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

jim stephens jwsmail at
Sun Jul 31 23:30:56 CDT 2016

On 7/31/2016 4:48 PM, Liam Proven wrote:
> On 31 July 2016 at 20:21, jim stephens <jwsmail at> wrote:
>> I used Windows 95 for dos multitasking.  Windows 95 booted the processors
>> into real mode dos, then ran the windows system out of that base dos much
>> like Windows 3.1 had.  As such, the dos boxes all shared actual access to
>> the real mode assets of the processor.
>> Windows 98 switched to protected mode almost immediately on boot, and all
>> the dos boxes were synthesized in virtual 8086 mapped mode, and had no
>> underlying booted dos environment.
> Are you sure about this? Got any references?
> Because I did a _lot_ of support and research work with 95, 95A, 95B,
> 98, 98SE & ME, and also of course with NT 3, 4, 2000, XP etc.
> I am not aware of any differences such as you describe between 95 and
> 98. Both boot from actual MS-DOS; the GUI can be totally disabled. In
> both, you can load drivers into DOS before the GUI boots and have all
> the OS & apps access them.
The configuring of the system to boot differently does precisely that.  
I have only what I found with 95 vs. 98, plus a description in antiquity 
that I'm sure I'll never find now that suggested this behavior.  I did 
verify it when I had a machine with our controller.  Only one of the dos 
boxes (windowed) could get there.

None of the alternate boot modes, no gui, or anything else has anything 
to do with what I'm describing.

And the flip of the boot as far as the processor mode is something that 
was objected to as it was a move off of the original similarity of 3.1 
and 95.  95 was sold as being just a bit different from the 3.1 since it 
booted a real mode dos mode system then launched the windows stuff.

Win 98 had different drivers (had to run in protected mode more IIRC), 
etc, and though it was not hostile initially to old dos drivers it had a 
lot of caveats related to the boot difference I'm talking about at the 
core of the differences.

Again, of course you could boot to dos, and do all that.  This is just 
related to what type of behavior you had with the windows dos sessions 
under windows.  I essentially had 5 separate dos machines with my mashup 
on Win 95.
I'll try to find more info, but not promising anything, since its been 
20+ years since I had any reference to it.

If anyone on the list has it, I think there was a very detailed walkthru 
about how this worked published as well, again I think it was in a book, 
and may be hard to find.  One of the "inside" or "beneath" type books.  
Maybe someone has such with the info.

I also went on to work on ICE for the intel processors, and saw this 
from that angle as well.
> Or, using an undocumented batch file called WINSTART.BAT, in
> everything from WfWg 3.11 up to 98SE, you could load some things into
> the Windows "system VM" and it would be accessible to Windows, but not
> to DOS boxes started under Windows. I did this occasionally for
> memory-management reasons.
> But both 95 & 98 are DOS based and function near-identically.
> WinME removed the ability to boot to a command prompt, it didn't
> execute AUTOEXEC.BAT any more, nor much of CONFIG.SYS -- the DOS
> "kernel" loaded Windows directly.

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