On Thu, May 16, 2013 at 9:44 PM, Marcos Favero Florence de Barros
<fav...@mpcnet.com.br> wrote:
>>> I got an old laptop with Windows 2000 Professional (NT). I will
>>> now change the file system to FAT16, and install FreeDOS.
>> Can't you dual boot??  [..] Search Google for "boot.ini" or
>> such.
> I did, and found the procedure much too complicated.

It can't be that complicated, though I admit I never tried this way
specifically. To quote an old (2006-ish) PDF from Johnson Lam's site
(about XP, which is similar enough to 2k):


There are five basic steps necessary to install FreeDOS on your
WindowsXP computer.
1. Shrink the WindowsXP disk partition by 500 Mbytes (a trivial amount).
2. Create a new partition of type Windows 95 FAT32 (LBA)
3. Install and configure the GAG boot loader
4. Boot DOS and do a “sys” command to install it on the new partition
5. Copy some basic DOS files to the new partition and create autoexec.bat and
config.sys files.

The main annoyance is having to use GParted to resize NTFS since
(until Vista) Windows didn't support such a thing. And anyways, as
mentioned, you probably don't need a third-party boot manager, just
"attrib -s -h c:\boot.ini" and add an entry for FreeDOS (but use
sys.com to create a 512-byte boot sector file, "boot.bss" or

It doesn't matter if you don't actually do it this way, just passing
along some info, for completeness.

Actually, if you're lucky enough to have Win2k installed atop FAT32,
you can probably just use a DOS utilitity like FIPS or PRESZ134 to
resize for you. Hmmm, well, you obviously don't "need" a separate
partition for DOS in that case.  ;-)

> In fact,
> the reason why I use FreeDOS in the first place is to avoid
> unnecessary complexity. DOS is not simple, but it is certainly
> less overwhelming than Windows -- and does not change radically
> every 3 years or so.

Yes, I think we all heavily agree to that statement!

> I do have a computer with Windows XP. I currently use it for one
> single task -- scanning film photos -- because the software that
> came with the Canon scanner is for Win or Mac only. When I
> occasionally need something more modern, I use my Linux computer.

Yes, most of us use other OSes too. It's unavoidable these days.

> And even Linux is too complicated to my liking. A couple of
> months ago I tried to update the Linux system myself. I have
> been unable to install even Lubuntu, let alone Ubuntu.
> Apparently the automatic installation goes smoothly only if you
> have a recent machine and a big memory.

Installing from liveCD often eats up too much RAM. Well, I don't
personally know why a simple installer has to take up so much RAM, but
apparently they can't live without their fancy GUIs and other crud.

> The only distribution
> that installed without hassle, even in a computer about 12 years
> old, was Fedora. That was really nice. But it is not my favorite
> distribution, so I asked a computer technician to install Arch
> Linux for me, and it is working fine.

Very odd that it worked for you. Fedora nowadays seems to recommend 1
GB RAM minimum. Granted, I haven't tried lately (F18 has a new
installer), but last I heard you needed 768 MB just to install!

Honestly, I don't know. Perhaps something like FreeBSD (which doesn't
install X11 by default) would be better. From limited experience, it
sure seems much less heavyweight, and I'm pretty sure their installer
isn't graphical bloatware either.

> Back to the original question. My only reason to keep Windows
> files would be in case they are required, under FreeDOS, to
> access parts of the hardware such as PCMCIA cards or whatever.
> If that is not the case, then I will happily erase Windows.

I'm no Windows developer, but I think they've changed driver models
several times over the years, so we're long past the days where DOS
drivers would work or be supported. I mean, I don't know for sure,
perhaps there's still some DOS drivers hidden somewhere in there.
(They sure eat up enough space these days, easily 10x more than in XP
days.) But I don't know of any. It's surely not of first class
importance to them.

> Summing up, it's either FreeDOS or Linux ... and perhaps Haiku in
> the future :-)

Haiku seems to work okay, but it's more end user oriented than Linux,
even. Not meant for servers. Clone of BeOS, built-in GUI,
multithreading, MIT license, C++ API. Well, that's all I know. From
minimal testing (as it's still more or less "alpha"), it works okay,
and (for obvious reasons) has a POSIX layer and GCC. Honestly, I've
only tried it under VirtualBox (which, as rr will tell you, dropped
Win2k support many many years ago, sigh).

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