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WPDOS Quick Troubleshooting Guide


Where can I buy WPDOS? | Which computer should I buy? | Other places to ask for help | Search this site | Common problems and solutions | Help! I can't download files from Corel's web site! | WPDOS switches from full-screen to window | WPDOS will not switch to full-screen mode | Create a FAT16 disk partition for troublesome DOS programs  | Rename .SET file for troubleshooting | Home page


Where can I buy a copy of WordPerfect for DOS?

See the answer near the top of this site's page of Links to Corel and other WPDOS sites.


Which computer should I buy?

I can't help you decide which computer to buy, but I can offer some simple advice. If you want a desktop machine, you should probably consider buying a Lenovo (formerly IBM) machine, because Lenovo's business customers often need to run old software, and you can probably get WPDOS working more easily under Windows XP on an Lenovo computer than any other. If you live in the United States, you might consider buying a Windows XP system from JNCS.com or for some other vendor that custom-builds systems with Windows XP instead of Vista. (I buy all my desktop systems from JNCS.com, not from large corporations.)

If you are buying a laptop computer, I strongly recommend that you buy only a Lenovo or IBM ThinkPad, especially if you use WPDOS 5.1, or if you are a medical transcriptionist or anyone else who uses abbreviation-expansion software that requires expanded (EMS) memory. By following the instructions elsewhere on this site, you can almost certainly enable expanded (EMS) memory under Windows XP with a Lenovo or IBM ThinkPad. I have heard reports of trouble accomplishing the same thing with Dell, Sony, and other laptop models. I cannot and will not help you if you insist on buying any laptop other than a Lenovo or IBM ThinkPad!


Other places to ask for help

If nothing on this site helps you solves your problem, you may find an answer by posting your question on the WPDOS forum at WordPerfect Universe (free registration required before posting).

For answers to questions about Windows XP, visit these Microsoft Windows XP support forums.

For answers to questions about Windows Vista, visit this Microsoft Vista support forum.

For answers to questions about Windows 7, visit this Microsoft 7 support forum.


Search this site

Use the search page to search this site using Google, Yahoo, or Bing.


Common problems and solutions

(A) Installing and running WPDOS:

(1) I need help installing WordPerfect for DOS on my Windows system, and am having special problems installing it or running it under Windows 2000 or XP, under Windows Vista, or under Windows 7.

(2) I need to run WordPerfect for DOS on a 64-bit Windows system but Windows refuses to run WordPerfect at all.

(3) WordPerfect crashes when I press the Search (F2) key or when I press some other function key.

(4) I want to learn where to buy a copy of WordPerfect for DOS.

(5) I need to set up my abbreviation expander software so that it works with WordPerfect for DOS.

(6) I get an error message about "Insufficient file handles" when I try to run or install WordPerfect for DOS.

(7) I need to enable expanded (EMS) memory on my Windows NT, 2000, or XP system, or on my Windows Vista system, or on my Windows 95 or 98 system, or on my Windows Me system, .

(8) I get an error message about an "illegal instruction" when I try to run WPDOS.

(9) Somehow my WP text screen scrambled or went blank when I selected a Text mode, and I can't make it show text again.

(10) When I change any default setting, or when I select a printer, the changes in my settings are not "remembered," and I have to select them again every time I run WordPerfect. Also, when I try to edit a macro, my changes aren't saved to disk.

(11) Many function-key combinations don't work correctly; or Ctrl-F1, Ctrl-F2, Ctrl-F3, and Ctrl-F4 don't work; or Alt-F5 doesn't work in WPDOS on my Windows system.

(12) Help! I live outside the USA and WPDOS displays the wrong characters when I type (for example) Shift-3 or Shift-4.

(13) When I run WPDOS on my laptop, I see only a tiny rectangle of text surrounded by a huge black border.

(14) The Directory Tree feature in WPDOS 6.x causes WP to lock up when I use it on my C: drive.

(15) I prefer to run WPDOS in full-screen mode, but (a) I am running WPDOS under Windows Vista or Windows 7, and Vista or Windows 7 tells me that full-screen mode is not available on my system, or (b) I am running WPDOS under XP, and a few minutes after I start WPDOS, it reduces itself to a window, and keeps going back to windowed mode if I try to run it full-screen, or (c) I am running WPDOS under XP and WPDOS will not switch to full-screen mode.

(16) When I try to start WPDOS 5.1, I see an error message asking if other copies of WP are running; if I answer No; I see an error message saying "No room on backup drive. Press any key"; when I press a key, WPDOS locks up.

(17) My macros "stall" when I try to run them.

(18) Files with weird names appear on my Windows desktop when I run WPDOS.

(19) I want to reduce the size of the cursor in WPDOS text screens under Windows XP.

(20) With my Windows Me system, WPDOS won't run at all, or will run but won't print.

(21) My WPDOS 6.x QuickFinder searches fail with error messages that say "Not enough file handles" or "Insufficient memory".

(22) When I start WPDOS, Windows displays one of these error messages: "The system cannot open COM1 port requested by the application" (or COM2 or other port number) or "Driver does not support selected baud rate" (followed by a number).

(23) When I start WPDOS, I get an error message headed "16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem" that warns me either "An installable device driver failed DLL installation" or "The system file is not suitable for running MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows Applications."
    Solution: You may be using a program called System Mechanic or some other program that has damaged some essential files. Undo the last changes made by System Mechanic; uninstall the program, and then download and run this third-party program that repairs the error.

(B) Printing and faxing:

(1) WordPerfect for DOS won't print on my Windows 95, 98 or Me system, or it prints nonsense characters, partial text, or extra pages, or it crashes the computer when I try to print.

(2) WordPerfect for DOS won't print on my Windows NT, 2000, or XP system.

(3) I need a WordPerfect for DOS 5.1 printer driver for my new printer.

(4) I need a WordPerfect for DOS 6.0, 6.1, or 6.2 printer driver for my new printer.

(5) I found a WPDOS driver for my printer, but my printer is connected by a USB cable and WordPerfect for DOS can't print to it.

(6) After I installed a new printer driver, my old documents don't print correctly (choose either: I use WordPerfect for DOS 5.1, or I use WordPerfect for DOS 6.0, 6.1, or 6.2).

(7) After I installed a new printer driver, I can't select the paper-size definition that I used with my earlier driver.

(8) I have studied the printer driver pages on this site and also on Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or its page for WPDOS 6.x printer drivers, and I am fairly certain that no WordPerfect for DOS driver exists for my new printer.

(9) I want to send faxes from WordPerfect for DOS through my Windows fax software.

(10) I want to use FaceLift for WordPerfect while running WPDOS under Windows.

(C) Sharing files between Word and WordPerfect:

(1) I need to open WordPerfect files in Microsoft Word.

(2) I need to open Microsoft Word files in WordPerfect.

(D) Euro support:

(1) I need to use the euro symbol in WordPerfect for DOS.

(E) Graphics and graphic images:

(1) I need to import GIF or JPEG graphic images into WordPerfect for DOS documents.

(2) My video hardware refuses to let me launch WordPerfect, and I think I need to download new Windows drivers for video card.

(3) I have an ATI video card, and I selected an ATI card on WordPerfect's list of display drivers, but my graphic screen doesn't work and my text display is messed up.

(4) I get one or more "Divide overflow" error messages when I switch to Print Preview or any other graphics mode in WPDOS 6.x

(F) Basic Windows knowledge:

(1) I don't know how to create or modify a Windows desktop shortcut.

(2) I don't know how to open or create a DOS window or DOS prompt under Windows.

(3) I don't know how to create or modify my Config.sys file.

(G) Other:

(1) I have an entirely different problem with WordPerfect. What else is on this site? And where else can I ask for help?


Help! I can't download files from Corel's web site!

Corel's web site includes hundreds of files that are useful to WPDOS users, but when you try to download some of them through your web browser, you will get an error message from the browser and will not be able to download the file. Here is how to solve the problem.

If, for example, you want to download a WPDOS printer driver, you would normally do this:

Go to Corel's page for WPDOS 5.1 printer drivers or its page for WPDOS 6.x printer drivers; search the page for the name of your printer (for example "HP LaserJet III" - omit the quotation marks, of course). When you find the appropriate file (for example, WPHP1.EXE), right-click on its name, and, from the popup menu, choose Save Target as... (or Save Link Target as ... or something similar to this). Your browser may prompt you to confirm the name of the file to be saved to disk, and may files on Corel's site will download without any problem. If, however, your browser will display an error message at any stage of the attempted download, carefully perform the following steps.

(1) Right-click again on the name of the file you want, and, from the popup menu, click Copy Shortcut (or Copy Link Location or something similar to this). This step copies the address of the filename into the Windows clipboard for use in a later step.

(2) In most browsers, type Ctrl-L to open a box (or highlight a field) in which you can enter a web address that you want to open; in some older browsers, including Netscape 4.x, type Ctrl-O; or, in any browser, click in the Location or Address field near the top of the window. Make sure the cursor is in the field where you can type an address; if necessary, press the Del or Backspace key to clear any address that is already in the field.

(3) Press Ctrl-V to paste (into the Open box or address or location field) the Shortcut or Link Location that you copied to the Windows clipboard in step (1). Do not press Enter. Note that the last few letters (after the final forward slash) of the name are UPPER-CASE. Write down those letters very carefully. Backspace over them and replace them with exactly the same letters, but in lower-case. Press Enter. The file should now download correctly.


Help! WPDOS periodically switches from full-screen to windowed mode

Many problems in Windows result from the presence of spyware, tracking software, and other evil software that may be running on your system. If, for example, WPDOS periodically changes from full-screen mode into windowed mode (where the program appears in a Window on the Windows desktop), your system is almost certainly infected with a virus, although you might see the same effect from spyware.

First, run a full antivirus scan of your system with an up-to-date antivirus program. Then run all three of these free spyware-removing programs: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Free from Malwarebytes, Ad-Aware Free from Lavasoft, and Spybot - Search & Destroy from Spybot.info. Keep your antivirus software running (and up-to-date) at all times, and run these spyware-fighting programs at least once a week.


Help! WPDOS will not switch from a window to full-screen mode

If you are running WPDOS under Windows Vista or Windows 7 and WPDOS will not switch to full-screen mode, there is probably no good solution, but (for Vista) see the instructions elsewhere on this site.

If you are running WPDOS under Windows XP and WPDOS will not switch to full-screen mode, your computer vendor may have installed obsolete software called BigFix. Disable or uninstall this software, and WPDOS will be able to switch to full-screen mode. (I have never used BigFix, so I cannot give you instructions on how to disable it.)


Create a FAT16 partition for misbehaving WordPerfect programs

Some DOS programs do not work well when installed on the large NTFS-formatted drives used with modern Windows 2000 and Windows XP computers. For example, the Calendar program that comes with the WP Office Shell may not be able to read its data files when installed on an NTFS drive. The MoreFonts program that generates scalable typefaces for use with WPDOS may not work when launched from an NTFS partition. Other problems may also occur; search for the word NTFS on this site for further information. If you do not experience these problems, then ignore this advice.

The solution to this problem is to divide your hard disk into two partitions instead of one by using Paragon's Partition Manager or some similar program. Study the program's help file and manual thoroughly; then use the program to reduce the size of your existing drive C: by 2GB, and create a 2GB partition in the newly cleared space on your disk; be careful to choose the option to format the partition as FAT16, not NTFS or FAT32. The new partition will become drive D: on your system.

If you are moving WPDOS itself, first use Shift-F1/Location of Files to see the names of all the directories that you need to copy from drive C: to drive D:. Write down their names. Then copy the directories from C: to D: (if you do not know how to do this, look in any beginner's book on Windows; I cannot help you perform this step unless you are willing to pay an astronomically high consulting fee).

Copy any other directories containing the Shell or other programs that are causing problems because they are on NTFS drives. Adjust your Windows shortcuts to match the new locations. Programs such as MoreFonts and the WP Shell Calendar should now work without difficulty.


Rename your .SET file to solve crashing and other problems

WordPerfect for DOS may occasionally crash (fail) when you press F2 or some other key, or it may perform in intermittent ways that you cannot otherwise identify. The cause of many such problems is a corrupted settings (.SET) file; the settings file is a file automatically created and maintained by WordPerfect which contains your default margin settings, locations of files, printer selection, and other settings. Every time you change a program setting, the change is recorded in the .SET file.

To test whether you have a corrupted .SET file, perform the following steps:

Occasionally-asked question:

Q. Why do I have to go to all this trouble with Windows Explorer or the DOS prompt? Can't I just rename the .SET file from inside WordPerfect's own F5 List Files screen?
    A. Yes, you can do that, but it's rarely a good idea to remove a program's settings file while you are running the program itself. So, if you are more interested in solving your problem than in saving a few seconds of your time, please follow the instructions.


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