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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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 ...
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12 votes
1 answer
296 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)...
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20 votes
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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 ...
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22 votes
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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This is purely academic, out of date, out of curiosity.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,...
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14 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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10 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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0 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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2 answers
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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. ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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30 votes
3 answers
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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 $...
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19 votes
3 answers
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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, ...
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19 votes
6 answers
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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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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15 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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19 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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23 votes
3 answers
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Why might Quake run slowly on a modern PC?

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 ...
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2 votes
1 answer
240 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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
107 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, ...
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4 votes
1 answer
261 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 ...
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7 votes
1 answer
262 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 ...
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10 votes
1 answer
512 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 ...
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24 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
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5 votes
1 answer
315 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 ...
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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 ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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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 ...
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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 ...
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15 votes
5 answers
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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 ...
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1 vote
0 answers
207 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 ...
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26 votes
7 answers
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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 ...
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55 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 ...
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32 votes
2 answers
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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 ...
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16 votes
3 answers
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Why can't I invoke the next interrupt service by incrementing the AX register after calling the same interrupt?

I have two snippets of 8086 assembly code, both of which are supposed to do the same thing: make the mouse appear on the screen. Show_Mouse: push ax mov ax,0 ;Reset Mouse int 33h ...
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17 votes
7 answers
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Are there any good, non-abandoned PC emulators?

Mission: I'm trying to simulate a classic ~286/386/486/Pentium inside my modern PC (running Windows 10) in the most authentic way possible. Just a quick note to say that I (Sarah Walker) have decided ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Why does the ‘Get Next Selector Increment Value’ DPMI call exist?

In DPMI, interrupt 0x31 services 0x0000 and 0x0100 are capable of simultaneously allocating multiple protected-mode selectors in a single call. When that happens, both services return only the first ...
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20 votes
2 answers
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How can I access the VGA card's ROM fonts with interrupt 10h operation 1130h in protected mode C?

I'm using Open Watcom 1.9 to write some 286 real mode, and 386 protected mode software for DOS in C. In real mode, I can retrieve a pointer to the system ROM character bitmaps in real mode using int ...
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25 votes
1 answer
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Did the original MS-DOS Quake not have a menu item for freelook, and if so, why?

I know that Quake (the 1996 MS-DOS game) is a "full" 3D engine, and always had some kind of mouse support. However, even the original Wolfenstein 3D from 1992 also had mouse support from the ...
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7 votes
2 answers
432 views

Monitor can't display boot/DOS video mode making dual boot impossible

I have an HP ZR24w monitor connected via HDMI input to a newer custom machine running Win7, and via VGA input to an older Micron machine running Win98SE. I use the monitor's "source" setting ...
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5 votes
1 answer
311 views

How can I output a blank line from a batch file on the Atari Portfolio?

I'm am trying to make a batch script on the Atari Portfolio which uses DIP DOS 2.11 (pretty similar to MS-DOS 2.11). I need to put a blank line in my file and it won't work. I have tried echo., echo/, ...
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17 votes
1 answer
1k views

Why can MS-DOS not read partitions starting at logical sector 0?

When creating a FAT file system, mtools and newer versions of mkfs.fat write a stub MBR partition table to the boot sector. This makes the file system accessible when written directly to media that ...
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8 votes
1 answer
758 views

Which MS-DOS program implemented the "Methinks it is like a weasel" evolutionary algorithm?

In the late 1980s I had a set of 3.5″ floppy disks which contained some games like Sleuth, Centipede, Space War, and Sopwith. Also present was a program that I think was called "weasel", ...
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10 votes
1 answer
567 views

Is there any public documentation of the LapLink protocol?

Is the protocol used by the DOS Laplink software publicly documented? I seem to remember there were Linux tools that could use it. I cannot find anything useful on their website.
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9 votes
5 answers
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DOS serial printer formats

Assume a DOS machine with a serial cable, and a selection of one of Epson FX-80, HP LaserJet, IBM Proprinter. At the other end of the serial cable is a modern machine, e.g. running Linux. On the DOS ...
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