Solved DOS programs in Windows 7

April 5, 2015 at 14:25:09
Specs: Win 7
I have 64-bit Windows 7. On another, older computer, I have Windows 98 SE.
On the old computer I have a DOS program which runs from a Windows shortcut.
I can't run the DOS program under 64-bit Windows, but could a friend run it on
her 32-bit Windows 7 computer?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#1
April 5, 2015 at 14:39:03
"I can't run the DOS program under 64-bit Windows, but could a friend run it on her 32-bit Windows 7 computer?"

Good chance but no guarantees.

Running a DOS program requires the 16 bit subsystem which is incompatible with a 64 bit OS. Many but not all DOS programs will run on 32 bit Windows 7. Windows 98 provided much better compatibility with DOS programs as it was one of the design priorities.


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#2
April 5, 2015 at 17:07:41
✔ Best Answer
64 bit machines have the inherent capability of running 32 bit programs.
32 bit machines have the inherent capability of running 16 bit programs.
[That does not mean that all programs will run though]

If it is running from true DOS on your Win 98 that could make life difficult because Win XP onwards did not run on top of DOS (unlike Win 98).

It depends on the program but some will run in DOSBox:
http://www.dosbox.com/
Sadly with all free downloads these days there is a risk of malware or items pre-checked for you that you don't want or need. I have a safe version of DOSBox 0.74 which is still the latest and could be uploaded somewhere if need be. I have several DOS programs running in DOSBox on this Win 8.1 64 bit. Setting them up is a bit geeky but not terrible.

Let us know the name of the program just in case by some chance it is one we know about.

Sometimes there are Windows version of DOS programs.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#3
April 5, 2015 at 19:28:03
I downloaded DOSBox 0.74 two years ago, but never installed it,
or at least not successfully. Or at least I don't remember doing so...
Then sometime in the last few months I asked another question,
the answer to which was "DOSBox", after which I discovered I
already had it. But I still didn't install it...

The DOS program is a geneology program called "EZ-Tree".
The friend is actually a relative. I want to send her the data file
that I created with EZ-Tree, but all the relationships between
people are reduced to cryptic numbers without the program to
sort them out. There may be programs to convert EZ-Tree data
files to formats for more modern programs. I haven't looked into
that and I thought maybe I'd leave that up to my relative, but in
the meantime I wanted her to be able to look at the data.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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Related Solutions

#4
April 6, 2015 at 03:30:39
The solution Derek pointed out, DOSBox, is the straightforward one to run DOS applications under modern Windows systems since DOSBox offers a built-in DOS emulator. However it is mainly designed to run old games and may fail to execute office or scientific applications.

The king road to run DOS programs under Windows 7/8 is to setup a virtual machine, e.g. VirtualBox (free), install a free DOS clone,(FreeDOS) and run your applications.

Not a walk in the garden but not an extreme climbing; it depends on how much you need to access those data.


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#5
April 6, 2015 at 10:56:14
Well, it was probably a million to one that I knew that EZ-Tree program and even less likely that I used it. However the odd question along the same lines appear if you Google:
http://74.125.228.115/#q=EZ-Tree+pr...
Maybe "software" instead of "program" would yield different hits. One thing that was said on a website is that it ran fine on DOSBox but the problem came about when trying to print it. However, once you have it in plain text I would have thought, with a little effort, there might be some way of grabbing the text and inputting it to some Windows program for printing - NotePad maybe.

I agree that a virtual machine (Win 98) would be the tops if you care to move in that direction.

If you run the program on your W98 then you would have a good chance of using a flash drive to move the printable parts onto a newer computer / operating system. Print Screen key might have possibilities for instance, pasted to Paint then saved as jpg pictures.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


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#6
April 6, 2015 at 16:30:10
The data file is just text and numbers. The numbers obviously code
for the relationships between the different entries, each entry being
either a person or a marriage between two people. I'm sure I could
reverse engineer the numbers to figure out how they work, but I don't
want to go to that much effort, since the result probably wouldn't be
of any use.

I could probably re-arrange the data by hand, maybe with the help of
some lines and arrows, to show the relations. I won't do that if it isn't
really necessary, though.

My old computer's single USB port is the original version of USB, so
I don't think it can take a flash drive. But both computers have floppy
drives so I'm able to transfer most stuff between them, no problem.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#7
April 6, 2015 at 17:13:35
"My old computer's single USB port is the original version of USB, so
I don't think it can take a flash drive."

If it is truly a USB port, then there shouldn't be any problem with it accepting a flash drive (even if it's USB 1.1). Support for a flash drive is dependent on the OS having proper drivers, not how old the port is. "Generic" drivers for Win98 (if this is the OS on the specified machine) can be found here (make sure you get the correct ones for your OS; either Win98 or 98SE):

http://www.technical-assistance.co....

"Channeling the spirit of jboy..."

message edited by T-R-A


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#8
April 6, 2015 at 23:59:45
The computer was made before USB 1.1 came out. The port is just
pllain "USB". When I was given the computer it had Windows 95 B
installed, which was the first Windows version to handle USB at all.

The one flash drive package I have is for an 8 GB HP flash drive, and
it says the requirement is USB 2.0. I've seen requirements in the past
for USB 1.1 or higher, never for USB 1.0 or higher.

* * * *
I just ran EZ-Tree on my 64-bit computer -- from a floppy. However,
for some reason it didn't recognize the data file. It was able to read
the data file as plain text just fine, but when I tried to tell the program
to use it, it said it couldn't find a data file. Hmph!

I used one floppy to boot and another for the program and data.
That meant using drive A: as a virtual drive B:. Maybe it will work
if I make the program/data floppy bootable, so that everything is
on drive A:. Or maybe the data file has to be in a different directory
from the program. Maybe. Neither seems likely.

So close!

* * * *
I wonder if I can boot to DOS from a USB flash drive...

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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#9
April 7, 2015 at 06:57:14
I wonder if I can boot to DOS from a USB flash drive
I might not be properly understanding you but there's been no DOS around since W98, only command prompt emulator. Not so sure there is much scope there.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#10
April 7, 2015 at 08:17:55
@Derek

You can make a bootable floppy or USB flash drive by installing IO.SYS, MSDOS.SYS and COMMAND.COM in a suitable way and you have a complete DOS system that can execute on a 64 bit architecture. All DOS is composed by the three mentioned modules, other components are just external optional commands.

In Win XP there was NTVDM the built-in emulator that offered some int 21h services, not only the command prompt, i.e. the standard DOS interface to operating system routines. NTVDM was narrowed in Vista and eventually phased out in Win 7 preventing the execution of 16 bit applications that are based on int 21h interface. If you create a pen drive or diskette or CD with bootable DOS you can run it on a modern computer (let me stop here there is more to say, but this is not a system lesson, just a quick note).


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#11
April 7, 2015 at 08:30:43
Thanks for the info IVO. Wow, it's a long time since I heard those file names - getting nicely lost in my personal overwrite memory.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


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#12
April 9, 2015 at 10:54:49
I found out why the program didn't recognize the data file: There are
*two* required data files. The second one just contains the name of
the first.

So it looks like I'll be bypassing Windows altogether and just booting
DOS from a floppy for my short-term solution.

However, I'm surprised to find that there is no way to tell the BIOS of
my computer to boot from a USB flash drive. Maybe if I just stick a
bootable flash drive in a port it will boot, but no info I have says so.
The motherboard is an ASUS P5Q-E, made circa 2008.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


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