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Windows ME - The End Of UMSDOS And BeOSfs Over Vfat? 531

Juan Rojo writes: "I recently got a copy of Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (which is suppossed to be the next generation of the Windows 9x series, supposed to mantain 'backwards' compatibility with older versions. In them all the ports and memory access are unprotected). I was really surprised that "pure" DOS access was simply removed. You can't enter into pure DOS in any way. No more 'Command Prompt' option when pressing F8 at the startup.. No more 'Shutdown to MSdos' and no more shorcuts to DOS mode. I even tried removing the Windows directory and it crashes at the startup instead of going back to a DOS prompt (like Win98 or 95). The only possible way seems to be booting from a disk with a Win98 DOS kernel installed. This seems to be a serious problem for UMSDOS based unix distros, for the BeOSfs that runs over Vfat and even for using LoadLin, which many users still may need. I wonder if Microsoft did this on purpose.. or if they have some 'excuse' about it." That doesn't sound very "backwards" compatible to me either. Considering the source, is anyone really surprised?
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Windows ME-The End of UMSDOS and BeOSfs Over Vfat?

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  • Microsoft is trying to get us to stop using the DOS prompt.

    This is because Windows 2000 does not have it and they are expecting to move people off of the 9x architecture into Win2K very soon. They want the transition to move as smooth as possible.

    Evidence of this:
    - Removal of the DOS prompt.
    - Adding more Windows 2000-like features to ME
    - Changing the naming scheme of the OS. Windows 2000 took the naming scheme from this product line.
    - The next version of Windows 2000 will include a consumer edition that will be sold for the same price as Windows 9x.

    Microsoft has been promising to end the Windows 9x product line for 4 years now. They are finally starting to follow through.

    I do have to add, that personally I think that removal of the DOS prompt is very premature. I feel they have to develop some decent recovery tools before taking the DOS prompt away.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:29AM (#873822)
    I'm no Windows expert, but maybe the conspiracy loving maniacs are wrong this time.

    Afaik they killed dos because
    - The luser doesn't need it, and the power user should use Win2000 in their view.
    - The quickstartup shutdown feature is incompatible with the normal dos booting way.

    Also maybe there is some util on the CD for real users to tweak things so that an dos prompt remains an option
  • autoexec.bat and config.sys are there only for backwards compatibility. It scans them at boot time and puts their information into the registry and empties them out.



  • Assuming you're running with SysV startup, setup init level 5 to be a graphical login and such. Now rm -rf /usr/X11R6. Now reboot. Okay, sure, it didn't work too well did it, but you can boot into single user mode no problem. You know, the command-line only one, that's the unix equivalent of hitting F8 on boot.
  • Hey guys.. If you want a DOS prompt, why don't you just make a new command interpreter? Also, you can probably still run Bash in WinMe (though I know that Bash on Win32 is horiffically slow..).

    Now, for the more interesting problem of 16-bit DOS, effort should be put into the FreeDOS project.

    I know WinMe is going to cause trouble. There are a *lot* of devices out there that need bios upgrades, this, that, and the other thing, which are currently only currently possible through DOS. I had to upgrade my BIOS last night, and I was worried that I wouldn't be able to boot into DOS, since I didn't have any disks with it. My roommate did have a 98 boot disk, though he runs Win2k these days.
  • I just realized that many Java compilers and utilities for Windows run from the command line. This isn't the end of the world (you could probably make some batch files or something, or have they disappeared too?), but it may cause difficulty..

    Oh well, for those that just need a command line, there will always be one, be it Bash or something like OS/2's and WinNT's CMD.EXE.
  • You're right. Back when I ran PC DOS 7.0, it was a very good DOS. They put a lot of effort into giving as much free memory in the lower 640kB as possible, which was nice. IIRC, I was running with over 600kB free when sitting at a prompt. I didn't run all sorts of fancy things, but it had Doskey, the CD-ROM drivers, mouse, and maybe another thing or two (it's been quite a while).

    Hmm.. Looks like it sells for $50-60. A tad spendy, but not too bad (I think they actually include an AntiVirus package, and it also comes with the REXX scripting language).
  • I agree with many of your points. However there is one point I think you are mistaken on. NT is NOT more stable than win9x. I work MIS supporting a variety of MS OS's and NT 4.0, even with service pack 6a, is dramatically less stable than win95 OSR2. It is also harder to fix. I am getting really cranky about everone buying MS's b.s. line that NT is more stable - I do this 50 hrs per week (four the last four years) and it is just not true. The truth is out there friends.

    It has been my (admittedly limited) experience that NT is, in fact, more stable than Win9x. However, only NT is more stable. The applications that run on NT (including Internet Explorer) are still flaky. I use NT at work (uggh) and I must log off and back on about twice a day to clear the system out, or things will just stop working. But I almost never have to actually reboot.

    It's also worth noting that Windows is so inconsistent, it's not even consistently bad.

    Another thing - it's my impression that Microsoft doesn't mess with the NT APIs too much (compared to Win9x), so NT should be easier to emulate with projects like WINE. OF course, most of the people working on projects like WINE are using Win9x, but in theory, wouldn't it be easier to emulate NT than Win9x? Are the APIs better documented? Perhaps a better question would be, are there as many undocumented APIs in NT as there are in Win9x?

    Sorry for wandering off on a tangent; this is something I've been curious about.


  • There's *no good reason* for F8 not to allow a DOS session to start up. Yes, there's a good reason for DOS not to load when Windows is loading--but from a pure troubleshooting point of view, access to the core filesystem is inordinately useful for system repair and there is no benefit to the customer for such functionality to be removed.

    Consider: many new motherboards have no ISA slots, and soon the ISA bus will be completely removed on all new motherboards. Does this benefit the consumer? What about consumers who have ISA modems? The answer is, yes, it benefits the consumer in the long term, at the expense of a minor inconvenience in the short term. Once everyone has switched completely over to PCI and USB, we can start using motherboards that have no ISA bus (not just no ISA slots, but no PS/2 ports, no floppy drives, and no other devices that still run on the ISA bus). This leads to a more efficient design, which gives us faster, cheaper, more efficient motherboards - and that benefits everyone.

    It's sad, really. This is yet another example of Microsoft's technological achievements(successful migration of the PC industry from DOS/Win16 to Win32, excavation and elimination of DOS legacy code) being marred by the relentless drive of their business side to quell competition.

    Wait a minute - what? you're saying moving from DOS/Win16 to Win32 is a good thing, and yet removing DOS is a bad thing? Think about this for a moment.

    DOS is not just a lower operating system--it's a basic environment that can be entirely overwritten by whatever code happens to run underneath it. Much has been said about the ability to run alternative operating systems being quelled by this design; the faults generated are actually much more devious.

    So, DOS doesn't completely control your system; rather, it lets other software do whatever it wants. This quells the ability to run alternative operating systems? That makes absolutely no sense. This design is what makes LOADLIN possible - LOADLIN can completely remove DOS, and replace it with something else, while the system is still running.

    DOS lets the user replace anything with everything; under the Windows model, Microsoft holds the final say on what calls you're allowed to issue, what memory you may rewrite, what partitions you may generate.

    Wow, that sounds remarkably like UNIX. Applications can't directly muck around in hardware (unless they're running with root permissions, in which case the OS selectively grants them access).

    Even the simple requirement to rewrite applications such as Partition Magic in full Win32 code--and that's presuming a hard drive partitioner could be allowed to function through the API--at minimum makes the code much less portable across OS's, and gives Microsoft leverage over yet another critical element of system configurations.

    Hmm, making software companies rewrite old applications that require a backwards-compatibility layer so that they're more efficient and work better is a bad thing? Windows NT is 32-bit only, and is much more stable than Win98, so Microsoft wants to migrate everything to NT. The more 16-bit apps that get rewritten as 32-bit apps, the more likely this plan is to succeed.

    This isn't just about Microsoft making it harder for their users to run alternative operating systems; it's about Microsoft closing off direct access to a user's own system to the point of forcing the OS to crash before giving the user a command prompt.

    Uhhh, who said anything about forcing the OS to crash? Where the hell did that come from? And by the way, someone else pointed out that you can still get to a command prompt by (surprise!) opening a command prompt window.


  • by Jon Peterson ( 1443 ) <jon@snowdrif t . o rg> on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:15AM (#873837) Homepage
    My definition of backward compatibility does not include working with older versions of OTHER PEOPLE'S software. Nor does it include 'working in exactly the same way as the old version'. Or even 'keeping certain boot procedures the same so that other entirely unrelated 3rd party software works the same way as it used to.'

    This IS NOT a backward compatibility issue.
  • by Jon Peterson ( 1443 ) <jon@snowdrif t . o rg> on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:56AM (#873838) Homepage
    It is not the job of one OS to play nice with another, any more than it is the job of one program to play nice with the other.

    In the case of programs, the OS (or kernel) mediates between them, and stops them trampling on each other's memory etc.

    In the case of OSes, it should really be up to the firmware/hardware/BIOS to enforce rules for OSes on one machine to behave well, by hiding them from each other.
  • by Effugas ( 2378 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:57AM (#873842) Homepage
    DOS should not be loading before Windows.

    It shouldn't, I'm happy it's not, it's excellent that they've pulled out yet another layer of headaches, huzzah.

    The problem--and it's a real one--is that they're preventing DOS from loading at all.

    There's *no good reason* for F8 not to allow a DOS session to start up. Yes, there's a good reason for DOS not to load when Windows is loading--but from a pure troubleshooting point of view, access to the core filesystem is inordinately useful for system repair and there is no benefit to the customer for such functionality to be removed.

    It's sad, really. This is yet another example of Microsoft's technological achievements(successful migration of the PC industry from DOS/Win16 to Win32, excavation and elimination of DOS legacy code) being marred by the relentless drive of their business side to quell competition. DOS is not just a lower operating system--it's a basic environment that can be entirely overwritten by whatever code happens to run underneath it. Much has been said about the ability to run alternative operating systems being quelled by this design; the faults generated are actually much more devious. DOS lets the user replace anything with everything; under the Windows model, Microsoft holds the final say on what calls you're allowed to issue, what memory you may rewrite, what partitions you may generate. Even the simple requirement to rewrite applications such as Partition Magic in full Win32 code--and that's presuming a hard drive partitioner could be allowed to function through the API--at minimum makes the code much less portable across OS's, and gives Microsoft leverage over yet another critical element of system configurations.

    The philosophy of the DVD contracts was to achieve restrictions over consumers in excess of what the law would impose by preventing any vendor from being able to legally provide entire realms of fair use functionality to consumers. By doing an end run around the law, the studios hoped to effectively reverse entire swaths of public policy. Considering the anticompetitive and intrusive charges against Microsoft, this code extraction is similarly an end run around the technological capability of the generally open PC platform to run operating systems and environments other than those prescribed by Microsoft.

    I don't like it, I'm not happy, and I do believe formal complaints should be issued in this circumstance. This isn't just about Microsoft making it harder for their users to run alternative operating systems; it's about Microsoft closing off direct access to a user's own system to the point of forcing the OS to crash before giving the user a command prompt.

    Crashing is not a feature.

    Yours Truly,

    Dan Kaminsky
    DoxPara Research
  • if you makes changes to a operating system and you want to claim that it's completely backwards compatible... shouldn't it then work with all programs that worked with the previous version of the OS?

    Not quite, no. It should work with all programs that used the documented APIs for the old OS. Now it sounds like MS haven't even done that, but you can't really claim that any previously working program should continue to work. IIRC, StarOffice used some undocumented Linux kernel features, and then broke when those features were removed in a newer kernel.

  • Could you show me how to do this? What do I need to type in the IE Address bar to get DOS commands to execute?
  • Start/Run: enter cmd

    In fact there is a registry setting you can do t enable auto-complete in the CLI like with BASH, tcsh, and other popular UNIX shells. Futhermore there is another registry setting that will allow a window to take focus with just the mouse over it...

  • > we still have BootX which works just fine to
    > load Linux

    Bad example: BootX quit working for many LinuxPPC machines sometime around Mac OS 9, which forced them into a special booter called yaBoot, a sub-OS requiring a special partition and everything. In other words, Mac OS changes (even before the oft-mentioned Mac OS X) have pushed us into similar territory, boot-wise.
  • A while back I talked to a Microsoft technical drone who told me that Win2K will contain full command line support. He explained that everything that can be done from the GUI can be done from the command line. I recounted for him the story I read about another Microsoft spokesdroid stating that "the command line and scripting were weaknesses of UNIX." His response to that was to make a face at me.

    So if what he says was true (and, of course, all his words are suspect as he was a Microsoft employee), then future versions of Windows will definately contain some kind of CLI support (which will probably be MS-DOS based).

    Can someone clarify this matter?
  • by Nicolas MONNET ( 4727 ) <nicoaltiva@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:17AM (#873855) Journal
    ... will DosEmu be ported to Win ME?
  • how does removing dos command mode stop umsdos and other such things? they play on the fs, right?
  • Having no wish to install WinME to try it, what hapens if you put BootGui=0 into your MSDOS.SYS file? (for those who don't know, this means the system boots to a command prompt rather than autostarting Windows). Also, does LOGO=0 in the same file suppress the graphical display?

    Personally, I used to love the way old versions of Win9x said "It is now safe to turn your computer off" - and if you typed MODE CO80 blind at that point, you got the C:\> prompt....go ahead, find an old W9x and try it!
  • by Psiren ( 6145 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:53AM (#873862)
    Well, there's a simple solution to this. Don't upgrade to ME. Problem solved.
  • Microsoft want to to do away with the CLI because they like thier customer stuck in their way of thinking. Microsoft does not want thier customers think outside the box. Hey this just an assurance that they keep thier customer base.
  • we have no right to judge its endeavors.

    What are you talking about? Haven't you ever heard of the First Amendment? I can damn well say anything I want about Microsoft's products. It won't do anything; but I can say it.

  • Umm, ever heard of a rescue disk? That disk Windows asks you to make upon installation?

    Yeah. Try that.

  • > DOS lets the user replace anything with everything; under the Windows model, Microsoft holds the final say on what calls you're allowed to issue, what memory you may rewrite, what partitions you may generate

    Oh jesus h christ now i have heard it all. are you now crucifying microsoft for having protected memory?
  • > Every time I try to type mode co80 at the logos.sys (It is now safe to switch off your computer) screen, my computer always loses power before I can finish typing.

    Try turning off power management in the BIOS, lemme know if this works. I suspect not, it probably issues a HALT or something.
  • Hmm, since the last DOS game I played was Duke Nukem 3D, I'd say that DOS gaming is pretty much dead. Has there been a major title released for DOS in the last 3 years? Not that I can remember, so I highly doubt that MSFT has any designs on the gaming market with this move.

    In my opinion, Windows ME is for people who want to run crappy programs on new PC's. If you wanted to run good programs on a new PC, you'd run Windows 2000. Win2K doesn't work well with some older games, but it works fine with most newer ones. I've played Rogue Spear, Age of Kings, Diablo, Diablo II, Unreal Tournament, SimCity 3000, Jedi Knight, Quake 3, Alpha Centauri, and many others on my Windows 2000 box just fine. I'd say that covers many of the "must-have" games for the last 2 years or so.

    If you can give up your DOS programs, Windows 2000 is the way to go. I was a hardcore DOS user back when Windows 95 came out. I refused to adopt it until well into two years after it's debut, simply because it was too slow, and I had DOS down to a science. That said, I haven't tinkered with an autoexec.bat or a config.sys in a long while, other than to make a DOS boot disk with network access here at work. I'm betting that 99% of Windows users will never need or miss DOS from their machines.

    The only places DOS is really needed are shops that run DOS programs from 1992. You'll find a lot of places with some proprietary ISA card which uses some ancient DOS program, all manufactured by a company that is out of business or hasn't updated their software in five years. The solution is simple here, DON'T UPGRADE!

    That's right, don't upgrade to a new machine. I've got a few of these situations here at work. Try finding a new machine with ISA slots from Gateway or Dell. You can do it, it's just a pain.

    If your program was written 5 years ago to run in DOS, does it really need a Gigahertz Pentium III? No. Use your old boxes until they die, then find another old box. Upgrade to a different product, or insist that the vendor produce a 32-bit version of their software. Whatever you do, don't buy a brand new PC and then try to run your ancient software on a shiny new OS.
  • by Barbarian ( 9467 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @05:38AM (#873889)
    I've taken a look at a WinME beta, and command.com is still there, it still runs on top of it, you can still start the ms-dos prompt from inside windows, it's just you can't get the dos prompt by itself. They've gone out of their way to turn that off.

  • There is a tweak to enable tab completion in cmd.exe too. There is also popup command histories and everything. If you want to know more, email me.

  • by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @08:40AM (#873892) Homepage Journal
    I wish I'd have seen this when it was fresh. Perhaps my comments could have made it to the top. The person who submitted this to slashdot is *obviously* not a MS beta tester, or else he would have known the answer to his own gripe. Thus he probably has "secured" his copy illegally and even though it IS microsoft, I don't think he has any room to gripe. 1) WinME is the (purportedly) final step towards bringing consumer windows (3.1/95/98) into sync with the NT kernel (3.1, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0, 2000) With this comes the obvious (and necessary) absolution of the GUI as essentially an application on top of DOS. DOS applications run in VM's just like in NT and OS/2. 2) The filesystem is the same FAT32 we've always had access to. If you boot to DOS (more on this later) you will have access to all the files. WinME *DOES NOT BREAK* the vfat or usmsdos filesystem drivers!!!! 3) WinME uses the NT Bootloader *WHICH CAN BOOT DOS, LINUX, AND BEOS FROM NATIVE PARTITIONS!!!!!* or it can boot seperate windows/dos versions from the same partition. Seen the 98/2000 dual boot configs? How about a 98/ME/2000/Linux running all off of one VFAT partition. It's not that difficult! I cant honestly believe that this thing was posted (boy there is always someone to make that same complaint every article isnt there?). Windows was never supposed to BE dos. Ever. Now that they've finally seperated the two, complaining "I can't boot DOS!!!" is totally idiodic and stupid. It's not the same OS, for god's sake. If you want to boot DOS, install DOS! I should also note that there *is* a recovery command prompt in WinME (It's also there in Win2K) where you can boot up to a 32bit command prompt and run Win32 CLI binaries without having to fire up a GUI. This is the same interface that Embedded NT and Embedded Windows2000 use when you don't need/use GUI support. ~GoRK
  • Folks,

    I think this whole issue is a tempest in a teapot.

    The reason is simple: there is this program called Partition Magic that allows you to run FAT16, FAT32, VFAT, NTFS, Linux EXT2, etc. on the same hard drive. I'm sure the publisher of Partition Magic will update the program so Windows ME users can also load a second operating system on the same drive on a different partition such as commercial Linux distributions. I won't be surprised that Caldera will release an update to OpenLinux e-Desktop 2.4 that does this.
  • It's a pretty pathetic excuse for a command line compared to, say, bash, but you can do what you ask.


    cd "c:\program files"

    and the logical thing will happen.

    The problem, of course, is that the long directory names they use are too hard to type, and there's no shortcut mechanism at all - you can't hit tab to complete the name, and you can't say "cd \progra*" to have the shell expand the name, because there's no file name expansion.

    Ironically enough, for a lot of those file names, typing

    cd c:\micros~1

    would be easier. Unfortunately, NTFS is a "real" file system, so that won't work if you're using it (as I am on my NT system).

    Hope that helps; I do 99% of my work in Linux, BeOS or MacOS nowadays, but I remember all too well the days when I had to use a Windows system all the time.


  • I'll be darned, you're right!

    (Even under NT 4.0, which is what I'm using).


  • I looked for it on my NT Server 4.0 system and it wasn't there - is this new for Windows 2000?

    Maybe it really is time to upgrade, although all that silly fading in and out stuff drove me bats when I saw it.


  • Wow, it works!

    Wonder why they didn't just make that the default.


  • by IntlHarvester ( 11985 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @05:56AM (#873909) Journal
    The entire Win32s for Windows 3.1 and Windows 4.x series (95, 98, 98SE, ME) has existed for one purpose: get all applications replaced by Win32 versions and migrate everyone to NT.

    The original intent of Win32s and Windows 95 might have been to be a stepping stone to NT, but Microsoft has been strangely really lax about the execution. They've almost purpously kept NT out of the mainstream market by keeping things like Plug'n'Play, USB support, and DirectX on the shelf for 3 to 4 years after the 9x folks got it.

    I wonder if this is a situation similar to Apple in the 1980s, where the "Apple II forever" people kept the lineup on the market for years past the point where it was competitive. It's almost as if iinternal forces inside Microsoft are conspiring to keep the 95/98/ME line going, and when upper management looks at the revenue figures, they can't argue.

    Don't forget, these guys have a monopoly on the desktop. If they wanted the world to run the NT kernel, they could get us there. Instead, they want to treat Windows 2000 as an upsell and continually pedddling crap like Windows ME. The sell of Windows 95 was "Just like NT, except with backwards compatibility". But now the sell of ME seems to be "Just like 98, except without the backwards compability". Bizarre.
  • People have written bootstrap loaders for all sorts of systems, including Linux systems. You don't need a DOS prompt for that. So, you don't need a DOS mode for that.

    But this change will make some important procedures harder (fixing the BIOS, installing old games, etc.). Microsoft may think that most of their customers aren't doing that; but many of their cutsomers hire people to do that sort of thing (or ask friend to do it for them). This makes dealing with Windows machines even more of a pain than it already is. Of course, since CD-ROMs started being inaccessible from DOS mode under standard Windows installations, DOS mode had gotten significantly less useful anyway.

  • by pheonix ( 14223 ) <slashdotNO@SPAMibloviate.org> on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:10AM (#873914) Homepage
    It makes sense. I don't LIKE it, but it makes sense. MS has been promising to make DOS a thing of the past since 3.1, they've just finally delivered. No more legacy 8 and 16 bit processes should mean more stability. Would you be the one to say that Windows doesn't need all the stability it can get?

    As I said, I don't like it, I prefer to do half my work CLI style, but I've seen it coming for 6 years now.
  • Microsoft has continuously clamed Windows 9x as a compleate operating system but anyone willing to challange Microsoft will notice that Windows 9x runs on top of Dos just as Windows allways has.

    Windows is obsolete. This has been my assertion for a long time. It's not an operating system itself but a batch of enhancments to Dos (multiasker, graphical interface, and network driver...).
    As such Microsofts cheaf compeditor wasn't Apple or Linux or IBM but Dubble Dos and Deskview and every Dos enhancment pacage out there.

    This being part of why Windows won the market. Why switch to MacOs, Unix or OS/2 when you can continue to use Dos? The industry standard for 10 years...

    Microsoft couldn't remove Dos... Dos is what put Windows in the marketplace.

    Now Microsoft CAN and they DO. There is no omnus motive to this. So an old obsolete Dos ultility won't work on WinME... blah... LILO still works...
    Linux dosn't run under Dos it reboots out of Dos into Linux. UMSdos still works. It just needs the stupid file system nothing more.

    My worry isn't that Microsoft removed Dos from WinME. My consern is that 5 years of Windows computer experts successfully ignored it's the fact that it's there becouse Windows is still a Dos App...

    The question is.... Did Microsoft really remove Dos or did they just do a better job of covering up it's existence?

    Experement... this will mess your Windows up a tad but try this anyway...
    Install a Dos upgrade (IBM Dos or DrDos... MsDos upgrade won't do it...) or just install Dos by hand :) This can be done with Sys command (if memory serves.. this was a long time ago).
    If it works it'll boot dos... not proff... That's got Dos installed on a Dos FS... like Linux installed.. it may not have been there before...
    Then go to cd /windows if you can find a program like win.exe... run it... Dose Windows ME boot?
    Even if it has some nasty behavure and crashes if Win.exe runs and TRYS to boot Windows.. you have your varification... Thow it dosn't boot under any stock version of Dos.. this to be expected... I'm supprised that Win 9x ran fine under Dos 5.x

    If however it dosn't even give a graphic "Booting Windows" or anything like that.. Dos really has been removed...

    I'm saying all this while I have no access to WinME... so just experement and post responce..
    Oh yeah and ummm reinstall becouse nodoupt this'll really mess up Windows :)
  • Moderators, please mark this as troll material.

    >"Microsoft has the right to produce whatever kind of program it wants to, and we have no right to judge its endeavors."

    Actually, we have every right. The quality of a product is judged not by those who develop it but by those who use it.

    As far as "backwards compatability" is concerned and as an administrator, I have since win95b considered having to be familiar with winblow$ having to be backwards compatable. Removing this makes dealing with users client machines that much more inefficient and unnecessarily difficult to maintain. All the more reason to use Linux or BSD exclusively.

    ...Of course I look at the very bright side to this. My company has been replacing Winblow$ and SCO servers for months now with Linux, now is the chance to really make some headway into clients desktop machines.

    >when Windows Millennium Edition ships, I'll be standing in line for my copy.

    That makes one of us.

    >and I'm not going to pretend I'm some how more important than Bill Gates.

    You've got to be kidding. This isin't actually *too* bad. it does *kind of* look like a fear tainted/ignorant newbie point of view. on the other hand though, it is pretty ignorant....definitely thinly veiled troll material.
  • Sorry for the first post, ...not enough coffee

    Some facts from a review i read (on german c't):

    • ME is based on old (in fact win 3.1) code. For instance it uses DOS-compatible "PSP-based process scheduling" (no idea what that is)
    • ME watches config.sys and autoexec.bat for modifications, i.e. they still seem to have a function
    • DOS-application still can be run in a "DOS-box"

    MS themselves did state that ME will be the last Windows based on the old technology, so a kind of MS-DOS is still there underneath.
    I think they just wanted to broaden the impression that ME is "pure 32-bit" (as if that was an advantage on its own ...) and perhaps they wanted to stop the possibility of legacy (dos) drivers reducing the stability of the whole system.
  • > They announced two years ago that they would be removing DOS mode.

    Actually, they announce it every time they come out with a new version.

    The question is, did they really remove it this time, or just hide it better?

  • > I can see it now, if they had left dos in then the story would read "Microsofts 20th attempt at a graphical OS still relies on the command line".

    Actually, many of us are perfectly happy to run a GUI that is layered on top of a "command line OS".

    The reason for any such cynical headlines that you suggest would be that MS has previously lied about removing DOS from Win9x, and got caught out at it. If they are lying again, we'll probably see headlines very like what you suggest.

  • > They would love to dump Win9X and significantly cut down on their development costs, as well as deliver a more stable product to their customers.

    Interesting. I had always assumed that they didn't really want to dump it at all. It is essentially paid for, and they darn sure aren't putting much into it for the returns they're getting on it. (Didn't we hear of a proposal to re-introduce Win 3.1 as a device OS last year?)

    Nor did stability ever seem to be of much interest to them, until Linux started breathing down their neck. (Or, more correctly, until the media noticed the difference and started commenting on it.)

    > Just like any other vendor with a large installed customer base, they are a slave to backward compatability.

    Yes, it's a regular albatross.

    OTOH, the real issue is the APIs. It seems that you could retain the API and change out everything underneath, and the customer would hardly know the difference. And if you needed/wanted to change the API, you should be able to run two APIs (call them "old" and "new") on the same platform, and warn everyone that "old" is no longer supported after such-and-such a date.

  • You are incorrect. Windows 2000 does have the dos prompt, but you cannot boot to it (just like NT.)

    I use it all the time. It comes up like this:

    Microsoft Windows 2000 [Version 5.00.2195]
    (C) Copyright 1985-1999 Microsoft Corp.


    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • The question is, did they really remove it this time, or just hide it better?

    Apparently, all they have done is modified IO.SYS to always invoke WIN.COM, instead of COMMAND.COM like it used to. I'm curious as to what would happen if you replaced WIN.COM with a copy of COMMAND.COM.

    All the old standbys used to test Win9X still crash WinME, from what I understand. If you fire up a DOS debugger and overwrite the first 64 KB of memory with zeros, the system will halt instantly. Why? Because Windows still depends on the real-mode DOS kernel for certain critical tasks.

    Granted, WinME has not been released yet, and this is third-hand information, so take this with a good amount of salt. But extrapolating from Microsoft's past performance, I think this is a safe bet.
  • DOS should not be loading before Windows. It shouldn't, I'm happy it's not, it's excellent that they've pulled out yet another layer of headaches, huzzah.

    The problem is, they didn't pull out DOS. By all reports, WinME still uses the real-mode DOS layer to boot and for various critical system operations. Microsoft has cut back on their DOS habbit, but they haven't kicked it.

    All Microsoft has done is modify the real-mode startup code to always load WIN.COM (or its moral equivalent), rather then giving you the choice between WIN.COM or COMMAND.COM like it used to.

    Hardly the picture of progress some make it out to be.
  • The former IO.SYS and MSDOS.SYS of pre Windows 95 were changed to hide DOS.

    MS Windows 95 was basically MS Windows 4.0 and MS-DOS 7.0 packaged together. DOS 7.0 was modified such that after processing CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT, it automatically invoked WIN.COM. (There were other changes, but they aren't relevant to this discussion.) Once Windows was actually up and running, you saw some real changes over Win 3.x, but early on, the boot process is almost exactly the same.

    The intent was to remove it then, but this broke to many programs of the time that relied on MSDOS.SYS to be there.

    That is bordering on Microsoft propaganda. Some of those programs that "relied on MSDOS.SYS to be there" include COMMAND.COM and WIN.COM, I've found.

    When MS was getting ready to release Windows 95, there was still a lot of hardware out there that needed real-mode DOS device drivers to work. If Microsoft got rid of DOS completely, all that hardware would be non-functional until new device drivers could be written. That was one of the biggest problems with OS/2, and Microsoft knew it. So, instead, they kept the existing system of loading Windows on top of DOS, complete with backwards compatibility with drivers loaded in CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT.

    (There is also a good deal of real-mode DOS activity even after Windows 4.0 is running, but for the sake of brevity, I'm ignoring that here.)

    If you edit MSDOS.SYS to include the line BootGUI=0, then Windows 95 and 98 function exactly like the old DOS+Win 3.x combination did. You boot to a command prompt, and can start Windows by invoking WIN.COM.

    With Me, DOS is completely removed. IO.SYS is nothing more than a loader ...

    This, again, borders on Microsoft propaganda. DOS isn't completely removed in WinME. Instead, the DOS kernel (such as it is) was modified to ignore CONFIG.SYS and COMMAND.COM, and instead start the Windows 4.X boot process immediately.

    Rest assured that the real-mode DOS kernel is still present, functional, and quite critical in Windows Millennium.
  • Microsoft uses dos to boot windows: "Microsoft sre shit, they still have msdos in windows"

    Microsoft get round to writing a non-dos bootloader (and lets face it that's all it has been for the last 5 years): "Microsoft only did it to make it hard for Linux users. It's a conspiracy! They should have left dos support in!"

    I love you guys, I really do. You guys remind me that comparitively, I actually am somewhat grounded in reality.

  • I don't see why this would affect BeOS, unless they changed the structure of the VFAT filesystem. The BeOS installer, at least with the Linux-friendly version, is a boot disk, and the Be filesystem resides on the Linux ext2 filesystem. It doesn't use Linux OS services at all, and Linux isn't running. I'd imagine it works the same way under Windows.
  • What I've heard from some of my co-workers that are on the MS Beta program: "Windows ME is essentially Win2k pro with the 98 kernel (for legacy device support) - it isn't a beefed up version of 98, its a stripped down version of Win2k." Since WinNT3.51 there hasn't been drop to dos type functionality, so it should be no surprise that its absent from ME.
  • I have an old MSN CD-rom sitting around for this very purpose.

  • by akey ( 29718 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:56AM (#873967)
    OHMIGOD, Microsoft has finally lived up to a promise from many years ago and removed support for MSDOS? Those bastards!

    This is about a non-story if I ever heard one. On the one hand, MS is blasted by the non-MS community for maintaining legacy 16-bit code. Then, when finally cutting it free, the same community suddenly realizes that they've been benefitting from the old 16-bit code and throws a hissy fit. You can't have it both ways.

    All this really means is that people will need to keep old boot diskettes around, or perhaps look at creating a boot floppy using FreeDOS. If it doesn't work now with FreeDOS, I suspect that it could certainly be made to given the proper impetus. In any case, it hardly means the End Of UMSDOS And BeOSfs Over Vfat, as the title of the article suggests.

  • Also, hiding DOS gives them the ability to spin the media nicely: "The first Windows without DOS." I bet that works very well.

    That would have been Windows NT, chum.

  • Under the Aug-95 version of windows 95, it was possible to boot to your old version of DOS. You could also boot up under dos 7 (win95 dos) and then start up windows 3.1 It worked beautifully. In fact I had my system set up to do just that.

    But then M$ came out with OSR2. In addition to all the positive new features, such as fat32 support, were two "features" that made me want to kill some redmondites. They disabled the ability to boot from another version of dos, and they went out of their way to break win31 compatibility.

    You could still set up a menu to try and boot to a previous version, but it would break the first time you used it, forcing you to use a dos71 boot disk and sys your C drive with it.

    As for the win31 compatibility, M$ messed up dos71 so that it would HALT YOUR SYSTEM whenever it detected you trying to use win31. It would come up with a message saying that this version of windows was not compatible with your system yada yada yada. Ctrl-alt-delete wouldn't reboot you either, you had to hit that reset button or cycle the power.

    Turns out there was nothing "incompatible" about dos71 and win31. I quickly determined that they had modified io.sys. When I pointed this out in a newsgroup I got a few trite remarks back and one good one. Some bright person had modified io.sys so that it wouldn't halt your system. He pointed out his webpage which held the patch needed. When I used it on my io.sys, win31 worked just fine.

    So don't be too suprised about anything M$ does that isn't in the best interest of their customers, or a segment of their customers. Monopolies view their customers as a resource to exploit. Companies in competitive markets see their customers as their most precious resource. One that must be preserved and positively encouraged to stick with the company because they can always take their business somewhere else.

    I had just about forgotten how bad the personalities behind M$ really were, then I saw this. The only reason they have for doing this is so they can shove win32 down the throats of more people and lock out access by competing products.
    You'd think with the lawsuit that they would have learned something. Guess again. Actually that is a good thing becuase it means they intend to continue doing the kinds of things that got them in trouble in the first place. One way or another they will destroy themselves in the process.
  • Microsoft is trying to push pure windows because it is something that they purely control. The next step will be to do away with 9x altogether and go straight to NT. This puts M$ in a strong position of influence over developers both inside and outside the company. Why? Because M$ soley controls and defines the win32 api. That means that if you develop for windows, M$ is who you have to deal with. Borland has to play nice with M$ to get the information they need to create their compilers. Imagine the runaround they must get from the redmondites. M$ could easily install hidden calls that only they could make use of. Calls that are faster or offer more functionality than publicly documented ones. Many people believe they have done this already. I for one would bet money they have.

    Basically the point I'm making is that by eliminating a customer's ability to run something M$ doesn't have direct or indirect control over, they are securing their chokehold on the desktop.

    I'd hardly call this a good thing.

    Thank God for people like Stallman and Torvalds. Without them we'd all be stuck using OS/2. (Now don't get me wrong, I loved OS/2, but its no Linux.)

    As it stands right now, no one uses real mode drivers except when necessary. If someone is using oakcdrom.sys with mscdex, it means their system is running in MS-DOS compatibility mode and they don't know how else to get the cdrom running.
    Win9x doesn't even parse config.sys or autoexec.bat unless they're something in them to begin with. Want to make sure you're only using super high performance 32bit drivers? Make these files 0 length. Chances are you won't see any difference because the only drivers that would be in config.sys or autoexec.bat are ones you specifically put there yourself, or were put there by a dos based program.

  • I don't remember suggesting that M$ applications were better. Before you can call something better, you've got to have something to compare it with.

    What I did do was accuse M$ of creating hidden features in windows to give their own applications an artificial advantage.

    This accusation is not new, its been around for some time now.

    So you claim to work for M$ in the OS division. Maybe you do. I also may have been wrong in my assumption that M$ was guilty of creating a double standard through manipulation of the API.

    But tell me this, are your application divisions partitioned off from your other divisions? Do they enjoy access to priviliged information (or the people who created that information) that other outside developers do not?

    I know if I were running a multifaceted enterprise such as microsoft, I'd want my divisions to be able to benefit from each other's knowledge as much as possible. Duplication of effort is money down the drain, as well as time wasted. When two groups don't work together they can go in mutually exclusive directions, creating even bigger problems.

    I'd have a hard time believing that M$ would completely separate its divisions and not allow them to share information in a manner authorized by management. To do so would put them on a level playing field with other application developers. Gates wouldn't want that because it would be giving an advatage to the enemy.

  • There's a difference between "an OS built as a superstructure over DOS" (Win3.1/3.11/95/98) and "an OS that supports legacy apps written to run under DOS" (Win3.1/95/98/NT/2000). Abandoning DOS support under Windows ME might be just a M$ ploy to nudge corporate users to Win2000 - "But boss, WinME doesn't support our hundreds of DOS apps - we _have_ to migrate to Win2000 for desktops!." M$ is very anxious lately about lack of Win2000 sales, which have been anemic so far...

    But it's also possible (and highly likely, IMHO) that WinME is still basically DOS - just that now it WON'T RUN NATIVE DOS PROGRAMS anymore! As you can guess, I have an opinion that this sucks! So much for M$ continuing to support legacy code.

    [Prediction - the Appeals Court reverses Jackson, but is reversed by the Supreme Court, leading to breakup of M$... in 2002.]

  • Emmm Windows NT runs what is little more than a DOS emulator. It is DOS in a protected environment

    Yes, NT's DOS is emulated. And Microsoft didn't write the emulator, either. They bought it from some company (forget the name) for NT3.1, and as far as I can tell it hasn't been updated since then.
  • MS is *not* doing away with the CLI, by any means. You can still run DOS programs, and you can still get a C:\> prompt. All it means is that you have to do so inside of Windows ME; Heck, just make it fullscreen by pressing ALT-ENTER. This is equivalent to only being able to run a terminal under X. Big deal.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • Under Windows 98, there was an option inside the MSDOS.SYS file that specified whether or not to boot GUI; There may be such an option under ME.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • How do you figure that? BeOS-over-Windows does not work like Linux-over-Windows; BeOS makes you insert a BeOS boot-disk in order to load the operating system. Windows never comes into play. When you click on the BeOS icon, inside of Windows, it just tells you to insert your floppy, and then it reboots the computer. You never get into protected mode, and you never need DOS.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • After some checking, it turns out that BeOS does in fact have a protected-mode loader, much like Loadlin. However, under Win2k (which is what I'm running) and NT, this is not possible, so it simply prompts you to insert a boot disk. I suppose that's the solution for WinME as well.

    On the other hand, loadlin doesn't actually use DOS anyway -- it just unloads Windows and loads up a Linux kernel... I can only imagine that this would still work under WinME, since it is not a protected OS like WinNT.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • by Foogle ( 35117 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:40AM (#873992) Homepage
    Where is it said that Microsoft abandoned the prompt? You can still use the prompt in Windows ME. You can still run console applications in Windows ME. What you cannot do, is boot straight to MS-DOS, because it doesn't exist as an operating system on its own. You need to run console-based (and DOS) applications from a shell-window inside Windows ME.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • You can get an advanced unix shell for NT --I've seen a zsh port, and zsh can expand spaces in filenames (by quoting the path automatically) or you can shell out the money for 4NT (pardon the pun) which can also do that.

    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • i think this anti-linux conspiracy paranoia is going a bit far this time. microsoft has promised to do away with dos, and they've finally delivered. i'm sure linux installers aren't the only programs affected. however, the end result is a far more stable operating system. most of what i've heard about win-me has been quite postitive.
    Linux does not need MS-DOS to run.
  • Frankly if you remove the main system files of any operating system (eg, delete the windows directory as was suggested), it will probably crash. Try removing /bin from un*x, and see what happens.

    In previous version of Windows, there was a DOS layer underneath that was fully functional (for DOS, anyway). It is no longer there - this was more like removing /usr/bin instead - which still leaves unix functional. Take a look at the FHS, it specifically refers to /bin and /sbin as being for critical files, and a system should work with only those present.

    this seems like a totally legitimate effort by microsoft to prepare people for the fact that they are going to expect them to move over to the NT platform in the near future.

    How on EARTH can anything like that be legitimate? So what if they expect people to switch over? Surely people should switch over if there is good enough reason?

    If they want to "prepare" people for switching over, then they should just tell people. Oh wait, they did - over and over again.

  • So what? Who in their right mind would be using Millenium when dos and 9x are being phased out in the first place in favor of Windows 2000? I say good riddence.
  • It has some other interesting and unpleasant problems.
    I don't know where you're getting that info from. When I switched to Win2K from Win98, I was pleased to find that the command prompt was much more functional. It absolutely does wildcard expansion; it also supports the full range of pipe operators, command history, and just about anything else you'd expect from a UNIX shell. (Except tab completion... that always gets me.)
  • The disappearance of the DOS prompt makes it more difficult to install alternative OSes, but there are ways around that. True, you can't run LOADLIN out of a DOS box anymore, but do you really need to? You always have the option to boot from floppies if you don't want to devote a complete partition to your new OS.

    (Another problem: WinNT - and I suppose 2000 as well - doesn't allow raw access to the floppy device, so RAWRITE won't work. Solution: use a bootable CD. Your PC can't boot from CD? Then it's probably not worth to run Win2K or ME.)

    I believe there's a greater threat: rescue CDs. Nowadays, you rarely get a full Windows CD when you buy a new PC. All you get is media that allows you to restore the PC to its original configuration.

    For example: my company-issued laptop has such a rescue disk. I also have an official Win98 CD, but I suspect it won't install without the rescue disk. This disk only allows to choices: either wipe out the whole disk, or only "fix" the C: partition.

    My desktop PC (running NT) has a restore medium as well, and that one effectively repartitions the complete hard disk before reinstalling. (For this one, I do need to install from the rescue disk: I tried installing the "official" WinNT CD.)

    I have installed Linux on the laptop, but now I'm hesitant to use the rescue disk (in case Windows really gets messed up).

    Installing Linux/BeOS/*BSD on the other machine? I don't think so. If I ever need to reinstall NT, I'll lose everything on the disk.

    Ironically, these two machines were sold by vendors who claim to support Linux...

  • Simply because some of have will have to do
    to pressures of work, family or other obiligations.

    1) If all development at work is done
    on Windows ME, then I'll need to install Windows ME if I desire to work at home. (Not the case for me, since I don't have any intel hardware. But if I did, you can pretty much bet I'd need n-boot the latest version of widows consumer and nt).

    2) Or If our kids/wife/mother/brother/sister "needs" to run windows me for their work/fav game/etc., then what is our choice when we order a new computer? [ My case, well it would be if I used Intel... I run LinuxPPC and my wife is loath to learn Linux, so I keep shelling out for the MacOS upgrades. So if at some point apple makes a change like this that affect BootX, I'm hosed.]

    3) Other Obligations, if for example my Dharma Center wants me to maintain on their Excel2002 spreadsheet that is shared between 15 windows users and me.... either I make 15 people change or my working environment.

    There's lots of reasons one needs to dual-boot windows... and several (above) one might need to dual-boot the most recent ones....
  • Although it is impressive that you can get functioning windows to boot off 1.4 MB, Just goes to show you dont need all that bloat.

    Nobody ever said you could get a funtioning Windows boot off a floppy. Let's read this again...

    "Officially, Microsoft says you can boot to the real-mode command prompt..."

    That's right. DOS.


  • A) DOS is gone from WinME. DOS never really was in Win95, it was present, but DOS apps ran in a VM. What Windows ME does is boot straight into protected mode because it helps in booting quickly, and the machine is very vunerable in this state. Also, it gets rid of uneeded code.
    B) The legacy 16bit stuff is still there. 8 bit stuff has been gone for a long time. Most Win95 machines rarely switch into real mode unless you're running some funky hardware or software. However, all the 16bit stuff is still there.
    C) It doesn't get rid of the CLI. Just like NT, WinME still has a DOS prompt.
    D) You call the DOS prompt a CLI?
  • It's called a VM. If you knew how Windows worked, you wouldn't say stupid stuff like that. Command.com (the DOS prompt) is (and always HAS) run under a virtual machine in Windows 95. The machine operates in protected mode, and run a VM to run the DOS prompt. This is different from the straight DOS prompt which is ACTUAL real mode DOS. Windows 95 has NEVER run on top of DOS. The only DOS code (IE non protected mode) is some funky old drivers. The DOS prompt by itself was the last bits of DOS Win95 had. It was real mode DOS in which the entire machine operated in real mode without a VM. They didn't go out of their way to turn it off, they just got rid of it entirely.
  • Wrong. WinME doesn't use WOW. WOW is only for "pure" 32bit versions of NT. 16bit processes are handled by the same "24bit" Win95 kernel. 8 bit processes (just like the 16bit ones) are run in a virtual machine just like they always have. The only thing that has changed is that it is no longer possible to take a Windows95 machine into pure real mode DOS (without VM's or protections running.)
  • It's not emulation. It is a virtual machine. kind of like like VMWare except limited to DOS.
  • Okay, now I can officially say that about half the posters on this topic (even the +4's and +5's) have no clue what they are talking about. To put it succinctly

    1) It's bfs, not BeOSfs, don't EVER forget that;)

    2) MS is not removing DOS comptability. It is simply removing the ability to boot into real-mode DOS. This is a feature that most people don't even use anymore. Unless you've got really old hardware drivers that need real-mode DOS (very rare) you're machine is in protected mode most of the time. Unless you use the "Reboot into DOS" option, you're not missing anything.

    3) It is not removing the command line. From inside Windows, everything will still be the same. The DOS prompt will run on top of a VM (virtual machine) just like it always has, you can run DOS applications from the VM, just like you always have.

    4) MS is not removing 16bit compatibility. 16bit compatbility has nothing to do with DOS support. Win9x/ME is still the "24bit" 16/32bit kernel.

    5) Stability will only improve slightly. In previous versions of Windows, Windows booted DOS first, which then booted the Win95 kernel. WinME boots straight into Win95, so any stability problems that take down you're machine at startup or shutdown will be alleviated.

    6) This will have no effect on bfs/vfat or UMSDOS. Those don't actually depend on DOS. The only thing that will change is that you can't use loadlin anymore.

    7) This is not some marketing gimmick, or some way to supress CLI users, or anything like that. DOS mode conflicted with some stuff, it made the machine very vunerable at boot, and very few apps actually needed "pure" DOS mode anymore (as opposed to the VM DOS mode, just so we're clear) so Microsoft decided to get rid of it. It certainly doesn't deserve a nearly 700-post barrage on /.
  • Whoa, cool off. I was kidding. It's a joke, laugh, ha ha...

    The DOS prompt is so woefully underpowered, it doesn't deserve to share the same name as beasts such as the UNIX shells. (This coming from a person who likes Windows better than Linux, so you know its not some anit-MS bull!)
  • I believe that is true for NT. But at least Win 95 used to run more on top of DOS more than use it only as a loader. There are some evidence for that, like that DOS protected mode memory managers (EMM386 or third party like QEMM) are needed for loading Win 95, and I have seen few times Win 95 crash to a dos prompt!
    Win95 can crash to a DOS prompt, because it is still in there. However, that doesn't imply that it runs on top of DOS. Also, memory managers aren't needed for loading Win95, and infact it is reccomended that they are NOT used because it interferes with Win95 managing its own memory. Of course they can be used, but that only applies to when you've got apps that run in the DOS VM and need the services of the memory manager. For example, I had this old DOS-mode pinball game that needed a memory manager to run. However, my Win95 system has no memory managers in it's autoexec, so I doubt they are running. Win95 really isn't DOS in a pretty face. Its mostly Win 3.1 in a pretty face. DOS is still there, but it isn't used. DOS is a real-mode operating system. Unless you are running really old soft/hardware, then your system is running in protected-mode most of the time. The amount of DOS in Win95 and 98 is the same (nearly none.) There aren't really any tweeks to the kernel in Win98 aside from some to the memory manager. As for command.com, read up on some articles around the release of Win95. (From REAL magazines, like BYTE, not ZDnet.) The Win95 architecture runs application in 3 ways. First, there is the system VM for 32 bit applications. Then there are two other VMs (which are Win32 applications and run in the system VM.) There is one VM for Win16 (Win 3.x) applications, and there is one or more (each DOS app runs in it's own VM) VMs for DOS applications. In every case, the system is running in protected mode.

    OTOH while Win 98 still needs EMM386 (I haven't tried QEMM on it) I have always got the comfy BSOD when it crashes so maybe there is less DOS in it.
    I'm running Win98 without EMM386. According to Peter Norten (Norten's Inside the PC, Page 294)
    "Because of this, you need not specify EMM386.EXE in your CONFIG.SYS file, and you should not specify HIMEM.SYS-both of these will actually diminish Windows 95's capability to internally manager memory" As for QEMM, it is simply a replacement for the aformentioned EMM386.EXE and should not be used in Win9x.
  • Wrong. Win95 doesn't leave DOS in memory. It moves DOS into a protected mode virtual machine. Win16 apps NEVER call into "real" DOS, they call into a DOS that is running in the (seperate) Win16 virtual machine. All of these run in the Win32 virtual machine. The exit to DOS trick isn't a trick, it unloads Windows, puts the sytem into real mode, and moves DOS back into regular memory. This version of DOS that runs when you "exit to DOS" is the REAL DOS. It runs in real-mode. It doesn't run on top of a VM. What MS has decided to do is remove this DOS. You seem to think that Win95 runs on top of DOS. This is a myth. If it really did run on top of DOS, then most system calls would result in a mode switch. That's simply not the case. The only time Win95 makes calls to DOS is to support old real mode drivers. (Like the original Win95 printer drivers.) There is no malacious intent in here. They figured that nobody needed real-mode DOS anymore (since most DOS apps can run in the virtual machine), and booting into real-mode first interfered with driver loading and made the system unstable, so the got rid of it. No malacious intent here, just some common sense. And it WILL interefer with programs like loadlin or the BeOS loader. They depend on rebooting into DOS mode so they can kick DOS out of memory. Just as these programs won't work on NT, they won't work on ME.
  • Sorry, I mean 16bit real-mode DOS process. The person before me had reffered to this as 8bit, and I wasn't paying attention.
  • Hello? It's called a LOADER? It's like saying Linux is a LILO program! A Win95 machine initially boots into DOS. This is for various backwards compatibility reasons. It then puts the system into protected mode and runs DOS in a virtual machine. You say that Window is just a DOS application. This is entirely false. Think of it this way. If Windows was a DOS application, then the machine couldn't be running in protected mode most of the time. DOS is a real mode operating system. It cannot be run in protected mode without using virtual x86 mode. Thus, in order for Win9x to run on top of DOS, you'd have to have a VM running directly on the hardware, DOS running on top of that, and Win9x running on top of that. That's a silly concept. Read up on Win9x. Win9x runs directly on the hardware. It is NOT a DOS application. They run DOS on a VM. The only time your system touches DOS is when your booting up, or when you reboot into DOS. All the other times, and DOS access is done through a VM. You mention all these tricks YOU think MS did, but you don't look at the obvious point. MS got rid of real mode DOS. There is no way to boot into DOS because there IS no DOS that can run without a VM. Straight DOS is gone. Not here anymore. MS hasn't disabled it, it has gotten rid of it entirely.
  • >>>>>>>>>
    Sorry for the double post, /. paused while submitting and I thought it hadn't gone through.

    Hello? It's called a LOADER? It's like saying Linux is a LILO program! You don't seem to understand the whole Windows architecture here. Points...

    A) You have to differentiate the two types of DOS. Ones is virtualized DOS running in a VM. In this state, the machine is in Vx86 protected mode. Then there is real mode DOS. In this state, the macine is in real mode with DOS running nativly on the hardware.

    B) A Windows machine boots first into DOS for various compatibility reasons. It then loads win.com, which kicks DOS out of memory and into a VM.

    C) Windows 9x isn't a DOS program. Neither, in fact, is Windows 3.1. Windows 3.1 was generally an OS of its own, except it used DOS services for major things. For example, Win 3.1 did its own memory management, process management, etc. While all of this was going on, the system was running in protected mode. However, for many things, it made calls to DOS. For example, the file system (Until Windows for Workgroups 3.1) was real mode DOS. Thus, whenever filesystem operations had to be done, the machine had to switch out of protected mode, into real mode, and run the DOS file system routines. Also, Win3.1 used the services of DOS to do a lot of HW access. Thus, it was only partially running on top of DOS. Win95 DOESN'T run on top of DOS. The parts of Win 3.1 that used to call DOS was largely replaced by protected mode Win95 modules. Win95 still occasionally goes into real mode DOS to do some things, but 99% of the time it is running on its own.

    D) Win9x is a DOS application just as much as Linux is a DOS application. It does its own hardware management, it does it's own process management, etc. It doesn't even run DOS in the position of the OS. For most tasks, DOS runs in a virtual machine ON TOP OF Win9x. The only time real-mode native DOS is run is for those instances I mentioned, during boot, and when you reboot into DOS.

    E) You mention all these tricks you THINK MS did, but you miss the point. MS removed DOS entirely. No longer does ME support real mode drivers, because there isn't real mode DOS to support those drivers. It doesn't support programs that need "real" DOS, because it doesn't exist anymore. They only thing there is the VM DOS. It doesn't boot into DOS first, because there ISNT A DOS TO BOOT INTO!
  • by cansecofan22 ( 62618 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:21AM (#874037) Homepage
    Windows ME will still have DOS compatibility. To get rid of DOS would mean to re-write Windows (ala NT). There was an article in PC Magazine or Smart Computing or something I read that said there was a way (undocumented of course) to get to DOS mode. Microsoft is most likley doing this so they can create an illusion of having DOS gone so they can get people used to the "no dos" design of there upcoming OS that will merge Win 9x and NT (2000).
    Of course that is just my opinion
  • Well, there's a simple solution to this. Don't upgrade to ME. Problem solved.

    Cute. Course, MS will make sure that none of the drivers for the latest and greatest hardware works with win 9x two years from now. Sure companies will make strives to maintain support, but it'll eventually fall off. Especially if the drivers are easier to develop under win >= 1000. Just think of all the win-modems that have minimal R&D put into them. (Not that I'd ever buy one of those)

    Then, of course, as a developer for a windows market, you'd be crazy to not develop _for_ the new platform. Meaning, you're going to have to have at least some win-me machines. Then, as we typically do, once we start using the newer interface, it'll be hard to go back to the older one ( Just like win95 -> win3.1, or even win98 -> win95 ).

    As a disclaimer, I'm biased towards all my OSes. (because they each give me something the others do not).

  • This has gotta be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Do I have to tell you how many times DOS has saved my ass? "Oops! Some how my registry and half my sys files have been corrupted, better get into DOS mode and transfer that term paper that's due tomorro to a floppy." This has happened more than once. I don't care what anyone says, floppys and DOS are indespensible if you run 95/98/98SE.

  • Dammit man!! Read the other posts. There's still an "MS-DOS" icon,a nd you can still type "command" to pop up a DOS window. The ONLY thing that is different is that you can't BOOT into a PURE dos...you can't have WinME DOS running with no actual WinME.

    You still have FULL access to the command line from within windows. I'm on WinME right now - the only difference is the lack of "Reboot to MSDOS" and an "Command Line Only" on the F8 menu. Oh yeah, and there's no more /s switch to format..you can't "copy system files."
  • Of course you can still use a boot disk. ME is just stopping people from being able to use autoexec.bat/config.sys during startup.

    Actually, I forget where the article is offhand (you can probably find it by doing a search on LinuxToday [linuxtoday.com]), but according an article reviewing the beta of Win ME, they stated that the only boot disk you can make is one of their rescue disks. The /s switch in format no longer works, and I don't believe there's a "Copy system files" option in the GUI format command.

    This is not good, seeing as I can't see newbies trying to flash a BIOS knowing which files to delete off the boot disk to make room for the BIOS image. On the other hand, some recent motherboards (my Epox mobo being one them) do allow you to flash the BIOS via a command option in the CMOS setup...

    Just my $.02...

  • Uhm... if you makes changes to a operating system and you want to claim that it's completely backwards compatible... shouldn't it then work with all programs that worked with the previous version of the OS?
    One purpose of the OS is to control the execution of the applications, and if applications made for the previous version don't work with the current version I sure wouldn't say that it's backwards compatible...

  • If you're going to use a CLI in Windows (NT/ME/9X) you might as well go with the real GNU stuff. Check out http://sources.redhat.com/cygwin/ [redhat.com]. It'll make your Windows box behave very much as the GNU/Linux CLI. They're even working on an XFree86-implementation.

    Frankly, DOS just don't cut it anymore.

    - Steeltoe

  • Officially, they claim it isn't [lineo.com], but they probably forgot to remove it from their ftp servers, it's still here [drdos.com].
  • If you're really that concerned about having a DOS shell, go to the "Run" menu, and type "command"...I got a DOS prompt when I did it.

    I assume that most of the hubbub here is about the Mac-like interface, that is, no CLI access to anything. Well, it just ain't so.

    True, you can't boot to dos mode. I made myself a bootable utilities cd. Asus, the maker of my K7V, has a Windows flash utility now. I've tried it (nervously, I might add) and it worked fine.It has a Win98 command prompt, generic ATAPI cdrom support, and support for lots of SCSI cards. I also have a neat Seagate utility I found on it that can zero out any hard drive, provided you know the number of heads, sectors, and cylinders.

    The point is, do you really need a DOS mode? Make one of these cd's. If you need an iso image, I'm sure I could make one available if there were enough demand. I don't know about the legality of distributing such an image, though...

  • by alexhmit01 ( 104757 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:54AM (#874121)
    Guys, you're being absurd. They announced two years ago that they would be removing DOS mode. In fact, they had planned on doing so for Win98, but needed to maintain it for one more edition.

    The entire Win32s for Windows 3.1 and Windows 4.x series (95, 98, 98SE, ME) has existed for one purpose: get all applications replaced by Win32 versions and migrate everyone to NT.

    This is not a hidden agenda. Gates talked about this in the EARLY 90s ('92 or '93). Back then WinCE was referred to as modular windows, Chicago was Windows 4.0, etc.

    None of this is secret. None of this is aimed at killing Linux. This is aimmed at killing DOS applications that won't run in a NT VDM. Those applications are the enemy, not Linux. They prevent MS from killing the DOS legacy and moving everyone to NT.

    Right now, MS is saddled by that compatibility and limits their products ability to work. There is a world of difference between NT 3.51/4.0/5.0(W2K) and Win3.1/95/98 (can't say for me) in terms of stability, etc.

    They keep migrating to new driver models that were more similar to the NT ones to improve stability and make the migration easier (more driver support for NT).

    This isn't aimed at Linux, it is aimed at helping MS make a better OS.

  • by Calamari Indigo ( 116437 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @03:01AM (#874141)
    From the ZDNET review. [zdnet.com]

    "Officially, Microsoft says you can boot to the real-mode command prompt only from the Emergency Boot Disk, which may leave too little memory free for running BIOS-flashing and similar programs that run only from the command prompt. Unofficially, Microsoft insiders told us to create a minimal bootable floppy disk by copying Io.sys and Command.com from the WindowsCommandEBD folder to a blank formatted disk."

    Enlightenment is a Trap

  • You can still run DOS applications inside Windows ME (ie: as a window or full screen), but you just can't reboot the machine to a "pure" DOS prompt. If you have a boot floppy made with a previous version of DOS/Window9x, then you can get to a real DOS prompt that way. Also keep in mind that your config.sys and autoexec.bat are not parsed anymore either. Windows ME still has the dependence on the DOS underlyings and DOS really have not been completely removed, but the ability to easily access real-mode DOS has simply been made difficult. The primary purpose of doing this is to further enforce the movement of device drivers away from old style config.sys "DEVICE=" lines and various TSRs for supporting hardware and towards natively written 32-bit drivers. Such 32-bit drivers will generally be easier to port forward to future versions of Windows based on NT (Win2k and future) if those manufacturers don't already support NT. A side benefit is that native 32-bit drivers in Windows ME will generally be easier for users to configure and adapt to hardware changes (such as power state or docking changes). For example, being able to use native 32-bit network drivers instead of 16-bit DOS IPXODI/VLM drivers generally will have a tremendous boost in performance and usability. Switching from a 16-bit DOS CDROM SYS driver with MSCDEX to a fully native will generally not only be faster, but will allow access to long filenames. Although it is true that systems with older, no-longer supported hardware may still depend on DOS-mode TSRs or SYS drivers and may not be able to get updated drivers, Windows ME is not intended to be a general purpose upgrade for all older systems. Going forward, the next consumer OS after Windows ME will be based on NT and will have even more dramatic legacy hardware support issues, since many older manufacturers have neglected to support NT at all.
  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @02:37AM (#874210) Homepage Journal
    To be fair you are being just a little hard on Microsoft here.

    I can see it now, if they had left dos in then the story would read "Microsofts 20th attempt at a graphical OS still relies on the command line".

    Surely this is a step in the right direction and surely the linux/BeOS people can find a way round it.

    After all winNT hasn't included a true dos for a heck of a long time and ultimately that is the model that the simultaneous windows versions are striving towards (slowly striving that is).
  • by sutekh137 ( 173495 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @06:09AM (#874247) Homepage
    Good point. But I would like to point out the write-up over at BYTE.com which states:
    With this release, Microsoft tried to bid bye-bye to MS-DOS. It's not gone, of course. Windows ME still boots like 95/98, which is to say it loads DOS and puts the GUI on top of it. But Microsoft has tried to get rid of any access to DOS. You can't boot to DOS by hitting F8 on start-up and you can't quit and restart in MS-DOS mode. Doing this is just annoying, considering that some of us know how to type and actually prefer using a DOS prompt for some actions.
    It is a nice article by Andy Patrizio, and can be found at: http://www.byte.com/column/BYT20000801S0006. He doesn't seem to care for ME very much... JoeK
  • by freebe ( 174010 ) on Monday August 07, 2000 @04:09AM (#874253) Homepage
    UMSDOS and BeOS over FAT aren't about the COMMAND.COM. I've installed BeOS PE in a blank MSDOS partition more than once. It's about the file system. WinME still uses FAT32 as its file system, and BeOS can install on NTFS. It doesn't matter whether or not they removed COMMAND.COM in WinME, it matters that the file system structure is still valid. Get it?
  • The fact that DOS still existed in the "all new" Win95/98 was always ridiculed by Mac/Be/Linux people who claimed it showed that Windows was still nothing more than a shell on top of 20-year-old DOS code...

    But isn't it still a shell over 20 year-old DOS code, just now without access to the underpinnings of the shell?


"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM