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Site updated 10/6/98

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Executor/DOS under Win32

Since 01/01/98

Setting up Executor/DOS 2.0x to run from within Windows 95 or Windows NT 4.0 can be tricky. I sat down over a year ago and spent hours working on finding the optimal settings. What I am writing here is, of course, what works on my system. Others may find variations on this that work better for theirs.

You will need lots of memory to run Executor/DOS under Win32. When I had 24 MB in my machine, under Windows 95 I was still only able to get up to 16 MB allocated to Executor (at least in a stable fashion-- see below for more info.) So, someone running Windows 95 with 8 MB of memory, for instance, will likely not be able to run Executor/DOS outside of DOS.

The first thing you need to do is open the folder into which you would like to place a shortcut to Executor. Then, create a shortcut that points to executor.exe. (Either right-click and choose "New...", then "Shortcut" and then follow the Wizard's directions, or go into the Executor directory, right-click on Executor.exe, choose "Create Shortcut", and then cut and paste the shortcut where you want it.) Next, right-click on the shortcut icon, select "Properties..." and click on the "Program" tab. In the "Cmd line:" field, type:


(of course, substitute your path for c:\executor...) The command line switches (-info) are case sensitive, so be careful. Then, under the "Working:" field, type:


Under "Run:", select Normal Window.

For now, be sure that the "Close on exit" checkbox is unchecked.

Next, click on the "Memory" tab. In the "Conventional memory" section, set both "Total" and "Initial environment" to "Auto". Then, set "EMS" to "None" and "XMS" to "None". Then, most important, set "MS-DOS protected mode (DPMI) memory" to "Auto".

Next, click on the "Screen" tab, and be sure that "Usage" is set to "Full-screen".

Then, click on the "Misc." tab and be sure that "Allow screen saver" is unchecked (when your screen saver engages, Executor freezes.) Make sure that the "Background" "Always suspend" check box is unchecked, and set "Idle sensitivity" all the way to "Low".

Now, click on "OK", and then double click on the shortcut icon. What you will see is a black window with a lot of text on it (if everything has so far gone well.) Somewhere in that, there will be a line that says "xx MB of potentially useful physical DPMI memory detected." You will want to remember the number that appears in the place of xx.

Close that window, and then right-click on the shortcut icon. Select "Properties", then click on "Program" again. Under the "Cmd line:" field, type:


In place of the xx, you should place the amount of memory allocated to your applications under Executor. The number you were asked earlier to remember indicates all memory available to Executor. About 3/4 of a meg of that has to go to Executor itself in order for it to run, but the rest is available for applications. It's a good idea, however, to replace xx with an amount approximately 4 MB less than Executor told you was available (assuming you have that much to play with.) Setting this to less than the maximum amount seems to make Executor more stable under Win32. (For instance, HyperCard often crashed Executor on my machine until I decreased the applzone by 1 MB. From then on, everything ran well.) Once you're finished updating the "Cmd line:" field, make sure "Close on exit" is checked, and then click on "OK". (There are other options you can include in the "Cmd line:" field. See "How to customize Executor/DOS through command line switches" on this site for more information.)

When you double-click on the Executor shortcut icon, everything should run smoothly, assuming there's enough RAM.

----WARNING---- The following information, if used, may result in Executor crashes, Windows 95 crashes, severe headaches, high blood pressure, and several other similar bad things. But some people (like me) like to hack their systems as much as possible.... USE AT YOUR OWN RISK...

You can "fool" Executor into thinking you have far more memory than you actually have. (Up to 60M, I believe.) However, larger applications (such as Microsoft Word 5.1a) become very unstable when this is done. To do this, set the available XMS and DPMI memory fields to their maximum allowed amount under the shortcut's properties. Now, since the apps that can use that much memory will crash if you do this, this is of limited usefullness. However, I found it interesting to see Executor grant me use of three times as much memory as I had on the system. Soon after playing around with this, however, I set things back to a safe setting (as described above), and Executor has never crashed on me since.