|Thanks everyone for the suggestions.|
Allow me to further explain my situation.
I've ran these DOS programs under XP SP2 on two desktops for a long time. I use a piece of free software called USERPORT to "open up" the segment of memory used by the parallel port and all was well.
Also was successful with my DOS programs and USERPORT on a couple of Dell laptops running Windows 2000.
My DOS programs generate text files of data as a result of the measurements made by my electronic test equipment. Those text files show up in a Windows folder and I can import them into Excel for further manipulation and analysis.
A similar arrangement has failed with an IBM Thinkpad and a Dell Latitude D610, both running XP SP2. USERPORT successfully opens up the parallel port memory segment, but it also disables the laptop keyboard. Without the keyboard, I am unable to use the DOS programs. It's the quintessential Catch-22: I need USERPORT to enable the parallel port, but its successful application disables the keyboard :(
The disabled keyboard resulting from the use of XP SP2 and USERPORT on a laptop is the situation which led me to my posting vis a vis DOS emulators.
The responses thus far focus on booting the PC to DOS. If I take that approach, how can I make the DOS-program-generated text files available to Windows? Won’t they be in a partition which XP cannot/will not read?