DOS applications can require large amounts of memory. Some programs will not function without at least 580k or more conventional memory. This guide describes the tools and techniques available to the Systems Administrator to  maximize the memory available in REAL/32 for applications.  
Memory
Areas  

By far the most critical part of conventional memory is the area above the 640k boundary and below 1Mb.  This is the Upper Memory area. This area can be occupied by: the video card, plug-in hardware, drivers and the System BIOS as well as the Operating System and can therefore get overcrowded.  
If there is not enough room in the Upper Memory Area, drivers and parts of the Operating System may overflow into the areas below 640k. The result of which is a reduction in the Transient Program Area (TPA) i.e. the amount of memory available for applications.  
In order stop this from happening it is necessary to optimize the Upper Memory area.  Figure 1 below, shows the layout and location of the Upper Memory Area in relation to the memory used by DOS applications i.e. the TPA.

Figure 1          Memory Layout

Monitoring TPA  
REAL/32 is supplied with a number of tools to determine the amount of memory available to applications.  

MEM
 
This program can be run from the command line to report the maximum TPA available. A typical mem /a report looks something like this:  
Banked windows     : 608k  
Non-banked windows : 2k   E31F -> E3A5  
End of TPA         : B000h   
Total free memory  : 9560k  

Dos
Free Memory    : 592k  

LIM emulation      : NO  
DPMI/XMS memory    : 4096k  

Ldt
Entries   : 4096 

     
Max Linear   : 131072k  
Windows mode       : Standard  
Upper Memory Blocks: 
           
0123 4567 89AB CDEF 
           
-------------------  
C000  AAAA AAAA AAAA AAAA  
D000  AAAA AAAA DDAA AAAA  
E000  EEEE AAAA AAAA AAAA  
F000  AAAA AAAA  
ROM found at C000-C7FF  
The significant items in this example are DOS Free Memory, End of TPA and Banked Windows.  
The DOS Free Memory reports the memory available for a DOS program. If you have loaded any TSR programs before running your application this provides a more accurate reflection of the memory available than Banked windows.  
The Top of TPA is the ceiling for DOS programs: the highest memory address the application can access. This figure is reported in hexadecimal. Normally it should be 0A000h on the main screen or graphics workstations. On dumb terminals and mono screens it should be 0B000h.  
On the main screen and graphics workstations you can switch support for graphics off and on by using the vga.exe command described later.  
The figure for Banked Window is the maximum TPA available before TSRs are loaded. This is the figure you are likely to need to  maximize. Monitor this figure if you reconfigure your system, or add more drivers or hardware.  

Analysing Upper Memory
 
MEM /U

Using the /u option with mem you can determine which of the upper memory blocks are available for use as memory. A typical upper memory block report may be as follows:  
Upper Memory Blocks:  
  
    
0123 4567 89AB CDEF 
     
-------------------  
C000  AAAA AAAA AAAA AAAA  
D000  AAAA AAAA DDAA AAAA  
E000  EEEE AAAA AAAA AAAA  
F000  AAAA AAAA  
Upper memory is reported in a hexadecimal table format with each 4k block represented by either an A, D or E.  
A highlighted block (bold in the example) may be used as memory. A non-highlighted block may not be used as memory.  

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A represents a block which is set for Autoscan. This means the operating system will do its best to determine whether a block may be used as memory. As can be either highlighted or not depending on the outcome of the Autoscan test.  
In this example blocks C000 to C7FF are set for non-highlighted As. Autoscan has detected a VGA card at this address.  

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D represents a block which is Disabled: not used as memory. By definition no D blocks will be highlighted.  
In this example memory blocks D800 and D900 are actually disabled designated by a D. Some multiport cards such as the MAXpeed card can use upper memory blocks for their own purposes. Systems with other memory mapped devices installed may also require blocks to be disabled in this way.  

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E is a block set as Enabled for use as memory. Es will always be highlighted. The example show blocks E000 to E3FF as highlighted E. This memory area can therefore be accessed as memory.  
D and E are normally used to override the results of the Autoscan test, see below.  
You can use the REAL/32 setup to change the settings of the upper memory blocks. This will be discussed later.  

MEM /E
 
Another tool for analyzing the useful blocks of upper memory usage is mem /e. This option provides information about the upper memory blocks which have not been accessed by the system since boot up.  

A report from mem /e looks something like this:  
Upper Memory Blocks: 
      
0123 4567 89AB CDEF 
      
-------------------  
C000  AAAa aaaa AAAA AAAA  
D000  AAAA AAAA DDAA AAAA  
E000  EEEE aaaa aaaa AAAa  
F000  AAAA aaaa  
Blocks which have never been accessed are displayed by lower case letters.   
Some areas of upper memory are used by the system BIOS during the boot process. They are never used once the computer is running. These areas are in effect redundant.  
REAL/32 keeps track of the access to all upper memory areas.  Blocks which are never used are potential candidates for use by the operating system.  
By using the upper memory block Enable option in setup you can override the Autoscan test and force the unused areas to be  used as memory. Enabling memory blocks is discussed in more detail later in this chapter.

Warning. Some memory blocks are only accessed occasionally. For instance if you rarely access the system floppy drives, the BIOS area which the controls floppy drives may be denoted by a lowercase not-accessed character in the mem /e report. If you enable this area and subsequently access the floppy drive the system may behave unpredictably. You are strongly advised to run and use your system without a reboot for a long period (a week or more) before enabling memory blocks denoted by a lowercase (not-accessed) character.

Optimizing Memory  
Contiguous Upper Memory
 
You can use the tools described above to analyze how the memory is used in your machine. Armed with this information  it is possible to consider optimizing memory usage.  
The rule of thumb to follow when  maximizing upper memory is to achieve the largest blocks of contiguous memory possible.  
Taking the above mem reports from the previous section as examples, note that the areas D800 and D900 are disabled denoted by a D. This area is probably used for a multiport card. This area dissects two upper memory areas C800 - D7FF and DA00 - E3FF. A more efficient use of memory would be to move the multiport card to a lower address, say, C800. This would leave a contiguous area of usable memory from CA00 through to E3FF:  
Upper Memory Blocks:  
      
0123 4567 89AB CDEF 
     
-------------------  
C000  AAAA AAAA DDAA AAAA  
D000  AAAA AAAA AAAA AAAA  
E000  EEEE AAAA AAAA AAAA  
F000  AAAA AAAA  
The potential for moving blocks of memory around like this is dependent on the plug-in hardware. Most multiport cards and network cards can be reconfigured to use different memory addresses. Consult your hardware documentation for more information on how to do this.  
The example above shows the D blocks moving as well. This must be done using the REAL/32 setup. The method is described in the following section.  

Maximizing Memory
 
This section describes the systems administration options to  maximize available memory.  

64k more for non-graphics applications
 
If you run mem on a text terminal such as the Wyse 60/120 you will see a Top of TPA reading as 0B000h. This is because terminals are not capable of VGA graphics. Hence the 64k of memory normally used by a VGA card between 0A000h and 0B000h can be used by DOS text mode applications.  
On a text terminal you can get a maximum of 672k of TPA whilst on the main VGA screen or on a MAXpeed graphics terminal you normally see only 608k.  
Not all programs will use graphics mode even if it is available. For this reason a utility called vga.exe  is supplied with REAL/32 to switch off graphics mode on the main screen or MAXStations thus freeing 64k of video memory for use by the application.  
The syntax for this utility is a follows:  
VGA OFF     ; Switch off graphics capability  
VGA ON            ; Switch on graphics capability  
With VGA graphics disabled a text mode only application will act as if it were running on a text terminal. It will also receive the same amount of memory.  

MCONFIG.SYS Options

There are three keywords supported during the mconfig.sys processing which allow you to make best use of your memory.  

o
HIDEVICE  
This has the same function as the device= keyword and applies to loading device drivers such as imsnwdrv.sys. Using HIDEVICE the driver will be loaded into upper memory rather than taking up conventional memory. For example:  
HIDEVICE=C:\REAL32\DRIVERS\IMSNWDRV.SYS  

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HIINSTALL  
This has the same function as the install= command. It applies to loading Terminate and Stay Resident (TSR) programs such as keyb.com into upper memory. For example:  
HIINSTALL=C:\REAL32\BIN\keyb.uk  

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SIZE  
Care must be exercised when loading drivers and TSRs into upper memory with HIDEVICE and HIINSTALL. The programs you are loading may increase their memory requirements during execution. This can cause unpredictable side effects and may crash your system.  
One method of avoiding this problem is to allocate enough memory for the driver or TSR before it is loaded. You may do this using the size keyword. For example:  
HIINSTALL=SIZE=4000 C:\REAL32\BIN\TSR.COM  
or  
HIDEVICE=SIZE=4096 C:\REAL32\DRIVERS\DRIVER.SYS  
The parameter associated with size is the number of  bytes to allocate for a particular driver.  
There is no easy way of determining by how much a driver or TSR may grow during execution. However, you may compare the TPA before and after loading the program using the normal device or install keywords. The difference between the two will give you a fair indication of the size parameter required.  

Using REAL/32 SETUP to improve memory

The REAL/32 setup.exe program gives a number of options to maximize TPA and use of upper memory.  

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Enable B100 for use as upper memory  
This option can be found on the first page of the Memory menu. It can only be used if you have a VGA card. Enable this option and REAL/32 will use 28k  of memory from B100h to B7FFh for part of the operating system which would normally occupy upper memory. On systems where memory is tight this extra memory may allow another driver to be placed in upper memory using HIDEVICE or HIINSTALL thus improving TPA.  

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All upper memory blocks set to Autoscan  
This option is found on the first page of the Memory menu in setup. Set this to YES, save the settings and reboot. During boot-up REAL/32 will then scan all upper memory blocks for usable memory. This is the first step in optimizing your memory. After you have done this it is possible to analyze the upper memory usage before the optimizing process begins. 

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Set All Blocks / Individual Blocks  
It is possible to set each 4k page of upper memory individually. To do this you should set the option All upper memory blocks to Autoscan described above to NO then accept current settings and continue. The next page allows you to set all of upper memory to either Autoscan, Disabled, or Enabled. You are advised to use the Autoscan option. You may alternatively change individual blocks by progressing to the next screen which may look something like the example below:  
Upper Memory (768k-832k) is currently set as follows:  
C000-C0FF [Autoscan] (Disabled)  C800-C8FF [...  
C100-C1FF [Autoscan] (Disabled)  C900-C9FF [  
C200-C2FF [Autoscan] (Disabled)  CA00-CAFF [ 
     
.                                .  
     
.                                . 
     
.                                .  
C700-C7FF [Autoscan] (Disabled)  CF00-CFFF [  
[] Accept current settings and continue  
By using the arrow keys and space bar it is possible to set each block for either Autoscan, Disabled or Enabled. The setting in curved brackets () is the result of the Autoscan test during last boot.  

Network Stack Issues
The biggest cause of DOS memory loss is network stacks.
Single stack / Imsterm remote IPX server
If you just require one network stack to be loaded ( For the IMSTerm remote IPX / Axel TCP terminal drivers then you can load the card drivers in a single session and remove them from MCONFIG.SYS. 
To-do this create a batch file which loads all of the appropriate components. This batch file is STARTNW.BAT for starting the IMSTerm remote IPX driver.

C:\NWCLIENT\LSL.COM

C:\NWCLIENT\NE2000.COM  

C:\NWCLIENT\IPXODI.COM

C:\REAL32\BIN\NWSTART.EXE

Then make a amendment to your autoexec.bat to run the server process/ Batch file.

if "%1"=="1" STARTNW.BAT

The line above within AUTOEXEC.BAT will run the NWSTART process on the first virtual console of the main screen.
Multiple stack / Imsterm remote IPX server
A safe method of moving network card driver code into upper memory is to use the size command with HIINSTALL.
to HIINSTALL LSL within MCONFIG.SYS ( With a default installation ) :

HIINSTALL = SIZE = 8000 C:\NWCLIENT\LSL.COM

Note : If you are using SETUP.EXE before 7.91 you will have to re-edit this line after using SETUP.EXE.

 

Copyright 1997-2002 Intelligent Micro Software. All rights reserved. Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.
Last modified: Wednesday November 27, 2002.