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Old MS-DOS app in Windows- Need Help

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Vio1

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Location
Toronto Canada
Hi,
my uncle needs some help with his pc and im unfamiliar with what to do.
Here is the situation:

My uncle uses a program that runs in ms-dos. He wanted to be able to print from that program straight to a laser printer (instead of the dot-matrix one he uses now). He also wants to be able to back-up the program files onto cd or usb stick, rather then onto multiple diskettes.

Ive installed windows vista on the machine (as it was running ms dos before), and opened up the program through windows. Inside the window (of the open application) the mouse doesnt work, and when i go to back up the files, it wont find anything other then the floppy drive.

How can i get the application to print to a laser printer?
How can i get the mouse to work?
How can i get the program to copy to any medium?

Thanks
 

ThePerfectCore

Red Raccoon Dojo
Joined
Mar 1, 2002
Location
Texas
There are two possible methods.

Method 1. For printing, try this:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314499

This articles shows you how to share your printer on the network and then map it to LPT1. Once that's done you can print/save to LPT1 through the DOS program and your printer will barf a bunch of stuff out.

You might be able to try something similar to "trick" the program into saving to something other than a real floppy.

Mouse, I don't know.

Method 2. You may have better luck using a virtual machine. I've set up Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.22 in a virtual machine before for old programs that don't run well on anything newer than Windows 98. VirtualBox and VMWare virtual machine software is free to use forever. I think this is the best solution. If you want to go the route of installing a VM, let me know and I'll write out some instructions, or PM me and I'll help you set it up.
 

Enablingwolf

Senior Member overclocking at t
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
Instead of going the route of mainstream VM. I would try to do DOSBOX. The capsule works much better for just about anything DOS I used. It is still very much a VM, but a specific capsule.

Once you finger out the syntax of it. IT works darn good. You just have to be crafty (thinking) converting the outdated printer software stuff versus actual physical ports.
 
OP
V

Vio1

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Location
Toronto Canada
thanks for both replies, however, this seems a lot more complicated then i thought or want.
Why cant i get the program to print to laser? Its operating under windows' dos.
 

johnz

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
No drivers for the printer? You still need drivers, even under DOS.
 
OP
V

Vio1

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2003
Location
Toronto Canada
There are two possible methods.

Method 1. For printing, try this:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/314499

This articles shows you how to share your printer on the network and then map it to LPT1. Once that's done you can print/save to LPT1 through the DOS program and your printer will barf a bunch of stuff out.

You might be able to try something similar to "trick" the program into saving to something other than a real floppy.

Mouse, I don't know.

Method 2. You may have better luck using a virtual machine. I've set up Windows 3.1 and DOS 6.22 in a virtual machine before for old programs that don't run well on anything newer than Windows 98. VirtualBox and VMWare virtual machine software is free to use forever. I think this is the best solution. If you want to go the route of installing a VM, let me know and I'll write out some instructions, or PM me and I'll help you set it up.


could you give me instructions on how you would go about Method 2... ive never used (or even know what virtualbox or vmware is)
 

johnz

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
i didnt think you could print to a usb printer from dos, regardless of drivers.

No, but your going to LPT1, right? The O/S needs to know how to format the document so the printer can understand it.

Immediate edit:
I was getting the replies confused, and thought you had, or could run the printer to LPT1. I think the problem remains though. Assuming you get the printer on LPT1 somehow, you then have drivers to contend with. You may have to hack some together yourself, but I have no idea how to do that. Maybe modify Win98 drivers if the printer(or one similar to it) has those?
 

johnz

Member
Joined
May 30, 2004
For another alternative, can the application print to a file? If so, you could print to file, then open it up with something from Win7 and print from there.
 

orion456

Member
Joined
May 31, 2004
You need an old dos mouse driver, probably called mouse.sys and install that in autoexec.bat....assuming Vista still allows DOS functions thru autoexec.

device = c:\windows\mouse.sys

will allow the mouse to work in DOS if mouse.sys is located in \windows.

Try resetting the print device to LPT1 in his DOS application and print through that port. You can check in DOS of that port works by typing

type autoexec.bat > lpt1

assuming you have created the autoexec.bat file with something in it. If LPT1 doesn't work, try PRN1.
 

Enablingwolf

Senior Member overclocking at t
Joined
Jun 14, 2004
You need an old dos mouse driver, probably called mouse.sys and install that in autoexec.bat....assuming Vista still allows DOS functions thru autoexec.

device = c:\windows\mouse.sys

will allow the mouse to work in DOS if mouse.sys is located in \windows.

Try resetting the print device to LPT1 in his DOS application and print through that port. You can check in DOS of that port works by typing

type autoexec.bat > lpt1

assuming you have created the autoexec.bat file with something in it. If LPT1 doesn't work, try PRN1.

This is where DOSbox works wonders. All of that should be in the capsule. I can run many older games in Linux without issue. While having mouse support. I can party like it's 1993.
http://www.dosbox.com/wiki/Main_Page

It is much easier than running a full VM. The hardest part is fingering out how to load the drives correctly. Which is not all that hard actually. Once you set it up for your needs. It does a great job versus VM or Openbox for simple DOS needs.

I got Warcraft to run and even Theme Hospital. Plus a few older apps I had on floppy. I have used this with more success. Than using the newer DOS emulation built into XP and beyond. I think, this is the best chance of getting that printer working.