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Asp

running DOS, win3, XP apps on Win7

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I'm currently running XP, but I'm not in love with it.

I do it because I have some old software I really need to use and this is the last Windows that supports it.

Oldest is Ventura GEM, a DOS DTP app from the 80s that uses VGA graphics.

This does run fine on XP, full screen. I also have some Win3 and 9x programs I'd like to keep using.

I also run some more contemporary software, and most of that is now updating to be non-XP compatible.

So I think finally time to update to Win7 (yes, I know that's also obsolete, but seems likely to be supported for a while).

What are the options for running old programs under Win7? Not like a sandboxed game, but where the program has access to my filesystem, where I can switch between the old program and others without shutting down and restarting? I have other graphics and text editors I need to share the files with, not to mention up and downloading them.

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6 hours ago, Asp said:

What are the options for running old programs under Win7? Not like a sandboxed game, but where the program has access to my filesystem, where I can switch between the old program and others without shutting down and restarting? I have other graphics and text editors I need to share the files with, not to mention up and downloading them.

The usual option is setting up a Virtual Machine of some kind.  The basic idea is that it's a program that runs on your main OS that simulates a computer.  It has container files that represent the hard drive and so on.  You go on and install your OS into the VM.  Then to get access to other files on your machine by sharing a directory which shows up in the VM OS on a separate drive.  It's a little tricky to handle mouse and keyboard stuff sometimes (the need to "capture input" basically and uncapturing it doesn't make seamless interaction) and it might not work as well on a performance sense because the VM won't have the entire machine's resources, but on the main OS it more or less functions as a separate program.  Different things can be wonky sometimes when run in VM, but most things that aren't coded in a funky way will work as well in VM as it did in the regular OS.

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Yes, I understand the concept.

I was hoping for some specific recommendations.

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With 32bit windows, you can still run your DOS and Windows 3 applications just like you did on XP, with perhaps some limitations in regards to UAC and permissions.

With 64bit windows, you can use otvdm for win3 applications, or perhaps dosbox or vdos for dos applications, but i prefer dosbox anyway :D

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7 minutes ago, Asp said:

I was hoping for some specific recommendations.

If it works (if doesn't work for *all* Dos programs), DosBox.

Otherwise Qemu, where you can install a "real" DOS (and also a Win3.x or 9x).

Next would be IMHO VirtualBox.

Since there is a "performance penality" in running a VM, it makes more sense to use in the VM the simpler/less resource hungry  OS (i.e. you can install in the - say - Qemu  VM an XP, but it will be slower than DOS).

jaclaz

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41 minutes ago, UCyborg said:

Using DOSBox for anything other than DOS games is at your own risk.

And what isn't, nowadays, when dabbling with legacy software? :unsure:

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Thanks to all, I have a few things to try now.

This guy: http://www.columbia.edu/~em36/ has a few interesting options.

 

 

10 hours ago, UCyborg said:

Using DOSBox for anything other than DOS games is at your own risk.

DOSBox IS NOT SUITED TO RUN YOUR NON-GAMING DOS APPLICATION

That seems to be mostly about lack of file locking, so several programs can try to write to a file without being aware of each other. Particularly bad news for databases.

With a single user running a DTP app, unless you absentmindedly start two copies of a program, this isn't a big problem.

Yet another reason to backup your files periodically though.

 

Quote

Since there is a "performance penality" in running a VM, it makes more sense to use in the VM the simpler/less resource hungry  OS (i.e. you can install in the - say - Qemu  VM an XP, but it will be slower than DOS).

It's primarily DOS. But I also have a couple of Win3.1 apps I have missed. XP apps might run as-is, or I can update to later versions.

Edited by Asp

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I recommend:
For DOS Games => DOSBox
For Windows 3.x/2.x/Win16 API apps => otvdm
For DOS apps => I hope you don't have to run these and can migrate to Win16 or Win32 versions of these apps. You can with VirtualBox, Vmware, Qemu, PCem etc.

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