This message is for Optima / Isoprime IRMS systems running OS/2 Warp
Earlier this summer there was some discussions about Y2K and Micromass IRMS
software. While setting the date back on an older PC may indeed be one
solution, one can also take the opportunity to freshen your old system and
hardware, update to Y2K compatibility, all within the constraints of the
Optima software / PC hardware and Warp operating system (as well as fix that
nasty print spooler bug). Most Optima / early Isoprime purchasers probably
got a 386 or 486 PC with their IRMS systems and the Warp 3.x (or 2.x)
operating system. The 486 systems may have a Y2K compliant BIOS, but the
original supplied Warp 3.x and 2.x is NOT compliant. We have upgraded our
system and patched OS/2 3.x to Y2K compliance, and so I outline some tips
and procedures gained from our experience.
There are some key constraints one needs to be aware of:
1) The Optima/Isoprime OS/2 software (eg DI v2.5 / EA v1.67 at least) will
NOT run on Warp 4.x or even on later builds of Warp 3.x or Warp Connect.
2) OS/2 is showing its age with a severe lack of new hardware and PC device
support. It was designed for '386 machines. Most current (e.g. 2 years old
and newer) hardware is NOT supported.
All this means is that buying a brand new state-of-the-art PC is probably
not a good solution just to get a Y2K compliant PC BIOS. Warp 3 (or Warp
Connect) or OS/2 2.x was released far before the "Pentium" existed , and so
does not recognize Pentium, PII or PIII processors as such - it sees them as
386's. Warp 3 has no idea about AGP bus, MMX, etc, etc. So it is likely that
installing OS/2 Warp 3.x on a brand new Pentium III AGP machine might just
fail, or the fancy new hardware won't be supported, or it may cause
1. Look for a quality used "older" Pentium 166 or faster 486 with a Y2K
compliant BIOS (which you may already have), a decent OS/2 supported
graphics adaptor, and larger hard drive. These can be found for a just few
hundred dollars these days. We found a 4 year old Gateway Pentium 166 with a
ATI mach64 graphics adapter, 2G hard drive, whose BIOS tested Y2K compliant.
We then installed the original OS/2 Warp 3.x (HPFS file system) and the
Micromass Optima DI and CF software. If you need to get new printer or
video drivers for your PC hardware check the OS/2 driver page to see if they
2. Patch Warp 3.x to Y2K
**** IMPORTANT: DO NOT attempt perform this patch on your existing system
without backing up your hard drive, or at least your Isotech software
directory. You must have a system backup, or be able to afford to lose all
your data and have to reinstall OS/2 if this procedure fails *****
However, we found it was fairly painless and almost worth it just to get rid
of the original OS/2 printer spooler bug. If you still have OS/2 2.x then
you are basically out of luck, as there are no easy Y2K fixes. For 2.x
users you can probably find a used copy of OS/2 3.x that someone at a PC
user group will gladly give away, and allow you to "upgrade".
In short, IBM has released numerous base system "Fixpaks" for OS/2. The
"Y2K compliant" Fixpaks start with Fixpak 32 (released December 1998) and
up. However I have found (from experience) that system Fixpaks above 32 up
to Fixpak 42 (released October 1999) are NOT compatible with the Micromass
Optima DI or EA software. I repeated this a few times and have confirmed it
- Fixpak 40, for example, causes the Optima DI and Ea software to generate a
system error and crashes. Stick with Fixpak 32 - it works.
The Warp Patch Procedure (for US/Canadian and UK Warp versions)
1. Download an OS/2 ZIP/Unzip Manager to unzip the IBM patch files. The
best one so far is OS/2 PM Zip Control 2.65, which is shareware that can be
found at http://www.rpfsoftware.com/. Download the self extracting version
(~800kb). It is an excellent OS/2 graphical Zip/Unzip manager that is needed
for the steps below, and can be used to archive your IRMS data too.
2. Download the IBM Correctional Service Facility 1.41. This is a fancy
name for a graphical frontend needed to apply the OS/2 Fixpak. It can be
Using Zip Control, unzip this CSF file into a subdirectory (in this example,
c:\dump), preserving the directory structure (PM Zip Control does this by
3. Get OS/2 Fixpak 32. There are 19 zip files for Fixpak 32 (each fitting on
1 diskette). The US/Canadian English version can be found at:
If you have some other international version of IBM Warp 3.x you will need
to find the appropriate files for your country. The UK version of OS/2 3.x
(also 19 files) can be found at:
Unzip each of these 19 zip files into a subdirectory (eg c:\dump). Do not
miss unzipping any!!!
4. Applying Fixpak 32
Close all running programs.
a. Open an OS/2 window
b. change from root directory c:\ to the CSF and Fixpak extracted directory,
c. at the c:\dump prompt, type and enter the following command: os2serv
A graphical screen will come up and check your system for applied and
eligible fix paks. Typically, there are two, the base operating system and
base multimedia support. Choose both by clicking on them. Click on install.
The entire procedure (5-15 minutes of hard disk grinding) will copy all new
system files and re-boot your system several times to process "locked
device" files. Once this is completed your system should reboot as normal,
now Y2K compliant, and with a fixed printer spooler too.
If you had disabled your print spooler due to the original OS/2 bug, you can
now enable it. The advantage is your Optima runs won't wait for the printer
to finish printing before executing the next task (adding ~20 minutes to a
manifold autorun!!) If your printer now prints Optima data results in a very
tiny font (it did on our Epson LQ 570+), set the printer resolution (in
printer driver settings) to 180x180 instead of 360x360. That fixed it for
PS - If you want to process Optima datafiles in a spreadsheet on the same
PC, check out StarOffice, a FREE Office 97 clone available in a native OS/2
version. Get it free at http://www.sun.com/products/staroffice/