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need to dual boot DOS and Win ME or 98se

by 3151jeff / September 13, 2007 4:04 PM PDT

A lady I know wants to stick with DOS and the Word-Perfect program loaded on it because she knows it and does not want to change but the computer the hdd was in has gone south. Now she would like to dual boot DOS and Win 98se or ME so she could use some of the programs that windows offer as well.
The hdd DOS is on is only 120mb and I also need to clone this to a larger hdd if this is possible. And to find out if there is anyway to do this dual boot as she would like. Any experience I have is with Win 2000 or X/P and is of little help with what she would like to accomplish.
I could not find any info on this problem and the reason I am writing this.
Her old computer was a 386/33mhz and I am trying to update it to a Pentium MMX 200 mhz only because it is similar in configuration to the original. I moved the video card to this Pentium MMX just so the DOS hdd would work as I have no idea how to locate or install drivers for the DOS system on this tiny hdd.
I do have larger systems available such as P2 or P3's but don't know if the DOS hdd will work in them and of course the driver problems
Is there any hope of accomplishing what she would like to do? I am definitely way over my head on this one

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Re: DOS and Windows 98
by Kees Bakker / September 13, 2007 5:10 PM PDT


You can't install Windows on a 120 Mb hard disk. Just too small. Doesn't fit. So the very first thing to do is to find a bigger hard disk.

In fact, because you also need another motherboard and probably more RAM, I'd just find another computer for her, motherboard and RAM and disk, drivers and Windows 98 installed, and working. Apparently you already found one.
If necessary, there are many second hand Windows 98 PC's around (look on eBay for example) and they are rather cheap, because nobody wants them any more). I've one for free (6 Gb, 350 Mhz, 192 Mb RAM, Windows 98, perfectly running), but you probably wouldn't come to Holland to get it. If you can choose, choose one that comes with the original Windows 98 CD, just in case. If not, the Windows 098 cabs should be present in c:\windows\options\cabs.

You can copy the WordPerfect program (and all other programs she likes to use, basic DOS commands of course come with Windows 98) from her old hard disk and put it somewhere on the new one. It will run then without troubles. If you copy the whole folder, the old printer driver will come with it.

Then run WP in a maximized command prompt window. No problem at all, she won't see the difference. All she has to do is to click on the WP-icon you put on her desktop, in stead of typing "WP" in DOS. And from the desktop she can use other programs as well, simultaneously.
If you mount the old 120 Mb hard disk as a slave, you can copy all here WP-documents to the new hard disk. Then it might be useful as a backup device (certainly useful with old computers) for her WP-documents. Make a "backup" icon on the desktop that copies her files from the big new hard disk (might be 4 Gb!) to this old one, just in case it breaks down. It's easier than backing up to diskettes.

Hope this helps. In case of trouble, post again. Pure nostalgia, all of this, and I would be glad to help.


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drivers are my problem
by 3151jeff / September 13, 2007 6:25 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: DOS and Windows 98

I was going to use the old drive as a master and 98 on a second hdd as a slave as the DOS hdd is already full. The problem I am running into is the DOS based Word perfect will only seem to run on this old ATI video card that XP or anything newer will not run on.
This is the reason I chose this old MMX 200mhz computer to run the DOS hdd in as it seems to run fine with with the drivers installed on that hdd. if I had any other options I could use I would go that way and the reason for my plea for assistance
I have a P3 550mhz I would gladly give her if there was a way to get this hdd to work in it because it (dos hdd) does not give me an option for searching out drivers and I have no idea how one would install drivers on a DOS based system.
Can I clone a DOS hdd with Acronis 9.0?
This would help me get this information and programs on a larger hdd.
I did try running the DOS hdd as a slave and accessing Word-Perfect through the window opened when going to dos prompt in accessories under programs menu (win 98) but it would not work properly in page or graphic mode so she told me
This was the only reason I was using Win 98 was because it is DOS based and I have no idea how XP would work as it is not DOS based
If the old Dos based Word Perfect could be made to run properly from within a windows program that would be the end of my problem but it will not.
I hope this is clearer of my situation and believe me I have tried to convince this lady to try the newer Word perfect (I have the X12 version) but she is steadfastly stuck in the past and the world of DOS in which she is quite efficient

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Re: drivers
by Kees Bakker / September 13, 2007 7:15 PM PDT
In reply to: drivers are my problem


In old DOS applications like WP, drivers for the hardware (video and printer) weren't part of the system, but belonged to the application program. My very first graphic card came with drivers for Lotus 1-2-3 and Word Perfect. And WP came with a lot of printer drivers (and you could make your own new drivers with the printer program).

I've had no problem at all doing what I described: run WP on a working Windows 98 PC in a DOS Window. In fact, it even runs on my XP PC. But shift-f7>6 (print preview) aborts, because my copy of WP doesn't have the right drivers for my new video card (and I'm afraid they don't sell them either any more).

It's absolutely necessary you use a video card that has both Windows 98 drivers and WP drivers. That's the trick. Windows 98, luckily, came with a lot of drivers for older hardware built in on the CD. It's only hopeless if the old video card is so old, that even Windows 98 out of the box doesn't support it, and you can't find Windows 98 drivers anywhere. But that's unlikely.

I really think that it would fully work if you
(a) mount the old HD as a slave
(b) copy the full WP folder (and that includes the drivers) to a \WP folder on the Windows 98 machine with the same graphic card and the same printer
(c) run the wp51.exe from it's new folder

You can try by just doing step (a) and running WP from the slave (after you installed that old ATI-card and old printer under Windows). It doesn't make any difference from which drive the software is run, of course.

Cloning a DOS-disk is useless if you want to use the result for Windows 98. It's a different file system, and first thing you would have to do delete the copied partition and make a new one. All you can do is copy the full contents using xcopy with the right switches, but in this case that doesn't make sense either.

To summarize: Add WP to a working Windows 98 PC with the right hardware. Don't add Windows 98 to a DOS/WP-PC, because that simply won't work. You're on the wrong track here.
Why not try this?

The alternative: just use the old HD (or a bigger on with everything copied to it), the same video and the same printer and totally forget about Windows. Your choice (and I hope it's not the only one remaining).


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I want to clone for safe keeping
by 3151jeff / September 13, 2007 10:20 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: drivers

I will try what you have suggested and post back
I would like to clone this dos disk for safety reasons, is there any reason standard cloning software ie. Acronis 9.0 won't work?

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Re: cloning.
by Kees Bakker / September 13, 2007 10:49 PM PDT

I don't know if Acronis supports such an old (before Windows 95) filesystem. But if it does, you could clone it, for safety reasons. Not a bad idea.

Otherwise (that is, if Acronis doesn't work), you need to have an old DOS boot diskette to be able to sys the hard disk (sorry, old DOS jargon) for just in case it becomes unbootable. Burn all data (i.e. the root folder and everything in it) to a CD (using any burning tool), and you can restore it on a freshly sys'ed disk. That should work also. But, of course, a clone is easier and safer.

However, I'd do both, just in case anything happens.


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Before getting too far ahead of yourself...
by Jackson Douglas / September 14, 2007 12:36 AM PDT

Despite what Microsoft might claim, Win98 and WinMe are both still DOS. There's no reason why the old DOS version of WordPerfect wouldn't work in a command prompt or something. It may not work on XP or Vista, but those aren't DOS based operating systems.

Then there shouldn't be any real need for special DOS drivers for anything, and it should vastly simplify your life in regards to this project.

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Re: WP.
by Kees Bakker / September 14, 2007 1:11 AM PDT


I've tested it, and it even runs in XP. But you need a special WP-driver for your videocard (to enable the print preview and graphics) and printer (to print). This being a DOS-program it's totally ignorant of any Windows driver present.


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In that case...
by Jackson Douglas / September 14, 2007 2:39 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: WP.

I'd hit ebay and find some older version of the Windows WordPerfect, where you could set all the keyboard shortcuts to be the same as the DOS version. So aside from looking a little different, it would still operate in more or less exactly the same way, but could make use of Windows drivers and avoid the hassle of trying to get DOS and a DOS version of Windows onto the same system. Since both will absolutely insist on being installed on the first primary partition, and see fit to wipe out the MBR without even bothering to ask, you'd need a third party boot loader, and it just seems a lot easier to configure a Windows version of WordPerfect to act like the DOS version.

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you are likely right technically
by 3151jeff / September 14, 2007 3:01 AM PDT
In reply to: In that case...

But this lady has no leeway, this is the only way she wants this Word Perfect to work and refuses to use any windows version. I am trying to convince her otherwise because I have two newer versions but she will not even consider to try them because she likes and is familiar with the key commands.
It will be safer for me to try to solve the original request and if all fails maybe then she may consider alternatives, maybe.
I appreciate all of the help and will show her these discussions to prove just what I am up against.
I will post back as I am waiting for answers for the cloning from Arconis and others first, just in case, and then I will proceed
The main reason this is such a big challenge for me is my knowledge of DOS is limited to the spelling of it.
So thanks again Kees Bakker and Jackson Douglas

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Why not try?
by Jackson Douglas / September 14, 2007 3:52 AM PDT

Just install a Windows version of WordPerfect onto a test system, and ask the lady to humor you while you're working on her other system. Ask her to just forget how the newer WordPerfect looks, and to just sit down and try typing up some simple document that's representative of what she usually does.

Tell her not to do anything differently from how she normally does things, same keyboard commands, etc, and see how things go. If she sees that aside from looking differently, the newer WordPerfect will work in exactly the same way, it could make your life easier. And since you haven't finished getting her replacement system going, it's not like she has much to loose, so some of those reservations could probably be overcome.

Something else you may want to consider, is a virtual machine program like VirtualPC or VMWare. You can install Windows, and then put a copy of DOS into a virtual machine, saving the hassle of dual booting. You could probably set it up as an icon on the desktop that will load up the virtual machine, and have it load directly into WordPerfect. There might be a few new issues to work out with that method, but it's just another option to consider.

You could also consider having two systems. One for all the word processing needs, and another for everything else. Find some cheap 386 system on Ebay someone is looking to offload for example. So long as it still runs, and meets the WordPerfect requirements, who cares about anything else?

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Re: dual boot
by Kees Bakker / September 14, 2007 6:31 PM PDT


As Jackson write, Windows 95, 98 (and ME) are based on a DOS kernel, DOS 7.0 to be exact. I suppose this lady still has DOS 6.0 (or maybe even 5.0). One of the big changes in 7.0 was support for long filenames (not the limited 8.3 scheme of all previous versions).

From the boot menu (keep ctrl pressed when booting) you can choose between booting into real-mode MS-DOS, Safe Mode Windows 98 and normal mode Windows 98. That's dual boot built in into the system already, all free and very well functioning. But you can do practically anything you need to do on the PC (like running WP) in a command window also. In both cases (command window and real mode DOS) it needs to be properly configured.
The exceptions (when I wrote 'practically anything'): some MS-DOS games need real-mode because of their memory needs and scanreg /restore only works in real-mode DOS (because it modifies Windows settings). But that's not important now.

The advantage of using a command window is that you can use other Windows programs at the same time in another window. If you boot into real-mode MS-DOS you've got to run "win" to start windows, and that replaces the real-mode MS-DOS so you can't use (that) WP and a windows program simultaneously.

The original request doesn't tell the details on (a) WHAT windows programs the lady wishes to use nor (b) if she wants to use them AT THE SAME TIME or not.

Anyway, the installation procedure is just the same. Install Windows 98, copy WP (including all the drivers and all her old documents).
Then, if you provide the necessary things like path-commands and have autoexec.bat and config.sys rightly configured, she can boot into MS-DOS and run WP.
And if you provide the necessary things like a shortcut on the desktop or in Start>Programs or in the Quick Launch area, she can boot into Windows and run WP and run windows programs.
If you like to call that 'dual boot', you may do so. But technically speaking, it's one OS (Windows 98) you boot into, only in 2 different modes.

To put it differently: you can't have DOS6.0 and DOS7.0 simultaneously on a partition. And there's no way to boot to a DOS6.0 partition after booting the DOS7.0 partition (with Windows 98 installed). But there's no need to do so either, because you can do all you need in DOS 7.0.

I don't see any problem here.

Hope this helps.


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by Jackson Douglas / September 15, 2007 2:19 AM PDT
In reply to: Re: dual boot

One minor point... The long file names on Win95 and above, aren't part of the DOS core, they're an overlay that's only available via the Windows shell. It may have an official name within Microsoft, but most everywhere else it's known as VFAT.

Can't say for sure about NT 3.1-4, but Windows 2000 on should have native support for file names longer than 11 characters if using NTFS.

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That's true.
by Kees Bakker / September 15, 2007 4:27 AM PDT
In reply to: Actually

Microsoft modified the basic DOS internals so that Windows 95 could use long filenames. As far as I remember, they used more than 1 entry in the 8.3 directory tables to store the long filename. And a few very hidden bits to show that the directory entry wasn't pointing to a file, but just contained part of a filename and nothing else. I might be wrong here, however.
Anyway, DOS "supports" long filenames, but doesn't use them.

The effect is clear: real-mode MS-DOS only shows the 8.3 filename. A command window shows the long file name. But an old DOS program, like WP, run in a command prompt, shows the 8.3 filenames also, because it doesn't know about longer ones and can't handle them.
Hardly a nuisance for somebody with a clear requirement to use WP4.2 or WP 5.1.


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when she was accessing the program she was typing WP6
by 3151jeff / September 15, 2007 4:47 AM PDT
In reply to: That's true.

I have not had a chance to talk to her in the last couple of days but she should be back home tomorrow and I will bring her up to date then
again thanks for all the input it is all valuable

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WP6 ...
by Kees Bakker / September 15, 2007 6:06 AM PDT

as shown in came in 2 flavors (not counting the Mac), WP 6 for DOS and WP 6 for Windows. I assume we're discussing the DOS version here. That's 14 year old now. That's antique (or even older than that).

Hope you get everything up and running for her.


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