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Thread: DOS & Windows 3.1 setup wrapper

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2019

    Question DOS & Windows 3.1 setup wrapper

    Hi Everyone!

    I wasn't quite sure if this forum will be okay, but my question fits it more than a 'programming' forum... What I'm trying to achieve is that I have a bunch of DOS and Windows 3.1 apps/tools that I'd like to create a professional installer for.

    By the installer, I mean the setup program that will copy files to desired place on HDD, add the place to path (in DOS) or create a grp in Program Manager with links and icons (Windows). Just like installing a MS Word 6 etc.

    I have a computer with DOS/Win3.11 and WinME so the compatibility is not an issue. The problem is that, when I try to - every result points to Win3.1 installing manual

    Thank you All for the suggestions and best regards,

  2. #2


    There are tools like Inno Setup, which allowed you to create Setup programs for Windows.
    At least Visual Basic also had its own install assistent doing the same.
    WinZip allows you to create self-extracting archives, which will automatically extract an archive to a temporary location and run a program when the user presses the "Install" button.

    For DOS, there was no common standard. I have mostly used batch files, together with WinZip.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
    Blog Entries


    Installshield was the gold standard from Windows 3.x onward, but I can't find that online. I did however find this:

    For DOS, there were a few commercial installers, and *tons more* shareware installers. For a list of shareware/freeware installers, go to any simtel ms-dos mirror and check the "install" directory. Here's a listing: (and back up a directory to download the files listed)
    No idea which ones are good, so prepare for a lot of downloading and reading. (I'd be wary of any installer that has an .EXE over 40K though; more than that, and that's a very bloated program.)

    Since a batch file can copy files, make directories, etc., people might be wondering what an installation program is good for. One example I like to refer to is Chessmaster 2100, whose installer did the following:
    • Did a disk-based copy protection check
    • Asked the user for what sound and graphics options they had
    • Decompressed and copied over only necessary files based on what info the user provided, to save space
    • Wrote "identification signatures" into the target executables that prevented them from running on other systems (ie. you could make copies of the installed files, but they would only work on your system, to reduce piracy).

    What are you creating that needs an installation program?
    Offering a bounty for:
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775 or Logabax 1600
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2019


    Hello Mate and thank you for the reply,

    That's exactly what I was looking for

    Quote Originally Posted by Trixter View Post
    What are you creating that needs an installation program?
    I have a bunch of games and tools that either don't have installers, or I simply have a "portable" versions of 'em. Honestly - I don't mind it at all, but my 7 yrs son is just starting his experience with Windows 3.1 and DOS, so I want to make him a simple package that he can run "" (under DOS) or "setup.exe" (under Windows) and the installer should take care of the rest of the process, so he can just click on the icon of the game in Windows or type e.g. "dyna" at command prompt in DOS and enjoy the game or type "shutdown" and the computer (with ACPI) will turn off As you can see - it's very prosaic need, but it's quite important to me as not many of our kids want's to work on retro-systems. They rather prefer a new Windows/Mac fireworks and idiot-proof design

    Personally - I still use Windows ME as my primary OS on the Pentium III 600MHz PC and Windows ME as my portable machine on my Dell Latitiude C610 with Pentium III 1.1 GHz Those machines rocks compared to current Windows 10 bullsh**

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