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Thread: DOS Shell on MMX system

  1. #1
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    Default DOS Shell on MMX system

    Ok, it may not make sense to anyone but I have an old GETAC heavy duty laptop that has a 200 MHz MMX processor. Its just about useless for running windows unless I want to run an old version like 95 or 98, don’t think its got guts enough for XP so I have decided that I would wipe the system drive and make this a DOS system for working with some of the old utilities I have.
    After formatting the drive and installing DOS 6.22 and a couple DOS utilities I commonly use thought it would be good to install DOS Shell so I can go to programs without keystrokes. After installing the same DOS Shell 3.0 it hangs on the first screen display and prompts “Divide Overflow” I can go to the floppy that it’s installed on and run it on the floppy itself but copying it to the C drive results in it not working.
    Can this be something to do with the C driver being in 32 bit transfer? Or anyone else has any ideas?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    Ok, it may not make sense to anyone but I have an old GETAC heavy duty laptop that has a 200 MHz MMX processor. Its just about useless for running windows unless I want to run an old version like 95 or 98, don’t think its got guts enough for XP
    That laptop was quite literally designed for Windows 9x/NT, it's unrealistic to expect an OS released years after the laptop was designed and sold to work well on it. Just because it doesn't run a more modern OS doesn't make it useless.

    Quote Originally Posted by Qbus View Post
    After installing the same DOS Shell 3.0 it hangs on the first screen display and prompts “Divide Overflow” I can go to the floppy that it’s installed on and run it on the floppy itself but copying it to the C drive results in it not working.
    Can this be something to do with the C driver being in 32 bit transfer? Or anyone else has any ideas?
    The divide overflow could be caused by several things. It could be hardware failure (bad memory, bad cache), driver conflicts or that the Pentium MMX is just too fast for Dos Shell and is causing erratic behavior. Quite a few DOS programs have timing sensitive code which will fail on faster CPUs.

  3. #3
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    So you are installing MS-DOS 6 and then loading the Dos Shell application and files from MS-DOS 3 media? You shouldn't have to do that. Microsoft had a supplemental diskette with the shell available and I'm sure someone has a copy of that diskette.

    Why not just install 95 or 98? You have the command prompt available from the desktop and/or the Restart in MS-DOS Mode" option in the shutdown window. Are you running something that needs direct hardware access?
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  4. #4
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    I had 98 installed on this and still have the drive with that install, but also have one or two older systems around the shop running things like 386 and 486 using DOS Shell and applications that are DOS and in some cases won’t work under windows, things like Motorola programming software.
    Still have the drive with Win 98 being I stuffed a different drive in the system in an attempt to build this as a DOS only system, imagine I will have to go back to Windows being it looks like this hardware is going to be more trouble then its worth to get running as a stand alone DOS system.
    Don’t think there is any hardware issues being when I was running 98 on the system it worked without issue and some of the applications that I have on it now work without problems, just not DOS Shell.
    Think this probably came with Windows 95 and maybe just for fun may do it as a 95 system. It has no USB ports so don’t really need 98 anyway and the two DOS applications would run under those versions of windows without issue.

  5. #5

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    My recommendation is to avoid versions of Windows older than the hardware. At that time, Microsoft did compatibility test many systems and fixed many compatibility issues in the OS. Also, the drivers shipped with Windows are often far more stable than vendor drivers, especially if run on older versions of the system. My gut feeling also strictly prefers Win98SE over Win98FE, but that may be superstition.

    Since the Pentium MMX came out in 1995, I'd look at the amount of RAM and either chose a Windows 95 OSR2 (16 MB) or Windows 98SE (32 MB or more). The lack of USB ports wouldn't be a concern for me, but rather system stability and application compatibility. No need to deal with crashing software on old hardware more than necessary.

  6. Default

    Is this the DOS Shell you were trying to run?
    Code:
    03/10/1993  06:00 AM           236,378 DOSSHELL.EXE
    As long as you are running it on a FAT16 partition with less than 65536 files then I don't know why it wouldn't work. I recall that I was still using this on a Celeron laptop under Win98, as it was handy for weeding out unneeded files in a directory.

  7. #7
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    Played around with Windows 98 on this system but somehow it would not completely fill the screen, the DOS shell thing turned out to be more of an issue then it was worth and going to assume that the 200 MMX is too fast to run it from the drive, odd that it runs from a floppy on that system but maybe it has something to do with the way its hard drive controller addresses the system. Did have an option in the BIOS to control how the HD was addressed from 32 or 16 bit and did try playing with that but did not appear to make any difference.
    All this laptop is going to do is run a old DOS program called Pacterm to control a radio modem so just decided to do away with the idea of a menu and just added a line to the autoexec.bat file that once the system starts to load that program. Have another directory on the drive with a generic terminal operation and also a third directory with DOOM installed on it and that stuff all runs fine, just not the DOS Shell 3.0 so will just keep it like this for a while.
    The real problem is that as all this stuff ages will be finding it ever more difficult to find hardware for running old DOS applications. Have one system that’s on the workbench for running old DOS applications like Motorola radio programming and had to replace the mother board in that a year or so back and discovered that most of the old 286 and 386 hardware had been disposed of long ago so will need to start keeping that’s stuff around being looks like a lot of the later stuff not going to do the job.

    I attached a picture of the laptop in question.

  8. #8
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    try it again!

    getac.jpg

  9. #9
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    Plenty of hardware out there. In my own case, I've got many left over NOS Green 753 P1 non-mmx laptops in sealed boxes. Might have a few mmx Green 753+ versions too, but I sold 99% of them when I bought out Alphatops's service inventory. These laptops were sold by many smaller USA retail brands. At least one of the Alphatop other models (Green 755) was sold as a NEC laptop too.
    Crazy old guy with a basement full of Pentium 1 laptops and parts

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