DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender - Technical Reference

11.0 - Spawning programs under DOS/32 Advanced

When spawning programs under different DOS Extenders, the major problem that often arises is sharing of extended memory. DOS/32 Advanced solves this problem in a very efficient way and features a very fast and reliable spawning when using extended DOS function AX=4B00h. Basically, there are two different modes of spawning applications under DOS/32 Advanced.

The first mode applies when spawning a DOS/32 Advanced non-compatible application, for example a DOS/4GW program. By default, DOS/32 Advanced will allocate all extended memory available in the machine, however this can be changed by specifying the amount of memory for DOS/32A to allocate. This can be easily done by either adding an "EXTMEM:" option to DOS/32 Advanced environment variable DOS32A, followed by the number of KB of memory to allocate, or by configuring DOS/32 Advanced with the SUNSYS Setup Utility program. When the DOS Extender will be started, it will only allocate the specified amount of extended memory, leaving the rest to the application it will spawn.

The second mode is designed especially for situations when the both applications, ie the spawning program and the program that is to be spawned are both DOS/32 Advanced compatible. This mode is the default spawning mode for DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender. At startup, DOS/32 Advanced will try to autodetect if it was spawned from another DOS/32A compatible application. If that is the case, the spawned program, the "child process", will be able to share the extended memory with the host application, the "parent process". It is important to understand, that DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender will not release the allocated extended memory when spawning programs. This is done so to achieve the maximum speed possible, which when combined with DOS/32 Advanced short startup time will give you great results.

However, the second mode restricts you with some limitations:

1) To allow sharing of extended memory, the both "child" and "parent" processes must be DOS/32 Advanced compatible applications, ie they both must run under DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender.

2) The both applications must use the same version of DOS/32 Advanced. That is, if you for example have one application bound to DOS/32A v4.00, and the other is using DOS/32A v5.00 the spawning will not work!

3) If the applications that are to be spawned are bound to the multiple copies of DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender executable dos32a.exe, or to DOS/32 Advanced Configurable stub file stub32c.exe (as opposed to applications bound to DOS/32 Advanced Standard stub file stub32a.exe), the DOS Extenders/Stub files must have the same configuration. In particular, the following settings must be configured equally (refer to SUNSYS Setup Utility documentation):

VCPI PageTables
VCPI PhysTables
Extended Memory


The two modes described above can certainly be combined to allow spawning applications which either support DOS/32 Advanced memory sharing or don't. For example, if you have several applications which run under DOS/32 Advanced DOS Extender and another bunch of applications which run under, say DOS/4GW, you can manually adjust the amount of memory for the first DOS/32 Advanced started, which will cause all DOS/32 Advanced compatible programs to use that amount of memory, and the other programs to allocate the rest of the memory from the system.

Please note, that if the program you intend to spawn from DOS/32 Advanced does not require any extended memory, these spawning modes will not be used and the program will simply be started as if it was running in real mode DOS.


Copyright Supernar Systems, Ltd. 1996-2005
All Rights Reserved.