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  1. #1
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    Installing WordPerfect 5.1 for DOS Using Virtual Floppy Drive

    I had a long and happy relationship with WP51 for DOS and am suffering from a nostalgic desire to install it inside DOSBox on Win7. Many years ago, I burned the contents of each installation floppy disk to CD-ROM and have migrated those files to newer media over the years. I simply used the copy command to copy the files from the floppies to separate directories on the hard drive and the burned the resulting directories to CD. I was not sufficiently sophisticated at the time (circa 1993) to look for hidden files that might not copy directly from the disks. The floppies themselves are long gone, but I still have my WP51 installation code.

    To use Virtual Floppy Drive to load the "diskettes" as floppy drives, I need to package the files into .VFD images using a tool like WinImage. I don't know whether this is possible or whether I've identified the right tools.

    Does anyone have experience creating .VHD files from files loaded on a hard drive and then using those files to install from Virtual Floppy Drive into DOSBox? This looks like one of the more interesting projects I have stumbled across in a while.

    Yes, I've visited Ed Mendelson's site WordPerfect for DOS Updated but have not been able to find any information on this process. Will be grateful for any suggestions.

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    Have you tried putting all the files in one location and running install?

    cheers, Paul

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    You could get an external USB floppy drive really cheap:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...9SIA1PU0FD9579

    You can then simply run WP from the floppy drive.

    This is assuming that your disks are 3-1/2". It will be a bit more challenging, but possible, for 5-1/4" disks:
    http://superuser.com/questions/51388...to-a-modern-pc

    I used WordPerfect 5.0 for DOS extensively. I had an original IBM PC.

    Later, I copied the 5-1/4" floppy disks to 3-1/2" disks (four fit on one), and I don't recall ever having a problem using the 3-1/2" disks. In other words, I don't believe that there were ever any hidden files that got left behind when I copied from one diskette to the other.

    I don't know anything about DOSBox or the virtual floppy technologies you mentioned. But my guess is that, if you can find a copy of DOS, you should be able to run one of the modern virtual machine programs with DOS installed as the OS; and as Paul mentioned, if you create a folder in the virtual machine, and then copy your WP diskettes into that folder, you should be able to install/run everything from there.

    (I'm not sure how printing will work, but I'm sure that any printing problems will be resolvable.)

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    If WordPerfect 5.1 was like 5.0, you should be able to just dump all the files together in one directory and run wp.exe from that directory, no "installation" necessary.

    I still have disk images of my old 5.0 floppies (12 360KB 5.25" floppies), so I pulled out the images and tested them on a DOS virtual machine in VirtualPC. There were no hidden files or special bootable floppies, everything was just straight-up visible files. I transferred the 12 sets of files to individual floppy images using the VFD ("Virtual Floppy Disk") utility, though you should be able to do the same thing with WinImage or ImDisk.

    I loaded the appropriate floppy image into VirtualPC's virtual floppy drive, and launched install.exe. It prompted me through the process, reading each "floppy" as I swapped them in and out of the virtual floppy drive. The result was the majority of files ended up in the DOS VM's c:\wp50 directory, with a few groups going into optional subdirs. I experimented and found everything worked just as well, however, if they were all just dumped into a single directory.

    If you decide to go the "install" route, there shouldn't be anything tricky about making the floppy images and using them in the virtual machine. However, I'd first try just dumping everything together in one directory (e.g., c:\wp51) and launching wp.exe.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dg1261 View Post
    If you decide to go the "install" route, there shouldn't be anything tricky about making the floppy images and using them in the virtual machine. However, I'd first try just dumping everything together in one directory (e.g., c:\wp51) and launching wp.exe.
    Those were the days, when you could just copy everything to a directory and then run the .exe!

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    @ mrjimphelps :
    You could get an external USB floppy drive really cheap
    I don't have the physical floppies, only the files copied from the floppies.

    @ dg1261 :
    I transferred the 12 sets of files to individual floppy images using the VFD ("Virtual Floppy Disk") utility, though you should be able to do the same thing with WinImage or ImDisk.
    Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Can I create a floppy image from files saved on my hard drive?

    I also kept a copy of the entire WP51 directory with everything already installed, including my favorite WP51 utility, TrueType for WordPerfect by LaserTools. I will have to setup DOSBox to see whether the program will run if I copy the directory to the root of the virtual machine.

    WP was the fastest, most efficient word processor I have ever used. I wish I had it back every time I use the mouse to position the cursor or click on a command in Word. I had all the function key combinations memorized and could format documents while touch-typing.

    I'll tell you what is impossible to find nowadays: one of the plastic strips with all the different key combinations in color. I'll bet you could get $25 or $30 for one on Ebay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wu_saline View Post
    Now that's what I'm talkin' about. Can I create a floppy image from files saved on my hard drive?
    Yes. There are several programs around that can create a floppy image, such as VFD, ImDisk, or WinImage. Just use the program to create a new virtual floppy, copy the appropriate files for that particular floppy from your hard drive archive, and close the virtual floppy saving the changes. Repeat until you have images of all the floppies. I presume you know which files go on which floppy. The exact procedure for creating a new floppy image will vary depending on the program used.

    But as I said, recreating floppies shouldn't be necessary.


    I also kept a copy of the entire WP51 directory with everything already installed, including my favorite WP51 utility, TrueType for WordPerfect by LaserTools. I will have to setup DOSBox to see whether the program will run if I copy the directory to the root of the virtual machine.
    Well, that would be the easiest way, then. As Jim said, just copy the entire directory and run the .exe. No "installation" necessary.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wu_saline View Post
    WP was the fastest, most efficient word processor I have ever used. I wish I had it back every time I use the mouse to position the cursor or click on a command in Word. I had all the function key combinations memorized and could format documents while touch-typing.
    Have you tried Word Perfect for Windows? You can download a free trial version here:
    http://www.corel.com/corel/product/i...id=prod4720109

    If you like the current version of Word Perfect, your problem is solved.

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    Have you tried Word Perfect for Windows?
    Yes, and it's just not up-to-par with the original DOS versions. It peaked (IMHO) at v5.1+ . Later DOS versions 6.0 and 6.2 did not impress and it fell to pieces when ported to Windows. More recent Windows versions (since 11 or 12) verge on abandonware. Same program with a couple of minor changes but a major release number so they can charge a higher price. However, WPWin is still superior to Word for law office applications. The problem is that it is no longer "The Standard" and Word has taken over the legal market as well. WP owned the legal market for years and has only been reluctantly abandoned by lawyers in the last two or three years. A sad story of mismanagement, failure to invest, and lost opportunities.

    I should add that this project is mainly a trip down memory lane. Even if I get everything up and running and am able to print, I doubt seriously I would switch back for daily use. For one thing, the screen resolution inside DOSBox probably won't be any better than the old CRT monitors 25 years ago. The whole thing would be held together with chewing gum and duct tape. I'd classify this as a hobby project, although the folks at WordPerfect for DOS Updated seem to take it pretty seriously. The site is run by Ed Mendelson who used to be a reviewer at PC Magazine back in the days when it was The Authority.

  10. #10
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I believe that 5.1 for DOS was the last version that was done by WordPerfect corporation. After that, Novell purchased the company, and it all went downhill from there.

    It would be interesting to know what would have happened with WordPerfect had they not been purchased by Novell. My guess is that they, not Word, would be the market leader today, and everyone would be using Groupwise, not Outlook.

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    Found the Answer

    There is no need to bother with virtual floppy disks. The contents of all the WP installation floppies can be copied to a single directory and installed from there. Create a new directory in DOSBox (e.g., C:\WPSETUP) and copy each installation disk into the directory. Do not create subdirectories for separate disks. After all the disks have been copied, run the INSTALL command from within C:\WPSETUP. When the installation program prompts you to insert a new disk, press 'Enter' and the installation will continue.

  12. #12
    Silver Lounger Charles Kenyon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    I believe that 5.1 for DOS was the last version that was done by WordPerfect corporation. After that, Novell purchased the company, and it all went downhill from there.

    It would be interesting to know what would have happened with WordPerfect had they not been purchased by Novell. My guess is that they, not Word, would be the market leader today, and everyone would be using Groupwise, not Outlook.
    I agree with everything you say here, except possibly with regard to Groupwise (pleading lack of knowledge or memory). I was chair of the ABA's MultiMate user group and wrote for The Lawyer's PC on occasion. I've come to an accommodation with Word over the years. I suspect that I still have my WP5.1 floppies around somewhere.
    Last edited by Charles Kenyon; 2013-11-05 at 11:59.
    Charles Kyle Kenyon
    Madison, Wisconsin

  13. #13
    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    What I am suggesting is that Groupwise would have been able to compete with Outlook/Exchange for market share, had Microsoft Office not taken over the office market.

    They took over the office market because the dominant player at that time, WordPerfect, was purchased by Novell, who had no clue how to handle a product like that.

    But by devoting so much money and resources to try to make WordPerfect work, Novell lost their dominance in networking. Microsoft ran past them in networking, and email followed on the coattails of networking.

    My suggestion is that if Novell had stayed focused on networking, and had not made the boneheaded decision to purchase WordPerfect, they would still dominate in networking, and WordPerfect would still dominate in Office suites. This would have allowed Groupwise to seriously compete in the email arena.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2013-11-05 at 12:49.

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