Maintenance Partitions (Revised)

By: Walter Metcalf
Date: 01/05/00

Page 12

  1. Now, shutdown and restart your computer. When the Boot Manager menu is displayed, select the maintenance partition by using the up and down cursor keys, and then press <Enter>. The OS/2 logo will be displayed, then you should see a command prompt. Your maintenance partition is up and running and if you check you'll find it's only using around 9 MB! In addition to OS/2 itself BootOS/2 has copied several utilities to your maintenance partition. Most of them are located in the OS2 directory and they include Fdisk, Chkdsk, Format, Attrib, and Tedit--a simple, but powerful text editor. Try running Chkdsk on your boot drive. To do that before you would have to boot from the installation disks, and then hunt through the disk images for the Chkdsk program!

  2. Clearly there are many things this simple partition cannot do. There is no GUI interface, you cannot even run Rexx programs, and it doesn't support DOS programs. By using the BootOS/2's parameters you can add more functionality to this simple OS/2 system. For example you can add REXX to the command line to get REXX support; similarly adding WPS and HELP get the Workplace Shell and basic Help. See the file BootOS2.doc for complete information.
Beyond what BootOS/2 will install, you can install your own applications, as long as you don't get carried away. For example I have installed Partition Magic 3.05.x, BackAgain/2, Kon, and ZipCntrl on my partition. Being able to use the full GUI version to do backup and restores of the system drive is a big advantage over having to use the basic text version. I also use the maintenance partition to restore the Desktop when necessary. (Note: the OS/2 Enhanced Editor, EPM, is not a good candidate for installation on the maintenance partition because it uses a number of system functions, which in turn require components of OS/2 not installed by BootOS/2.)

If you decide to install your backup software on your maintenance partition, consider installing the files on the same drive and directory you placed them on when you installed it from your main boot system. This will avoid problems that might arise if both the main backup and maintenance partition backup software require data files that need to be synchronized, such as the tape id and catalog files BackAgain/2 uses. One final tip: if you do install your backup software on your maintenance partition, I suggest you split your full backup procedure into two, and switch to your maintenance partition to backup your main boot drive. Doing so will enable your backup program to reset the archive flags on all files, leaving fewer files to back up during the differential or incremental backup procedures on successive days. This is especially important if you use differential backups.

I hope you'll try building a maintenance partition if you don't already have one. If you run into some snags or have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me by email. Having a well thought-out maintenance partition will do a lot to make your OS/2 experience both more productive and more enjoyable.

Walter Metcalf

Next week: Setting Up a LAN on Warp 4, Part 3

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