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DOS error 21

Posted on 1997-08-06
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Last Modified: 2013-12-29
I have been trying to install a security patch for internet explorer v3.01 (IE301ICW.exe) but all I get is the message "unexpected DOS error 21" and the install stops. I am running Windows 3.11 and have win32s installed in the windows system directory. Any ideas?
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Question by:RHarrison
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Accepted Solution

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zeedjej earned 100 total points
ID: 1803575
I´ve seen this message a lot of times, usually it depends on that you don´t have enough DOS memory.

Exit to DOS and run Memmaker then try the installation again.
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Expert Comment

by:zeedjej
ID: 1803576
If that´s not work i got some other experinces solving this problem.

When installing AutoCad 13 on WIN 3.11 (WIN32s installed)  you get the same error message if you don´t have set the FILES env. variabel to at least 100 (FILES=100) in your config.sys. But thats for AutoCad, you don´t have to set it to soo much as 100.

If this doesn´t work either, let me know and I will try to remember some other solutions.
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Expert Comment

by:cymbolic
ID: 1803577
Check your DOS setup. Interrupt 21h is the normal method of "poking" DOS to do something. DOS is not sending a friendly return value to Windows on a 21h call, 'cause it's having problems.
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Author Comment

by:RHarrison
ID: 1803578
Thanks for the suggestions but still no luck.i have plenty of conventional memory - 641k running DOS and 576k running Windows.
I have changed config.sys from files=40 to files=100 without any success.
I think it may be something to do with win32 as Iam getting an initial message - application requires ms windows 32 bit extensions. If I then run win32s.exe and then try and install I get the error 21 message.
Am I doing something screwy?
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Expert Comment

by:Woodster
ID: 1803579
The error is not caused by a call to INT21.  The reason you don't get the "application requires ms windows 32 bit extensions" and get the error 21 message is because the installation has got further and the error has occurred so it is not necessarily caused by the WIN32s extension.  I have had a quick rummage through for the correct description of DOS error codes but haven't turned up a description for error code 21 yet.  I'll let you know if I find one.
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Expert Comment

by:zeedjej
ID: 1803580
Hi!

I´ve got some other ideas about your problem. It may be caused by the fact that you don´t have sufficient virtual memory or that you don´t run Windows in 386 enhanced mode.

Check this site out for more information:

http://www.niles.com/home/help/tips/pc/DOS_Error-21.htm
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Author Comment

by:RHarrison
ID: 1803581
Thanks, problem solved. I looked at the niles.com site which suggested a corrupt win32s installation. I installed a newer version and the installation of ie301icw.exe installed correctly - except it informed me I needed Windows 95 or NT to run it!
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