norrsken data teknik
eCS tools

Here are some REXX tools we're using in our daily work... They are working with older OS/2 versions, too.

You might use and modify them according to Your needs. If You add some improvements or find some errors please let us know.

Attention: Usage of these programs is on Your own risk! We are in neither way responsible for any damage on Your system nor loss of data!
Please do not test the programs with valuable data!

Strongly recommended: CheckConfig and system backups!

System commands

Installation: Copy the *.CMD file to a directory contained in the PATH-list (f.ex.: \OS2 or \OS2\APPS). That's all.

The new system commands are directly available, no reboot is required. For example You might type (from a command prompt) ZipDir (not case sensitive). The programm will then report a detailed usage description (except 'Reboot' which will reboot Your system directly)...


Reboot Your system from a comand line. Useful on systems with multiple operating systems or boot partitions. The Reboot.CMD program determines the current boot partition, shuts the system down and reboots then to the current partition...


For backup purpose there are many tools. But the simplest way to backup Your work is to zip it. So it is useful having the zip commands for packing whole directories handy...

Given the zip.exe on a system path (standard on eCS, mostly on OS/2) the ZipDir command packs directories (incl. subdirectories) or entire drives into a single zip-file from a command line.

For example packing a whole drive D: You simply type
ZipDir D:
or packing the D:\Important directory including all subdirectories is made by typing
ZipDir D:\Important


For copying files from directories with subdirectories there is an extended copy command 'xcopy' -- but deleting files (and directories) with a deep structure is a hard work (from a command prompt). There is a 'del' (delete file) and a 'rd' (remove directory) command.

What is lacking is an extended 'del' command: xdel.

You can delete complete directory trees or remove only the extended attributes (EAs). Since eCS -- out of the box -- was a bit buggy :-(

Have You ever copied files from CD? Removing the read-only attribute is a hard job, if there are many sub-directories... Since version 2002-01-22 xdel has the /A parameter, which will reset the a r s h attributes.

Here they are (now bundled as a single *.zip file for easier download):

Download Reboot.CMD (v 1997-10-26), ZipDir.CMD (v 2002-01-11), xdel.CMD (v 2002-02-06)

Repair and service tools

When installing eCS 1.1 the XWorkplace class replacements are automatically installed. That's nice, but (why is there always a but) the new classes don't have all the settings the original classes have :-(

Enable Commet Cursor (new)

The (imho very nice and useful) comet cursor cannot be enabled! Let's fix it: Download enableComet.CMD, run it and follow the instructions (reboot, enable the cometcursor)

Enable Start Menu (new)

The (useful and dangerous) startoptions screen cannot be enabled! Let's fix it: Download enableStartmenu.CMD, run it and follow the instructions (reboot, enable the startoptions screen (with a timeout?)).


The eCS 1.0 system -- out of the box -- had some problems with the extended attributes. Sometimes the file or directory names (after a copy or check disk action) lost their names and appeared in DOS 8.3 naming :-(
In that case the long names still existed in the .LONGNAME EA...
Repairing such long lists of file-names is a hard work. Let's do it automatically:

If You have a directory with defected names, place the RepairLongNames.CMD in that directory -- and run it (but do it, before You run xdel <...> /S /EA).

Download enableStartmenu.CMD (v. 2003-06-07), enableStartmenu.CMD (v. 2003-06-07), RepairLongNames.CMD (v 2002-01-09)

Check Config

When installing new programs or drivers strange things can happen... The worst thing is a not starting system :-(

Having backups is always a good idea. Some hints about backing up Your desktop and configuration files (OS2.INI, CONFIG.SYS, system dlls etc.) are here.

Before backing out archives it often is much faster and more comfortable to use the right avoid-problems-and repair tool.
The CheckConfig (created 1997-02-09) tool does some helpful things:

CheckConfig while checking...

Checking the CONFIG.SYS for some unused or incorrect pathes
Creating a CONFIG.K (K: kill) for starting the system without the latest CONFIG.SYS changes (bootable system)
Adding the [K] kill option to the start menu ("Recovery Choices")

Download the CheckConfig package and unzip it, run install.

Please make a copy of Your CONFIG.SYS and the \OS2\BOOT\ALTF1.TOP before running install! In case You do not like the (small) changes the program makes, You can undo this changes by using Your copies :-)

Usage: Run CheckConfig before each program or driver install

Download (v 2003-10-04)

Other tools

Start/Stop ObjectDesktop

ObjectDesktop on eCS screen with multiple desktops

Since ObjectDesktop is a dead program the useability of OD on newer OS/2 (eCS) systems is restricted. Especially the ControlCenter with multiple desktops blocks the system at startup (there is a conflict between the ObjectNetScan and TCPIP-start).

A temporary solution for this problem is to start OD delayed and close it (automatically) at system shutdown. Switch the autostart function for the ControlCenter in the OD settings dialog off (but not the autohide). Use the both REXX scripts provided here. Then Your OD will work fine.

Download startOBDSK.CMD and put it somewhere on Your disk (f.ex.: \OS2\APPS\),
create a program object in Your System/Startup folder pointing to startOBDSK (check 'start minimized').
Again: Switch off the autostart ControlCenter function in ObjectDesktop


Put stopOBDSK.CMD somewhere on Your disk (f.ex.: \OS2\APPS\),
download and install Paul Ratcliffe's REXX extension
Then open Your /System/SystemSetup/eStyler program, go to the shutdown tab (second page) and add a program to execute at shutdown:
program: cmd.exe
parameters: /C      [path to the *.cmd]\StopOBDESK.cmd
window: minimized

The shutdown settings in eStyler

Download start/stop ObjectDesktop

Open PP Zip Drive

The new parallel-port zip driver PPAOS2 has a little design bug: It ignores the RESERVEDRIVELETTER settings. And this causes moving drive letters in case of existing CardBus/PCMCIA slots.
The CardBus registers 2 (or 4) hard drive letters at the end of the real existing HDDs.
F.ex.: Drive D is a HDD, drives E, F are PCMCIA (flash memory, ...) cards:

Drive objects without PP ZipDrive

When the PP zip drive is connected, the drive letters move and the zip drive letter is inserted between the real HDDs and the PCMCIA drive letters.
F.ex.: Drive D is a HDD, drive E is the PP zip, drives F, G are PCMCIA (flash memory, ...) cards:

Drive objects with PP ZipDrive

This is not a problem as long as You open a drive from the Drives-Folder on Your desktop -- but putting a single drive object in the SmartCenter is impossible, it is removed when the drive is no longer available :-(

So, if You want a sometimes disappearing drive available from the SmartCenter, download openZipDrive.cmd, put it somewhere on Your disk (f.ex.: \OS2\APPS\),

edit the file in line
open = "<WP_DRIVE_E>"
and change the drive letter according to Your needs...

Now You can create a program object for this *.cmd and put it in some folder. Drag this program object to the SmartCenter :-)

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last edited 2003-10-04