I'm trying to run an old MS-DOS program that was written to use VT52 escape codes.

Some Microsoft knowledge base items (such as Q101875) refer to a 'third-party console driver' called VT52.SYS. I'm guessing that this added support for VT-52 escape sequences to MS-DOS, in the same way that ANSI.SYS adds support for ANSI escape sequences.

Does anyone know where it could be obtained, or whether it's possible to get VT52 emulation in MS-DOS by other means?

(Standalone terminal emulator programs wouldn't be suitable -- like ANSI.SYS, this needs to be a memory resident driver).

  • What was the original hardware/software configuration? Was this expected to be run over a serial port to a terminal? – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 19 '19 at 13:12
  • See my comment of 10 Jan 2017 - it's a DOS program (DR Logo) that emits VT52 escape codes and expects the screen driver to respond to them. – john_e Jun 19 '19 at 13:22
  • It is just a very uncommon requirement so there might be more to it. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jun 19 '19 at 13:36

This post appears to contain original .ASM source code for a VT52.SYS (but it may not be the same VT52.SYS you've seen references to). You would need an assembler (like MASM) to assemble it:


  • 3
    Unfortunately, once this odd link goes dead (which is almost certain, given the form of the URL), this answer will have little value for future spelunkers. – user12 Jun 19 '16 at 14:52
  • 1
    for questions of the form "where can I obtain X" a link is arguably the most useful answer when X is a copyrighted piece of software which the author has posted on his own website (or in this case, posted to a mailing list which is archived on the author's own website). however, your point is taken. a more SE-friendly answer would be something along the lines of "here is a list of VT52 escape codes, write a device driver to handle them". I'll see if I can find such a list. – Ken Gober Jun 19 '16 at 18:02
  • Even a Wikipedia or archive.org link-only answer isn't really accepted elsewhere on SE, even for those sites that trade in obscure info like Retro. I don't know the answer to this problem, and it seems unhelpful to banish such answers to Chat... – user12 Jun 20 '16 at 19:49
  • @jdv Perhaps post a SHA-256 hash then? It can be used to identify the file on P2P or search engines and verify the contents well into the future even after the Internet itself is replaced. – snips-n-snails Mar 25 '18 at 17:13
  • (The hash would be for individual files, not web pages. Would it be facilitating piracy to provide a hex-encoded unique numerical identifier for a file?) – snips-n-snails Mar 25 '18 at 22:17

The VT52 terminal escape codes should work fine within VT100 or VT220 Emulation. Later generations are able to support earlier codes. VT240 is the first terminal to support color displays as color for instance. This is VT color not ANSI. You should be able to run something like Putty on a windows computer and then attach to your device over the serial port.

The VT52 is an 80x24 screen resolution with 7x7 character space, That means each character fits within a 7x7 grid. Modern characters are defined in a more vertical rectangular space so that might stretch your image somewhat but will be completely usable.

If you want to see the physical machines that are the terminals themselves, check out this link.



  • 1
    There is no 'device' to attach -- the situation is running an MS-DOS program (DR Logo) that outputs VT52 escape codes to control the screen. If DR Logo used ANSI-style escape codes then installing ANSI.SYS would solve the problem, but ANSI.SYS doesn't support VT52 escape codes. – john_e Jan 10 '17 at 10:28
  • Windows (pre Windows 10 anyway) comes with a telnet server as an optional component. You can then connect to it with Putty (or something else) that can interpret VT52 escape coded. – Brian Aug 19 '19 at 15:20

I found a copy at PCJS.org, inside an OS/2 development boot floppy: http://www.pcjs.org/disks/pcx86/os2/misc/football/87058/

  • 4
    As much as this feels like helping, single-link answers are not great for SE sites. In general, a link to some single resource on SE Retro, however helpful now is just not going to be useful in the future. It might have been best to take this to chat. – user12 Jun 19 '16 at 14:45
  • It is in fact much easier to just submit the URL to archive.org and have them capture it if they haven't already. – Rowan Hawkins Aug 21 '19 at 1:18

Downloading VT52.SYS from a virtual machine on pcjs.org requires a few steps that may not be obvious if you're unfamiliar with the website:

  1. Go to a PCjs virtual machine (like the one that @john_e already posted)
  2. Make sure the desired disk, "OS/2 FOOTBALL (v7.68.17)", is loaded in drive A:
  3. Click the Save button
  4. Click OK on the "Check your Downloads folder for FOOTBALL-76817.img" alert message

At this point, the disk image should be in your Downloads folder, but some browsers (like Chrome) put up additional barriers. In the latest release of Chrome (version 65), before the download is permitted, a message is displayed at the bottom of the window:

This type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep FOOTBALL-76817.img anyway?

Prior to Chrome 65, there used to be Discard and Keep buttons, but now Google makes it even harder: you must click Show All, and then you'll see both the Discard and Keep options.

Once you finally have the .img file, you can mount it. On macOS, that's as easy as double-clicking it. On Windows, you may need to install some third-party software first, like OSFMount.

  • Also, I'm puzzled by criticisms of posted links, because according to this site's section on "How do I write a good answer", it says that "Links to external resources are encouraged", along with some context. Sadly, links do die, like the original post's link to Microsoft for Q101875, but archive.org can often help. KB articles are a special problem, which is why I created a KB archive on GitHub, where you can find Q101875 and other old KB articles that Microsoft has apparently abandoned. – jeffpar Mar 25 '18 at 17:12
  • That's ridiculously helpful. – wizzwizz4 Mar 27 '18 at 6:16

MS-DOS Kermit had a terminal emulator built in. It should be VT100 compatible, and thus VT52 backward compatible. I don't know if Kermit was based on a driver or whether terminal emulation was part of the app.

You might be able to download MS-DOS Kermit and check it out.

  • Kermit is for communicating with OTHER systems. It runs on top of MS-DOS as an application - it is not a replacement/addon for the MS-DOS command interpreter. – manassehkatz-Moving 2 Codidact Mar 26 '18 at 16:26

The Vetusware abandonware site archives a copy of v3.12 of the vt52.sys driver. I hesitate to link directly due to the somewhat uncertain legal nature of such sites, but it shouldn't be difficult to find should one want to.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.