Questions tagged [ms-dos]

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

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Using 386SWAT to trace a program through a transition from real mode into protected mode

The 386SWAT debugger seems to be able to continue tracing a real-mode (not V86) program that goes into protected mode, but I don't quite understand how to configure 386SWAT, and I can't find any ...
MRICHARD's user avatar
25 votes
3 answers
7k views

Was the MS-DOS window in Windows 95 an emulator like current DOSBox?

Windows 1.x, 2.x and 3.x required a DOS to be loaded before running them. Later Windows 9.x and ME had similar (?) way of working, but DOS was included with them, 32-bit multitasking and other stuff ...
matandked's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
514 views

Why is the Compaq FWS2ASPI.SYS driver not recognized as an ASPI driver?

I have a Compaq ProSignia server with an onboard NCR53c710 EISA SCSI controller. Compaq supplies a driver for it (the latest version is contained in the SoftPaq 10751 (SP10751.EXE), called FWS2ASPI....
Michael Karcher's user avatar
15 votes
4 answers
3k views

Can DOS make use of more than 640 KB of conventional memory on 80186?

Can I have more than 640 KB conventional RAM under some DOS? I'm looking at an 80186 PC that has RAM at address A0000. Video RAM starts at B0000 as expected for a Hercules; A0000 is just more main ...
Joshua's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers
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DOS: How do I type an ANSI escape sequence?

I'm currently trying to experiment with ANSI escape sequences on various terminals/terminal emulators, so I'd like to know if there's an expedient way of typing these sequences on a DOS command prompt,...
EnronEvolved's user avatar
-4 votes
1 answer
275 views

Does DOS run Crysis? [closed]

There certainly exist machines that can run both DOS and Crysis, but both at the same time? I had something like the HX DOS extender in mind and mesa3d can be compiled for DOS and Windows. There seem ...
user1095108's user avatar
17 votes
6 answers
13k views

Why didn't PC games eschew MS-DOS and deal with BIOS directly?

Given the memory referencing limits of MS-DOS for compatibility purposes, why didn't games produced for the 286+ processors eschew MS-DOS and talk directly with the BIOS or IO hardware, instead of all ...
Chorlton2080's user avatar
34 votes
4 answers
7k views

Did any MS-DOS program ever use the System Request interrupt?

As I remember, the SysRq key generated a special, unique interrupt (not an ordinary keyboard interrupt). It was supposed to let the user interrupt any process in a multitasking situation and return ...
Jess Fuckett's user avatar
11 votes
5 answers
6k views

How did 16-bit MS-DOS programs use a large (> 64KB) stack?

The "large" memory model of x86 allowed a program to have multiple code segments and multiple data segment, using far calls to jump across code segments, and far pointers to access data from ...
airman's user avatar
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21 votes
5 answers
4k views

How can I reverse-engineer the game Wizardry (1981) for PC, based on UCSD Pascal?

I am looking at the files included with the 1981 game Wizardry. The particular version I have is from a 1998 re-release, but I do not know if the binary is still the original 1981 release. My ...
typedeaf's user avatar
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3 votes
2 answers
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Why does my MZ executable's BSS inflate by ~1,5KB after linking fopen() with MSC?

For a game reversing project, I am trying to undo linking with the C library performed by the MSC 5.1 C compiler+linker. To that end, I have created a simple executable that does nothing except ...
neuviemeporte's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
233 views

How to run MOUSSUBS.BAS in QuickBasic? Looking for MIXED.QLB and MOUSE.ASM?

I retrieved some 30 year old basic files from old floppy disks. Now I am trying to run some games I made back then. Some of them are actually dependent on this file called MOUSSUBS.BAS. That file ...
Dirk Boer's user avatar
  • 311
2 votes
3 answers
694 views

What binary format did QuickBasic use for BAS files?

I found some very old floppy disks. I sent them to a company to restore the files and they were still retrievable! Next to old games and simcity save games I found some .BAS files. Some of the names I ...
Dirk Boer's user avatar
  • 311
3 votes
0 answers
174 views

Troubleshooting Legacy Hardware and Software Issues on MS-DOS and Windows 3.11

I have an old PC with the following hardware components: Motherboard: AMI TITAN II EISA rev.D RAM: 48MB of 4 SIMM CPU: 154C Pentium (tm) BIOS: 711011596 HDD1: SCSI controller adapter through PCI (PCI) ...
CluelessENGR's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
1k views

What problem does LOADFIX solve?

From MS-DOS help for the LOADFIX command: Some programs will display the "Packed file corrupt" message when all or a portion of the program has been loaded in the first 64K of conventional ...
user10191234's user avatar
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2 votes
0 answers
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Trying To Understand DOS Game Assembly Instructions [closed]

I am trying to understand assembly language instructions, for a DOS Game. I have looked at the following Link :- https://atrevida.comprenica.com/atrtut07.html reading about how VGA Graphics work in ...
Edward Winch's user avatar
4 votes
1 answer
642 views

How did John Carmack develop DOS games in Softdisk?

I recently listened to a podcast of Carmack and he said that in early DOS days he mostly uses assembly. The host asked him about Pascal and he said back then only Wizardry was written in Pascal. I ...
Nicholas Humphrey's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
433 views

Mixing small and big data models in 16-bit DOS & Watcom

I want to write an application for DOS using small code/data model, but I would like to use far pointers for some selected memory blocks. I would like to use the OpenWatcom C++/16 compiler. So, for ...
antekone's user avatar
  • 237
7 votes
2 answers
3k views

How does 2M for DOS (2 MB formatted floppy disks) achieve what it does?

This is the program and technique in question: https://dbpedia.org/page/2M_(DOS) Also described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2M_(DOS) And here is the unintelligible explanation from the website:...
AlphaCentauri's user avatar
14 votes
1 answer
2k views

Beep command with letters for notes (IBM AT + DOS circa 1984)

I'm looking for a reference for a command which used letters for musical notes, and would play very simple tunes with square waves. It ran on an IBM AT, circa 1984, which was running a version of IBM/...
jonathanjo's user avatar
39 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do any FAT8 filesystem images survive?

According to Wikipedia, the original FAT8 filesystem was developed by Marc McDonald in 1977 or 1978, as part of "NCR BASIC +6", a port of Microsoft BASIC to an 8080-based NCR data entry ...
Simon Kissane's user avatar
3 votes
3 answers
632 views

How to redirect stderr in MS-DOS?

I am using CVS 1.3 in MS-DOS 6.22. When I execute cvs -?, the top of the help output scrolls off my 80x25 screen. I cannot redirect the output to file as I suspect it is streamed to stderr (eg. cvs -? ...
mvanle's user avatar
  • 131
23 votes
2 answers
3k views

Using Clang to compile MS-DOS executables

I have a simple C program, and I would like to compile it targeting MS-DOS. Can this be achieved with Clang? I would like to produce the following formats: COM executable 16-bit MZ executable 32-bit ...
tpimh's user avatar
  • 430
13 votes
1 answer
2k views

Did x86 CPU vendors like Intel, NEC, AMD, and Cyrix provide their own debugger for DOS with better CPU support and was it free?

MS-DOS's debugger DEBUG.EXE did only support the assembly/disassembly of 8086 opcodes. DR-DOS's debugger SID86.EXE, SID.EXE and Novel's debugger DEBUG.EXE did support 80286 opcodes and more, but no ...
Coder's user avatar
  • 1,068
12 votes
1 answer
370 views

What is the difference between the different versions of the SID or SID86 debugger for the x86 PC that was shipped with the different DR-DOS versions?

I did a little research about Digital Research's 8086 Symbolic Instruction Debugger. Short name SID86.EXE and SID.EXE in later versions. But I couldn't find some sort of version history? I would ...
Coder's user avatar
  • 1,068
35 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why did DOS-based Windows require HIMEM.SYS to boot?

My understanding is that all versions of Microsoft Windows that ran on top of DOS — that is, the lineage from Windows 1.0 up to Windows ME, even though the reliance on DOS diminished over time — ...
mkay's user avatar
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24 votes
16 answers
5k views

What were the most popular text editors for MS-DOS in the 1980s? [closed]

Since versions 1-5 of MS-DOS only came with the Edlin line-based editor, but were released on the IBM PC and compatibles, which had screen-based user I/O, my feeling is that most users wouldn't have ...
Brian Reading's user avatar
17 votes
4 answers
3k views

Document format for a DOS word processor where control commands begin with a dot

I successfully achieved the reading of several 5.25″ old floppies. They contain old documents from a retired lawyer. For the memories, we want to read them correctly, nevertheless, I don't find which ...
David Sosa's user avatar
10 votes
3 answers
905 views

How can I make the Microsoft C compiler for DOS emit a loop with an intermediate jump to continue?

I am trying to recreate the exact C source code from some 16bit DOS 8086 assembly generated by the MS C 5.0 compiler. After making some progress, I've hit a wall with the following code (annotated in ...
neuviemeporte's user avatar
21 votes
1 answer
4k views

Why does invoking a bat file from another bat interrupt the first?

I'm looking for some historical context, valid for both any Windows prompt but my guess would be that the behaviour can be seen at least from MS-DOS, if not earlier. It feels counter-intuitive to me ...
bracco23's user avatar
  • 313
24 votes
7 answers
6k views

Did MS-DOS have any support for multithreading?

Common wisdom seems to be that MS-DOS was an exclusively single-threaded OS. Of course, implementing a scheduler would be possible, but the OS itself did not provide any facilities for multithreading, ...
neuviemeporte's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
647 views

How to make Microsoft C for MS-DOS emit an immediate-target far call into the data segment?

I am trying to recreate the C source code from some 16bit DOS 8086 assembly generated by the MS C 5.0 compiler. I've hit a wall with this far call instruction. 0000008D 9A2F0CB506 call 0x6b5:...
neuviemeporte's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
170 views

Math and French practice floppies

A long time ago, at school, they used to provide us with some 5.25 inches floppies each year. The teacher used to boot Unisys PCs with some bootable floppies (I do not believe they had hard disks), we ...
user10191234's user avatar
  • 1,945
6 votes
1 answer
539 views

Basic page layout program from the PrintMaster 2.0 era

I remember it as "Fantasy" but the lack of results makes me think I may be wrong. All I know for sure is that it was a single page layout program; it was contemporary with PrintMaster 2.0, ...
alecail's user avatar
  • 163
26 votes
3 answers
4k views

What did Ctrl+NumLock do?

In my answer here I infer that the unusual scancode for the Pause/Break key emulates the user pressing and then releasing CtrlNumLock. Obviously that key combination did something specific, back when ...
user253751's user avatar
25 votes
2 answers
4k views

Did any DOS compatibility layers exist for any UNIX-like systems before DOS started to become outmoded?

Quoting from Jim Hall's "FreeDOS turns 25 years old: An origin story": Around 1994, Microsoft announced that its next planned version of Windows would do away with MS-DOS. But I liked DOS. ...
ArrayBolt3's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
398 views

How did ‘logically-sectored FAT’ work?

While browsing online materials about the FAT file system, I occasionally came across mentions of ‘logically-sectored FAT’. This was apparently some kind of special mode of formatting a hard drive, ...
user3840170's user avatar
  • 23.1k
16 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did Digital Research clean-room MS-DOS?

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DR-DOS DR-DOS (written as DR DOS, without a hyphen, in versions up to and including 6.0) is a disk operating system for IBM PC compatibles. Upon its introduction in ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61k
9 votes
0 answers
558 views

When did Kay Nishi offer a million dollars for a competing DOS?

The development of Digital Research's fully-compatible MS-DOS competitor, DR DOS, was encouraged when, according to https://retrotechnology.com/dri/dri_wein.html After DOS Plus for Philips we did a ...
rwallace's user avatar
  • 61k
20 votes
2 answers
1k views

Which is the first version of DOS to support more than one reserved sector in a FAT file system?

I'm trying to fix a problem when trying to use DOS stuff on SSDs. The problem is sector alignment in an SSD is completely different from what DOS expects, and writes to FAT do funny things when the ...
Joshua's user avatar
  • 1,829
4 votes
1 answer
888 views

Memory requirements for undelete command

During MS-DOS days, an Undelete command existed and provided three levels of protection. Sentry is pretty much the same as the Recycle Bin, it moves deleted files to a directory called Sentry. Tracker ...
user10191234's user avatar
  • 1,945
4 votes
1 answer
288 views

Disable motherboard floppy controller DOS

I have a SuperMicro P4SCA motherboard (manual) running FreeDOS 1.3. The motherboard has an onboard floppy controller as part of a W83627HG (datasheet). However, this floppy control fails to provide ...
MattHusz's user avatar
  • 149
23 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why was the graphical user interface version of Defrag removed?

I remember in MS-DOS 6.22 that Defrag had a GUI that showed its progress and how it was moving files. It wasn't there in Windows XP and I can only assume that it wasn't in Windows 95, 98, 2000 either (...
user10191234's user avatar
  • 1,945
15 votes
1 answer
985 views

What type(s) of compressed files was the MS-DOS EXPAND command able to decompress?

What type(s) of compressed files was the MS-DOS EXPAND command able to decompress? And what command was its counterpart?
El tornillo's user avatar
14 votes
3 answers
5k views

Which font with slashed zero is being used in this screengrab?

Do you know which font is being used in the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xnudvJbAgI0? A screengrab of the video that shows a lot of text: We can see that the zeros are slashed, so it ...
Lone Learner's user avatar
23 votes
9 answers
8k views

Why did "protected-mode MS-DOS" never happen?

Software written for MS-DOS used DOS extenders as early as on PC/AT (DOS/16M), and starting from i386-based systems, DOS extenders became really widespread. I'd think it was pretty obvious at the time ...
DmytroL's user avatar
  • 2,172
8 votes
2 answers
975 views

Tiny libc for DOS 8086

I'm looking for a tiny libc (C runtime library) targeting small model DOS 8086, and providing (most of) the C89 library functions, including fread(...), printf(...) and scanf(...). The libc must work ...
pts's user avatar
  • 1,983
22 votes
7 answers
4k views

Disk compression risks in MS-DOS

Continuing my nostalgia reading of Dan Gookin's DOS For Dummies, there is a section that literally advises against compression programs like DriveSpace and calls it a solution to a problem not some ...
user10191234's user avatar
  • 1,945
4 votes
1 answer
205 views

Tandy 1000 TDYSPKR utility

I've seen reference to a TDYSPKR (.EXE or .COM?) tool that sets audio output options on the early Tandy 1000 series of computers (1000, 1000A, 1000SX, 1000TX, maybe others). Apparently it can toggle ...
craig65535's user avatar
3 votes
0 answers
253 views

VisiCalc V1.0 is not working on modern computer as expected

I am trying to run Visicalc on the modern laptop (Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Extreme Gen.2). I created bootable flash drives with DOS 6.22 and Free DOS, booted from them and ran visicalc (vc.com file). All ...
Art Spasky's user avatar

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