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Can MS-DOS be used on a P-III laptop

September 6, 2018 at 22:51:30
Specs: MS-DOS
I use a word processor that can only be loaded in MS-DOS. No problems with that at home, I've got a P-II MS-DOS office computer.
Unfortunately, I can't load DOS in my recently acquired P-III laptop. The loading goes on for a bit, then fails.
Is it impossible to mount MS-DOS in a computer with a P-III CPU? Or will I have to buy a P-II laptop to make use of my DOS programs?


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September 7, 2018 at 02:12:39
No reason DOS won't work on a P-III, but that seems an incredible waste. Does the machine have an OS on it now? It would be more practical to use DOSBox if there's a Windows OS already installed.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

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September 7, 2018 at 15:41:39
"That seems an incredible waste." Which "that" are you referring to? That it would be a waste to have MS-DOS mounted on a P-III laptop, or that it's an incredible waste that MS-DOS can't be mounted on a P-III?

First thing I learned when I joined the Valley Computer Club in Burbank CA back in 1978 was ... "If it works, it's obsolete."

I'm an old novelist, and I use an old word processor - The Electric Pencil, in MS-DOS format - for my writing chores. (If you recall the old CP/M days, you'll recognize The Electric Pencil. The CP/M version of Pencil was later updated to work in MS-DOS.)

Because one can reprogram every key in the keyboard when using Electric Pencil, the program really beats the socks off of all the Windows items. I can add, cut, delete, paste, move around by character, word, sentence, line, paragraph, page, to beginning, to end ... all without lifting my fingers from the QWERY keyboard. It's done by using combinations of the ALT - CTL - SHIFT and F-keys. And there the surrounding info can be made invisible, unlike Windows word processors ... which are in fact text formaters rather than word processors.

message edited by RH-in-Henderson

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September 7, 2018 at 23:10:52
No offense meant, but you describe your problem as if you already had an OS installed on the PIII. If not, then yes, a PIII would run MS-DOS.

Realize however that MS-DOS (v 5x/6.x) has specific limitations that newer (Win95 and above or virtually any version of Linux) operating systems don't have (and running something older than DOS5 is impractical for such a machine):

1. Any more than 64MB of random-access memory is not recognized and much less is actually ever utilized by most programs that are DOS-based. Without an memory manager (generally EMM386.exe), the limit is 640KB.

2. MS-DOS (v 5.x/6.x) hard drive limitations are 2GB per partition and 8GB per drive. A drive larger than that is not accessible (though generally can be made accessible to the 8GB limit).

3. File names are restricted to the "8.3" format (8-character file name/3-character extension).

4. Drivers for most hardware associated with a machine that "new" (sound cards/CD-ROMs/Video drivers, etc.) may be difficult if not impossible to find for MS-DOS.

5. Use of USB flash drives is not impossible, but specific drivers may need to be tracked down to utilize them. The limits on the flash drive is the same as on hard drives.

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A

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September 28, 2018 at 04:10:04
Which Word Processor are you using?

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September 29, 2018 at 04:01:19
Hi RH,

sounds like the new Laptop's floppy drive may want cleaning and or attention.
Do you have a cleaning disk for it?.
Does it read any disks?

Presume your earlier Floppies are 3.5" HD.- and used as HD (not DD)

Out of interest, I would not have given up on that P-III.
Wonder if there was too much memory, and if so, causing dos not to load.

Have never heard of 'The Electric Pencil' before..
Probably because here in the UK when PC's became generally available following on from dedicated Word Processors, CPM and DOS were both available around the same time.. CPM did not last as it was a studenty type os (eg PIP not COPY command plus incompatible disk formats between manufactures)..
Then, for WP programs the Leaders were either Wordstar (I still use under dos under WXP) or Word Perfect.

Would love to acquire a copy of the last Wordstar version 7.0d, which had limited mouse support but was only issued in the US.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

ps. antics in an MG-TC is asking for Back Trouble! :-)

message edited by Mike Newcomb

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September 29, 2018 at 12:50:56
Back trouble be damned! The girl was worth it. Also, wish I had the TC now.

I recall when I was just a tad, a guy in his thirties or so had a TC which he felt was underpowered, so he dropped a souped-up Ford V8-60 into it. It went like stink!! Unstable, obviously, but getting a ride in it with the windshield put forward and collecting bugs in your teeth ... what a thrill!!!

If you have an MS-DOS system in a P-II computer, it's worth getting The Electric Pencil. Unlike all the other word processors, this one is strictly a writer's tool. Even WordStar and WordPerfect were clumsy oafs compared to Pencil.

Will keep you posted as to the brain-washing of the laptop. I think it can be done, but it's gonna take a lot better hacker than I am to do the job.


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September 29, 2018 at 12:54:49
Also, about cleaning the floppy - the only cleaning method I have is on a 3.5" floppy itself. And if the computer doesn't recognize the drive, it won't run the cleaning diskette. Very simple syllogism, eh?

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October 6, 2018 at 01:24:45
Hi RH, just to clarify,

you state in #8 'the computer does not recognize the drive'.
This is very different to not being unable to read a disk.

The drive type and size is set up in the bios.

When a floppy, cd or dvd drive have a disk loaded, provided the drive concerned is working, the disk is spun up in order to recognise. Hence a cleaning disc carries out is its function during the spinning.
Years back I was a passenger in an MG like the TC, (do not know model). The experience has stayed with me since, as on turning a corner, although the body was attached to the chassis, it twisted and lent outward of the corner. Clearly something was not right.

Morgan Cars, in existence since 1910, still make models similar in appearance to the old MG's.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb

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October 6, 2018 at 19:40:01
Actually, the TD was significantly different than the TC, and the TF was ever more different than the TD. One of the biggest problems with the TC and TD was the wood that was used in the frame. Friends of mine who lived in Venice (the L.A. burb, not the one in Italy) and Santa Monica had TDs whose frames warped because of the ambient moisture. Also, I never saw this but heard about it, TDs sometimes had termites. Also, the Lucas wiring, which was not so problematic in the UK, sucked in the States. Away from the beach areas, the insulation dried out and the wires shorted. (Old gag: Why do the English drink warm beer? The refrigeration is byLucas.)

The Moggies, except for the trike with (as I recall it) a Villiers Twin motorcycle engine in front of the front axle (as though it had buck teeth, look more like a Singer than an MG. For a while Morgans used Triumph engines. Not sure if that's still the case.

Friends of mine have a couple of Moggies. Tell the truth, my old 1957 Mercedes 300-SL Gullwing made Moggies look like dog food. Wish I'd never sold it. Once drove from L.A. to Chicago - where there was a copywriting job waiting for me at a major, international ad agency - in the Gullwing. Got that puppy up to just under 150 mph on the Turner Turnpike. Drove like a dream. Pretty sensational for an inline 6 with a 4-speed tranny.


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