Installing Your OS/2 System

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 04/28/99

So far in our Primer on Installation and Setup of OS/2 we have looked in detail at the Planning and Layout of your new system.

This week we come to the heart of the Primer: the actual Installation itself. For the most part, the mechanics of the installation process are relatively routine and well documented. For that reason, and because it isn't possible to cover the entire installation process within the confines of a single article, I will limit this discussion to points in the installation process which are not documented well, are often confusing to new users, or present pitfalls to avoid. I will also not deal with installation issues involving network adapters or LAN's.

Before proceeding any further, let me list some of the main sources of more complete documentation on the installation process:

  1. Up and Running!  by IBM

    This is the paper manual that accompanies Warp 3 and 4. Although sometimes the butt of jokes from those who have enjoyed the more substantial manual accompanying earlier versions of OS/2, this manual nonetheless does quite a respectable job of describing the the Install process, including the Planning and Layout stages. The Warp 4 edition has been expanded to include a considerable amount of additional material. You should at least peruse this book before beginning your installation. Doing so could save you quite a bit of time later.

  2. On-line Help

    Although somewhat uneven, there is still a lot of help here, so don't be afraid to click on the "Help" buttons that appear on every dialog box.

  3. OS/2 Basics by D. Lawrence Gibbs

    Well done.

  4. OS/2 Warp 4 Installation Notes

    Excellent description by Frank McKenney. Both beginners and power users will find help here.

  1. Preparation

    There are two steps you should take before you actually boot the Installation diskette. Actually one is necessary; the other is optional, but is a good idea.

    1. Partition and Format your Hard Drive

      If you did not create the and format the OS/2 partition after last weeks feature, then you should do so now. Although the Advanced Install gives you the chance to do so during Installation, doing so now allows you to adjust the sizes the way you want them, if you are using Partition Magic, and most importantly, by doing so now, you can perform a long format.¹

      • The format performed by the Installation Process if you select that option, merely erases the directory. This leaves all the actual data still on the drive. This can pose a security risk as well as cause system recovery problems later on. A long format, accomplished by specifying a "/L" on the command line, causes every sector of the hard drive to be erased.

    2. Modify your Installation Disk

      Warp 4 was released on September 1996, nearly three years ago. Since then hard drive technology has changed dramatically, with the result that the original installation diskettes are not able to handle modern drives correctly. In order to prevent problems, it is necessary to change several of the drivers on Warp 4 Diskette 1 (the second diskette) in the set. The required steps are:

      1. Make a backup of Warp Diskette 1.

      2. Create some additional free space by deleting drivers for devices you don't have. For example if you only have one CDROM drive, a Toshiba, then you can safely delete all files starting with SONY, e.g. SONY*.ADD. Warning: NEVER delete any files ending in .SNP!

      3. Edit the CONFIG.SYS file and REM out any lines referring to drivers you deleted in the previous step.

      4. Add the line SET COPYFROMFLOPPY=1 at the beginning of the CONFIG.SYS file. Save your changes and close the file.

      5. Download the file IDEDASD.EXE to a temporary directory and execute it. The file will decompress into several drivers and a Readme file.

      6. Copy the following files from the temporary to the Warp 4 Diskette 1, overwriting the existing file in each case:


  2. Easy/Advanced Installation

    1. Many feel that the Easy Installation option makes too many choices for you. I am inclined to agree. For example:

      1. Easy Install automatically makes your OS/2 partition FAT. You may remember from the previous article in this series, that HPFS over is to be preferred over FAT in almost all cases;

      2. Easy Install does not permit installation of Boot Manager, and thereby forces OS/2 to be installed into Drive C. You are not given the chance to create or format any partitions.

      3. None of the Bonus Pak items are installed.

      4. If your hardware is adequate, VoiceType is automatically installed, something you may not want, and which puts quite a drag on your system even when not in use.

    2. If you look over Up and Running, and follow the material in this Primer, you should have more than enough information to handle the Advanced Install method, resulting in a better-tuned system that fits your needs more closely.

    3. After selecting "Advanced Install", the system present the Drive it has chosen on which to install OS/2. If you agree press <Enter>. If not press <2> and <Enter> to enter FDisk. Move the cursor bar to your chosen OS/2 drive, press <Enter>, and select "Select "Installable". This "passes a note" to the Installer telling it where to install OS/2.

  3. Selective Install

      This section of the install is available from the Desktop after OS/2 is install, and you will probably get to know it rather well. Here are some tips you may find helpful:

    1. Don't be afraid to leave the windows empty or set to "None". That simply means OS/2 couldn't find a driver precisely matching that device and had to use a generic default. After you've installed OS/2, you can get the correct driver from the Internet or the CD or diskette that came with the device and install it then.

    2. If you have one of the following video adapters, you should consider using the new IBM-written GRADD drivers, which usually outperform their vendor-written counterparts. The GRADD drivers must be installed over the VGA base as a post-installation procedure, so if you want to try them, you should reset the Primary Display is reset Video Graphics Adapter. The devices for GRADD devices exist as of this writing are:

      • ATI Rage II/Mach 64

      • Chips & Technology 6555X

      • Matrox Millenium/Mystique

      • S3 864/TRIO

      • S3 Virge/Virge VX

  4. Internet Installation

    1. This is a real source of confusion, even for some people who have used OS/2 for several years. There are two different ways of going about it: you can load the bare bones now, and leave the rest (i.e. the configuration) as a post-installation task, or you can do the configuration now.

      1. The only required component for Internet operation is TCP/IP Services. Select the check-box, and click on Next. You will see a window with a number of options to be filled in. For the bare bones approach, click on Install now.

      2. If you wish to configure TCP/IP now, then fill in the window using the information you received from ISP.

    2. After pressing Install, you need to carefully follow a specific procedure to successfully bypass the Network adapters. Follow these steps to successfully navigate the minefield:

      1. Network Adapters and Protocol Services -- Configuration Error  window

          Click on 'OK'.

      2. Configuration  window

          Click on 'OK'.

      3. Add Adapter  window

          Select "No Network Adapter" and click on 'OK'.

      4. Network Adapter and Protocol Services (MPTS and LAPS)  window

          Select "No Network Adapter" and click on "Install".

      5. Configuration  window

          Click on 'OK'.

    Next time: Setup and Updating of the OS/2 System

¹A third way to handle the formatting is to press F3 after the diskettes have been loaded and type:

cd os2image\disk_3
format y: /L
where x: is the CD drive letter, and y: is the OS/2 system drive letter.

For Further Reading:

Primer on Installation and Setup of OS/2  © 1999 Walter Metcalf

OS/2 Warp 4 Installation Notes © 1997 Frank McKenney

Dial Other Internet Providers (DOIP) © 1999 Mark Dodel

Unless otherwise noted, all content on this site is Copyright © 2004, VOICE