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Thread: DOS compatibility on IBM PC convertible?

  1. #1

    Default DOS compatibility on IBM PC convertible?

    I recently got an IBM PC convertible. I did some research on it but couldn't find out which DOS versions it is compatible with. I know the convertible originally came with IBM PC DOS 3.2, but is it compatible with other versions of PC DOS? And can it run any versions of MS DOS? I'd assume any multi-disk version of DOS would be impossible to use as the convertible has no hard drives so it cannot be installed, is this correct?
    Thanks in advance for any help or advice, I'm pretty much new to using old computers like this and don't know much about them.

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ventura View Post
    I recently got an IBM PC convertible. I did some research on it but couldn't find out which DOS versions it is compatible with. I know the convertible originally came with IBM PC DOS 3.2, but is it compatible with other versions of PC DOS? And can it run any versions of MS DOS? I'd assume any multi-disk version of DOS would be impossible to use as the convertible has no hard drives so it cannot be installed, is this correct?
    Thanks in advance for any help or advice, I'm pretty much new to using old computers like this and don't know much about them.
    I run PC DOS 3.3 on it. I can test PC DOS 5 or PC DOS 6 on it, although I'm sure they work.

    It's a pretty limited machine. If you want some additional mass storage use a parallel port Zip drive (or other storage device) with the parallel port slice (adapter). You have to boot from floppies, but it's better than nothing.

    And don't let it out of your sight. Keyboard poachers love to destroy these machines.



    Mike

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    Filthy keyboard poachers... I used to be one of them! Oh how far I’ve come.

    Also, am I incorrect in saying that PC-DOS 3.3 was the last version that didn’t need to be installed onto a hard drive? Or, at least, the last version that didn’t ask you to install onto a hard drive. Anyway, I think (not completely sure) PC-DOS 5 was the last version to come on 720k disks which the 5140 needs. Also, sticking to period correct operating systems is a good idea, as they usually run better and use less memory. PC-DOS 3.3 has most of what you need, so I would go with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by willmurray461 View Post
    Filthy keyboard poachers... I used to be one of them! Oh how far Iíve come.

    Also, am I incorrect in saying that PC-DOS 3.3 was the last version that didnít need to be installed onto a hard drive? Or, at least, the last version that didnít ask you to install onto a hard drive. Anyway, I think (not completely sure) PC-DOS 5 was the last version to come on 720k disks which the 5140 needs. Also, sticking to period correct operating systems is a good idea, as they usually run better and use less memory. PC-DOS 3.3 has most of what you need, so I would go with it.
    I'm not sure about 'installing' onto a hard disk, but technically you can have any version of dos as a standard boot disk. The easiest way is to just boot up to whatever DOS you want on another computer and then format /S a 720k floppy (or 360k). DOS itself fits on a floppy but all the ancillary files might not. If you're being period correct, then use the correct version of DOS. If, however, you actually want to use the systems with the least amount of headache, i'd put 6.22 on there. Just because something originally came with an old O/S doesn't mean that's the best O/S for it.

    There are various boot disks here, though generally they are 1.44 so you'd have to be creative to put them onto a 720k but should be pretty easy. You'll need winimage to use the IMG version which you'll want to do if you need to 'shrink' the images to fit on a 720k.

    https://www.allbootdisks.com/download/dos.html
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

  5. #5

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    With 640K of RAM, it can run any DOS version up to PC DOS 2000 (7.00A) or MS-DOS 6.22, although IMO on a floppy-only system, DOS 3.3 is the ideal version. You can copy over some of the utilities from newer versions of DOS (EDIT/QBASIC, MOVE, DELTREE, UNDELETE, etc.) in order to make it more useful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vwestlife View Post
    With 640K of RAM, it can run any DOS version up to PC DOS 2000 (7.00A) or MS-DOS 6.22, although IMO on a floppy-only system, DOS 3.3 is the ideal version. You can copy over some of the utilities from newer versions of DOS (EDIT/QBASIC, MOVE, DELTREE, UNDELETE, etc.) in order to make it more useful.
    Out of curiosity, what's the reasoning for sticking with 3.3? Not disagreeing, just generally curious, as I know you have a lot more recent experience with various vintage DOS machines then I do.
    -- Brian

    Systems: Amstad PCW 8256, Apple IIe/II+/Mac+/Mac 512k, Atari 800/520STFM, Commodore 64/Amiga 3000/PET 4032/SX-64, IBM PS/1 2121-B82, Kaypro II, Osborne 1, Tandy 1000 SX, TI-99/4A, TRS-80 Model 4 GA

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    On a PC/XT 8088-class system MS-DOS 3.3 uses a lot less RAM than DOS 5.0 or 6.x since those rely on HIMEM.SYS to move part of DOS in to HMA. DOS 5 and 6 also have fairly little added functionality that is of benefit to an 8088 based system. The main reason for using a later version is hard drives over 32mb. But in that case, investigate DOS 3.31 that can handle drives up to 512MB. Might need that if you want to use a 100mb zip drive.

    Of course, with a system that boots from floppy, just keep as many different DOS boot disks as you like

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngtwolf View Post
    Out of curiosity, what's the reasoning for sticking with 3.3? Not disagreeing, just generally curious, as I know you have a lot more recent experience with various vintage DOS machines then I do.
    Newer versions of DOS take up 5K to 10K more RAM, take up more disk space, and are slower to load. Most of the benefits of DOS 5.0 and newer mainly apply to hard drive systems with 286+ CPUs and extended or expanded RAM, and thus are irrelevant to a floppy-only 8088 portable with 640K (or less) RAM. And like I said, most of the benefits of the newer versions of DOS that would be applicable to a PC Convertible can be used with DOS 3.3.

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    If it wasn't for a lot of DOS software checking for DOS 3.3, one could get by with DOS 3.2. DOS 3.3 additions were extended partitions which won't matter without a hard disk and code page switching.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by krebizfan View Post
    If it wasn't for a lot of DOS software checking for DOS 3.3, one could get by with DOS 3.2. DOS 3.3 additions were extended partitions which won't matter without a hard disk and code page switching.
    Important changes in DOS 3.3:
    * system files no longer need to be contiguous (so a disk that already has data on it can be SYS'ed)
    * 1.44 MB 3.5" diskette support added
    * extended partition support added
    * @ prefix added to suppress echo (as in @ECHO OFF)
    * support for COM3, COM4, and LPT3 added
    * international language and code page switching support added
    * ATTRIB supports /S to recurse subdirectories
    * MS-DOS added DRIVPARM command (previously available in PC DOS since 3.2)

    More technical changes:
    * hardware interrupt stack switching support can be disabled (STACKS=0,0)
    * 102-byte buffer reserved at 800h (70h:100h) for programs using 80286 LOADALL
    * INT 21h functions 65h-68h added
    * INT 2Fh multiplex functions 14h (NLSFUNC), ADh (DISPLAY.SYS/KEYB), AEh (APPEND), B0h (GRAFTABL), B7h (APPEND) added

    At the time of release, Microsoft hinted that 3.3 was going to be the last version of DOS, since the future was supposed to be OS/2 -- so that may also be why some software was hard-coded to check for DOS 3.3 and refused to work with other versions (either higher or lower).

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