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Thread: Latest version of MS-DOS my Compaq Portable can run?

  1. #1
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    Default Latest version of MS-DOS my Compaq Portable can run?

    Hello,

    I just bought an "new" compaq portable 1 on ebay, and I was wondering which version of DOS to buy. It has the 2 5.25in floppy drives of course, so does anyone have any suggestions for me? All the wiki pages and articles ive read about it just say it can run DOS. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    Thank you,
    Mark Robuck

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    Compaq portable can run any version up through MS-DOS 6.22 though the choice of which one may vary. Unless you plan on using only early DOS software, MS-DOS 3.3 is probably the best choice. Still small but a lot of the 1990 era DOS software expects it or later. DOS 5 and 6 use more memory and the Portable 1 can't use HIMEM to reclaim some of it. However, they support larger hard disks should you decide to upgrade the system that way. DOS 4 was a botch; don't bother with it.

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    Try Compaq MSDos 3.31 if you can get it

    But as mentioned above basicly any MSDos Dos up to 6.22 will do the job. You can also use IBMs Dos as well as DRIs DrDos.
    Last edited by Caluser2000; November 16th, 2017 at 08:35 PM.
    Thomas Byers (DRI)- "You'll have a million people using the A> [MS-DOS prompt] forever. You'll have five million using [nongraphic] menu systems such as Topview, Concurrent PC-DOS, Desq, and those types. But there'll be 50 to 100 million using the iconic-based interfaces."

  4. #4

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    FreeDOS is the latest, but uses more RAM, which is not something an 8088 machine has an abundance of.

    IBM PC DOS 7.0/2000 will give you the most free RAM (out of 640K) of any Microsoft-based version of DOS since 3.3.

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    FreeDOS is absolutely not something you should be considering on a machine made before 1995.

    Save yourself the sanity of trying to get a later version work and just run 3.3. There is nothing you are really missing from a later version that will either run poorly or won't work at all on a portable 1's limiting hardware.
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  6. #6

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    I run IBM PC-DOS 3.3 on mine (because I had a boxed disk set for it), 3.3, be it MS, IBM, or Compaq release just seems to be the best fit on a machine like this due to memory footprints, however if you need large disk support, you'd need to sacrifice the memory and move up to 5.0+ Because 3.3 only supports 32mb partitions, 5.0 (actually 4.0, but it's an abomination) supports 2gb partitions.
    My Vintage computer/blog site
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by RWallmow View Post
    ... however if you need large disk support, you'd need to sacrifice the memory and move up to 5.0+ Because 3.3 only supports 32mb partitions...
    At this point it's only got two floppy drives so it doesn't need any hard disk support.
    If you're looking for DS/DD or DS/HD 3" or 5" floppy disks, PM me. I've got some new, used, and factory over-labeled disks for sale.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RWallmow View Post
    however if you need large disk support, you'd need to sacrifice the memory and move up to 5.0+ Because 3.3 only supports 32mb partitions, 5.0 (actually 4.0, but it's an abomination) supports 2gb partitions.
    But don't forget that 3.31 supports partitions/drives up to 512mb, and keeps the same low memory footprint as 3.30. Of course, with no hard drive at all, that really doesn't matter. But if a hard drive or XT-IDE is added later then 3.31 would be a good choice for an 8088/8086 based system.

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    DOS 3.3 also has working support for 3.5" floppy drives making data transfer easier. The built-in controller will only work with 720k floppies and DRIVER.SYS or DRIVPARM will be needed. Still, much simpler than trying to use the hardware with DOS 2.

    3.31 is close to perfect but being Compaq exclusive means disks are uncommon.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    At this point it's only got two floppy drives so it doesn't need any hard disk support.
    I can't even imagine still using mine floppy only, I guess I assume everyone will want to add some kind of mass storage like an XTIDE or something lol

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    But don't forget that 3.31 supports partitions/drives up to 512mb, and keeps the same low memory footprint as 3.30. Of course, with no hard drive at all, that really doesn't matter. But if a hard drive or XT-IDE is added later then 3.31 would be a good choice for an 8088/8086 based system.
    Didn't know that about 3.31, might have to hunt down a copy of that for mine, I am using a 256MB CF card on an XTIDE, partitioned off into 8x 32mb chunks under PC-DOS 3.30 in my Portable, I could consolidate all those into one drive letter with a 512mb partition limit.
    My Vintage computer/blog site
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