(0.4) Special Report on OS/2 Warp

"It's time..." -- Leonard Nimoy

On October 11, 1994, IBM announced its boldest entry into the burgeoning home and small office software market, OS/2 Warp Version 3. Widespread on-the-shelf availability of OS/2 Warp occurred on November 4th in the United States.

OS/2 Warp is the latest in a line of releases which have achieved broad acceptance in corporations around the world (and in many other segments of the software market). Over eight million people use OS/2 today, and that number just keeps growing. However, previous releases were criticized for being difficult to install, short on the list of included device drivers, consuming too much memory, an "industrial" appearance rather than a flashy one, and having bundled applications which were not appealing. In short, it was criticized for not appealing strongly enough to home and small business users, many of whom are struggling with an aging 16-bit Windows environment and who are craving for something better.

Nonetheless, OS/2 has always been praised for its reliability, superior compatibility with existing DOS and Windows applications, true preemptive multitasking systemwide, and a state-of-the-art 32-bit programming environment for friendlier and more powerful applications. Features which have made it the most popular 32-bit software in the world and which have earned it over 50 major awards, including PC Magazine's Editor's Choice and Infoworld's Product of the Year.

IBM has, quite simply, "consumerized" OS/2 in creating OS/2 Warp. OS/2 Warp is the fastest, friendliest, and most powerful version of OS/2 yet. And, in concentrating on improving OS/2 in areas which matter most to home and small business users, IBM has ended up making OS/2 better for everyone, especially for current Windows users.

Here is but a sampling of the features and improvements you'll find in OS/2 Warp:

The best news is that, aside from the much maligned applets in OS/2 2.x, nothing was taken away from OS/2 Warp. The most popular 32-bit operating system for the PC was simply made better for everyone.

What versions of OS/2 Warp are available?

OS/2 Warp will be available across the entire range of OS/2 products. OS/2 Warp Version 3 is the first. This product is an upgrade for DOS, Windows, and OS/2 for Windows users. It uses an existing copy of Windows or Windows for Workgroups on your PC's hard disk to provide compatibility with Windows applications. (If a copy of Windows is not available, OS/2 Warp Version 3 will still support DOS and OS/2 applications.)

Next, OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2, now available, is designed as an upgrade for "full pack" OS/2 users or for new PCs without DOS/Windows. It is identical to OS/2 Warp Version 3 except that it contains Windows code (to run Windows applications).

Other versions of OS/2 Warp (for SMP and networking) are also planned. If you purchase OS/2 Warp now, a discounted upgrade to the so-called network version of OS/2 Warp will be available. (The upgrade consists of a larger BonusPak; the base OS/2 Warp software does not fundamentally change.)

Can I upgrade from "full pack" OS/2 2.x to OS/2 Warp Version 3?

The short answer is no, that OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2 is a more convenient upgrade. However, if you are willing to reformat, you can purchase and install OS/2 Warp Version 3 to run DOS and OS/2 applications. If you install Windows before installing OS/2 Warp Version 3, you can also run Windows applications. IBM does not recommend such an upgrade without reformatting. Or, at the very least, you should completely remove all traces of OS/2 (with Win-OS/2) from a diskette boot. That means you should remove the following directories:


and the following files:


Since I have to install Windows from DOS, how can I create an OS/2 Warp Version 3 system with 100% HPFS?

If you wish to run with no DOS (FAT) file systems (all HPFS), it is more convenient to use OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2, now available. However, it can still be accomplished with OS/2 Warp Version 3 (without Win-OS/2) by following these steps:

  1. Create an empty FAT drive on any PC;
  2. Boot DOS from diskette and escape to the command line;
  3. Insert Windows Diskette 1 in Drive A and enter SETUP;
  4. Install Windows (Custom install preferable);
  5. Using a utility such as PKZIP, create a set of diskettes which contains the entire contents of the \WINDOWS directory just created;
  6. Install OS/2 Warp Version 3, reformatting everything to HPFS in the process;
  7. From a DOS command line, restore the contents of the \WINDOWS directory to the same drive (Drive C, for example) where it was originally installed and set these backup diskettes aside for future use (label them "Win-OS/2");
  8. Run OS/2 Warp's Selective Install, pass by the first panel, and make sure that the checkbox next to Win-OS/2 is checked, then click on the Install button;
  9. Insert original Windows diskettes when prompted;
  10. Shutdown and reboot.

Alternatively, you can use a free utility called WSETUP, available from (3.2) Shareware and Freeware Sources, to install Windows 3.1 from within OS/2 Warp. Or you can use a new product, Partition Magic from PowerQuest, which can convert a DOS FAT hard disk into HPFS, on-the-fly, retaining all existing files in the process.

Does OS/2 Warp support Windows VxDs?

No. OS/2 Warp Version 3 does not support VxDs (or, more precisely, VxDs which compromise system integrity are not supported). Microsoft is actively discouraging use of VxDs (because applications which use them cannot run under NT and may not run under Windows95), and IBM recommends that you not invest in software which requires them. Most software vendors will probably be releasing updates of their products which do not use VxDs (or native OS/2 Warp versions of their applications).

Fortunately, the number of applications which require VxDs is very small, and, of those applications, most are related to networking (for which there are most often superior native OS/2 alternatives).

Will OS/2 Warp Version 3 get rid of my DOS and Windows when I install it?

Absolutely not. Like a good application would, OS/2 Warp Version 3 leaves your native environment untouched, so you can always return to it safely and conveniently. DOS/Windows is preserved using DualBoot by default. (Boot Manager is also available.) You can even use OS/2 Warp's OSDELETE command (from an OS/2 diskette boot) to remove OS/2 Warp should you wish to do so. Install OS/2 Warp Version 3 with confidence.

Can OS/2 Warp read my drives compressed with Stacker, DoubleSpace, DriveSpace, or SuperStor?

Not by itself. It will safely ignore such drives if they exist. If you would like to continue using compressed drives, then Stacker Version 4 for OS/2 is right for you. Stacker for OS/2 can not only read and write Stacker compressed drives, but it can also safely convert DoubleSpace, DriveSpace, and SuperStor compressed drives to the more popular Stacker format.

How do I get OS/2 Warp Version 3?

Walk into any software dealership and ask for it. It is readily and widely available to all software dealers, either directly from IBM or through distributors. The best price is available through your dealer, although you can order the product from IBM directly.

How much does OS/2 Warp Version 3 cost?

With all of OS/2 Warp's features, including the BonusPak, the U.S. single unit price is usually under $80 (list price is $129).

Discounted upgrades to OS/2 Warp Version 3 are available for the following users (U.S. terms):

OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2 has a list price of $199. A discounted upgrade to OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2 is available to all OS/2 2.1x "full pack" users and carries a list price of $129. Estimated street price on the upgrade is under $80.

Other discounts may apply for additional licenses, VALU agreements, etc. Pricing and availability may vary outside the United States, so consult your local OS/2 software dealer for details.

OS/2 Warp is available on what types of media?

OS/2 Warp Version 3 (and OS/2 Warp Version 3 with Win-OS/2) are available on 3.5 inch diskettes and CD-ROM (with 3.5 inch boot diskettes). OS/2 is no longer available on 5.25 inch diskettes. See (4.2) Installing OS/2 Warp from Drive B.

How much does it cost to use the IBM Global Network for the Internet Connection?

Rates vary by country, so no one answer will necessarily apply. The latest rate information for your country is displayed when you first register with the IBM Global Network using OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection. You are asked then to agree to the terms. Three hours of free access are provided with every copy of OS/2 Warp, and you will not incur any charges until you use more than three hours or fail to cancel your account within three months of registering.

In the United States, there are two primary rate plans: either $12.95 for 6 hours per month or $29.95 for 30 hours per month (with per hour charges for additional hours). Generally speaking, you will enjoy lower rates for accessing the Internet through the IBM Global Network if you do not live in a major city (where other Internet providers may be competing) or if you travel and need access from two or more locations. The IBM Global Network provides worldwide access with local dial-up numbers all over the world. Most other Internet providers only provide service within a specific metropolitan area. OS/2 Warp provides the capability to connect either with the IBM Global Network or an Internet provider of your choice, so you should feel free to shop for the most attractive rates for your situation. Most independent Internet providers will readily assist you in configuring OS/2 Warp to access their services, so do not hesitate to ask.

Can I use Warp's Internet Connection with IBM TCP/IP for OS/2?

Yes. This combination is now supported by IBM. Make sure that you install the latest Service Pak(s) for IBM TCP/IP for OS/2, however. Also, when the OS/2 Warp Internet Dialer is active, all TCP/IP traffic will be routed through your dial-up connection (and traffic through your network card will be suspended). When you close the Dialer, traffic will resume through your network card.

I can't wait for the so-called network version of OS/2 Warp. How do I get OS/2 Warp to use my network card to access the Internet?

Assuming your network card is connected into the Internet already (perhaps at a university), any of the following software packages will allow OS/2 Warp's Internet software to work over your network card:

The least expensive of these (under $50 typically) is the LAN Server 4 requester. However, it is not sold separately with diskettes. The diskettes for the requester are bundled with IBM LAN Server 4. If you know someone who has IBM LAN Server 4, you can legally obtain a copy of the requester from that person if you purchase a separate license card for the requester from IBM or any IBM software dealer.

The DCE Client is the second least expensive (under $65 typically) method, and diskettes are provided (not just the right to copy) when you purchase it.

Please note that when you are using OS/2 Warp's Internet Dialer, all traffic will be routed over the dial-up connection and any traffic over the network card will be suspended. If you close the Internet Dialer, traffic over your network card will resume. Also please be advised that IBM has not completed testing on OS/2 Warp's Internet Connection in combination with any product which provides TCP/IP for network cards except for IBM TCP/IP Version 2 with the latest Service Pak. Nonetheless, many OS/2 Warp users are using these suggested combinations of products with great success and little apparent difficulty. IBM expects to officially "bless" these suggested combinations in the near future.

Will all my current software work with OS/2 Warp?

With very few exceptions, yes. IBM has tested OS/2 Warp against huge numbers of applications and networking packages, including the Novell Netware Client Kit for OS/2, Communications Manager, IBM TCP/IP for OS/2, the LAN Server requester, and much more. Any specific application notes are contained in the Application Considerations online document, located in the Information folder in OS/2 Warp.

Related information:

(1.5)  High Performance File System (HPFS)
(3.2)  Shareware and Freeware Sources
(3.8)  Networking Products
(3.11) Internet Connection
(4.2)  Installing OS/2 Warp from Drive B
(4.4)  Starting OS/2 Warp from Diskette
(4.6)  Corrective Service Diskettes

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