Hi, short comment, if your xmsdsk crashes, then probably ALL uses
of XMS could trigger crashes. I had similar problems even with
loading FreeCOM for example. Try if DOS=LOW instead of DOS=HIGH
in config sys stabilizes the system. Try newer HIMEM versions or
alternate versions like FDXMS. Last time when I had XMS related
crashes I was using an old FDXMS or MS HIMEM version with some
A20 control method (auto-)selected which did not work reliably.
You can get newest HIMEM in the newest emm386 download on
ftp://ftp.devoresoftware.com/ - check the freedos.org -> software
list for the FDXMS alternate driver. Devore's HIMEM versions
usually work best, though.


PS: Check a kernel update from fdos.org/kernel/ as well.

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