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  1. #1
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    Running old games

    Not sure where this question belongs. So, I'll try it here.
    I have some old DOS games that are on 3 1/2" floppies that I have saved to a usb drive and may put them onto a cd. Some of these won't run from the usb (and, I assume, they also won't run from a CD) because the programming looks for the files it needs in the "A" drive. Is there an easy way to fix this? I don't think that re-assigning a drive letter would work because, I think, "A" and "B" are reserved.

    I hate to throw these games away. They are kind of like collectors items. I know that I can probably download most if not all of them and maybe that's the best way. However, if it is easy to do, I would rather fix what I've got rather that searching unknown sources for replacements.

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    You'll need to run them in DOS, which comes as an accessory with XP. Start a command prompt, and at the prompt type command. This starts command.com, which is MSDOS running in a protected area of memory called the NTVDM (virtual DOS machine).

    Press <Alt+Enter> to enter full-screen; many DOS programs, especially games, will throw a fit if they detect that they're in a window.

    Type dosx <Enter> for protected mode
    Type mscdexnt <Enter> for CDROM support.

    (The two programs above should already be loaded by the NTVDM's startup files, but I find in practice they don't.)

    Navigate to the game on the floppy and run the command for the game. If you don't have a floppy drive, copy the game to your HD.

    If you need sound, I recommend VDMsound. You only need the driver, not the whole program, and you use dosdrv <Enter> at the DOS prompt.

  3. #3
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    tonyl,
    Thanks very much. But, that is not exactly my question. I have gotten the games off of the floppies and I want to be able to run them from some other media like a usb, cd, or hard drive; if possible.

  4. #4
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    You can re-assign any drive with SUBST.
    subst A: d:\tmp
    dir A:

    I always use DOSBox for my old games. It does sound as well.

    cheers, Paul

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    I'm a huge fan of gog.com. They have DRM-free classic games that run on newer operating systems.

  6. #6
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    Thanks. I had forgotten about "subst" and wrongly remembered that A & B were reserved.
    If I put these games onto a CD, what would I have to do in order for anyone, without command line skills, to run them? I think I remember from long ago that a menu batch file with a line for each game would be created that would run the game when selected. Wow! That was a long time ago!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yobil View Post
    Thanks. I had forgotten about "subst" and wrongly remembered that A & B were reserved.
    If I put these games onto a CD, what would I have to do in order for anyone, without command line skills, to run them? I think I remember from long ago that a menu batch file with a line for each game would be created that would run the game when selected. Wow! That was a long time ago!
    You're thinking of autoexec.bat and config.sys. The equivalent files for the NTVDM are autoexec.nt and config.nt, both of which reside in %systemroot%\system32. Your games will use them by default - open them in notepad to see the contents. If they don't suit you (or the game), you can create your own startup files, and then create a shortcut for the game. Open the properties of the shortcut, click the Program tab, press the Advanced button, and enter the filenames. In this way you can use different startup files for each game, and no extra software to install.

    If you're not confident about writing startup files (it's a bit of a lost art now), just make copies of the originals, give them a different name, and tinker away till it works.

  8. #8
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    Oh. Yeh. I used to be able to do it. Maybe as I fool around with it, it will come back to me. I have an old DOS book. I'll look it up and refresh my memory a bit.
    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Create a batch file and enter the SUBST and run commands as required. I would create the batch file so that it references a folder and then you can pick up the drive from Windows (DOS). This allows you to test on a hard disk before burning a CD.

    A basic batch file would look a bit like this.
    for %%X in (%0) do subst A: %%~dpX
    A:
    mygame.exe
    C:
    subst A: /d

    The "for" command collects the drive and path information from the batch file and then uses it in the substitution.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #10
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    OK! Thanks!

  11. #11
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    I use DOSBox ( http://www.dosbox.com/ ) for running all my old DOS games under Win XP Pro.

    Depending upon your game(s), DOSBox may already have the necessary files to run your games (called "frontends").

    I've been able to run games from as far back as the late 80s. The only thing I don't like about DOSBox is if they don't have a frontend, you may have to use the DOS prompt.

    I was able to figure out a way to just click on a desktop icon and have DOSBox open and then run the program. When I exit the game, the game closes and DOSBox closes and I'm back at my desktop. Sometimes, depending upon the game's screen settings (pixels), you may have to realign the icons on your desktop

    Take a close look at the command line parameters. That's all it took for me.

  12. #12
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    Yobil ~ you may *not* be out of the woods yet. All of my old DOS (and Win3.1 and 98) games run too fast. I tried to slow them down with a few software applets, but they introduced other problems

    Good luck.

  13. #13
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    paulp575 & Ray Harvey,
    Thanks for the additional info. I haven't had time to do anything with this yet but I will file this thread away so I'll have it when I do.
    Thanks to everyone

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