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KIS Tech Tip

Installing PicLan with Windows 95 Clients

Until a 32 bit Windows 95 driver for PicLan becomes available (expected soon) the following procedure can be used to run the 16 bit PicLan driver under Windows 95. This procedure may have a negative impact on the amount of real mode memory on the workstation (just like with Windows for Workgroups), so be careful if you have heavy real mode memory requirements.

Install the PicLan host software on the Pick computer.

Install the PicLan host software on the Pick computer per the instructions. When completed, be sure that the packet type is set to Ethernet-II and that the Pick system is activated. If you are not using the DOS services processor, disable it. The DOS services processor wakes up every 10 seconds and causes disk activity. Upon completion of the installation, shutdown and reboot the Pick computer.

Install Windows 95 on the workstation computer.

If the client workstation is being used in a network, get the rest of the network and workstations up and working first.

Change the Windows 95 network driver to the 16 bit NDIS driver.

Click on Start, Settings, Control Panel, Network, and then select the Configuration tab. Under the list of network components, select your network card and then properties. Change from the 32 bit NDIS driver to the 16 bit only NDIS driver. Accept all changes and shutdown and restart Windows. This will cause Windows 95 to start more like Windows for Workgroups and places a net start command in your autoexec.bat file.

The timing of when this is done is important. Because Windows 95 now holds most of the information that used to be in the INI files in the registry, changes to the registry can result in the rewriting of INI files thus removing any changes you might have made. The INI files are still maintained by Windows 95 for compatibility.

Retest the network.

Make sure that the 16 bit NDIS driver is working correctly by accessing the rest of the network (if there is one).

Install the PicLan client software on the workstation.

Install the PicLan client software on the Windows 95 computer per the instructions. Make sure to install the NDIS packet drivers. The following instructions assume that the PicLan software has been installed in the default directory of C:\PICLAN and that Windows 95 has been installed in the default directory of C:\WINDOWS. If this is not the case modify the instructions accordingly.

When done, copy the DIS_PKT.DOS file from the C:\PICLAN\NDIS directory to the C:\WINDOWS directory.

Edit the PROTOCOL.INI file.

Add the following section:
drivername = PKTDRV
bindings = MS$NE2CLONE
intvec = 0x61

The bindings line should contain the name of the NDIS driver actually being used (probably not MS$NE2CLONE). Look at the "bindings =" line in the [NETBEUI$] section for the driver name.

Edit the AUTOEXEC.BAT file.

Add the following lines to the end:
set pl-cfg.ini=c:\piclan\pl-cfg.ini
c:\piclan\pl-dev /I

The pause is useful for stopping and reading the messages from the PL-DEV program. Once everything is working correctly, the pause can be removed.

Edit the PL-CFG.INI file.

Verify the following lines:
These are set to match your network card:

These are set for NDIS:

Make sure you read the notes in the PL-CFG.INI file as to the proper format to enter numbers. Also, the EnetFrame parameter must be set to Ethernet-II. Some documentation states that Ethernet-II is the same as 802.3. 802.3 will not work.

Attach the packet driver to Windows 95.

Click on Start, Run, and enter REGEDIT. When the REGEDIT program starts, select Edit, Find on the menu and search for NETCARD. When the value name for NETCARD is found, select Edit, Modify, then add ,DIS_PKT.DOS (that's a comma DIS_PKT.DOS) to the end of the value data. Exit the REGEDIT program to save your changes.

Restart and verify the correct loading of PL-DEV.

Shut down and restart Windows 95. When the system is rebooting you will see the autoexec.bat file execute then stop because of the pause after PL-DEV loads. Verify that the PL-DEV program has displayed the following:

Reading configuration...
DRV_EPKT has been loaded and bound to MAC/DIS converter.
DRV_MAIN, XXXXX bytes, DOS memory, segment 0xXXXX
DRV_EPKT, XXXXX bytes, DOS memory, segment 0xXXXX

If you do not get the message "DRV_EPKT has been loaded and bound to MAC/DIS converter." (and bound is the important part), stop and review the prior steps. If you do not get the above message, PicLan will not work.

Test with PL-STAT to see Pick computer.

Use the PL-STAT (DOS version) or the PL-STATW (Windows version) to verify that the PicLan connection is working. If the program displays your Pick Server name then everything should work ok. If no servers are found then you have a problem and should review the prior steps.

Install and configure optional communications software.

Once the PL-STAT program can see the Pick server then you should be able to use the PL-TERM program or other third party communications software. When installing third party communications software, be sure to read the installation instructions carefully: you may be required to copy a DLL file to the Windows directory.

Notes on using PicLan.

In general we have found the PicLan product to work well with Windows 95. We have had several problems (less than five in two months with daily use) which were most likely caused by Windows 95 and not PicLan.

On occasion, Windows 95 has crashed or partly crashed and caused the PicLan connection to fail. (Accuterm for Windows reports "Unknown PLAN error FFF5" when starting.) When this happens, shut down Windows 95 (if you can), turn the power to the computer off, then on, and reboot. (Because of the way PCs switch between 16 and 32 bit memory modes, a reboot or the reset button does not always completely reset the computer.) This usually fixes the connection but on rare occasions the PicLan connection will not operate after a restart. A second restart has always caused it to work again. Odd but it always works.

Only one time (after a network cable problem) has the Pick computer needed to be restarted to get PicLan to work on a workstation. However, anytime you reboot the Pick computer you will also need to reboot ALL of the client workstations.

Also make sure that the network card in the Pick computer is terminated (plugged into the hub or attached to terminated coax or terminated tee connector). Failure to do so can result in the Pick computer running very slowly because it is spending a lot of time trying to unsuccessfully send a packet. (Networks send packets even when not being actively used.)

Notes on using PicLan with PCI Systems.

If your network cards are the type that use an upper memory address (for example a Western Digital type, which when installed in a Pick computer uses a default address of DC00), and you have a PCI motherboard, make sure that the needed address range is made available to the ISA bus. This is typically done in the plug and play BIOS settings.

PCI and EISA network cards in the Pick computer are not supported and will not work with PicLan. You must use an ISA network card.

Final notes on Windows 95.

We have found that Windows 95 in general is an improvement over the Windows 3.1 product. It brings improved networking and communications, and solves the real mode RAM cram problems (just not with this configuration).

However, the price for these improvements is memory. We do not recommend running more than one program at a time on an 8 megabyte system (don't even try OLE). The improvement in performance of a 16 megabyte system with the same processor is dramatic. On a DX4 100 it is the difference between an unbearable pig and snappy.

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