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Basic DOS Settings for Windows 95 Workstations in a NetWare Network

Articles and Tips: tip

Edward Liebing

01 Dec 1996

From reading the various Windows 95 magazines and conference materials, as well as the Microsoft Windows 95 Resource Kit, we have discovered that basic DOS settings (such as FILES, BUFFERS, and STACKS) in Windows 95 that may be too low for the newer high-end machines and especially for network workstations. However, you can change these settings as described in this NetNote.

Windows 95 comes with a number of default DOS parameters that you might want to change. These include:


These parameters are set in the IO.SYS file, which is a hidden/system file at the root of C. The IO.SYS file contains a number of settings that replace settings formerly made in the CONFIG.SYS file.

Below is a list of the CONFIG.SYS settings in the IO.SYS file, along with their default settings:

FILES= Used to create file handle buffers for any applications that make DOS-based Open Files calls, which include Windows 3.x applications. Although the Resource Kit says the default is 60, it is actually 30. For workstations that call up a number of applications locally, you will need to set this number higher, to 60 or more. You make this change by placing a FILES=60 entry in the CONFIG.SYS file.

BUFFERS= Used to create file buffers for better hard disk access. This setting is used by applications that make specific IO.SYS calls. The default is 30, but again, you may need to increase it depending on how many applications you are running that make such calls and how big your local disk drives are.

STACKS= Shows the number and size of stack frames, which are used by 16-bit Windows-based applications (not required by Windows 95). This setting defaults to 9,256. If one or your Windows-based applications tells you to increase this number, make the changes in the CONFIG.SYS file.

DOS=HIGHLoads DOS into high memory area (HMA) to conserve conventional memory.

FCBS= Sets how many file control blocks can be opened at the same time. This setting defaults to 4. If your application specifies that you need more, make the changes in the CONFIG.SYS file.

HIMEM.SYS Enables access to the HMA area. HIMEM.SYS is loaded by default. However, EMM386 is not loaded, so if you have applications that need expanded memory, you'll need to load EMM386.EXE in CONFIG.SYS.

IFSHLP.SYS=The Installable File System Helper file expands the minimum file system to load device drivers as well as make other file system calls. You don't need to do anything to this setting.

LASTDRIVE=Automatically set to Z, so use the default.You can then use the First Network Drive setting to designate which drive letter you want to log in from.

SETVER.EXE Used to set a specific version of MS-DOS for DOS-based applications that require it. This optional setting is included to assist in software compatibility.

SHELL=Points to a COMMAND.COM file to begin command processes.

* Originally published in Novell AppNotes


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