DriveSpace Restartability in Windows 95 and MS Plus!

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Article ID: 136899 - View products that this article applies to.
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NOTE: If power is lost during an upgrade to DriveSpace 3, turn the computer back on when the power is restored and DriveSpace will automatically restart where it was interrupted.
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This article discusses restartable DriveSpace compression operations in Windows 95 and Microsoft Plus! for Windows 95. Restartable operations are operations that can restart automatically if the operation is interrupted and the computer reboots.


DriveSpace Restartability

DriveSpace operations are restartable either because the computer may be rendered unusable if the operation is interrupted, or because the operation requires that the computer be restarted to finish. The following DriveSpace operations are restartable:
  • Compressing an existing drive
  • Uncompressing a DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive
  • Creating a new, empty DriveSpace drive
  • Changing the size of a DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive
  • Changing the estimated compression ratio (ECR) for a DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive
  • Mounting a DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive
  • Upgrading (converting) a DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive to DriveSpace 3 format
Some of these operations may prevent Windows 95 from starting properly if the computer is rebooted before the operation is complete. For example, while compressing the directories that contain the Windows 95 system files, the Windows 95 files may be located on two different drives. If the computer restarts at this point, Windows 95 may be unable to start until the compression process is finished. Other operations, such as mounting a DriveSpace or DoubleSpace drive, may simply need to restart the computer to ensure that the DriveSpace driver is loaded and is configured with the appropriate settings. To ensure restartability, DriveSpace uses one of two methods, determined as follows:
  • If a new, empty DriveSpace drive is being created, DriveSpace uses the quick restartability method.
  • If the operation being performed involves a drive for which an exclusive-access file system lock cannot be obtained, DriveSpace uses the full restartability method.

    NOTE: DriveSpace is unable to obtain an exclusive lock on any drive containing open files. The drive that contains the Windows folder, the drive that contains the Windows swap file, and a drive from which a program is currently running all typically contain open files.
  • If none of the above conditions apply, DriveSpace uses quick restartability.
Essentially, quick restartability is used if DriveSpace is sure that the operation being performed does not endanger the Windows 95 files, and that at no point during the operation would Windows 95 be unable to load. In this case, DriveSpace creates a Restart.drv file to indicate which operation is being performed, and places the following command in the RunOnce key in the registry:
Placing this command in the registry causes DriveSpace to be restarted automatically if the computer reboots. When the operation is complete, this registry entry and the Restart.drv file are removed.

Full restartability is used when the operation being performed may temporarily prevent Windows 95 from starting. This method uses mini- Windows, which is a Windows 3.1 subset that is also used by the Windows 95 Setup program. By placing a copy of the mini-Windows files on the physical boot drive before beginning the operation, DriveSpace ensures that a GUI operating environment will be available in the event of a reboot. DriveSpace performs the following steps to prepare for full restartability:
  1. Finds the physical boot drive (PBD), which is the drive that would be drive C if no disk compression software were loaded. This drive is guaranteed to always be available.
  2. Creates a file called Restart.drv in the root directory of the PBD. This file contains information about which operation is being performed, and what the current status of that operation is.
  3. Creates a Failsafe.drv directory on the PBD and copies the mini-Windows files to this directory. The mini-Windows files are stored in the cabinet file, which the Setup program copies to the Windows\System directory.

    NOTE: The Failsafe.drv directory is not automatically deleted from the PBD when the current operation is successfully completed. This eliminates the need for DriveSpace to create the directory and copy the mini-Windows files to it during future operations that require full restartability.
  4. Ensures that there are copies of the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files on the PBD. If the files are not present on the PBD, but drive C is compressed and copies of the files are present there, the files are copied from drive C to the PBD. If the files are not present on the PBD and drive C is not compressed, new copies of the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files are created on the PBD.
  5. Copies itself into the Failsafe.drv directory, using the name W31space.exe. This copy is then updated to appear compatible with Windows 3.1.
  6. Replaces the current SHELL= line in the mini-Windows System.ini file with the following line: SHELL=W31SPACE.EXE This causes mini-Windows to run DriveSpace when it starts. It automatically recognizes the current scenario and infers the missing /RESTART switch.
  7. Looks at each line in the Config.sys file on the PBD, and copies each driver referenced in that file from its original location to the Failsafe.drv directory. The lines in the Config.sys file are then changed to reference this copy of the file, instead of the original copy (in the Config.sys file, the PBD is always referenced as drive C, regardless of its current drive letter).

    NOTE: Backup copies of the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat files are copied to the Failsafe.drv directory and named Config.pss and Autoexec.pss. In addition, DriveSpace temporarily disables any line in the Config.sys file that loads Emm386.exe, to make sure that problems do not arise on computers with unusable upper memory blocks (UMBs). If mini-Windows cannot start, the Emm386.exe line is re-enabled and mini-Windows attempts to start again.
  8. Modifies the Autoexec.bat file on the PBD so that it runs Dosx.exe from the Failsafe.drv directory, which starts mini-Windows.
  9. If drive C is compressed, the line in the Dblspace.ini or Drvspace.ini file that causes drive C to be mounted is removed. This ensures that the PBD is always drive C.

    NOTE: When you compress drive C, the Failsafe.drv directory is not compressed, and can be found on the uncompressed host drive when the operation is complete.

Upgrading a Drive to DriveSpace 3

When you convert an existing DoubleSpace or DriveSpace drive to DriveSpace 3, DriveSpace performs the following steps:
  1. Renames the existing DoubleSpace or DriveSpace compressed volume file (CVF) to Dblspace.030 or Drvspace.030. If a file with that name already exists, the extension .031 is tried instead. If a file with that name already exists, the extension .032 is tried, and so on until a unique file name is found.
  2. Creates a new CVF in DriveSpace 3 format.
  3. Mounts the new CVF using the protected-mode DriveSpace 3 driver.
  4. Mounts the original DoubleSpace or DriveSpace CVF.
  5. Moves all data from the original CVF to the new CVF.
  6. Unmounts and then deletes the original CVF.


Article ID: 136899 - Last Review: September 27, 2013 - Revision: 1.2
  • Microsoft Windows 95
  • Microsoft Plus! 95 Standard Edition
kbnosurvey kbarchive kbdiskmemory kbinfo KB136899

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