DEC Pathworks Remote Boot Workstations Under Windows 3.1

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If you use a Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) Pathworks diskless workstations, you need to take the additional steps described in this article when installing Windows version 3.1.

You need to place loadable drivers provided with Windows 3.1 (for example, HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE, RAMDRIVE.SYS, SMARTDRV.EXE, and so on.) on the boot disk for floppy based systems, or the bootable share for diskless workstations.


DEC Pathworks handles remote boot stations differently than other networks. It creates a floppy disk from which to boot. In the case of an actual floppy-based system, this makes sense; however, on a diskless workstation, this can be confusing.

The network creates a bootable disk-service share with the workstations node address as the name. The boot share is given the drive letter C by the network. Another share must be created by the administrator to contain the workstation's Windows directory or any other applications they may use.

When the station is set up by the network, the administrator has a choice of floppy-disk sizes; the largest size for the boot share for a diskless station is 1.44 MB. In this area, DEC puts a DECNET directory containing the basic network functions necessary to connect and use the DECNET master share. Because this does not leave much room for anything else, The MS-DOS command SETUP /N should be pointed to a common file service share.

Another point to remember is that loadable drivers provided by Windows, HIMEM.SYS, EMM386.EXE, RAMDRIVE.SYS, SMARTDRV.EXE, and so on, must be placed on the boot disk for floppy-based systems, or the bootable share for diskless workstations. This is because the connection to the main Windows share, or the workstation's Windows share, is not established until STARTNET.BAT is run in the AUTOEXEC.BAT.


Article ID: 82654 - Last Review: February 28, 2014 - Revision: 2.0
  • Microsoft Windows 3.1 Standard Edition
  • Microsoft Windows 3.11 Standard Edition
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