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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votes
9answers
11k views

What key factor led to the sudden commercial success of MS Windows with v3.0?

Microsoft Windows was originally introduced in 1985, ostensibly to compete with the Apple Macintosh, and other computers shipping with graphical shells by that time. However, early versions of Windows ...
16
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5answers
2k views

What tools were used in late MS-DOS era for reverse engineering and patching binary executables?

In the late MS-DOS era, what were the state of the art software tools for reverse engineering and patching binaries, i.e. .exe and .com files? A simple list of the tools that were "state of the art", ...
7
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I create a boot menu to select between Windows and DOS?

I was not a PC user before Windows 98. But I remember one of my friends was using a boot menu in his 486 machine to select between Windows/DOS. The menu was like: 1. EMS 2. XMS 3. Windows If we ...
18
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2answers
5k views

First commercial DOS game?

What was the first commercial game sold for use on IBM/MS/PC DOS after the IBM August 12, 1981 release.
57
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3answers
12k views

Why did DOS use dollar-terminated strings?

According to a few tutorials I am seeing, DOS used dollar-terminated strings to write to the terminal. This seems to also be documented here on INT 21H. AH = 09h - WRITE STRING TO STANDARD OUTPUT ...
45
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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 ...
28
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1answer
2k views

How does the command.com shell work with MS-DOS?

On my systems that are running MS-DOS, I change the default command.com to 4DOS for more features. How was the shell system designed and how did it with the operating system in MS-DOS that it enabled ...
28
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2answers
3k views

How did MS-DOS assign drive letters in the case of more than two floppy disk drives?

The IBM PC BIOS had provisions for up to four floppy disk drives, by virtue of returning the number of floppy disk drives in a two-bit field plus a none/some flag (allowing for reporting values of 0, ...
10
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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 ...
12
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4answers
2k views

For fast scrolling DOS games, when was Mode13h preferred over Mode X?

Back in the DOS days of gaming (more specifically, 80286 - 80486 era), developers typically needed to choose between using the chunky and easier Mode 13h or the more complex "Mode X" that provided ...
64
votes
3answers
12k views

What character is the MS-DOS cursor?

The cursor used on my 486 (and Pentium 3) in MS-DOS 6/7 has a thick underlined character. I cannot find that in code page 437. The underscore character is the closest to it, but is thinner. Where ...
43
votes
2answers
7k views

Did IBM encourage Bill Gates to retain the rights over PC-DOS?

As is well-known, Microsoft's negotiations with IBM to deliver PC-DOS 1.0 with the original IBM PC resulted in: IBM licensing the OS from Microsoft, as opposed to purchasing it outright. Microsoft ...
28
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2answers
3k views

How did Windows ME “cripple” DOS?

Windows ME includes the ability to create a bootable DOS floppy. This floppy contains versions of COMMAND.COM and IO.SYS that are "crippled" to remove real mode. This is done with only one changed ...
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 ...
27
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5answers
5k views

Why are Windows 95 installation disks not uniquely bound to a single product key?

I was installing the OEM version of Windows 95 on VirtualBox the other day for reminiscence sake, and for some reason I had two different product keys. I tested both of them to see which one mapped to ...
27
votes
3answers
8k views

Were 9.2 file names possible in MS-DOS?

In MS-DOS (and FAT16), you could only have 8.3 file names (like QUESTION.TXT) with only single-case letters and numbers (and a few symbols). The MS-DOS Editor also defaulted to 8.3 - typing edit ...
14
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2answers
5k views

What is the best way to obtain old versions of MS-DOS and Windows?

I'm wondering what the best way obtain old versions of Windows would be, specifically: DOS Windows 95 Windows 98/SE Windows 2000/ME Windows XP Professional Windows 7 Professional Microsoft Office for ...
12
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7answers
5k views

Is there a reason why MS-DOS didn't use more English words for commands?

When using diskpart, I can list all the drives by typing LIST DISK or to select a specific drive I can type select disk 1. Is there a reason why MS-DOS didn't use more English words to do tasks, for ...
10
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4answers
1k views

How did DOS know where to load itself in upper memory?

If I remember correctly, you could ask DOS to load in upper memory by writing something like... DOS=UMB ...somewhere in the CONFIG.SYS file. But the question is, how did DOS know what portions of ...
10
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5answers
2k views

Invert LCD screen in DOS 5.0

Would like to run "black on white" software on a DOS machine with an LCD screen, so am wondering if there are any TSR tools, or similar, for inverting the screen. I believe it is grey scale VGA, not ...
20
votes
1answer
824 views

Logo of a bow tie guy with a spoon

I was in the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley last week, and I saw this badge. I know I've seen that logo somewhere before, but I can't remember where! Does anyone know where it's from?
14
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5answers
2k views

Can I run Windows 98 and games from the same era on an AMD Duron CPU?

I have acquired an old motherboard with a socket 462 and a AMD Duron (I think its a "Spitfire" model 3). The copyright on the CPU is from 1999 and it apparently doesn't require a dedicated CPU fan as ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Timing interrupts on MS-DOS

On the ZX Spectrum, you get an interrupt every frame. As I recall, the operating system uses this to periodically scan the keyboard and probably other things also, but you can have your own routine ...
9
votes
7answers
3k views

Transfer files to DOS over serial cable from Linux?

I have a modern Linux computer and a 286 computer running DOS. I would like to transfer files from the Linux computer to the DOS computer over a null modem serial cable. I know you can use INTERLINK....
5
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2answers
2k views

Why the “jmp” instruction is not working?

I have written the following program in debug.exe: 1165:0100 mov ah, 09 1165:0102 mov dx, 107 1165:0105 int 21 1165:0107 db 'Hello World', 0A, 0D, '$' 1165:0115 jmp 1165:0100 However, when I ...
5
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1answer
2k views

Building a DOS/Win95/98 computer from scratch [closed]

I'd like to build a DOS/Win95/98 computer in order to play old PC games I have without emulation. Here are a few games I'd like to run: Teranova: Strike Force Centauri; System Shock 1 and 2; Half-...
15
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3answers
2k views

Who decides what is the memory address that the CGA video buffer will be mapped to?

In DOS, the memory mapped IO base address for the CGA video buffer is 0xB8000. So when you write to 0xB8000, you are actually writing to a buffer in the CGA card itself and not to RAM. What I want to ...
8
votes
1answer
717 views

Which MS-/PC-DOS version was the first to allow multiple partitions to be used?

For IBM PC-DOS/Microsoft MS-DOS, which version was the first version to actually allow using more than one partition for data storage? How about using multiple primary partitions vs one primary plus ...
6
votes
5answers
409 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 ...
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?
3
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1answer
323 views

Is there any virtual hard disk driver over serial port?

NOTE: I'm not looking for a way to transfer files from Linux to DOS over Serial cable Is there any MS-DOS driver to enable a new hard-disk drive (let's say D:), using a disk image on another ...