MS-DOS programs - the demise of Windows XP

Discussion in 'General Linux' started by Paul NN18, Mar 5, 2014.

  1. Paul NN18

    Paul NN18 New Member

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    Hi Everybody,

    I haven't (yet) got a linux box of any description but I'm after some help and advice before I likely go and acquire one!

    You will surely know that Microsoft are pulling XP and with it renaguing on Bill Gates' pledge made when launching Windows 95 "We will support DOS for evermore." For evermore has proven to be about 19 years or so.

    I still use a DOS based CRM system to work. I am an OMB. I am not pursuaded to go and throw a perfectly functioning program away which I *DO*understand how to operate for something I don't - but that's an aside. I just don't have the money to be able to do that, let alone the time or inclination to learn something else again at my age (50). I have been using my CRM for around 25 years or so....

    Will ANY version of linux's "DOSEmu" program I've read about run DOS programs where I can 'copy and paste' from the command window the DOS program is running in?

    My old DOS based CRM (which is called "Telemagic") has a priceless convenient facility where I can print a customer's address label onto the screen and from that, I can "copy and paste" it onto an invoice or envelope making program.

    IF the program will run on linux in a DOSEmu window, will I (likely) be able to copy and paste the screen's output just like I do now? Or is this something linux won't likely do / won't do at all?

    I will add that I have already tried DOSbox on Windows 8. It doesn't support share.exe (so no file locking) and I can't cut and paste meaning it's lost its practical use.

    Any help on this will be greatly appreciated.


    Many thanks,

    Paul NN18

    I will add that what I think about Microsoft dumping DOS users like me is unprintable (or would get pulled) - but I have to say that if I can find a fix / workaround for this on linux somehow, I will NEVER buy another Microsoft product.
  2. ryanvade

    ryanvade Administrator Staff Member Staff Writer

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  3. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    There are open source equivalents for everything Microsoft has, and most of them work better than Microsoft's. Instead of planning to use Windows programmes on a Linux system, the better idea would be to try the open source applications and compare them to Microsoft's. You would then be in a position to know if Linux would meet your needs. Personally, I feel it is pointless to install a Linux system for the purpose of using Windows' applications. It is smarter to use Windows.
    Then you will have a problem, whether you migrate to Linux, BSD or Apple. Using a different system will mean learning at least a little.
  4. Paul NN18

    Paul NN18 New Member

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    Hello people,

    Thank you for your time in coming back to me.

    Ryanvade: DOSbox (when run on Windows 8.1) does NOT support share.exe - but even more crucial than that, I can NOT sweep my mouse (while holding down the left button) accross the text on the screen so as to be able to "capture" it for the purposes of invoicing / producing envelopes (and the like) in other programs such as open office or even "notepad". Does DOSbox on Linux / Unix support this function? If it doesn't then I cannot PRACTICABLY use it (just the same as the problem I face with DOSbox on Windows 8 right now!) because it won't do what I need it to do.

    Cyber-Berserker: Although I certainly do use other Windows based products alongside my MS-DOS based CRM program, I absolutely categorically agree with you that if it were a Windows program I were having a problem with, I'd be best off staying on Windows somehow. The question I am seeking an answer to is "Does linux's DOSemu program I've read about support MS-DOS programs?" And if It does, will it (most likely), WHEN RUNNING THE **M S - D O S** PROGRAM I USE in the "emulator window" allow me to copy and paste FROM THE DOS PROGRAM onto the other applications which certainly do run on linux. I use "Open Office" on Windows right now?

    "The cutting / copying and pasting from my Telemagic MS-DOS program is crucial to me running my business" the way I do now. What I am trying to discover is (because I do understand the caveat 'not everything will work on an emulator') "Is it likely [if the thing runs at all] I will be able to copy & paste from the DOS program's screen"? If DOS programs when run on the linux DOSemu emulator don't allow copying & pasting then there is not going to be a point in me having it, will there???

    Does anyone know whether, generally, if any DOS program is run on the DOSemu on linux is it possible to cut and paste from the screen?
  5. Cyber-Berserker

    Cyber-Berserker Active Member

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    I do not know, but I doubt it. I reiterate that I do not know, but I doubt it because Windows applications do not run on Linux systems. They can be run using an emulator, but copying and pasting between the system and the emulation environment? Probably not, but perhaps.
    No offence intended, but if you must use that Windows programme, your best bet is Windows. 1) Emulators are not great. 2) It would make your production system unnecessarily complicated. 3) 1 and 2 combined would probably result in your business production environment being innefficient.
  6. Paul NN18

    Paul NN18 New Member

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    Cyber Berserker. Thanks oce again for coming back to me. "Telemagic" is NOT a windows program, it's a 16 bit DOS program "as old as the hills" Micro$oft have withdrawin their "emulated support" from 16 bit DOS programs after XP which is why I ask the question.

    It is NOT a Windows program - It's a DOS program which has happily run on all the versions of Windows up until and including XP. But this DOS program won't run on Windows 7 or later - which is why I'm a****g if it'll likely run in linux's DOSemu program. And if it does, is it likely I will be able to copy and paste from the screen?

    That is all I would want it to do.

    For some reason, I can't post URL links to Wikipedia pages or anything that looks like a link. Just search "MS-DOS" on Wikipedia and it will tell you what MS-DOS was - and if you look at the corresponding Windows page, you will see about DOS support
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2014
  7. labrat

    labrat Active Member

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    Your DOS based CRM program will not run on windows 7 because the 16 bit subsystem has been removed from that OS - the obvious solution would be to continue running windows XP.

    DOS box may not support share.exe - but msdos does, so you could install e.g. msdos 6.22 in dosbox (search the web for tutorials/guides on this).

    The copying and pasting thing may have no solution in dosbox, though I believe it is supported in dosemu http://www.dosemu.org/

    dosemu however may provide no solution for the share.exe problem (not sure on that count)

    You could also try running a suitable OS - e.g. Windows XP/2K/98/DOS, etc, in a virtual machine (e.g. virtualbox or vmware) on a newer host operating system and use the older virtualised OS for just your CRM software. This is probably what I would do in your position...
    ryanvade likes this.
  8. Paul NN18

    Paul NN18 New Member

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    Thanks Labrat. Is virtualbox / vmware a linux type solution or a Windows type solution (or both)? can you recommend any good reading
  9. ainteinstein

    ainteinstein Member

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    Perhaps Paul NN18, FreeDOS would fit the bill for you. Now I have not tried it yet, but I, too, have a a few favouite DOS programs that I would like to run, again. As of this moment, I am running Linux in a VMware player, this computer being a Win 8.1. ( Not yet gotten up the courage to "break the boot") . From what I have read, Windows host (on newer machines) do better(?) on VMware, Linux host , Virtual Box. Both player and box are free, so what have you got to lose? See which one you like.

    Now as to that I am too old...I have a few years on you, and my very grey brain cells are managing , with the wonderful help of this site, to learn Linux. Alright, I cheated to get my foot in the door with Mint, but I already have my eye on other distros. Learning new things helps to keep one young.

    http://www.freedos.org/
  10. labrat

    labrat Active Member

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    I believe both are multi-platform - though I've only ever used virtualbox briefly a few years ago. Plenty of reading on the web or at the websites for both. Once you've install it, it's case of installing the preferred OS "inside" the VM in the usual manner (if you're not familiar with virtualisation - the guest OS does not "know" it's running virtualised - which is the whole point)
  11. ainteinstein

    ainteinstein Member

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    You are quite correct, labrat, both will work on any platform. Perhaps it is that one works a bit better than the other depending on the system. Shall I say it was my observation that Linux users use Virtual Box while Windows users use VMware Player. Word of caution, do make sure that you download the free version of VMware Player, they do have a paid version.

    But whatever one you chose, a virtual machine is a fun way to try out a new distro without any worries to your system. No UBS sticks or disks are necessary. And if you have a "hot rod" system, you can have more than one virtual machine running at the same time. I am learning that it can be quite interesting to use.
  12. KenDB3

    KenDB3 New Member

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    Paul NN18, I think one solution to your problem could be the particular version of Windows 7 that you choose to use (not really sure about Windows 8 or 8.1, that is a different beast).

    However, from researching some of my own projects (which led me here looking for a solution to a SHARE.EXE problem I am having with WinXP), I have found out that there is a virtual machine in Windows 32-bit operating systems that run 16-bit DOS programs, and its been there since apparently Win95 went the 32-bit route.

    The Windows NT executable which is used to handle a single DOS (and Windows 3.x) environment is called ntvdm.exe. And this Virtual Machine is present in the 32-bit version of Windows 7.
    For a good Link on the subject, check out the Wikipedia entry called Virtual_DOS_machine.

    SO, if you are still looking for a solution to this, your best bet might be to downgrade your Win8.1 machine to Windows 7 32-bit.

    Best of luck!
  13. Paul NN18

    Paul NN18 New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    Having spoken with a couple of people I know I went and reluctantly bought myself an i7 machine on Windows 8.1 with 8GB ram & 4 GHz processor along with a copy of VMWare player and a retail [upgrade] copy of Windows XP. I had to use an NT4 CD to get the retail copy of XP to load on VM Ware and then patch it to SP3 then add the last patches to April 8th...

    Running on XP on VM Ware on Windows 8, Telemagic is marginally slower than it was last on my now retired true XP box (for doing things like "Magic Rebuild" - AND - the sound from the program doesn't work at all {I already now know about the warbling / stuttering sound in VM Ware - and the work around too}). Other than the sound and it being a tad slower (eg a 'magic rebuild' taking roughly 5 minutes instead of 3), the program works exactly as it used to and as I expect it along with all my other DOS based utilities that went with it (a collection of stuff I've written myself in Clipper 5.01 or found online or indeed dBaseIII+)

    It (this solution) works really quite well all things considered and I can work and carry on. Indeed, I have found that the "virtual PC" disk can be copied to my laptop and run from there too - so I have a pre-configured backup as well.

    All of this said, I have to tell you all that I am finished with Microsoft. I am going to wean myself off of their operating systems. Even if I have to leave Telemagic in an XP VM and move that to Linux, then that is what I will do. I had been a willing customer of Microsoft's since DOS version 3.1 (yes, as long ago as that) and have had all their OSs excluding Win ME & Vista - and LEGALLY licenced too, I'll add. The new desktop and laptop on Windows 8 weren't bought by me as a volunteer like in the past - they were bought facing down the barrel of a shotgun and I just don't like being fleeced and left with huge problems like they did me. I just wonder how many other people out there were told by Microsoft to bin all their old software and go and replace lots of stuff which isn't broken?

    To hell with them!

    In signing off, can any of you lovely people suggest the best version(s) of Linux to try? I will start by playing in VM Ware (I may as well) and then put what I favour most on one of my old machines as the "true OS" and take it from there (ie porting XP containing Telemagic to VM Ware on Linux). Can anyone suggest an easy but good read about Linux. The pitfalls, commands and anything else I will probably find useful?

    Thanks to those of you who helped out

    Paul NN18
  14. Yesyesloud

    Yesyesloud Active Member

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    At first, I'd suggest trying all DOS emulators available for GNU/Linux. Maybe some of them will do the trick. Much less work.
  15. KenDB3

    KenDB3 New Member

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    Paul NN18,

    I have been (and still am) a big Windows user, but I dabble in Linux from time to time. I really liked the older versions of Ubuntu, but am not a big fan of their new "Unity" desktop interface. A quick search on Google for "ubuntu with gnome and not unity" brought me up to a good page on how to get it back (still can't post links here since I am new).

    Another good Linux distro to try out is Linux Mint. I really like the interface, and it runs really well. I am sure more folks here can suggest some other stuff to try as well, and maybe answer some of your more technical questions about the OS.

    However, I want to make one really good suggestion. Most Linux Operating Systems today have an option to run the entire OS off of what they call a Live CD before you go installing it. Ubuntu has it, and I am pretty sure Linux Mint has it, and likely a slew of other ones. So, basically, you can download the ISO, burn it to CD (or DVD if it is a big package), and then boot right off of that disk and give the OS a whirl. That way you can decide what OS/Desktop you like working with the most.

    There are several "Flavors" of Ubuntu, all of which have different interfaces. I mentioned Ubuntu with Gnome desktop, but there is also Kubuntu which uses the KDE desktop and also Lubuntu that uses the LXDE desktop, all of which I have tried and some point and find to be very good.

    And, if need be, you can always set up a machine to Dual Boot both Linux and Windows for those times you really really need MS Office or something like that. But, it seems like your VMWare solution is working well, which is awesome.

    Best of luck Paul!

    ~Kenny

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