Questions tagged [ms-dos]

MS-DOS, the Microsoft Disk Operating System, its OEM-branded versions, and x86 DOS clones in general.

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
1 vote
1 answer
340 views

Why does Windows 95 not install so well from a Windows XP boot floppy? [closed]

EDIT: And this is why you shouldn't rely purely on memory for these sort of things. After some fiddling with my XP and Win95 disks, I remembered that the problems I was having were more likely related ...
29 votes
3 answers
3k views

What exactly did the "UNFORMAT" MS-DOS command do?

I found only this: The UNFORMAT command is used to undo the effects of formatting a disk. The command is available in MS-DOS versions 5 and later. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/...
  • 291
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

Video playback software/formats for a 386?

Wanting to have my 386DX @ 20MHz play a video (any video), just as a demo. I'd prefer it to be watchable (eg 10fps and not a tiny 10x10 pixel) as opposed to a slideshow. What player software could I ...
  • 275
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

How does MS-DOS 6 cache the DIR results?

I was wondering how the MS-DOS 6 DIR command works. I noticed that the floppy drive directory is cached so that the drive isn't read again when you run DIR a second time. In thinking there may be a ...
  • 2,863
7 votes
1 answer
261 views

Software that emulated VGA high res mode on an EGA board

I have this very faint recollection from my late elementary school days back in the end of 1980s of a very specific piece of MS-DOS software that claimed to do what was an incredible thing to an ...
  • 349
9 votes
1 answer
322 views

What were the typical game development toolchains for the pre-i386 IBM PC era

On i386 and beyond (assuming MS-DOS as the target OS and IBM PC as the target platform), my impression is game developers most typically used Watcom C / DJGPP plus one of the DOS extenders (DOS4GW, ...
  • 1,854
17 votes
1 answer
1k views

TMP/TEMP Environment variables in Microsoft operating systems

The environment variables %TMP% and %TEMP% are the same. Reading the interesting Raymond Chen blog https://devblogs.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20150417-00/?p=44213, it seems that %TEMP% was introduced ...
  • 1,757
3 votes
3 answers
216 views

Write fault error writing device COM1

I’m trying to send data between a no-name Celeron PC running MS-DOS 6.22 and a Digital VT520 serial terminal. I have connected COM1 to the terminal’s COMM1, but can’t get data to flow in either ...
  • 1,421
19 votes
1 answer
2k views

In MS-DOS, how much stack do I need to make an int21 call?

The context is that I'm calling DOS interrupts from DPMI using int31 / ax=0x300, and you have to tell it what stack you want the real mode call to have. By default you get a small stack of about 20 ...
  • 1,130
6 votes
2 answers
397 views

SciTech's SVGAKit seems to be incomplete

I'm trying to get into MS-DOS development for fun, and I'd like to use SciTech's SVGAKit library. The last version of it is still downloadable via the Internet Archive here. However it seems to be ...
  • 211
17 votes
2 answers
3k views

In 16-bit MS-DOS, how do I get a file handle to the currently running .exe?

The context is that I have additional data in the .exe file and wish to access it. I know this is possible, as plenty of programs would store extra data after the loadable part of an MZ .exe — most 32-...
  • 1,130
9 votes
3 answers
2k views

String manipulation in MS-DOS 6.22 batch files

So I've been struggling to find any information about batch files in MS-DOS through all the information about CMD, but basically I'm trying to create a folder like 'Month-year'. I've managed to create ...
12 votes
1 answer
392 views

What are these compression types in the ARC file format?

The file format of the SEA ARC compression tool, also used by the PKWare PKARC tool, allowed the following compression types: Packing (RLE encoding) Squeezing (static Huffman coding) Crunching (LZW)...
  • 16.7k
20 votes
6 answers
4k views

Where is DOS stored in memory when a program starts?

When the execution of a COM program begins, DOS jumps to address 100h. But at what address is DOS stored in RAM while the COM program is executing? Is DOS stored in conventional memory? If so, isn't ...
  • 541
22 votes
3 answers
3k views

How does the BIOS distinguish Interrupt(08h-12h) from INT instructions, vs. actual exceptions inside the CPU?

This is purely academic, out of date, out of curiosity. Let's go back to the 1990s, before Windows, when real-mode DOS programs were common. The BIOS assigned INT 08H+ for their own interrupt handlers,...
  • 323
14 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why have MS-DOS device drivers if the ROM BIOS provides access to the same devices already?

IO.SYS is an essential part of MS-DOS that contains the default MS-DOS device drivers. IBMBIO.COM is a system file in PC-DOS. It contains the built-in device drivers. Based on the answers of the ...
  • 143
3 votes
2 answers
551 views

How can I have the user input a string and then do comparisons on it in a batch file in MS-DOS?

I asked this question on Stack Overflow, people said it'd more appropriate to ask it here. I've got to create a batch file that will run with DosBox. The program should change the color of the text by ...
  • 33
5 votes
1 answer
580 views

Novell and DOS instant messaging

Long ago, there was a TSR that would allow instant messages to be sent and received between DOS based computers using a Novell network. I think it was called Noteworks. It had a little airplane that ...
10 votes
5 answers
2k views

Early implementations of the `system()` call in a consumer OS

Nowadays, it's easy to take for granted the system() call (as defined in POSIX), which allows a user program to easily execute a child process and wait for it to complete. Obviously, this is a trivial ...
  • 57.8k
6 votes
1 answer
231 views

XMS function 0Ch "Lock Extended Memory Block"

I have a question about this function that has bugged me for years, so I decided to let this community a try :) So, this function supposedly locks a XMS extended memory block in place, and returns an ...
1 vote
1 answer
361 views

Can HIMEM.SYS be disabled in Windows ME’s IO.SYS?

Windows ME's IO.SYS includes HIMEM.SYS, which it loads unconditionally. Since it is possible to decompress and disassemble IO.SYS, and hack it to enable full dos mode, can we go a step further and ...
  • 21
10 votes
2 answers
897 views

How to get sound working in pure DOS with a CMI8330 card?

I have a tower PC from the early 2000's. I got this system second-hand and as-is so I do not have any original driver resources. I have installed Windows 95 mainly to play old Windows and DOS games. ...
  • 315
0 votes
0 answers
237 views

Identify this spaceship fruit collection game starring a levitating fish

Okay this might be a long shot, but I've been looking for this game for over 7 years now and I'm starting to question my sanity. I played this game somewhere between 1998-2003 but it might be a tad ...
12 votes
2 answers
2k views

Did early versions of DR-DOS preserve more registers than MS-DOS?

The early Amstrad IBM compatible PC the PC1512 initially included DR-DOS, according to its page at Old-Computers.com: It was sold with MS-DOS 3.2, DR-DOS plus 1.2 (an operating system from Digital ...
7 votes
1 answer
450 views

Fooling a DOS in game timer

I'm curious if it is possible to fool an in game timers in an old DOS game. Specifically, King's Quest 3 makes you wait 15 minutes at one point. I don't know how that timing system works or how time ...
  • 79
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

How was the CLOCK$ device used in MS-DOS?

Related to another question about CLOCK$ device name, I began to wonder if and how this device was actually used in MS-DOS. I have seen some references how to specify a clock driver when creating a ...
  • 2,002
30 votes
3 answers
6k views

Why was the DOS clock device renamed from CLOCK into CLOCK$?

From the Wikipedia article on reserved device names ... and the CLOCK$ (still named CLOCK in some issues of MS-DOS 2.11) clock device were introduced with DOS 2.0, ... Why was is necessary to add a $...
19 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why are these DOS console drivers wasting precious bytes?

While doing some research on DOS device drivers, I took a peek at the console drivers DISPLAY.SYS and ANSI.SYS that are part of the DOS 6.20 installation. Both have "Microsoft" stamped on, ...
19 votes
6 answers
4k views

How were sprites in DOS games programmed?

I would like to know how sprites in DOS games for vintage video cards like Hercules, CGA, EGA and VGA were programmed. I mean how was the duration of each sprite timed and how they were blitted on ...
  • 191
2 votes
0 answers
457 views

Installing MS-DOS 6.22 on a 386-class laptop with an SD/IDE adapter fails at 99%. How do I fix this?

I'm using an AST Premium Exec 386SX/20 laptop. I have installed a new BIOS battery and it does retain settings when the machine is power-cycled. I'm attempting to install MS-DOS 6.22 from a set of 3 ...
21 votes
3 answers
3k views

What were the actual memory model definitions in MS-DOS?

I've heard the phrase "memory model" used in relation to MS-DOS programming (and early Windows), with terms such as "small" and "compact". But what were the actual ...
  • 2,600
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

What was the first two-panel file manager for DOS?

I'm trying to settle a debate between me and some colleagues about two-panel file managers in MS-DOS/PC DOS. According to my own recollection the first was DV.EXE (see EDIT below), but some of my ...
  • 251
7 votes
1 answer
585 views

Hardware for higher resolution VESA modes

What computer hardware was needed to run something like Duke Nukem 3D smoothly at the 640x480 or 800x600 VESA modes at the time (1996-1997)? I was wondering if this was possible with contemporary ...
  • 391
20 votes
2 answers
2k views

How do I connect a command prompt to a serial line in MS-DOS 6.22?

I am currently experimenting with DOS and am trying to run the command prompt on the serial terminal through QEMU. This is the command I have been using. command >COM1 2>COM1 <COM1 This ...
26 votes
3 answers
7k views

Why might Quake run slowly on a modern PC in DOS, but not in a virtual machine?

I noticed back in the DOS gaming era that DOS games ran slowly in hi-res modes. I was surprised to discover that this could be true on a modern machine. I booted a 2017 i5 7200u (I think) laptop into ...
2 votes
1 answer
248 views

How do you start a minimized MS-DOS session on Windows 98 SE?

How do you start a minimized MS-DOS session (i.e., launch a Command Prompt window that is in the minimized state) for Windows 98 [version 4.10.2222]? I thought the solution would be: start /min But ...
user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
125 views

MS-DOS Bear/Teddy Bear Spooky Halloween game?

In about 1993-4 I played a (probably free or shareware) MS-DOS game about a bear/teddy bear entering a house which was "spooky", I believe related to Halloween. Graphically it was primitive, ...
4 votes
1 answer
293 views

"GAZE" GUI Organizer program?

In the early-to-mid '90s there was a GUI-based DOS organizer-like program, called GAZE, from which you could launch software and games which had an eyeball in the corner that followed the cursor as ...
7 votes
1 answer
277 views

Are there any other historical traces of the earlier versions of the Alternate Multiplex Interrupt Specification by Ralf Brown?

I'm a fervent user of the Alternate Multiplex Interrupt Specification for 86-DOS systems, a method using a common set of multiplexer interfaces over interrupt 2Dh. It was originally developed in the ...
  • 489
10 votes
1 answer
517 views

Spin HDD up/down in DOS App?

Is there a register I can write to using a DOS based C app to spin the IDE HDD down after the app boots then back up upon the app close? Specifically I want to just put spin down/up commands in the C ...
  • 101
24 votes
1 answer
2k views

What is 'Adaptive Tile Refresh' in the context of Commander Keen?

The question Did John Carmack really invent "Adaptive Tile Refresh"? asks about the origins of the scrolling and drawing techniques used to allow an MS-DOS PC to provide a NES console-like ...
  • 10.2k
5 votes
1 answer
348 views

Identify QuickBASIC Game involving launch, navigation, and landing of rocket on the moon

I recall playing a game that I had from source in QuickBASIC (probably 4.5, but maybe it was earlier QBASIC) during the mid-to-late 90s that I keep wanting to revisit. Unfortunately, due to the ...
  • 151
30 votes
6 answers
7k views

Why did the monsters have "infinite invisible pillars" of hitboxes vertically in all versions of the DOOM engine?

Even in the last version of the DOOM engine, v1.9, used for Final DOOM, there is this strange limitation in which all the monsters have an invisible, infinitely tall "pillar" above and ...
  • 309
11 votes
3 answers
2k views

Name of MS-DOS program that shows realtime update of light/dark map of whole planet

Years ago (circa 1996-1997 maybe?) I ran a MS-DOS program that showed a map of the whole earth, updated once a minute with the time, timezones, and light/dark areas of the planet, taking up the whole ...
15 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to use "AND," "OR," and "XOR" modes for VGA Drawing

I've been trying to implement a blitter in MS-DOS, but before I do that I wanted to test the various graphics modes of the VGA graphics card. (I'm emulating using DOSBox.) According to this paper on ...
  • 1,538
15 votes
5 answers
2k views

Commodore Mouse not recognized by a Commodore PC30-III 286 machine

I have Commodore PC 30-III 286 machine with a serial port at the back labelled "mouse". If I plug my Commodore mouse 1900 serial mouse then execute mouse.com at the DOS prompt then I get the ...
1 vote
0 answers
209 views

Looking for MS-DOS clip art (possibly Lotus 123?) [closed]

As a kid, I was given a 286 with 640k of RAM and a 20MB HDD, that had Lotus 123 and WordPerfect (v5?) installed. MS-DOS (v3 or v5) only - No Windows. As the machine was very limited, I tinkered and ...
  • 275
26 votes
7 answers
5k views

How did DOS games manage to have multiple background layers?

Seems like VGA only has one background layer, it appears to be a typical bitmap screen like most home computers of the 80s (Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64 etc.) where each pixel's color is stored in a ...
  • 1,538
56 votes
6 answers
9k views

Why did some old MS-DOS games lack the ability to exit them?

While playing around in DOSBox-X, I'm reminded of some DOS games which appear to entirely lack the ability to exit/quit/close them. One prime example of that is "Paratrooper" from 1982. I've ...
  • 547
32 votes
2 answers
6k views

Why does Windows 1.01 crash at the splash screen?

When Windows 1.01 is started under DOSBox, FreeDOS or one of the later versions of MS-DOS, garbage characters are printed on the screen right after displaying the Microsoft logo. Here’s an example in ...
  • 17.7k

1
2 3 4 5