Troubleshooting Problems with MS-DOS Shell (74177)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22

This article was previously published under Q74177


You may experience the following problems when running the MS-DOS Shell under MS-DOS version 5.0 or versions 6.0 and later:
    Shell stops responding (hangs) at startup or after the first screen.
    Various Shell display problems, such as compressed screen fonts and no color display, may occur.


When trouble-shooting these problems, consider the following:

    Determine if an incorrect or old version of the mouse driver, or the wrong device driver, is installed in CONFIG.SYS and/or in AUTOEXEC.BAT. An older mouse driver may cause video disruption even though the mouse functions normally.
    Try to run Shell with one of the following switches:
          dosshell /b   (to start Shell in black and white color)


          dosshell /t   (to start Shell in text mode)

    Rename DOSSHELL.VID.

    Run Shell without DOSSHELL.VID in text mode. If this works, the video driver must be changed by expanding another file from the original disks.

    For more information on the Shell video driver, query on the following words:

    5.0 and video and Shell

    Check the DOSSHELL.GRB file. If you have a video problem while running Task Swapper, most likely the .GRB file is corrupted or not installed properly. The .GRB file is responsible for retaining the video display during the swapping (that is, it grabs the video display for a later display).

    If you encounter a problem with task switching graphic applications, make sure graphics mode is selected instead of text mode in the advanced section of the application properties. For example, Microsoft Word 5.5, when running in graphics mode, requires that Video Mode - Graphics be selected in the advanced section of the Program Item Properties dialog box.
    Remove any terminate-and-stay-resident (TSR) programs or other drivers in the CONFIG.SYS and/or AUTOEXEC.BAT files, then rerun Shell.
    Make sure DOSSHELL and corresponding video drivers run from the workstation if you are connected to a network. Run Shell from the DOS directory. Check to make sure "VIDEODIR=[DRIVE:][PATH]" in the DOSSHELL.INI has the proper location of the video drivers.
    For testing purposes, do not load device drivers high. Change any DEVICEHIGH in CONFIG.SYS to read DEVICE and remove the LOADHIGH or LH statement in AUTOEXEC.BAT.
    If you get the message

    Unable to load MS-DOS Shell, retry (y/n)?
    check whether DOSSHELL.EXE is in the DOS directory. If it is, it is possible that DOSSHELL.EXE has been corrupted. You need to expand the DOSSHELL.EXE from disk 3 (5.25-inch disks) or disk 2 (3.5-inch disks) of the Microsoft MS-DOS 5 Upgrade.


"Getting Started with MS-DOS" manual for version 5.0, page 52, 130

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 5/12/2003
Keywords: KB74177