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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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20 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
209 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 ...
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) ...
19 votes
4 answers
11k views

How to keep running DOS 16 bit applications when Windows 11 drops NTVDM

I have a business client who runs an old DOS 16-bit accounting and point-of-sale system in his industrial supply warehouse. He does not want to switch from the legacy DOS application since all of his ...
3 votes
3 answers
911 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 -? ...
23 votes
3 answers
4k 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 ...
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 ...
21 votes
2 answers
3k views

How can a protected-mode Watcom C program access memory that a real-mode interrupt service returned in a segment:offset register pair?

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 ...
2 votes
0 answers
358 views

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 ...
6 votes
2 answers
455 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
684 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 ...
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 ...
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/...
12 votes
1 answer
384 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 ...
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 ...
78 votes
4 answers
26k views

Why is Windows using CR+LF and Unix just LF when Unix is the older system?

Windows and MS-DOS use the control characters CR+LF (carriage return ASCII 13 followed by line feed ASCII 10) for new lines, while Unix uses just LF. As far as I know CR+LF made sense for systems ...
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 ...
11 votes
1 answer
1k views

What's the easiest way to change from MS-DOS 6.22 to DR-DOS?

I am trying to find a way to do task-switching/swapping (not necessarily multi-tasking) in a DOS environment. I have tried DesqView under DOS 6.22 but I don't have any real success. I hear that DR-DOS ...
24 votes
16 answers
6k 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 ...
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 ...
9 votes
0 answers
560 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 ...
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 ...
1 vote
0 answers
172 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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
552 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, ...
7 votes
2 answers
413 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, ...
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 ...
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. ...
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 ...
14 votes
10 answers
3k 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 ...
19 votes
3 answers
2k views

How to use the "darker" CGA palette using x86 Assembly?

For those of you retro developers out there, I am having a hard time figuring out how exactly to select the "darker" color palette in 320x200 CGA mode. Here's what I have so far: setup_cga_graphics: ...
3 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
893 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 ...
4 votes
1 answer
304 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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
1k 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 ...
15 votes
1 answer
1k 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?
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 (...
11 votes
3 answers
1k views

How can I boot or extract files from an IBM PS/1 with a DoubleSpace-compressed hard drive?

I’m trying to boot an old IBM PS/1, mostly with the intention to read out its hard disk. I realized quickly that the original floppy disk drive was broken, so I replaced it with a Gotek floppy ...
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 ...
31 votes
5 answers
6k views

What really is a sound card driver in MS-DOS?

To my knowledge, neither MS-DOS nor BIOS offers any kind of API for sound cards. Therefore the concept of a "driver" is absent, as we know it today. Apart from accessories and sample files ...
31 votes
3 answers
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 ...
23 votes
1 answer
2k views

When was QDOS changed to MS-DOS?

So a while back, I heard that MS-DOS was originally named QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System), and that it was later changed is MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). This was probably a ...
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 ...
15 votes
4 answers
2k views

Looking for an open source DOS .com program written in assembly

I'm writing a NASM-compatible assembler targeting the Intel 8086, and I'm looking for an existing open source program written in assembly, with which I can showcase the capabilities (and understand ...
37 votes
2 answers
8k 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 votes
4 answers
7k 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 ...
8 votes
7 answers
7k 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 ...
3 votes
0 answers
258 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 ...
5 votes
1 answer
1k views

MS DOS 6.22 hangs on modern hardware after loading HIMEM.SYS

I am trying to run MS-DOS 6.22 on modern hardware. I successfully created bootable flash disk with MS-DOS 6.22. But when it starts with HIMEM.SYS enabled in CONFIG.SYS it hangs. Searching Internet the ...
2 votes
0 answers
241 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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