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First post, by The_L1985

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I'm having the darnedest time here, and the fact that I'm completely unfamiliar with DOS isn't helping one bit. All previous applications I've used DOSBox with, were re-releases of old games specifically coded so that when you opened them, DOSBox just automatically opened up and then automatically ran the program file. I know that "win" is a command. I thought that "run" was a command. (I already know this is wrong; I don't need correction on THAT score, at least.) There, my knowledge of all things DOS began and ended, because back when we had to use DOS prompts, my father had the computer locked down so only HE could use it. -_-

So here's what I've got, and what's going horribly wrong. I have some idea of how to proceed, in a general sense, but specific coding/commands elude me.

I have an old CD-ROM for the game Smart Games: Puzzle Challenge 2, which is designed to run on Win 3.1 and Win 95. I have a laptop running Windows 10. It does not have a CD drive at all.

So I downloaded a CD image as a ZIP file. (After all, I legally own a copy of the game, so technically this is just like making a backup.) When I unzipped, Windows created a new drive: "DVD Drive (E:\) SGPC2"

Heady from the recent success of installing this game on my Win10 machine (because, as a Win98 title, it has no reliance on DOS whatsoever), I thought installing Smart Games 2 would be a cakewalk. I clicked the game's setup.exe and...

FAIL. I cannot install the game in Win10 because it's just too darned old. I no longer have a copy of Win 3.1 or Win 95 that I can just boot up (and no floppy or CD drive anyway). I downloaded a bootleg of Win3.1.1 and tried to install it. It won't install, because the people at Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, figured that nobody would be weird enough to try to install a 25-year-old operating system on Win10.

I think, "No problem. Win 3.1 worked with DOS, so maybe if I use DOSBox I can install it?" I installed DOSBox (I thought I already had it on this PC, but apparently not) under C:\DOS. I then (re-iterating I have no idea WTF I'm doing) unzipped the Win3.1.1 bootleg under C:\DOS\WIN31INS.

I tried to >BOOT C:\DOS\WIN31INS\WINSETUP.EXE and it failed. It says "Opening image file: C:\DOS\WIN31INS\WINSETUP.EXE" and then "Booting from drive A..." which is where it stops responding. I have no idea how to alter the Windows setup file to make it not search for A:\.

"Hmmm. Well, Windows before 98 used DOS for a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff, maybe I can just install it directly on DOSBox?" Cue the system wailing and gnashing its teeth because the disc image is on E:\ instead of an A, C, or D drive.

Flash drives are generally listed in my directory as (D:\), but since they didn't exist in the 90s, I'm uncertain whether the hardware difference will at all affect whether this runs on DOSBox. Is any D drive OK, regardless of hardware? Also, can I run this thing through DOS directly, or do I need to install Windows (and if so, how do I reconfigure the installer file to work with the drives I have instead of searching for a 3-1/2" floppy drive that doesn't exist)?

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 1 of 16, by collector

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Try the 60 second guide. 60 seconds guide to getting your game to run in DOSBox

The Sierra Help Pages -- New Sierra Game Installers -- Sierra Game Patches -- New Non-Sierra Game Installers

Reply 2 of 16, by The_L1985

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Thank you SO MUCH. I wasn't sure where the beginners' stuff was, and wasn't sure where to search. And of course, "install windows 3.1" doesn't call up any search results, because of the common words, 🤣.

(Also, hello to a fellow Sierra fan! My first DOSBox install was for the Kings Quest series re-release a few years back.)

EDIT: And we have a problem. I can't find the manual for this thing. How exactly do I tell DOSBox to run setup.ini after I've mounted the folder? The "install" command that the 60-Second Guide suggested doesn't work. The FAQ is mentioning something called a "frontend," and IDK what that is.

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 3 of 16, by IIGS_User

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The_L1985 wrote:

How exactly do I tell DOSBox to run setup.ini after I've mounted the folder?

Run .exe, .bat, or .com files (mostly a file named install.exe).

Klimawandel.

Reply 4 of 16, by The_L1985

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So I told it to boot setup.exe and got THIS:

Opening image file: setup.exe
Image file is read-only! Might create problems.
Booting from drive A...

How do I stop it looking for drive A? I told it D was the CD-ROM like the 60-second guide says. There should be no "drive A" business going on.

(Yeah, the install process for this is starting to look like my signature here.)

I'm beginning to suspect I need to install Win 3.1 for this after all. Which...oh boy. Actually using an old version of Windows should be easy, since the actual GUI has only undergone minor cosmetic changes over the years. But installing it...

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 5 of 16, by DosFreak

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Post what you are doing line by line and we'll tell you what you are doing wrong. Here's a hint: You shouldn't be "booting" anything unless you want to of course.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 6 of 16, by keenmaster486

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Quick and dirty answer: As Dosfreak alluded to, you can't "boot" an exe file. An exe file is a program.

If you wanted to boot from a file, the file needs to be an image of a hard drive or floppy disk, with a copy of DOS loaded on it or something. This will normally be an ISO or IMG file.

I flermmed the plootash just like you asked.

Reply 7 of 16, by The_L1985

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Ah. Part of the problem is I'm not finding the command to just...run the EXE file. Again, if this is about needing that "frontend" thing, that may be the problem.

I've basically been the Underpants Gnomes of installing this thing.
Step 1: Tell it where to install to.
Step 2: Tell it where to install FROM.
Step 3: ???
Step 4: Play game.

Here's exactly what I've been doing, line by line. (I'm commenting with lines that start with //, one of the few bits of C++ I remember from taking it as an elective ages ago)

>mount C "C:\DOS\Games\
//This is my DOS games folder. Yes, I stuck it directly under the C: directory, to avoid all the "user" subfolders that Windows likes to throw at you.

>mount D "D:\" -t cdrom
//Told it that the faux-CDROM drive should, in fact, be treated as a CDROM. This is basically a copy of the disc, not the disc itself (remember, I don't have an actual CD drive on this laptop).

> D:
//Made sure it would answer my next query WRT the D:\, not the C:\

> dir
//Verified that everything from my CD image does, in fact, show up. (Every time. Better safe than sorry.)

And this is the point beyond which I had no effing clue what to do next. The Wiki for DOSBox doesn't have any sort of "run this program" command listed that I can see.

So I typed in:

> boot D:\setup.exe

And of course, this doesn't work, because it's looking for drive A.

I take it that an "image" of a disc is...not the same thing as a straight copy of everything on the disc? Damn.

And don't take the fact that I took ONE course in C++, 14 years ago, as a sign that I remember jack squat about programming. I am that dangerous thing known as "well, I know a wee bit about the subject--how hard could it be anyway?" With the minor difference that I actually KNOW that I don't know what I'm doing. 😜

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 8 of 16, by DosFreak

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Good job!....until the boot setup.exe

To run programs in DOSBox just type in the name of the program, so "hello.exe" or "hello.com" or "hello.bat".

Usually setup.exe files are Windows installation programs so likely if you run that program in DOSBox then it will complain because the executable wants Windows.

If it does require Windows then you'll need to find out if it supports Windows 3.x. If it does then you'll need to install Windows 3.x in DOSBox, launch Windows 3.x and then run the setup.exe file.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 9 of 16, by The_L1985

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DosFreak wrote:
Good job!....until the boot setup.exe […]
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Good job!....until the boot setup.exe

To run programs in DOSBox just type in the name of the program, so "hello.exe" or "hello.com" or "hello.bat".

Usually setup.exe files are Windows installation programs so likely if you run that program in DOSBox then it will complain because the executable wants Windows.

If it does require Windows then you'll need to find out if it supports Windows 3.x. If it does then you'll need to install Windows 3.x in DOSBox, launch Windows 3.x and then run the setup.exe file.

Ah. Thank you. So basically, I just type "setup.exe" and if it balks, then I get to figure out how to install Win 3.x in DOSBox.

...I'm sure there's a guide for that, too, but as I mentioned, "windows 3.1" is excluded as a search item. Could one of you give me a link to that?

EDIT: And yep, it wants Windows. I did the same as before, minus the "boot." It said this:

"D:\win SETUP.EXE
"Illegal command: win."

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 10 of 16, by Dominus

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Then it is likely a Windows game you want to run in a DOS emulator 😀

My Windows 3.x guide might help but you need to own a copy of Windows 3.x.

Windows 3.1x guide for DOSBox
60 seconds guide to DOSBox

Reply 11 of 16, by bregolin

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Check this out: http://www.toptensoftware.com/win3mu/ - I've read it on another thread here, and this may solve your problem.

IBM Aptiva 2162 - P55 166 MMX, 32MB, CS4237B + Wavetable, ATI Mach64 2MB / Win98SE
Custom PIII 750, 64MB, SB AWE64, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP / Win98SE
Sony Vaio z505 SuperSlim - PIII 550, 192MB, YMF744, NeoMagic 256AV+ / Win98SE

Reply 12 of 16, by The_L1985

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bregolin wrote:

Check this out: http://www.toptensoftware.com/win3mu/ - I've read it on another thread here, and this may solve your problem.

Except it doesn't seem to exist, currently. 😒 If there's a Win 3.1 emulator or suchlike that IS available now, though, that'd be awesome.

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 13 of 16, by DosFreak

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You can try boxedwine http://www.boxedwine.org/

Anything else will require a copy of Windows which are not free or "abandonware" so don't ask for them here. You can find them elsewhere though.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 14 of 16, by The_L1985

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I understand. 😀 Thanks for the emulator links. And yeah, I know better than to ask where to pirate an OS on a public forum. 😜 (Even if such WEREN'T against the rules, the PTB would doubtless turn up the post, given that they read everything we USians put on the Internet.)

One step forward, two steps back, three steps sideways.

Reply 15 of 16, by IIGS_User

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Where to download Windows 3.1 floppies or CD-ROMs? At eBay 😀

If you've access to a real floppy drive, you could get W31 on floppies as well,
but W31 was also available on CD ROM.

Klimawandel.

Reply 16 of 16, by Warmango

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Here is how I have my filesystem on my desktop install setup

C:/DOSBox/<drive-letter>_DRIVE

So mount the cd as drive A: with

>mount A "D:\" -t cdrom

Worked flawlessly for me, because it has those drives available to modify and edit