation of caller program's execution.
Prepare:
AH = 87h
CX – number of words to be copied, not more than 7FFFh
ES:SI – pointer to the first byte of prepared GDT table
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: as far as external interrupts during copying are disabled, some external interrupt
calls may be missed. This wouldn't happen, if copying beyond conventional
memory is arranged by HIMEM.SYS driver (A.12-4).
Note 2: HIMEM.SYS driver intercepts INT 15\AH=87h calls and gives no direct access
to original BIOS's handler. However, programs may be allowed to access a
limited region of extended memory via INT 15\AH=87h calls, if this region is
reserved by /INT15 parameter (5.04-01).
8.01-77
INT 15\AH=88h – extended memory size up to 16 Mb
Prepare:
AH
= 88h
On return:
— 328 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – size in kilobytes of extended memory beyond 1024 kb.
Note 1: if valid address space is intermittent, size of its continuous part from 100000h
(1024 kb) up to the first interstice will be reported.
Note 2: INT 15\AH=88h handler reads extended memory size from cells 30h and 31h of
BIOS's CMOS data base.
Note 3: default BIOS handler for INT 15\AH=88h function is intercepted by
HIMEM.SYS and EMM386.EXE drivers.
Note 4: information about extended memory beyond 16 Mb can be reported by
INT 15\AX=E801h\E881h (8.01-79) and by INT 15\AX=E820h (8.01-80).
8.01-78
INT 15\AH=89h – switching CPU to protected mode
The INT 15\AH=89h handler switches CPU into protected mode and performs the
most urgent preparations for functioning in protected mode, which include filling of
segment registers with segment selectors and reprogramming interrupt controller according
to protected mode specifications.
In order to ensure continuation of the caller program after switching CPU into
protected mode, interrupt table (IDT) for protected mode and global descriptor table
(GDT) should be prepared beforehand. IDT is filled with 8-byte descriptors ("gates"),
specifying addresses and call conditions for protected mode handlers. Size and linear
address of IDT table itself must be written into IDT segment descriptor inside GDT table.
The GDT table, prepared for INT 15\AH=89h handler, includes 8 descriptors, each 8
bytes long. Arrangement of descriptors in GDT table must correspond to the following
template:
Reserved descriptor:
GDT segment descriptor:
IDT segment descriptor:
DS segment descriptor:
ES segment descriptor:
SS: segment descriptor
CS: segment descriptor
Reserved descriptor:
00
3F
FF
ss
ss
ss
ss
00
00
00
03
ss
ss
ss
ss
00
00
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
00
00
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
00
00
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
aa
00
00
00
F2
92
92
92
9A
00
00
00
00
0s
0s
0s
0s
00
00
00
00
aa
aa
aa
00
00
In the shown template letter "a" denotes linear address fields for each segment, and
letter "s" denotes segment size fields. Reserved descriptors must be filled with zeros. As
examples the template shows particular values of attribute bytes, and also particular sizes
for GDT and IDT segments. Detailed explanation of descriptor's structure is given in
appendix A.12-2.
— 329 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Prepare:
AH
BL
BH
ES:SI
= 89h
– interrupt number for IRQ 0 (note 2)
– interrupt number for IRQ 8 (note 2)
– pointer to the first byte of GDT table
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AH = 00h, segment registers are filled with segment selectors, interrupt
controller is reprogrammed. Former value in BP register may be
altered.
Note 1: CS segment descriptor in GDT table must specify just that segment, which was
defined by CS segment address in real mode. This condition ensures continuation
of caller program's execution in protected mode from the command following the
call for INT 15\AH=89h handler.
Note 2: assigned numbers of interrupts in BL and BH registers must be multiples of 8
(three least significant bits must be cleared). Numbers of interrupts, following the
value in BL register, will be assigned to request lines IRQ 1 – IRQ 7. Similarly,
numbers of interrupts, following the value in BH register, will be assigned to
request lines IRQ 9 – IRQ F. An important factor in choice of reprogrammed
interrupt numbers is that interrupts 00h – 1Fh may be invoked by CPU's
exceptions.
Note 3: direct calls for real mode interrupt handlers become forbidden after switching to
protected mode because of changed addressing format and reprogrammed
interrupt controller.
8.01-79
INT 15\AX=E801h,E881h – extended memory size
Prepare:
AX
= E801h or else = E881h
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AH returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – size (in kilobytes) of extended memory in address space region
between 1 Mb and 16 Mb.
BX – size (in 64-kb blocks) of extended memory in address space region
beyond 16 Mb.
CX – size (in kilobytes) of configurated memory in address space region
between 1 Mb and 16 Mb.
DX – size (in 64-kb blocks) of configurated memory in address space
region beyond 16 Mb.
— 330 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: if after successful termination AX = BX = 0000h, then size of extended memory
should be read from registers CX and DX.
Note 2: unlike INT 15\AX=E801h, the INT 15\AX=E881h handler is able to return
values exceeding 4 Gb. Most significant digits are returned in bits 31 – 16 of
32-bit registers EBX and EDX. Ways of access to bits 31 – 16, feasible for real
mode programs, are described in article 7.02-06.
Note 3: the INT 15\AX=E801h\E881h functions are not supported by obsolete BIOS
versions, developed before 1995.
8.01-80
INT 15\AX=E820h – memory dedication map
Memory dedication map is represented by a succession of 20-byte descriptors, each
corresponding to a separate memory region, dedicated for a certain purpose. Each
descriptor starts with 8-byte address of the region's first byte, then 8-byte length of that
region follows, and the last 4 bytes are that region's dedication code (note 1). One call for
INT 15\AX=E820h function returns one descriptor; hence this function has to be called for
several times. For the first call a zero value (00000000h) in EBX register should be
prepared. After the first call a non-zero EBX value is returned, defining target descriptor
for the next call. Termination of calls cycle is marked by return of either a zero value in
EBX register or a set state of CF flag.
Prepare:
AX
EBX
ECX
EDX
ES:DI
= E820h
– pointer to target descriptor in memory dedication map
– size of ES:DI buffer, not less than 20 (=14h) bytes
= 534D4150h – the "SMAP" signature
– pointer to a buffer prepared for the descriptor
On return:
On error CF flag is set, EAX value is not equal to 534D4150h, AH register
returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
EAX = 534D4150h "SMAP" – the "SMAP" signature
EBX – pointer to next descriptor in memory dedication map
ECX – actual length of the returned descriptor in buffer
ES:DI – pointer to buffer with the returned descriptor
Note 1: dedication codes should be interpreted as follows:
01h – memory, allocated for operating system;
02h – memory (system ROM), reserved by BIOS;
03h – ACPI tables area (may be free after being read);
04h – nonvolatile memory for system purposes.
— 331 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Memory areas with other dedication codes should be considered reserved by
BIOS system. Intervals of address space, excluded from memory dedication map,
are not supported by hardware.
Note 2: some BIOS versions don't ignore contents of bits 31 – 16 in EAX register, so that
calls for INT 15\AX=E820h function need these bits to be cleared (i.e.
EAX = 0000E820h). Ways of access to bits 31 – 16, feasible for real mode
programs, are described in article 7.02-06.
Note 3: some BIOS versions ignore ECX register and return 20 bytes of data after each
call for INT 15\AX=E820h function.
Note 4: if a call for INT 15\AX=E820h function is not supported by BIOS in a particular
computer, then an attempt should be undertaken to call for INT 15\AX=E801h
(8.01-79). If this attempt fails too, then INT 15\AH=88h function (8.01-77)
should be called for.
8.01-81
INT 16\AH=03h – keyboard's rate and delay
Prepare:
AX
BL
BH
– subfunction:
= 0300h – set default repeat rate and delay values
= 0305h – set rate given in BL, set delay given in BH
= 0306h – get current values for repeat rate and delay
– (for AX=0305h only): repeat rate code (note 1)
– (for AX=0305h only): delay code (note 2)
On return:
BL
– code of current repeat rate (note 1)
BH – code of current delay (note 2)
AH contents may be altered.
Note 1: allowed repeat rate codes from 00h to 1Fh correspond to repeat rates from 30
times per second to 2 times per second.
Note 2: allowed delay codes from 00h to 03h correspond to delays from 0.25 to 1 second.
8.01-82
INT 16\AH=05h – insert key code into keyboard buffer
Prepare:
AH
CH
CL
= 05h
– scan code of keystroke (table A.02-1)
– ASCII code of corresponding character (table A.02-1)
On return:
AL
– error code (A.06-1)
AH contents may be altered.
Note 1: obsolete BIOS versions don't support this function.
— 332 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: codes of several keys (for example, of the ENTER key), being inserted into
keyboard buffer, induce execution of corresponding functions.
Note 3: the INT 16\AH=05h function can't be used to insert codes of "functional" keys
(SHIFT, CTRL, ALT).
8.01-83
INT 16\AH=10h – get key code out of keyboard buffer
The INT 16\AH=10h function is adapted for the most widespread 101\108-key
"enhanced" keyboards, but also responds to keystrokes on compatible keys of other
keyboards. The INT 16\AH=10h handler withdraws the topmost key code out of keyboard
buffer and presents this code in AX register. If keyboard buffer is empty at that moment,
then INT 16\AH=10h handler starts waiting for user's keystroke.
Prepare:
AH
= 10h
AH
AL
– scan code of keystroke (table A.02-1)
– ASCII code of corresponding character (table A.02-1)
On return:
Note 1: the INT16\AH=20h does the same, but is able to respond to some keys, specific
for 122-key keyboards.
Note 2: in obsolete computers similar mission is performed by INT16\AH=00h function.
In modern computers this function is still active, but it ignores keys, which were
not present in obsolete 84-key keyboards.
8.01-84
INT 16\AH=11h – copy key code from keyboard buffer
The INT 16\AH=11h function is adapted for the most widespread 101\108-key
"enhanced" keyboards, but also responds to keystrokes on compatible keys of other
keyboards. The topmost key code isn't withdrawn out of keyboard buffer, the
INT 16\AH=11h handler just copies this code into AX register and doesn't wait for user's
keystroke, if keyboard buffer at that moment is empty.
Prepare:
AH
= 11h
On return:
If ZF flag is set to ZR state, then keyboard's buffer is empty.
If ZF flag is cleared to NZ state, then:
AH – scan code of keystroke (table A.02-1)
AL
– ASCII code of corresponding character (table A.02-1)
Note 1: the INT16\AH=21h does the same, but is able to respond to some keys, specific
for 122-key keyboards.
— 333 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: in obsolete computers similar mission is performed by INT16\AH=01h function.
In modern computers this function is still active, but it ignores keys, which were
not present in obsolete 84-key keyboards.
8.01-85
INT 16\AH=12h – get keyboard status flags
The INT 16\AH=12h function copies into AX register the keyboard status word, stored
most probably at address 0040:0017h in BIOS data area (A.02-3).
Prepare:
AH = 12h
On return:
AX – flags:
bit 0 set: Right Shift key is kept pressed
bit 1 set: Left Shift key is kept pressed
bit 2 set: either of CTRL keys (right or left) is kept pressed
bit 3 set: either of ALT keys (right or left) is kept pressed
bit 4 set: the Scroll Lock switch is turned on
bit 5 set: the Num Lock switch is turned on
bit 6 set: the Caps Lock switch is turned on
bit 7 set: the Insert switch is turned on
bit 8 set: Left CTRL key is kept pressed
bit 9 set: Left ALT key is kept pressed
bit 10 set: Right CTRL key is kept pressed
bit 11 set: Right ALT key is kept pressed
bit 12 set: the Scroll Lock key is kept pressed
bit 13 set: the Num Lock key is kept pressed
bit 14 set: the Caps Lock key is kept pressed
bit 15 set: the SysRq (PrtScr) key is kept pressed (note 2)
Note 1: in obsolete computers with 84\86-key keyboards a similar mission is performed
by INT 16\AH=02h function. It returns flag's states in bits 7 – 0 of AL register
only. In modern computers this function is still active, but it doesn't return those
flag's states, which were not registered in obsolete computers.
Note 2: the pressed state of SysRq (PrtScr) key is not registered, unless either of ALT
keys (left or right) is kept pressed too.
8.01-86
INT 17\AH=00h – send a character to LPT port
Prepare:
AH
AL
DX
= 00h
– code of the character to be sent
– LPT port number: 0000h – 0002h correspond to LPT1 – LPT3
— 334 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
AH
8.01-87
– LPT port's and printer's status (A.14-3).
INT 17\AH=01h – initialize printer's port
Prepare:
AH
DX
= 01h
– LPT port number: 0000h – 0002h correspond to LPT1 – LPT3
AH
– LPT port's and printer's status (A.14-3).
On return:
Note 1: reported status in AH may be incorrect. More reliable data are reported after
some delay by INT 17\AH=0200h function.
8.01-88
INT 17\AX=0200h – get status of LPT port
The INT 17\AX=0200h function is executed by both conventional LPT BIOS and EPP
BIOS (Enhanced Parallel Port BIOS), but in different ways. EPP BIOS is not present in
obsolete PCs, and then conventional LPT BIOS reports nothing more than port's status in
AH (A.14-3). In modern PCs INT 17\AX=0200h calls can be directed to conventional
LPT BIOS and give the same effect, if prepared value in BX register is not 5050h. But
calls for INT 17\AX=0200h with BX=5050h and CH=45h are intercepted by EPP BIOS,
which returns address of its entry point. A CALL FAR command (7.03-08) to this entry
point invokes enhanced I/O functions, stipulated by IEEE 1284 specification (A.14-4).
Prepare:
AX
BX
CH
DX
= 0200h
= 5050h, if the call is addressed to EPP BIOS
= 45h, if the call is addressed to EPP BIOS
– LPT port number: 0000h – 0002h correspond to LPT1 – LPT3
On return:
AH – LPT port's and printer's status (A.14-3).
Status AH = 03h and flag CF set to CY state are returned by EPP BIOS, if it
doesn't support the requested LPT port.
Status AH = 00h and flag CF cleared to NC state are returned by EPP BIOS,
if it supports the requested LPT port, and then:
CX:AL = 4550:50h – signature of EPP BIOS versions 1.x
CX:AL = 5050:45h – signature of EPP BIOS versions 3.x
EPP BIOS versions 1.x and 3x return ES register contents intact and
DX:BX – segment: offset of EPP BIOS far entry point
EPP BIOS revision 7 returns ES contents altered and
DX – base address for EPP BIOS I/O operations
ES:BX – segment: offset of EPP BIOS far entry point.
— 335 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: if a call for INT 17\AX=0200h is not addressed to EPP BIOS, then BX and CH
registers may contain any values, except 5050h and 45h.
Note 2: a change of segment address in ES register is a specific symptom of the latest 7-th
revision of EPP BIOS, supplemented with control functions for LPT multiplexer.
8.01-89
Prepare:
INT 18 – diskless boot hook
nothing
When bootable disk can't be found, then PC's BIOS system calls for INT 18 handler.
In obsolete PCs INT 18 handler launched BASIC language interpreter, stored in PC's
read-only memory (ROM). Default INT 18 handler in modern computers displays a
message about absence of BASIC language interpreter and then halts CPU.
However, a call for INT 18 can be intercepted by other handler, supplied in ROM
memory of an extension card. In particular, interception may be performed by handlers,
supplied with network cards, in order to implement diskless boot via local network.
8.01-90
INT 19 – bootstrap loader
The INT 19 handler performs an important part of PC's booting procedure: it copies
boot sector from disk's boot partition into PC's memory at address 0000:7C00h and then
transfers control to the copied boot sector's code. That disk is addressed first, which is
specified the first in a sequence of boot alternatives, prepared by BIOS Setup program.
From floppies their boot sector is copied immediately, HDD's boot partition is determined
from partition table in MBR sector (A.13-5). If addressed disk is inaccessible, then an
attempt is undertaken to address the next disk in prepared sequence of boot alternatives. If
all attempts fail, the last default resort is a call for INT 18 handler (8.01-89).
However, the INT 19 handler doesn't clear memory and doesn't restore interrupt table.
Therefore computer most probably will get hanged after a call for INT 19 handler, if
appropriate preparations for this call have not been made. When necessary, reboot should
be initiated not by a call for INT 19 handler, but otherwise: either by keyboard controller's
FEh command (note 3 to A.11-3) or by a CALL FAR command (7.03-08) to boot
program's enter point F000:FFF0h (note 4 to A.12-1), which is the same in all
AT-compatible computers.
8.01-91
INT 1A\AH=00h – get system ticks count
Prepare:
AH
= 00h
AL
CX
– nonzero if midnight passed since last reading of ticks count.
– most significant 2 bytes of ticks count, 1800B0h per 24 hours
On return:
— 336 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
DX
– least significant 2 bytes of ticks count, 18.2 ticks per second
Note 1: tick count is reset at midnight.
Note 2: after midnight DOS must be the first to request system ticks count, otherwise it
misses midnight flag and fails to advance the date.
Note 3: system time (in ticks) may be set by INT 1A\AH=01h. Number of ticks to be set
must be prepared in CX and DX registers in the same way.
8.01-92
INT 1A\AH=02h – read real-time clock
Prepare:
AH
= 02h
On return:
On error CF flag is set, returned data are invalid.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
CH – hours
CL
– minutes
DH – seconds
DL = 00h standard time ("winter time" for northern hemisphere)
= 01h daylight time ("summer time" for northern hemisphere)
Note 1: hours, minutes and seconds are returned in packed decimal format, i.e. two
decimal digits per byte.
Note 2: real time may be set with INT 1A\AH=03h. Time data must be prepared in CH,
CL, DH and DL registers in the same form.
8.01-93
INT 1A\AH=04h – read real-time date
Prepare:
AH
= 04h
On return:
On error CF flag is set, returned data are invalid.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
CH – century
CL
– year
DH – month
DL – day
Note 1: day, month, year and century are returned in packed decimal format, i.e. two
decimal digits per byte.
Note 2: new date may be set with INT 1A\AH=05h. The data to be set must be prepared
in CH, CL, DH and DL registers in the same form.
— 337 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.01-94
INT 1A\AH=06h – preset time for daily event invocation
The INT 1A\AH=06h function specifies moments of regular calls for INT 4A handler
by PC's BIOS system. The desired action (clock alarm, for example) is implied to be done
by INT 4A handler, which has to be written by the user and has to be loaded yet.
Prepare:
AH
CH
CL
DH
– 06h
– hour
– minutes
– seconds
On return:
On error CF flag is set: most probably time preset is active already.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: hour, minutes and seconds must be prepared in packed decimal format, i.e. two
decimal digits per byte.
Note 2: preset FFh discards partial count. For example, in case of CH = FFh the INT 4A
handler is invoked once every hour, in case of CH = CL = FFh the INT 4A
handler is invoked every minute.
Note 3: preset time remains active until it is disabled by a call for INT 1A\AH=07h
function, which needs AH = 07h only to be prepared.
8.01-95
Prepare:
INT 1B – keyboard's "CTRL-Break" hook
nothing
The INT 09 handler calls for INT 1B each time when keyboard controller reports
about CTRL-Break keystroke. Default INT 1B handler sets TRUE state to a flag in BIOS
data area (bit 7 in byte at offset 71h in table A.02-3), and then control is returned to
interrupted program. The state of this flag is checked by some MS-DOS handlers, called
by the current program. If flag is found set to TRUE state, then INT 23 handler (8.02-83)
is called for. The latter suspends execution of current program and is responsible for all
consequent events (1.03).
Replacement of INT 1B handler's address in interrupt table by a pointer to IRET
command (7.03-30) is a common trick, used in many programs in order to prevent their
abortion, which otherwise may be caused by a CTRL-Break keystroke.
8.01-96
Prepare:
INT 1C – system timer tick hook
nothing
INT 1C is called by INT 08 handler (8.01-09) at each system timer's tick, i.e. 18.2
times per second. The default INT 1C handler just returns control to the caller. But every
— 338 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
resident program is allowed to replace the default handler with its own INT 1C handler,
which will transfer control to program's resident module at each timer's tick. Thus
computer systems are enabled to implement monitoring and control over developing
processes in real time.
8.02
Interrupt handlers, loaded by MS-DOS7 (INT 20 – INT 2E)
8.02-01
INT 20 – termination of program's execution
The INT 20 handler restores former interrupt table values from program's PSP
(A.07-1), releases memory, occupied by the program, restores states of segment registers
and stack, and then transfers control to caller's code pointed at by INT 22 (8.02-82).
However, INT 20 requires PSP segment address to be present in CS: register, and gives no
opportunity to leave errorlevel code (3.15-03), characterizing circumstances of program's
termination. Therefore termination of program's execution with a call for INT 21\AH=4Ch
function (8.02-55) should be preferred.
Prepare:
segment address in CS: register must point at PSP segment.
On return:
return wouldn't happen.
Note 1: in operating environment of Debug.exe the INT 21\AH=4Ch and INT 20 handlers
produce different effects: INT 20 transfers control to Debug.exe, whereas
INT 21\AH=4Ch terminates debugger's session and returns control to DOS.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=00h also terminates the caller program and always leaves errorlevel
code 00h, just as INT 20 does. MS-DOS7 supports INT 21\AH=00h for
preserving compatibility with obsolete software.
8.02-02
INT 21\AH=01h – get a character via STDIN channel
The INT 21\AH=01h function reads character code from STDIN (standard input)
channel, writes this code into AL register and sends a copy of this code into STDOUT
(standard output) channel. Both STDIN and STDOUT channels may be redirected, but
until this is not done, default STDIN source is keyboard, and default STDOUT destination
is the screen. Therefore a call for INT 21\AH=01h function induces PC to start waiting for
a keystroke, and after keystroke the corresponding character appears on the screen.
Prepare:
AH
= 01h
AL
– received character's ASCII code
On return:
— 339 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: returned ASCII code is represented by two rightmost digits of hexadecimal
numbers in table A.02-1.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=01h function shouldn't be called from command files, which are sent
to command interpreter via redirection, because in this case INT 21\AH=01h
function intercepts STDIN traffic, including those commands, which are to be
received by command interpreter.
Note 3: INT 21\AH=01h function checks the state of that flag, which is set after CTRL-C
and CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE state, then
INT 23 handler is called for.
Note 4: in the same way the INT 21\AH=03h function reads character's code from
STDAUX channel, which has the COM1 port as its default source.
8.02-03
INT 21\AH=02h – send a character via STDOUT channel
The INT 21\AH=02h function sends specified ASCII code into STDOUT channel. If
STDOUT channel is not redirected, its default destination is display, and therefore a
character, corresponding to the sent ASCII code, will appear on the screen.
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 02h
– ASCII code of the character to be sent into STDOUT
AH
– the sent ASCII code, except TAB code (09h), which is expanded into
spaces (20h).
On return:
Note 1: if STDOUT channel is redirected into a file, then sending into STDOUT channel
doesn't imply checks of media presence in a drive, of whether this media is full,
write-protected, etc. But when target drive is busy with previous operation, then
INT 21\AH=02h handler will wait for termination of that previous operation.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=02h function checks the state of that flag, which is set after CTRL-C
and CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE state, then
INT 23 handler is called for.
Note 3: the INT 21\AH=06h also sends ASCII code into STDOUT channel, but doesn't
check CTRL-C\CTRL-Break flag. Besides that, INT 21\AH=06h function
performs quite different mission, if DL=FFh (8.02-04).
Note 4: similarly to INT 21\AH=02h, the INT 21\AH=04h function sends ASCII code
into STDAUX channel (default destination – COM1 port), and INT 21\AH=05h
function sends ASCII code to STDPRN channel (default destination – LPT1
port).
— 340 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-04
INT 21\AH=06h – code copying from STDIN channel
Having been given the DL = FFh specification, INT 21\AH=06h function reads ASCII
code from STDIN channel, almost as INT 21\AH=01h function does, but difference is that
INT 21\AH=06h function
– doesn't check the CTRL-C\CTRL-BREAK flag,
– doesn't withdraw the copied code from its source,
– doesn't cause waiting, when the source is empty,
– doesn't send code's copy into STDOUT channel,
– is able to cope with extended key codes.
The term "extended" is applied to those key codes, which differ by their scan-code part
(left two digits of numbers in table A.02-1), and have their ASCII part values either 00h or
E0h. If BIOS reports either of these two ASCII values, then INT 21\AH=06h function
clears ZF flag and returns AL = 00h, thus indicating a keystroke with extended key code.
In this case INT 21\AH=06h function has to be called once more, and then in AL register it
will return scan-code, which enables to discriminate keystrokes with "extended" key codes.
Other ASCII codes (except 00h and E0h) are returned in AL register at once, and then
scan-code can't be returned. After that repeated call for INT 21\AH=06h function is
allowed, but it will be executed as separate, independent from the previous call.
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 06h
= FFh (for other values – note 3 to 8.02-03)
On return:
ZR (set) state of ZF flag signifies that the source is empty
NZ (cleared) state of ZF flag signifies presence of data, and then
AL
– ASCII code (or scan-code) copied via STDIN channel.
Note 1: INT 21\AH=07h function does almost the same, but withdraws the read code
from STDIN source, ignores DL contents, doesn't alter the state of ZF flag, and
may cause waiting for a keystroke, if STDIN source is keyboard buffer, and it is
empty at that moment.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=08h function does the same as INT 21\AH=07h (see note 1 above),
but besides this checks the state of that flag, which is set after CTRL-C and
CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE state, then
INT 23 handler is called for.
Note 3: INT 21\AH=06h-08h functions shouldn't be called from command files, which
are sent to command interpreter via redirection, because in this case
INT 21\AH=06h-08h functions intercept STDIN traffic, including those
commands, which are to be received by command interpreter.
— 341 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 4: if flag of hieroglyphic languages support (byte at offset 3Ch in table A.07-1) is
set to TRUE state, then INT 21\AH=06h-08h functions are able to return
partially formed double-byte codes.
8.02-05
INT 21\AH=09h – send a string to STDOUT
Prepare:
AH = 09h
DS:DX – pointer to start byte of a '$'-terminated string
On return:
AL
= 24h (code of the "$" character, the last one in the string)
Note 1: output continues until the first character "$" (24h) is encountered; the character
"$" itself is not sent to STDOUT and must not be present inside the string.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=09h function checks the state of that flag, which is set after CTRL-C
and CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE state, then
INT 23 handler is called for.
Note 3: one more function enabling to send a string is INT21\AH=40h (8.02-36).
8.02-06
INT 21\AH=0Ah – buffered input from STDIN channel
When STDIN channel isn't redirected, the INT 21\AH=0Ah function waits for
keystroke(s) and after each keystroke writes its code into a prepared buffer. The buffer
must not necessarily be empty: new data may be appended to previous buffer's contents.
Copies of written codes are sent via STDOUT channel to display. Writing terminates after
reception of the 0Dh code, produced by ENTER keystroke. When STDIN channel gets
data from a file via redirection, then buffer filling goes non-stop and terminates after the
first encountered 0Dh byte. In both cases writing terminates when prepared buffer becomes
full.
Prepare:
AH = 0Ah
DS:DX – pointer to start of prepared buffer, where 2 bytes must be filled yet:
at offset 00h:
maximum buffer's size in bytes;
at offset 01h:
start offset for writing new data.
On return:
DS:DX – pointer to start of filled buffer, where 2 bytes denote:
at offset 00h:
maximum buffer's size in bytes;
at offset 01h:
number of bytes actually written yet.
Note 1: INT 21\AH=0Ah function doesn't wait for a keystroke and returns control back at
once, if buffer size (pointed at by DS:DX) is 00h.
— 342 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: count of bytes in prepared buffer starts from offset 02h, excluding byte 0Dh,
which terminates writing session.
Note 3: INT 21\AH=0Ah function checks the state of that flag, which is set after
CTRL-C and CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE
state, then INT 23 handler is called for.
Note 4: INT 21\AH=0Ah function shouldn't be called from command files, which are sent
to command interpreter via redirection, because in this case INT 21\AH=0Ah
function intercepts STDIN traffic, including those commands, which are to be
received by command interpreter.
8.02-07
INT 21\AH=0Bh – get status of STDIN channel
The INT 21\AH=0Bh function is used to determine whether there are any data in
STDIN channel source. When STDIN channel is not redirected, the INT 21\AH=0Bh
function reports whether keyboard buffer is empty or not. If data are to be received via
redirection, then INT 21\AH=0Bh function shows whether there is at least one byte
pending in the source.
Prepare:
AH
= 0Bh
AL
= 00h, if STDIN channel source is empty, or else
= FFh, if there is at least one byte in STDIN channel source.
On return:
Note 1: INT 21\AH=0Bh function checks the state of that flag, which is set after
CTRL-C and CTRL-Break keystrokes (8.01-95). If this flag is found in TRUE
state, then INT 23 handler is called for.
8.02-08
INT 21\AH=0Ch – clear keyboard buffer and read STDIN
The INT 21\AH=0Ch handler clears keyboard buffer and then calls for a selected
STDIN input function, specified by its code in AL register. Allowed codes 01h, 06h, 07h,
08h, 0Ah correspond to functions INT 21\AH=01h, INT 21\AH=06h, INT 21\AH=07h,
INT 21\AH=08h, INT 21\AH=0Ah. Other relevant features are defined by the chosen
input function.
Prepare:
AH = 0Ch
AL
– code of input function: 01h or 06h or 07h or 08h or 0Ah
other registers – as required by the specified input function
On return:
just as the specified input function returns.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: INT 21\AH=0Ch handler with allowed input function's codes shouldn't be called
from command files, sent to command interpreter via redirection, because in this
case input function intercepts STDIN traffic, including those commands, which
are to be received by command interpreter.
Note 2: if code in AL is not one of allowed codes (01h, 06h, 07h, 08h, 0Ah), then
INT 21\AH=0Ch handler clears keyboard buffer, but no STDIN input is
attempted.
8.02-09
INT 21\AH=0Dh – write buffer's data to disk
Contents of disk buffers should be written back to current disk each time when current
program intends to address another disk. Besides that, a call for INT 21\AH=0Dh function
restores default address of DTA area (note 6 to A.07-1).
Prepare:
AH = 0Dh
On return:
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: INT 21\AH=0Dh function writes disk buffers to disk, but doesn't update altered
contents of directories. Directories are updated, when one of file's handles is
closed by INT 21\AH=3Eh function (8.02-34).
8.02-10
INT 21\AH=0Eh – appointment of current logical disk
The INT 21\AH=0Eh function assigns "current" status to that logical disk, which
should be chosen by default in order to enable execution of disk access operations without
explicit disk specification.
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 0Eh
– number of the selected logical disk (note 1)
AL
– maximum number of letter-names, allowed by LASTDRIVE
specification (4.17, 4.18)
On return:
Note 1: numeration of logical disks follows the order of their letter-names: 00h = A:,
01h = B:, 02h = C:, and so on.
Note 2: being called by drivers at their initiation, the INT 21\AH=0Eh function may
return an invalid number in AL register, because it is read from list-of-lists
(A.01-2) at offset 21h and may be not written there yet at the moment of
initiation.
Note 3: current number of default logical disk is reported by INT 21\AH=19h function
(8.02-15).
— 344 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-11
INT 21\AH=11h – find first matching file using FCB
The INT 21\AH=11h handler uses FCB (File Control Block) – an obsolete form of
data specification, unsuitable for access to files on disks formatted with FAT-32 file
system. However, FCBs are suitable for matching file search inside current directory,
including directories on disks with FAT-32 file system. Allowable FCB structures are
shown in table A.09-5. Filename specification in FCB may be a mask with "?" wildcards
(2.01-03). FCBs can be conveniently arranged by INT 21\AH=29h function (8.02-19).
Some search data, returned by INT 21\AH=11h handler, supplement data in FCB, as it
is shown in table A.09-5. But main part of search results is returned in DTA – Data
Transfer Area 128 bytes long. Default DTA position is inside PSP (A.07-1), starting at
offset 80h, but DTA may be shifted elsewhere by INT 21\AH=1Ah function (8.02-16).
Structure of returned data in DTA depends on type of original FCB – whether it was
normal or extended FCB. Both variants of returned data structure are shown in table
A.09-1.
Prepare:
AH = 11h
DS:DX – pointer to unopened FCB, normal or extended (A.09-5)
On return:
AL
– error code (A.06-1):
= FFh – no matching files found
= 00h – DTA region (A.09-1) is filled with data about first found file.
Note 1: INT 21\AH=11h function enables to obtain information about volume label. For
this purpose an extended FCB with attribute byte 08h should be prepared, and
current directory must be the disk's root directory.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=11h function enables to obtain information about a directory. For
this purpose an extended FCB with attribute byte 10h should be prepared, and
current directory must be the parent of requested directory.
Note 3: if search is to be continued with INT 21\AH=12h function (8.02-12), then all data
in FCB and in DTA region, including the returned data, must be preserved
unchanged.
Note 4: a search for a file without usage of FCB specification is performed by
INT 21\AH=4Eh function.
8.02-12
INT 21\AH=12h – find next matching file using FCB
The INT 21\AH=12h function continues search for matching files after successful
termination of preceding search iteration, performed either by INT 21\AH=11h (8.02-11)
or by INT 21\AH=12h functions. Necessary condition of consistent continuation is
— 345 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
preserving intact those data, returned in FCB and in DTA after preceding search iteration.
Search results are returned just as after a call for INT 21\AH=11h (8.02-11).
Prepare:
AH = 12h
DS:DX – pointer to unopened FCB, normal or extended (A.09-5)
DTA region (A.09-1) with data left after previous search iteration
On return:
AL
– error code (A.06-1):
= FFh – no more matching files found
= 00h – DTA region (A.09-1) is filled with data about next found file.
Note 1: all notes to INT 21\AH=11h (article 8.02-11) are equally valid for
INT 21\AH=12h function.
8.02-13
INT 21\AH=13h – delete matching file(s) using FCB
The INT 21\AH=13h handler uses obsolete FCB (File Control Block) form of
specification, which is nevertheless suitable for deletion of file(s) in current directory,
including directories on disks formatted with FAT-32 file system. Allowable FCB
structures are shown in table A.09-5. For deletion of several files FCB may specify a mask
with "?" wildcards (2.01-03). FCB can be conveniently arranged by INT 21\AH=29h
function (8.02-19).
Files to be deleted must be closed beforehand (8.02-34), must be free from HSR
attributes (A.09-2), and disk with these files must not be write-protected.
Prepare:
AH = 13h
DS:DX – pointer to unopened FCB, normal or extended (A.09-5)
On return:
AL
– error code (A.06-1):
= FFh – no matching files found
= 00h – matching files have been deleted successfully.
Note 1: owing to attribute byte in extended FCB (A.09-5) the INT 21\AH=13h function is
able to delete volume labels and files with R (read-only) attribute. Deletion of
subdirectories is also possible, but then files in these subdirectories are turned
into lost clusters.
Note 2: deleted file is not erased physically; rather its directory entry is made invalid: the
first character of this entry becomes overwritten with invalidity mark – code E5h.
Note 3: deletion of any file with long filename by INT 21\AH=13h function doesn't affect
associated directory entries beyond the main one, whereas these entries contain
continuation of long filename.
— 346 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 4: file(s) deletion without FCB specification usage is performed by INT 21\AH=41h
function (8.02-37).
8.02-14
INT 21\AH=17h – rename matching file using FCB
Prepare:
AH = 17h
DS:DX – pointer to unopened FCB, normal or extended (A.09-5). Current
name is written in FCB at its ordinary place, proposed new name must
be written 10h bytes further, just under the current name in next dump
line. Particular offset values are given in table A.09-5. Both names
must be written in normalized form, which is provided, for example,
by INT 21\AH=29h function (8.02-19). Required buffer's length is 28
bytes for normal FCB and 35 bytes for extended FCB.
On return:
AL
– error code (A.06-1):
= 00h – specified file has been renamed successfully.
= FFh – failure: either matching file isn't found, or file is protected by
HRS attributes, or a file with proposed new name exists yet.
Note 1: filemasks in FCB are allowed, but only with "?" wildcards (2.01-03) and with the
same wildcard positions in both filemasks: in that replacing the current filename
and in that replacing the proposed new filename. Characters, corresponding to
wildcard positions, will be copied from current actual filenames and inserted in
the same positions in new assigned filenames.
Note 2: as far as FCB doesn't specify paths, INT 21\AH=17h function can rename files
inside current directory only. Renaming outside the current directory may be
performed by INT 21\AH=56h function (8.02-62), which doesn't use FCB
specifications.
Note 3: extended FCBs with attribute byte 10h enable to rename subdirectories from their
parent directory, and extended FCBs with attribute byte 08h enable to rename
volume label from root directory of the current disk.
8.02-15
INT 21\AH=19h – report "current" logical disk
The INT 21\AH=19h function reports which logical disk will be taken by default for
disk access operations without explicit disk specifications.
Prepare:
AH
= 19h
AL
– number of "current" logical disk (note 1 to 8.02-10).
On return:
— 347 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: appointment of "current" logical disk can be changed by INT 21\AH=0Eh
function (8.02-10).
8.02-16
INT 21\AH=1Ah,2Fh – set/get DTA area address
Data Transfer Area (DTA) is a buffer 128 bytes long used by file search functions
(8.02-11, 8.02-12, 8.02-57, 8.02-58). Default position of DTA area is inside current
program's PSP at offset 0080h (note 6 to A.07-1).
Prepare:
AH
– subfunction:
= 1Ah – specify new position for DTA
= 2Fh – report current DTA position
DS:DX – pointer to new DTA position (for AH = 1Ah subfunction only)
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to current DTA position (after AH = 2Fh subfunction only)
Note 1: examples of DTA data structures are shown in table A.09-1.
Note 2: DTA is returned to its default position (PSP:0080h) after each call for
INT 21\AH=0Dh function (8.02-09).
8.02-17
INT 21\AH=1Ch – get information about a disk
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 1Ch
– logical disk number (note 1)
On return:
AH
– media identifier (ID byte):
= F8h – fixed disk (HDD),
= F9h – 1.2 Mb or 720 kb floppy diskette,
= FAh – virtual RAM-disk,
= FDh – 360 kb floppy diskette,
= F0h – other media, including 1.44 Mb diskettes.
CX – bytes per sector;
DS:BX – pointer to the same media identifier byte in memory;
DX and AL contents are not preserved.
Note 1: this function uses "shifted" numeration of logical disks: number 00h is the default
("current") logical disk, then follow 01h = A:, 02h = B:, 03h = C:, and so on.
Note 2: being applied to an invalid or non-existing disk, INT 21\AH=1Ch doesn't indicate
an error with CF flag, but rather returns values in AH, BX and DS registers
unchanged.
— 348 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 3: INT 21\AH=1Bh reports information in the same way about the default
("current") disk only, ignoring DL contents. Both INT 21\AH=1Ch and
INT 21\AH=1Bh are obsolete functions, unable to identify most types of modern
media.
8.02-18
INT 21\AH=25h – write a pointer into interrupt table
Prepare:
AH = 25h
AL
– interrupt number, whose handler's address is to be written
DS:DX – pointer to new interrupt handler
Note 1: this function overwrites the former handler's address. If it shouldn't be lost, you
must take care about saving it in advance.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=25h handler, supplied by MS-DOS7, may be used while CPU is in
real or in V86 mode, but can't be used in protected mode.
8.02-19
INT 21\AX=2901h – parse a filename into FCB
The INT 21\AX=2901h function arranges an unopened FCB (File Control Block) of
normal type (A.09-5), filled with normalized form of given filename. File's name and suffix
are written separately in their FCB fields, letters are translated to upper case, asterisk
wildcards (2.01-03) are expanded into appropriate number of "?" wildcards. If name is less
than 8 bytes long, or suffix is less than 3 bytes long, then the rest free character cells are
filled with spaces (20h). Parsing is stopped at the first encountered slash, or at a space, or
at 0Dh terminator byte (the 00h terminator byte is not allowed, though).
Filename can't be preceded by a path, but may be preceded by disk's letter-name (for
example, A:Config.sys). Disk's letter-name will be transformed into logical disk number,
written into a cell in FCB just preceding the filename field. If the second character in
presented line is not a colon, then disk's letter-name is considered missing, and disk number
cell in FCB will be filled with 00h – number of the default ("current") disk.
Prepare:
AH = 2901h
DS:SI – pointer to filename string to be parsed (wildcards allowed)
ES:DI – pointer to a prepared buffer 21 bytes long for FCB
On return:
AL
= 00h – successful parsing, no wildcards encountered
= 01h – successful parsing, wildcards are present
= FFh – parsing failed (invalid specification)
DS:SI – pointer to the character where parsing has stopped
ES:DI – pointer to a buffer filled with unopened FCB
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: buffer must be 36 bytes long, if later FCB has to be transferred into its "opened"
form in order to provide access to a file.
Note 2: parsing also can be performed by INT 21\AX=2903h function, which doesn't
overwrite previous contents of disk number cell in FCB.
8.02-20
INT 21\AH=2Ah – get system date
Prepare:
AH
= 2Ah
AL
CX
DH
DL
– day of the week (00h = Sunday)
– year (range 1980 – 2099)
– month
– day
On return:
Note 1: all values are returned in packed decimal format, i.e. two decimal digits per byte.
Note 2: system date can be changed by INT 21\AH=2Bh function. The required values
should be prepared in AL, CX, DH, DL registers just as it is shown above. If
INT 21\AH=2Bh function fails, it returns AL=FFh and leaves system date
unchanged.
8.02-21
INT 21\AH=2Ch – get system time
Prepare:
AH
= 2Ch
CH
CL
DH
DL
– hours
– minutes
– seconds
– 1/100 parts of a second
On return:
Note 1: all values are returned in packed decimal format, i.e. two decimal digits per byte.
Note 2: some computers count DL values in steps 0.05 s, some other computers always
return DL = 00h.
Note 3: system time can be changed by INT 21\AH=2Dh function. The required values
should be prepared in CH, CL, DH, DL registers just as it is shown above. If
INT 21\AH=2Dh function fails, it returns AL=FFh and leaves system time
unchanged.
8.02-22
INT 21\AH=30h – get DOS version
Prepare:
AX
= 3000h – return manufacturer's (OEM) identifier in BH
= 3001h – return version flag byte in BH.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
AL.AH – DOS version number
BH – OEM identifier or version flag byte.
Note 1: OEM identifier is 00h for IBM, 66h for PhysTechSoft, EEh for DR-DOS, EFh
for Novell, FDh for FreeDOS, FFh for Microsoft.
Note 2: TRUE state of bit 3 in version flag byte marks special DOS versions, designed to
be stored in ROM.
Note 3: returned version number is read from a word at offset 40h in PSP (A.07-1) of the
caller program. If SETVER.EXE driver is installed, and if name of the caller
program is written yet into SETVER's table, then a requested version will be
substituted for true DOS version number at offset 40h in caller program's PSP.
Note 4: certainly true DOS version number is reported by INT 21\AX=3306h function
(8.02-27).
8.02-23
INT 21\AH=31h – terminate execution, leaving resident module
Prepare:
AH
AL
DX
= 31h
– hexadecimal errorlevel value (note 3 to 8.02-55)
– size of resident module in 16-byte paragraphs, not less then 6
paragraphs, counted from the start of PSP (A.07-1).
Note 1: INT 21\AH=31h function releases main program's memory (except its resident
module), restores pointers in interrupt table, restores states of segment registers
and stack, and then transfers control to caller's code pointed at by INT 22
(8.02-82). But INT 21\AH=31h function doesn't close opened files, doesn't
release environment memory area and that memory, which has been allocated via
INT 21\AH=48h (8.02-50). If necessary, these operations must be performed by
the program itself before its termination.
Note 2: obsolete INT 27 handler (8.02-86) does the same, but limits resident module's
size to 64 kb and doesn't leave errorlevel values.
8.02-24
INT 21\AH=32h – get disk's parameters block (DPB)
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 32h
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
On return:
AL
= FFh, – requested disk is invalid or a network disk
= 00h, – request is performed successfully, and then
DS:BX – pointer to DPB block (A.03-1)
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: a pointer in DS:BX to the default ("current") disk's DPB can also be obtained via
INT 21\AH=1Fh; the latter ignores value in DL.
Note 2: both INT 21\AH=32h and INT 21\AH=1Fh try to update the DPB by reading the
requested disk. If reading fails, INT 24 handler is called for with its "Abort,
Retry, Fail?" question. If disk access attempt at that moment is not desirable, the
pointer to any DPB may be found via DOS's list of lists (note 1 to A.01-2).
Note 3: both INT 21\AH=32h and INT 21\AH=1Fh can't be applied to disks formatted
with FAT-32: then INT 21\AX=7302h function (8.02-79) should be used instead.
8.02-25
INT 21\AX=3300h – get BREAK flag's state
Prepare:
AX
= 3300h
DL
= 00h – BREAK flag is turned OFF
= 01h – BREAK flag is turned ON
On return:
Note 1: BREAK flag is in DOS's swappable area at offset 17h (A.01-3).
Note 2: state of BREAK flag can be changed by INT 21\AX=3301 function, it accepts
the state to be set from DL register in the same form.
8.02-26
INT 21\AX=3305h – get boot drive
Prepare:
AX
= 3305h
DL
– boot drive number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
On return:
Note 1: INT 21\AX=3305h function reads number of the disk, used to boot the PC, from
DOS's list-of-lists (A.01-2) at offset 43h.
8.02-27
INT 21\AX=3306h – get true version of DOS
Prepare:
AX
= 3306h
On return:
AL
= FFh, if true version of DOS is less than 5.00
When any other value is returned in AL register, then:
BL.BH – true version of DOS
DH – flags:
bit 3 – DOS is stored in ROM
bit 4 – DOS is loaded into HMA area
DL – DOS revision number.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: the data returned by INT 21\AX=3306h function can't be affected by
SETVER.EXE driver (unlike those data returned by INT 21\AH=30h).
Note 2: INT 21\AX=3306h function is not supported by DOS versions less than 5.00.
Besides AL = FFh, symptoms of obsolete DOS version may be values BL < 05h
and BH > 64h.
8.02-28
INT 21\AH=34h – get address of InDOS flag
InDOS flag is a byte counter of active DOS functions nesting level: it is incremented
whenever any INT 21 function is called for and is decremented when its execution
terminates. States of InDOS flag and of critical error flag (note 1) should be checked
before each call for a DOS function from any resident module: if either of these flags has a
non-zero value, then such call is unsafe. Because of the same reason the INT 21\AH=34h
function should be called once at initialization of TSR program, and the returned pointer
should be saved. Later, when calls for DOS functions may be unsafe, system flag's states
can be read immediately owing to the saved pointer.
Prepare:
AH
= 34h
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to one-byte InDOS flag
Note 1: critical error flag is a byte just preceding the InDOS flag (A.01-3). A pointer to
critical error flag can be obtained via INT 21\AX=5D06h function.
8.02-29
INT 21\AH=35h – get pointer to interrupt handler
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 35h
– interrupt number
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to interrupt handler.
8.02-30
INT 21\AH=36h – get disk's free space
Prepare:
AH
DL
= 36h
– logical disk's number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
AX
BX
CX
DX
– number of sectors per cluster
– number of free clusters
– number of bytes per sector
– total number of clusters on requested disk
On return:
— 353 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1:
Note 2:
Note 3:
Note 4:
free space (in bytes) can be found as product AX * BX * CX.
whole disk's space (in bytes) can be found as product AX * CX * DX.
INT 21\AH=36h function reckons "lost" clusters among those used.
after a request for an invalid or non-existing disk the AX = FFFFh value is
returned. After a request for a CD\DVD-ROM the returned data are certainly
invalid.
Note 5: requests for FAT-32 disks are allowed, but actually reported space is limited to
2048 Mb. For larger disks the INT 21\AX=7303h function (8.02-80) should be
used instead.
8.02-31
INT 21\AH=39h-3Ah – create/remove an empty subdirectory
Prepare:
AH
= 39h – create a subdirectory
= 3Ah – remove an empty subdirectory
DS:DX – pointer to a string with name of addressed directory. The string
must end with 00h byte. Name may be preceded by a path. Maximum
length of the string is 64 bytes.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AX contents are not preserved.
Note 1: a directory can't be deleted, if it is the root directory, or if it is not free, or if it is
marked as "current" in CDS table (A.03-3).
Note 2: unlike ordinary directories, root directory has a limited capacity: if it is full, then
new subdirectory inside this root directory can't be created.
8.02-32
INT 21\AH=3Bh – set current directory
The INT 21\AH=3Bh function rewrites default directory pathname in a CDS table
entry (A.03-3) for a particular disk.
Prepare:
AH = 3Bh
DS:DX – pointer to a string with name of new default directory. The string
must end with 00h byte. Name may be preceded by a path, optionally
with disk's letter-name. Maximum length of the string is 64 bytes.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AX contents are not preserved.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: if a call for INT 21\AH=3Bh specifies a disk, which is not "current" at that
moment, then "current" directory is not changed at once, but the proposed default
directory will become "current", when "current" status will be assigned to the
specified disk.
Note 2: the INT 21\AH=47h function (8.02-49) reports current assignment of default
directory.
8.02-33
INT 21\AH=3Dh – get an access handle
Handle is a hexadecimal identifier of a SFT entry (A.01-4). Each SFT entry is
associated with some object: either with an existing file, or with a dedicated region of XMS
memory, or with an access channel. Handle may be regarded as a numerical reference to
that object. The INT 21\AH=3Dh function investigates whether there is an entry in SFT
table, associated with the specified object. If associated entry exists yet, then number of
registered references in this entry is incremented by 1, number of this SFT entry is written
into a byte cell in JFT table (A.07-1, offset 18h), and ordinal number of that byte cell in
JFT table is returned to the caller program as the requested handle. If associated SFT entry
for the specified object doesn't exist, then INT 21\AH=3Dh handler creates a new SFT
entry for the specified object, and after that performs just the same described sequence of
operations, which finally returns a new handle to the caller program. Those files, which
have got associated handles, are known as "opened" files.
Prepare:
AH = 3Dh
AL
– access and sharing rights (A.09-4)
DS:DX – pointer to object's name (ending with 00h byte)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – handle – a numerical reference to specified object
Note 1: in order to obtain a handle for driver control channel you have to specify that
name, which is stored starting at offset 0Ah inside driver's header (A.05-1). Ways
to locate driver's headers are described in note 2 to appendix A.01-2, in article
8.03-12 and in introduction article to part 8.03.
Note 2: wildcards in object's name are not allowed.
Note 3: on opening a file its access point is set at its first byte.
Note 4: a possibility to open a file doesn't depend on its attributes, but INT 21\AH=3Dh
function can't associate handles with directories.
Note 5: INT 21\AH=3Dh handler may be called via server function INT 21\AX=5D00h
(8.02-68), which gives an opportunity to specify in CL register an attribute mask
(A.09-2) for the file, which is to be opened.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 6: handles inherited from parent program inherit the same sharing and access
restrictions. Access rights byte in AL register (A.09-4) also defines whether a
particular handle will be inherited or not.
Note 7: if a file is stored in a logical disk formatted with FAT-32 file system, then
associated handle for this file should be provided by INT 21\AX=6C00h function
(8.02-78).
8.02-34
INT 21\AH=3Eh – delete an access handle
The INT 21\AH=3Eh function decrements by 1 the number of registered references to
the same object in associated SFT entry (A.01-4) and removes number of that entry from a
byte cell in JFT table (A.07-1) of the caller program. If object is a file, and if it has been
altered, then corresponding directory record is corrected, and contents of disk buffers are
written back to disk. If caller program has no duplicate handles for the same file, the latter
becomes inaccessible, or "closed" for the caller program. But operating system considers a
file closed only in case of zero number of references to this file, registered in associated
SFT entry: only then this file can be deleted, and only then this file ceases to be a cause of
blocking its removable media in the drive. A SFT entry with zero number of references is
also considered closed and invalid.
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 3Eh
– handle (8.02-33) to be deleted
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AX contents are not preserved.
Note 1: a handle may be deleted by INT 21\AH=68h and by INT 21\AH=6Ah functions
too. Other specifications for these functions (except AH) are the same.
Note 2: when a program is prepared for termination, all files, opened by this program,
may be closed at once by INT 21\AX=5D01h function (8.02-69).
Note 3: handles for areas of extended memory, opened by EMM386.EXE driver
(5.04-02), should be deleted by INT 67\AH=45h function (8.03-61).
8.02-35
INT 21\AH=3Fh – read data from a source
Prepare:
AH = 3Fh
BX – handle (8.02-33) to source object: file, channel or device
CX – number of bytes to read
DS:DX – pointer to a buffer for read data
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – number of bytes actually read,
DS:DX – pointer to buffer filled with data.
Note 1: each program automatically inherits handle 0000h, which enables to read data
from STDIN channel source, naturally, when STDIN channel is ready to supply
these data. But if STDIN channel is not redirected, and its buffer is empty, then a
request to 0000h handle initiates a buffer filling procedure with waiting for input
from keyboard. Inputted characters are displayed on the screen, and their quantity
is not limited by a number in CX register. Input terminates after ENTER
keystroke, and then that number of characters, which is preset in CX register, is
read from STDIN buffer into another buffer, defined by DS:DX pointer. The rest
characters in STDIN buffer are available for reading by next calls for
INT 21\AH=3Fh function.
Note 2: file data are read from current access position and on, so that access position is
updated after each successful read operation.
Note 3: if requested number of bytes in CX register leads access position beyond file's
end, then INT 21\AH=3Fh function terminates successfully, but number of read
bytes, returned in AX register, will be less, than requested number of bytes in CX
register.
8.02-36
INT 21\AH=40h – data transfer to a file or to a device
Prepare:
AH = 40h
BX – handle (8.02-33) to destination object: file, channel or device
CX – number of bytes to transfer
DS:DX – pointer to buffer with data to be transferred
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – number of bytes actually transferred.
Note 1: each program automatically inherits 4 active handles to target channels: 0001h –
to STDOUT channel, 0002h – to STDERR channel, 0003h – to STDAUX
channel (port COM1), and 0004h – to STDPRN channel (port LPT1). STDOUT
channel can be redirected, but its default target is display. STDERR channel can't
be redirected; it always displays characters on the screen.
Note 2: writing into a file starts at current access position, defined by access position
pointer in SFT (A.01-4). After each successful writing procedure the current
access position is automatically updated. If writing procedure leads current access
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
position beyond file's end, then file's length is automatically increased. However,
inflicted changes are not written to disk until file's handle isn't deleted (8.02-48).
Note 3: a call with CX = 0000h doesn't cause data transfer, but causes target file
truncation (or extension) to that length, which is defined by current access
position.
Note 4: on logical disks with FAT-32 file system files are allowed to grow beyond 2 Gb,
if files are opened by INT 21\AX=6C00h function with TRUE state of "extended
size" flag.
Note 5: if after data transfer the returned number in AX register is less then requested
number in CX register, then the most probable cause of this difference is absence
of free space on target disk.
8.02-37
INT 21\AH=41h – delete a closed file
Prepare:
AH = 41h
DS:DX – pointer to a string with filename. Name may be preceded by a path.
String must end with 00h byte.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
AX contents are not preserved.
Note 1: deleted file is not erased physically; rather its directory entry is made invalid: the
first character of this entry becomes overwritten with invalidity mark – code E5h.
Note 2: deletion of any file with long filename by INT 21\AH=41h function doesn't affect
associated entries beyond the main one, whereas these directory entries contain
continuation of long filename.
Note 3: opened files may be deleted, but their handles will be kept active. This may cause
FAT corruption and data loss. Each file, which is to be deleted, must be closed in
advance (8.02-34).
Note 4: wildcards in filename are not allowed, unless INT 21\AH=41h is called via server
function INT 21\AX=5D00h. Server function also allows to specify in CL
register an attribute mask (A.09-2) for the files to be deleted.
Note 5: deletion of files from current directory can also be performed by INT 21\AH=13h
function (8.02-13).
8.02-38
INT 21\AH=42h – set file's access point
File's access position is defined by a pointer in file's SFT entry (offset 15h in table
A.01-4). Position of access point is counted from start of the file. INT 21\AH=42h
function affects that pointer in file's SFT entry and thus shifts file access point.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 42h
– code of origin for requested access point shift:
= 00h – start of file
= 01h – current access point position (note 1)
= 02h – end of file (note 1)
BX – file's handle (8.02-33)
CX:DX – double word shift of requested access point from that origin, which
is specified by code in AL register.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
DX:AX – new access point position counted from file's start.
Note 1: choice of origin codes 01h and 02h implies, that requested shift in CX:DX is a
signed double word. Operations with signed shift potentially may set an access
point ahead of file's start. In such cases INT 21\AH=42h function returns CF flag
cleared, but error will evince itself at an attempt of access.
Note 2: if new access point position is beyond file's end, then the nearest next writing
operation (8.02-36) will automatically extend file's length up to actual access
point position.
Note 3: file's size (in bytes) is returned in DX:AX registers after a call for
INT 21\AH=42h function with AX=4202h and CX=DX=0000h.
Note 4: on logical disks with FAT-32 file system file access point positions beyond 2 Gb
are allowed, if files are opened by INT 21\AX=6C00h function with TRUE state
of "extended size" flag.
8.02-39
INT 21\AX=4300h – get file's attributes
Prepare:
AX = 4300h
DS:DX – pointer to a string with filename. Name may be preceded by a path.
String must end with 00h byte.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
CX – file's attributes word (A.09-2)
Note 1: INT 21\AX=4301h function enables to set attributes, prepared in CX register.
AX contents may be lost on return. Other features are the same.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-40
INT 21\AX=4400h – get information about a handle
Handle (8.02-33) is a hexadecimal identifier of a SFT entry (A.01-4). Each SFT entry
is associated with some object: either with an existing file, or with a dedicated region of
XMS memory, or with an access channel. Handle may be regarded as a numerical
reference to that object. The INT 21\AH=4400h function enables to elicit some properties
of both the given handle itself and the object it is associated with.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 4400h
– handle (8.02-33)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX contents are not preserved;
DX – data word (note 1)
Note 1: clear state of bit 7 in returned data word signifies a file handle data word, which
should be interpreted according to table A.04-2. Set (TRUE) state of bit 7 in
returned data word signifies attribute word of a non-file object. This attribute
word should be interpreted according to table A.05-2.
Note 2: attributes of channel's handle in attribute word (A.05-2) may be corrected by
INT 21\AX=4401h function. States of bits 7 – 0 for attribute word should be
prepared in DX register, bits 15 – 8 must be cleared, AX = 4401h, all other
specifications are the same.
8.02-41
INT 21\AX=4402h-4403h – driver control data read/write
Main idea of I/O control (IOCTL) is that DOS allocates some memory space to
driver's control data and enables programs to access this memory space in order to read
and affect driver's control data. INT 21\AX=4402h-4403h handlers are charged with
mission of access to driver's control data.
States of bits 6 and 7 in driver's attribute word (A.05-2) signify whether any particular
driver supports programmable I/O control. If programmable I/O control is supported, then
control data for this driver can be addressed by a handle, opened either by
INT 21\AH=3Dh or by INT 21\AX=6C00h function (note 1 to 8.02-33).
Prepare:
AX
= 4402h – to read driver's control data
= 4403h – to send driver's control data
BX – a handle (8.02-33) referencing target driver
CX – number of bytes to be transferred (buffer's length)
DS:DX – pointer to buffer for data or with data to be sent
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – number of bytes actually transferred.
Note 1: format of control data is specific for each particular driver. For example, a set of
commands for CD/DVD-ROM drivers is shown in table A.15-4.
Note 2: driver control data for disk drives (block devices) can't be addressed with a
handle, but may be read by INT 21\AX=4404h and sent by INT 21\AX=4405h.
Data specifications for these functions are similar to those shown above, except
registers AX and BX: BL specifies disk's number (note 1 to 8.02-17), BH is
ignored.
8.02-42
INT 21\AX=4406h-4407h – check of object's readiness for access
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 4406h – input (reading) readiness check
= 4407h – output (writing) readiness check
– handle (8.02-33) to target object.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AL
= FFh – signifies that target object is ready for access
= 00h – signifies that target object is not ready for access.
Note 1: if file's access point is set at file's end by access point shift operation
INT 21\AH=42h (8.02-38), then INT 21\AX=4406h check may erroneously
report file's readiness for reading (AL = FFh). This error wouldn't happen, when
file's access point is set by reading or writing operations (8.02-35, 8.02-36).
Note 2: the INT 21\AX=4407h function doesn't check whether there is a media in the
drive and whether this media has free space for writing.
8.02-43
INT 21\AX=4408h – check for a removable media
Prepare:
AX
BL
= 4408h
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX = 0000h – requested logical disk is removable,
= 0001h – requested logical disk is fixed (HDD).
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-44
INT 21\AX=4409h – logical disk driver's attributes
Driver's attributes enable to determine whether the requested disk is real or virtual,
whether it is local or network drive, is it accessible for BIOS functions or not.
Interpretation of returned attribute word is shown in table A.05-2.
Prepare:
AX = 4409h
BL
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX contents are not preserved;
DX – driver's attributes word (A.05-2).
Note 1: driver's attribute word reflects driver's capabilities, which don't necessarily
correspond to properties of requested disk. For example, TRUE state of bit 11 in
attribute word is interpreted as driver's ability to support removable media, but
this gives no ground to conclude that the requested disk is a removable disk.
8.02-45
INT 21\AX=440Ah – check whether a handle implies remote access
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 440Ah
– a handle (8.02-33)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
DX >= 8000h
– signifies access via network..
8.02-46
INT 21\AX=440Dh – generic call for drive's subfunctions
The INT 21\AX=440Dh function is in fact a template for invoking a lot of IOCTL
subfunctions. Type of subfunction is defined by its code in CL register. CH register
contents define category code: CH = 08h corresponds to disk subfunctions, which are
inherited from previous versions of DOS and can be applied to disks with FAT-12 and
FAT-16 file systems. Category code CH=48h corresponds to disk subfunctions, which are
introduced in MS-DOS7 and can be applied to disks with FAT-32 file system.
This article describes subfunctions with category code CH = 48h, which can be applied
to disks with either of FAT-12, FAT-16, FAT-32 file systems and don't require BIOS's
support for INT 13 extensions (8.01-55). It may be worth to check with
INT 21\AX=4411h function (8.02-47) whether a particular IOCTL subfunction is
supported in your computer.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
General form of data presentation for all IOCTL subfunctions is data block pointed at
by DS:DX registers. Interpretation of data in this data block for some subfunctions is
shown in appendix A.04. Specific conditions for several other subfunctions are described
in notes below.
Prepare:
AX
BL
CX
= 440Dh
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
– subfunction:
= 4840h – set disk's parameters from a table (A.04-3)
= 4841h – write a track onto logical disk (A.04-4)
= 4842h – format and verify a track on a logical disk (A.04-5)
= 4846h – set volume's serial number (A.04-1)
= 4847h – set access flag (note 1)
= 4848h – set media lock state (note 2)
= 4849h – eject media from drive (no data block required)
= 4860h – read disk's parameters (A.04-3)
= 4861h – read a track from logical disk (A.04-4)
= 4862h – verify logical disk's track (A.04-5)
= 4866h – get volume's label and FAT type (A.04-1)
= 4867h – get access flag (note 1)
= 4868h – determine type of floppy disk (note 3)
DS:DX – pointer to data block, if it is required for subfunction
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
DS:DX – pointer to data block, if it must be returned by subfunction.
Note 1: subfunction CX=4847h accepts and subfunction 4867h returns in DS:DX data
block nothing but an access byte at offset 01h. Any nonzero value means that
access is allowed.
Note 2: subfunction CL=4848h accepts operation code from byte at offset 00h in DS:DX
data block: 00h – lock disk, 02h – unlock disk, 03h – report lock status (just as
for INT 13\AH=45h, 8.01-58). Lock status – the number of pending locks on that
disk – is returned in byte 01h of the same data block.
Note 3: in byte at offset 00h in DS:DX data block subfunction CX=4868h returns code
01h, if media is of default type for the requested drive, or else code 00h, if media
is of any other type. Code of particular media type is returned in byte at offset
01h in the same data block: 02h – a 720 kb diskette, 07h – a 1.44 Mb diskette,
09h – a 2.88 Mb diskette.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-47
INT 21\AX=4411h – check for generic call capability
The INT 21\AX=4411h function is a check whether a specified IOCTL subfunction is
supported or not supported by BIOS, by hardware and by installable drivers in a particular
PC.
Prepare:
AX
BL
CX
= 4411h
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
– subfunction code, just as for INT 21\AX=440Dh (8.02-46).
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX = 0000h – confirms that requested function is supported.
Note 1: support for INT 21\AX=4411h function itself and for some other IOCTL
subfunctions can be confirmed by driver's attribute word (A.05-2).
8.02-48
INT 21\AH=45h\46h – duplicate a handle
The INT 21\AH=45h function copies a SFT entry number from one byte cell in JFT
table (note 3 to A.07-1) into the nearest free byte cell of the same JFT table. Ordinal
numbers of both byte cells became handles, associated with the same SFT entry and with
the same "opened" object. Creation of a duplicate handle may be necessary either for
saving SFT entry number, or for relocation of entry numbers in JFT table, or just in order
to delete a duplicate handle, because deletion of a handle initiates file's saving to disk,
while presence of another handle to the same file prevents its closure.
The INT 21\AH=46h function also copies a SFT entry number from a byte cell in JFT
table, but stores the copy in a prescribed byte cell, overwriting former SFT entry number
in this cell. If, for example, the 0001h handle, associated with STDOUT channel, is made
a duplicate of another handle, associated with a file, then output, normally sent to display,
will be redirected into this file. Just in this way DOS performs redirection of input and
output data traffic (2.04-02 – 2.04-05).
Prepare:
AH
BX
CX
= 45h – duplication, preserving current associations
= 46h – duplication, overwriting a selected association
– active handle (8.02-33), which is to be duplicated
– another handle, which is to acquire association of the handle in BX
(for INT 21\AH=46h function only).
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX
– automatically assigned duplicate handle (after a call for
INT 21\AH=45h function only).
Note 1: if a handle, specified in CX register, is associated with an opened file, then after a
call for INT 21\AH=46h function this file will become closed automatically.
Note 2: shift of file access point for duplicate handle causes identical shift of file access
point for the other handle, because both refer to the same SFT entry (A.01-4).
8.02-49
INT 21\AH=47h – get current directory
Prepare:
AH = 47h
DL – logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
DS:SI – pointer to 64-byte buffer for pathname.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX contents are not preserved;
DS:SI – pointer to pathname, ending with 00h byte.
Note 1: returned pathname doesn't include disk's letter-name and initial backslash.
Note 2: default directory assignment may be changed with INT 21\AH=3Bh function
(8.02-32).
8.02-50
INT 21\AH=48h – allot a memory block
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 48h
– requested block's size in 16-byte paragraphs
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – segment address of the allotted block
BX – size in paragraphs of the largest available block.
Note 1: a request for BX=FFFFh can't be satisfied, but after this request INT 21\AH=48h
function returns in BX register the whole available size of free conventional
memory.
Note 2: requests to INT 21\AH=48h function from *.COM programs may fail with error
code AL=08h ("insufficient memory"), because by default DOS allots to any
currently executed *.COM program the whole free space of conventional memory
(details – in note 5 to A.12-7). The *.COM programs must declare required
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
amount of memory with a call for INT 21\AH=4Ah function (8.02-52), otherwise
all the rest conventional memory wouldn't be considered free.
8.02-51
INT 21\AH=49h – release memory block
Prepare:
AH
ES
= 49h
– segment address of the block to be made free
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
8.02-52
INT 21\AH=4Ah – resize memory block
Prepare:
AH
BX
ES
= 4Ah
– block's requested size (in 16-byte paragraphs)
– segment address of the block to be resized
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
BX – maximum number of paragraphs, available for specified memory
block
Note 1: if there is no enough memory to expand the block as requested, the block will be
made as large as possible.
8.02-53
INT 21\AH=4Bh – load a program for execution
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 4Bh
– subfunction:
= 00h – loading and initiation of execution
= 01h – loading without execution initiation
= 03h – overlay loading (exchangeable part of code)
DS:DX – pointer to a string with full specification for program call.
Program's name must include suffix. The string must end with 00h
byte.
ES:BX – pointer to parameters block A.07-2.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Contents of BX and DX registers are not preserved.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: subfunction AL=00h creates a new PSP (A.07-1) for the loaded program and fills
its environment segment with a copy of the caller's environment. Command line in
new PSP ends with byte 00h (whereas in ordinary PSP it ends with byte 0Dh).
Note 2: caller's mission comprises a check whether there is enough memory for the loaded
program.
Note 3: loading procedure is performed identically by both AL = 00h and AL = 01h
subfunctions, but the latter doesn't initiate execution of the loaded program. In
order to enable retarded execution initiation, inside ES:BX parameters block
(A.07-2) the AL = 01h subfunction returns enter point address of the loaded
program and a pointer to top of its stack.
Note 4: if an executable file starts with signature MZ or ZM, then it is loaded and
executed as an *.EXE program. An executable file, which is to be executed as a
*.COM program, shouldn't begin with signatures LE, LX, MP, MZ, NE, P2, P3,
PE, PL, W3, W4, ZM.
Note 5: in order to execute a batch file, INT 21\AH=4Bh function has to load command
interpreter COMMAND.COM (6.04) with /C parameter. Name of batch file
should be specified after this parameter inside the same string, pointed at by
DS:DX.
Note 6: when subfunction AL = 03h loads an overlay, it doesn't create PSP and
environment, doesn't initiate execution of the loaded code, and doesn't check
whether target memory area is allotted to the caller program. Subfunction
AL = 03h needs other form of ES:BX parameter block: first word must be target
segment address, the second word at offset 02h must be overlay relocation factor.
8.02-54
INT 21\AX=4B05h – set execution state
The INT 21\AX=4B05h function is used by programs which intercept calls for
INT 21\AX=4B00h in order to prepare programs for execution, including substitution of
DOS version number.
Prepare:
AX = 4B05h
DS:DX – pointer to execution state descriptor (A.07-3)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then AX = 0000h.
Note 1: no DOS, BIOS or other software interrupts are allowed between return from
INT 21\AX=4B05h call and initiation of child process.
Note 2: if DOS is running in HMA area, then A20 line is turned off on return from
INT 21\AX=4B05h call.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-55
INT 21\AH=4Ch – terminate execution, leaving errorlevel code
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 4Ch
– hexadecimal errorlevel code (note 3)
On return:
return wouldn't happen.
Note 1: all network locks, set by executed program, should be removed before applying
INT 21\AH=4Ch function.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=4Ch function closes all files, opened by executed program, and
releases all its memory, unless the parent PSP pointer (at offset 16h in PSP,
A.07-1) points at current PSP itself. This is a symptom of permanently loaded
program, for example, of command interpreter COMMAND.COM (6.04).
Note 3: specified errorlevel code is written into a word at offset 14h in DOS's swappable
data area (A.01-3). Stored errorlevel code may be read later by INT 21\AH=4Dh
function (8.02-56) or may be checked with "If errorlevel..." command (3.15-03).
Note 4: inside operating environment of DEBUG.EXE the INT 21\AH=4Ch function
closes debugger's session and transfers control to DOS. If debugger's session has
to be continued, then execution of the program under test should be terminated
otherwise: either by a breakpoint or by a call for INT 20 (8.02-01).
8.02-56
INT 21\AH=4Dh – read stored errorlevel code
Prepare:
AH
= 4Dh
AH
– termination type:
= 00h – normal termination (8.02-01, 8.02-55)
= 01h – abort caused by CTRL-C keystroke (8.01-95, 8.02-83)
= 02h – abort caused by critical error (8.02-84)
= 03h – termination leaving resident module (8.02-23, 8.02-86)
– hexadecimal errorlevel code (notes 1 and 2)
On return:
AL
Note 1: errorlevel informs about circumstances of previous program termination, except
permanently loaded programs and those executed in background mode.
Note 2: errorlevel is stored in a word at offset 14h in DOS's swappable data area
(A.01-3). Errorlevel is cleared automatically after each call for INT 21\AH=4Dh
function; this is why it can't be read more than once. Multifold reading of
errorlevel value can be performed from batch files (3.15-03).
Note 3: internal commands of COMMAND.COM interpreter don't leave errorlevel code
and don't affect that code, which is left after termination of preceding program.
— 368 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-57
INT 21\AH=4Eh – find first matching file
The INT 21\AH=4Eh function leaves returned data in DTA area. Default DTA
address is in program's PSP (A.07-1) at offset 0080h, but it may be changed by
INT 21\AH=1Ah function (8.02-16). A pointer to actual DTA position is reported by
INT 21\AH=2Fh function (8.02-16). Format of returned data in DTA area is shown in
column F4E of table A.09-1.
Prepare:
AX = 4E00h
CH = 00h
CL
– file's attribute mask (A.09-2)
DS:DX – pointer to a string with name of the file to be searched for. Name
may be preceded by a path. Filemask with wildcards is allowed instead
of filename. String must end with 00h byte.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
data about first found file are returned in DTA area (A.09-1).
Note 1: bits 0 and 5 in file's attribute mask (A.09-2) are ignored. TRUE state of bits 1, 2
and 4 in file's attribute mask doesn't exclude finding of files having no
corresponding attributes. TRUE state of bit 3 (volume label) excludes finding
files.
Note 2: a search for requested file(s) in current directory can also be performed by
INT 21\AH=11h function (8.02-11).
8.02-58
INT 21\AH=4Fh – find next matching file
Prepare:
AH = 4Fh
DTA area (A.09-1) with data left by previous search procedure
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
data about the next found file are returned in DTA area (A.09-1).
Note 1: for search continuation the INT 21\AH=4Fh function uses those data, which are
returned by previous INT 21\AH=4Eh or INT 21\AH=4Fh call and since then are
stored in DTA area (8.02-16). Until search isn't completed, one has to abstain
from renaming, deleting and file moving operations, which alter directory entries
and thus may invalidate the data left in DTA area.
— 369 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-59
INT 21\AH=52h – address of DOS's "List-of-Lists"
Prepare:
AH
= 52h
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to DOS's "List-of-Lists " (A.01-2)
Note 1: segment address, returned in ES: register, points at that data block, which is
arranged by DOS's loader IO.SYS.
Note 2: if current program is executed not in real, but in emulated DOS environment, then
INT 21\AH=52h function may return an obviously invalid address in ES:BX, for
example, 0000:0000h or FFFF:FFFFh.
8.02-60
INT 21\AH=54h – get state of verify flag
Prepare:
AH
= 54h
AL
= 00h – verify flag is turned OFF,
= 01h – verify flag is turned ON
On return:
Note 1: if verify flag is set ON, then each disk writing operation is followed by
verification procedure (details – in article 3.33). Default state of verify flag is
OFF.
Note 2: state of verify flag may be changed by INT 21\AH=2Eh function. It accepts the
requested state of verify flag from AL register in the same form.
8.02-61
INT 21\AH=55h – create a derived (child) PSP
The INT 21\AH=55h function arranges a new PSP (A.07-1), derived from actual PSP
of the caller program. Parent segment field in new PSP is filled with segment address of
caller program's PSP. Pointers to INT 22, INT 23 and INT 24 handlers are written into
interrupt handler's fields in new PSP. JFT table fields for inherited handles are filled with
copied numbers of corresponding SFT entries (A.01-4), and reference counters in these
SFT entries are incremented by 1. Arranged new PSP can be used for execution of a
*.COM program.
Prepare:
AH
DX
SI
= 55h
– segment address for new PSP
– value for PSP's memory size field at offset 02h.
On return:
AL contents may be altered.
— 370 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: memory segment for the new PSP must be allotted by INT 21\AH=48h function
(8.02-50). *.COM file, which is to be executed, should be written into this
segment starting at offset 0100h. After that a control transfer procedure should
follow, which includes redefinition of current process identifier by
INT 21\AH=50h (note 1 to 8.02-73) and a CALL FAR command to offset 0100h
in allotted segment.
8.02-62
INT 21\AH=56h – correction of directory entries
Correction of directory entries enables to rename files and subdirectories. Moving files
from one directory into another within one logical disk also can be performed by moving
directory entries. Since this doesn't imply file's copying, moving of directory entries is
performed much faster.
Prepare:
AH = 56h
DS:DX – pointer to a string with a name of an existing object – file or
directory (note 4). Name may be preceded by a path. String must end
with byte 00h.
ES:DI – pointer to a string with a new name (note 4) or with another path.
String must end with byte 00h.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: if a name, pointed at by DS:DX, belongs to an existing file, and a name, pointed
at by ES:DI, belongs to an existing directory on the same logical disk, then the
entry, corresponding to specified file, will be moved into target directory.
Note 2: if a name, pointed at by ES:DI, doesn't belong to an existing object, while a name,
pointed at by DS:DX, belongs to an existing object – closed file or directory, then
this existing object will be renamed. Renaming of opened files is not allowed.
Note 3: INT 21\AH=56h function doesn't assign the "A" attribute to files, which have
been renamed or moved.
Note 4: wildcards in names are not allowed, unless INT 21\AH=56h function is invoked
via a server call INT 21\AX=5D00h (8.02-68). Besides wildcards (2.01-03),
server call accepts from CL register an attribute mask (A.09-2), and marks
successful renaming (or moving) of file's group by error code AL = 12h (= no
more matching files).
8.02-63
INT 21\AX=5700h – date and time of file's last change
Prepare:
AX
= 5700h
— 371 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
BX
– file's handle (8.02-33)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
CX – time of file's last change:
bits 15 - 11
– hours from 00 to 23;
bits 10 - 5
– minutes;
bits 4 - 0
– seconds.
DX – date of file's last change:
bits 15 - 9
– year, counted from 1980;
bits 8 - 5
– month;
bits 4 - 0
– day.
Note 1: date and time of file's last change may be set by INT 21\AX=5701h function: it
accepts time from CX register and date from DX register in the same form.
Note 2: date and time of file's creation similarly may be read by INT 21\AX=5706h
function and set by INT 21\AX=5707h function. Both these functions use SI
register for time code in .01 second units. However, date and time of file's
creation are not necessarily registered under DOS.
Note 3: date of last access to a file may be similarly read by INT 21\AX=5704h function
and set by INT 21\AX=5705h function (the latter needs CX=0000h to be
specified). However, registration of last access date may be prohibited by
ACCDATE command (4.01).
8.02-64
INT 21\AX=5800h – memory allocation strategy
Prepare:
AX
= 5800h
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – current strategy code:
bits 7 and 6:
= 00 – use conventional memory;
= 01 – use upper memory;
= 10 – use conventional memory, only if upper memory is
unavailable;
bits 1 and 0:
= 00 – allot first fit space;
= 01 – allot best fit space;
= 10 – allot last fit space.
bits 15 - 8 and 5 - 2 must be cleared to zero.
— 372 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: the INT 21\AX=5801h function accepts the same strategy code in BX register
and enables to set it.
Note 2: former memory allocation strategy must be restored before termination of each
program, which has changed strategy settings.
Note 3: proper memory allocation strategy is necessary, but not sufficient for upper
memory usage: besides that, command DOS=UMB (4.08) must be present in
CONFIG.SYS file.
8.02-65
INT 21\AH=59h – extended information about the last error
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 59h
= 0000h
On return:
contents of CL, DX, SI, BP and DS registers are not preserved;
BH – error class (A.06-2);
BL
– recommended action (A.06-3);
CH – probable error locus (A.06-4);
AX – error code (A.06-1); if AX=0022h, then
ES:DI – pointer to media identifier (note 2 to A.06-1).
Note 1: error information is read from DOS's swappable area (A.01-3).
Note 2: error information is written into DOS' swappable area by INT 21\AX=5D0Ah
function; it accepts in DS:DX registers a pointer to parameters list (A.07-4), and
gets data from those words in this list, which correspond to registers AX, BX,
CX, DI, DX, ES.
8.02-66
INT 21\AH=5Ah – create a temporary file
Prepare:
AH = 5Ah
CX – file's attributes (A.09-2)
DS:DX – pointer to string with a path, ending with a backslash. After that
backslash 13 bytes 00h must follow: it is a place for automatically
generated filename.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – handle (8.02-33) for created temporary file;
DS:DX – pointer to string with path and appended filename.
Note 1: created file automatically gets a unique name, excluding name conflicts.
— 373 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: capacity of root directories is limited. If disk's root directory is full, then a file in
this directory can't be created.
Note 3: each temporary file must be closed and deleted before termination of that
program, which has requested creation of this temporary file.
8.02-67
INT 21\AH=5Bh – create a new file
Prepare:
AH = 5Bh
CX – file's attributes (A.09-2)
DS:DX – pointer to string with a name for new file. Name may be preceded
by a path. String must end with byte 00h.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – handle (8.02-33) for created new file.
Note 1: the INT 21\AH=5Bh function can't create new file, if a file with the same name
exists yet in specified directory.
Note 2: capacity of root directories is limited. If disk's root directory is full, then a file in
this directory can't be created.
Note 3: the INT 21\AH=3Ch does the same and accepts the same specifications (except
AH), but doesn't return error if a synonymous file is present in the same directory.
This synonymous file will be just truncated to zero length, and a pointer to its
first cluster will be lost. Therefore restoration of a truncated file is a much more
complex procedure, then restoration after occasional ordinary deletion by
functions INT 21\AH=13h (8.02-13) or INT 21\AH=41h (8.02-37).
8.02-68
INT 21\AX=5D00h – server function call
The INT 21\AX=5D00h function presents a template, enabling to call any other
function of INT 21 handler and execute this function as a separate process with
opportunities for selective and repeated execution. In particular, server call for
INT 21\AH=3Dh function enables to specify an attribute mask for the target file. Besides
that, server calls for INT 21\AH=56h and INT 21\AH=41h functions enable to rename and
to delete files, specified by filemasks with wildcards (2.01-03).
Prepare:
AX = 5D00h
DS:DX – pointer to data block (A.07-4), specifying states of all registers,
which should be prepared for execution of the requested function.
On return:
– as should be returned by the requested function.
— 374 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: validity of initial data in data block is not checked. Computer may get hanged, if
data block specifies invalid number of requested function for AH register.
Note 2: filenames, required for INT 21 calls, must be prepared with full path in canonical
form by INT 21\AH=60h function (8.02-72).
8.02-69
INT 21\AX=5D01h – close all files for a process
The INT 21\AH=5D01h function closes files, opened by caller process, updates all
relevant directory entries and writes disk buffer's contents back to disk. If there are opened
files, accessed via a network, then network service function INT 2F\AX=1107h is
automatically called for.
Prepare:
AX = 5D01h
DS:DX – pointer to data block (A.07-4), specifying virtual machine identifier
at offset 12h and process identifier at offset 14h. Contents of register's
data fields in data block are ignored.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
8.02-70
INT 21\AX=5D06h – address of swappable data area (SDA)
DOS functions store caller's status information: it may be needed later for these or
other DOS functions, called by the same process. However, current process may be
interrupted by other process – an invoked TSR program or interrupt handler. DOS
functions, called by this other process, store other status information and corrupt data,
related to interrupted process. Corrupted data prevent proper resumption of interrupted
process. In order to avoid such conflicts relevant data should be saved and later restored.
Therefore MS-DOS stores relevant data in SDA – Swappable Data Area (A.01-3).
INT 21\AX=5D06h function returns address of SDA area and size of that data block,
which should be saved in particular circumstances.
Prepare:
AX
= 5D06h
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
DS:SI – pointer to start of SDA area (A.01-3),
CX – size in bytes of the whole SDA area, including status data and
DOS's stacks. Whole SDA area must be saved in order to enable
proper resumption of interrupted DOS function.
— 375 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
DX
– size in bytes of status data part of SDA area, which should be saved
when interrupted process is not a DOS function.
Note 1: saving of SDA's data is not needed, if interrupting process doesn't call for DOS
functions.
Note 2: INT 21\AX=5D06h is also a DOS function, potentially able to damage data in
SDA area, when interrupt has happened yet. Therefore INT 21\AX=5D06h
function should be called beforehand, during initiation of driver or of resident
program. Returned information should be stored and kept ready for future use.
8.02-71
INT 21\AX=5F08h – hide a logical disk
Prepare:
AX
DL
= 5F08h
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-10)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: INT 21\AX=5F08h function checks disk's parameters in DOS's internal tables.
Having found disk's parameters invalid, the INT 21\AX=5F08h function fails.
Note 2: INT 21\AX=5F07h function accepts the same specifications (except AX), but
performs reverse operation: turns a hidden disk into valid disk.
8.02-72
INT 21\AH=60h – convert filename or path into canonical form
Effect of INT 21\AH=60h function is identical to effect of TRUENAME command,
described in article 3.29. Transformation of filename and path into canonical form is
necessary for several DOS functions and enables to avoid errors, which otherwise may
cause undesirable consequences.
Prepare:
AH = 60h
DS:SI – pointer to a string with a name, which may be preceded by a path.
Maximum length of the string is 64 bytes. String must end with 00h
byte.
ES:DI – pointer to a 128-byte buffer for transformed name and path.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, pointers with buffer contents are preserved, and AX
register prompts possible cause of error:
AX = 0002h – some component of path is invalid or absent
= 0003h – wrong composition or invalid disk's letter-name.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
— 376 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
ES:DI – pointer to buffer with transformed specification
AX contents may be lost.
Note 1: actual existence of specified name and path is not checked.
Note 2: INT 21\AH=60h function can't be applied to network paths.
8.02-73
INT 21\AH=62h – get current PSP address
DOS regards current PSP address as an identifier of the current process. Replacement
of current process identifier with another one is the key operation in multitasking execution
control. Identifier replacement implies reading the current identifier from SDA area
(A.01-3) with INT 21\AH=62h function, saving the current identifier, and then writing a
new identifier into SDA area. Having finished its job, program must restore the former
process identifier before it returns control back. There are some other reasons to call for
INT 21\AH=62h function in order to determine current PSP address (an example – in
9.07-02).
Prepare:
AH
= 62h
BX
– segment address of PSP (A.07-1) for the current process.
On return:
Note 1: new process identifier may be written into SDA area with INT 21\AH=50h; the
latter accepts prepared new identifier from BX register. Besides BX and
AH=50h, no other data are needed.
8.02-74
INT 21\AX=6501h – country information
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 6501h
– hexadecimal codepage number, or BX=FFFFh for a request about
current codepage.
CX – size of prepared buffer for data, not less than 29h bytes
DX – country identifier, or DX=FFFFh for current country request
ES:DI – pointer to prepared buffer for data
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
ES:DI – pointer to buffer filled with data (A.02-4)
CX – size (in bytes) of buffer's filled part.
Note 1: functions INT 21\AX=6502h, 6504h, 6505h, 6506h use the same specifications
(except AX), but return in ES:DI buffer only one 4-byte address at offset 01h:
— 377 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
– INT 21\AX=6502h returns a pointer to uppercase table, which begins with
its size (1 word), followed by 128 uppercase equivalents (in there are
any) of characters from 80h to FFh.
– INT 21\AX=6504h returns a pointer to filename uppercase table, which has
the same structure, but is applied to filenames only.
– INT 21\AX=6505h returns a pointer to filename restrictions table (A.02-5).
– INT 21\AX=6506h returns a pointer to collating sequence table, which
begins with its size (1 word), followed by 256 bytes, defining order of
sorting for characters from 00h to FFh.
Note 2: information concerning other countries and other code tables, not installed at the
current moment, is not available, unless the NLSFUNC.EXE resident program
(5.02-03) is installed.
Note 3: country information in MS-DOS7 may be set with INT 21\AX=7002h function.
It accepts in DS:SI a pointer to data table (A.02-4), in CX – length of that table
(normally 0026h bytes). If CF is clear on return, then CX – length of actually set
data. Set state of CF flag signifies an error: AX = 7000h means that function is
not supported; other error codes correspond to table A.06-1.
8.02-75
INT 21\AX=6521h – country-dependent string capitalization
Prepare:
AX = 6521h
CX – length of string to capitalize
DS:DX – pointer to the string to capitalize
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies success, submitted string is capitalized.
Note 1: the INT 21\AX=6522h function does the same, but ignores CX and requires the
end of string to be marked with byte 00h.
Note 2: INT 21\AX=6520h function is used to capitalize a single character, accepted and
returned in DL. CX and DS contents are ignored.
8.02-76
INT 21\AH=67h – set size of handle table
By default not more than 20 handles can be kept active simultaneously, because size of
original JFT (offset 18h in A.07-1) is limited to 20 bytes. The INT 21\AH=67h function
creates a new JFT table outside PSP, thus removing default restriction, caused by limited
length of original JFT.
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 67h
– number of handles in new JFT table for current process
— 378 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: if current JFT is inside PSP, and new size in BX is no more than 20 bytes, then
no action is undertaken.
Note 2: if current JFT outside PSP contains no more than 20 active handles, and new JFT
size in BX is no more than 20 bytes, then JFT is copied back into PSP.
Note 3: if a reduced JFT size is requested, and active handles can't fit into this reduced
size, then INT 21\AH=67h function fails with error code 0004h (= too many
opened files).
Note 4: number of simultaneously opened files is limited not by JFT table only, but also
by SFT table (A.01-4). Length of the latter is defined by command FILES (4.12)
in configuration file CONFIG.SYS.
Note 5: irrespective of current JFT size and location, the child process can't inherit more
than 20 active handles from its parent process.
8.02-77
INT 21\AX=6900h – get volume label and FAT type
The same data block A.04-1 with disk's volume specifications is returned by both
INT 21\AX=440Dh\CX=4866h and INT 21\AX=6900h functions, except that the latter in
case of access failure doesn't call for critical error handler INT 24 (8.02-84). All errors are
reported via their code returned in AX.
Prepare:
AX = 6900h
BH = 00h
BL
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
DS:DX – pointer to buffer 19h bytes long for data block
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
DS:DX – pointer to buffer with written data block (A.04-1)
AH contents may be altered.
Note 1: data starting at offset 02h in returned data block are copied from bytes at offsets
27h – 3Dh in extended BPB block (A.03-4).
Note 2: error code 0005h is reported if extended BPB is not found in the requested disk.
Note 3: the INT 21\AX=6900h function can't be applied to network drives. Such calls
return error code 0001h.
Note 4: INT 21\AX=6901h function performs the reverse operation: it accepts data block
(A.04-1), pointed at by DS:DX, and copies disk's volume data from this block
— 379 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
into extended BPB of that disk, which is similarly specified by its number in BX
register.
8.02-78
INT 21\AX=6C00h – extended get handle function
A handle for access to an object can be obtained with both INT 21\AH=3Dh (8.02-33)
and INT 21\AX=6C00h functions, but the latter provides extended capabilities to define
handle's properties and prescribed actions.
Prepare:
AX
BH
= 6C00h
– properties flags:
bit 4 – allow file's size above 2GB (for FAT-32 only)
bit 5 – return error rather than call for INT 24h
bit 6 – write to disk immediately, bypass cache buffer
BL
– access and sharing conditions (A.09-4)
CX – file's attributes (A.09-2), if file is to be created
DH = 00h
DL – prescribed action code:
= 01h – open an existing file, fail if it doesn't exist;
= 10h – open a new file, fail if a synonymous file exists;
= 11h – open a file; create it anew, if it doesn't exist;
= 12h – open a new file; if synonymous file exists, remove it.
DS:SI – pointer to a string with filename, optionally preceded by a path.
Wildcards in filename are not allowed. The string must end with byte
00h.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
AX – returned handle to opened file
CX – status code:
= 0001h – file is opened;
= 0002h – file has been created;
= 0003h – file has been replaced.
Note 1: prescribed action DL = 11h is not supported on remote disks.
Note 2: operations with remote disks don't return status code in CX.
Note 3: if a file is created anew, then contents of both BH and BL are copied into a new
SFT entry (A.01-4).
Note 4: on opening a file its access pointer is set to file's start.
Note 5: opportunity to open a file doesn't depend on its attributes.
— 380 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-79
INT 21\AX=7302h – copying of extended DPB
The INT 21\AX=7302h function copies Disk Parameters Block (DPB) into a prepared
buffer. Requested DPB (A.03-1) may belong to a disk formatted with either FAT-12,
FAT-16 or FAT-32 file system.
Prepare:
AX = 7302h
DL – logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
CX – length of prepared buffer, not less than 3Dh bytes
ES:DI – pointer to prepared buffer for DPB
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies success, DPB table is copied (note 2).
Note 1: unlike similar functions INT 21\AH=1Fh and INT 21\AH=32h (8.02-24), the
INT 21\AX=7302h function is not available in previous DOS versions and fails,
if PC's BIOS doesn't support INT 13 extensions (8.01-55).
Note 2: the word at offset 00h in returned data block is its length; a copy of DPB
(A.03-1) starts at offset DI+02.
Note 3: place for driver's header address at offset 13h in returned copy of DPB is filled
with FFFFh.
Note 4: the INT 21\AX=7302h function attempts to read BPB on the requested disk in
order to update DPB. If access fails, INT 24 handler is called for.
8.02-80
INT 21\AX=7303h – get free space table
The INT 21\AX=7303h function reports free space on disks formatted with either
FAT-12, FAT-16 or FAT-32 file systems. Returned data block (A.13-7) is copied into
prepared buffer. Unlike values, returned by INT 21\AH=36h function (8.02-30), values in
data block A.13-7 are not limited to 2048 Mb.
Prepare:
AX = 7303h
CX – length of prepared buffer, not less than 34h bytes
DS:DX – pointer to string, defining the requested disk (note 2)
ES:DI – pointer to buffer for data block; a word at offset 02h in this buffer
must be filled with 0000h beforehand.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
ES:DI – pointer to buffer filled with data block (A.13-7),
AL
– size of the returned data block.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: unlike similar function INT 21\AH=36h, the INT 21\AX=7302h function is not
available in previous DOS versions and fails, if PC's BIOS doesn't support
INT 13 extensions (8.01-55).
Note 2: prepared string must define the requested disk just as it is defined in CDS table
(A.03-3): for example, C:\ for local disks and \\SERVER\Share for disks,
accessed via a network. Prepared string must end with byte 00h.
8.02-81
INT 21\AX=7305h – extended read/write operations
The INT 21\AX=7305h function presents 5 subfunctions for performing reading and
writing operations inside logical disks, formatted with either FAT-12, FAT-16 or FAT-32
file systems. Similarly to INT 25 and INT 26 handlers (8.02-85), subfunctions of
INT 21\AX=7305h ignore file structure and are addressed by sector numbers, counted
separately for each logical disk from its start.
Prepare:
AX = 7305h
DL – logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-17)
DS:BX – pointer to disk address packet (note 2)
SI
– subfunction:
= 0000h – reading
= 0001h – writing any non-specific data
= 2001h – writing FAT data
= 4001h – writing directory data
= 6001h – writing file data
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: unlike similar functions INT 25 and INT 26 (8.02-85), the INT 21\AX=7302h
function is not available in previous DOS versions and fails, if PC's BIOS doesn't
support INT 13 extensions (8.01-55).
Note 2: disk address packet is 10 bytes long and contains at offset:
00h – double word: operation start sector number;
04h – a word: number of sectors to be read or written;
06h – double word: address of buffer with data or for data.
8.02-82
INT 22 – address of control return point
Address in INT 22 cell of interrupt table belongs not to a handler, but to a return point
inside parent process. When current program terminates, control is to be transferred just to
INT 22 address of this return point. Most often INT 22 points at command following that
— 382 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
call for INT 21\AH=4Bh function (8.02-53), which has been used to launch current
program.
Interrupt INT 22 shouldn't be called directly, because parent process can't proceed
normally without restoration of many necessary conditions, including state of stack and
addresses in INT 22 – INT 24 cells of interrupt table. All necessary preparations are
performed by program termination handlers INT 20 (8.02-01) and INT 21\AH=4Ch
(8.02-55). These handlers read INT 22 address from interrupt table, temporary save it,
copy parent's control return point address from offset 0Ah in current program's PSP
(A.07-1) into the same INT 22 cell, and then execute a JMP FAR command (7.03-39) to
temporary saved address.
8.02-83
INT 23 – CTRL-C/CTRL-Break handler
Each time when keyboard controller reports about CTRL-C/CTRL-Break keystroke,
INT 09 handler calls for INT 1B, and the latter sets TRUE state to a flag in BIOS data
area (at offset 71h in table A.02-3). State of this flag is checked by some MS-DOS
functions, called by current program. If flag is found set to TRUE state, then INT 23
handler is called for, which suspends execution of current program.
Code of INT 23 handler is written in presumption, that its caller is a DOS function.
Therefore calls for INT 23 from application programs are not allowed, except indirect
calls via INT 1B (8.01-95).
Further events partially depend on circumstances, but in most cases the user has to
choose: either continue or terminate execution of the suspended program. Possible user's
actions in response are described in article 1.03. If termination alternative is chosen, then
INT 23 handler closes all files, opened by suspended program, releases its memory, defines
zero errorlevel, sets CF flag into CY state, and after that transfers control to parent
process – that one, which has called current program. If user chooses continuation, then
states of all registers and flags are restored, and control is transferred to that DOS
function, which has called INT 23 handler. Having finished its mission, this DOS function
returns control back to its caller – to the current program.
8.02-84
INT 24 – critical error handler
When inadequate responses are returned to DOS function's requests, then these DOS
functions call for INT 24 – critical error handler. The INT 24 handler analyses information
about each error, but most often doesn't rely upon itself, and addresses its famous question
"Abort, Retry, Fail?" to the user. Having got user's decision, INT 24 handler transfers it
for execution to that DOS function, which has called for INT 24.
Code of INT 24 handler is written in presumption, that its caller is a DOS function.
Therefore direct calls for INT 24 from application programs are not allowed.
— 383 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return states of all registers (except AL) are restored from the stack, and AL
returns action code:
AL
= 00h – return to caller program with error code (fail);
= 01h – make one more attempt of the same request (retry);
= 02h – terminate execution of the caller program (abort);
= 03h – admit system failure and halt the CPU.
Note 1: automatic answer FAIL and non-stop continuation of execution can be ensured by
set state of flag at offset 2Ah in SDA (A.01-3). In particular, this flag is set by
command interpreter COMMAND.COM, when it is launched with undocumented
parameter /f (6.04).
8.02-85
Direct disk read (INT 25) and write (INT 26)
NT 25 and INT 26 handlers enable access to logical disks, formatted with file systems
FAT-12 and FAT-16. Disk access is addressed by sector numbers, counted separately
within each logical disk from sector number 00000000h and on. Data buffer address and
particular sector numbers are transferred inside disk address packet, described in note 2 to
8.02-81.
Prepare:
AL
– logical disk number (note 1 to 8.02-10)
CX = FFFFh (note 3)
DS:BX – pointer to disk address packet (note 2 to 8.02-81).
On return:
States of BX, CX, DX, DI, SI registers are not preserved.
On error CF flag is set, AL returns error code (A.06-1), AH returns error
status according to table A.06-5.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
Note 1: INT 25 and INT 26 handlers leave a word of flag's states in top of stack. The
caller program has either to pop this word out of stack or to restore former value
in SP register.
Note 2: INT 25 and INT 26 handlers are able to provide access to logical disks with
32-bit data transfer, marked by TRUE state of bit 1 in driver's attribute word
(A.05-2).
Note 3: being applied to small logical disks without cluster structure (32 Mb or less, ID
04h in table A.13-6), INT 25 and INT 26 handlers employ different form of
specification:
CX – number of sectors to be read or written
DX – number of start sector
DS:BX – pointer to a buffer with data or for data.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 4: INT 25 and INT 26 handlers can't be applied to logical disks formatted with
FAT-32 file system, the INT 21\AX=7305h handler (8.02-81) should be used
instead.
8.02-86
INT 27 – terminate execution, leaving resident module
Prepare:
CS
DX
– segment address of current program's PSP
– size of resident module, from 60h to FFF0h bytes, counted from
start of current program's PSP
Note 1: the INT 27 handler transfers control to the parent process – that one, which has
launched the current program. INT 27 handler makes necessary preparations for
control transfer: releases main program's memory (except its resident module),
restores pointers in interrupt table. But INT 27 handler doesn't close opened files:
this must be done by current program itself beforehand.
Note 2: the INT 21\AH=31h function (8.02-23) has the same mission, but doesn't limit
resident module's size at 64 kb and enables to leave non-zero errorlevel values.
8.02-87
INT 28 – DOS idle hook for background execution
The INT 28 interrupt is invoked at a pace of timer's tick (18 times per second) while
any of DOS's character input functions (INT 21\AH=01h-0Ch) is waiting for input from
keyboard. DOS is actually idle during such waiting intervals. Default INT 28 handler is a
single IRET instruction (7.03-30), which simply returns control back to the caller.
Interception of INT 28 enables to activate a background program or a TSR while the
foreground program is waiting for user input. Intercepting INT 28 handler gets SS:SP
registers pointing at top of DOS's stack and has to restore states of all registers on return.
Note 1: a program, which intercepts INT 28, must check the state of InDOS flag (at
offset 01h in A.01-3). Address of that flag must be found beforehand with a call
for INT 21\AH=34h (8.02-28) function and must be stored since program's
initialization. At the moment of INT 28 call the value of InDOS flag normally is
01h; if it has larger value, then all calls for DOS functions from intercepting
program are prohibited.
Note 2: programs, designed for background execution, when InDOS flag has its normal
value 01h, are allowed to call for DOS functions, except INT 21\AH=01h-0Ch
functions and except calls, addressed to CON device handles (normally these are
handles 0000h – 0002h).
— 385 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.02-88
INT 29 – non-redirectable console output
The INT 29 handler is used to display messages on the screen, when STDOUT output
is (or may be) redirected elsewhere – to a file or a device, other than display (CON) device.
Prepare:
AL
– ASCII code of the character to be displayed
On return:
BX register contents may be altered.
Note 1: default INT 29 handler sends character's code to display via BIOS's function
INT 10\AH=0Eh (8.01-21).
Note 2: bit 4 in CON device driver's attribute word (A.05-2) indicates whether the CON
device driver supports INT 29.
Note 3: non-redirectable display of a character string also can be performed via STDERR
channel (handle 0002h), addressed by INT 21\AH=40h function (8.02-36).
Unlike INT 29, STDERR channel is always supported by CON device driver.
8.02-89
INT 2E – transmit a command to interpreter
The INT 2E handler transfers a command line for execution to command interpreter
COMMAND.COM, but doesn't load interpreter's module anew. Command line is
transferred to that interpreter's resident module, which is loaded yet and which has
launched the caller program.
Prepare:
DS:SI – pointer to command line to be executed. Format of command line
must be identical to that in PSP (A.07-1, offset 80h): first byte is line's
length, then follows command line itself, terminated with byte 0Dh.
Length count doesn't include terminating byte.
On return:
AX – error code (A.06-1);
Contents of all registers, except CS:IP, can be altered..
Note 1: resident module of command interpreter may need to load transient portion of
COMMAND.COM interpreter for execution of specified command. Caller
program must ensure, that DOS will be able to allocate sufficient memory for
transient portion of COMMAND.COM interpreter.
Note 2: being invoked by INT 2E, COMMAND.COM interpreter works with its original
environment, which may differ from the caller's environment. Hence all changes
in environment variables, if there are any, will not be accessible for the caller.
Note 3: INT 2E shouldn't be called by programs, which are launched from a batch file.
— 386 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03
Interrupt handlers, loaded by drivers and TSR programs
When DOS starts execution of application program, then pointers to BIOS's and
DOS's interrupt handlers are certainly written yet in their cells of interrupt table.
Application programs don't need to check presence of these pointers in their cells. This is
not true for those handlers, which are loaded by optional software – drivers and TSR
programs. Corresponding cells in interrupt table may be left empty, and application
programs must check, whether these cells are filled with valid pointers.
Long time ago, when drivers were not numerous, each driver used to have its own cell
in interrupt table. Then validity of handler's address could be confirmed by presence of a
specific signature in some vicinity of addressed point. This manner of confirmation may be
applied, for example, to resident module of EMM386.EXE driver (note 1 to 8.03-62),
whose ancestors are known since 1983.
As more and more drivers appeared, shortage of space in interrupt table began to cause
conflicts. Besides that, it was desirable to eliminate threat of hanging, when the addressed
resident module isn't loaded. As a solution of both these problems an idea of multiplex
interrupt INT 2F has been suggested. Every participating driver had to intercept INT 2F
calls, thus forming a link in a chain of interceptors (details – in A.07-5). A call for INT 2F
has to pass along this chain from one handler to the other, and each handler analyses an
identifier in AH register. If a handler doesn't recognize its own identifier in AH, it leaves
AX intact and lets this call to "travel" further along the chain. If specified identifier isn't
recognized by all handlers, then the call for INT 2F reaches the last chain's link – a IRET
command, initially set by DOS. IRET command returns control to the caller program, so
that AX value is returned unchanged. A change of AX contents can be regarded as an
evidence of that some handler has recognized its own identifier; hence, the requested
resident module is loaded yet.
Naturally, multiplex interrupt is suitable not only for recognition. It enables to address
main functions of optional resident modules without risk of hanging when required
modules are not loaded. However, tracing a long chain of references takes time and makes
execution slower. In order to avoid delays many drivers return addresses of their entrance
points via INT 2F. Direct calls to these entrance points invoke specific functions of
resident modules much faster, than via multiplex interrupt. For example, multiplex
interrupt INT 2F is used by HIMEM.SYS driver (5.04-01) in order to return address of its
entrance point (8.03-23).
Practice of INT 2F usage has got a limited success for some time, but it couldn't
eliminate conflicts caused by inconsistent appointment of identifiers to different drivers and
resident modules. In order to avoid such conflicts one more idea has been suggested –
dynamic assignment of identifiers: each resident module should assign to itself the first free
identifier it finds. This idea is implemented by multiplex interrupt INT 2D (details – in
— 387 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
A.07-6). Now resident DOS's software has got rid of identification conflicts owing to
multiplex interrupt INT 2D.
Meanwhile many drivers with well known identifiers continue to use multiplex
interrupt INT 2F. Moreover, several resident modules, which were loaded by drivers in
previous DOS versions, now are integrated into DOS kernel together with their INT 2F
identifiers for the sake of preserving compatibility. There is no sense in testing presence of
resident modules with INT 2F identifiers AH = 05h, 08h and 12h, which actually are now
DOS functions. Nevertheless such integrated functions are described below in part 8.03
among functions of optionally loaded software, because otherwise convenience of their
ordinal search will be lost.
8.03-01
INT 2F\AX=0501h – convert error code into message
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 0501h
– error code to be converted (A.06-1)
On return:
Contents of AX, DI, ES registers and states of flags are not preserved.
Set state of CF flag means, that DOS has no message for submitted code.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
ES:DI – pointer to read-only message, ending with byte 00h;
AL
= 00h – message needs to be complemented with disk's letter-name;
= 01h – returned message is complete.
8.03-02
INT 2F\AX=0801h – accept DDT for a logical disk
The INT 2F\AX=0801h function appends DOS's chain of disk data tables (DDT) with
a prepared DDT table, and modifies disk description flags in other tables, referencing the
same physical drive. Since that moment the added logical disk becomes accessible by
means of block device drivers, integrated into the DOS's core.
Prepare:
AX = 0801h
DS:DI – pointer to the prepared DDT table (A.03-2)
On return:
Contents of AX, BX, SI, ES registers are not preserved.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=0801h function shouldn't be applied to IFS, remote and other
disks, which can't be served by native DOS's block device drivers.
Note 2: an example of DDT table can be obtained via INT 2F\AX=0803h function.
— 388 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-03
INT 2F\AX=0802h – send a request to block device driver
The INT 2F\AX=0802h function executes requests concerning logical disks,
represented by valid disk data tables (A.03-2) and controlled by block device drivers,
integrated into DOS's core. Both addressed disk number and code of the requested
operation (A.05-3) should be specified inside a request data block (A.05-4).
Prepare:
AX = 0802h
ES:BX – pointer to request data block (A.05-4)
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to request data block, updated according to the requested
operation (A.05-3 – A.05-7)
Note 1: INT 2F\AX=0802h function leaves a word of flag's states in top of stack. The
caller program has either to pop this word out of stack or to restore former value
in SP register.
Note 2: possible errors are announced by error codes, returned in bytes at offsets 03h and
04h in request data block (A.05-4). In any case critical error handler (INT 24) is
not invoked.
8.03-04
INT 2F\AX=0803h – get address of the first DDT
Prepare:
AX
= 0803h
On return:
DS:DI – pointer to start of the first DDT table (A.03-2)
Note 1: a chain of DDT tables can be easily traced through, since the first double word in
each DDT table is a pointer to the next DDT table (A.03-2).
8.03-05
INT 2F\AX=1202h – get a pointer to interrupt handler's address
Prepare:
AX = 1202h
interrupt number should be in top of stack
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to interrupt handler's address;
contents of AX register may be altered;
state of stack is returned unchanged.
Note 1: while CPU is in real mode, the INT 2F\AX=1202h function just multiplies
interrupt number by 4.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-06
INT 2F\AX=1212h – determine length of a string
Prepare:
AX = 1212h
ES:DI – pointer to ASCIIZ string, ending with 00h byte.
On return:
CX
– length of the string, including terminating 00h byte.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=1225h function does the same, but accepts the pointer from
DS:SI registers pair.
8.03-07
INT 2F\AX=1213h – uppercase a character
Prepare:
AX = 1213h
ASCII code of the character should be in top of stack.
On return:
AL
– upper case ASCII code of the same character.
State of stack is returned unchanged.
8.03-08
INT 2F\AX=1214h – comparison of far pointers
Prepare:
AX = 1212h
DS:SI – first pointer
ES:DI – second pointer
On return:
ZF flag set and CF flag clear if pointers are equal;
ZF flag clear and CF flag set if pointers differ.
8.03-09
INT 2F\AX=1216h – get a pointer to SFT entry
The INT 2F\AX=1216h function accepts a number of SFT entry (A.01-4) and returns
a pointer to that SFT entry, thus giving an opportunity of direct access to SFT.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 1216h
– number of the requested SFT entry (note 2)
On return:
AX value is not preserved.
Set state of CF flag signifies mission's failure.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
ES:DI – pointer to requested SFT entry,
BX – relative number of the same entry in a particular SFT.
— 390 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: most probable cause of error is a request for SFT entry number greater than
maximum number of SFT entries, specified by FILES command (4.12) in
CONFIG.SYS file.
Note 2: a pointer to number of SFT entry, related to a particular handle, is returned by
INT 2F\AX=1220h function (8.03-11).
8.03-10
INT 2F\AX=121Eh – comparison of filenames
Prepare:
AX = 121Eh
DS:SI – pointer to the first filename, ending with 00h byte;
ES:DI – pointer to the second filename, ending with 00h byte.
On return:
ZF flag is set if filenames are equivalent,
ZF flag is clear if filenames differ.
8.03-11
INT 2F\AX=1220h – get a pointer to JFT entry
The JFT table (note 3 to A.07-1) is filled with numbers of SFT entries (A.01-4),
defining those objects, which are opened for access – channels or files. Access to these
objects is performed via handles – numerical references, known to the caller program. A
path from a handle to corresponding SFT entry starts with a call for INT 2F\AX=1220h
function, returning a pointer to number of that corresponding SFT entry. This number is
the main data item in specification of a call for INT 2F\AX=1216h function (8.03-09),
which returns address of corresponding SFT entry.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 1220h
– an active (opened) handle
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX = 06h (– invalid handle error).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
ES:DI – address of that byte in JFT, where the required number of SFT entry
is stored.
Note 1: the FFh value of JFT byte, pointed at by address in ES:DI registers, signifies
inactive (closed) state of specified handle.
8.03-12
INT 2F\AX=122Ch – enter device driver chain
The INT 2F\AX=122Ch function enables to trace the whole chain of device driver
headers, because the first double word in each header is a pointer to the next header. The
last header is marked with first word FFFFh.
— 391 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Prepare:
AX
= 122Ch
On return:
BX:AX – pointer to header of the second driver (the first is NUL device
driver in DOS's "List-of-Lists", A.01-2).
8.03-13
INT 2F\AX=1500h – get number of CD/DVD drives
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 1500h
= 0000h
AL
BX
CX
= FFh – signature of successful termination (note 1);
– number of CD/DVD drives;
– drive number, assigned to the first CD/DVD drive
(0002h = C:, 0003h = D:, and so on.)
On return:
Note 1: returned initial value AL = 00h signifies, that resident module of CD/DVD file
system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), which has to perform INT 2F\AX=1500h
function, is not loaded.
Note 2: the INT 2F\AX=1500h function conflicts with GRAPHICS.COM driver's
functions and, besides that, may return incorrect letter-name of the first CD/DVD
drive when INTERLINK.EXE network driver is installed.
8.03-14
INT 2F\AX=1501h – get CD/DVD driver header address
Prepare:
AX = 1501h
ES:BX – pointer to a buffer (5 bytes per disc expected)
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to buffer filled with 5-bytes blocks for each drive. In each
block the first byte – disc's subunit number, related to a particular
driver, the following double word – pointer to header of that driver.
Whole length of data in buffer depends on number of CD/DVD drives,
returned by INT 2F\AX=1500h function (8.03-13).
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=1501h function, performed by resident module of CD/DVD file
system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), shouldn't be called for, unless
INT 2F\AX=150Bh function (8.03-17) confirms in advance, that required module
is loaded yet.
Note 2: being called inside "DOS box" under WINDOWS OS, the INT 2F\AX=1501h
function returns AX=0000h and invalid header's addresses.
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-15
INT 2F\AX=1505h – read CD/DVD's table of contents
Prepare:
AX = 1505h
CX – CD/DVD drive number (0002h = C:, 0003h = D:, and so on)
DX – sector index (note 2)
ES:BX – pointer to a prepared 2048-byte buffer.
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL – error code:
AL
= 15h – invalid drive number;
= 21h – drive is not ready or there is no media in the drive.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then:
AL
– volume descriptor type:
= 01h – standard volume descriptor;
= FFh – the last volume descriptor;
= 00h – any other volume descriptor type.
ES:BX – pointer to 2048-byte buffer with table of contents.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=1505h function, performed by resident module of CD/DVD file
system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), shouldn't be called for, unless
INT 2F\AX=150Bh function (8.03-17) confirms in advance, that required module
is loaded yet.
Note 2: a CD/DVD disc may have several volume descriptors: sector index 0000h
corresponds to the first descriptor, sector index 0001h corresponds to the second
descriptor, and so on.
8.03-16
INT 2F\AX=1508h-1509h – absolute CD/DVD read/write
Prepare:
AX
= 1508h
– to read CD/DVD sectors
= 1509h
– to write CD/DVD sectors (note 3)
CX – CD/DVD drive number (0002h = C:, 0003h = D:, and so on)
DX – number of sectors to be read or written
ES:BX – pointer to buffer (with data for write function)
SI:DI – starting sector number
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AL – error code:
AL
= 0Fh – invalid drive;
= 15h – drive is busy or there is no media in the drive.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then after reading
operation ES:BX buffer is filled with read data.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=1508h-1509h functions, performed by resident module of
CD/DVD file system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), shouldn't be called for,
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
unless INT 2F\AX=150Bh function (8.03-17) confirms in advance, that required
module is loaded yet.
Note 2: being called inside "DOS box" under WINDOWS OS, the INT 2F\AX=1508h1509h functions always return error code AL=15h.
Note 3: early versions of CD/DVD file system translator programs (5.08-03 and 5.08-04)
didn't support writing operation. Besides that, write function needs to be
supported by CD/DVD drive's hardware.
8.03-17
INT 2F\AX=150Bh – request about a CD/DVD drive
Prepare:
AX
CX
= 150Bh
– CD/DVD drive number (0002h = C:, 0003h = D:, and so on)
BX
= ADADh, – a signature, confirming that CD/DVD file system
translator's (5.08-03 or 5.08-04) module is loaded yet and is active.
= 0000h
– this zero value signifies that CD/DVD file system
translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04) doesn't provide control over the
requested drive.
On return:
AX
8.03-18
INT 2F\AX=150Dh – get drive numbers of CD/DVD drives
Prepare:
AX = 150Dh
ES:BX – pointer to buffer for drive numbers (1 byte per drive)
On return:
ES:BX – pointer to buffer filled with drive numbers (02h = C:, 03h = D:, and
so on). List of drive numbers ends with byte 00h.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=150Dh function, performed by resident module of CD/DVD file
system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), shouldn't be called for, unless
INT 2F\AX=150Bh function (8.03-17) confirms in advance, that required module
is loaded yet.
8.03-19
INT 2F\AX=150Fh – copy a CD/DVD directory entry
Prepare:
AX
CH
= 150Fh
= 00h – direct copy "as it is", without translation
= 01h – copy and translate to canonical form (A.09-6)
CL
– CD/DVD drive number (02h = C:, 03h = D:, and so on)
ES:BX – pointer to a pathname, ending with 00h byte
SI:DI – pointer to buffer, minimum 255 bytes for direct copy
— 394 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
On error CF flag is set, AX returns error code (A.06-1).
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
SI:DI – pointer to buffer filled with directory data
AX = 0000h
– if disc is of High Sierra format,
= 0001h
– if disc is of ISO 9660 format.
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=150Fh function, performed by resident module of CD/DVD file
system translator (5.08-03 or 5.08-04), shouldn't be called for, unless
INT 2F\AX=150Bh function (8.03-17) confirms in advance, that required module
is loaded yet.
8.03-20
INT 2F\AX=160Ah – Windows OS operating environment test
Prepare:
AX
= 160Ah
On return:
AX = 0000h, if Windows OS responds to this test
BH:BL – version of Windows OS
CX – installation type (0002h = standard, 0003h = enhanced)
Note 1: return of a non-zero value in AX register doesn't signify that the caller program is
executed not under Windows OS or in its "DOS box". The reason is that among
Windows's settings there is a flag named "Prevent DOS programs from detecting
Windows". When this flag is set, Windows OS doesn't respond to
INT 2F\AX=160Ah test.
8.03-21
INT 2F\AX=1687h – trial request to DPMI server
DPMI servers provide extended API functions to application programs, designed for
execution in CPU's V86 mode. Via a request to DPMI server the INT 31 handler can be
activated, which enables to install new protected mode interrupt handlers and to send
requests for resources to protected mode operating system. DPMI servers for DOS
(QDPMI.SYS, CWSDPMI.EXE, etc.) are not popular now, because Windows OS
provides its own DPMI server, and it is always available. Being sent from Window's "DOS
box", trial request to DPMI server always gets positive response, even when Windows OS
doesn't reveal itself legally (note 1 to 8.03-20). Besides that, positive response to trial
request is a sufficient evidence of CPU's V86 mode. Because of these reasons the
INT 2F\AX=1687h function may be needed, despite that MS-DOS7 doesn't include DPMI
server, and DPMI functions usage is not described in this book.
Prepare:
AX
= 1687h
— 395 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
AX = 0000h – this zero value signifies that DPMI server is loaded yet;
BX – set state of bit 0 signifies support for 32-bit programs;
CL
– CPU type (02h – 80286, 03h – 80386, 04h – 80486,...);
DH:DL – DPMI server version;
SI
– size of DPMI server's data block (in 16-byte paragraphs);
ES:DI – address of enter point for INT 31 handler activation.
Note 1: difference between DOS's DPMI server's environment and Windows "DOS box"
is that the latter gives no access to BIOS timer (8.01-73) and to VCPI functions
(8.03-71 – 8.03-73).
Note 2: in "Caldera Open DOS" operating system a DPMI server is integrated into
EMM386.EXE driver.
8.03-22
INT 2F\AX=4300h – XMS driver's activity test
Prepare:
AX
= 4300h
On return:
AL = 80h – this value confirms, that XMS driver HIMEM.SYS (5.04-01) is
loaded and is active. Any other returned AL value signifies that XMS
functions are unavailable.
8.03-23
INT 2F\AX=4310h – get XMS driver's entrance point
The INT 2F\AX=4310h function returns address of HIMEM.SYS (5.04-01) driver's
entrance point. Various XMS functions, listed in table A.12-3, can be invoked by a CALL
FAR command (7.03-08), addressed to this entrance point.
Prepare:
AX
= 4310h
On return:
ES:BX – address of XMS driver's entrance point (5.04-01).
Note 1: the INT 2F\AX=4310h function, performed by resident module of HIMEM.SYS
driver (5.04-01), shouldn't be called for, unless INT 2F\AX=4300h function
(8.03-22) confirms in advance, that required module is loaded yet.
Note 2: calls for XMS functions, including INT 2F\AX=4310h and calls via CALL FAR
command, require at least 256 bytes of free stack's space.
8.03-24
INT 2F\AX=4B52h – KEYRUS.COM driver's functions (5.02-05)
Prepare:
AX
= 4B52h (= 'KR')
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Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
BL
– subfunction:
= 00h
– installation check;
= 4Ch
– switch to US keyboard layout;
= 90h
– switch to national (russian) keyboard layout
On return:
If KEYRUS.COM driver (5.02-05) is loaded, then
AL
= 82h
– signature, confirming driver's active state;
BH:BL – KEYRUS.COM driver's version number;
ES value is not preserved.
8.03-25
INT 2F\AX=AD00h – DISPLAY.SYS driver's installation check
Prepare:
AX
= AD00h
On return:
AL
= FFh
– signature, confirming installation of DISPLAY.SYS
driver (5.02-02) and availability of its functions.
BX register contents may be altered.
8.03-26
INT 2F\AX=AD01h-AD02h – set/get active codepage
The INT 2F\AX=AD01h-AD02h functions are performed by resident module of
DISPLAY.SYS driver (5.02-02). Before sending a call for either of these functions you
have to check with INT 2F\AX=AD00h function (8.03-25) whether the required resident
module is installed.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= AD01h – replace active codepage with another one
= AD02h – get number of active codepage (A.02-2)
– hexadecimal number of new codepage (for AX = AD01h only)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, contents of AX and BX are not preserved.
Clear state of CF flag signifies success, and then after AX=AD02h call only
BX – hexadecimal number of current codepage.
8.03-27
INT 2F\AX=AD03h – get codepage information
The INT 2F\AX=AD03h function is performed by resident module of DISPLAY.SYS
driver (5.02-02). Before sending a call for this function you have to check with
INT 2F\AX=AD00h function (8.03-25) whether the required resident module is installed.
Prepare:
AX
= AD03h
— 397 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
ES:DI – pointer to buffer for codepage information
CX – size of buffer in bytes (A.02-6)
On return:
On error CF flag is set. Probable cause: prepared buffer is too small.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination, and then
ES:DI – pointer to buffer filled with data block (A.02-6).
8.03-28
INT 2F\AX=AD80h – KEYB.COM driver's installation check
Prepare:
AX
= AD80h
On return:
AL
= FFh
– signature, confirming installation of KEYB.COM
driver (5.02-04) and availability of its functions.;
BH:BL – version number of KEYB.COM driver;
ES:DI – pointer to KEYB.COM driver's data block;
Contents of AH register may be altered.
8.03-29
INT 2F\AX=AD81h – set codepage for keyboard
The INT 2F\AX=AD81h function is performed by resident module of KEYB.COM
driver (5.02-04). Before sending a call for this function you have to check with
INT 2F\AX=AD80h function (8.03-28) whether the required resident module is installed.
Prepare:
AX
BX
= AD81h
– hexadecimal number of proposed codepage (A.02-2)
On return:
On error CF flag is set, and then
AX = 0001h value signifies that proposed codepage isn't available.
Clear state of CF flag signifies successful termination.
8.03-30
INT 2F\AX=AD82h-AD83h – set/get keyboard's layout
The INT 2F\AX=AD82h-AD83h functions are performed by resident module of
KEYB.COM driver (5.02-04). Before sending a call for either of these functions you have
to check with INT 2F\AX=AD80h function (8.03-28) whether the required resident module
is installed.
Prepare:
AX
BL
= AD82h – set keyboard's layout
= AD83h – get current keyboard's layout
– subfunction (for AX = AD82h function only):
— 398 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
= 00h – switch to american layout (just as can be switched by
CTRL-ALT-F1 keystroke)
= FFh – switch to national layout (just as can be switched by
CTRL-ALT-F2 keystroke)
On return:
On error CF flag is set. Probable cause: invalid BL value.
Clear state of CF flag signifies success, and then after AX=AD83h call only
BL
= 00h – american layout;
= FFh – national layout.
8.03-31
INT 33\AX=0000h – mouse driver status and reset
Reset operation brings mouse driver to its default state: movement and wheel counters
are reset to zeros, mouse cursor is made invisible and is placed in the center of screen page
0 (function INT 33\AX=0001h should be called for in order to make cursor visible).
Besides reset, the INT 33\AX=0000h function enables to find out whether mouse driver is
installed and which mouse pointing device is available.
Prepare:
AX
= 0000h
AX
= 0000h value signifies that mouse driver isn't loaded (note 2).
= FFFFh value signifies that mouse driver is loaded, and then
= 0000h – number of mouse's buttons is other then two;
= 0002h (and FFFFh too) – a 2-button mouse is used;
= 0003h – Mouse Systems/Logitech 3-button mouse is used.
On return:
CX
Note 1: if video mode has been changed, then flag of video mode change should be cleared
before applying reset to mouse driver (note 2 to INT 33\AX=0028h, 8.03-52).
Note 2: MS-DOS7 fills free cells in interrupt table (up to INT 3F) with references to a
IRET command (7.03-30). When mouse driver is not loaded, this IRET command
just returns initial AX value intact. If reset operation is not desirable, then status
of mouse driver should be reported by INT 33\AX=0021h function (8.03-49).
8.03-32
INT 33\AX=0001h-0002h – show/hide mouse cursor
Prepare:
AX
= 0001h
= 0002h
– show mouse cursor
– hide mouse cursor
Note 1: if a program has called for INT 33\AX=0001h function to show mouse cursor,
then this program before its termination must hide mouse cursor, thus restoring
original state. Besides that, mouse cursor should be hidden each time before
— 399 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
image on the screen is redrawn, but in the latter case it's better to hide cursor
locally with INT 33\AX=0010h function (8.03-42).
Note 2: multiple calls to hide mouse cursor will require multiple calls to unhide it. Exact
number of pending bans on showing mouse cursor is reported by
INT 33\AX=002Ah function (8.03-53).
8.03-33
INT 33\AX=0003h – button status, cursor and wheel positions
Prepare:
AX
= 0003h
BH
BL
CX
DX
– 8-bit signed wheel movement since last call (note 1 to 8.03-33)
– mouse's buttons status byte (note 2 to 8.03-33)
– cursor's horizontal X-coordinate (note 1 to 8.03-53)
– cursor's vertical Y-coordinate (note 1 to 8.03-53)
On return:
Note 1: wheel movement is reported, if wheel is present in mouse device and is supported
by mouse driver. Both these conditions should be checked by a call for
INT 33\AX=0011h function (8.03-43). Positive movement values correspond to
downward wheel movement. Wheel movement counter is reset by a call for
INT 33\AX=0003h function, and also by requests to this counter, sent via
INT 33\AX=0005h or by INT 33\AX=0006h functions (8.03-35).
Note 2: buttons status byte reports states of those buttons, which are currently not
released yet. Set states of bits 0 and 1 in buttons status byte correspond to pressed
states of left and right mouse's buttons. Set state of bit 2 corresponds to pressed
state of middle button, if it is present in mouse device and is supported by mouse
driver.
Note 3: in textual videomodes coordinates are reported as multiples of character cell size.
8.03-34
INT 33\AX=0004h – set location of mouse cursor
Prepare:
AX
CX
DX
= 0004h
– cursor's X-coordinate (0000h – 0280h in videomode 3)
– cursor's Y-coordinate (0000h – 00C0h in videomode 3)
Note 1: maximum coordinate values for any current videomode are reported by
INT 33\AX=0026h function (8.03-51) and also by INT 33\AX=0031h function
(8.03-54).
Note 2: in textual videomodes coordinate values are automatically rounded to the nearest
lower multiple of character cell size.
— 400 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-35
INT 33\AX=0005h–0006h – button's and wheel's state events
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 0005h – request about button press or wheel events
= 0006h – request about button release or wheel events
= 0000h – request about left button's events
= 0001h – request about right button's events
= 0002h – request about middle button's events
= FFFFh – request about wheel movement events.
On return:
AH
AL
BX
CX
DX
– 8-bit signed wheel movement since last call (note 1 to 8.03-33)
– buttons status byte (note 2 to 8.03-33)
– after requests for button events: number of button's events (presses
or releases) since last call for the same function;
– after requests for wheel movement events: 16-bit signed wheel
movement since last call (note 1 to 8.03-33)
– mouse cursor's horizontal X-coordinate at the moment of last
requested event (press or release or wheel rotation);
– mouse cursor's vertical Y-coordinate at the moment of last requested
event (press or release or wheel rotation).
Note 1: if no one requested event has happened to the requested button since last call for
these functions, then zero values in BX, CX and DX registers are returned.
8.03-36
INT 33\AX=0007h-0008h – define mouse cursor's range
Prepare:
AX
CX
DX
= 0007h – define cursor's horizontal range
= 0008h – define cursor's vertical range
– lower limit of coordinate value (note 2 to 8.03-34)
– upper limit of coordinate value (note 2 to 8.03-34)
Note 1: if mouse cursor is beyond desired range, then INT 33\AX=0007h-0008h
functions shift cursor's position to the nearest border within permissible range.
8.03-37
INT 33\AX=0009h – mouse cursor in graphic videomodes
Prepare:
AX = 0009h
BX – horizontal shift of cursor's hot spot (from –16 to +16)
CX – vertical shift of cursor's hot spot (from –16 to +16)
ES:DX – pointer to a block of bitmap masks (note 1).
— 401 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: block of bitmap masks includes screen mask and cursor mask, each 16 words
long. Screen mask starts at offset 00h, cursor mask starts at offset 20h. Each
word in a mask defines sixteen pixels along a screen line. Least significant bit in
each word corresponds to the rightmost pixel. Screen mask is superimposed over
video memory contents with logical AND operation, and then cursor mask is
superimposed over the result with logical XOR operation.
Note 2: current cursor's hot spot position is returned by INT 33\AX=002Ah function
(8.03-53).
8.03-38
INT 33\AX=000Ah – mouse cursor in textual videomodes
Prepare:
AX
BX
CX
DX
= 000Ah
= 0000h
– software defined cursor (note 1)
= 0001h
– hardware defined cursor (note 2)
– screen mask (if BX=0000h), or start scan line (if BX=0001h)
– cursor mask (if BX=0000h), or last scan line (if BX=0001h)
Note 1: if software definition is selected, the character/color contents of video memory at
cursor's position are subjected to logical AND bit-to-bit operation with screen
mask and then the result is subjected to logical XOR bit-to-bit operation with
cursor mask. Mask's bytes from CH and DH registers are superimposed over
color byte (A.10-5) in video memory. For example, if CX=0000h, then cursor
acquires form of character, defined by its ASCII code in DL; its color is defined
by bytes 0 – 3 in DH according to table A.10-5. Bytes 4 – 6 in DH define
background color, the 7-th byte controls blinking. Nonzero values in bits 4 – 6 of
CH register make colors dependent on original video memory contents so that
cursor becomes more noticeable against any background image.
Note 2: if hardware definition is chosen, then cursor is a blinking bar or a blinking
rectangle. For example, values CX=0002h DX=0003h define mouse cursor as a
bar above character's row; values CX=0003h DX=0004h define mouse cursor as
an underscore.
8.03-39
INT 33\AX=000Bh – read mouse motion counters
Prepare:
AX
= 000Bh
CX
DX
– horizontal shift since last call for INT 33\AX=000Bh
– vertical shift since last call for INT 33\AX=000Bh
On return:
Note 1: mouse cursor's shifts are counted in steps ("mickeys"), which are the smallest
position increments the mouse can sense. Microsoft's drivers assign positive shift
— 402 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
values to downward motion and to rightward motion. Correspondence between
pixels and mouse steps ("mickeys") can be set by INT 33\AX=000Fh function
(8.03-41).
Note 2 the INT 33\AX=0027h function also accepts AX value only, and returns the same
shifts in CX and DX, but, besides that, according to software or hardware cursor
definitions (8.03-38) returns: in register AX – screen mask or cursor's start scan
line, in register BX – cursor mask or cursor's last scan line.
8.03-40
INT 33\AX=000Ch – mouse driver's call for resident subroutine
Prepare:
AX
CX
= 000Ch
– mask for subroutine call conditions:
bit 0 set: – call if mouse moves
bit 1 set: – call if left button is pressed
bit 2 set: – call if left button is released
bit 3 set: – call if right button is pressed
bit 4 set: – call if right button is released
bit 5 set: – call if middle button is pressed
bit 6 set: – call if middle button is released
bit 7 set: – call if wheel is rotated (note 1 to 8.03-33)
ES:DX – pointer to subroutine entrance for CALL FAR command. (7.03-08)
Note 1: in CX register several conditions can be specified, and then subroutine will be
called by mouse driver when either of specified conditions is met. States of bits
15 – 8 in CX register are ignored. States of bits 7 – 5 in CX register are taken
into account by those drivers only, which support corresponding mouse's
capabilities.
Note 2: resident subroutine is called with following register states:
AX – call conditions (the same bit assignments as in CX mask)
BH – signed wheel movement since last call (note 1 to 8.03-33)
BL – buttons status byte (note 2 to 8.03-33)
CX – cursor's horizontal coordinate (note 2 to 8.03-34)
DX – cursor's vertical coordinate (note 2 to 8.03-34)
SI
– horizontal cursor's shift (note 1 to 8.03-39)
DI
– vertical cursor's shift (note 1 to 8.03-39).
Note 3: the INT 33\AX=0014h function enables to replace both call mask and address of
subroutine's entrance point with new ones, specified similarly in CX and ES:DX
registers; on return CX and ES:DX registers contain corresponding replaced
former values.
Note 4: if a program has specified mouse call for resident subroutine, then this mouse call
must be disabled before program terminates. For this purpose INT 33\AX=000Ch
function should be called once more with 0000h mask in CX register.
— 403 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 5: Microsoft's mouse drivers are able to call up to four different resident
subroutines. The first subroutine must be specified by INT 33\AX=000Ch
function, and the rest three subroutines may be specified by INT 33\AX=0018h
function (8.03-45).
8.03-41
INT 33\AX=000Fh – sensitivity of mouse shift registration
Prepare:
AX
CX
DX
8.03-42
= 000Fh
– number of horizontal steps per 8 pixels (default is 8)
– number of vertical steps per 8 pixels (default is 16).
INT 33\AX=0010h – local ban on cursor's display
While mouse's cursor moves on the screen, mouse's driver restores former screen
image in each place where mouse's cursor has been moved from. Restoration of former
image contents by mouse driver may interfere with screen image updating procedures,
performed by foreground program. Such interference can be avoided, if mouse cursor is
hidden in the updated part of screen image. Unlike mouse cursor's hiding in the whole
screen by INT 33\AX=0002h function (8.03-32), local ban on cursor's display enables to
make cursor's blinking almost unnoticeable. When local image updating procedure expires,
mouse cursor should be made visible by a call for INT 33\AX=0001h function (8.03-32).
Prepare:
AX
CX
DX
SI
DI
8.03-43
= 0010h
– horizontal X-coordinate of ban area upper left corner
– vertical Y-coordinate of ban area upper left corner
– horizontal X-coordinate of ban area lower right corner
– vertical Y-coordinate of ban area lower right corner.
INT 33\AX=0011h – pointing device wheel support check
Prepare:
AX
= 0011h
On return:
AX = 574Dh – signature confirming driver's support for wheel (note 1)
CX – bit 0 set signifies that mouse pointing device has a wheel.
BX contents may be altered.
Note 1: GMOUSE.COM driver (5.03-01) versions 9.06+ respond to calls for
INT 33\AX=0011h function with AX = FFFFh signature. It means that driver
doesn't support pointing device wheel, but returns number of mouse's active
buttons in BX register.
— 404 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-44
INT 33\AX=0016h-0017h – save/restore mouse driver's state
Prepare:
AX
= 0016h – write driver's state record into prepared buffer
= 0017h – restore mouse driver's state from data in buffer
BX – size of buffer (note 2)
ES:DX – pointer to a buffer (for AX=0017h it must be filled)
On return:
ES:DX – pointer to a buffer with mouse driver state record.
Note 1: restoration of mouse driver's state must be performed in just that videomode,
which was active when driver's state record has been written into buffer.
Note 2: size of buffer needed to store driver's state record should be determined
beforehand with INT 33\AX=0015h function: required size (in bytes) will be
returned in BX register.
8.03-45
INT 33\AX=0018h – mouse driver's call for resident subroutines
Microsoft's mouse drivers are able to call up to four different resident subroutines. The
first subroutine must be specified by INT 33\AX=000Ch function (8.03-40), and the rest
three subroutines may be specified by INT 33\AX=0018h function.
Prepare:
AX
CX
= 0018h
– mask for subroutine call conditions:
bit 0 set: – call if mouse moves
bit 1 set: – call if left button is pressed
bit 2 set: – call if left button is released
bit 3 set: – call if right button is pressed
bit 4 set: – call if right button is released
bit 5 set: – call during pressed state of SHIFT key (note 1)
bit 6 set: – call during pressed state of CTRL key (note 1)
bit 7 set: – call during pressed state of ALT key (note 1)
ES:DX – pointer to subroutine entrance for CALL FAR command. (7.03-08)
On return:
AX
AX
= 0018h
= FFFFh
– signature of successful termination;
– signature of a failure.
Note 1: subroutines, registered by INT 33\AX=0018h function, are called if either of
"functional" keys (SHIFT, CTRL, ALT) is pressed, therefore at least one of bits
7 – 5 in CX mask must be set. States of bits 15 – 8 in CX register are ignored.
States of bits 4 – 0 in CX mask are taken into account according to logical OR
function: subroutine will be called when either of these conditions is met, if at the
same time the specified "functional" key is kept pressed.
— 405 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: when mouse driver calls for subroutine, it leaves in registers those values listed in
note 2 to article 8.03-40.
Note 3: in order to cease calls for a certain subroutine, the INT 33\AX=0018h function
should be called once more with the same mask word in CX register, but with
0000:0000h entrance point address in ES:DX registers.
Note 4: the INT 33\AX=0018h function is supported by Microsoft's mouse drivers since
version 6.0, but isn't necessarily supported by mouse drivers from other vendors.
8.03-46
INT 33\AX=0019h – subroutine entrance point address
In response to a call for INT 33\AX=0019h function Microsoft's mouse drivers return
entrance point address of that TSR subroutine, which has been registered yet by
INT 33\AX=0018h function (8.03-45) with specified mask for call conditions in CX
register. Returned data may be used later by any foreground program in order to restore
activity of a particular subroutine.
Prepare:
AX
CX
= 0019h
– mask for call conditions (8.03-45)
On return:
CX = 0000h
– error: TSR with submitted mask hasn't been found.
Any other outcome signifies success, and then
BX:DX
– entrance point address for the found TSR subroutine;
CX
– actual mask for subroutine's call conditions (8.03-45).
8.03-47
INT 33\AX=001Dh-001Eh – screen page number for mouse cursor
Prepare:
AX
BX
= 001Dh – define screen page number for mouse cursor
= 001Eh – report current cursor's screen page number
– screen page number to be accessed (for INT 33\AX=001Dh only)
BX
– current screen page number (after INT 33\AX=001Eh only)
On return:
8.03-48
INT 33\AX=001Fh-0020h – disable/re-enable mouse driver
Prepare:
AX
= 001Fh
= 0020h
– disable mouse driver
– re-enable mouse driver
On return:
AX = FFFFh
– signature of a failure.
On success the AX value is returned unchanged.
— 406 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 1: the INT 33\AX=001Fh function restores addresses in interrupt table of INT 10
and INT 74 handlers, which have been there before mouse driver was loaded.
Note 2: if interrupt handler's addresses, set by mouse driver, were removed from interrupt
table by INT 33\AX=001Fh function, then INT 33\AX=0020h function is able to
write these addresses back into interrupt table.
Note 3: after successful termination the INT 33\AX=001Fh function returns in ES:BX
registers that address of INT 33 handler, which has been in interrupt table before
mouse driver was installed. If foreground program writes this address back into
interrupt table, then possibility to call mouse driver via interrupts will be
completely eliminated.
8.03-49
INT 33\AX=0021h – mouse driver installation test
Prepare:
AX
= 0021h
On return:
When mouse driver is not installed, then most probably AX = 0021h.
AX= FFFFh value confirms, that mouse driver is installed, and then
BX – number of mouse's buttons (note 2).
Note 1: MS-DOS7 fills free cells in interrupt table (up to INT 3F) with references to a
IRET command (7.03-30). When mouse driver is not loaded, this IRET command
just returns initial AX value intact. Status of mouse driver is similarly reported by
INT 33\AX=0000h function (8.03-31), which also returns driver to initial state.
The INT 33\AX=0021h function doesn't return mouse driver to initial state, but
nevertheless resets wheel movement counter.
Note 2: having identified a 2-button mouse, some mouse drivers return BX = FFFFh.
8.03-50
INT 33\AX=0024h – mouse type and IRQ setting
Prepare:
AX
= 0024h
On return:
AX = FFFFh
– signature of mouse device identification failure.
Any other value in AX signifies success, and then
BH.BL – mouse driver version
CH – mouse pointing device type and connection:
= 00h – mouse pointing device isn't connected;
= 01h – mouse is connected via expansion card;
= 02h – mouse is connected to serial port;
= 04h – mouse is connected to PS/2 port;
= 05h – special Hewlett-Packard's mouse.
CL
– hexadecimal IRQ number (except CL=00h for PS/2 port).
— 407 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-51
INT 33\AX=0026h – cursor's maximum coordinate values
Prepare:
AX
= 0026h
On return:
Non-zero value in BX register signifies an error.
BX = 0000h – signature of successful termination, and then
CX – maximum horizontal X-coordinate for current videomode
DX – maximum vertical Y-coordinate for current videomode.
Note 1: the INT 33\AX=0026h function reports cursor coordinate values for the whole
screen. If cursor's area is confined within certain ranges (8.03-36), then allowable
minimum and maximum coordinate values should be determined with
INT 33\AX=0031 function (8.03-54).
Note 2: the INT 33\AX=0026h function shouldn't be called for, unless mouse driver's
support for this function is confirmed by INT 33\AX=0032h (8.03-55).
8.03-52
INT 33\AX=0028h – consistent change of videomode
As far as mouse cursor is drawn by means of direct access to video memory, mouse
driver's interventions must conform to current format of data in video memory. However,
different videomodes define different data formats. Hence each change of videomode must
be coordinated with change of video data format, used by mouse driver. The
INT 33\AX=0028h function provides an opportunity of consistent videomode change for
both video memory and mouse driver, so that appearance and movement of mouse cursor
wouldn't be disturbed.
Prepare:
AX
CX
DH
DL
= 0028h
– code of proposed video mode (A.10-1)
– vertical size of character cell (note 1)
– horizontal size of character cell (note 1)
On return:
Non-zero value in CL register signifies a failure.
CL
= 00h
– signature of successful termination.
Note 1: zero values DH = DL = 00h specify default character cell size for any videomode.
If proposed videomode doesn't support character cell size control, then any values
in DH and DL registers are ignored.
Note 2: if CX = 0000h on call, then videomode is not set, but an internal videomode
change flag is cleared. This flag must be cleared before each call for mouse
driver's reset function (8.03-31).
Note 3: the INT 33\AX=0028h function shouldn't be called for, unless mouse driver's
support for this function is confirmed by INT 33\AX=0032h (8.03-55).
— 408 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 4: a list of videomode codes, supported by mouse driver, can be returned by several
sequential calls for INT 33\AX=0029h function. The first call accepts
CX = 0000h and returns in CX a code of first supported videomode. The next
call, performed with this code in CX intact, returns in CX code of next supported
videomode, and so on. Some mouse drivers return in DS:DX a pointer to a string
with description of videomode; some other mouse drivers may leave zero value in
DS:DX. End of calls cycle is marked by return of zero value CX = 0000h.
8.03-53
INT 33\AX=002Ah – mouse cursor's parameters
Prepare:
AX
= 002Ah
AX
BX
CX
DX
– number of pending bans on showing mouse cursor (8.03-32)
– horizontal X-shift of cursor's hot spot (note 1)
– vertical Y-shift of cursor's hot spot (note 1)
– mouse type, as CH returned by INT 33\AX=0024h (8.03-50).
On return:
Note 1: cursor's coordinates are counted relative to upper left corner of cursor's block, but
cursor points at its hot spot. Shift of hot spot from the upper left corner of
cursor's block may range from –128 to +127 for both coordinates.
Note 2: the INT 33\AX=002Ah function shouldn't be called for, unless mouse driver's
support for this function is confirmed by INT 33\AX=0032h (8.03-55).
8.03-54
INT 33\AX=0031h – get current coordinate range
The INT 33\AX=0031h function reports current values of range limits, when available
mouse cursor's area is confined within a virtual window set by INT 33\AX=0007h-0008h
(8.03-36).
Prepare:
AX
= 0031h
AX
BX
CX
DX
– minimum value of horizontal X-coordinate
– minimum value of vertical Y-coordinate
– maximum value of horizontal X-coordinate
– maximum value of vertical Y-coordinate
On return:
Note 1: when available cursor's area is not confined within a window, then coordinate
ranges should be reported by INT 33\AX=0026h function (8.03-51).
Note 2: the INT 33\AX=0031h function shouldn't be called for, unless mouse driver's
support for this function is confirmed by INT 33\AX=0032h (8.03-55).
— 409 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-55
INT 33\AX=0032h – supported functions of mouse driver
Prepare:
AX
= 0032h
On return:
AX
– a word of flags, where each bit signifies support for mouse driver's
functions from INT 33\AX=0034h to INT 33\AX=0025h:
bit 3 set: – INT 33\AX=0031h is supported;
bit 10 set: – INT 33\AX=002Ah is supported;
bit 11 set: – INT 33\AX=0029h is supported;
bit 12 set: – INT 33\AX=0028h is supported;
bit 14 set: – INT 33\AX=0026h is supported.
Contents of BX, CX, DX registers are not preserved.
8.03-56
INT 4A – alarm handler hook
Default INT 4A handler just returns control back to the caller program. Role of the
caller program belongs to BIOS's real-time clock alarm, if it is set to a certain time by
INT 1A\AH=06h function (8.01-94). Application programs are suggested to load an
intercepting INT 4A handler, which will be called at a predetermined time in order to
perform a desired action.
Note 1: `the INT 4A interrupt is called from within a hardware interrupt handler.
Therefore all necessary precautions against reentering DOS must be taken
(8.02-70, 8.02-87).
8.03-57
INT 67\AH=41h – get page frame segment
By default the EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) arranges in upper memory (below 1024
kb) 4 "physical" pages, grouped into one 64-kb frame. Access to extended memory is
implemented by dynamic mapping of extended memory "logical" pages (beyond 1088 kb)
onto these 16-kb "physical" pages inside a page frame. Most often page frame starts at
segment address E000h.
Prepare:
AH
= 41h
AH
BX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– segment address of page frame (4 "physical" pages).
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=41h function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
— 410 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-58
INT 67\AH=42h – get number of EMS pages
According to EMS specification the EMM386.EXE driver provides access to selected
"logical" 16-kb pages arranged in extended memory from 1088 to 32768 kb, except area
reserved by /L parameter (5.04-02) for access arranged by XMS-driver (5.04-01). The
INT 67\AH=42h function reports statistics of "logical" EMS pages in extended memory,
available for EMM386.EXE driver.
Prepare:
AH
= 42h
AH
BX
DX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– number of unallocated (free) "logical" EMS-pages
– total number of "logical" EMS-pages.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=42h function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
8.03-59
INT 67\AH=43h – allot a handle and extended memory
Unlike INT 21\AH=3Dh function (8.02-33), the EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) allots
only those handles, which refer to areas of extended memory beyond 1088 kb boundary.
Each area may comprise an integer number of "logical" 16-kb pages. Specification of any
particular "logical" page includes its number in allocated area and the handle, assigned to
that allocated area.
Prepare:
AH
BX
= 43h
– requested non-zero number of "logical" pages, 16 kb each.
AH
DX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– handle for area, comprising requested number of pages.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=43h function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
Note 2: by default the EMM386.EXE driver may keep active up to 64 handles
simultaneously, but the "h" parameter (5.04-02) enables to increase number of
active handles to 255.
Note 3: version 4.0 of LIM EMS specification stipulates INT 67\AX=5A00h function
with the same mission. The only difference is permission to request zero number
of "logical" pages in BX register.
— 411 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-60
INT 67\AH=44h – map "logical" page to a "physical" page
Here the term "mapping" implies, that appeals addressed to a particular "physical"
16-kb page below 1024 kb will be automatically diverted by CPU to specified "logical"
16-kb page, physically present in extended memory beyond 1088 kb boundary.
Prepare:
AH
AL
BX
DX
= 44h
– number of a selected "physical" 16-kb page;
– number of a requested "logical" 16-kb page, or else
= FFFFh – in order to make specified "physical" page free;
– handle of memory area, comprising requested "logical" page.
AH
– error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=44h function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
Note 2: count of memory pages, both "physical" and "logical", starts from zero number.
Note 3: "physical" pages 00h – 03h constitute page frame. Address of page frame is
reported by INT 67\AH=41h function (8.03-57). Location of "physical" pages
04h – 1Bh, if these exist, can be reported by INT 67\AX=5800h function
(8.03-70). If a "physical" page is located in conventional memory (below 640 kb),
then memory space, occupied by this memory page, must be allotted by operating
system to that program, which intends to use this "physical" page.
8.03-61
INT 67\AH=45h – release a handle and memory area
When a part of extended memory, associated with a handle, is no more needed, then
handle owner program must inform EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) about that. After a
call for INT 67\AH=45h function this part of extended memory will be considered free,
and associated handle will become disabled.
Prepare:
AH
DX
= 45h
– handle of that memory area, which is to be released
AH
– error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=45h function should be used to disable those handles only, which
have been assigned by EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) after calls for
INT 67\AX=5A00h or for INT 67\AH=43h functions (8.03-59). Other handles
should be disabled by INT 21\AH=68h, INT 21\AH=6Ah or INT 21\AH=3Eh
functions (8.02-34).
— 412 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
Note 2: repeated request for a handle can't restore access to those pages of extended
memory, which were associated with a disabled handle.
8.03-62
INT 67\AH=46h – get version of EMM386.EXE driver
Prepare:
AH
= 46h
AH
AL
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– version number of EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02).
On return:
Note 1: address of INT 67 handler, stored in cell 0000:019Eh of interrupt table, points at
start of handler's header. At offset 0Ah relative to start of handler's header a
signature EMMXXXX0 is written by EMM386.EXE driver. If this signature
can't be found, then neither function of INT 67 handler can be called, because
INT 67 cell in interrupt table is not filled by default and may contain an invalid
pointer (for example, 0000:0000h). Presence of EMMXXXX0 signature in its
proper place confirms that EMM386.EXE driver is loaded yet, and then
INT 67\AH=46h function should be called for. The AH = 00h value, returned by
INT 67\AH=46h function, signifies active state of EMM386.EXE driver and its
readiness to perform other INT 67 functions.
Note 2: when it is known for certain, that EMM386.EXE driver is loaded, then any
non-zero error code, returned by INT 67\AH=46h function, signifies inactive state
of EMM386.EXE driver. In this case the INT 67\AX=FFA5h function (8.03-74)
may help: it returns address of EMM386.EXE driver's API entrance point. With a
CALL FAR command (7.03-08), addressed to this entrance point, the
EMM386.EXE driver may be turned into active state.
8.03-63
INT 67\AH=4Bh – get number of EMM handles
Prepare:
AH
= 4Bh
AH
BX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– number of active handles, assigned by EMM386.EXE driver.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=4Bh function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
Note 2: by default the EMM386.EXE driver may keep active up to 64 handles
simultaneously, but the "h" parameter (5.04-02) enables to increase number of
active handles to 255.
— 413 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-64
INT 67\AH=4Ch – get pages associated with a handle
Prepare:
AH
DX
= 4Ch
– an active handle, assigned to some extended memory area
AH
BX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– number of "logical" pages, associated with specified handle.
On return:
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=4Ch function accepts those active handles only, which have been
allotted by INT 67\AH=43h function (8.03-59) of EMM386.EXE driver
(5.04-02). The INT 67\AH=4Ch function shouldn't be called for, unless
EMM386.EXE driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to
8.03-62).
8.03-65
INT 67\AH=4Eh – save/restore extended memory mapping
If a resident module intends to use EMS access to extended memory, then it should be
taken into account, that any foreground program, interrupted by invoked resident module,
also could use EMS access to extended memory. Execution of this foreground program
can't be resumed, unless interrupting resident module, having finished its mission, restores
original mapping of extended memory. For this purpose INT 67\AH=4Eh presents 4
subfunctions, enabling to save current extended memory mapping and later to restore it.
Prepare:
AH
AL
= 4Eh
– subfunction:
= 00h – save current mapping into a data block;
= 01h – restore mapping from data block;
= 02h – consecutive execution of subfunctions 00h and 01h;
= 03h – determine required buffer size for data block.
ES:DI – pointer to empty buffer (for subfunctions 00h and 02h)
DS:SI – pointer to data block (for subfunctions 01h and 02h)
On return:
AH
AL
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– required buffer size in bytes (after subfunction 03h only).
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=4Eh function is executed by EMM386.EXE driver's versions
4.00 and higher (5.04-02). Therefore INT 67\AH=4Eh function shouldn't be
called for, unless EMM386.EXE driver's proper version and active state are
confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to 8.03-62).
Note 2: starting from EMM386.EXE driver's version 3.00, saving and restoration of
extended memory mapping state may be performed by functions INT 67\AH=47h
and INT 67\AH=48h correspondingly. These functions restore state of 64-kb
— 414 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
page frame only, don't need explicit data block(s), but require in DX register a
handle, allotted by EMM386.EXE driver to the caller module.
8.03-66
INT 67\AX=5000h – change handle's mapping list
Mapping list is a table of correspondence between "physical" and "logical" memory
pages, associated with one handle. The INT 67\AX=5000h function enables to replace
current mapping list with a new one. Single call for INT 67\AX=5000h function is
equivalent to several consecutive calls for INT 67\AH=44h mapping function (8.03-60).
Prepare:
AX
CX
DX
DS:SI
= 5000h
– number of entries in mapping list, 4 bytes per entry (note 3)
– an active handle, assigned to some extended memory area
– pointer to start of proposed (new) mapping list
AH
– error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
On return:
Note 1: function INT 67\AX=5000h operates with those handles only, which are allotted
by EMM386.EXE driver's functions INT 67\AH=43h or INT 67\AX=5A00h
(8.03-59). The INT 67\AX=5000h function shouldn't be called for, unless
EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h
(note 1 to 8.03-62).
Note 2: if a "physical" page is located in conventional memory (below 640 kb), then
memory space, occupied by this memory page, must be allocated by operating
system to that program, which intends to use this "physical" page.
Note 3: each entry in mapping list is 4 bytes long and consists of two words. The second
word in each entry is a "physical" page number (most often 0000h – 0003h). For
mapping operation the first word in an entry must be "logical" page number. For
opposite unmapping operation the first word in an entry must be FFFFh value: it
forces to cancel current association of corresponding "physical" page.
Note 4: the INT 67\AX=5001h function is charged with the same mission and accepts the
same specifications (except AX), but operates with other data in mapping list: the
second word in each entry must be segment address of corresponding "physical"
page.
8.03-67
INT 67\AH=51h – reallocate "logical" pages
Prepare:
AH
BX
DX
= 51h
– requested number of "logical" pages for the handle
– an active handle, assigned to some extended memory area
— 415 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
On return:
AH
BX
– error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
– actual number of pages associated with specified handle.
Note 1: the INT 67\AX=51h function operates with those handles only, which are allotted
by EMM386.EXE driver's functions INT 67\AH=43h or INT 67\AX=5A00h
(8.03-59). The INT 67\AX=51h function shouldn't be called for, unless
EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by INT 67\AH=46h
(note 1 to 8.03-62).
Note 2: if INT 67\AH=51h function is called in order to increase number of associated
"logical" pages, then ordinal numbers of new pages will follow ordinal numbers
of currently available "logical" pages. If INT 67\AH=51h function is called in
order to decrease number of associated "logical" pages, then pages with largest
ordinal numbers will be lost first.
8.03-68
INT 67\AH=55h–56h – jump and subroutine call in EMS-memory
When a code is executed in extended memory, then target "logical" page for control
transfer operations JMP FAR and CALL FAR should be made accessible in advance. For
this purpose the EMM386.EXE driver provides two functions, combining control transfer
with replacement of mapping list for specified handle. The INT 67\AH=55h function
replaces mapping list and performs JMP FAR operation (7.03-39), the INT 67\AH=56h
function replaces mapping list and performs CALL FAR operation (7.03-08). Both these
functions accept most part of required parameters from a prepared data block. Structure of
this data block is shown in table A.12-6.
Prepare:
AX
= 5500h
– for JMP FAR operation
= 5600h
– for CALL FAR operation
DX – an active handle, assigned to some extended memory area
DS:SI – pointer to start of data block (A.12-6).
On return:
AH
– error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=55h-56h functions should be used by those programs only, which
are designed for execution in extended memory.
Note 2: the INT 67\AX=5501h and INT 67\AX=5601h functions are charged with the
same missions and accept the same specifications (except AX), but operate with
other data in mapping lists: the second word in each entry must be segment
address of corresponding "physical" page.
Note 3: the INT 67\AX=5602h function doesn't need other initial data, except AX value,
and returns in BX register number of bytes for return addresses, which are saved
in stack by INT 67\AX=5600-5601h functions.
— 416 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-69
INT 67\AX=5700h-5701h – data copying or exchange
The INT 67\AX=5700h-5701h functions enable to copy data or exchange data
between memory areas, either accessed via different handles or belonging to conventional
memory. Addressing parameters are specified in a descriptor, shown in table A.12-5.
Prepare:
AX
= 5700h
– to copy data from one memory area to another
= 5701h
– to exchange data between memory areas
DS:SI – pointer to parameters descriptor (A.12-5)
On return:
AH
– error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
Note 1: functions INT 67\AX=5700h-5701h operate with those handles only, which are
allotted by EMM386.EXE driver's functions INT 67\AH=43h or
INT 67\AX=5A00h (8.03-59). The INT 67\AX=5700h-5701h functions shouldn't
be called for, unless EMM386.EXE (5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed
by a call for INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to 8.03-62).
8.03-70
INT 67\AX=5800h – segment addresses of physical pages
Prepare:
AX = 5800h
ES:DI – pointer to a buffer to be filled
On return:
AH – error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
CX – number of entries in the buffer (4 bytes each entry);
ES:DI – pointer to buffer filled with entries (note 2)
Note 1: the INT 67\AH=5800h function shouldn't be called for, unless EMM386.EXE
(5.04-02) driver's active state is confirmed by a call for INT 67\AH=46h (note 1
to 8.03-62).
Note 2: each entry in the buffer is 4 byte long and consists of 2 words: the first is physical
page segment, the second is corresponding physical page number.
Note 3: number of physical pages (and, hence, length of the buffer) may be obtained in
advance with INT 67\AX=5801h function, which similarly returns number of
entries in CX register, but doesn't fill the buffer and ignores contents of ES:DI
registers.
8.03-71
INT 67\AX=DE06h – physical address of a 4-kb page
The INT 67\AX=DE06h function is performed by VCPI servers. It helps to perceive
the concept of USB address space transformation, performed by CPU switched into V86
mode. As far as in MS-DOS7 the EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) is charged with mission
— 417 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
of VCPI server, the INT 67\AH=DE06h function shouldn't be called for, when
EMM386.EXE driver's active state is not confirmed yet by a call for INT 67\AH=46h
(note 1 to 8.03-62) and also when VCPI functions are disabled by /noVCPI parameter
(note 2 to 5.04-02).
Prepare:
AX
CX
= DE06h
– number of 4-kb a page below 1024 kb boundary (note 1)
On return:
AH – error code (A.06-1); AH = 8Bh signifies invalid page number.
AH = 00h value signifies success, and then
EDX – physical address of the requested page (note 2).
Note 1: unlike LIM EMS functions, VCPI functions operate with 4-kb pages, processed
by TLB address translation mechanism in 32-bit CPUs. Number of a 4-kb page is
obtained by shifting its linear address 12 bit rightward. For example, memory cell
D400:1ABCh has linear address D5ABCh, so its page number is CX = 00D5h.
Note 2: for DOS programs a way of access to EDX and to other 32-bit registers is shown
in article 7.02-06.
8.03-72
INT 67\AX=DE07h – read state of control register CR0
Unlike operation of reading CR0 register's state by MOV command (note 1 to
7.03-58), which requires CPU's real mode or the highest privilege level, the
INT 67\AX=DE07h function of VCPI servers is available in CPU's V86 mode at the third
(the lowest) privilege level. As far as in MS-DOS7 the EMM386.EXE driver (5.04-02) is
charged with mission of VCPI server, the INT 67\AH=DE07h function shouldn't be called
for, when EMM386.EXE driver's active state is not confirmed yet by a call for
INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to 8.03-62) and also when VCPI functions are disabled by
/noVCPI parameter (note 2 to 5.04-02).
Prepare:
AX
= DE07h
On return:
AH – error code (A.06-1); if AH = 00h, then
EBX – current state of control register CR0 (note 1).
Note 1: for DOS programs a way of access to EBX and to other 32-bit registers is shown
in article 7.02-06.
8.03-73
INT 67\AX=DE08h–DE09h – access to registers DR0 – DR7
Unlike access to CPU's registers DR0 – DR7 with MOV commands (note 1 to
7.03-58), which require CPU's real mode or the highest privilege level, the
— 418 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
INT 67\AX=DE08h-DE09h functions of VCPI servers are available in CPU's V86 mode
at the third (the lowest) privilege level. As far as in MS-DOS7 the EMM386.EXE driver
(5.04-02) is charged with mission of VCPI server, the INT 67\AH=DE08h-DE09h
functions shouldn't be called for, when EMM386.EXE driver's active state is not
confirmed yet by a call for INT 67\AH=46h (note 1 to 8.03-62) and also when VCPI
functions are disabled by /noVCPI parameter (note 2 to 5.04-02).
Prepare:
AX = DE08h – reading from DR0 – DR7 registers into a buffer
= DE09h – writing from buffer into DR0 – DR7 registers
ES:DI – pointer to buffer with data or for data (note 1)
On return:
AH – error code (A.06-1); AH = 00h signifies successful termination.
Note 1: buffer is 32 bytes long and is filled with 4 data bytes per register from DR0 to
DR7. Data, corresponding to DR4 and DR5 registers, are not read and are
ignored by writing operation. Role of DR registers is described in appendix
A.11-5.
8.03-74
INT 67\AX=FFA5h – EMM386.EXE driver's API entrance point
The INT 67\AX=FFA5h function, stipulated by LIM EMS specification since version
4.2, differs from other INT 67 functions in that it is executed even when EMM386.EXE
driver is inactive and ignores all other requests. However, this feature doesn't exclude
necessity to check whether the EMM386.EXE driver is loaded (note 1 to 8.03-62) before
INT 67\AX=FFA5h function is called for.
Prepare:
AX
= FFA5h
On return:
AH = 84h
– signature of successful termination, and then
BX:CX – address of EMM386.EXE API entrance point.
Note 1: a CALL FAR command (7.03-08) addressed to BX:CX entrance point forces
EMM386.EXE to perform operation, defined by value in AX register:
if AX = 0100h
– to switch itself ON to active state;
if AX = 0101h
– to switch itself OFF to inactive state;
if AX = 0500h
– to display a message about current state.
When UMB blocks and EMS pages are used yet, then a request for switching
OFF to inactive state wouldn't be executed.
— 419 —
Chapter 8: Selected interrupt handlers
8.03-75
INT 70 – INT 77: interrupt requests IRQ 8 – IRQ 15
While CPU is in real mode, the INT 70 – INT 77 group of interrupt handlers responds
to requests, sent via IRQ 8 – IRQ 15 lines from various devices to the second interrupt
controller, which, in its turn, sends its output to CPU via IRQ 2 line of the first interrupt
controller (INT 0A, 8.01-09). Each of IRQ 8 – IRQ 15 input lines may be disabled
(masked) by sending a bit, specified in the third column of the following table, to second
interrupt controller via port A1h. Some IRQ lines have dedicated hardware sources, listed
in the fourth column of the following table, but some other IRQ lines are free to receive a
request from any device, which is tuned to send requests via one of these lines and is
supported by a driver, loading a handler for the corresponding interrupt.
Interrupt
Line
Mask
Source of requests
Comments
INT 70
INT 71
INT 72
INT 73
INT 74
INT 75
INT 76
INT 77
IRQ 8
IRQ 9
IRQ 10
IRQ 11
IRQ 12
IRQ 13
IRQ 14
IRQ 15
bit 0
bit 1
bit 2
bit 3
bit 4
bit 5
bit 6
bit 7
Real-time clock
Arithmetical coprocessor
1-st IDE controller
-
note *1
note *2
note *3
Note 1: the INT 70 handler is called 1024 times per second. There are BIOS systems,
which call for INT 70 handler in event waiting intervals only (INT 15\AH=83h,
8.01-73).
Note 2: preferable source for IRQ 12 line is PS2 mouse, if it is used.
Note 3: preferable sources for IRQ 15 line are either second IDE controller or SCSI bus
controller, if these are present in a particular PC.
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All examples of interpretable, executable and configuration files, presented here in the
9-th chapter, have been successfully tested on several different computers with processors
from 486SL (dated 1992) to Pentium-D (dated 2006). However, one can't foresee
everything in advance. In any case the presented examples should be regarded as advisable
schemes, where anyone is allowed to select personally relevant solutions. Their
applicability is left for you to decide and to implement.
Though personal problems may various, some elementary operational habits are
common for all who dares to descend deeper into low-level programming. First of all –
how a program's text, printed in a book, can be transferred into an executable file. For this
purpose you have to launch an editor program, capable to save non-formatted textual files.
Most widely known WORD and WORDPAD programs wouldn't fit, but NOTEPAD and
EDIT.COM are quite suitable. However, in MS-DOS any national (non-american)
language commentaries can be inserted by EDIT.COM editor only (6.09), and only if
national adaptation drivers are loaded beforehand (examples – in articles 9.01 and 9.04).
When editor program is launched yet, then item NEW in menu FILE enables to open a
new empty window, where you may write any desired text. Texts of executable files,
presented in this book, normally should be typed line-by-line starting close to the left
border of each line. Then text should be saved in a file by SAVE AS command in menu
FILE. The SAVE AS command suggests to specify a name and a suffix for new file. Each
file should be given just that suffix (2.01-02), which reflects file's status: BAT – for batchfiles, SCR – for command files, executed by DEBUG.EXE, SYS, MNU or EXT suffixes –
for various configuration files.
Long files may be saved several times: first time by SAVE AS command, and later by
SAVE command. If text is to be corrected on-the-fly, then parts of an unfinished file may
be tested separately, as it is shown in article 9.07-02. Editor program fulfills its mission,
when a textual file with specified name is completely typed, checked and saved.
If not specified otherwise, successful execution or interpretation of all program
examples, presented in this chapter, implies that the following normal conditions are met:
– name of current command interpreter (COMMAND.COM or some other) with
preceding full path must be defined by a value of environmental
variable %COMSPEC%;
– attributes H (hidden) and S (system) shouldn't be assigned to those files or
utilities, which are to be called for or referred to by the program under
test (note 1 to 9.11-02);
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– paths to all those files or utilities, which are to be called for or referred to by the
program under test, must be specified in a value of environmental
variable PATH (2.02-02);
– synonymous utilities, unsuitable under MS-DOS7, must not be present in the
current directory and along all the paths, specified in a value of
environmental variable PATH (2.02-02);
– value of the TEMP environmental variable must specify a path to an existing
directory, dedicated for temporary files, on a writable media, having
enough free space for this purpose.
Note, that status of the %TEMP% directory implies that any file in this directory may
be deleted or overwritten. Current values of environmental variables may be checked with
SET command (3.26). Original values of environmental variables as well as other
execution conditions should be defined in configuration files. Various examples of such
definitions are shown in articles 9.04, 9.09. But it's expedient to start from the simplest
configuration files, presented in the next article 9.01.
9.01
Simple configuration files
MS-DOS7 loading process is configurable and may lead to different results. The
IO.SYS loader accepts loading parameters from MSDOS.SYS file (5.01-01) and takes
into account presence of main DOS files in the root directory of boot disk. Complete list of
DOS files, which should be present in root directory, is described in article 9.11-02.
Among these files there are two optional, but very important files: CONFIG.SYS and
AUTOEXEC.BAT. Just these two files define main features of final DOS configuration.
Though MS-DOS7 is able to load itself without these two files, but implicit default
configuration is too poor and can't be considered sufficient.
MS-DOS7 can be made effective, convenient and friendly, but the user has to bother
about that. In modern computers even simple configurations must include drivers for
extended memory, for "mouse" pointing device and for CD-ROM drive. DOS can't be
convenient without adequate file manager. Examples of configuration files, presented in
this book, also load codepages, enabling to use both american and some national
(non-american) language.
Simple versions of configuration files may be used for loading MS-DOS7 from
removable media, but are most suitable for MS-DOS7 installation on HDDs: either for
temporarily installation after formatting or for permanent installation as a possible choice
among several alternative operating systems (example – in 9.11-02).
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Chapter 9:
9.01-01
Examples of executable files' composition
Simple version of CONFIG.SYS file
CONFIG.SYS file is an interpretable command file: each its line is a command. Term
"interpretable" implies that commands are executed not directly by CPU, but via a
mediator – a command interpreter program. Mission of CONFIG.SYS commands
interpretation is incumbent on IO.SYS loader.
The presented example of CONFIG.SYS file shows explicitly all the drivers, which
should be loaded, and preferable order of their loading. Drivers are expected to be found in
\DOS\DRV directory. If you intend to use other directory structure, path specifications
must be corrected accordingly. Note, that the paths are shown without disk's letter-name.
Such specifications will suit for loading from any bootable disk.
device=\DOS\DRV\Himem.sys
device=\DOS\DRV\Emm386.exe ram v
dos=high,umb,noauto
buffershigh=20,0
fileshigh=30
lastdrivehigh=Z
fcbshigh=1,0
stackshigh=9,256
numlock off
country=007,866,\DOS\DRV\Country.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\DRV\Dblbuff.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\DRV\Ifshlp.sys
devicehigh=\DOS\DRV\Setver.exe
devicehigh=\DOS\DRV\Display.sys con=(ega,,1)
devicehigh=\DOS\DRV\Oakcdrom.sys /D:CD001
installhigh=\DOS\DRV\Mscdex.exe /D:CD001 /E /L:O /M:13
installhigh=\DOS\DRV\Mouse.com
shell=\Command.com \ /E:2016 /L:511 /U:255 /p
A help concerning all specified commands and drivers can be found in chapters 4
("Configuration commands") and 5 ("Selected drivers"). Most drivers can be taken from
\WINDOWS and \WINDOWS\COMMAND directories of WINDOWS-95/98 operating
system, except MOUSE.COM (5.03-02) from MS-DOS6.22 release and
OAKCDROM.SYS (5.09-01), which is copied from WINDOWS-95/98 rescue diskette.
There is a lot of other mouse and CD-ROM drivers (GMOUSE.COM, VIDE-CDD.SYS,
ECSCDIDE.SYS, etc.), which can work with a variety of device models and can be used
here instead of MOUSE.COM and OAKCDROM.SYS.
The order of lines in CONFIG.SYS file must conform to the following general rule: the
drivers providing some support must be loaded before a need arises for this support. Upper
memory drivers (HIMEM.SYS and then EMM386.EXE) must be loaded with DEVICE
commands before upper memory access will be required for DEVICEHIGH and
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INSTALLHIGH commands. INSTALL and INSTALLHIGH commands, used to load
executable drivers, must be placed after all DEVICE and DEVICEHIGH commands, but
before the SHELL command. SETVER.EXE driver must be loaded before any other
driver, which needs to be deceived about DOS version number. Though there are no such
drivers in the shown example of CONFIG.SYS file, loading of SETVER.EXE gives an
opportunity to execute later version-specific utilities from earlier versions of DOS
(PRINT.EXE, QBASIC.EXE, TREE.COM, etc.).
Special attention should be paid to the NOAUTO parameter of the DOS command in
the 3-rd line: it cancels default loading of some drivers (DBLBUFF.SYS,
DRVSPACE.BIN, HIMEM.SYS, IFSHLP.SYS) as well as a search for these drivers
along default paths. In fact the NOAUTO parameter enables to use MS-DOS7 as a standalone operating system.
Note, that a path to COMMAND.COM file in the last line of CONFIG.SYS file is
reduced to a single backslash " \ ". This is enough for finding COMMAND.COM file in
the root directory, but is not enough for proper definition of path to COMMAND.COM
file in the value of COMSPEC environmental variable. Of course, a particular disk's lettername may be specified inside CONFIG.SYS file. Such examples are shown in articles 4.26
and 6.04. However, in practice it's not convenient to exchange disk's letter-name in several
places each time you have to boot your PC from some other disk. Therefore here definition
of a particular disk's letter-name is postponed until execution of the last configuration file
AUTOEXEC.BAT (9.01-02). Postponed disk's letter-name assignment enables to correct
letter-name in a single place and provides opportunity for automatic disk's letter-name
determination (examples – in 9.01-03 and 9.09-02).
9.01-02
Simple version of AUTOEXEC.BAT file
As far as functional capabilities of IO.SYS loader are limited, some configuration
operations can't be expressed as commands in CONFIG.SYS file. Such operations
constitute another configuration file – AUTOEXEC.BAT. It is also an interpretable
command file, but it's mission is to employ capabilities of a more powerful command
interpreter – COMMAND.COM – for performing a number of final configuration
operations.
Presented version of AUTOEXEC.BAT file implies presence of directory structure on
the bootable disk: directory \TEMP for temporary files and directory \DOS with
subdirectories \DOS\OTH, \DOS\MS7, \DOS\VC4, \DOS\DRV. This structure can suit
for both diskettes and fixed disks, but if you intend to use any other structure, all paths and
references must be changed accordingly. The file is devised for booting from disk C:. If it
is to be used for loading from any other disk, reference to disk C: in the second line must
be replaced with reference to that disk, which actually will be used. Note, that it is a single
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Examples of executable files' composition
reference, which must be corrected; all other references to actual disk will be exchanged
automatically.
Here is the proposed simple version of AUTOEXEC.BAT:
@echo off
set dsk=C:
set comspec=%dsk%\Command.com
if not exist TEMP\nul %comspec% nul /f /c md TEMP
if exist TEMP\nul set Temp=%dsk%\TEMP
prompt $p$g
set dircmd= /A /O:GNE /P
path ;
path=%dsk%\DOS\VC4;%dsk%\DOS\OTH;%dsk%\DOS\MS7;%dsk%\
Mode.com con codepage prepare=((866) %dsk%\DOS\DRV\Ega3.cpi)
Mode.com con codepage select=866
Keyb.com ru,866,%dsk%\DOS\DRV\Keybrd3.sys
set VC=%dsk%\DOS\VC4
Vc.com /TSR /no2E /noswap
Command in the first line of the shown file turns echo flag off, just as it is done in
ordinary batch files. The second line specifies letter-name of the current disk and assigns it
as a value to environmental variable DSK. Note, that there must be no spare spaces at the
end of second line. Multiple references to DSK variable in the following lines insert lettername of the current disk into all relevant paths. This enables to specify disk's letter-name
only once. The third line assigns correct value to COMSPEC environmental variable,
which hasn't got proper value during interpretation of CONFIG.SYS file. Since this
moment MS-DOS7 is ready to a change of the current disk.
Lines 4 and 5 deal with directory TEMP for temporary files. First, existence of this
directory is checked. If it doesn't exist, an attempt is made to create TEMP directory. Then
its existence is checked once more, and in case of success a path to TEMP directory is
assigned as a value to environmental variable TEMP. This procedure guarantees a valid
path for temporary files on any writable disk. On the other hand, absence of TEMP
variable after this procedure certainly indicates that current disk is non-writable.
The following group of operations assigns values for other variables: DIRCMD,
PROMPT, PATH. The shown values should be regarded as examples, which need to be
corrected according to actual directory structure on your disk. It is implied, that value of
the PATH variable (2.02-02) contains actual paths to all utilities, specified in the following
lines: MODE.COM, KEYB.COM and VC.EXE, as well as other paths which you may
want to supplement.
Execution of MODE.COM and of KEYB.COM activates desirable national codepage
for display and corresponding keyboard's layout. If russian codepage 866 is not the one
you need, you may change it, but beforehand it should be checked in table A.02-2 whether
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
the associated data tables (EGA3.CPI and KEYBRD3.SYS) contain the data you need. If
not, these data tables must be changed too. Of course, the choice of 437-th (american)
codepage makes you free to omit all lines with MODE.COM and KEYB.SYS, because
this codepage is activated by default.
The last two lines in AUTOEXEC.BAT file serve to launch VC.COM – the Volcov
Commander file manager (6.25). Other file managers, for example, Norton Commander
(NC.EXE) and Dos Navigator (DN.EXE) may be launched in a similar way. If you don't
intend to use file manager, then the shown two last lines are not needed.
9.01-03
Automatic determination of disk's letter-name
It were convenient to have a set of self-adaptive configuration files, which can load
MS-DOS7 properly from any disk without manual correction of disk's letter-name. This
opportunity can be easily implemented, if you have assembled yet the REASSIGN.COM
utility, proposed in part 9.06, or have got any other functionally equivalent utility. All you
have to do is to replace fixed assignment ("set dsk=C:") in 2-nd line of AUTOEXEC.BAT
file (9.01-02) with the following two lines, performing automatic determination of disk's
letter-name:
set dsk=33
\DOS\OTH\Reassign.com dsk
Of course, the path example ("\DOS\OTH\") must be changed, if necessary, according
to the directory, where the utility actually can be found. After execution of these
commands the letter-name of current disk becomes a value of DSK variable, and then all
other relevant specifications are corrected automatically, as it is shown in article 9.01-02.
Automatic disk's letter-name determination doesn't necessarily need a special utility; it
may be achieved exclusively by standard MS-DOS's means. But implementation of this
idea is not so simple and, besides that, requiring access to a writable disk. Therefore
presented here version of AUTOEXEC.BAT file wouldn't suit for loading MS-DOS7 from
a CD-ROM, but it can be used and actually has been used for MS-DOS7 single-fold
relocation onto a hard disk after formatting.
@echo off
if exist ..\nul goto L19
[email protected] off$_Set dsk$q$N:$_goto L7
%comspec% /f /c $.bat > $.bat
type Autoexec.bat >> $.bat
for %%Z in ("del A" "ren $.bat A" "A") do %%Zutoexec.bat
:L7
set comspec=%dsk%\Command.com
set Temp=%dsk%\TEMP
if not exist %Temp%\nul md %Temp%
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
prompt $p$g
set dircmd= /A /O:GNE /P
path ;
path=%dsk%\DOS\VC4;%dsk%\DOS\OTH;%dsk%\DOS\MS7;%dsk%\
Mode.com con codepage prepare=((866) %dsk%\DOS\DRV\Ega3.cpi)
Mode.com con codepage select=866
Keyb.com ru,866,%dsk%\DOS\DRV\Keybrd3.sys
set VC=%dsk%\DOS\VC4
Vc.com /TSR /no2E /noswap
:L19
Lines from 8 to 18 in this version of AUTOEXEC.BAT file perform ordinary
functions, described in part 9.01-02. But lines 2 – 6 and labels are specific for this version.
In order to make lines search easier the digits in label names represent ordinal numbers of
corresponding lines.
The 2-nd line presents a check whether a parent directory exists for the current one. If
it exists, the current directory can't be disk's root directory, and then we exit via L19 label.
Hence, this file will do nothing, while it is stored anywhere inside directory structure. It
becomes functional after it is moved into the root directory of a disk: then the parent
directory doesn't exist, and the check in 2-nd line lets to proceed to the next line.
In the next 3-rd line the PROMPT command (3.22) sets a new prompt, which is issued
only once while launching the command interpreter in the 4-th line. There command
interpreter formally executes an empty file $.BAT, created just before by DOS while
preparing redirection in the same line. The result is written into the same $.BAT file. As
far as it was initially empty, it will be filled with nothing but new prompt. Let's assume
that current disk is D: ; then contents of $.BAT file will look as follows:
@echo off
Set dsk=D:
goto L7
Note, that letter-name D: in the second line of $.BAT hasn't been preset beforehand, it
is the actual current disk's letter-name, returned by DOS as an element of command
prompt.
The TYPE command in next 5-th line reads AUTOEXEC.BAT file and sends its copy
via output redirection so that it is appended to the shown three original lines in $.BAT file.
Cycle FOR in the 6-th line of AUTOEXEC.BAT performs three operations by
sequential substitutions of three different values for dummy parameter %%Z. First
substitution gives
del AUTOEXEC.BAT
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
and AUTOEXEC.BAT file ceases to exist. Then the second substitution produces
command
ren $.BAT AUTOEXEC.BAT
and former $.BAT file becomes renamed into AUTOEXEC.BAT. The third substitution
gives
AUTOEXEC.BAT
that is command to execute the new file AUTOEXEC.BAT beginning from its first line.
Since name of this new file isn't preceded by the CALL command (3.02), there will be no
return back to the executed former batch file, which currently doesn't exist yet. Note, that
replacement of currently executed file can't be performed unless all replacement operations
are written in one line.
New AUTOEXEC.BAT file begins with those three lines of former $.BAT file, which
have been shown above. In course of their execution the letter-name of current disk is
assigned as a value to DSK environmental variable and an unconditional jump is
performed to label L7. Thus a group of lines, containing operations of self-modification, is
bypassed for ever more. Starting from label L7 ordinary operations of AUTOEXEC.BAT
file will be performed. During their execution the found letter-name of current disk will be
automatically inserted into all paths, where it must be specified.
9.02
Command files, interpreted by debugger DEBUG.EXE
9.02-01
Boot sector saving and restoration
In every logical disk the first sector is boot sector. It contains parameter block BPB
(A.03-4), an executable code part and specifications of those files, which should be given
control for loading operating system. Boot sector is written by FORMAT.COM utility
(6.15) each time the disk is formatted, and may be rewritten by SYS.COM utility (6.24),
when disk is made bootable. Several special programs, such as DDO (Dynamic Drive
Overlay), use non-standard boot sector configurations, which can't be restored by utilities,
supplied with MS-DOS7.
You may need to save boot sector into a file in order to restore it later after occasional
data distortion, or virus infection, or overwriting in course of operating system installation
(examples – in article 9.11-02).
Though main command interpreter – COMMAND.COM – doesn't provide access to
boot sector, for debugger utility DEBUG.EXE the boot sector saving is an easy task,
solved exclusively with debugger's internal commands. Here is an example of command
file, which induces DEBUG.EXE to do copy boot sector from disk C: into a file:
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Examples of executable files' composition
L CS:100 2 0 1
r BX
0000
r CX
200
n Bootsect.dat
w CS:100
q
The first line is a command to read boot sector from disk C: and to write its copy into
memory starting from address CS:100 and on. Lines 2 – 5 specify length of data area
(00000200h), which should be copied into a file. Line 6 specifies a name for the file to be
created. Line 7 causes data copying from memory into a file. The last command ("Q")
terminates debugger's session.
Text of the shown command file should be typed in editor program's window
(NOTEPAD or EDIT.COM) and saved in current directory as a file with any suitable
name (let it be named SAVEBOOT.SCR). Then this file should be sent to debugger by a
command
DEBUG.EXE < SAVEBOOT.SCR
Result of execution is a 512-byte file BOOTSECT.DAT, appearing in current
directory. This file is an exact image of boot sector on disk C:. You may read boot sector
from any other valid logical disk in a similar way (6.05-10). In order to access disk A:, for
example, you have to replace the first line in SAVEBOOT.SCR with the following one:
L CS:100 0 0 1
Of course, you can't address to a drive for removable media unless it has a valid
removable media inside.
The reverse operation of writing a boot sector back to disk is performed by an even
simpler command file:
n Bootsect.dat
L CS:100
w CS:100 2 0 1
q
Here the first line announces a name of file, containing boot sector image; this file must
be present in current directory. The second line reads sector data from this file into
memory, and the third line writes the sector data from memory back onto its original disk
(disk C: in this example).
Text of the shown command file should be typed in editor program's window and then
saved into a file with any suitable name, for example, RESTBOOT.SCR. As far as
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Examples of executable files' composition
interpretation of RESTBOOT.SCR implies direct access to a disk, this must be done under
DOS, but not inside the "DOS box" under WINDOWS OS. Restoration of boot sector will
happen, when command file RESTBOOT.SCR will be sent to its interpreter via input
redirection:
DEBUG.EXE < RESTBOOT.SCR
With described command files the boot sector restoration becomes an easy operation.
Nevertheless this operation shouldn't be used for boot sector transplantation. Even
transplantation between diskettes of the same format raises a number of problems with
uniqueness of their serial number and volume label, since the latter is duplicated in the root
directory. Generally each boot sector is unique and can be suitable for no other disk except
its original disk.
9.02-02
Copying Master Boot Record into a file
Each time you switch your computer on, it loads an installed operating system from its
HDD (hard disk drive). This ordinary procedure includes several stages, and one important
stage is execution of Master Boot Record (MBR), which specifies HDD's structure and
directs loading process further. As any other record on a disk MBR is subjected to natural
degradation, it may be damaged by an occasional fault or by virus. In any such case you
will have to boot your computer from a recovery disc or from emergency diskette in order
to restore MBR.
For Windows-95/98/ME operating systems you may try to restore MBR with
FDISK.EXE utility (6.13), but it can't restore partition table, which is written in the same
sector together with MBR (A.13-5). Specific forms of MBR, used by some other operating
systems, by DDO (Dynamic Drive Overlay) and by boot managers, also can't be restored
by FDISK.EXE.
Meanwhile there is a simple and universal solution: to store a copy of MBR together
with partition table in a file on a removable media (compact disk or diskette). Then you
will be able to restore MBR and partition table whenever you need from this file.
MS-DOS7 doesn't provide special means to copy MBR, but supplies debugger
DEBUG.EXE, which enables you to write any succession of machine commands and can
execute it at once. This article presents a command file with a succession of commands,
inducing DEBUG.EXE to copy MBR into a file. Text of this command file looks as
follows:
a 100
mov
mov
mov
mov
DX,0080
CX,0001
BX,0200
AX,0201
;prepare
;specify
;load BX
;specify
access to head 00h of HDD 80h
start at cylinder 00h, sector 01h
with offset 0200h for data buffer
function 02 of INT13, copy 1 sector
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Chapter 9:
int
mov
ret
org
mov
mov
int
Examples of executable files' composition
13
[01F6],AH
130
AL,[01F6]
AH,4C
21
;call INT13 handler, copy sector to buffer
;save exit code in memory cell 01F6h
;quit execution of "G=100" instruction
;write next commands from cell 130 and on
;copy exit code into AL register
;specify termination function 4C (8.02-55)
;call INT21 handler, terminate session
g =100
n Mbr.dat
r CX
0200
r BX
0000
w CS:0200
d 01F6,L1
g =130
Proposed commands should be typed in a window of editor program, as recommended
in introduction article to chapter 9. Comments to the right of semicolons are not executed
by DEBUG.EXE and hence may be omitted. Note an empty line between "INT 21" and "G
=100" commands: it is important (7.01-04) and must be present. Then text should be saved
in a file, which may be named, for example, READ_MBR.SCR.
If your computer is configured to boot not from logical disk C:, but from any other
logical disk (D:, E: or other), you have to check actual number of bootable physical HDD,
for example, by command
FDISK.EXE /status
From displayed table you will be able to determine the number of bootable physical
HDD; if it is not number 1, then HDD's code 80h in second line of READ_MBR.SCR file
must be corrected. If bootable drive is HDD number 2, then 81h HDD's code should be
specified, if bootable drive is HDD number 3 – the 82h HDD's code, and so on.
Now it's time to explain how READ_MBR.SCR works. Its first line "A 100" switches
DEBUG.EXE in assembler mode of operation for writing codes of machine commands into
memory starting at address CS:0100h. While DEBUG.EXE stays in assembler mode, it
allows to insert comments after semicolon sign, so the role of commands in lines 2 – 12 is
evident from these comments. More detailed information about each command can be
found in chapter 7. Two successions of machine codes are prepared: one starts from
memory cell 100h, and the other, announced by ORG command in 9-th line, starts from
memory cell 130h. Translation of commands into machine codes continues until empty line
13 is encountered: it forces DEBUG.EXE to leave assembler mode of operation.
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Commands in following lines are not added to prepared successions of machine codes, but
rather are executed at once.
Command "G" in 14-th line initiates execution of the first prepared machine codes
succession from address CS:0100h. In the course of execution the MBR together with
partition table are read from HDD and are written into memory from cell 0200h and on.
Exit code of reading operation is temporary stored in arbitrary chosen free memory cell
01F6h. Execution of the first prepared machine codes succession is finished by RET
command (7.03-73) in the 8-th line, which returns control back to debugger DEBUG.EXE.
DEBUG.EXE continues its job from command "N" (6.05-12) in 15-th line. It prepares
name (MBR.DAT) for the file, which is to be created. You may specify other name or add
a preceding path, if file is to be created elsewhere beyond the current directory. Commands
in lines 16 – 19 specify length (00000200h) of the file, which is to be created. Command
"W" (6.05-19) in 20-th line reads data from memory, starting at address CS:0200h, and
writes these data into a file, which has its length and name (MBR.DAT) specified
beforehand. Command "D" (6.05-04) in 21-st line displays reading operation exit code,
stored in memory cell 01F6h.
The last command "G =130" in 22-nd line initiates execution of the second prepared
succession of machine codes. Exit code of reading operation is copied from memory cell
01F6h into AL register, and then DOS's INT 21\AH=4Ch function (8.02-55) terminates
debugger's session. Simultaneously the exit code from AL register becomes the errorlevel
value, left behind by terminated debugger's session, so that later it may be checked with
conditional "if errorlevel" command (3.15-03).
Before command file READ_MBR.SCR will be interpreted, you have to assure
yourself, that it exists in the current directory on a writable media. As far as MBR will be
saved in a file named MBR.DAT, any synonymous file should be removed from current
directory, otherwise it will be overwritten without prompt. Having finished preparatory
checks, you may send READ_MBR.SCR to debugger for interpretation:
DEBUG.EXE < READ_MBR.SCR
During interpretation a message "Program terminated normally" appears, but it means
nothing more than DEBUG.EXE has successfully got control back after execution of the
first succession of machine codes. Outcome of MBR reading attempt is represented by exit
code – a hexadecimal number, displayed in penultimate row on the screen. Non-zero exit
code informs about failure of MBR reading attempt. In this case a MBR.DAT file will be
created containing nothing but garbage. On condition "if errorlevel 1" (3.15-03) it should
be automatically deleted. Interpretation of non-zero exit codes according to table A.06-1
may help to reveal the cause of failure.
Exit code value 00h signifies success of MBR reading attempt. In this case file
MBR.DAT contains a copy of MBR together with disk's partition table. An example of
MBR.DAT file dump is shown in fig. 12 (in article A.13-5).
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9.02-03
Examples of executable files' composition
Restoration of Master Boot Record (MBR).
MBR failure is a relatively rare event, but no one has a guarantee to avoid it. Once
something similar may happen to you. Then you have to test and exclude other
suppositions: wrong BIOS settings, CMOS memory failure, disk's surface damage, boot
sector overwriting, etc. Most convincing experiment is to save an image of current MBR
into a file, as it is shown in preceding article 9.02-02, and to compare it with original MBR
image, which you have saved beforehand in another file. Comparison may be performed by
FC.EXE utility (6.12). If files differ, MBR must be rewritten or restored.
MS-DOS7 doesn't provide special means for writing MBR image from a file onto a
hard disk, but you may prepare a command file, which will force DEBUG.EXE to do this
job. Let's assume, that command file is named WriteMBR.SCR, that file with a copy
original MBR image is named MBR.DAT, and that both files exist in current directory.
Then contents of WriteMBR.SCR may look like this:
A 100
mov
mov
mov
mov
int
mov
ret
N
L
G
d
q
DX,0080
CX,0001
BX,0200
AX,0301
13
[01F6],AH
;prepare to access head 00h, hard disk 80h
;specify start at cylinder 00h, sector 01h
;load BX with offset 0200 of data buffer
;specify INT13 function 03h, write 1 sector
;call INT13 handler, write data into sector
;save exit code in a memory cell
;quit execution of DEBUG's "G" instruction
MBR.DAT
CS:0200
=0100
01F6,L1
The "A 100" command in first line of this command file switches DEBUG.EXE into
assembler mode, so that commands in following lines 2 – 8 are not executed at once, but
rather are translated into machine codes written into memory cells from CS:0100h and on.
While DEBUG.EXE stays in assembler mode, it allows to supply each line with
commentaries. Therefore mission of commands in lines 2 – 8 is clear from command file
itself. Empty line 9 forces DEBUG.EXE to exit assembler mode. Then "N" command
(6.05-12) in 10-th line specifies name of the file to be loaded, and "L" command (6.05-10)
in 11-th line loads MBR image from MBR.DAT file into memory starting at address
CS:0200h.
The "G" command (6.05-07) in 12-th line initiates execution of prepared machine
codes from address CS:0100h. Execution proceeds until in 8-th line the RET command
(7.03-73) is encountered, which returns control back to DEBUG.EXE. Then execution of
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commands in WriteMBR.SCR file is continued from 13-th line with "D 01F6,L1"
command, which displays exit code, left after execution of INT13\AH=03h writing
function. The last 14-th line with "Q" command terminates debugger's session.
Naturally, if your bootable disk is not the first physical HDD, you must change code of
physical disk in the 2-nd line of WriteMBR.SCR file just as it is described in preceding
article 9.02-02. When you are sure, that code of physical disk is specified properly, that
MBR indeed needs to be restored, that all necessary files are prepared yet in current
directory, then you may send WriteMBR.SCR file for execution with command
DEBUG.EXE < WriteMBR.SCR
After execution a hexadecimal exit code will be displayed on the screen. Interpretation
of any exit code can be found in table A.06-1. Exit code 00h signifies, that MBR has been
restored successfully.
Note 1: experiments with WriteMBR.SCR in order to ensure yourself shouldn't be
performed upon HDDs which are currently in use! This may lead to unrepairable
data loss! You may subject to experiments only those HDDs (both new and not
new), which contain nothing worth saving.
Note 2: WriteMBR.SCR file needs direct access to disk. Therefore MBR restoration
shouldn't be performed inside "DOS box" under WINDOWS OS, it should be
performed under genuine MS-DOS7.
9.03
Examples of batch files
COMMAND.COM interpreter accepts ordinary command files via redirection, just as
DEBUG.EXE does (9.02). But batch files represent a special class of command files,
recognized and accepted by COMMAND.COM just from command line, without
redirection. Moreover, in batch files COMMAND.COM can execute several important
commands (3.02, 3.14, 3.21, 3.27), which can't be executed in ordinary command files or
from command line. Because of these reasons a variety of command files for
COMMAND.COM interpreter eventually is confined to class of batch files.
The most simple batch file in this book is AUTOEXEC.BAT file, presented in article
9.01-02. The articles below present somewhat less simple examples of batch files. These
examples demonstrate techniques of batch programming, which may be useful far beyond
the purposes of the shown batch files.
9.03-01
Batch file ARC.BAT for archiving
Term archiving according to computer terminology implies compression of several files
into a combined file-archive. This meaning survived from those times long ago, when
computers were not reliable, and personnel had to save multiple files as a combined data
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Examples of executable files' composition
stream written onto magnetic tape media. Since those times almost everything has changed,
but interest to archiving hasn't vanished. Archiving decreases loss of free disk's space in
clusters, makes faster both copying and defragmentation. File's size compression is
essential because of limited transmission speed in communication networks. Packing of
multiple files into one archive is convenient and is widely used for delivering large program
products.
Known archiving algorithms are numerous, but only two of them – ZIP and RAR –
have got wide-spread practical appreciation. ZIP algorithm, developed by Phil Katz in
early 1990-ties, doesn't provide utmost compression, but has two other advantages: speed
and compatibility. Archives, packed by original ZIP algorithm, can be unpacked by a lot of
other archiving programs. Programs for packing and unpacking ZIP archives can be
downloaded, for example, from site http://comp.site3k.net/?/comp/pkzip.html .
The RAR algorithm, developed by Eugene Roshal in middle 1990-ties, provides better
compression and is able to emend partially damaged archives having internal recovery
record. But new versions of WINRAR program (for WINDOWS OS) create archives,
which can't be unpacked by earlier versions of RAR archivers. This incompatibility may
let you down against your addressees. Therefore for forming RAR archives a non-newest,
but sufficiently good free version 2.50 of RAR.EXE program (dated 1999) should be
preferred. This version of RAR archiver can be downloaded from internet, for example,
from site http://dosprogram.narod.ru/arc/index.html .
In order to make archive usage convenient, Volcov Commander file manager enables to
enter inside archives with a mouse button click and to treat their contents almost as
contents of ordinary directories (details – in article 6.25-04). Archive creation from file
manager's menu is also much more convenient, than from command line. But file manager
can't prevent user's mistakes in data preparation for archiving; moreover, finding a cause
of a failure sometimes becomes even more difficult. Therefore an idea has emerged to write
a command file, which will check the data transferred from Volcov Commander file
manager to archiver program. This idea was implemented in a batch file, i.e. a command
file for COMMAND.COM interpreter. Batch file ARC.BAT prevented archiver's failures,
and error messages, sent by ARC.BAT to display, helped to elicit the cause of each error.
As years passed, number of checks in ARC.BAT file has grown up to seven. When a
time has come to decide, which batch file should be presented as a useful and relatively
simple example, then the ARC.BAT file was considered the most suitable.
Principle of ARC.BAT file is based on presumption, that in file manager's active panel
the user chooses with right mouse's button a group of files, which are to be included into a
new archive, and then with the left mouse's button highlights a filename, which will be
assigned to the new archive. An example of such selection of files is shown in fig.5 (in
article 6.25-01). After that a mouse button's click on corresponding menu item is enough,
and new archive is created yet. If only one file manager's panel is opened at that moment,
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
then archive will be created in current directory. If both file manager's panels are opened,
then destination directory will be that shown in opposite (inactive) panel.
In course of described procedure the states of both panels and names of selected files
are sent via file manager's macrocommands, invoked by certain character combinations
shown in article 6.25-02. These character combinations should be specified in a line of
menu file VC.MNU (6.25-02) so that each data item, returned by macrocommand,
becomes a value of a separate dummy parameter for ARC.BAT file. In particular, for
creation of RAR archives the menu line invoking ARC.BAT may look like
@Arc.bat RAR !: !~\ !~ [email protected] %: %~\
When this line in menu file is interpreted by Volcov Commander file manager, then
each character combination, invoking a macrocommand, will be replaced by data item,
returned by that macrocommand. Then command line with all performed replacements will
be sent to command interpreter COMMAND.COM. The latter sets ordinal correspondence
between data items in command line and dummy parameters of batch file ARC.BAT.
Inside batch file the dummy parameters are denoted by ordinal numbers of corresponding
data items in original command line – digits from 0 to 9, preceded by a percent sign
(2.03-03). Lines of ARC.BAT file will be interpreted by COMMAND.COM, and then
designators of dummy parameters will be replaced by corresponding data items. According
to the shown order of data items the dummy parameters will get the following
substitutions:
%0
%1
%2
%3
%4
%5
%6
%7
– name of currently processed file (ARC.BAT)
– RAR (or ZIP): requested archive type
– letter-name of a disk, shown in active panel
– path to a directory, opened in active panel
– filename, highlighted by left mouse's button
– file-list of files, selected by right mouse's button
– letter-name of a disk, shown in inactive panel
– path to a directory, opened in inactive panel
The data, received from file manager, will be complemented by other data, requested
by ARC.BAT file from operating system. All these data will be taken into account in order
to reveal mistakes, which may inhibit successful execution of archiving procedures.
According to results of checks either an archiver program will be called for, or a
comprehensive error message will be displayed. Full text of ARC.BAT file, comprising
command lines with all checks, is shown below.
@echo off
set V1=02
if %1"==ZIP" set V1=Pkzip.exe
if %1"==RAR" set V1=Rar.exe
if %6"==" set V1=02
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
if %V1%==02 echo Parameters are invalid or not defined!
if %V1%==02 goto END
set V2=08
for %%Z in (%path%) do if exist %%Z\%V1% set V2=%%Z\%V1%
rem ================== Line 10 ==================
if %V2%==08 echo The %V1% archiver hasn't been found!
if %V2%==08 goto END
set V3=13
for %%Z in (%path%) do if exist %%Z\Find.exe set V3=%%Z\Find.exe
if %V3%==13 echo The Find.exe utility hasn't been found!
if %V3%==13 goto END
if %7"==" echo Archive in inactive panel must be closed!
if %7"==" goto END
if %4"==.." echo Name for the archive isn't chosen!
rem ================== Line 20 ==================
if %4"==.." goto END
%V3% /C /I /V ".%1" %5 | %V3% ": 0" > nul
if not errorlevel 1 echo Chosen file(s) - already %1-archive(s)!
if not errorlevel 1 goto END
%V3% /I "%4.%1" %5 > nul
if not errorlevel 1 if %2%3"==%6%7" echo Conflicting filenames!
if not errorlevel 1 if %2%3"==%6%7" goto END
ctty nul
%comspec% /f /c copy %V3% %6%7%4.%1 /Y | %V3% "1 f"
rem ================== Line 30 ==================
ctty con
if errorlevel 1 echo Non-writable target disk or overwrite denied
if errorlevel 1 goto END
del %6%7%4.%1
if %1==RAR %V2% a -s- -rr -ems- -w%5\.. %6%7%4.%1 @%5
if %1==RAR if errorlevel 1 goto END
for %%Z in (1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1) do echo.
if %1==ZIP %V2% %6%7%4.%1 -ex -P -wHS -jhsr @%5
if %1==ZIP if errorlevel 1 goto END
rem ================== Line 40 ==================
echo Archive %4.%1 is written into the %6%7 directory.
:END
Structure of ARC.BAT file is primitive: it is just a succession of checks. No cycles, no
subroutines. Jumps are performed, when check conditions are not met. Destination of all
jumps is a single label END in the last line. In order to make ordinal search for lines easier,
each tenth line is a comment announcing line's number.
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The first line of ARC.BAT file switches off ECHO flag, because otherwise it will be
difficult to notice the displayed messages. Commands in lines 2 – 7 check value of the first
dummy parameter and presence of 6-th dummy parameter's value. If either of these
conditions is not met, then a message is displayed, that parameters are invalid or not
defined. But if both conditions are met, then name of archiver program, which is to be
called for, is assigned as a value to variable V1.
Command in the 9-th line checks whether the selected archiver program can be found
in either of those directories, which are specified by paths in value of PATH variable
(2.02-02). Proper value of PATH variable should be prepared beforehand: it is one of
required conditions, stipulated in introduction article to chapter 9. Examples of value
assignments to PATH variable are shown in all sets of configuration files, presented in this
book. But whether the selected archiver program will actually be found – this is your own
responsibility, though. If archiver program wouldn't be found, then an error message will
be displayed, and jump from 12-th line to the END label will terminate execution. If
archiver program will be found, then its name with preceding path will be assigned as a
value to variable V2.
Similarly a command in 14-th line arranges a search for FIND.EXE utility (6.14),
which is used in several further checks. If FIND.EXE utility will be found, its name with
preceding path will be assigned as a value to variable V3.
Commands in lines 17 and 18 of ARC.BAT file check whether a value of the 7-th
dummy parameter is empty. This value is empty, when inactive file manager's panel shows
not a directory, but some other archive. In this case the error message, displayed by
ARC.BAT, will prompt, that archive in inactive panel should be closed.
The 19-th line of ARC.BAT file checks that name, which the user had to highlight with
mouse's left button click. This name later will be assigned to the created archive. But
sometimes highlighted line in file manager's panel is left pointing at parent directory,
represented by double dot alias. In this case error message will inform about invalid name
choice.
Command in the 22-nd line of ARC.BAT checks contents of file-list with names of
those files, which should be included into new archive. It's just the moment to remind, that
value of the V3 variable, substituted twice in the 22-nd line, is FIND.EXE utility name
with preceding path. Being called for the first time, the FIND.EXE utility counts in file-list
the filenames not belonging to that type of archives, which is to be created. Presence of
such archive in prepared group of files is allowed, but repetitive compression of archives
only is inept: reliability of data storage will be decreased. Count result is transferred via
intermediate redirection, and then the same FIND.EXE utility, being called for the second
time, checks whether the count result is zero. If files of other types wouldn't be found in
prepared group, then an error message will be displayed, that selected files already are
archives of the requested type.
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
Command in 25-th line of ARC.BAT files searches inside the selected group for a file
with the same name and the same suffix, which are specified for the new archive. If
synonymous file exists yet, then new archive must be created outside the current directory,
otherwise this synonymous file will be overwritten before it is included into new archive. If
such situation is detected, then an error message will inform about conflict of filenames in
current directory.
In the 29-th line of ARC.BAT file an attempt is undertaken to write a file, synonymous
to new archive, into destination directory, where new archive is to be written. Destination
directory is addressed with all those precautions, which are needed for addressing to an
inaccessible media: the CTTY NUL command in 28-th line blocks up panic error
messages, and a call for COMMAND.COM interpreter with /f parameter guarantees nonstop execution. It should be reminded, that value of COMSPEC variable, substituted in the
29-th line, is just the name of COMMAND.COM interpreter with preceding path. This
value is assigned to COMSPEC variable automatically, when command interpreter is
launched for the first time (6.04).
An attempt, undertaken in the 29-th line, may fail, if destination directory contains yet
a synonymous file, protected by HRS attributes (6.01). Another cause of failure may be
non-writable or write-protected media. In any case the outcome of writing attempt is
reflected by a message, sent by COPY command into STDOUT channel. But in 29-th line
STDOUT channel is redirected to FIND.EXE utility. If the latter registers writing attempt
failure, then execution is terminated because of impossibility to create a file with
prescribed name in destination directory. But in case of success the written file will be
deleted by DEL command (3.09) in the 34-th line. Thus the last obstacle to a success of
archiver's mission will be removed.
Before any program is called for, the way this program displays its messages should be
taken into account. The RAR.EXE archiver, called in 35-th line, forms its screen field
bypassing STDOUT channel, so that screen needs to be cleared later. When screen is
cleared by CLS command, then the following concluding message is shown in the upper
screen's row and becomes hidden under file manager's panels. Therefore in 37-th line
screen is cleared by FOR command, shifting cursor 20 rows down. Besides that, file
manager's panels must not be unfolded to their full length. Length of Volcov Commander
panels may be trimmed by mouse or by arrow keys while ALT-F11 or ALT-F12 key
combinations are kept pressed. After that selected panel's size should be stored in VC.INI
file by SHIFT-F9 keystroke.
The PKZIP archiver sends its messages via STDOUT channel, therefore it is called in
38-th line after the screen is cleared. Due to preceding checks probability of archiving
procedures failure is infinitesimal, nevertheless it is not neglected. Therefore in 36-th and
in 39-th lines provisions are made for jumps to final END label, so that error message, sent
by archiver program, will remain visible after interpretation of ARC.BAT terminates.
When archiver mission is finished successfully, then ECHO command in the 41-st line
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
displays concluding message, informing about how the created archive is named and in
which directory it is written.
Prepared batch file ARC.BAT should be stored in a directory, which may be accessed
via paths, specified in value of PATH variable (2.02-02). Common directory with other
file manager's files should be preferred. An example of Volcov Commander's menu file
VC.MNU with lines launching ARC.BAT is shown in article 6.25-02.
9.03-02
Batch file for media status testing
When you have to repair an unknown computer, the first problem is to explore whether
there are disk drives and whether these are accessible. Powerful utilities MSD.EXE (in
MS-DOS6.22) and NDIAGS.EXE (from Norton Utilities software release) are aimed at
solving this problem; both are compatible with MS-DOS7, but both don't report media
status – whether the media is present, formatted, writable, etc.
Presented batch file – let it be named DISK.BAT – provides a short, but
comprehensive survey of disk media status. The main idea is to test disk's accessibility by
reading volume's label and then to test disk's writeability by writing the same label back.
This is safe, because both success and failure of writing procedure wouldn't inflict changes
on disk under test.
On the other hand, the DISK.BAT file may be regarded as a source of several nonobvious solution examples for some urgent tasks:
– incorporation of subroutines into a batch file;
– non-stop testing of disks, including inaccessible ones;
– avoiding undesirable error messages;
– generation of temporary command files;
– catching STDOUT output into an environmental variable.
Full text of DISK.BAT file is shown below. In order to make ordinal search for lines
easier, each tenth line is a comment announcing line's number. Besides that, labels in
DISK.BAT are named after numbers of corresponding lines; for example, label L28
denotes line 28, which marks end of the main part and start of a subroutine.
@echo off
if %1"==&" if not %2"==" goto L%2
if %Path%"==" %0 & 79 4 PATH
if %Temp%"==" %0 & 79 4 TEMP
Call %0 & 28 A Attrib D Debug F Find L Label
if VA"==" goto L87
set V1=%Path%
set Path=%1
set V2=%Path%
rem ================== Line 10 ==================
— 440 —
Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
set Path=%V1%
set V1=
Call %0 & 39 A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S
if %V1%"==" if not %1"==" %0 & 79 5
if %1"==" set V1=A C D E F G O R
ctty nul
%VA% -H -R -S %Temp%\tmp.*
echo e 100 'call %%1 & 46' 20 > %Temp%\tmp.scr
echo w >> %Temp%\tmp.scr
rem ================== Line 20 ==================
echo q >> %Temp%\tmp.scr
set Dircmd=
for %%Z in (%V1%) do call %0 & 53 %%Z: %1
del %Temp%\tmp.*
ctty con
for %%Z in (A D F L 1 2) do set V%%Z=
goto L87
:L28
shift
rem ================== Line 30 ==================
shift
set VL=
for %%Z in (%path%) do if exist %%Z\%2.exe set VL=%%Z\%2.exe
if %VL%"==" echo Error: the %2.exe utility hasn't been found!
if %VL%"==" set VA=
if not %VL%"==" set V%1=%VL%
if not %4"==" goto L28
goto L87
:L39
rem ================== Line 40 ==================
shift
if %V2%"==%2" set V1=%2
if %V2%"==%2:" set V1=%2
if not %3"==" goto L39
goto L87
:L46
set V1=%6
if not %7"==" set V1=%6 %7
if not %8"==" set V1=%6 %7 %8
rem ================== Line 50 ==================
if %5"==has" set V1=NO NAME
goto L87
:L53
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
%comspec% /f /c Dir /-p %3\nul > %Temp%\tmp.txt
%VF% "Volume in d" < %Temp%\tmp.txt > %Temp%\tmp.bat
if errorlevel 1 %0 & 79 6 %3 %4
%VF% "Directory of " < %Temp%\tmp.txt
if errorlevel 1 %0 & 79 7 %3
%VF% "0 bytes free" < %Temp%\tmp.txt
rem ================== Line 60 ==================
if not errorlevel 1 %0 & 79 8 %3
%VD% %Temp%\tmp.bat < %Temp%\tmp.scr
call %Temp%\tmp.bat %0
set V2=if errorlevel 20 del %Temp%\tmp.bat
%comspec% /f /c for %%Z in ("%VL% %3%V1%" "%V2%") do %%Z
%VF% "Volume Seria" < %Temp%\tmp.txt
if errorlevel 1 if not exist %Temp%\tmp.bat %0 & 79 9 %3
if errorlevel 1 if exist %Temp%\tmp.bat %0 & 73 1 %3
if not errorlevel 1 if not exist %Temp%\tmp.bat %0 & 73 2 %3
rem ================== Line 70 ==================
if not errorlevel 1 if exist %Temp%\tmp.bat %0 & 73 3 %3
goto L87
:L73
if %3"==1" if %3"==A:" echo Disk %4 (%V1%) is writable > con
if %3"==1" if not %3"==A:" echo Disk %4 (%V1%) is a RAM-disk > con
if %3"==2" echo Disk %4 (%V1%) is write-protected > con
if %3"==3" echo Disk %4 (%V1%) is writable > con
Dir /a:ARD /-p /v %4\ | %Dsk%\DOS\MS7\Find.exe "otal d" > con
:L79
rem ================== Line 80 ==================
if %3"==4" echo The %4 variable is not defined
if %3"==5" echo Wrong parameter, it must be a diskletter or none
if %3"==6" if not %5"==" echo Letter %4 doesn't refer to a disk > con
if %3"==7" echo Disk %4 has no media inside > con
if %3"==8" echo Disk %4 is probably a CD-ROM (no free space) > con
if %3"==9" echo Disk %4 is not formatted > con
:L87
The second line in DISK.BAT file is a check for the 1-st dummy parameter's value. If
it is ampersand, a jump to subroutine is performed; if don't, execution of the main
program's part is continued. Note, that address for the jump ("goto L%2") is not fixed, but
rather is represented by value of the second dummy parameter. This enables to arrange
subroutines as parts of the main batch file, otherwise subroutines have to be separate files.
Lines 3 – 22 specify preparation operations. First values of PATH and TEMP
variables are checked. The PATH variable (2.02-02) must specify paths to MS-DOS7
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Chapter 9:
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files, the TEMP variable must specify a path to directory for temporary files. If either of
these variables is not defined, then a jump to label L79 is performed, an error message is
displayed, and interpretation of DISK.BAT file terminates. Examples of value assignments
to PATH and TEMP variables are shown in all sets of configuration files, presented in this
book.
The next check in the 5-th line calls for a subroutine, starting from label L28. This
subroutine writes into environmental variables the names and paths of all utilities, which
will be used for performing further tests. Names of these utilities, listed just in the 5-th
line, are transferred to subroutine via its dummy parameters. Main operation of particular
path extraction from PATH variable's value is performed in 33-rd line. If a path isn't
found, then ECHO command in 34-th line displays error message. Until list of dummy
parameters isn't empty, a jump from 37-th line to L28 label will repeat the same cycle for
finding next path to the next utility. Finally paths to Attrib.exe, Debug.exe, Find.exe,
Label.exe utilities will become values of variables VA, VD, VF, VL correspondingly.
After return from L28 subroutine the command interpreter continues execution of
commands in lines 7 – 11. These operations convert disk's letter-name, specified by user in
command line, to upper case. But user may specify some other sign instead of disk's lettername. Therefore another subroutine, located in lines 39 – 45 of DISK.BAT, is called from
13-th line in order to determine, whether the specified sign belongs to list of disk's letternames. If specified sign is rejected, then a jump is performed from 14-th line to label L79,
an error message is displayed, and execution terminates. If specified sign is indeed a lettername, it will be assigned as a value to variable V1, and then this disk only will be
examined. But DISK.BAT may be launched without parameters, and then a predetermined
group of disks should be examined. A list of corresponding letter-names is assigned as a
value to variable V1 in 15-th line.
Disks examination procedures need three auxiliary files to be created in directory for
temporary files: TMP.SCR, TMP.TXT, TMP.BAT. In order to guarantee creation of
those auxiliary files, operation in 17-th line takes off attributes from those synonymous
files, which may exist yet in that directory. Value of variable VA, substituted in 17-th line,
is name of ATTRIB.EXE utility with preceding path. The first of auxiliary files –
TMP.SCR – is created by output redirections in lines 18 – 21. Contents and purpose of
this file will be explained later.
The FOR command in the 23-rd line launches the main exploration cycle, sequentially
for each of the disks under test. Disks to be tested are represented by value of the V1
variable. Disk's examination is performed by a subroutine, located in lines 53 – 72 of
DISK.BAT file. For examination of one disk a call for this subroutine looks like
call %0 & 53 %%Z: %1
where the word "call" means a command to return back into the same FOR cycle each time
when execution of L53 subroutine terminates. Dummy parameter "%0" causes substitution
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
of batch file name: DISK.BAT or some other, if this file will be named otherwise.
Parameters "& 53" specify label L53 as destination for the jump, which is to be performed
from the second line. Substitution of disk's letter-name for "%%Z:" parameter specifies the
disk to be examined.
It's important to notice, that FOR cycle in 24-th line is preceded by a CTTY NUL
command (3.07) in 16-th line, which disrupts default communications with DOS's IN/OUT
functions except those specified explicitly. This enables to avoid numerous error messages,
which otherwise inevitably will be caused by access attempts to invalid or nonexistent
disks. But error messages may be useful for debugging the DISK.BAT file itself; therefore
during its first execution it is better to have the CTTY NUL command disabled by
preceding it with REM command (3.24). If everything goes well, the preceding REM
command in 16-th line should be removed.
Disk's examination subroutine starts at label :L53. The first test in 54-th line is
performed by command
%Comspec% /f /c Dir /-p %3\nul
Just before execution the name of variable %COMSPEC% will be replaced by its
value, that is by name of COMMAND.COM interpreter with preceding path. Hence, a
separate resident module of command interpreter will be loaded. The "/f" parameter forces
this resident module to work non-stop, automatically answering "FAIL" to all queries
about errors. The "/c" parameter means that resident module must execute only one
following command (DIR) and unload itself just afterwards. The message, sent by DIR
command into STDOUT channel, is redirected in 54-th line into auxiliary file TMP.TXT.
Contents of TMP.TXT file are examined by FIND.EXE utility four times: in 55-th,
57-th, 59-th and 66-th lines. Name FIND.EXE is substituted in these lines for name of VF
variable. The first examination enables to reject nonexistent drives; the second – drives for
removable media having no media inside, the third examination reveals CD/DVD-ROM
drives. If examination conditions are not met, then a jump to label L79 is performed, and a
corresponding message is displayed on the screen. Through the first three examinations
those disks only will pass, which exist, have a media inside and are not CD/DVD-ROMs.
A string, selected by FIND.EXE utility during the first examination in 55-th line, is
sent via output redirection and is written into auxiliary file TMP.BAT; its contents, for
example, may look like
Volume in drive D is EXTENDED1
After the first three examinations, in 62-nd line, contents of TMP.BAT file are
transferred as data to DEBUG.EXE, which accepts commands from command file
TMP.SCR. The latter is created beforehand by redirections in lines 18 – 21; it contains the
following lines:
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
e 100 'call %1 & 46' 20
w
q
In the first line command "e 100" (6.05-05) forces DEBUG.EXE to overwrite a part of
the loaded string, which thus is transformed to
call %1 & 46 ve D is EXTENDED1
The second command "w" (6.05-19) makes DEBUG.EXE to write the transformed
string back into file TMP.SCR, and the third command "q" closes debugger's session.
After inflicted transformation the TMP.BAT file contains a CALL command (3.02) of
COMMAND.COM interpreter. Execution of this CALL command will invoke that
program, which will be defined by first dummy parameter %1 of TMP.BAT file. Just that
happens, when TMP.BAT file is executed in 63-rd line of DISK.BAT file. But the first
parameter of TMP.BAT file in 63-rd line is %0 dummy parameter of DISK.BAT file, i.e.
the DISK.BAT file itself. Hence, command in 63-rd line performs a recursive call for
DISK.BAT file. While this recursive call is executed, the "& 46" parameters define target
label L46 for a jump from the second line, and the sixth parameter ("EXTENDED1" in the
shown example) is volume's label of the examined disk. Therefore control is transferred to
a subroutine in lines 46 – 51 of DISK.BAT file. This subroutine replaces former value of
V1 variable with a value of 6-th dummy parameter – volume's label of the examined disk.
Thus mission of L46 subroutine is fulfilled, and command interpreter returns to 64-th line
of DISK.BAT file, to subroutine L53.
Command in 64-th line of DISK.BAT file prepares value of the V2 variable with a
single purpose: to avoid wrap-around of command string in 65-th line, which otherwise
were too long. Cycle FOR in 65-th line performs two operations, defined by values of
variables VL, V1 and V2. The first operation is an attempt to write volume label back onto
the same disk. The second operation is a conditional deletion of TMP.BAT file, if
errorlevel value, returned by preceding writing attempt, informs about failure of this
attempt. Since this moment existence of TMP.BAT file is an evidence of label writing
attempt success and, consequently, signifies writeability of the examined disk.
A check in 66-th line reveals whether disk's serial number is present in file TMP.TXT.
Result of check is represented by errorlevel value. This errolevel value together with
existence of TMP.BAT file are those two arguments, which are enough for media status
identification by conditional control transfers in lines 67 – 71 of DISK.BAT file. Control is
transferred either to subroutine L73 or to subroutine L79, which both send to CON device
(to display) messages, informing about status of the examined media.
Subroutine L73 is executed when examined media is found accessible, so that a
command in 78-th line will be able to show size of disk under test and percent of occupied
disk's space. Subroutine L79 is executed when status of examined media leaves no hope to
get more information about it. Subroutines L73 or L79 terminate examination of one disk.
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Chapter 9:
Examples of executable files' composition
Then control is returned to continuation of cycle FOR in 23-rd line, where disk
examination procedure was originally called for.
Cycle FOR in 23-th line will continue to call for disk's examination subroutine L53,
sequentially specifying next disk's letter-names from list of disks to be examined. When all
disks are examined, then DEL command in 24-th line deletes remaining auxiliary files,
CTTY CON command in 25-th line restores default communications of DOS's I/O
functions, and cycle FOR in 26-th line deletes all local environmental variables. A jump
from 27-th line to final label L87 terminates execution of DISK.BAT file.
While using the DISK.BAT file it should be taken into account that it needs direct
access to disks under test. Therefore DISK.BAT file shouldn't be launched inside "DOS
box" under WINDOWS OS, it may be launched only under MS-DOS7 or MS-DOS8.
Besides that, all 5 necessary conditions of successful execution, stipulated in introduction
article to chapter 9, certainly must be met.
9.04
Configuration files with relocation to RAM-disk
Presented here versions of configuration files (CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT)
implement two alternatives: either ordinary booting mode or booting with arrangement of a
virtual RAM-disk, followed by DOS relocation onto this RAM-disk. Virtual RAM-disk is
much faster, than any real disk, its usage decreases load and wear of physical drives. But
for computer's reparatory purposes a RAM-disk is essential because of other reason. When
a computer boots itself from a removable media – a diskette or a CD-ROM – the drive,
containing the media, is permanently busy with its mission. You can't insert other media in
the drive unless operating system is relocated elsewhere. In these circumstances RAM-disk
is the most suitable target to relocate DOS.
The RAMDRIVE.SYS driver (5.05-01), supplied in WINDOWS-95/98 release,
enables to arrange virtual RAM-disks under MS-DOS7. Common problem for most RAMdisk drivers, including RAMDRIVE.SYS, is that the letter-name, assigned to virtual
RAM-disk, isn't preset in advance. RAM-disk is given the first available letter-name after
those assigned to fixed logical disk(s). But number of fixed logical disks in various
computers may differ. Therefore the letter-name, assigned to RAM-