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MS-DOS database apps under Windows ME

By Z80man ·
Some of my customers recently wished to change their Windows 98 for Windows ME ; though I think it is mainly a gadget, and though it is obviously not a professional solution, they did so. Now I must find a way to have MS-DOS applications running under Windows ME.

There are 4 problems encountered, mainly because Windows ME deletes anything it finds in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT :

1 - The number of simultaneously opened files - solved using a directive line in SYSTEM.INI to replace the missing FILES=... directive (information found at Microsoft's online technical database), but even now, nothing about BUFFERS=... which I found very helpful in avoiding program locking while reindexing large files.

2 - The amount of conventional memory ; since EMM386.EXE can't be launched anymore for the reason above, there are about 580 K bytes left, which can be sufficient in most cases using overlays, but can be just too short in certain circumstances.

3 - The most annoying up to now : the keyboard is not configured correctly. I guess it's not a problem for american users, but for others (french, here), the ALT-GR key is disabled, so it becomes impossible to obtain any useful characters, such as ~,#,{,[,|,`,\,^,@,] and }. Well, not all so useful, but at least |,\ and @ ! Using ALT + ASCII codes remains a solution, but a bit uncomfortable...

4 - A strange bug I also found with Windows 2000 (at the beginning, I thought i was just a problem with the laptops LCD displays, becauseI first encountered the problem on a Toshiba with Windows 2000) : The MS-DOS prompt window is displayed normally, but any shortcut you create for an MS-DOS application causes the program to be displayed in the 25 first lines of a 50 lines display ! In full screen mode, that makes a "half screen mode" !!! And no way to correct the problem : the icon's properties show "25 lines display" !

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MS-DOS apps under Windows ME

by T[X]A In reply to MS-DOS database apps unde ...

Hi,

As far as I know, any Dos-application is a 16-bit appl. From a professional point of view, I deliver support for bankingsoftware.
Since our software requires a cardreader that is controlled by a 16-bit device-driver, it can unfortunately notbe used under Windows ME.
Cause: Windows ME is based on NT and only supports 32-bit applications.
On the issue of conventional memory, Win ME controls and "optimizes" it by using a rather large swapfile. (Like i.e. Win98 and NT)
On the issue of the keyboard: try to configure it like a Belgian (be) keyboard.
It has the same charset as a French one.

Hope to be of some help,

David.
UHD Engineer.

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paradox

by rkaye In reply to MS-DOS apps under Windows ...

so you are saying,

that old dinosaur, paradox,
wont run on ME!!!

ron

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...

by Z80man In reply to paradox

Well, I don't know about Paradox, but Clipper works fine. The simultaneous files number problem can be solved using the PerVMFiles directive in system.ini (Win ME is very strange, as there is not only no config.sys, but there is neither config.nt aswith Win NT and 2000) but there is still the problem of low standard memory and incomplete keyboard map.

Unless there is no solution, we'll have to force users to buy Win 2000 Pro instead of Win ME (that's just not easy to explain when they bought it from another hardware provider...)

As most people still want to play AND work at home with their PCs, a lot of local providers just install Win 98 on the computers and give the customers a Win ME CD-ROM !

I've recently got information on re-enabling voluntarily hidden DOS functionnalities on Win ME, but as I don't want to install that **** (I mean Win ME) on my machine, I couldn't test that yet.

As a conclusion, a little teaser : What use is Win ME ? Urging people to go for Linux !

Have a great year...

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Windows Me and Dos

by mgmguy1 In reply to ...

I am a Level one Tech at Best Buy Stores in Ft Myers Florida.
At Best Buy,All our machines have Windows Me.
Windows Me cannot use dos based programs.
I know ! I have had customers trying to get me and my other techs to get old Dos-based games or bussiness Apps to work on there ME systems.
I tell customers eather to up-grade to Windows 2000 Pro or ask the Vendor to make a Windows 98 recovery disk.

If anybody knows a way you can hack windows me to have it run Dos-based games or Apps ?
let me know.

Patrick
aka
MGMGUY1@AOL.COM

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In reply to your last post...

by Z80man In reply to Windows Me and Dos

Well, I recently collected information about re-activating hidden complete MS-DOS functionnalities from Windows ME but I hadn't time to test it, so I don't know if it can restore the use of himem.sys / emm386.exe and the national keyboard maps.

By the other hand, most resellers are now installing Windows 98 on their customers' PCs and give Windows ME OEM licences along with them ! I don't know what it's worth on a legal side, but this radical approach smells like failure for Microsoft...

Regarding MS-DOS program used in a straightforward manner with Windows ME, you can't really say they don't work : they just lack memory, files handles and a proper keyboard mapping, but they still "work" !

For the files handle, the solution is to place "PerVMFiles=225" (maximum value) at the [386Enh] section in SYSTEM.INI. For BUFFERS, EMM and KEYB xx, the question is still open, unless I can get to work the tricks I've got to try.

Still, there are the games you talked about. These programs make a direct use of the hardware resources, and thus have always been totally incompatible with either Windows versions (some DOS4GW games worked incredibly well directly launched from Windows 98, though ; it was a very great advantage of this version), so you had to restart under real mode MS-DOS to play them.
The ability to do so with Windows ME should solve the problem. I think you should try by yourself by tweaking the MSDOS.SYS startup directives file (by putting BootGUI=0, for instance).

Anyway, the only advantage for Windows 9x over any other OSs is the standardization of the multimedia capabilities through DirectX. Though some people claim it offers low perfomance, we at least are rid of all those dreadful installation and compatibility problems. Finally, gaming is not the real problem with ME, but serious working is. We were used to a versatile OS and we end with a poor, limited one...

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Clipper Works?

by bill_warren In reply to ...

I am a Clipper 5.3 DOS user and would appreciate any Tips on using our apps under ME. Many Thanks-Bill Warren

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No problem, but...

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Clipper Works?

As I said, the main problem was the maximum simultaneous opened files ; the "files=" parameters that was previously set in config.sys can be replaced by a "PerVMFiles=235" line in the [386Enh] section in system.ini (235 in the maximum in Windows ME).

The Second is the "buffers=" equivalent, that I didn't found until now. It may help with indexing huge files, but is not as critical as the "files=" instruction is, which alone will ensure that your CLipper application will run correctly.

DOSenvironment variables ("set ... = ...") still work (they are the only survivors...) so it won't be a problem to set "Clipper", "include", "lib" or "rtlink" variables for your programs and compiler.

The third problem is the available lower memory.Once again, this is more a problem with Clipper '87 than with Clipper 5.x, as the latter makes use of native dynamic overlays and EMS/XMS memory, available with himem.sys only, which normally is still automatically lauched by Windows (well, I hope so !). For Clipper '87 users, this is a real problem, as even using an overlaying linker (as BLinker, for instance), it still demands a lot of lower memory, needing to use EMM386.

The fourth problem concerned screen character sets/keyboard layouts and character code pages. Concerning the keyboard layout, it should be a bug in Windows ME first releases, it seems not to happen with the versions used now. It is still impossible to change the code page (well, I didn't dare using the convenient changecp.exe or chdoscp.exe provided with the previous Windows 95/98, but maybe they work or maybe they not... As I finally refused to upgrade my own system, I can't really experiment and do a mess of other people's computers !

The fifth problem concerns the number of lines displayed in full screen mode. The solution is similar to Windows 2000 (the shortcut properties).

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Running DOS apps under WinME

by cberding In reply to MS-DOS apps under Windows ...

I'm not sure if I found the info here, but the easiest way I found to run DOS apps under WinME was to boot with a Win98 boot disk.

I simply popped the boot disk in, restarted, and I was able to start in DOS mode, then access the programs I had onthe PC (I put it in it's own folder to be easy on my non-tech technician husband <G&gt.

It's a little annoying, but the program actually runs better than it did in a DOS window under Win98SE.

One thing, though, I can't wait for XP! Hopefully, they do a better job with this than ME has!

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Keeping the two altogether...

by Shanghai Sam In reply to Running DOS apps under Wi ...

Well, the principle stays to keep using Windows to launch programs, not returning back to stone age...

Actually, I always tried to find a system common configuration to ensure that most applications would run correctly from Windows, rather than restarting from DOS.

The best I found to now was to put EMM386 in EMS emulation mode (RAM parameter) : Lucasart games need this environment and it doesn't bother others ; it frees enough UMB memory for DOS applications ; as a bonus, it gives some EMS memory for Clipper 5.0 programs to use (I disable this feature in Clipper '87 programs, as it tends to crash, though it was intended to serve for index buffers).

Windows 98 could even (surprisingly) run DOS programs using DOS4GW that previouslyneeded to restart from DOS ; more surprisingly, they crash less often ! They run in full screen mode only, of course. Examples are Wing Commander/Privateer series games, Simon the Sorcerer and so on.

Unfortunately, the impossibility to tune up the system memory use with Windows ME would cause problems with all these. But the problem exposed was primarily to have serious (and much more simple, in terms of system resources use) applications running under DOS.

This is the very first time in all the history of Microsoft that it comes to be difficult. And the cause is nothing else than functions being deliberately hidden or disabled !

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Running DOS apps under WinME

by cberding In reply to MS-DOS apps under Windows ...

I'm not sure if I found the info here, but the easiest way I found to run DOS apps under WinME was to boot with a Win98 boot disk.

I simply popped the boot disk in, restarted, and I was able to start in DOS mode, then access the programs I had onthe PC (I put it in it's own folder to be easy on my non-tech technician husband <G&gt.

It's a little annoying, but the program actually runs better than it did in a DOS window under Win98SE.

One thing, though, I can't wait for XP! Hopefully, they do a better job with this than ME has!

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