[aprssig] dos on a winxp machine

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Mon Jan 8 23:59:31 CST 2007

cap at cruzio.com wrote:
> I can still run APRSdos from within WindowsXPpro just fine.  (Granted, my
> hard-drive's file system is still FAT32 instead of NTFS.)
> 73, Cap KE6AFE
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> aprssig mailing list
> aprssig at lists.tapr.org
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As long as Windows is running, the disk file system isn't an issue, 
assuming your DOS applications can run inside Windows at all.  The 
trouble comes if you want to bypass Windows (of whatever flavor) and 
boot directly to "real" DOS from a floppy, CD-ROM or perhaps a USB flash 
drive.    Then NTFS volumes will become inaccessible.  

And most USB-based hardware (such as USB-to-serial converters), will 
disappear.  [DOS never heard of USB, although SOME recent motherboard 
BIOSes can now make certain USB devices look like their predecessors.]   
Most BIOSes from the last two years or so support USB mice and keyboards 
from DOS (they make them "look like" classic PS/2 devices).  [This 
addresses the chicken-or-the-egg-first problem of how do you get into 
the BIOS to set up a "legacy-free" machine (with no traditional keyboard 
port)  when your keyboard is dependent on a Windows-based driver.]   A 
very few very recent motherboards will recognize external USB-connected 
hard disks and floppies and emulate their .  

Further most modern "brain dead" printers, modems and soundcards are 
dependent on huge Windows-based drivers that emulate non-existent 
hardware and won't work at all from stand-alone DOS.  [In the DOS era, 
hardware actually had hardware in it!]

Win 95 and 98 had actual DOS underneath (The "DOS 7.1" that can actually 
be used to format a bootable floppy or hard disk.)  Unlike the last 
"official" standalone DOS (Ver 6.22),   "DOS 7.1" will work with today's 
huge hard disks because it supports FAT32.     [ The classic DOS 6.22 
supported only FAT16 and maxed out at 2GB per partition unless you used 
some sort of 3rd-party add-on disk manager.  ]  

By contrast, 32-bit Windows (WinNT, Win2K and WinXP) only have a DOS 
emulator that produces a black window to type command lines.  There is 
no standalone DOS present that can be used to format a bootable floppy.  
Ever notice the subtle naming difference between the "DOS Prompt" 
offered in the Win95/98 "Accessories"  group, and the equivalent 
"Command Prompt" offered by Win2k and Xp?   It's because there is no 
real DOS there.   Although it actually does a pretty good job of 
emulating DOS within Windows.

By the way, the native Win2K/XP equivalent of .BAT batch files is .CMD . 


Stephen H. Smith    wa8lmf (at) aol.com
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