Questions tagged [ms-dos]

For questions regarding MS-DOS, the Microsoft Disk Operating System, and its batch scripting language. Do not use this tag for questions about DOS batch languages in general.

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8
votes
2answers
684 views

What physical size and density floppies are the intermediate-capacity options for the /F switch of the DOS/Windows/OS/2 FORMAT command meant for?

In MS-DOS 5.0 and newer, PC-DOS 5.0 and newer, Windows 9x, Windows NT 3.1-2000, and OS/2 4.x, the FORMAT command (present in some form or another in literally every single version of Q/86-/MS-/PC-DOS, ...
8
votes
3answers
645 views

How can I access/use memory outside of the standard 1 MB address range of MS-DOS?

How do you access more memory (above the 1MB) in DOS if the 640KB of conventional memory are not enough? I have read a lot about this, but I couldn't figure out how to do this in actual code. Is ...
4
votes
1answer
267 views

When will the copyrights on various versions of Windows and DOS expire?

Related to question What is the best way to obtain old versions of MS-DOS and Windows? When will the copyrights on various versions of Windows and DOS expire? Once they expire I presume one could ...
46
votes
1answer
10k views

What is the context of the button “Is MS DOS a feminist?”

I just saw this button in the Computer History Museum, and I'm wondering what is the context? Context removed, "Is MS DOS a feminist?" is about the most non-sequitur thing I've seen.
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Imaging a HDD from DOS over Serial

I have recently fixed an old IBM Clone, which has an MFM hard drive. The PC booted up fine, but then I saw, that a few years back, I have deleted a few important files (probably by mistake). The ...
1
vote
0answers
129 views

Kermit pauses when switching between apps in windows 3.1

I wrote a batch file which sends some files over serial portin windows 3.1, using kermit.exe. The problem is when the user switches between apps, the kermit batch will freeze till the next time they ...
52
votes
7answers
9k views

Why did the MS-DOS API choose software interrupts for its interface?

Access to the DOS API was done through the INT 21h x86 instruction. This was always counter-intuitive to me, coming from 8-bit systems that accessed system services by calling subroutines through a ...
2
votes
1answer
210 views

How to configure NETWORK and TCP on a DOS VM

I'm trying to install and use the Arachne broswer under DOS (6.22). I've DOS installed on VirtualBox VM (5.2.34) under Linux Ubuntu (4.15.0-88-generic #88-Ubuntu). I'm in trouble in configuring ...
4
votes
1answer
96 views

Why does MS-DOS 5.0 EDIT hang on my XT-class machine with a German 102-key keyboard?

Most times whene I call EDIT on my XT-class machine with MS-DOS 5.0 installed on the hard disk, the menus of EDIT appear, but the window that should contain the file contents stays blank and the ...
18
votes
6answers
1k views

Sound driver for DOS or Windows 3.x that used the PC speaker?

Long ago in a galaxy far far away, back in the early 90's, I worked for a crappy clone company as a phone technician. At the time, 386SX/25's were common for in-house technical support / customer ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Is it a Directory, a List, or a Catalogue?

There are three common CLI commands on microcomputers that all mean the same thing: "Show me the contents of a volume, disk, or sub-directory". I will mention that the noun "Catalogue", and the ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

What DOS games used Mode X as described by Michael Abrash?

In Michael Abrash's Graphics Programming Black Book, many chapters are dedicated to fast drawing of primitives, fills and copies using the 320x240 256-colour Mode X. What MS-DOS games used Mode X? ...
-1
votes
1answer
460 views

Get himem.sys working on a AMI 1.06.09 bios (not on VM)

I tried many 98SE boot disks online, they all boot successfully on my mobile workstation from USB (C:\>), but all can't run the Windows 98SE Installer because of XMS Memory, giving an error like: ...
13
votes
1answer
1k views

Why are the out of bounds areas of doom distorted on MSDOS?

Why do the OOB (out of bounds) areas of doom look so unusual? As seen in the image above, the Doom engine not only incorrectly renders the scene, but also renders slices of other scenes that aren't ...
2
votes
1answer
227 views

Serial Braille DOS driver on XP or higher?

Friend uses old braille displays in his company, but their producer does not exist, they use serial port and there is problem with either drivers (Ethernet) for <= Win 98 or serial access on NT+ on ...
5
votes
3answers
334 views

64GB compact flash not booting up in DOS

I have purchased a 64GB compact flash UDMA card and am unable to boot up in DOS. The machine I'm running has a Pentium 1.6Ghz process in it just to give you an idea about how "modern" it is compared ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Running DOS, Windows 3, and Windows 98 from one FAT32 partition?

I'd like to setup a Windows 98 SE system that boots into the included MS-DOS 7.1 command line, and which can also run Windows 3.11. I've seen various disjointed posts online that suggest this is ...
4
votes
1answer
272 views

Can't boot FAT32 larger than 2GB, unlike Fat16

Why can my PC not boot Fat larger than 2GB (Fat32) in legacy mode, but FAT16 and NTFS work fine? It just gives me a non-system disk error, while booting the same (Dos boot disk) files under Fat16 ...
24
votes
8answers
5k views

What other tricks were there to get more data onto floppy disks?

I remember using a utility back in MS Dos 3.3 days, called maxi-disk, that somehow magically managed to get 420K on a 360K 5 1/4" disks. I assume it managed it by destroying some redundancy like a ...
5
votes
1answer
173 views

Can't install El-Fish on MS-DOS 6.22

El-Fish is a fish tank "game", where you have virtual fish on your screen. The game has no goal, it's more like an interactive screen saver. I got my version from a number of different sources, one ...
7
votes
2answers
745 views

Were any DOS games (or software) known to use VBE/AF?

Were there any MS-DOS games or graphics software that were known to take advantage of VESA BIOS Extensions/Accelerator Functions (VBE/AF)? some of the functions defined in the standard are ... Bit ...
21
votes
9answers
6k views

Why does the single dot entry exist in file systems?

There is plenty of literature about its meaning, the current directory, but I would like to ask about why such thing do exist in first instance. While CHDIR .. usefulness is obvious, i.e. go to the ...
8
votes
1answer
251 views

What's the difference between the DOS HIMEM.SYS and the Windows 3.x version?

An installation of DOS (e.g. MS-DOS 5.0) will typically include a statement in its CONFIG.SYS such as DEVICE=C:\DOS\HIMEM.SYS. When installing Windows 3.1, it's setup comments (REMs) that line out, ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What manages Upper Memory Blocks (UMBs) in MS-DOS?

I had always assumed that EMM386.EXE was responsible for managing the Upper Memory Blocks - UMBs - the memory space between 640KiB and 1MiB in real mode x86. For example, on MS-DOS 6.22, help emm386....
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Is there any way today to recover/dump 2M disks?

2M disks where formatted using 2MGUI to increase 3"1/2 & 5"1/4 DD/HD/ED disks' capacity. Is there any way today to recover/dump these disks to a file with modern hardware? Specially the 5"1/4 ...
27
votes
2answers
10k views

Looking for PC graphics demo software from the early 90s called “Unreal”

Back in the early 90's I remember downloading a graphics demo called, I think, "Unreal". This was on DOS on a standard PC and probably downloaded from a BBS. Identifying information: It ran for ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

Was there an autocomplete utility in MS-DOS?

MS-DOS (at least 6.22) had optional features such as DOSKEY to remember the command line history, which is now standard on modern command prompts. However, I'm not aware of an autocomplete feature, ...
28
votes
4answers
4k views

What's the relationship betweeen MS-DOS and XENIX?

Browsing MS-DOS sources on GitHub, I often see mentions of XENIX: DOSSYM.ASM: ; XENIX calls all return error codes through AX. If an error occurred then the ; carry bit will be set and the ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Did DOS zero out the BSS area when it loaded a program?

As an example, say we have a DOS MZ EXE file that's around 20 KiB in size. The EXE header contains the value 0x1400 at offset 0x0A indicating that the program is requesting 5,120 paragraphs (or 80 KiB)...
4
votes
1answer
441 views

Old SCSI controller won't boot on certain PC

I have an old Adaptec PCI SCSI controller from around 1995 (BIOS date, will get full model if needed). It's lived its life in an old 133 MHz Pentium from around 1995 as well. The controller is 50 ...
3
votes
3answers
620 views

What was this menu application in DOS?

My father's computer in the early 90s (probably 1991, or at the latest 1992) had a piece of software that acted as an application launcher. I think it was simply called "menu". Its graphics were ...
43
votes
8answers
10k views

Why weren't bootable game disks ever common on the IBM PC?

While for other platforms of that era (primarily, Amiga), putting a game on a bootable disk was quite a normal practice, this approach never taken off on IBM PC. Why not? I do remember people having ...
3
votes
1answer
288 views

Extracting files from a Windows 3.1 (16bit) install/archive (game)

I'm interested in doing some practice work around legacy systems out of pure recreation. I want to extract data or information related to a DOS game running on the 16bit arch of Windows 3.1 (1991 ...
1
vote
2answers
309 views

Parity error under DOS

I'm facing a Parity Error problem on my new 486er DOS Retro PC. Every now and then a running software crashes with a Parity Error output on screen. This happens for different software so I think the ...
6
votes
1answer
1k views

What was the first third-party commercial application for MS-DOS?

What was the first third-party commercial application for MS-DOS intended for IBM PC-compatible computers?
13
votes
1answer
6k views

What is the oldest commercial MS-DOS program that can run on modern versions of Windows without third-party software?

What is the oldest commercial MS-DOS program that can run on modern versions of Windows (such as Windows 8.1 or Windows 10) without third-party emulators?
6
votes
5answers
345 views

Getting Music Functioning for Raptor: Call of the Shadows (1994)

I can't get the music audio working for the 1994 version of Raptor. Does anyone know how I can remedy this? I'm not sure if this is the correct forum for this question, but here goes. I have an ...
8
votes
3answers
750 views

Why did scandisk exist?

As far as I can tell, chkdsk as been part of DOS and Windows since day one. However, in later versions of DOS, chkdsk was shipped along side scandisk. As of Windows 98, running chkdsk will result in ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why the DOS extender and DPMI were unavailable to DOS programs on 286 standard mode of Windows 3.0

An old article on Windows 3.0 from PC Magazine (June 11, 1991, page 348) said that: Using standard mode, the Windows DOS extender and DOS Protected Mode Interface (DPMI) are available to Windows ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Set screen resolution in DOS-only PC

I replaced a failed CRT display with a LCD panel with a VGA controller board. There is no problem with the display when the PC boots up. However, if I switch the display off then I get an 'Out of ...
5
votes
1answer
267 views

XT IDE causes BASIC not to load properly on IBM 5155

I recently picked up an XT IDE. It works fine for the most part, but when I tried to load BASIC samples from the original IBM DOS 1.1 floppy(I was booting from it), the system hung up, only showing a ...
7
votes
1answer
224 views

Where to find QICStream software for reading old QIC-150 tape?

I'm trying to restore a backup from an old QIC-150 tape. While I'm able to read the raw data from the tape (using linux), I can't recognize the binary format of the data (the tape is not mine). There ...
15
votes
3answers
1k views

What order were files/directories output in dir?

In the version of command.com included with MS-DOS, DIR seems to print files in a random order, but if one runs multiple DIR commands, they all print the files in the same order. This order does not ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Did MS DOS itself ever use blinking text?

I know that it was possible to create blinking text, but did the operating system itself (I mean, in output from functions of command.com and similar executables) ever make use of blink formatting? ...
27
votes
4answers
4k views

Why wasn't DOSKEY integrated with COMMAND.COM?

Why did Microsoft make DOSKEY a separate command, instead of integrating it with COMMAND.COM? I don't think DOSKEY uses a lot of RAM or was useless in the '80s... Maybe there was another reason not ...
4
votes
2answers
260 views

DOS/4DOS Prompt with animated characters?

I have a vivid memory of a guy I knew back in the day who had a custom prompt with a small character animation. The way I remember it there was a sequence like |,/,--,\,| in the prompt. This wasn't ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

DOS, create pipe for stdin/stdout of command.com(or 4dos.com) in C or Batch?

I'm working on a retro project and was trying to create a pipe of stdin/out/err in DOS, but I can't find any functions to to this? For instance the pipe() command from unistd.h isn't present in ...
9
votes
5answers
493 views

Alternatives for TurboVision on DOS

TurboVision was a library by Borland for developing TUI's (Text User Interfaces). It was included with their C++ and Pascal compilers. Were there any other TUI libraries that supported multiple ...
8
votes
1answer
390 views

What's the fastest way to ignore keypresses?

I'm writing a game for the IBM PC (running MS-DOS), complete with fancy cutscenes. Unfortunately, though, the keys pressed during those fancy cutscenes are carried out once the fancy cutscene has ...
6
votes
1answer
590 views

DOS networking (Ethernet)

Would like to use a Linksys "Etherfast PCMPC100" PCMCIA network card under DOS 5.0, for file transfer. Am planning to use the "XFS" package to share directories with Linux. Have found an archive file ...