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Thread: DOS Multi-Taskers

  1. #1

    Cool DOS Multi-Taskers

    Ok guys I am hoping the hive mind here will save me tons of frustration and trial and error:

    I have a Toshiba T3100SX that I am using as a portable terminal, ADTPro booter, LPT/serial printer programmer, dos program tester, and so on. Basically it is becoming my machine whenever I need portable DOS and real HW interfaces (e.g. serial port, LPT port, disk drive (through an external disk drive and CompatiCard IV).

    Being a DOS machine (yes it will run Win 3.1 but then that would defeat its main purpose for me) I've been limited in what I can do with it - for example if I want to upload a PJL file to a printer I need to edit the file, then load up the terminal and send the file. If there is an error then I have to exit the term program, re edit the file, restart term program... you get the idea.

    A bit more background:
    The computer is a 80386SX system w/ a Math Co (yes, it does nothing but why not), 4MB of RAM, a working HDD (which is rare on these machines), a built in 1.44MB FDD, modem, serial port, and an LPT port. In the two ISA slots currently I have a NIC, and a CC IV card which using the external connector I can connect another 3.5", a 5.25" or 8" drive to the system.

    I have DOS 6.22 installed currently and WfW 3.11 installed on it. I have access to the following software for DOS multitasking:

    1. Top View Pros: Supposedly very stable Cons: Not very compatible based on what I have read, memory hog
    2. DesqView Pros: Most popular with BBS SysOps, solid performance Cons: not sure if it does pre-emptive multi-tasking, ?No protected mode support
    3. OS/2 1.0 Pros: Pre-Emptive Multitasking, Protected Mode Support Cons: Not DOS
    4. SW Carousel (I think that is what it's called): Never used it. I think Stone likes it
    5. DR Concurrent DOS: Pros: Pre-Emptive Multitasking Cons: ?Only provides DOS 1.0 compatibility?


    I am not planning on running multiple games or anything super intensive. I want to be able to have multiple DOS windows open (to do file management), have a terminal running, and a text editor at most.

    So did anyone multitask under DOS in the good OLD days? Any recommendations (aside from don't do it), advice, pit falls?

    TIA!
    Last edited by Shadow Lord; February 27th, 2018 at 09:22 AM.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  2. #2
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    If it's simple that you want, why not give Borland Sidekick a try. Work great on my 386 for simple tasks, like text editing and such. It's a TSR and not much overhead involved.

  3. #3
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    Desqview 386 uses 386 protected mode. And it is all preemptive. That is the only way to do DOS multitasking. Desqview was some pretty powerful stuff, and probably the best way to do DOS-only multitasking.

    If you just need some TSR utilities, Sidekick is a good option. It is not multi-tasking, but you can call it up inside most other applications.

    If you spend most of your time in a terminal program, you might check out Telemate. It has all kinds of built in utilities and some basic multitasking that lets you do things like uncompress files without exiting the program.

    Of course, keep in mind that many DOS programs are poorly behaved and may not work well in multitasking environments.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    So did anyone multitask under DOS in the good OLD days? Any recommendations (aside from don't do it), advice, pit falls?
    Yup...

    I always used PC-MIX on my 286. (It even runs on an 8088!)

    With it I could run Telix (even in the background) and also run a word processor and one other program as well.

    That was with 1 MB ram. With more ram it can do even more.

    PC-MIX.ZIP
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

  5. #5
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    Multi-tasker or task switcher? MS-DOS 5, IIRC, came with a task switcher.

  6. #6

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    Borland sidekick and similar programs won't work as I want to have the option to run whatever (w/ all the limitations of DOS) as needed. So if I only needed a text editor something like sidekick could work but I may want to call up laplink or Norton Commander/Xtree as well. I need something that will run behaved DOS stuff reasonably well.

    Quote Originally Posted by SomeGuy View Post
    Desqview 386 uses 386 protected mode. And it is all preemptive. That is the only way to do DOS multitasking. Desqview was some pretty powerful stuff, and probably the best way to do DOS-only multitasking.

    If you spend most of your time in a terminal program, you might check out Telemate. It has all kinds of built in utilities and some basic multitasking that lets you do things like uncompress files without exiting the program.
    I actually do use TM and used to use it as my main BBS calling program back in the day. I think Telemate allows you to even start a command prompt but it stops what it is doing.

    I thought Desqview 386 was just Desqview w/ QEMM386? I.e. the Desqview portion was no different. This is what I was thinking of as my best choice as well. But I wanted to see if anyone would recommend anything else.
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Multi-tasker or task switcher? MS-DOS 5, IIRC, came with a task switcher.
    It was built into Dos Shell iirc.
    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."

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck(G) View Post
    Multi-tasker or task switcher? MS-DOS 5, IIRC, came with a task switcher.
    Multi-tasker (i.e. other tasks keep running in the background - say a file transfer or large copy operation)
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stone View Post
    Yup...

    I always used PC-MIX on my 286. (It even runs on an 8088!)

    With it I could run Telix (even in the background) and also run a word processor and one other program as well.

    That was with 1 MB ram. With more ram it can do even more.

    PC-MIX.ZIP
    Stone, does PC-Mix let you do diskcopy, format, copy files, etc. in the background when you switch programs?
    Current Wish List: 1. IBM 7531 Industrial Series PC 2. NEC MultiSync XL (JC-2001) Monitor 3. Copy II PC Enhanced Option Board (the one with the toggle switch on the back) 4. MicroSolutions MatchPoint AND/OR UniDOS card 5. Compaq 14" VGA CRT Monitor (the one that came with the SystemPro). If you have any of the above for sale please PM me. Thank you!

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow Lord View Post
    Stone, does PC-Mix let you do diskcopy, format, copy files, etc. in the background when you switch programs?
    I don't remember, but I don't see why not. It's so small and simple... try it out and tell us all.
    PM me if you're looking for 3" or 5" floppy disks. EMail For everything else, Take Another Step

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