Installing OS/2 On Hard Drives With OnTrack DiskManager

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Last update: 10th February, 1996


OS/2 will not install on hard drives with OnTrack Disk Manager installed.


Large (> 1024 cylinder ~= 500MB) hard disks which have the OnTrack DiskManager software installed.


OnTrack DiskManager is a program that is designed to break the so-called "FAT Barrier", a BIOS limitation which normally restricts DOS to using FAT partitions of less than 1024 cylinders in size.

The problem is that OnTrack DiskManager is designed to work with DOS. Without the fix described below, OS/2 cannot make use of OnTrack DiskManager partitions.


  1. Obtain the file from your favourite fix respository. zip contents:
  Length  Method   Size  Ratio   Date    Time   CRC-32     Name ("^" ==> case
  ------  ------   ----  -----   ----    ----   ------     ----   conversion)
    2943  Implode   1136  61%  18-12-94  11:06  961be138  ^readme.os2
    4038  Implode   2406  40%  02-12-94  12:00  4ad70644  ^ontrack.flt
   16564  Implode  10294  38%  02-12-94  12:00  77f1b650  ^dmos2.exe
  ------          ------  ---                              -------
   23545           13836  41%                              3
  1. BACK UP!!!
  2. Read the instructions supplied in the zip file (readme.os2)


Some notes from README.OS2 in ONTRAC.ZIP:

 Installation instructions for Disk Manager OS/2 Filter Driver.

 IMPORTANT! The following instructions only apply to installing OS/2 in Easy Mode (Dual Boot).
 The Filter Driver does not support OS/2 installation in Advanced Mode (Boot Manager)!

 Devices installed with Disk Manager v6.03 are DOS and Windows ready.
 However, a few additional steps are required to prepare the new drive
 for use by OS/2.  The steps to take will depend on one of two installation
 scenarios outlined below:

I have not tried this procedure and, as of the time of writing, do not know anyone who has. If you decide to try it, please send me a short note that summarises your experiences. If there are problems using the documented procedure, I'd like to note them here for the benefit of others.

Steve Wright writes (11th January, 1995):

Several people have reported symptoms similar to the following when attempting to install this fix:

  • downloaded the file.
  • extracted the files.
  • copied extracted files to my OS/2 install disk number 1.
  • used page 336 to free up space. In my case this meant deleting ibm2*.* and remming out these lines in the config.sys on disk 1.
  • ran DMOS2 to update disk 1. No problem.
  • rebooted with Ontrack DM and the installation disk.
  • inserted disk 1 when prompted.
  • Got the following message during disk 1: "IBM1S506.ADD - Invalid CONFIG.SYS parameters"
    the line in CONFIG.SYS is:
    BASEDEV=IBM1S506.ADD /A:0 /U:0 /GEO:(524,64,63)
    /GEO looks like a modified geometry. I have a WD 1Gb (AC31000) hard drive C:. Its normal geometry is 2100 Cyl/16 heads/63 secs.
  • It continues to ask for disk 2. I put it in.
  • "SYS0318: Message file OSO001.MSG can not be found for message 3175"
  • I hit ENTER.
  • "System installation failed to start the session"
  • The system hangs at this point.

Thanks to Steve Wright for this report. If anyone has encountered this problem and corrected it, please let me what you did! - jon

I had a similar problem with installing the ontrac.flt file on a WD540 hard drive I found the solution at least to my problem was to simply delete the parameters added to the ibm driver file referring to geo: etc. It worked fine after I did this

Zdenek Wagner, writes: (11th Feburary, 1995)

Removing Ontrack Disk Manager

[Note: the following tip is only appropriate if you do NOT want to keep the data on an OnTrack drive. If you do, make sure you have backed it up first - jon]

Ontrack Disk Manager is used for DOS support on large IDE hard disks. In order to install OS/2, the Disk Manager must be removed. This can be done by Advanced Installation.

The CMOS setup usually defines boot sequence in such a way that the system is first loaded from the hard disk. In order to remove Ontrack Disk Manager it is necessary to change the boot sequence so that it boots from the diskette. If you do not change it now, you will have to do it later.

First back up all your data from all existing partitions because the disk will be formatted during the process. During backup read from your manual Part 5 - Advanced Installation, chapters 18-19.

Insert OS/2 Installation diskette and reboot. When prompted, insert Diskette 1 and press Enter. When the Installing Operating System/2 screen appears, select Advanced Installation. On the next screen select 2. Specify a different drive or partition, which will after warning, that all data will be lost, display FDISK. You will see the following message:

   The partition mapping on drive 1 may be corrupted
                     Press any key

This meaage is caused by the Disk Manager. Ignore this message, press any key and delete the partition. At this moment all items in the menu are disabled. Press F3 to exit FDISK, do not forget to save the changes and ignore all messages. When you are back on the blue screen, reinsert OS/2 Installation diskette and reboot. If you get the message

 Invalid partition table

it means that you did not change the boot sequence. If the computer does not boot, you must change the boot sequence in CMOS setup. Now Advanced Installation will work exactly as described in the manual.

Remember that the Boot Manager, the primary DOS partition and the partition from which OS/2 is started MUST reside (i.e. start and end) within the first 1024 cylinders, i.e. the first 528MB.

I ran into some problems when installing as described in the text file. However i did find a solution to the problem which worked fine after following some of the solution proposed.

This is what i did in different steps and worked fine:

  1. made copies of first 2 installation diskettes.
  2. downloaded file and extracted the files.
  3. copied extracted files onto a floppy diskette.
  4. used page 336 to free up space by deleting ibm2*.* on copy of installation #1 diskette.
  5. ran dmos2.exe from floppy to update copy of installation #1 diskette.
  6. modified the line "basedev=ibm1s506.add" in config.sys on copy of installation #1 diskette to: "basedev=ibm1s506.add /a:0 /u:0 /geo:(x,y,z)" "basedev=ontrack.flt" where x=# cylinders, y=# heads, z=# sectors - for hard disk
  7. rebooted the system and press spacebar to reboot from the floppy drive to install copies of first two installation diskettes.
  8. after installation diskette #6 it will ask for the copies of first two installation diskettes. Instead of using the copies use the original disks for the rest of the installation files. Everything should work fine afterwards.

I found that Claude Dicaire's explanation worked well, except that in my case I had to let OS/2 boot from the install disk before OnTrack booted... so far no problems, as the other way I received an FDISK error...

In the last few days I found the Ontrack Disk Manager fix for OS/2 and figured out how to get it to work. This should help anyone else using Ontrack and save them some time.

First the file comes from It is called and is in /pub/os2_apps

First you must copy disk #1 of the warp installation set to another disk. The program will want to add a file to the NEW disk #1 and edit the config.sys.

Unfortunately there will only be 2048 bytes left on that disk and the new file to be added won't fit. So you need to delete a file you won't be using like "ibmflpy2.add" or something like that. Then let the program work its magic.

Well the problems seem over until you are ask to reinsert disk #1 halfway through the install. If you insert you NEW disk #1 it will crash because of the file you deleted.... so insert the ORIGINAL disk #1.

Then all will go well for a little longer. OS/2 will then reboot itself from the HD and cease to work. Now you must boot up off of a floppy (DOS) and put the "ontrack.flt" file on the HD and edit the "config.sys" that warp wrote to the HD. I put the ontrack.flt file in the root directory, os2\boot, and in os2\install\bootdisk. The config.sys changes are the same as were added to disk 1... just make them manually. Reboot and install will resume.

Ok now warp is up and you think the fun is over.... sorry not so easy. Warp rewrote the Config.sys once again so you must change it before you reboot your system. Otherwise OS/2 can't read the HD.

Unfortunately these instructions are not included with the file. I figured them out on my own after a little frustration and a few hours. Hopefully if you use this program.. my instructions will save you some time.

Mike Mulhern

I finally got OnTrack's Disk Manager to work as well. ... I found that, as with, I no longer got an error message while booting since I removed the parameters added to the "BASEDEV=IBM1S506.ADD" line. Like, though, I am using a Western Digital drive (1.2gig). I don't know if this is significant or not (doubt it).

Also, while trying to get OnTrack's Disk Manager to work on a system I suggest adding the line "PAUSEONERROR=NO" to your config.sys until you get it figured out. Otherwise you can end up with a a hung system. Keep a DOS boot diskette with the DM drivers installed close by, as well.

Chris Bennett (finger 'bennettc@MCS.COM' for WWW, FTP, PGP, etc.)

Bob Anderson ( writes: (11th May, 1995)

I called Ontrack and they stated that there will be a Warp version of Ontrack Disk Manager available on or about Friday 5-19-95. I asked if there would be and upgrade charge and they said it would be around $30 -$40.

The telephone number is 800-752-1333 or 612-937-1107, I talked to a salesperson named Barb. The cost is $25.00 US, included are (3) OS2 drivers dated 1-15-95 mentioned in the WARP Pharmacy discussions on Ontrack Diskmanager.

Bob Anderson
Network Integration Specialist
Fingerhut Companies

Shaohua Ma writes (11th November, 1995):

I was reading the article about the disk manager from ontrack. I can't say in general, but the updated version for maxtor is definitely available now. I updated the new version of the disk manager and it works great in warp.

Point to and find the latest version. the documentation is a bit old but there is online instruction which is updated.




Jon Seymour