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Will MS-DOS 3.x run on a modern PC?

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#1
JorgeA

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Two questions for which I'm hoping that someone(s) can provide an answer:

I.
If I install a floppy drive on a modern computer and put an MS-DOS boot disk in it, then power cycle the PC -- will the computer boot into DOS? :angel

And supposing that it does, is it safe to try to get it to read from and write to an NTFS hard disk? I know that DOS doesn't know anything about NTFS, but the question is: will it screw up the hard disk if I try?

II.
As an alternative, just for the fun of it I've been toying with the idea of copying some of my old MS-DOS 3.1 or 3.3 5.25" floppies over to a computer that can take, for example, COMMAND.COM and CONFIG.SYS to create and burn a bootable ISO on a CD. The trouble might be porting the hidden system files (IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS) so that they can become part of the ISO and boot the system. Is this possible, or is it a pipe dream?

Then there is the fact that these are 16-bit operating systems, whereas modern PCs will be 32- or 64-bit systems.

***

Of course, if I want the authentic "retro" experience, I can simply fire up my still-functional Sanyo MBC-550 :wub: , load MS-DOS, and launch WordStar. But I'm curious to see if the same thing is possible on a current computer without resorting to something like DOSbox.

All insights are welcome!

--JorgeA


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#2
ScrewUpgrading

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Are you trying to burn an iso from DOS? Or trying to burn an ISO of DOS 3.0? Can you clarify that.

Anyway here's my thoughts:

1
You could get the floppy drive installed and working, you might even get the floppy disk to load whatever version of DOS is on it, but it probably won't do anything more than load into memory. If you type "Dir c:" and it returns an error, then obviously it won't read a NTFS drive. The drive has to be formatted first to FAT32.

Getting your plain DOS 3.0 floppies to run on anything newer than a 1995-era computer will take work. (The last real version of DOS, meaning it wasn't buried underneath Windows 9x, was version 6.22. And it had limits as far as hard disk size, partitions, and the amount of RAM it could handle. Newer hardware is simply too big.)

You can look up the exact data on the net because I'm not sure. I would Google "Dos Ram limit" or "Dos hard disk limit." Something to that effect.

2
As far as your alternative. Anytime you try and mix different versions of DOS, it will give you an error stating "incorrect version of Format.com," or whatever program you try to swap.

For example, you cannot take the "command" or "fdisk" from DOS 3.0 and expect them to work with system files from DOS 6. It will give you an "incorrect version" error. They're not inter-changeable like that.

I'd like to help. Could you be more specific exactly what you want to do...

Edited by ScrewUpgrading, 23 October 2011 - 02:55 AM.


#3
jaclaz

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With all due respect, using any MS-DOS earlier than 5.0 is asking for trouble. :ph34r:
6.22 is better, and of course 7.x's are even better.
Strangely enough they are backwards compatible at - say 99.99% - so you have to provide some substantial reason to run an earlier version.

If I install a floppy drive on a modern computer and put an MS-DOS boot disk in it, then power cycle the PC -- will the computer boot into DOS?

Yes.

And supposing that it does, is it safe to try to get it to read from and write to an NTFS hard disk? I know that DOS doesn't know anything about NTFS, but the question is: will it screw up the hard disk if I try?

There is NO such thing as a NTFS hard disk, there can be a NTFS partition or volume or filesystem, NOT a hard disk.


A NTFS partition/volume has in the hard disk MBR a partition ID of 07.
DOS will think (it depends on the version) either that it is an unknown partition or that it is an HPFS (anyone remembers OS/2?) or a NTFS one and WON'T touch it.
Mind you that FDISK or other partition utilities may be able to delete it nonetheless.
If you use a decently recent MS-DOS (the 7.x and 8.x work, I cannot say the 6.22) you can use the NTFS4DOS driver to access R/W a NTFS partition or use the old NTFSDOS Sysinternals driver to aceess it Read Only.
Earlier DOSes won't even be able to see/access properly partition types:
http://www.win.tue.n...on_types-1.html

0b WIN95 OSR2 FAT32
Partitions up to 2047GB. See Partition Types

0c WIN95 OSR2 FAT32, LBA-mapped
Extended-INT13 equivalent of 0b.

0e WIN95: DOS 16-bit FAT, LBA-mapped

0f WIN95: Extended partition, LBA-mapped

Please note how *any partition* created/formatted in XP and later won't use anymore types:

05 DOS 3.3+ Extended Partition
Supports at most 8.4 GB disks: with type 05 DOS/Windows will not use the extended BIOS call, even if it is available. See type 0f below. Using type 05 for extended partitions beyond 8 GB may lead to data corruption with MSDOS.

An extended partition is a box containing a linked list of logical partitions. This chain (linked list) can have arbitrary length, but some FDISK versions refuse to make more logical partitions than there are drive letters available (e.g. MS-DOS LASTDRIVE=26 is good for at most 24 disk partitions; Novell DOS 7+ allows LASTDRIVE=32).

06 DOS 3.31+ 16-bit FAT (over 32M)
Partitions, or at least the FAT16 filesystems created on them, are at most 2 GB for DOS and Windows 95/98 (at most 65536 clusters, each at most 32 KB). Windows NT can create up to 4 GB FAT16 filesystems (using 64 KB clusters), but these cause problems for DOS and Windows 95/98. Note that VFAT is 16-bit FAT with long filenames; FAT32 is a different filesystem.

(in practice the ONLY partitions types that DOS pre 7.x can use (besides the "historical" 01 and 04), so you will have problems NOT only with NTFS access)

Rather than dosbox, you can use Qemu (+Qemu Manager) or any other VM on modern hardware.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 23 October 2011 - 03:25 AM.


#4
CoffeeFiend

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A couple other points:
-many apps of the time won't work on modern hardware (even if MS-DOS boots) for various reasons, including this
-running DOS and/or Win 3.x in a VM (as-is) will consume as much CPU power as it will be able to (look into dosidle)
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#5
allen2

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As NTFSDOS from Sysinternals require some files from a windows install, you might damage your ntfs partition with it if you use files too old as there are quite a few versions between nt4 versions and most recent one.

#6
rloew

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A bootable CD requires a boot image separate from the ISO. A DOS based bootable CD contains the IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS, COMMAND.COM, CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files in this boot image. When booted, it can then load an ISO driver that gives access to the ISO image.

It is also possible to create FAT based filesystems on CDs that can be booted. I have created Bootable Floppy and Hard Disk Emulation Disks that run DOS, and support writing as well, on DVD+RW and BD-RE Disks.
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#7
JorgeA

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Wow, what a great bunch of informative replies! That's why this Forum is so marvelous.

@ScrewUpgrading: The original idea was to create a bootable CD out of an '80s-era DOS disk, and boot from there. The thinking was that since modern computers don't have floppy drives, maybe it was possible to get the old DOS files onto a newer PC in order to burn a CD that could then boot a current PC into DOS.

Later on, pondering the complexities involved in doing that, I started to wonder if it would be possible, instead, to hook up a floppy disk drive on a modern PC and boot it into DOS. (I have one Pentium I computer with both a 3.5" FDD and a 5.25" FDD, so I could format a 3.5" floppy and transfer the system to it from an older 5.25" floppy using FORMAT A: /S.)

Either way, the intention wasn't to do any serious work with the setup. I just thought it would be neat to see if it would run, that's all.

@jaclaz -- Thanks for the warning, and for the information. I wouldn't be trying (necessarily) to do anything that involved reading or writing to the HDD. My main goal was to get the "real" MS-DOS 3 up on the screen. Writing to/reading from the HDD would be "icing on the cake," but it sounds like that's better left alone.

@CoffeeFiend -- That's quite a find regarding the CRT runtime error! Another issue diminishing the prospects of this whole idea.

@allen2: OK, this kills the notion of reading/writing the HDD. If I can even get this to work at all, I'll keep strictly to the floppy drive and/or the CD.

@rloew -- A ray of hope. How do we get a usable IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS from DOS 3.x onto a CD?

Thanks, guys!

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA, 23 October 2011 - 03:46 PM.


#8
rloew

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@rloew -- A ray of hope. How do we get a usable IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS from DOS 3.x onto a CD?

The easiest way is to create a 1.2MB or 1.44MB Bootable Floppy Disk, make an Image of it and burn a CD using the Floppy Image as a Boot Image.
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#9
dencorso

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Although arriving late, I think I have some interesting info:
My A7V600-X, with an overclocked Athlon XP, boots all right every version of DOS up to DOS 8.0
PC-DOS 1.00 (1981) and 1.10 (1982), as well MS-DOS 5.00-6.22, 7.00, 7.10 and 8.00 boot as is.
PC-DOS 2.00-4.01 and MS-DOS 2.00-4.01 will boot provided I disable the VIA SATA BIOS, otherwise they'll hang.
CP/M-86 1.1 (1983) boots as is, with my nVidia GeForce2 MX 400 and with a plain GeForce 5200 FX, but will hang with any nVidia GeForce having an on-card DVI connector. CP/M-86 has no problems with the VIA SATA BIOS, however. This is what I found out for my hardware. I did not explore these results further, nor do I think I'll ever have time to do it. It should be pointed out that these results are for the bare hardware, not for any type of Virtual Machine.

#10
jaclaz

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As NTFSDOS from Sysinternals require some files from a windows install, you might damage your ntfs partition with it if you use files too old as there are quite a few versions between nt4 versions and most recent one.

Not with the available Freeware Sysinternals version, which is READ ONLY.

@JorgeA
JFYI you can also have a grub4dos (or isolinux/memdisk) based CD holding as many Floppy images as they fit inside it and boot them as memory (or directly) mapped floppies.

jaclaz

#11
jds

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Well, pre-7.10 MS-DOS will not recognize/support FAT32 and pre-7.00 MS-DOS will not recognize/support LBA, so that limits you to using only the first 7.8G of any hard drive, and FAT16 partitions (of 2G maximum).

In addition, MS-DOS 3.3 will be missing a number of Int21-6C functions, which can cause problems with some modern applications, although you can get partial support in my 'util2.zip' bundle : http://www.geocities...au/general.html

As for NTFS, if missing Int21 functions don't prevent their use, there have been a number of drivers for DOS to give read or read/write support - but use with care!

One place you can get a sample boot CD which includes various NTFS drivers is Hiren's Boot CD (search the web). The earlier editions were a bit notorious due to copyright infringement issues, but more recent editions have largely culled such works.

A couple other points:
-many apps of the time won't work on modern hardware (even if MS-DOS boots) for various reasons, including this


Ah, the infamous RTE 200 bug! No worries, I have packaged the two best/safest solutions for this issue (one is best suited when you have source, the other when you don't) here : http://www.geocities..._au/pascal.html

Joe.

Edited by jds, 25 October 2011 - 12:51 AM.


#12
jaclaz

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One place you can get a sample boot CD which includes various NTFS drivers is Hiren's Boot CD (search the web). The earlier editions were a bit dubious/interesting due to copyright infringement issues, but more recent editions have largely culled such works.

Besides distributing a mini edition of XP (actually a pre-built PE 1.x) :ph34r: . (which still is a Copyright infringement or however an infringement of the MS EULA)
Until there are UNredistributable files inside it, that will remain WAREZ, IMNSHO.

jaclaz

Edited by jaclaz, 24 October 2011 - 05:49 AM.


#13
jds

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Besides distributing a mini edition of XP (actually a pre-built PE 1.x) :ph34r: . (which still is a Copyright infringement or however an infringement of the MS EULA)
Until there are UNredistributable files inside it, that will remain WAREZ, IMNSHO.

I agree entirely.

Actually, I'd forgotten about that XP stuff, since I've never used it. I had noticed that other commercial applications were being culled in the newer releases, presumably due to complaints by their respective copyright holders.

It's a shame about these copyright issues and hopefully these will be fully addressed in future releases, because there are a lot of other useful DOS utilities and drivers there, that are very difficult to find.

Joe.

PS. Maybe the solution for the XP issue would be to do something along the lines of BartPE ... ?

Edited by jds, 25 October 2011 - 12:59 AM.


#14
jaclaz

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PS. Maybe the solution for the XP issue would be to do something along the lines of BartPE ... ?

Or maybe the solution would be simpy to provide the actual redistributable utilities ONLY? :whistle:

And rest assured there are already some - IMNSHO completely out of their mind :w00t: - but otherwise very good guys :thumbup - that do support in strange ways that WAREZ release.

jaclaz

#15
dencorso

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Folks, will you please stop hijacking this thread and move on?

#16
JorgeA

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@rloew -- A ray of hope. How do we get a usable IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS from DOS 3.x onto a CD?

The easiest way is to create a 1.2MB or 1.44MB Bootable Floppy Disk, make an Image of it and burn a CD using the Floppy Image as a Boot Image.

rloew,

Great idea, thank you! I'll try that as soon as I get the chance.

If I add (for example) WordStar to this floppy image, can I then launch WordStar from the same CD?

--JorgeA

Edited by JorgeA, 30 October 2011 - 02:45 PM.


#17
JorgeA

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Although arriving late, I think I have some interesting info:
My A7V600-X, with an overclocked Athlon XP, boots all right every version of DOS up to DOS 8.0
PC-DOS 1.00 (1981) and 1.10 (1982), as well MS-DOS 5.00-6.22, 7.00, 7.10 and 8.00 boot as is.
PC-DOS 2.00-4.01 and MS-DOS 2.00-4.01 will boot provided I disable the VIA SATA BIOS, otherwise they'll hang.
CP/M-86 1.1 (1983) boots as is, with my nVidia GeForce2 MX 400 and with a plain GeForce 5200 FX, but will hang with any nVidia GeForce having an on-card DVI connector. CP/M-86 has no problems with the VIA SATA BIOS, however. This is what I found out for my hardware. I did not explore these results further, nor do I think I'll ever have time to do it. It should be pointed out that these results are for the bare hardware, not for any type of Virtual Machine.


dencorso,

This is all very good to know! In a way, it's reassuring to learn that it's still possible to boot a fairly recent machine with DOS 1.

Sorry I didn't get to reply sooner. It was a hectic week, capped by a Saturday snowstorm that felled trees and cut our power. :angry:

--JorgeA

#18
JorgeA

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@JorgeA
JFYI you can also have a grub4dos (or isolinux/memdisk) based CD holding as many Floppy images as they fit inside it and boot them as memory (or directly) mapped floppies.

jaclaz

jaclaz,

Another interesting possibility. I'll have to look into how to create such a CD. Grazie!

--JorgeA

#19
rloew

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@rloew -- A ray of hope. How do we get a usable IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS from DOS 3.x onto a CD?

The easiest way is to create a 1.2MB or 1.44MB Bootable Floppy Disk, make an Image of it and burn a CD using the Floppy Image as a Boot Image.

rloew,

Great idea, thank you! I'll try that as soon as I get the chance.

If I add (for example) WordStar to this floppy image, can I then launch WordStar from the same CD?

--JorgeA

Nearly anything that can run from a Floppy can be run from a CD. Windows and Disk Utilities are another story.
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#20
JorgeA

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Nearly anything that can run from a Floppy can be run from a CD. Windows and Disk Utilities are another story.

Very neat -- thank you! I'll put WordStar and InfoStar on the CD and see what happens.

--JorgeA

#21
dencorso

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This is all very good to know! In a way, it's reassuring to learn that it's still possible to boot a fairly recent machine with DOS 1.

Sorry I didn't get to reply sooner. It was a hectic week, capped by a Saturday snowstorm that felled trees and cut our power. :angry:


Glad to know you're well and everything is all right. That's what matters most.
And yes it is reassuring for sure. I guess all machines having BIOS and at least one emulated floppy (a CD/DVD, for instance) can do it. And you can boot from a floppy image residing in the HDD, too, using Grub4DOS.
Now, machines having EFI instead of BIOS probably cannot.

#22
dencorso

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Although arriving late, I think I have some interesting info:
My A7V600-X, with an overclocked Athlon XP, boots all right every version of DOS up to DOS 8.0
PC-DOS 1.00 (1981) and 1.10 (1982), as well MS-DOS 5.00-6.22, 7.00, 7.10 and 8.00 boot as is.
PC-DOS 2.00-4.01 and MS-DOS 2.00-4.01 will boot provided I disable the VIA SATA BIOS, otherwise they'll hang.
CP/M-86 1.1 (1983) boots as is, with my nVidia GeForce2 MX 400 and with a plain GeForce 5200 FX, but will hang with any nVidia GeForce having an on-card DVI connector. CP/M-86 has no problems with the VIA SATA BIOS, however. This is what I found out for my hardware. I did not explore these results further, nor do I think I'll ever have time to do it. It should be pointed out that these results are for the bare hardware, not for any type of Virtual Machine.


dencorso,

This is all very good to know! In a way, it's reassuring to learn that it's still possible to boot a fairly recent machine with DOS 1.
Sorry I didn't get to reply sooner. It was a hectic week, capped by a Saturday snowstorm that felled trees and cut our power. :angry:

--JorgeA

 
I have reproduced the above results with my new machine. It's an Asus P8Z68-V LX with an Intel Core i7 3770K (Ivy Bridge) on it.
The main problem was how to perform any test in a board that has only SATA devices and no floppy disk drives at all, when I intended to turn SATA off. The solution was to use an external USB 2.0 CD/DVD reader/burner. So there it is: still I can boot PC-DOS 1.00 and 1.10, as well as MS-DOS 5.00 - 8.00 flawlessly, regardles of whether the SATA devices are turned on or off, but only when they are turned off can I boot PC-DOS 2.00-4.01 or MS-DOS 3.00-4.01 !!! So, it's not some quirck related to the VIA 8237 implementation of SATA (150, BTW) nor is it related to the Intel Z68 implementation of SATA (600, BTW): it is related to SATA in general, probably at the most basic and general level of the SATA standard... and it might be worthy of investigating while there still is hardware in which one can turn SATA on and off at will. Of course there's no real use for those really old legacy versions of DOS, but that, IMO, does not lessen the interest in finding out what DOS used to do that so utterly breaks down the workings of SATA to the point of freezing the machine.
 
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