open circa 1989 DOS program in XP Command Prompt

February 24, 2012 at 08:53:06
Specs: Windows XP, 3.00 GHz
Need to add CONFIG.SYS to root directory to open MS DOS prog. The 1989 program said that config file must have FILES=20 BUFFERS=15.

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February 24, 2012 at 09:24:42
A CONFIG.SYS file is not used in XP. The only purpose for such a file would be to keep some old DOS applications happy. The file won't do anything but it will prevent the application from complaining that it isn't there. If you need such entries you would add them to the CONFIG.NT file found in the system32 folder.

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February 24, 2012 at 11:00:51

Googling is quicker than waiting for an answer....

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February 25, 2012 at 06:48:20

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February 25, 2012 at 07:33:10
LMiller7, Thanks for the reply. I found the System32 folder, and within is the CONFIG.NT file. I cannot open that file. I received this guidance (4 vendors) to open it:,,, and

They all say "free", but I am hesitant to let them get into my computer... hooked onto a series of fees to allegedly fix my registers, etc.?

Do you have any experience in these situations, or how to open the CONFIG.NT, file without going through all their fiddling (scanning) with my computer?

Really appreciate your attention.


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February 25, 2012 at 08:58:14
What Dos program are you trying to load ?

E.g. If it's a Dos game, there are Dos emulators that people have come up with relatively recently that you can load for many of them, before you follow a modified procedure to install the game.

See Jolicloud's link.
XP has a virtual Dos machine - it can modify Config.nt, if you need to, but that virtual Dos machine certainly does NOT make all Dos programs work fine in XP.

There are "Dos box" programs you can install in XP that work fine with a lot more Dos programs.

There's Microsoft's Virtual PC that you can install in XP that can run virtually all Dos programs.
The oldest version - Virtual PC 2004 - has support for installing Dos - however it's complicated to install it and the Dos operating system - your Dos program will probably run fine in Dos 6.2, or Dos 6, or Dos 5.


Virtual PC 2004 SP1

What Works and What Doesn't in Microsoft Virtual PC 2004


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February 25, 2012 at 10:32:43

DOS program: Audit Program Generator Version 2.0 from American Inst. of CPAs (AICPA). Retired, but doing volunteer work for a charity. Wanted to see if I could replicate the formatting that program had onto an Excel 2010 template. Do you have a specific recommendation for possibly opening that professional software.

Before being on this site, I checked with AICPA to see if they had a Windows version of that old program. Not available.

Thanks for your interest!

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February 25, 2012 at 11:00:13
"See Jolicloud's link.
XP has a virtual Dos machine - it can modify Config.nt, if you need to, but that virtual Dos machine certainly does NOT make all Dos programs work fine in XP."

If the program won't work fine with that, then it probably will work fine if you install Virtual PC 2004 AND install a Dos operating system in it, but that's a lot more work.

If you just want to convert existing files from that Dos program to Excel files, there may or may not be file converting programs on the web that you can use to do that.
Search for something such as:
- convert Audit Program Generator files to Excel files
- convert *.(the file extension) files to Excel files

It could be there is a file converter built into Excel.
Look for Import in Excel - does it list the file type you want to convert ?

A Dos program that was first released in 1989 is relatively ancient.
Dos 4.0 was first released in 1988 but most people never used it and waited for Dos 5.0 to come out
Dos 6.0 was first released in 1991.
Windows 3.1 first came out in 1992 - it required Dos 5.0 or higher.

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February 25, 2012 at 12:00:39

I truly believe your suggestions will lead me to something. I had not even thought there would be a chance of converting existing files from said Dos program to an Excel file.

"By replicating" it, I meant just looking at how that old program was set up to capture a sequence of audit steps and then I would make one set of cells in Excel to replicate that. In other words, format a template with blank spaces for the auditor's work.

Once one set of blank Excel cells is set up, I copy the set multiple times, then expand into needed categories (like an outline) of the entire audit, to format something our volunteer-efforts-audit committee can apply to the church setting. I just could not remember how the format was set up... but was worthy of seeing again. All practice records have been mass shredded.

This Forum is unbelievable; such wonderful sharing people! God bless all of you.

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February 25, 2012 at 12:58:08
"God bless all of you."

Thanks for that. We don't get that often.

I have not used Excel, other than using a Microsoft free Excel reader to read existing Excel files, mostly Soccer schedules and related for my relatives when they were or are playing Soccer.

Do you have printouts of the Dos program's files you can consult ?
If you're not concerned about converting existing files from the Dos program, if you have printouts, that will give you the info with which you could manually make similar in Excel.

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February 26, 2012 at 10:17:56
No need to look for some "special" program to open/edit config.nt and /or autoexec.nt. Just use Notepad.

Here is a snippet of the default config.nt:

REM CONFIG.SYS is not used to initialize the MS-DOS environment.
REM CONFIG.NT is used to initialize the MS-DOS environment unless a
REM different startup file is specified in an application's PIF.

Using Notepad, read through the default config.nt and autoecec.nt files. That may give you some relevant clues.

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February 27, 2012 at 12:57:47
One of the service packs removed the old config and autoexec files. You need to return them.
You can't open them because they have been deleted. See microsoft's site how to return them or use a rename from old files as above.

Be careful with the rename of bat to nt as some residual entries may cause some issues.. Some old settings in there may need to be adjusted.

You could run a free virtual machine with freedos too or a clone of your old system.

A Pit Bull is like a gun you can pet. And there is no safety on it.

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March 20, 2012 at 13:47:52
You can open CONFIG.NT with any ordinary text editor, like Notepad. The same goes for AUTOEXEC.NT, if you need to add entries to that.

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