by Gordon L. Banks
PROBLEM: Suppose that you, as many of us do, have several AUTORUN.SYS files that are twelve sectors long. Since the filename and the length are identical, how do you remember what each one does? Usually you have to boot that disk to find out. This is too time consuming.
SOLUTION: Modify your DOS to recognize filenames other than just AUTORUN.SYS as the autorun file.
HOW: When DOS is booted and loaded into RAM, memory locations 5903 through 5914 contain the name recognized by DOS as the autorun file. All we have to do is POKE in our own preference, and then SAVE the modified version of DOS back onto the disk. The following program, AlterDOS, does just that. But what new name do we use? One idea with merit is to alter DOS to recognize any eight-character filename with the .ARS extender. With the asterisk (*) wildcard replacing the eight-character filename, you can use those eight characters to give your autorun files meaningful names, such as RENUMBER, or SCRNDUMP, or whatever you like. Any name would work, as long as it has the .ARS (AutoRunSys) extender. Then you could also keep additional autorun files on the same disk, but in an inactive status, by changing the extender to something like .ARF (AutoRunFile). Your DOS-copying functions would also copy these more readily than files with the .SYS extender.
However (and you just knew there would be a "however," didn't you?), there is a serious drawback to this plan. Files still named AUTORUN.SYS won't work until renamed. This means renaming all current and future AUTORUN.SYS files before you use them. Swapping disks with friends will eventually lead to your modified DOS being in the hands of someone else. Think of the problems they will experience when their AUTORUN.SYS files won't work. Also, please believe me, there will come a time when you will forget and try to boot up a disk with an AUTORUN.SYS file, and when it doesn't work, you do a lot of head scratching.
My recommendation is to change your autorun identifier to A*.SYS. This method still allows you to use seven characters with which to define your autorun files with meaningful names. For instance, isn't ARENUMBER.SYS or ASCRNDMP.SYS really an inprovement? This way, if a friend winds up with your modified version of DOS, it won't matter, and an autorun file named AUTORUN.SYS (yecch!) will still be recognized by DOS, just as usual.
So, consider these two possibilities -- along with your own ideas. Maybe you'll come up with something better and share it with the rest of us. Just insert your preference into Line 160 where I have "A*.SYS".
ALTERDOS.LST is available in ATASCII format.
10 DATA 225,395,768,444,303,958,831,64 2,270,555,878,432,653,294,678,8326 160 DATA 820,688,583,835,346,643,778,6 51,5344