Is MS-DOS, PC DOS and DR-DOS vintage enough to count?

Tomasz Rola rtomek at
Sun Jul 31 11:23:57 CDT 2016

On Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 08:57:08PM +0200, Liam Proven wrote:
> I'm experimenting with some old DOS versions, notably PC DOS, in VirtualBox.
> I have a PC-DOS 2000 system with DesqView and DesqView/X working
> fairly well -- no networking yet but I'm working on it.

Out of curiosity, because I am from time to time wet dreaming about
having some kind of graphical frontend to the DOS, but with ability to
run multiple DOS programs in parallel. Like one could run them in
Windows 3.x (and this sucked a bit, but otherwise made it possible to
run editor and something else and switch between them without quitting
and starting like mad).

So, could DesqView give me something like this? From all descriptions
I have read so far, it could not. But I am not sure. Yes, I should
have tried to check it by myself, but there is no time to follow every

> I am also trying to get a DR-DOS 8 VM up and running. DR-DOS 7.03 is
> no problem, but I've had no joy getting DR-DOS 8.1 to install to hard
> disk. It's reluctant to SYS a hard disk, and when it did, it
> mis-diagnosed it as FAT-12 and wouldn't boot. Using Norton DiskTools,
> I've managed to transfer the system files, but they display the
> message
> DR-DOS 8.1
> ... and then it freezes.
> Can this late version, mainly used for utility floppies, actually boot
> from HD & be used like a normal DOS?

I would not be surprised if they decided to cut every extra byte and
maximise space available on the floppy. Or, given it recognises HD in
some way, could you try with different HD size? Even very small one,
like 20-32MB? Perhaps they were ok with running it from a pendrive,
but decided it was not worth it to make it hd-installable, because
nobody would want it anyway?

Other possibility is, can it work better in some other virtual
machine? Qemu/KVM, VMWare?

Those are just my wild guesses. I answer mostly because nobody else
did. I do not really have that much to say about DOS, other than it
was not as bad as some of its graphical cousins.

Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at             **

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