Boot Program Manager or Calmira

February 10, 2010 at 11:28:33
Specs: Windows 3.1 Greek, 486 / 33 Mhz
I have long ago speculated over the process that should be followed if one wished that the system, while booting, presented an option to load either Program Manager or Calmira (as a shell to Windows). I consider myself as a fan of Calmira shell, but there are times that I wish to have Win 3.11 GUI loaded by using good old Program Manager.

Normally, the effect of interchanging between Program Manager and Calmira can be achieved by editing the SYSTEM.INI file ([boot] sector, line shell= . To load Program Manager, the line should read something like
To load Calmira, the line should read, respectively, something like

But this is a tiresome process, since every time one wishes to change the shell, one has to REM out the valid line and replace it with a new one (using some sort of editing tool, like EDIT in DOS and SYSEDIT in Windows).

The process I am going to describe achieves the same effect by eliminating the need to edit system files each time a change of shell is desired. It requires only minimal user interference. Steps to follow:

1. Make sure that your DOS installation contains file CHOICE.EXE. (Mine didn't at first; I use MS-DOS 7.10 by Wengier and Roy, which did not include the above file. So I had to "borrow" the file included in FreeDOS 1.0 with the same name, dating from 13.07.2006 and having a size of 4.152 KB).

2. It is wise to start Windows using a batch file. Mine is named CPQ.BAT and contains the following lines:


This means that after loading the system, I have to start Windows GUI by typing CPQ (my computer is a ComPaQ Armada). For reasons beyond my understanding, if one does not use a batch file, the whole process fails. So, you should use a text editor and make such a batch file. Where, in the above file, I have "win311\" you should probably have "windows\" - it all depends on how your windows catalogue is called. You could give the batch file a name like "WIN.BAT" and save it in your system root (this means that the path should be something like "c:\win.bat").

3. Using a text editor, again, open your SYSTEM.INI file and save it in c:\windows as SYSTEM.PGM. Make sure that under the [boot] section of this file there is a line that reads
There should be no other shell= line in this file.

4. Again, open SYSTEM.INI file and this time save it in c:\windows as SYSTEM.CLM. Make sure that under the [boot] section of this file there is a line that reads
Again, there should be no other shell= line in this file.

5. Edit your AUTOEXEC.BAT file by adding the following lines at the end:

REM To interchange the shell *** Start
CHOICE "Do you wish to use the Calmira shell in Windows?"
REM To interchange the shell *** End

6. Save the modified AUTOEXEC.BAT and off you go! The next time your machine boots, will load DOS normally. At the system prompt, type WIN or whatever you have named the batch file that is used to load Windows (see 2. above). The system will instantly present you with the question Do you wish to use the Calmira shell in Windows? [Y/N]. If you type Y, your beloved Calmira will load; if you type N, good old Program Manager will offer to serve you!

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February 10, 2010 at 21:09:48
you could just use a program such as a win16 batch language to chose manager at windows startup

or why not just have several windows

two windows 3.1 computers
would work even better :)

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