On Mon, Mar 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM, Eric Auer <e.a...@jpberlin.de> wrote:
> Hi! Returning to the list...
>> I'm not a "nerd"
> Then dosbox is for you :-) It is for people who
> "simply want to run old DOS games" (or other DOS
> software) in a window in Windows, so I suggest
> to try that first.

Yes, but it only emulates a fast 486 (or maybe slow Pentium if you
generate / fiddle with the dosbox-0.74.conf file). I think there is
supposedly some partial "native" emulation, e.g. for FPU stuff, but
I'm not sure how that works or when or how effectively. All I know is
that DOSBox is usually pretty slow, though for "old" games it's decent
enough (e.g. Gog.com uses it for various things).

> Talking about risks: If you for example install
> VirtualBox, it creates a simulation of a complete
> computer, inside a window in Windows. There you
> can install DOS (e.g. FreeDOS) and then install
> the old DOS program that you want to run.

That's all XP Mode does, IIRC: uses VPC to run XP, though if all you
want is DOS, that's overkill (as it doubles your host computer's
requirements in RAM and HD space).

> As far as I remember, you can use both real and simulated
> versions of CD, DVD, floppy, USB stick, harddisk,
> so you have enough choice.

Dunno, probably yes, sounds right, but I never tried native (host only
physical) media there.

> One of your core problems might be to get data
> transported between the DOS world and Windows.

IIRC, Ulrich's network guide (FreeDOS wiki) says to use an FTP server
in the host OS and connect via FreeDOS with mTCP's FTP (or similar

> In DOSBOX, you can probably just configure some
> location in Windows (e.g. d:\temp\dosbox - just
> any that you have or make) to show up as some
> sort of drive from the view of DOS. That makes
> it easy to exchange data.

Yes, DOSBox makes it very very easy (via "mount") to access host OS
files. But in that case, it can modify (or delete) them, so beware.

> I have to say that I
> always use DOSEMU (faster but only for Linux)
> but as both are specially for DOS, they should
> both have similar features regarding drives.

Yes, DOSEMU is a lot better in some ways (not limited to only 486 DX2
instructions), especially speed. But it's not perfect either, and IIRC
sound card emulation is better under DOSBox.

Who was it that said they were running 64-bit compile of DOSBox? The
default is always 32-bit, but some weirdos (Fedora) recompile for
(slower) 64-bit version. Just stick to stock 32-bit DOSBox build, if
you can.

> In VirtualBox (or VMWare, Virtual PC, Bochs...)
> you just get SOME simulated computer. However,
> all of them should support SOME sort of access
> from Windows to the drives of your simulated
> computer.

Usually just via disk images, which is somewhat klunky. Floppy images
are easy to use and modify, so in the old days (QEMU) that's what I
did (as the now-deprecated "-hda fat:/" doesn't work anymore, although
it was only read-only back then).

> For example there could be some big
> file which "represents" a whole disk. For the
> case of floppy, there are a number of tools
> for Windows which make it easy for you to get
> to the contents of such a virtual floppy.

IIRC, the WinImage guy still has some old freeware "extract" util that
can extract from floppy images. One guy on FASM's forum also wrote his
own extractor (though it's 1.44 MB SFN only and extracts the entire
thing, not individual files).

> VirtualBox, VMWare, Virtual PC, Bochs etc. may
> already ship with such tools to make life easy.

VirtualBox only supports the popular OSes. So maybe? you could dual
install both a lightweight Linux and FreeDOS inside the VM and use
that modern OS' better host integration to send your DOS files (since
most modern OSes can read FAT partitions too).

Our pal Eduardo Casino made VMSMOUNT for swapping files with VMware,
so if you're comfortable with that, it may be easier.

> This is why I recommend to try DOSBOX first
> (or in Linux, DOSEMU). As they are made for
> DOS, they already have DOS and such drivers
> installed for you, so you only have to run
> the DOS software of your choice and enjoy.

A lot of old stuff doesn't work anymore, hence why most people don't
try forcing themselves to use old stuff unless they really have to.
I'm not saying he's wrong for using Lotus 1-2-3 for Windows (or
whatever), but it may be easier to just use something else

>>> Basically you did just run DOS programs in XP
>>> because XP still supports that in their text
>>> shell windows (command.com or cmd windows).
> Annoying that they removed that feature in 7.
> I assume you do need 7? Otherwise you could
> just stick to XP...

I think Win7 (32-bit) should still support NTVDM, but it's indeed not
as good as XP. And even XP had annoying bugs.

>>> Maybe somebody on the list can help with zooming?
>>>>> I already set the maximun size for the characters, but
>>>>> it is not enough for a clear vision on a 15" screen.
> Please explain how you set the size - maybe there
> is a trick to set it higher, for example use some
> infinitely zoomable fonts (just any TrueTypeFont).

Isn't there a magnifier included with XP? I know it's more for
accessibility, but it might help in a pinch.

>>>>> Basically no Print/file commands are executed from the
>>>>> DOS session.....But I'm not able to understand why
> Probably related to Microsoft removing old features
> from 7 to push people to use more new features...

I think there are third-party tools for letting DOS programs print
correctly, even if "> PRN" doesn't natively work anymore. (I don't
know if any of the aforementioned emulators support printing ...

>>>>> For DOS BOX and other VM  programs I' m not
>>>>> confident to try them without physical assistance
> As they just run inside windows on Windows, you
> could use a chat to keep experienced DOS people
> nearby, for example Skype... As said, I think
> DOSBOX tries to be very easy to use, as it has
> classic game fans as main target audience, not
> people who want to do very advanced DOS things.

DOSBox is very very easy to use. Honestly, if you try nothing else, at
least install that. Though I personally wonder if VirtualBox would be
better for you.

>>>>> About dual boot this is  the next step
>>>>> I will try. I would install  XP and W7.
> I still think it is both easier and safer to
> work with a simulated / virtual computer, in
> any case safer. Also, there are probably many
> tutorials for installing XP in such virtual
> computers, as you are certainly not the only
> user who wants to do that.

Dual booting itself can be tricky, but in many ways it's more reliable
than trying to mess with buggy emulators. Sometimes. YMMV.

If you don't want to mess with the guts of the computer (and mucking
up your current OS install), just use RUFUS (which can install FreeDOS
to bootable USB).

BTW, XP doesn't let you resize NTFS, but Win7 does. So from there it
should be "fairly easy" [citation needed] to install FreeDOS (make FAT
partition, install boot manager or get EasyBCD freeware to configure
Windows' one).

>>>>> Finally the key questio is: Will a 64bit processor
>>>>> be able to fully manage 16 bit applications
> That has multiple answers: You can always install
> a 32 bit OS on 64 bit PC, simply not using the
> extra feature "64 bit". And you can always run
> a simulated computer of any amount of bits on a
> real computer of any, possibly other, amount of
> bits.

I think QEMU used to support a software-only emulation of AMD64.
Probably still does, dunno.

> However, speed is often worse if you have
> a mismatch. But even if your 8 core 4 GHz AMD
> (to make an example) 64 bit processor would be
> able to simulate only 1 GHz, 1 core, Pentium III
> it would still run DOS software which once ran
> on 386 processors extremely fast. Or in a more
> realistic setting, any half-decent processor can
> simulate a DOS PC at 386 speeds today.

You're somewhat correct, but often speed is abysmal. My laptop lacks
VT-X and is painfully slow (e.g. Dillo), but my main desktop works
great (Core i5).

I really should benchmark for you to show you what it can be (but I'm
barely in the middle of something right now, barely ...). I'm not
really a hardware nut nor trendy enough to keep track, but ....

I think Nehalem Westmere (32nm) is second gen Core series. My Core i5
has better VT-X, "unrestricted guest mode execution: real mode, big
real mode". (Allegedly, AMD's paged real mode existed for years.) So
(under VirtualBox on Win64) for a lot of things it's like 10x to 20x
faster than with VT-X disabled. And obviously it runs tons faster than
DOSBox. However, even that is old hat to Intel, which already came out
with Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge and has Haswell (much better) coming
in a few months.

I'm not saying buy a whole new computer, but sometimes improvements do
happen. We've pretty much hit a wall regarding raw clock speed, but
they are still making various improvements (and sometimes
regressions). Turbo Boost alone speeds up one core if others aren't
used, and that is allegedly even better in newer releases, so that may
help us (single core DOS). Not to mention other microcode

The only real reason to use 64-bit is because you need (or want) more
than 3.1 GB of RAM (or more than 2 GB per process) at a time. There
can (sometimes!) be speedups due to more registers, but usually it's
not too too much. Despite what some people would like, 32-bit is still
alive and well (for now), so there's really no huge reason to use
64-bit at all, esp. if all this emulation is too big a hassle for you.
Actually, with VT-X (not that I've tried), you can even allegedly run
a 64-bit guest OS in a 32-bit host OS (if you really wanted).

Yeah, lots of options, all confusing and annoying. Welcome to modern
computing!   :-)

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