How to run really old DOS program in an XP window?

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Alan MacR

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I have two old, old DOS programs that I need to see simultaneously in two windows for my work. I can do this fine in Win 95 and 98SE, but on systems running Win 2000 or XP home, one of the programs insists on running full screen (even in Win 95 emulation mode), rather than in a window. I think it has direct-to-screen writes of some kind.

This situation is preventing me from buying a new computer with XP. Is there some way to force an old program like this to run in a resizable window under XP? Is the problem the modern video cards, not the OS?

Thanks,

Alan
 
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Mar 8, 2004
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This might help,copied directly from Help and Support:
Getting older programs to run on Windows XP
Most programs run properly on Windows XP. The exceptions are some older games and other programs that were written specifically for an earlier version of Windows. To run your program on Windows XP, try the following:

Run the Program Compatibility Wizard. As an alternative, you can set the compatibility properties manually.
Update your program, drivers, or hardware.
These options are covered in detail below.

The Program Compatibility Wizard
This wizard prompts you to test your program in different modes (environments) and with various settings. For example, if the program was originally designed to run on Windows 95, set the compatibility mode to Windows 95 and try running your program again. If successful, the program will start in that mode each time. The wizard also allows you to try different settings, such as switching the display to 256 colors and the screen resolution to 640 x 480 pixels.

If compatibility problems prevent you from installing a program on Windows XP, run the Program Compatibility Wizard on the setup file for the program. The file may be called Setup.exe or something similar, and is probably located on the Installation disc for the program.

To run the Program Compatibility Wizard
Start the Program Compatibility Wizard.
Follow the instructions in the wizard.
Note

To start the Program Compatibility Wizard, click Start, click Help and Support, click Find compatible hardware and software for Windows XP, and then, under See Also in the navigation pane, click Program Compatibility Wizard.
Set the compatibility properties manually
As an alternative to running the Program Compatibility Wizard, you can set the compatibility properties for a program manually. The settings are the same as the options in the Program Compatibility Wizard.

To set the compatibility properties for a program manually
Right-click the program icon on your desktop or the shortcut on the Start menu for the program you want to run, and then click Properties.
Click the Compatibility tab, and change the compatibility settings for your program.
Notes

The Compatibility tab is only available for programs installed on your hard drive. Although you can run the Program Compatibility Wizard on programs or setup files on a CD-ROM or floppy disk, your changes will not remain in effect after you close the program.
For more information about an option on the Compatibility tab, right-click the option and then click What's This.
Update your program or drivers
If your program does not run correctly after testing it with the Program Compatibility Wizard, check the Web for updates or other fixes, as follows:

Check the Web site of the program's manufacturer to see if an update or patch is available.
Check Windows Update to see if a fix is available for the program. Click Home on the menu bar of Help and Support Center, then click Windows Update in the right pane.
If the program is a game that uses DirectX, ensure that you are using the latest version of DirectX. In addition, check the Web site of the manufacturer of your video card or sound card to see if newer drivers are available for either of them.
Related Topics
 

Alan MacR

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Apr 18, 2004
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Thanks Rude, but I've already tried that!

The problem program is so old that its writer ceased support ages ago and is unreachable (in the grave, for all I know).

Thanks again--
 
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Looks like you'll have to buy one of those old boat anchors to run it then.
 
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Nov 2, 2002
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I thought the compatiblity wizard was for old Windows programs. Didn't think it did anything with DOS. Unfortunately some of those older DOS programs that wrote directly to hardware will not work under a NT based OS.

What error do you get?
Does it start but you just can't figure a way to resize the screen?
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2004
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Have you tried setting up a pif file for the program? I too have old progs that I just cant seem to let go of and this has worked for me. Essentially sets up vm's for the prog
 

Couriant

James
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Mar 26, 2002
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Try VDMSOUND. It will run old programs.

As for the sizing, I think there is an option to have it maximize and window, like in Win 95 / 98 / ME. Like right click the file, properties. Under advance I think you can change it there.
 

Alan MacR

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Apr 18, 2004
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Bob Cerelli said:
What error do you get?
Does it start but you just can't figure a way to resize the screen?
No error. It only runs full screen -- cannot be made to run in a window. When I try, it defaults to full screen.
 
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Aug 21, 2003
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Assuming you've copied to program to your hard drive, have you tried Tidus4Yuna's suggestion of going into the .exe or shortcut properties and on the Options tab setting the Display Options to Window?

MBN
 

Alan MacR

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Apr 18, 2004
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5
MustBNuts said:
...have you tried going into the .exe or shortcut properties and on the Options tab setting the Display Options to Window?

MBN
Been there, done that! It still goes to full screen.
 
Joined
Apr 17, 2004
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Just a thought, have you tried starting a dos window (Start- Run - command) and then try to run the program in that window?
 
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