4DOS Tips & Tricks
4DOS Batches, Aliases, Functions
INFO for DOS
From this page you can download my batch collection 4XBTM, my special 4XGAMES collection, and the icons I made for the 4DOS program suite. 4XBTM is the name I gave my collection because
The batches in these collection are mostly obsolete by now. Remember that most were written under version 4 / 5. Long file names (LFN) were a thing of the future, 4DOS had much less in regard to internal functions, and the world was, all in all, a simpler place :-)
4XBTM Version 7.01 Release Notes
4XINSTAL.BTM, the installation routine for the 4XBTM files, will give you hints and warnings if it detects possible incompatibilities. Simply run 4XINSTAL and watch your screen. 4XINSTAL describes the files in this collection, so you can use the dir command to see what each one does. For those who still doggedly read on:
4DOS Version 6.xx or later. Newer Batches need the latest 4DOS version available (7.01 as of now).
DOS: A few of these batches need DOS 6.xx or better tools like
SORT, FIND, FORMAT, COMMAND, SYS, EDIT, LABEL, DEBUG
or external tools like PKZIP, PKUNZIP, LIST.COM etc.
VGA Card for a few BTMs
ANSI.SYS or equivalent driver for a few BTMs
These btms were written and tested under plain old DOS (MS_DOS 6.20, and the new MSDOS 7.nn, alias Win95). They may give unexpected results under different Operating Systems like OS/2, WINDOWS NT etc.
The newer btms and a few rewritten older ones tend to use functions and commands available only in the current 4DOS version (as indicated under SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS above). If you experience trouble, there is an easy solution: do a quick upgrade to the newest 4DOS version...
All these btms need a few (hundred) bytes of environment space. XSP even needs 600, so I test for enough env space in 4XINSTAL. If you get a warning there, before you start to play, make sure your 4DOS.INI is set up to allow this by placing a line like
into it. I also expect the settings
in your 4DOS.INI. You may want to play with the color settings as well. 4XBTM is written for best effects with the 4dos.ini settings
STDCOLORS = BRI WHI ON BLU
I know my color scheme is not to everybody's taste, but it is pleasing to me. So, if you do not like it, you are absolutely free to edit all colors to suit your taste.
I strongly recommend the setting of the TEMP variable to something like C:\TEMP in your autoexec.bat or wherever, so that temporary files have a fixed home and do not get placed into the root dir or current dir of your disk. You achieve this with the command
or something similar in your autoexec.bat or config.sys.
If you have a RAM disk, you can point TEMP to that in the interest of speed.
Alias expansion is generally switched off by the line SETDOS /X-1 in 4XBTM batches and switched on again upon exit (or disabled by UNALIAS *). If a batch terminates prematurely, alias expansion may remain disabled. You can turn it on again by the command SETDOS /X0 from the command line.
Some btms use the usual DOS filters like FIND and SORT, external commands like FORMAT, SYS or the wellknown PKZIP / PKUNZIP programs to achieve their goal. These are found automatically as long as they are in a directory that's in your path. As the switches of these external commands may change from version to version of even the same brand, you may get unexpected or no results. These utilities are all written using the externals of MS_DOS 6.2. If you use another version, you may have to adapt the relevant lines in these btms.
You may want to change the name of some of the 4XBTM files to suit your taste. As some btms have data files with the same name (though not extension <g>), be careful not to change their names without editing the parent btms. Perhaps a better way would be to alias those btms to the name you want.
Copy these files to a directory in your path, eg. \4DOS6 or \BATCHES. If you create a new directory for 4XBTM, include the name of this new directory in your path statement by editing the PATH= line in your autoexec.bat file:
or whatever you have called your new dir. For temporary evaluation you can expand your path from within your testing dir with the command line
Read the header of each btm before using it! There may be some customizing to do in the btm or its accompanying .DAT files for your system. The most frequent error occuring is the 'DOC not read ERROR'!
Each BTM gives you usage information when called with /? or -?. Further info and credits to author in the header of each .btm file.
What is 4XBTM?
4XBTM has grown into a collection of small(?) utilities and aliases for use with 4DOS, written exclusivly in the 4DOS batch language, featuring, I hope, ease of use, safety and (important to me!) good looks.
49XBTM is absolutely free of charge. I only claim the right to the name 4XBTM. You can and should PRIVATELY copy it to give it to your friends. I would be glad if you sent me a short message stating your opinion and suggestions concerning 4XBTM.
SHAREWARE DISTRIBUTORS may copy and distribute 4XBTM taking a small, reasonable fee for their labor, under the following conditions:
1: No files may be left out, added or altered in any way.
2: I want a note stating the name of the shareware distributor and the name of the shareware package into which 4XBTM is included.
I have done this update of my 4XBTM collection, because I was asked by a few people and wanted to rescue my effort from oblivion. Until now, this collection could be found on Compuserve's JP-Software's forum lib. I am no longer a member of that service, so I have decided to upload 4XBTM6 to Simtel's 4DOS area (and now to do my own hopepage and put it there)
Any comments from you would be very welcome and encouraging. If you like 4XBTM, spread it around in your local BBSes, Fidonet or wherever to do others a favour.
To keep adding new btms to 4XBTM I need input. Many ideas for these btms came from lurking in various batch and 4DOS related echos. Where I have appropriated code written by others I have indicated this. Some of these btms were the product of a collaboration across continents (whow!), and those were the most fun to write. Most of these btms came from stealing an idea and writing my own code.
This may be the place to get something of my chest: in a time where 1 GHz Pentiums and 40 GByte harddisks are becoming the norm, it is not my goal to write the shortest, most 'clever' batch possible nor to save a 1/1000 sec execution time. Whenever it is not really time critical on my machine I will opt for better readability, clearer variabel names and a more user friendly interface every time. I try to avoid the use of programming 'tricks' which depend on a 'feature' which is undocumented and may be gone in the next update.
I see these 4XBTM batches more as simple utilities which show the power of 4DOS BTM language, not as an exercise in austerity (take command.com for that purpose, if you are so inclined <G>).
I can't understand why people still write btms starting with '@echo off' instead of using the BATCHECHO ini directive. 4DOS lets us use 16 nice bright nonblinking background colors, but people seem to stick to gray on black (for some nostalgic feeling?). 4DOS gave us scrput and list, but people still stare at output scrolling by faster than they can read.
I like my screen to be stationary, so I know where to look for the info I need: that's what is called ergonomic. My prompt and my inputline are always at the last line of my screen, so I do not have to search or look up to the top while writing. I like the drawbox, drawhline and drawvline commands because I like to impose a little order on the underlying chaos. It is the only way to fight entropy <G>.
4XBTM is not aimed at the power user. For many of these batches execution would be faster if you typed the right command on the command line. It is aimed at people who like a nice user interface, don't want to remember all those switches and parameters, or like to study the code to give them ideas for their own programming (use XTS.BTM to find examples of use of the command you want to know more about). Furthermore, these utilities give you the chance to change their behaviour or look to your liking, which you can't do with the usual compiled utilities.
By the way, I have removed the file list and version history contained in earlier versions because they became a drag to update. 4XINSTAL.BTM adds descriptions to files, and you can look up in that btm which files are new to this version.
Now have fun with 4XBTM, impress your friends with the power of 4DOS versus the "free sample command processor included in most DOS versions", and register your 4DOS version! Those people really did a good job and deserve to be payed more than some I could think of...
you can reach me by email, fax or letter under the following adresses:
FAX: +49 (0)4952 942101
As usual: I have taken care not to format your disk or to destroy your files. NO guaranty of any kind for these batches is implied or given. If something happens, it wasn't me!
I acknowledge the copyright of all branded products mentioned.
Top of Page - Home