Reference Disk
Only by understanding all of microchannel can we abuse it.. 

Create Refdisk/Diags
   Restoring Special Byte Code
   FORCEDOS under NT4
TG0 Utility LDF.COM or
DSK Utility loaddskf.exe
Refdisk Requires Cold Start  
Can the Wrong Refdisk Damage My PS/2?
Copying Option ADFs Correctly
Accessing Advanced Diags from the Refdisk
SC.EXE Trivia
   Running SC.EXE from the Hard Drive
Common Refdisk Files

Creating a Refdisk and/or Diagnostics Disk
Under DOS-OS/2
  Download the file (rf*.exe for refdisk, rd*.exe for diags) onto your hard disk. Put a blank, formatted 1.44MB floppy (caution, some options or early refdisks use 720KB disks) into A:, run the executable. Follow the instructions... 

Self-Extractor Screen Messages
  Run the self-executable. The following messages will appear:

Self-extracting diskette image processor (OS/2), Version 1.03...

Please enter a drive letter compatible with a 1.44M 3.5" disk,
or press ESC to quit:

 NOTE:  At this time, enter "a" for your A drive, or "b" if you have a 1.44MB B drive)

Press ENTER to continue (read license agreement)

NOTE: This screen pops up:


NOTE: Bottom line says:
Press ENTER to continue... (Repeats four or so times)

NOTE:    Watch for this line! It will dump you out if you only hit enter.

If you agree, type Y and press ENTER...

Insert a blank high-density diskette in drive A:.
Press ENTER to extract, or ESC to exit -
100 percent  (shows progress)
Extraction Complete

Press "Y" to do another copy:

Note: Just hit enter to end this program.

Under Win NT/9x
   I have created MANY ref/diags disks with W95/NT 4.0 using Windows Exploiter/NT Exploiter, and NONE of them refused to work. Just double click on the file, and the DOS window pops up. Do NOT do a "DIR" under MS-Doze mode! If you want to surf through the new refisk, close the MS-Dos window and return to Exploiter.

NOTE:  Microsoft uses a 8 byte block on the diskette for labeling purposes in WIN95.  During execution of the "DIR" command, this 8 byte block is written to by WIN95.
 IBM uses this same 8 byte block on the diskette for ID purposes. Write protecting the diskette prior to the "DIR" command has shown to safeguard against this exposure. Or, you could exit the MS-DOS mode without doing a "DIR"...

Restoring Special Byte-Code
   WARNING! Do NOT go to MS-Doze mode under W95 and do a "DIR" command! This will nuke the special byte code created on the refdisk. To put the code back on, use Bob Eager's REFSTAMP

   With some refdisks/option/flash disks, I had trouble under Win NT 4. However, going to the MS Dos prompt and typing "forcedos *.exe" the self extractor would work. 

Disk Utility for TG0 Files
   The 8525 starter disk (25start.tg0) needs  Find it HERE

Disk Utility for DSK Files
  You need loaddskf.exe to extract these files. Find it HERE  

Refdisk Requires Cold Start
   The correct procedure for using the Personal System/2 reference diskette is to power on the system with the diskette inserted in the diskette drive. Soft booting the reference diskette (ie. Ctrl-Alt-Del) may cause false errors as well as a false indication that a power-on password is already present when you try to set one

Could I Damage My System with the Wrong Refdisk?
   Normally, no. For non-Flash based systems (50, 55SX, 56, 60, 65, 70, 73, 80 for example) the system has ADFs for the planar, and the POS circuitry identifies the specific features available to the systems programs. If you use the wrong refdisk, the system will tell you that you have been bad, and MUST be punished... (actually, it says the refdisk is not the correct one for the system, the system is now locked, and you must Ctrl-Alt-Del to get it to work again)

NOTE: For certain Flash-based systems, specifically the 9585 (X vs K / N models) and any system with an upgrade planar (50 thru 80), you CAN duff it up. Reply made upgrade planars under their name (and specific BIOS) AND under the IBM name (and specific BIOS). We are not sure if IBM played about with the POS registers with the re-branded Reply boards, but it sure looks like the ADF resources are different... YMMD...

Copying Option ADFs to the Refdisk CORRECTLY
   Just copying the ADF to the refdisk will NOT work (I know, I've tried).  Before installing a new adapter, run Systems Programs (or Setup to non-IBM types) and choose "Copy an Options Diskette" from the main menu. Now when you install the new adapter, the refdisk HAS the new ADF on it, and it can autoconfigure without flashing that annoying "The description file for the adapter in Slot x was not found".

   On the later systems with a refdisk and diags disk, you need both IF you are installing an IBM option (IBM adapters have *.dgs files).

Accessing Advanced Diagnostics from Refdisk
   When at the main menu, do a Ctrl-A and you will eventually get to the advanced diags. LLF is there, as is a more detailed and user selectable diagnostics menu. Use it! 

SC Trivia
>Time for wild speculation and downright baseless opinions. Which version of IBM PC Dos would work best with the 1990 vintage SC.EXE? 

From Peter
  The pre-1992 versions of the reference / diagnostic disks were mainly based on PC-DOS 4.0 (4.01) - which caused several problems with bigger harddisks. IBM replaced the versions with a PC-DOS 5 based system after complaints. 

   The SC.EXE however should not query the DOS version number, because the modified COMMAND.COM used on the reference disks does not return any DOS version number at all. So it will -most likely- run under any DOS version 4.0 and above. I -at least- had no problem booting up a Mod. 70 for example under PC DOS 7 - putting the refdisk in A: and type "SC" at the A:> prompt. 

Run SC.EXE from HD?
From Rich Wolos
   Probably don't qualify for any titles, but we did put the refdisk files on several Model 70 hard drives at the shop. (in \refdisk directory). 

   Found we usually could run sc.exe (set config) to add/remove memory, also adapter cards if the adf's were there, and also setclock.exe and few others.  Someone discovered you could type c:\refdisk>command and that would bring up the opening refdisk menu 

Common Refdisk Files
BACKUP.EXE  Backs up reference and diagnostics disk, or does it back up the CMOS contents to floppy? 
DIAGS COM  The big enchilada that calls up the *.dgs files and runs diagnostics. 
KP.COM Keyboard password utility (KP.COM) locks the keyboard temporarily without turning the system off. 
LLFORMAT.COM Called up by DIAGS.COM (?) 
PASSWORD.COM Power-On Password application? 
POSTERR.COM Brings up a simple message in case of a POST error... 
RECV35.COM (Thanks, David Beem!) A parallel port Interlink (before there was such a thing). IBM sold an option of a dongle that was attached to the DB-25 PS/2 parallel port & had a Centronics 36-pin connection on the other side. The option included a diskette with the file for running on the other system with the printer cable to connect to the dongle. On the PS/2 you could map the others' drives to copy files (It was marketed as a way to transfer files from the older 5-1/4 format to the new 3.5 format used on the PS/2.). Look at the Data Migration Facility
SETCLOCK.COM Sets the date/time. Runs from command line. 
SETRATE.COM  Sets typematic rate for KB. Runs from command line. 
SC.EXE  The big enchilada for setting configuration. Will run and configure from command line in a pure DOS (M$ or PC) environment. 
UPDATE.EXE Updates BIOS in CMOS? Or does it update CMOS info on floppy? 
DSPREVL.EXE "Display Release Level" (?) where it shows BIOS and ref/diags levels. 
IBMCACHE.COM Disk cache? For Autoexec.bat? 
IBMCACHE.SYS Disk cache? For Config.sys? 
INSTALL.COM I think this is "User Install" where you can install utilities like KP.COM and PASSWORD.COM. 
DASDDRVR.SYS (Thanks, David Beem!) This is the "Direct-Access Storage Device Driver" collection of software patches to fix ROM BIOS bugs for the early models of pre-IML PS/2s. Only the PS/2-minimum DOS 3.3 and later versions need this driver; OS/2 has the same patches built-in. I don't think the system files in Windows 95 have the patches (and some of the Models fixed by the patches are a 286 or lower; Win95 COMMAND.COM wants a 386 or better.). The patches are system-specific & fix known issues. The driver just overlays the selected areas of affected BIOS, so it uses no more memory. 
INSTDBUF.COM Install Double Buffer? 

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