by Olivier Biggerstaff

The purpose of these notes is to provide you with technical information about the SUPERLoK copy-protection system and how it affects installing and uninstalling Ashton-Tate products. After you have read “SUPERLoK Notes”, you will have a clear understanding of (1) the error messages generated by SUPERLoK and what they imply, and (2) how SUPERLoK performs in various

This is the second set of SUPERLoK Notes published. The first set is contained in the file SUPERLoK.203 which is the library of files. This month we update those notes by focusing on resolving installation problems. Most useful is the section entitled “Questions To Ask Yourself If You Get an Error.” Also presented is a series of problem-specific notes and an exhaustive list of error messages that includes work-arounds for the error in question.

The supported hardware and compatibility list is not included this time since most PC/MS-DOS compatible computers and hard disk formats are supported by the latest version of SUPERLoK, version 2.0.3.

If you want to gain a broad understanding of SUPERLoK and its effect on installation of Ashton-Tate products, read the “SUPERLoK Notes” both here and in the file called SUPERLoK.203 which is in the library of files.

The Generally Supported Hardware Environment:

SUPERLoK version 2.0.3 was designed to install and execute on a variety of computers, plug-in boards, motherboard replacements, and hard disk formats.

SUPERLoK supports most plug-in turbo boards designed to speed up the operation of the computer. Only boards that meet IBM specifications, and run at clock speeds of up to 8MHz, inclusive, are supported for installs and uninstalls. Some motherboards have a hardware switch that can be set to select one of several clock speeds.

The PC/MS-DOS version 2.x and 3.x hard disk format is fully supported. Various other formatting utilities are supported as long as their formats are compatible with PC/MS-DOS. An example of an unsupported hard disk format is Novell’s proprietary Local Area Network (LAN) operating system.

Questions To Ask Yourself If You Get an Error:

There are a number of reasons why an installation may fail on a particular machine. The computer or its hard disk may not be supported for
installation. Usually, a failed install is due to some kind of hardware problem or incompatibility. If you have encountered any SUPERLoK error message, refer to the following list of diagnostic questions and steps before
calling Ashton-Tate Software Support.

1. Do you have a memory-resident utility loaded?

The presence of any programs in memory foreign to the default system, such as memory-resident utilities, can produce DOS errors during an install. Specifically, programs that alter the operating system by redirecting BIOS-level interrupts, or that cause the operating system to
execute routines in response to a hardware interrupt, may cause SUPERLoK errors.

2. Is your hardware performing properly?

If your hardware is performing at a substandard level, intermittent hardware errors are likely to occur during installation or
uninstallation. Various problems, including misaligned floppy disk drives or a failing hard disk controller card, will cause an installation to

3. Have you run CHKDSK?

Use the DOS CHKDSK/F command to determine whether the hard disk has any lost clusters. Lost clusters are best described as sections of files on the disk not accessible by the operating system as a file. SUPERLoK may not install correctly if lost clusters are present. If your hard disk system uses the second File Allocation Table (FAT), load your Ashton-Tate software using the key disk approach, as discussed in the section “Using the Key Disk Approach.” You may want to reformat your hard disk using a different cylinder for the system tracks.

4. Is the format of your hard disk compatible with SUPERLoK?

The format of the hard disk can cause problems. SUPERLoK installs only on PC/MS-DOS compatible hard disk formats. Many external hard disk manufacturers provide a format utility that produces a compatible format.
Some, however, may not, such as Novell’s LAN format. If the hard disk format is not supported, SUPERLoK will return an error number, such as 0104 or 0107.

5. How large is your hard disk partition?

Make sure you are installing to a hard disk partition large enough to hold the two hidden support files and a hidden protected product file in the root directory. A hard disk partition must not be less than 2.5 mb. The cluster size must be 64K or less. Cluster size refers to the amount of disk space DOS allocates per sector when your hard disk is formatted. The size is 4 or 8K. You will get the error number 0370 if you try to install to a hard disk with a cluster size greater than 64K.

6. Are you uninstalling using the same disk you installed from?

At the time you uninstall, make sure that you are using the same System Disk #1 that you used to install. If the error messages 9062 or 9070 are displayed, the uninstallation process never completes. This error is usually caused by an incompatibility in the floppy disk drive used to
install. Though the installation was successful, the information written back to the floppy disk was not written correctly. Request a replacement disk. You are not using the correct disk if the error message 0850 is

7. What’s your clock speed?

Look for the type of microprocessor chip (CPU) in the computer. If it is a 80186 or 80286 CPU chip, check the clock speed. Version 2.0.3 was designed to install at a maximum of 8MHz. A SUPERLoK timeout error number
8128 or 8728 can be caused by a high clock speed or by the presence of memory-resident programs.

8. What are the capabilities of your floppy disk drives?

Ashton-Tate products are supplied on 360K density floppy disks only. The 1.2 mb floppy disk drive is supported only in the 360K mode.

9. Who is the manufacturer of your turbo or acceleration boards, if any?

Some turbo boards and hard disk controller cards use disk-cacheing software. Disk cacheing is the process by which disk input/output is
handled at speeds faster than that of the operating system. Its presence during installation causes problems.

10. Is your computer connected to a network or any external devices?

Be sure that you are installing on a supported network only. A network is not supported if it has not been tested and approved by Ashton-Tate. External devices, such as modems, and bar code readers, may cause

11. Have you tried installing or executing on a different computer?

Make certain that both System Disks #1 are installable and executable on a different computer before requesting a replacement of any System Disk #1.

12. Have you recently updated the operating system on your hard disk from PC/MS-DOS 2.x with PC/MS-DOS 3.x?

The following scenario demonstrates a common error made by hard disk users. Assume you own an IBM PC with 256K of RAM and no hard disk. To expand your computer, you install a memory board and a hard disk. You are presently using PC-DOS 2.1, and you format the hard disk with that version of DOS. You then install dBASE III PLUS. A few days later you acquire a version of PC-DOS 3.1 and install it on the hard disk with the SYS
command. You boot your computer from the hard disk and try to execute
dBASE III PLUS, but it won’t run anymore. What has occurred?

The problem is quite simple to understand. A hard disk formatted with PC/MS-DOS version 2.x must be reformatted if version 3.x is used. It is not sufficient to use the SYS command to transfer the operating system files to the hard disk. The File Allocation Table is larger in version 3.x than in 2.x. SUPERLoK relies on the FAT for certain aspects of its hidden support files to properly execute the product it is protecting. However, a SUPERLoK installation and uninstallation is possible if version 3.x is SYSed to the hard disk. If you SYS version 3.x on a hard disk containing a SUPERLoK-installed protected product, uninstall all protected products. Then BACKUP the hard disk and reformat with DOS version 3.x.

SUPERLoK Files and Their Locations

After installing your SUPERLoK protected product, the root directory of the hard disk contains two hidden SUPERLoK support files, CML0203.HCL and VDF0203.VDW, and a third hidden file, the protected product. The dBASE and Framework hidden filenames are DBASE.XXX or FW.XXX, where .XXX is any of several extensions, such as .LOD or .277. These three files are read-only and
cannot be deleted from DOS without changing the read-write status.


The Framework II and dBASE III PLUS Getting Started booklets include information about the DOS BACKUP and RESTORE commands. This has generated many calls about the proper usage of these commands. The following discussion
explains some ways to safeguard your installed copy when using DOS BACKUP and

With all versions of SUPERLoK, you can backup your entire hard disk without damaging the copy protection. You do need to be careful, however, when you do a full-system or root directory RESTORE. In version 2.0.3, the copy protection files that can be damaged by the restoring process are read-only. To RESTORE the full system, use the /P option to prompt you when a read-only file is to be restored. So that these files are not restored, answer “N” to all the prompts to restore read-only files.

Another strategy to avoid restoring the root directory is to selectively BACKUP subdirectories only. For example,


See your DOS manual for further explanation of the parameters. On the other hand, if a full-system BACKUP has been done, you can selectively restore all directories except the root. This will assure that all hidden files in the root directory are not restored. For example,


Again, refer to your DOS manual for further explanation and more examples of the RESTORE command syntax.

Using the Key Disk Approach

If you cannot install Framework II or dBASE III PLUS to the hard disk, you can use the key disk approach instead. This is the method of loading a SUPERLoK copy-protected product directly from System Disk #1. On a dual-floppy disk drive, it is the only way to load the product. On a hard disk system, however, this provides an alternate means of running from the hard disk.

To use the key disk approach with a hard disk system:

1. Set up by COPYing all files from System Disk #1 and #2 to your product subdirectory on the hard disk. For example, assuming files are copied from the A: drive to an existing subdirectory on the hard disk called DBASE:


2. To run, get into the appropriate hard disk directory, i.e., \DBASE in the above example, place the System Disk #1 in the A: drive, and type “DBASE” or “FW,” depending on the product you are running.

As the product starts up from the hard disk, it looks for the hidden copy protection files in the root directory. If they are not present, it will look to the A: drive to load those files. Once you are in the program, you can
remove System Disk #1 from the floppy drive and put it away.


Normally, a SUPERLoK-protected product is installed and uninstalled by batch or setup files. dBASE III PLUS is installed by a batch file and Framework II by a setup program called SETUP.COM. Both use the only file that can actually install the product to the hard disk, INSTALLH.COM.

INSTALLH.COM may be used directly from the DOS prompt to install and uninstall your product in place of the provided batch or setup files. To install, first put the System Disk #1 into your floppy drive and then type:

INSTALLH P=<floppy drive> T=<hard drive>

In this command, the argument of the “P” parameter is the designator of the floppy drive containing System Disk #1, and the argument of the “T” parameter is the designator of the hard drive where you want to install the product.

To uninstall the product, type:

INSTALLH P=<floppy drive> T=<hard drive> /U

with System Disk #1 in a floppy disk drive. /U is the uninstall option.

For more details on INSTALLH.COM, refer back to the “SUPERLoK Notes” in

Specific Installation Problems

VFeature Format Utility

A popular hard disk format utility is Golden Bow’s VFeature. This utility formats a hard disk with one of five different sector sizes, 512 bytes, 1K, 2K, 4K, or 8K. SUPERLoK will install on hard disks formatted with this utility only if 512 byte sectors are specified during format.

Erasing the Product’s Read-only (.COM) File

An installed product is executed by a mini-loader file with a (.COM) extension, such as DBASE.COM and FW.COM. These files are read-only and created from System Disk #1 into your hard disk subdirectory during installation. They can be copied to other subdirectories, but cannot be deleted with the DOS ERASE command since DOS cannot delete a read-only file until its attribute is changed to read-write. To change the attributes of a read-only file to read-write, use the ATTRIB command in DOS 3.0 or 3.1, or any other utility that changes file attributes. You may then ERASE the file from the hard disk.

Uninstalling from the subdirectory containing the (.COM) file will remove the mini-loader. If, however, you uninstall from another subdirectory, the copy in your original subdirectory will not be removed. So, be sure to get into the product directory on the hard disk before uninstalling. If you do uninstall and the mini-loader is not removed, change the file attribute to read-write and delete it. If you do not have a utility to change file attributes, re-install the product (using INSTALLH.COM) in the directory containing the mini-loader, and then uninstall it. Either of these steps will remove the mini-loader from the current directory of the hard disk. Note that
the presence of the mini-loader in the current directory does not affect the install.

Installing Two Copies on the Same Disk

The following special installation case applies to any product protected by SUPERLoK, but especially to dBASE III PLUS since it is actually two software products in one package: single-user and the Administrator. It is treated as one product for installation purposes.

If you install two copies of the same software protected with the same version of SUPERLoK onto the same hard disk, both copies will execute only if they are installed in different subdirectories. If they are both installed in the same subdirectory, only the most recent installation will execute. If one of the two copies is uninstalled from any subdirectory, the other will not execute and the error number 13, 0116, or 0162 will be returned. To recover the count on the second install disk, uninstall it. You may uninstall either of the two
copies back to their respective System Disk #1. The order in which they were installed has no bearing. You will, however, get an 0850 error message if you try to uninstall to a System Disk #1 installed onto a different hard disk.

DBASE CANNOT BE FOUND (30) – Missing .LD1 File

An error message frequently encountered is “DBASE CANNOT BE FOUND (30).” This runtime error message is not a serious one, and is caused only if one of the two following files are not accessible: DBASE.LD1 for the single-user dBASE
III PLUS, or DBA.LD1 for the Administrator.

When this error message occurs, make sure that the installation was completed correctly. Do not uninstall dBASE III PLUS. Simply copy the appropriate .LD1 file from the floppy disk to your product subdirectory on the hard disk. On a network, make sure that the DOS or Novell SEARCH paths are correctly defined. Check the read-write status of the Administrator files. Make sure that they
are read-only.

Framework II Setup Program

The SETUP program for Framework II returns the following error message if a hard disk installation or uninstallation fails:

INSTALL.COM failed, its error code was 1
Copy this error number down and call technical support
Press any key to proceed

This error message is generated if SUPERLoK returns an error to the Setup program. The SUPERLoK installation program (INSTALLH.COM) returns the correct error message on the screen, a few lines above this one. If you don’t remember the SUPERLoK error message, execute INSTALLH.COM to reproduce the error message by using it to directly install or uninstall from the A prompt,
with the Setup Disk in the A drive.

The latest version OF SETUP.COM returns the following message:

The ERROR CODE on the line above this one may turn out to be important. Please write it down NOW, before proceeding.

Use this error code to refer to your problem using the list of error messages below.


The install and uninstall batch files provided with dBASE III PLUS were designed with the assumption that the status of an installation can be correctly identified by the presence of the file DBASE.COM. This is not always the case. DBASE.COM does not have to be present in the subdirectory to uninstall dBASE III PLUS. A subdirectory containing a copy of DBASE.COM does not mean that the product has been installed. This file can be copied to any subdirectory, if desired.

Error Messages

SUPERLoK Error Messages

Error messages may be generated by the SUPERLoK protection software while installing the product or loading the protected software into memory. If an error occurs during installation to a hard disk, SUPERLoK will issue an error message in the following form:

Install Terminated Error Code = xxxx

The notation xxxx refers to a one-to-four digit error code. If an error occurs while the protected program is being loaded into memory, SUPERLoK will issue an error message in one of the following forms:

Load Failed xx
Load Failed Error Code xxxx
Unauthorized Duplicate (Code xxxx)

where xx and xxxx are the error code numbers.

The following is a list of error messages that SUPERLoK can return during hard disk installation or uninstallation. To lookup the message you have received:

1. First look up the text of the error message in the error message list.

2. If the message includes an error code number, look it up in the error number list.

Error Messages

Cannot run with drives as specified, OR drive was not ready

Make sure the drive letters are correct. Make sure the floppy disk drive door is closed.

Diskette I/O error = XXXX

Can be caused by damaged media, malfunctioning disk drives, or an incompatible computer. Try installing on a different drive and/or
computer. Request a replacement disk if the same error message is displayed.

Hard Disk incompatible, Cannot proceed = XXXX

Make sure that the hard disk format is compatible with the PC/MS-DOS format. A hard disk partition must be at least 2.5 mb in size.

Install terminated Error Code = XXXX

See the error numbers list below.

Installation count has been exhausted

All allowable copies have been installed. Uninstall from the original

Insufficient Memory Available = XXXX

Try installing without memory-resident programs in memory.

Invalid drive specification

Make sure the drive letters specified on the INSTALLH command line point
to drives that exist on the equipment being used for installation.

Invalid option in command tail

See the section “Using INSTALLH.COM to install dBASE III PLUS” for the
correct syntax for INSTALLH.COM.

Load Failed = XXXX

May occur for any one of four reasons: a PC/MS-DOS RESTORE, not enough memory available to load the protected program, you try to run the product from a subdirectory after it has been uninstalled, receiving an I/O error
from DOS.

Maximum install count already available. UNinstall ended.

The System Disk #1 to which you tried to uninstall the product is not the same one from which you originally installed it.

Not enough space on Hard disk

Remove a few files from the hard disk and try to install again.

Not enough storage to run install program

This message refers to the availability of memory. Remove memory-resident
programs. It may be necessary to reduce the BUFFERS and FILES settings in
the CONFIG.SYS file.

Product is already installed. Install ended

The maximum installation count on Ashton-Tate System Disks #1 is one. You must uninstall the product before reinstalling it on a different hard

Product never installed. UNinstall ended XXXX

A root directory restore may have been performed. Make sure that you uninstall to the disk from which you originally installed.

Product protection system damaged
Possibly caused by Root Directory Restore
Previously installed Products will have to be installed again.
Enter Y to continue or N to quit, then hit RETURN

This can occur while installing or uninstalling. The current installation has been damaged. Answer “Y” to this question to remove the damaged copy and to complete the procedure.

Program too big to fit in memory

Check the memory requirements for the program being installed. Remove any memory resident utilities to free memory.

Remove WRITE PROTECT Tab from diskette

System Disk #1 cannot be write protected during installation and uninstallation because the install count meter on the floppy disk must be

Root Directory full, cannot proceed XXXX

A minimum of three files must be removed from the root directory to free space necessary for the SUPERLoK files.

Target media type incorrect XXXX

Make sure the drive letters specified for the floppy disk and hard disk are correct. Use only a supported hard disk format.

Unable to run on this machine XXXX

There are certain compatibles that will execute a protected product, but the install process will not function properly. If you are installing to
a hard disk and get this error message, the alternative is to use the key disk approach.

Unauthorized Duplicate (Code XXXX)

Normally this message is issued when a truly unauthorized copy of the protected software has been made. This error message may occasionally be issued for a good copy. The problem may stem from the floppy disk not being correctly read by the disk drive due to dirty heads, improper drive speed, or an improperly aligned head. Sometimes a working copy installed from a floppy in drive A: may appear to be an “Unauthorized Duplicate” when the program is run from drive B:. Some remedies are as follows:

1. Uninstall and re-install the product.
2. Try running the program from a different disk drive.
3. Clean the heads on the drive from which you are attempting to run the
protected program. It is safest to execute the program from the same
disk drive or computer where it was first installed.

UNinstall terminated Error Code = XXXX

See the error number list below.

Wrong Diskette Inserted

Make sure the product and target disks are inserted in the drives as

Error Numbers

Error Numbers

10 Load Failed

The product and SUPERLoK files will not fit into memory. There is insufficient main memory to execute SUPERLoK and the protected program. If you are sure your computer has enough memory to run the program, check to see if memory resident programs such as PROKEY, SIDEKICK, a RAM disk, or a SPOOLER are present. If so, reboot your system without these
programs. This will free additional memory. These programs are often started with an AUTOEXEC.BAT file. Run CHKDSK/F to remove lost clusters from the hard disk.

10 Disk I/O

An I/O error on an unprotected track of System Disk #1 was received from DOS. Try to install again with the same disk. Try to install with the backup copy of System Disk #1 provided. Try this on a different drive and/or computer.


The protection system cannot find a file or part of the protection system has been damaged. It may be the result of a RESTORE on the root directory. It may also occur after the product was uninstalled from a subdirectory other than the one into which the program was installed. The error is displayed if the .COM file left in the subdirectory is executed. If this message is displayed after uninstalling or while executing a
protected file from the hard disk, attempt to uninstall it.

0104, 0107

The hard disk installation error numbers 0104 and 0107 are caused by an incompatibility in the format of the hard disk. A 0104 means that the partition size of the hard disk does not appear to be compatible. The partition size must be 2.5 mb or more. A 0107 means that the definition of the partition appears to be less than 2.5 mb, even if the partition size is 2.5 mb or greater. In both cases, the hard disk cannot be validated as a true hard disk, and the install will not be completed. It is also possible to get these error numbers during uninstall.

The 0104 error number is generated if you try to install to a Novell file server’s hard disk. The format of the hard disk produced by Novell’s
operating system is not compatible with the format produced by PC/MS-DOS. The key disk approach is only way to run on a Novell file server.

SUPERLoK does not install to any hard disk accessed as a logical drive. A logical drive can be described as a pointer to a physical drive. For
example, a hard disk physically defined as C: can also be defined as logical drive D: using appropriate software. SUPERLoK will install to C:
in this case, but not to D:.

The DOS ASSIGN command was specifically designed to allow access of a physical drive as a logical drive. Local Area Networks, such as Novell and IBM PC-NET, allow the physical hard disk of the file server to be defined as a logical drive on a workstation. SUPERLoK will not install to a file server from the workstation.


RAM disks and disk-cacheing software are not supported during install or uninstall. Reboot without memory-resident utilities or RAM disks, and try again.

0173, 0176

The hard disk protection system has been damaged. This is most likely due to the use of the RESTORE command to the root directory of the hard disk. The copy of the product has been lost. Attempt to uninstall. If the message “Product protection system damaged” is displayed, answer Y and reinstall all protected products from System Disk #1 Backup provided with
the package.


Many hard disks are formatted with a format utility other than the PC/MS-DOS FORMAT command. Some of these format utilities create a File Allocation Table (FAT) in eight sectors, irrespective of its size.
SUPERLoK assumes that the IBM PC-XT and compatible computers have a 12-bit FAT in six sectors, and that the IBM PC-AT and compatible computers have a 16-bit FAT in eight sectors. Call Ashton-Tate Software Support if you get this error number during an install.


Cannot install an older version of the product over an existing install of the current version. Install into a different subdirectory, or uninstall the older version before installing the newer one.


The hard disk appears to be formatted with a cluster size greater than 64K. Reformat the hard disk with a cluster size of 64K or less, and try


A DOS error has been detected while accessing one of the files on System Disk #1. The error is possibly caused by a root directory RESTORE of the hard disk. The hard disk may have lost clusters. Run CHKDSK/F on the hard disk and try again. Try again with another System Disk #1.


The root directory of the hard disk containing the SUPERLoK support files has been RESTOREd. All products previously installed will have to be reinstalled.


The installed copy cannot be validated. This occurs when an uninstall is attempted to a System Disk other than the one originally used to install. Use the original disk to uninstall.

64, 512, 1024, 2048

These “Unable to run on this machine” error numbers are caused by a hardware failure. Run a diagnostic routine on the computer, floppy disk drive, and hard disk to determine the specific cause.


Any 8000 error number during install is caused by a hardware problem, specifically with the floppy disk drive or the floppy disk drive
controller card. The problem may be caused by: a dirty head in the floppy disk drive, a fluctuating rotational speed of the floppy disk drive, or a density mode other than 360K. A 1.2 mb floppy disk drive is supported only in its 360K mode. Type DIR A: to force a 1.2 mb floppy disk drive into its 360K mode. A fast clock speed can also cause problems.


The most common error number returned from this group is 8016. This error means that the floppy disk drive is misaligned. This message corresponds to the DOS error message “Data Error Reading Drive A:.”

8128, 8728

This is a timeout error number, and is returned when installing or uninstalling. The same timeout error is displayed as 80 when running the software from System Disk #1. A timeout error is caused by one of the

1. The computer’s clock speed is too fast or too slow. Make sure that the speed of the computer is not faster than 8MHz.

2. The floppy disk drive is too fast or too slow in comparison to the speed of the computer. Make sure that the drive is rotating at speeds
compatible with IBM’s specifications.

3. Memory resident utilities can interrupt the operating system’s normal functions for their own use.


This install error number is related to the runtime error number E4.
There are two possible causes for this error message:

1. If 8828 is returned during installation but E4 is not displayed trying to run the software, then System Disk #1 has been damaged. The computer may lock up or display graphic characters on the screen. Request a replacement disk.

2. If 8828 and E4 are returned, the disk in the floppy disk drive is an
unauthorized duplicate of the original System Disk #1. Install or run
from the original System Disk #1.


This group of error numbers refers to a failure in the validation process of the install count on System Disk #1. Specifically, this count cannot be updated. 9340 and 9370 refer to the count on the hard disk. Try to install or uninstall. Try it on a different disk drive, on a different computer, or with another System Disk #1. Make sure that your equipment is IBM-compatible and is in good working order.

If you have encountered an error message or error number during an
installation with SUPERLoK that is not covered in this section, call the
Ashton-Tate Software Support Center.

Press RETURN to continue:
Screen 1
Item number: 1
User ID: SIG007
Date: 9 Jul 1986 18:47
File length:
File type: TEXT

Description: This is a reprint from June TechNotes. It contains additional information on the SUPERLoK copy protection system that both dBASE III PLUS and Framework II use. This along with it’s companion article, which is in the library of files with the name of SUPERLoK.203, give an excellent description of the copy protection.