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
For more information on the Shell video driver, query on the
• 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
• 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
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