© 2002 by Hallvard Tangeraas.
Created between 6-January-2002 and 14-May-2002


The TOS 2.06 in-depth user guide


This is my attempt to write an easy to understand, in-depth user guide for TOS 2.06 as I so far haven't been able to find any usable documentation anywhere else.
I've tried to cover all its features along with practical examples using plain English as much as possible together with lots of illustrations so that even non-experts can understand. This user-guide is however not a beginner's guide to TOS. You should have some basic understanding of using a computer, and in particular the Atari ST prior to reading this.


Table of contents




  


TOS 2.06 overview
TOS 2.06 is the latest (and last) version of "The Operating System" (TOS) for Atari ST computers (Atari ST/STF/STFM/STe/Mega ST/Mega STe/STacy/ST-book) and any of these machines can be upgraded to this version.
(Unlike Windows, Linux, BeOS, MacOS etc. Atari's TOS isn't installed on a hard disk, but comes in the form of ROM chips meaning that the computer is ready for use almost as soon as you switch it on! This also means that it has to be installed by a qualified technician (unless you know exactly what you're doing and have some prior experience with electronics). Instructions on how to install TOS 2.06 in an STe are found here, but for other models of the Atari ST you should contact an Atari dealer or ask around in Atari ST newsgroups on the Internet etc. for more details as I haven't studied the specific details closely enough to give the relevant information here.)

TOS 2.06 has several improvements over previous versions of TOS.
Here are some of them:



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Bugs and bug-fixes TOS 2.06
In addition to the obvious things you can see there are also several bug-fixes and other improvements. Unfortunately the programmers at Atari didn't remove everything, but fear not as there are solutions to this as well as enhancements bringing out what TOS 2.06 doesn't give you on its own....


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Starting up


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The TOS 2.06 desktop drop-down menus
Click on the links below to get detailed information of the drop-down menus available from the TOS 2.06 desktop.

 



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Keyboard shortcuts
There are lots of keyboard shortcuts in TOS 2.06 which replace having to hunt down that menu using the mouse each time...


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Installing programs, tips & tricks
With the right programs installed correctly on your machine, taking full advantage of TOS 2.06 your everyday tasks can be performed with the greatest of ease!
Let the computer take care of the boring and time-consuming stuff while you concentrate on getting the job done (after all, aren't computers supposed to make things easier for you?).


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Adding new icons to TOS 2.06
Unlike previous version of TOS, version 2.06 allows you to customise the icon setup meaning that your programs can have new icons of your own choice. You can even create your own icons (if you have the patience and time!).


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The "XControl" control panel
The new control panel from Atari (XControl.ACC) was introduced with TOS 2.06 (it won't work properly with earlier versions of TOS). XControl gives several benefits over the old style control panel and replaces the functions of many other ACCessories as well!


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Digging beneath the obvious
Thomas Hopper has written a comprehensive user-guide on how to take full advantage of the TOS 2.06 desktop along with instructions on being able to do things that it shouldn't be able to, but can!


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Desktop replacements
Although TOS 2.06 is a vast improvement over previous TOS versions it still misses a lot of features now available on modern computers.
There are several desktop replacements available which gives you all the features of the TOS 2.06 desktop and more. The most popular and best featured ones are: Both of these desktops give you added improvements over the TOS 2.06 desktop. You can for example assign external programs to do specific jobs (such as "Kobold" to copy/move/delete files at a very high speed, or use a replacement file-search program of your choice).
However, depending on how heavily you're into your computer you may be perfectly happy with the TOS 2.06 desktop. After all, by following this user-guide and all its tips there is quite a lot that can be done with what you already have!


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Additional software
Throughout this user-guide there have been several references to additional software.
Here's a complete summary....


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Installing TOS 2.06
TOS 2.06 comes as replacement ROM chips which you need to put inside your computer.
On an STe it's (mostly) just a matter of exchanging the old chips with the new ones and setting a couple of jumpers (early Mega STe computers which came with the buggy TOS 2.05 can also be upgraded to TOS 2.06).

On older models (ST/STF/STFM/Mega) you most likely need to get a TOS upgrade card, such as the TEC (TOS Expansion Card) or similar, or plug in the soldering iron and do some hacking on your own.
There have been (and some are still available) several types of expansion cards that usually go on top of the 68000 processor, updating the computer with TOS 2.06 as well as giving extra functions (e.g. hardware accelerators or IDE hard disk/CD-ROM drive interfaces). The latter actually lets you put a small 2.5" laptop sized hard disk inside the computer!
Refer to an Atari dealer or the Atari newsgroups on the Internet for more information about all of this.

After installing TOS 2.06 you must delete the old "DESKTOP.INF" file and reboot. Then you can save the "NEWDESK.INF".
(If you save "NEWDESK.INF" while the old DESKTOP.INF is still in memory you'll end up with a corrupt "NEWDESK.INF". If you reboot after having deleted "DESKTOP.INF" you'll do fine).


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Legalities/credits/thanks
You may freely distribute this document as long as:

Numerous individuals have contributed by giving me tips, alerting me of mistakes, giving new suggestions and so on. I would especially like to thank the following (in no specific order, hoping I haven't missed out anyone):

Jérôme Ginestet, Grzegorz Pawlik, Michael Bartels, Heine Svendsen, Stephen Moss, Harry Sideras, John Perez, Djordje Vukovic .... and countless other Atari ST users around the world. Thanks to all of you!
Enjoy the guide everyone!

Hallvard Tangeraas, Oslo, Norway (14-May-2002)