old DOS programs on WINDOWS XP

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apl

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When I ordered my new Dell 4600 series computer I specified that I needed DOS installed. They assured me that was no problem. When the Home Installation person came today, he refused to install the computer because he said my old DOS program would cause it to crash. I have talked to several Dell technicians and get totally confusing answers. One says that there is still a DOS facility on the computer. Another says that only WINDOWS 2000 will run DOS programs. Still another says I should have no problem unless the program is too old. The program I need to run is IBM's PE - which was an inhouse program written in the 80s. I know its old but it does what I need for my business and I have never found another which will. One tech said I could install WINDOWS 2000 on the same computer as XP and run it on that. Another said it absolutely would not work. I don't know what to do. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
APL
 
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It's a new computer, right? Did it come with a recover CD?

If so, why not install the DOS program and see if it works? If it messes up your Windows you can just use the recovery CD to put it back to the way it came. I haven't seen a DOS program that will mess up Windows, but you never know.

Most DOS programs will work under XP, but not all will. It depends on exactly what they do - for instance if they try to directly access a serial port they probably won't work. But if it doesn't do anything odd it will probably run just fine.
 

apl

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Thank you so much for the encouragement. The computer is not hooked up. The Tech Help who was sent to install it refused to touch it when he heard the word DOS - began to yell at me that there is no such thing as DOS any more - it doesn't exist. Oh well. I have another techie friend who has offered to try it on his computer. In the mean time I am returning this system to Dell and will look elsewhere for a new computer. Bummer! I've enjoyed my five previous Dell systems and never had a complaint until now. It's good to know that there is hope of being able to run the old DOS program on a new computer - it is really necessary for my business. Thanks again. APL
 
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Someone who was setting up your brand new computer actually yelled at you? That's insane!

And to tell you that DOS simply won't work is also insane, though I suppose it is possible he hasn't been around for very long and simply doesn't know any better.

None of which is an excuse for yelling at a customer.
 

JohnWill

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I'm stunned that Dell sent such a retard to interface with a customer! Hell, I thought their phone people were bad enough!

There are several ways to run your DOS application, depending on exactly what it's requirements are. You can either run it in a DOS session, using the compatibility mode that 2K and XP offer, or setup a dual-boot and run a true MS-DOS system to run that particular application. Contrary to popular opinion, it's pretty easy to slide an MS-DOS dual-boot in after the fact with 2K or XP, I've done it a number of times. The only change is you'll have to have the boot partition formatted FAT32 to allow DOS to boot if you need the true DOS capability.
 
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Dual boot would work, sure... though it would need to be FAT16 if you really want DOS - FAT32 was introduced with Windows 95B.

In any case, I hadn't even though about that... if you still have original DOS disks it wouldn't be too hard to make a dual boot system... but is that what you want? Do you want to have to power down and restart each time you run this DOS application?
 

JohnWill

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No need for FAT16, I've never found an MS-DOS application that wouldn't run with the DOS7 that was the foundation of W98.

Note that my first recommendation was to check out running in a DOS session with compatibility mode. :)
 
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We are talking about different things here.

You said a dual boot to true DOS, which led me to talking about actual DOS disks. True DOS doesn't support FAT32.

Certainly DOS programs will work with it if you boot with Windows to a command prompt, but that's not what I meant.
 

JohnWill

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OK, what is "true DOS"? I'm talking about using MS-DOS 7, the foundation that W98 runs on, for the DOS boot. I'm NOT talking about MS-DOS 6.22, which you correctly state only supports FAT16.
 
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You answered your own question :)

True DOS is 6.22 or before. A version of DOS that was actually released as DOS, not as a subset of Windows.

There are some commands that are in 6.22 that don't appear in the Windows versions, though it's been so damn long since I've played around in DOS that I don't remember what they are. I do remember being annoyed that some of them had gone away though. I must be getting old...
 

JohnWill

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Actually, Microsoft had an addendum download for the "missing" commands in MS-DOS, so you don't lose anything.

In any case, by whatever name you call it, you can use DOS7 for running those "true DOS" applications without issue with a FAT32 filesystem. :)
 
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