On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 6:37 PM, Robert Reeves <b...@reevesconsult.com> wrote:
> I would appreciate reassurance or correction, or both, please.

Don't panic! You're good enough, smart enough, and, doggone it, people
like you.   ;-)

> I want to work with the DOS Clipper database compiler

I assume you already have old copies of this or know how to buy it on
eBay. Not sure how many (if any) people here have used it before (not
I), but there was (at one time, 2008?) Harbour support via some DOS C
compilers, but I don't know how well it worked (and it seems dropped
in later releases).

> and perhaps play some
> of the wonderful old DOS games such as Super Tetris.

The ultra easiest way to play DOS games is DOSBox (emulator) unless
you really want to play in raw DOS (probably a bad idea on modern
hardware, esp. for sound).

> My computer runs
> Windows 7 Professional 64 bit and I certainly don’t want to mess up that. I
> had thought to use FreeDOS to do the DOS work or play, then reboot back into
> Windows for other things.

Yes, of course, though rebooting is less convenient than just running
a VM. But we don't have DOSEMU for Win64, sadly. Though if you don't
mind rebooting, try something like RUFUS (USB installer). Though you
may have to manually add a bunch of (DOS) files to it.

http://rufus.akeo.ie/              (latest is v1.3.2 from 2013.01.27)

> So far I have managed to download the FreeDOS ISO image and burn it to a cd
> as an ISO using ImgBurn 2.5.7 newly downloaded. I then reboot the computer
> with the bios set to read from the cd if present. The FreeDOS welcome screen
> appears and I get nervous and stop.

For lack of time and volunteers, there is no liveCD version this time,
which is less convenient. But you'd probably still lack a bunch of
stuff you want to run anyways, there's just so much DOS stuff out

> “Install to the hard drive” sounds fine, except that I don’t want to
> overwrite the Windows install that I need to return to.

I don't blame you. If it works, don't break it. (Though sometimes it's
nice to have a few Linux liveCDs as a sort of backup.)

> “Create Drive C” sounds like I’m going to wipe out the current drive C:
> which is formatted to NTFS

Yeah, probably not ideal, but we don't have any NTFS resizer programs.
GParted may?? work, but for Vista on up, it's recommended to just use
their own built-in resizers. (Note that it's not unlimited resizing,
you can only move around so much, but it should be more than enough
for reasonable DOS use.)

> “Boot from system hard disk” would be fine except that the only thing on the
> system hard disk is Windows.

Some people multiboot various versions of DOS, so it's possible to
boot a MS-DOS floppy or a FreeDOS hard drive install, for instance.

> “Boot from Diskette” except that I don’t have one. The diskette image file I
> downloaded won’t copy to a diskette and I get an error message saying the
> copy needs another 16 kb room on the diskette.

As mentioned, you probably need to use FreeDOS DISKCOPY or RawriteNT
or similar. EDIT: "RawWrite for Windows" (v0.7).


> As I dither over these choices, another screen appears announcing that
> “FreeDOS can be installed to the following destination drive,” with choices
> “None” but what good does that do?

Not much, but it can't give an option that doesn't (yet) exist.

> “Press 1 to start installing from cd to C”. Since I didn’t create a drive C
> at the first screen, I don’t know whether the install can happen and where
> it is going, and the big one, whether I’m going to damage the Windows
> install.

I'm a bit rusty on this. Does FDISK at least tell you the disk uses NTFS?

> The next choice to run FDISK and modify the partitions worries me for the
> same reason. There is lots of unused room on the disk, if it wants to create
> a partition for FreeDOS.

If you resized NTFS, it should find that free area. Otherwise, it
can't install unless you remove everything (which isn't what you
want). I think Ranish Partition Manager (and/or FIPS and PRESIZER)
would resize existing FAT partitions for you, but NTFS is another
story (much more complicated and not officially documented well, if at
all.) Yeah, FreeDOS isn't very friendly to other file systems, sadly.

> OK, so I don’t know what I’m doing and my ignorance overflows. I freely
> admit it. But if someone would take pity and help me through this, I would
> certainly be grateful.

You should be able to do something like the above and install a boot
manager (BTTR's [DOS] BOOTMGR is small and nice, but you may prefer to
get third-party Windows-based EasyBCD to configure to use Windows'
built-in one.)

P.S. VirtualBox is okay but kinda slow (esp. without VT-X) and
slightly buggy. Despite what some people say, most cpus still do not
come with VT-X extensions. Anyways, I'm guessing RUFUS is your best
bet, assuming you have a spare USB jump drive lying around. Otherwise,
you may just have to resize your NTFS (not as bad as it sounds!).

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