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If eComStation (eCS) is shut down improperly, it is possible for its configuration files, OS2.INI and OS2SYS.INI, to become damaged or be deleted. If this happens, the files can be restored or recovered without reinstalling OS/2.

The first question is: Do you have a backup for the system? If so, you can get the files you need from it and not have to reload OS/2. Reloading OS/2 is something to avoid at all costs. Getting all of the files customized can take a long time, and it is difficult to get them all right the first time. You may be able to restore a working version os OS2.INI or OS2SYS.INI from an archive reached from the instructions below.

Here's what you can do to get a new, clean desktop on your system right away:
  1. Begin with the computer shut down.
  2. Turn the computer on, or press control-alt-delete to begin loading OS/2.
  3. When you see a white block followed by "OS/2" appear in the upper-left corner of the display, press alt-F1 several times. The timing is important, you have to press F1 right after you see the white block. You should get a menu of choices. If you do not, press control-alt-delete to restart the machine and try again until you get the menu.
  4. From the menu, press "1" to restore your latest archive (if available). The system will restore the files and boot as normal, you are done with the restoration process and can skip the following steps. If the archive does not work, start over with step 1 and press "2" to try the next one on the list. Continue repeating until a valid archive is found. If there are no archives available, move on to the next step.
  5. From the menu, choose "start command session" or "go to command prompt" (depending on the version of OS/2). The computer will start OS/2 and display a [C:\] prompt.
  6. Change the directory to OS/2 by entering "cd os/2".
  7. Run the MAKEINI program and create new INI files:
  8. Press control-alt-delete to reboot the machine. This time you should reboot to a standard OS/2 screen -- but without any of the icons and customizations added since OS/2 was first installed.

Now, if you have a backup of your system, we can go and retrieve the INI files from it and install them on the computer. It is a two-step process because the OS/2 system keeps the INI files "locked" and will not let us restore different versions over the existing INI files.

First, we use the backup software to restore the files C:\OS2\OS2.INI and C:\OS2\OS2SYS.INI. But we restore the files to some other location -- not the original location they came from. I like to restore the files to a directory like C:\TMP when doing this task.

After restoring the files to C:\TMP, you have to shut down the computer and start it with a "command prompt", just like you did for the first part of this procedure (steps 3 and 5 above). Once you have the command prompt, you change to the C:\TMP directory and copy the files *.INI to the \OS2 directory:


These files might have attributes set that will prevent the "bad" files from being overwritten. Check for attributes with the ATTRIB command:


If the files are listed with "S", "H", or "R" then the attributes will have to be reset before the files can be copied. Use the ATTRIB command to turn off these attributes:


After the attributes are turned off, copy the files as outlined above. The OS/2 system should turn the attributes back on when the system is started again.

After restoring the INI files, reboot the computer and your original icons and folders should be back.

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