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Integrated Console Functions

Screen saver

A screen saver blanks the VGA/EGA screen after several minutes of screen, keyboard and mouse inactivity. The screen can be brought back by any keystroke (including shift keys) or by mouse movement or buttons. The screen saver feature can be enabled or disabled by the user, and is automatically disabled in certain situations. The screen saver can also reduce monitor power consumption if the video BIOS and monitor support VESA power management.


Every DOS user sooner or later needs to recall something that was on the screen, but has scrolled off the top. Programmers often encounter this with error messages, and other users with file directory listings. To address this problem, ANSIPLUS supports screen scroll-back: all lines scrolled and cleared from the screen in text modes are captured by the ANSIPLUS driver so that the user can stop at any time and browse through recent screen contents.

Copy and paste

It is often desirable to bring back data or commands that have scrolled off the screen or to transfer information between programs, but without having to retype the data. And under Windows, it is often desirable to copy text between a full screen application and the Windows clipboard without having to switch into a window. ANSIPLUS addresses both of these needs by letting you use the mouse or keyboard to select text, copy it to the clipboard, and paste it to the keyboard. See "Special Keyboard and Mouse Functions" in Chapter 4 for more information about this feature.

Scroll lock

Large directory listings and other rapidly generated screen output can often fly by on the screen too fast to be read. Hitting the Scroll Lock key will freeze the screen when ANSIPLUS or the BIOS next tries to scroll it. When the screen is frozen, several keystroke options allow control over subsequent screen output.

Keyboard buffer

As many PC users eventually discover, the standard personal computer BIOS provides a keyboard input type-ahead buffer of only 15 characters, which is enough for only the shortest of commands. ANSIPLUS extends this by 113 keystrokes for a total type-ahead of 128 keystrokes (configurable for more if necessary).

Repeated keys

Another problem with the standard BIOS keystroke buffer occurs when keys are held down too long, and the buffer rapidly fills with repeated (or "typematic") keys, which are then processed long after the key is lifted. Spreadsheet users often experience this when holding down one of the arrow keys. ANSIPLUS disables repeat key type-ahead, but does allow repeat keys that are immediately consumed by programs, so the type-ahead buffer cannot be filled with unintended keystrokes. Repeated digits are also suppressed, making it impossible to inaccurately enter a number just because a key is held down too long. The rate at which repeated keys are generated is also configurable.

Key stacking

ANSIPLUS supports key stacking, which can load the keyboard buffer with a series of keystrokes and feed them into programs or commands as if they had been typed at the keyboard. This feature can be useful for automating startup of programs, software testing, and demonstrations. Keys can be added to the buffer by ANSI escape sequence, by ANSIPLUS utility program command, or, for users of the 4DOS 4.0+ or NDOS Version 7.0+ command shells, by KEYSTACK command.

Beep tone

The standard personal computer BIOS Ctrl+G beep tone generator waits in a programmed loop until sound output is completed. Sometimes, error or other conditions detected in a running program can generate a rapid sequence of beeps, and the computer will just hang for what seems an eternity, beeping away. ANSIPLUS has a timer interrupt-controlled tone generator that lets the beep tone be finished in parallel with subsequent processing. Multiple beeps are ignored if a tone is currently being generated, so programs cannot be slowed down by a rapid series of beeps. Options are provided for defining the tone and using or not using the tone generator.

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© Copyright 2000-2007, Kristofer Sweger. All rights reserved.
Rev. 10/16/07