For very critical applications some may want to run Aware Software under
pure Windows DOS which allows our software direct control over the PC's
hardware without the massive intervening code Windows places between the
PC's hardware and software. It is very easy to set Windows to boot
directly to Windows DOS without the need for a boot floppy disk. (Call or E-Mail us for details).
Windows DOS supports all the various features for reading and writing
the various Windows disk parameters including FAT 32 etc. In some cases
a boot floppy might be useful. Here is a site that includes various
Windows Boot disks:
Boot Disks Link
This site includes a very simple patch that allows Windows ME to boot directly to Windows ME DOS:
Windows ME Real Mode DOS patch
June 18th 2001 Added time slice release code in Aw-srad's and Aw-graph's time delay - get key strike routines which greatly aids in the smooth operation under multi-tasking OSs such as WIN 95-98-ME and WIN NT-2000.
June 18th 2001 Noticed all Aware Electronics programs (including Aw-srad.exe and Aw-graph.exe) were not detecting the presence of WIN NT or WIN 2000. This has been fixed and all programs work very much better under these two OSs.
Network Operation (Includes info. about a new program)
Please note: If any user desires to setup Microsoft Client-Server software on a DOS PC, let us know and we will tell you exactly where on the Microsoft web site one can download the program free and also exactly how to install the program on the DOS PC.
For newer versions of WIN 95 and 98 it might be necessary for the user to direct Windows not to insert Windows special added code for COM ports. Read on for setup details.
While developing the Windows GUI (Graphic User Interface) front-end program (see link below) we found our old Pentium MMX machine just too slow for program development, so we updated the motherboard and CPU but found the new motherboard includes a few features not supported by WIN 95, so we updated to WIN 98. WIN 98 corrects several annoying little bugs but also adds two that might also be present in updated WIN 95.
First off we don't want to make you nervous about WIN 95-98 in combination with our radiation collection program. WIN 95-98 is a marvelous collection of code, but when operating with a high performance specialized software package such as Aware's radiation collection program, sometimes a little tweaking is necessary for highest performance.
Possible WIN Fault A: (Note: The following does not apply to printer (LPT) port usage which works fine under Windows or DOS when using Aware RM with printer port adapter (see price list)). If a Windows COM port driver is installed for a COM port that the RM monitor is plugged into, newer versions of Windows 95 and Windows 98 might install an additional defective interrupt handler layer that interferes with overlapping interrupt response. To resolve this problem one can use one of three methods:
When collecting data generated from high radiation levels, turn Aw-srad's Geiger sound click length to a small number or turn-off the Geiger sound click feature.
If your use will not include any other open dos box or dos application while running Aware software you can use this method. Otherwise, using this method with any other dos application running in another window, windows will split interrupts from the Aware Rad. Monitor between the two or more dos applications (i.e. our Aware software and another dos application window). For critical applications wherein another dos window might be opened you should use First method above or Third method four paragraphs below.
Use a text editor to edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Add the
following to the bottom of the file:
C:\AWARE\RESERVE.EXE -A3f8 -I4
where C:\AWARE is the path to our RESERVE.EXE program and 3f8 is the address of the serial port and 4 is the IRQ number for the serial port. That's all there is to it.
Now when you start the PC first Windows executes programs in the AUTOEXEC.BAT file including RESERVE.EXE then when Windows loads after running RESERVE.EXE, it sees that the IRQ and serial port has been reserved for MSDOS mode programs. Now when you start AW-SRAD.EXE from Windows, Windows does not insert the extra defective interrupt handler layer nor does it turn-off the serial port if it is a plug and play serial port. If you use the same serial port for a Windows program, Windows will use its own code so you do not need to remove the RESERVE.EXE line from the AUTOEXEC.BAT file even if you plan to use the port in question in a Windows program. RESERVE.EXE is activated by Windows only when you open a MsDos mode program. Please note as indicated above, using this method you should not open any other dos application or dos box. Otherwise windows will split our "reserved" interrupts between our application and any other dos application that happens to be running in another windows virtual dos.
If you do not have RESERVE.EXE on your floppy from Aware you can download it here:
Click Windows "Start" button, "Settings", "Control Panel" then select "System", "Device Manager" then click on "Ports", which brings down a list of COM ports.
Next click on the COM port you are going to plug the RM into then click on "Properties" then check the "Disable In This Hardware Profile" or "Undock" box or else highlight the COM port and click "Remove".
Click OK and your done. This directs Windows not to add its second layer of defective code.
However, if the COM port is a Plug'n Play port as is found on newer motherboards, Windows knows how to completely turn off the port, which it will do if one checks the "Disable In This Hardware Profile" box for the port in question (unless you use RESERVE.EXE as detailed above). If one instead clicks "Remove" for the Plug'n Play COM port in question, Windows Wizard will reinstall it next time Windows reloads.
Therefore if the COM port you plan to use under Windows is a Plug'n Play port, either use First Method mentioned above or carry out the following steps. (This sounds complicated but it's quite simple):
1. Use Windows Explorer or other file utility program to rename the file C:\WINDOWS\INF\MSPORTS.INF to C:\WINDOWS\INF\MSPORTS.BAK. For example, at the dos prompt type:
RENAME C:\WINDOWS\INF\MSPORTS.INF MSPORTS.BAK(enter)
2. Click Windows "Start", "Settings", "Control Panel" then select "System", "Device Manager" then click on "Ports", which brings down a list of COM ports.
3. Click on the COM port you are going to plug the RM into then click the Remove button. Windows will warn you are about to remove the device. (You can easily have Window's Wizard "Add" it in the future).
4. Restart Windows ("Start" "Shutdown" "Restart") to reboot the PC.
5. As Windows starts a box says "Found New Hardware" then it presents you with a series of "Wizard" boxes. Just click "Next" as each box appears, except on the third box, which asks you where Windows should look for the driver (i.e. Floppy, CD, etc.,) uncheck all the boxes then click "Next". A Wizard box will appear saying "Can't Find Driver", and again, just click "Next".
6. Last step, rename the MSPORTS.BAK back to MSPORTS.INF if you want, in case some time in the future you add a new Plug'n Play serial or LPT port card and you want Windows Plug'n Play Wizard to find it.
Now windows will allow complete access to the COM port without inserting the faulty virtual interrupt code. Notice now in Device Manager there is a yellow question mark representing the unknown COM port. In the future if you want Windows to reclaim the COM port, just "Remove" the question mark, click Control Panel's Add Hardware and allow the "Wizard" to do its thing. (By-the-way a backup MSPORTS.INF is in the C:\windows\inf\infback folder).
If you need any help with the above, (or anything else having to do with Aware products), call our 800-729-5397 or 302-655-3800 line and we'll walk you through it. For detailed examination of the above, see bottom of page.
FAULT B: WIN 98 includes a change in its "Idle" sensitivity setting which affects older versions of Aware software. Since Aug. 10th 1998 all Aware software has been modified to work with any Windows Idle setting.
A change in WIN 98's default idle sensitivity requires the user of older Aware software to adjust the Window's "Properties" as follows:
Right click the shortcut Icon or Window Icon that the Aware software is running in, which brings up the Window's default setting menu. Next choose "Properties" then "Misc." then slide the "Idle Sensitivity" slider to the left, that is towards "Low Idle Sensitivity".
Otherwise, with older versions of Aware software, WIN 98 might behave as follows: A delay routine that checks for keyboard input might be vastly elongated, that is a delay routine designed for say 5 seconds might actually take 5 minutes (unless the program is actively collecting radiation data). This has no effect on time routines during rad. collection but could elongate delay routines used during start-up and display refresh modes. (For those interested in why Aware software delay routine have, in the past, exclusively used an instruction loop instead of OS or BIOS calls, see bottom of page).
Note: Sometimes WIN seems to prefer the use of the mouse instead of hotkey ALT-TAB and ALT-SPACEBAR. If you don't feel like reaching over and using the mouse or clicking on icons, most times the CTRL-ESC hotkey will work, then use ALT-TAB then ALT-SPACEBAR.
Set things as seen above. Now when you click the short-cut Windows will remove itself from memory and start AW-SRAD in FAT 32 MSDOS mode. When you exit AW-SRAD Windows will reload.
A little more about AW-SRAD (included with each RM system).
It is designed with an eye towards size, and can easily fit
on and run from a low density floppy.
Even though the program might be a DOS application, it includes code for
easy Windows use. For example, AW-SRAD includes the ability
for the user to load the program and start collecting radiation data to
a new uniquely named file by clicking once on a Window's icon.
Aw-srad (and Aw-graph) provides directory listings with as many files displayed on
screen at one time as possible. It includes file date-time and size information.
It sorts directories by date-time or by alphabetical listing, and includes a file name
mask feature. Several other features are included.
If a user needs to set an IRQ, Aw-srad shows him a table displaying all IRQs currently
in use. It allows choosing any serial port address, not
just COM 1,2,3 or 4, and any IRQ (including AT IRQs 9 to 15).
Aw-srad also includes an ASCII file output feature allowing the user to export
data to an external spreadsheet, database, etc.
Since the 386, CPUs have built-in
hardware to switch between virtual 8086s. Aw-srad
running in a Window is taking advantage of this modern CPU feature.
Aw-graph includes CGA MDA HERC graphics drivers, as well as EGA and VGA
drivers, for use on PCs not equipped with VGAs or
SVGAs, like H.P.'s LX200 Palm Top, or leftover
XT Lap tops, etc. (Aw-srad.exe, the standard software included
with each RM unit will draw a very nice
scrolling bar chart on even a non-graphics monochrome display).
As indicated Aw-graph and Aw-srad are not large general
purpose programs like word processors, data base managers, etc.
They typically do not update screen displays more often than
perhaps once every ten seconds, do not need expanded-extended memory to operate,
are written with tight C and assembly code, remember user setup from session
to session, can easily fit on and, as mentioned above, run from one
low density floppy.
Aw-srad provides good keyboard interface. It Includes highlighted hot key characters for all menu items, and pull down menus that remember the last selection made. It backs out of pull down menus with the Escape key.
It is designed with an eye towards size, and can easily fit on and run from a low density floppy.
Even though the program might be a DOS application, it includes code for easy Windows use. For example, AW-SRAD includes the ability for the user to load the program and start collecting radiation data to a new uniquely named file by clicking once on a Window's icon.
Aw-srad (and Aw-graph) provides directory listings with as many files displayed on screen at one time as possible. It includes file date-time and size information. It sorts directories by date-time or by alphabetical listing, and includes a file name mask feature. Several other features are included.
If a user needs to set an IRQ, Aw-srad shows him a table displaying all IRQs currently in use. It allows choosing any serial port address, not just COM 1,2,3 or 4, and any IRQ (including AT IRQs 9 to 15).
Aw-srad also includes an ASCII file output feature allowing the user to export data to an external spreadsheet, database, etc.
Since the 386, CPUs have built-in hardware to switch between virtual 8086s. Aw-srad running in a Window is taking advantage of this modern CPU feature.
Aw-graph includes CGA MDA HERC graphics drivers, as well as EGA and VGA drivers, for use on PCs not equipped with VGAs or SVGAs, like H.P.'s LX200 Palm Top, or leftover XT Lap tops, etc. (Aw-srad.exe, the standard software included with each RM unit will draw a very nice scrolling bar chart on even a non-graphics monochrome display).
As indicated Aw-graph and Aw-srad are not large general purpose programs like word processors, data base managers, etc. They typically do not update screen displays more often than perhaps once every ten seconds, do not need expanded-extended memory to operate, are written with tight C and assembly code, remember user setup from session to session, can easily fit on and, as mentioned above, run from one low density floppy.
WIN 95-98-NT: As mentioned at top of page, we've tested all Aware Programs on Win 95-98 & NT. They work very well with these OSs. To install the programs, first copy the files from the floppy to the hard drive (see manual). You can create a desktop shortcut to the AW-SRAD.EXE file and the AW-GRAPH.EXE file. There are many ways to create a desktop shortcut. Here's one way: Click "Start" "Find" "Files or Folders" type C:\AWARE\AW-SRAD.EXE, point at AW-SRAD.EXE at bottom of window, hold right mouse button down, and drag it to desktop. This creates the shortcut.
You can modify the shortcut properties by pointing at it and clicking right mouse button. You may want to add a Command Line Argument for auto-start rad. collection on click. You can also modify Working Directory, Shortcut Icon (notice we include on disk AW-SRAD.ICO amd AW-GRAPH.ICO for this purpose), Font, Close on Exit, etc. Do the same for AW-GRAPH.EXE. For multi-RM setups, copy-paste the Shortcut then modify its Working Directory setting. When AW-SRAD and AW-GRAPH start, they look in the working directory for an auto-created user's settings file.
Be sure to adjust Windows control of the COM port you plug the RM into as detailed at top of page.
For highest performance under Windows ( to be considered by professionals who are using Aware RMs and software in critical, high radiation circumstances):
1. As mentioned at top of page, disable Windows extra COM port code by following the simple steps there.
2. Run program full screen (ALT-ENTER) or minimized. (ALT-ENTER toggles Full Screen - Windowed. To minimize, toggle to windowed display then hit ALT-SPACEBAR then choose Minimize).
3. If your application demands the very highest performance (for example, measuring very high radiation levels), put mouse pointer on shortcut or Icon, click right mouse button, click "Program" "Advanced" check "MS-DOS MODE", uncheck "Warn Before Entering MS-DOS mode", click OK. Now when you click the shortcut, the program will have direct access to the PC's hardware. After you're done, enter EXIT at the dos prompt to reload Windows.
4. For even higher performance, follow step three but after clicking "MS-DOS MODE" click "Configuration" and then uncheck EMS
The logic for above is as follows:
Step 1 will bypass Windows code that checks each port in-out to warn user if more than one program is using the same serial port at the same time and also bypasses Windows additional defective virtual interrupt code.
Step 2 will bypass Windows code that translates screen output to window.
Step 3 will bypass all Windows mingling (like translating interrupts, running Wizards, etc.).
Step 4 will place CPU in REAL mode (fastest possible mode). (EMM386.EXE or other memory managers run PC in Virtual Real Mode (V86)).
All above modes, including the REAL mode, will use WIN95-98-NT DOS which supports FAT32, etc.
Step 3 and Step 4 above will allow the use of the TSR program (AW-MRAD.COM) which is the best way to monitor several critical use RMs per PC.
To give you an idea as to speed increase with each mode, a Microsoft paper describes a test performed measuring different IRQ responses with code running under different modes as follows:
Real Mode DOS: 100%
Virtual Mode DOS: 48%
Ring 0 WIN driver: 44% (Not counting additional WIN program or DLL)
WIN Dos Box: 7%
WIN program DLL: 4%
From above one can see the slowest situation would be a pure WIN program using a WIN DLL. Note a Dos box is 7%. On a 200 MHz CPU this would be equivalent to a 14 MHz CPU per Dos box. Note: Some machine instructions that consume perhaps 5 or more machine cycles on older CPUs, can be executed in one machine cycle on Pentiums. Some machine instructions might consume just half a machine cycle on a Pentium. Also note Aware Software runs great on a 7 MHz 80186 such as is found in a HP 200LX Palm-Top.
As indicated above See:
Note on upcoming Windows 95-98-NT GUI software
Multiple RMs per PC. New Card Available.
As indicated near top of page, please note we don't want to make you nervous about WIN 95-98 in combination with our radiation collection program, but sometimes a little WIN tweaking is necessary when operating it with a high performance specialized software package such as Aware's radiation collection program.
As regards the defective Windows interrupt code, Windows sees a COM port as a device that Windows should have complete control over and for which it should install special additional COM port virtual interrupt code, an extra go-between if you like, but this extra code might be defective, and if the port is Plug'n Play, Windows might make the user jump through a few additional hoops to disable the defective code.
The defective code passes one interrupt to a virtual machine then waits until that machine returns from the interrupt before it sends another, even if the virtual machine in question re-enabled the virtual interrupt controller and issued a virtual sti (clear interrupt flag) instruction. If one runs Aware software with this defective Windows interrupt code, Windows throws away any radiation "hit" that arrives as the radiation interrupt code is making the "Geiger" click sound.
One can detect the presence of this defective Windows code by collecting radiation "hits" at a fairly rapid rate and at the same time turn the Geiger clicker feature on and off. Even with a long click duration, the average radiation hit rate should remain the same. If the defective Windows code is present, the average radiation hit rate will vary somewhat with the click duration setting. If you notice this, apply the easy correction at the top of this page.
(For those interested, the MSPORTS.INF file mentioned in the fix at the top of the page is used by Windows only during Plug'n Play COM and LPT port new hardware detection routine. Once a COM or LPT port has been installed into Control Panel's Device Manager, either as a port or a question mark, the file is no longer used unless a new port is added or the user removes a port from the Control Panel, in which case Windows immediately reinstalls it with the next reboot).
In the past, (and with non Plug'n Play ports) from Control Panel, one could check "Disable From This Hardware Profile" for the COM port in question, to disable the extra Windows virtual interrupt code, but now with Plug'n Play COM ports, Windows knows how to completely turn off a COM port and does so if the above is checked, while Windows is running.
Fortunately users of Aware radiation software are at the least somewhat technically inclined and therefore will find the fix detailed at top of page simple. (Note: As indicated above, the Windows COM port interrupt handler defect does not apply to printer (LPT) port usage which works fine under Windows or DOS when using Aware RM with printer port adapter (see price list)).
Depending on the OS, BIOS timer calls could cause the OS or BIOS time routines to miss midnight tick-over. OS timer calls could tie up an OS such that it remains non-re-entrant for extended periods. Therefore, for non-windows applications we use an instruction loop delay routine that calibrates itself at program start-up and which makes BIOS key-press calls to detect if a key has been pressed. Since Aug. 10th 1998, Aware software uses its Windows detection routine to determine which delay routine to use, either instruction loop (non-Windows) or OS calls (Windows).
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