|Installing PalmPilot software
The early PalmPilots came with the Pilot Desktop 1.0, an application that can run on Windows 3.1. However,
it uses the Win32s extensions, and these can be tricky to install correctly under WIN-OS2.
In fact, OS/2 only supports programs that use Win32s 1.25 or earlier; this is however sufficient for Pilot
Here is the procedure I have used; all I can say is that it works for me. It's convoluted, but I've used it
several times without problems. You will need to be able to run DOS and Windows 3.1 to
perform a temporary install; this doesn't need to be on the OS/2 machine.
- Check that you have a recent version of
VW32S.SYS. This is a standard OS/2 file, and can be found in
the \OS2\MDOS directory. Mine (which is a version known to work) is 18288 bytes in size, dated 13 December 1997; download a zipped
copy by clicking here.
- Add the following line to CONFIG.SYS, or edit it if necessary if it's there already.
I have it after the VWIN.SYS line, but the location doesn't really seem to matter:
where x: specifies the boot drive. The numbers specify Win32s 1.25a, although I've heard they
may no longer be necessary.
- Reboot to pick up the new VW32S.SYS setup.
- Download the Win32s 1.25a package. I have come across several versions of this, but I know that
mine works so I am making it available here for download. There are two files, each of which is a zipped
copy of the contents of a diskette. Click on W32S125A.ZIP
to download the first diskette, and on W32S125B.ZIP
to download the second diskette.
- There is no need to make real diskettes. Create two directories on any spare drive,
calling them \DISK1 and \DISK2. Note that they must be given these names and they must
be in the root directory. Unzip disk 1 into \DISK1, and disk 2 into \DISK2.
- Install Win32s. To do this, start a full screen WIN-OS2 session, select Run from the File menu,
and execute the SETUP.EXE program in the \DISK1 directory. Let it install the FreeCell program
too; this is a game you can use to test that Win32s is working.
- Now it's time to install the Pilot Desktop. This has to be done on a DOS/Windows 3.1 system,
but it could be on a different machine to the OS/2 one. Just follow the instructions and let it all
happen; it'll install its own copy of Win32s but we won't be using that.
Note the name of the group into which the program installs, and check the name of the group
file by clicking on the group icon and then selecting Properties from the File menu. This will probably
- Copy these files from \WINDOWS (on the DOS/Windows 3.1 system) to \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2 (on the OS/2 system):
- PILOTDES.GRP (or whatever the group file was called)
- Copy these files from \WINDOWS\SYSTEM (on the DOS/Windows 3.1 system) to \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM (on the
- Copy these files from \WINDOWS\SYSTEM\WIN32S (on the DOS/Windows system) to \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\SYSTEM\WIN32S
(on the OS/2 system):
- If you installed the Pilot software to a directory that isn't accessible to the OS/2 system (such as on
a different machine), copy the entire Pilot directory tree to a similar directory tree on the OS/2 system.
I've always just installed it on a FAT drive that is usable by my dual-booted DOS and OS/2 partitions.
- Manually add the Pilot group to the WIN-OS2 desktop by editing the \OS2\MDOS\WINOS2\PROGMAN.INI file.
Just add a new line under [Groups] using the next free number, and add the same number to the Order line
under [Settings]. The line naturally specifies the name of the group file you remembered earlier (probably
- Ensure that the WIN-OS2 fullscreen session has "3.1 Enhanced Compatibility Mode" selected, also
that COM_DIRECT_ACCESS is set to ON.
You may wish to create additional program objects to invoke the desktop and the HotSync Manager as seamless
WIN-OS2 sessions; make sure that these also have the same settings.
The installation should now be complete. Start up the WIN-OS2 session and try it out.
Yes, this is a bit fiddly and long winded. But it works! And it's fairly obvious that a reinstall of OS/2
only requires Win32s to be reinstalled and the few files to be copied again.
You might also be interested to know about some native OS/2 (well, Java) PalmPilot support; look at
Back to Tavi OS/2 main page
Last Updated: 31st May 2001
© 2001 by Bob Eager, Tavi Systems