This DPMI 0.9 Specification is hosted by Tenberry Software, Inc.

21. Notes for DOS Extenders


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Many programs that use DPMI will be bound to DOS extenders so that they will be able to run under any DOS environment. Existing DOS extenders support APIs that differ from the Int 31h interface. Usually, DOS extenders use an Int 21h multiplex for their extended APIs.

Extenders that support DPMI will need to initialize differently when they are run under DPMI environments. They will need to enter protected mode using the DPMI real to protected mode entry point, install their own API handlers, and then load the DOS extended application program.


21.1 Initialization of Extenders

DOS extenders should check for the presence of DPMI before attempting to allocate memory or enter protected mode using any other API. DOS extenders should check for APIs in the following order:

When DPMI services are detected, extenders that provide interfaces that extend or are different from the basic DPMI interface will switch into protected mode and initialize any internal data structures. DPMI compatible extenders that provide no API extensions should simply execute the protected mode application in real mode.


21.2 Installing API Extensions

DOS extenders typically use Int 21h to implement API extensions. Under DPMI, a DOS extender will need to install an API translation library by hooking Int 21h via then get and set protected mode interrupt vector functions (see section 10.6). The DOS extender library then gets to see every DOS call executed by the application program. If the API does not have any pointers then the interrupt can be reflected to the original interrupt handler. The default handler will pass the interrupt to real mode. Other APIs can be explicitly mapped by the DOS extender.

WARNING: The translation library code should be in locked memory to prevent page faults while DOS is in a critical section. This could happen, for instance, if a program called DOS reentrantly from an Int 24h (critical error).


21.3 Loading the Application Program

Once the API translation library has been initialized, the DOS extender can load the application program using standard DOS calls. Memory should be allocated using the DPMI memory allocation services.


21.4 Providing API Extensions

DPMI call 0A00h provides a standard mechanism for providing vendor specific extensions to the standard APIs. To support extensions under a DPMI environment, the translation library should hook the Int 31h chain (using the DOS get/set vector calls) and watch for call 0A00h. When this call is issued with the proper string parameter, the Int 31h hook code should modify ES:(E)DI, clear the carry flag on the stack, and iret without passing the call down the Int 31h chain. If the string passed in ES:(E)DI does not match the extensions supported by the library then the call should be passed down the Int 31h chain.


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This HTML edition of the DPMI 0.9 Specification is hosted by Tenberry Software, Inc., makers of the DOS/16M and the DOS/4G family of DOS extenders. Page last modified 2003.1.28, <webmaster@tenberry.com>