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Opening DOS applications full-screen under Windows 7

by kasdp / July 6, 2009 11:09 PM PDT

At the risk of being tagged a Luddite, as a writer I still prefer to use DOS-based Xywrite for raw word-processing. XP permitted me to open this full screen with an "Alt/Enter" combination, but Vista permits only a relatively small window. I've tried installing XP to a partition, to no avail, so remain somewhat frustrated. Bottom line: will the "virtual XP" element of Windows 7 permit me to open DOS-based programs full-screen? Thanks in advance for whatever advice is offered.

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Yes, it will...
by John.Wilkinson / July 6, 2009 11:32 PM PDT

You can actually install Windows XP into a virtual machine using free software, such as VirtualBox, running Windows XP as an application on Windows Vista. That is essentially what XPMode does, though it is a pre-built and customized virtual machine. Either way, it will provide the same functionality as Windows XP in that regard since it is, in fact, Windows XP.

Hope this helps,

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is there any way to run dos programs on a windows 7 machine
by pvgdlife / November 11, 2010 11:43 PM PST
In reply to: Yes, it will...

I was forced to buy a new machine when my windows xp machine failed. I found that windows 7 on my new machine does not support dos programs. Is there any way to install anything that will let me run some of my critical old dos programs on this new windows 7 machine. If so, can you give me specific instructionsw on how to do it?

Thanks for any help you can offer.


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Just checking.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 12, 2010 12:07 AM PST

Did you read this discussion? Sometimes a new member jumps into a discussion with a "SOLVED" and misses it.

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Windows 7 does execute dos programs
by ahitiri / November 12, 2010 12:39 PM PST

W.7 PRO executes EXE files compiled for DOS just like previous versions of WINDOWS. You can also run the CMD.exe which gives you the DOS screen.
However a major issue is that W.7 automatically switches a foreign kboard to US QWERTY when the EXE file loads in memory preventing business apps running on XP PRO systems with an AZERTY (french) kboard to be upgraded to W.7 PRO. I have compiled a demo program (180 kb) showing the issue when run on both systems.
I hope someone on this forum will tell me how to retrieve control of the kboard language in DOS on a 100% W.7 PRO system.

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I've tried and tried, and can't get this to work!
by Nina98765 / December 12, 2010 1:41 PM PST
In reply to: Yes, it will...

Hello, I hope you won't mind me jumping in on this discussion. I have done a lot of searching for a solution to the problem of getting DOS to work in fullscreen on Windows 7. I have tried Windows XPMode but all I get is the same size window surrounded by black, the text is the same size as when it is not in fullscreen. (Which is not the behavior on a real XP machine.) I also tried VirtualBox with the same results. I am trying to run a proprietary DOS program in Windows 7. (I also tried DOSBOX but couldn't even configure it properly to run my program since the program runs from a network drive.)

If any one has a solution that really works or can instruct me on how to configure one of the above solutions to work, I would very very much appreciate it!


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by PKsteven / December 12, 2010 2:03 PM PST

Somehow my reply got thrown down a few notches so this is a copy of a few messages down.

I accidentally ran DOS in full screen once. It was when the graphics drivers were set to the standard VGA in safe mode. Maybe try it in safe mode? Try setting the resolution down as well, this may give you the full screen.

Time warp... I looked up situations similar to what I stated and you may not have to go into safe mode.

Dunno if this will help at all.

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Thank you!
by Nina98765 / December 12, 2010 10:47 PM PST
In reply to: Sorry

So far I can tentatively say that you have solved my problem! Thank you!
I started working in DOS fullscreen mode and it's great. (After a few minutes it reverted to a small screen but I just switched back to fullscreen and continued. I will have to keep an eye on how often that happens and if it starts to be a real pain.)

(P.S. My graphics driver is an Intel so the instructions given in your link were slightly off, Intel actually asked me if I want to overwrite the later version of the graphics card with the XP version, I said yes, and it installed fine.

Once again I would like to really thank you!

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(NT) You are very welcome :)
by PKsteven / December 13, 2010 6:13 AM PST
In reply to: Thank you!
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As a Fellow DOS User: Why Win7?
by LifeOnAString / July 18, 2009 3:28 AM PDT

kasdp, why are you upgrading to Win7? I also use a DOS window for my PC-Write as the most time I (should) spend on my computer.

Sincerely, being in a similar situation, and having side-stepped Vista and your Alt-Enter agony (which I did not know until I saw your post), what carrot or stick is compelling you to upgrade to Win7?

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Why Win7?
by kasdp / July 18, 2009 5:34 AM PDT

My new Dells came with Vista Home Premium installed. I've tried with and without the help of techs to load XP Pro (I have two legitimate copies) into a new partition on each machine's hard drive (with a view to formatting the partition containing Vista) but the effing things won't let us do it. The only option, as I understand it, is to upgrade to Vista Pro, which offers the Virtual XP option. As for the question about why I need Windows, I use PowerPoint, Word, etc. for various purposes other than raw word-processing with Xywrite. Thanks for the various responses.

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Office Applications
by LifeOnAString / July 18, 2009 6:24 AM PDT
In reply to: Why Win7?

I also do PowerPoint, but Microsoft priced me into using Impress on OpenOffice instead. (Works fine; saves PPT files.) Can't say the same for OpenOffice Writer, so I use my Office 2000 Word when that's needed. Once MS tells me I have to buy a new version of Office, I am going to move to OpenOffice and live with the limitations. OpenOffice is free, multi-platform, and is supported by Sun Microsystems. It also works on Linux, and given all the Mac people I deal with professionally, can't see that beng a PC/Linux person can be all that bad. Sea Monkey resurrected my aged Netscape email files, so I am finding a way that does not rely on Microsoft.

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Never forced to upgrade...
by John.Wilkinson / July 18, 2009 6:49 AM PDT
In reply to: Office Applications

You never have to buy a new version of Office if you do not want to, though you will not receive the new features of new versions. I still have a working copy of Office 95.

As to OpenOffice, they have still not mastered compatibility with Microsoft Office, so you'll find formatting that is incorrect or lost when using OpenOffice, and not all of Office's functionality is present. With a free, online version of Microsoft Office 2010 pending debut, OpenOffice is in a tight spot.


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Microsoft Office 2000 vs.OpenOffice
by LifeOnAString / July 18, 2009 7:19 AM PDT

My Word 2000 clearly lacks current features, but nothing that I find I have to have. I use Word mostly to import various objects which Writer can't do. Have not tried Writer much, but if it is RTF compatible, I should do fine. I never used the PowerPoint that came with my Office98, and Microsoft left it out of the version of Office 2000 I have. However, Impress files, saved as PPT, play fine in the free Microsoft PPT player.

It's like AutoCAD. If you are doing 2D drawings, and don't have to worry about compatability, you can (at least I can) use Release 9 and draft circles around anyone using a later version. Release 9 fits on a 1.44MB floppy, with drivers. The program is so small that it simply screams on today's machines. In the past 20 years they have added things, but not made it better for it's main task: doing drawings.

There are companies who release new products to make them better. There are other companies that release new products to keep up revenues. I will admit that Quicken gets to shake me down for an upgrade avery 2 or 3 years, but that's less than $40, and they know that they are dead if they can't install on top of the old version. I just see Microsoft as losing touch with the base of their business, leaving it open for a competitor.

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Why Win7 while relying on DOS word-processing?
by kasdp / September 11, 2009 12:02 PM PDT

In addition to doing a lot of raw text, I use Excel for my taxes and books, FrontPage for some layout assignments and PowerPoint for presentations. While I have these in Vista, the problem is the inability to run full-window DOS. I've tried the virtual machine approach but Vista's extremely proprietary and I simply don't have the time to mess around with it any more. Hence the interest in Win7. Cheers -- and thanks to all for the feeback.

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Forward into the Past
by LifeOnAString / September 11, 2009 11:03 PM PDT

I would offer the observation that the fales-step of Vista ignoring the DOS window is being "corrected" by Win7. It amazes me that Microsoft can so mis-gauge their users, yet that very lack of understanding explains so much.

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by PKsteven / December 12, 2010 1:59 PM PST
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Why DOS?
by Zoron / September 11, 2009 1:49 AM PDT

Just out of curiousity... why a DOS-based word processor? MS Word is practically a standard (with a few Corel or Lotus holdouts)... so why stick with that particular app?

Also, installing XP should not be an issue. As long as you can find the proper drivers for the hardware, you should be able to install XP with very little difficulty. Can you tell me specifically the problem you were having?

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It's a personal choice.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 11, 2009 3:01 AM PDT
In reply to: Why DOS?

You'll find folk that want to just write without any thing else but the words on the screen. Wordperfect (DOS), XYWrite and many others did this and some found it help them focus.

Maybe someone will add why they liked that.

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How Much Do You Write?
by LifeOnAString / September 11, 2009 11:50 AM PDT
In reply to: Why DOS?

I have had Word for over a decade, and have never found it to be as productive as PC-Write, a 20yo DOS program. Word has many more features, but like a Swiss Army knife, it's not the best thing to eat with. I prefer to get the job done. It's productivity of getting the information into words, not the experience of the software.

Also, Word has the interface du jour. Things are changed to be different, not to make them more productive, only, at most, to add features that less then 10% of the users really need.

It would be interesting to see how fast a DOS program user can get a 1-page letter out, compared to someone using Word.

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DOS is gross... ;-)
by Zoron / September 11, 2009 12:13 PM PDT
In reply to: How Much Do You Write?

Depends on the speed of the typist and the computer they're using. MS Word isn't any slower than your run of the mill DOS word processor... someone used to using Word will be just as fast as someone used to using PC-Write or whatever DOS-based word processor. If you ignore the extra niceties of Word and just open it up and type, then you can't possibly tell me it's slower than anything else.

I dunno... I waited for years to finally get rid of DOS... and here people are still clinging to it. But then I like change and I realize there are a lot of people that don't. I rarely keep older versions of programs that I use... so I was just trying to understand why others do it. I like to get as many features as possible.

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Old vs. New vs. Better
by LifeOnAString / September 11, 2009 11:25 PM PDT
In reply to: DOS is gross... ;-)

The only 20yo computer programs that I still use are PC-Write, and a few simple apps I wrote in Turbo Pascal. Otherwise, my apps are Win98SE vintage or newer. Do you think it is a studied choice... "Well, I think I will upgrade this, use, this and abandon this..." No, it is if there is a better product that lets me do my work better and faster.

That is the flaw in the wave after wave of "new" apps and OS's: they may make some minor technical improvement, and some things that can be sold as "gee whiz," but who actually uses those new bells and whistles. Who actually STARTS using a computer for a task because of them? These have to be weighed against (many more) those who are encumbered by the "new" features getting in the way.

As for the specific of the WP task, I have worked with Word out of necessity for a decade. Why have I not moved to it? Because it simply does not allow the quick SINGLE keystroke to features I use every few minutes. It's not that you cannot do these things in Word, you just can't:
a) split the screen at the current cursor position by pressing <F2>;
b) start a search with <F9>;
c) jump to the next occurrence with <+>;
d) do a single search/replace with <F10>;
e) insert a file with Ctrl-<F6>;
f) export a block of text to a file with Ctrl-<F3>;
to name a few.

Bill Wallace did a great job with the user interface and natural language aspects of PC-Write. No need to define indentations - the program recognizes them without any formatting at all.

Perhaps one of the biggest stupidities is that when I have to highlight a block of text in Word (and virtually all Win apps) I have to hold down the <Shift> key. In PC-Write I start the block text function, and then highlighting follows the cursor until I complete the function: I have twice the number of hands available to me!

Perhaps some of these can be defined as macros in Word, but how long will those work until a "new" version of Word decides to ignore or improperly implement those macro translations. I have old Excel spreadsheets with macros that did not translate into a later version. Funny thing though, if I do a spreadhseet with macros in 20yo QuattroPro, they come up in Excel just fine.

If your job is to play with computers, these are engaging and entertaining issues. Maybe that's your job, or your amusement. Some of us use computers as a tool to generate a work product, and need to reach that product as efficiently and reliably as possible.

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Why don't you just use Notepad
by orlbuckeye / September 11, 2009 11:42 PM PDT

or wordpad? You can get a Dos prompt the same as you do in XP by typing in cmd underneath all programs. Microsoft has also including a new scripting program which they wanted to have in Vista.

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Not Even Close... By Design
by LifeOnAString / September 12, 2009 10:43 AM PDT

Microsoft has made sure Notepad and Wordpad are no substitutes for a real WP. If you bothered to read the previous posts, you can see that a full WP program is needed, and Word is close but falls short of the older DOS programs it eclipsed.

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PC write
by ardinglydave / October 26, 2009 4:00 AM PDT

I still use PC-Write, it's a great little word processor. Word has many many additional features but with PC-Write what you see is what you get if you don't use any formatting characters. So if you type messages then send them over a serial connection you know there are no non-printing characters scattered about. Try that with Word!
I use it all the time to create simulators for Navaids which have simple serial interfaces.
Notepad and wordpad are too simplistic for efficient use.

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Windows DOS -- XyWrite
by mahler53 / November 27, 2009 8:38 AM PST

Has there been any definitice word on whether XyWrite word processing program will run on Windows 7 as full screen?

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No. It needed HELP. Here's what helped.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 27, 2009 10:39 AM PST
In reply to: Windows DOS -- XyWrite

I installed DOSBOX and that allowed full screen DOS.

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Full screen DOS
by ardinglydave / November 28, 2009 6:16 PM PST

I downloaded DOSBOX in Vista but it still won't go full screen when pressing ALT-Enter. Other function keys work but not this one. Any suggestions?

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by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 28, 2009 10:24 PM PST
In reply to: Full screen DOS

On one machine there was some black border but it was FULL SCREEN DOS.

And the FAQ does address conditions were alt+enter does not work. Your post seems to not tell if you have read the FAQ.

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Full screen
by ardinglydave / December 6, 2009 6:30 PM PST
In reply to: Define FULL SCREEN

I've read the thread and checked with DOSBOX FAQ which as far as I can see does not mention this topic. All it says is:

Special Keys
From DOSBoxWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Note: These are the default keybindings. They can be changed using the keymapper.

ALT-ENTER Switch to full-screen (and back).

Can't see anything about problems.

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Works fine here.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 6, 2009 8:23 PM PST
In reply to: Full screen

Try another machine.

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