Overview of OS/2 2.1

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The aim of OS/2* 2.1 is to run a wide range of PC applications, reliably and productively, on a wide range of PC hardware.

It is based on OS/2 2.0, which provided an advanced 32-bit multitasking operating system for IBM* and IBM-compatible PCs, and the capability to run DOS, Windows** and OS/2 applications.

OS/2 2.1 Running DOS, Windows 3.1 and OS/2 Applications

OS/2 2.1 provides major enhancements in these three areas:

  • Improved Application Support
    • Windows 3.1 applications (including multimedia), with WIN-OS/2* 3.1.
    • OS/2 multimedia applications, with Multimedia Presentation Manager/2* (MMPM/2) 1.1
  • Operating System Engine Upgrades
    • 32-bit Presentation Manager* graphics engine
    • Performance enhancements, especially for the WIN-OS/2 environment
    • Substantial code optimization and defect removal since the release of OS/2 2.0
  • Wider Hardware Support
    • Installation of OS/2 2.1 from CD-ROM
    • OS/2 2.1 now preloaded by many PC manufacturers
    • Additional SCSI adapter and CD-ROM drive support
    • 32-bit seamless PM and WIN-OS/2 display drivers for XGA, XGA-2, 8514/A, VGA. and many SVGA adapters
    • Additional printer support for both PM and WIN-OS/2
    • APM and PCMCIA support for laptop and notebook computers

Some of these functions were introduced with the interim releases of OS/2 2.00.1 and the Service Pak XR06055 for OS/2 2.0. However, the majority of the features listed above are new with OS/2 2.1.

OS/2 2.1 Packaging

OS/2 2.1 is an upgrade to OS/2 2.0, and should be seen as an enhancement and replacement for OS/2 2.0.

Although it is possible to continue on OS/2 2.0 (with the Service Pak XR06055 for OS/2 2.0 applied) and apply further APAR fixes, OS/2 2.1 provides an enhanced and stable platform for the future, and we recommend all OS/2 2.0, OS/2 2.00.1 and OS/2 2.0 (with the Service Pak XR06055 for OS/2 2.0 applied) users to upgrade.

OS/2 2.1 is manufactured and sold in three different packages. All three packages contain the same enhancements and fixes.

Full Package
This package should be used by users who do not currently have OS/2 or DOS (with or without Windows) installed on their systems.

This package is sold and distributed in three formats:

  • 3.5" diskettes
  • 5.25" diskettes
  • CD-ROM

The CD-ROM package also contains two 3.5" installation diskettes and two 5.25" installation diskettes, which are needed for the initial IPL of OS/2 2.1.

Upgrade Package
This package should be used by users who currently have either OS/2 or DOS (with or without Windows) installed.

When installing this version, OS/2 2.1 will look to see which operating system is currently installed on the system. If no operating system is found, then OS/2 will not install.

The upgrade package is available in the same three formats as for the full package, that is:

  • 3.5" diskettes
  • 5.25" diskettes
  • CD-ROM
Preload Package 
This package will be preloaded onto many systems by IBM and other PC manufacturers.

The preloaded system contains utilities for creating a set of bootable utility diskettes, uninstalling OS/2 features, and configuring the system setup. The utility diskettes which can be created are for supporting the preloaded system in case problems are encountered and the system cannot be booted normally.

Backup copies of the diskettes are supplied with some systems; the inclusion of backup diskettes varies between countries.

The upgrade from OS/2 2.0 to OS/2 2.1 is not free, and a license must be held for each copy of OS/2 2.1.

For the full and upgrade packages these licenses must be purchased. For the preloaded systems these licenses are included with the hardware.

Public beta-test versions of OS/2 2.1 were released during late 1992 and early 1993. The license agreement for these beta-test versions has expired with the general availability of OS/2 2.1, and any remaining copies of the beta-test versions should now be replaced by licensed copies of OS/2 2.1.