Windows 95 & DOS games

Getting old software/games running on older hardware.

Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby m5215tx » 2017-5-16 @ 15:12

Does Windows 95 play DOS games just as well as MS-DOS 6.22 does? I would like a DOS gaming system that has a better GUI than Windows 3.11 so I am considering building a DOS gaming system with Windows 95 but if 95 causes problems or complications with DOS gaming than I will just keep my current DOS/Windows 3.11 setup.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby jesolo » 2017-5-16 @ 16:24

In most cases, you can run DOS games directly from Windows 95 (in a command prompt).
If that causes problems, then you restart in MS-DOS mode (which effectively is just DOS 7.0 or 7.1, depending on your version of Windows).

You can also create a start (boot) menu setup that will enable you to boot straight to DOS or into Windows.
Refer viewtopic.php?f=46&t=47863.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby m5215tx » 2017-5-16 @ 16:29

I assume that there are no operational quirks with MS-DOS 7.x versus MS-DOS 6.22?

Also is it best to install Windows 95 as FAT16 rather than FAT32 or does this not matter for DOS games?
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby jesolo » 2017-5-16 @ 16:47

I haven't come across games that runs on MS-DOS 6.22 and doesn't run on DOS 7.0/7.1.

Regarding your second question, FAT32 is only supported under DOS 7.1 (Windows 95b or higher, excluding third party support on other operating systems).

If you have a hard drive less than 2.1 GB then just use FAT16 (some people would say you can already use FAT32 on partitions larger than 512 MB). Otherwise, if it is larger than 2.1 GB, use FAT32.

Games should run fine on either. However, some DOS based disk utilities, written for older versions of DOS, I would not run on a FAT32 partition.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Azarien » 2017-5-16 @ 20:54

Most games run straight from Windows 95 or 98.
Those that don't (usually very old ones, or those that are very picky when it comes to DOS memory requirements) can be run from clean DOS 7.

But I don't recommend the "restart in MS-DOS mode" mode. It still keeps parts of Windows (WIN.COM) resident, and loads MODE.COM that also takes memory (at least in localized versions of Windows). Instead, set bootgui=0 in msdos.sys, which brings back the DOS 6 / Windows 3.x way, where your PC boots straight to DOS and you run Windows with WIN.COM.
You can then use config.sys [menu] feature to setup boot menu for DOS 7 and Windows 95.

Use FAT32 if your Windows version supports it. FAT16 is a waste of space because of its much bigger cluster size.
The games don't mind.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-17 @ 02:33

Back in the day there was an official MSKB about which games specifically would not run under Windows 95.
viewtopic.php?t=761

Things might have changed with Windows 98.

Azarien wrote:But I don't recommend the "restart in MS-DOS mode" mode. It still keeps parts of Windows (WIN.COM) resident, and loads MODE.COM that also takes memory (at least in localized versions of Windows). Instead, set bootgui=0 in msdos.sys, which brings back the DOS 6 / Windows 3.x way, where your PC boots straight to DOS and you run Windows with WIN.COM.
Perhaps you are thinking of using an MS-DOS "shortcut" configured to run in DOS mode. Because selecting "Restart in MS-DOS mode" from the Shutdown menu certainly does not leave win.com resident.

Also, instead of changing msdos.sys, you can just press F8 when Windows is starting and select the appropriate option from the menu.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-5-17 @ 06:40

There are some timing-sensible games that will not run directly in started win9x.
e.g. pinball-dreams/fantasies or epic-pinball. Extreme-Pinball will run just fine.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby appiah4 » 2017-5-17 @ 06:47

I can't speak for Windows 95 but in Windows 98 all 1990+ DOS games I tried worked fine in MS-DOS prompts.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby yawetaG » 2017-5-17 @ 07:36

appiah4 wrote:I can't speak for Windows 95 but in Windows 98 all 1990+ DOS games I tried worked fine in MS-DOS prompts.


When they don't, it usually is related to system hardware architecture (some games crap out on systems with DIMMs instead of SIMMs) and not Windows.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-17 @ 13:35

yawetaG wrote:(some games crap out on systems with DIMMs instead of SIMMs)
That's oddly specific. May I ask if you have an example in mind?
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby m5215tx » 2017-5-18 @ 14:44

appiah4 wrote:I can't speak for Windows 95 but in Windows 98 all 1990+ DOS games I tried worked fine in MS-DOS prompts.


1990+ DOS games are the ones I am targeting but I seem to recall the Win 98 had issues with a portion of the games that I played from that era hence my desire to see if Win 95 would be a better environment for those games.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby yawetaG » 2017-5-18 @ 16:27

Jorpho wrote:
yawetaG wrote:(some games crap out on systems with DIMMs instead of SIMMs)
That's oddly specific. May I ask if you have an example in mind?


Maxis titles such as SimFarm, SimLife, and SimEarth (at least, the Classics rerelease versions that were released in the mid-1990s). They work on 486 and Pentium systems that use SIMMs, but fail to load on systems with DIMMs (PII and higher). It might have something to do with the size of the modules, since (IIRC) one of them reported that too little memory was available to run the game on a system with a single 64Mb DIMM installed (buffer overflow?).
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Azarien » 2017-5-18 @ 21:43

m5215tx wrote:1990+ DOS games are the ones I am targeting but I seem to recall the Win 98 had issues with a portion of the games that I played from that era hence my desire to see if Win 95 would be a better environment for those games.


Unlikely. I'd say DOS compatibility is on the same level in Windows 95 and 98.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby mrau » 2017-5-18 @ 23:52

yawetaG wrote: They work on 486 and Pentium systems that use SIMMs, but fail to load on systems with DIMMs (PII and higher). It might have something to do with the size of the modules, since (IIRC) one of them reported that too little memory was available to run the game on a system with a single 64Mb DIMM installed (buffer overflow?).


sounds more like a timing issue on too fast cpu
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-19 @ 01:58

I agree – that strikes me as a timing issue or possibly the size of the modules, as you say. I can't imagine that SIMMs and DIMMs would differ in a way that would be easily exposed to a typical DOS program.

But then, it's not impossible. It would be easy enough to test; there are SS7 boards that can take both DIMMs and SIMMs.

Also, "buffer overflows" tend not to work that way.
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby yawetaG » 2017-5-19 @ 07:03

Jorpho wrote:I agree – that strikes me as a timing issue or possibly the size of the modules, as you say. I can't imagine that SIMMs and DIMMs would differ in a way that would be easily exposed to a typical DOS program.

But then, it's not impossible. It would be easy enough to test; there are SS7 boards that can take both DIMMs and SIMMs.


If I get the CD-ROM working on my MMX system I'll be able to test. The fastest system I've tried them on is a Pentium 166 MHz, but they fail on a P2 at 266 MHz. However, these rereleases were brought out in 1995 or '96 or so and modified to use the DOS/4GW extender. It would be strange if they couldn't run on half of the systems available back then...

Also, "buffer overflows" tend not to work that way.


What I meant is that it's possible that the game/installer expects a certain maximum memory size, and that when counting how much is available the reported amount goes over that maximum, resulting in an invalid value being reported and thus the message that too little memory is available.

Come to think about it, it might be just the installer that fails (which doesn't use the extender AFAIK). I'll test that (it's possible to start the games directly from the CD-ROM).
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-19 @ 13:56

However, these rereleases were brought out in 1995 or '96 or so and modified to use the DOS/4GW extender.
So, Maxis re-released these DOS games in the mid-90's, and when they did so they substantially reprogrammed them..? I'll have to take your word for it.

yawetaG wrote:What I meant is that it's possible that the game/installer expects a certain maximum memory size, and that when counting how much is available the reported amount goes over that maximum, resulting in an invalid value being reported and thus the message that too little memory is available.
In that case I think a better term would be "integer overflow".
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integer_overflow
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby yawetaG » 2017-5-20 @ 06:42

Jorpho wrote:
However, these rereleases were brought out in 1995 or '96 or so and modified to use the DOS/4GW extender.
So, Maxis re-released these DOS games in the mid-90's, and when they did so they substantially reprogrammed them..? I'll have to take your word for it.


They were rereleased on CD-ROM for MS-DOS by Maxis. The paperwork lists the minimum system specs as being in the 286 range, MS-DOS 3.3.

See also these pages on MobyGames, unfortunately these seem to be for the US releases:

http://www.mobygames.com/game-group/maxis-sim-series/offset,150/so,1d/
http://www.mobygames.com/game/simclassics-maxis-collections-1 (MobyGames is wrong regarding the system specs, all three games are DOS-based AFAIK)
http://www.mobygames.com/game/simclassics-maxis-collections-2 (MobyGames is wrong regarding the system specs, all three games are DOS-based AFAIK; A-Train misses the A-Train construction set that was included in the stand-alone release that is not listed on MobyGames)
http://www.mobygames.com/game/simlife (no Amiga version included with the version on CD-ROM I have...)
http://www.mobygames.com/game/sim-farm

I have a little official catalogue somewhere that lists all of the Maxis titles they released back in 1995-1996...guess I should scan it. :happy:
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Jorpho » 2017-5-20 @ 17:04

yawetaG wrote:
Jorpho wrote:
However, these rereleases were brought out in 1995 or '96 or so and modified to use the DOS/4GW extender.
So, Maxis re-released these DOS games in the mid-90's, and when they did so they substantially reprogrammed them..? I'll have to take your word for it.
They were rereleased on CD-ROM for MS-DOS by Maxis. The paperwork lists the minimum system specs as being in the 286 range, MS-DOS 3.3.
Wouldn't DOS/4GW require at least a 386?
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Re: Windows 95 & DOS games

Postby Azarien » 2017-5-21 @ 12:43

Jorpho wrote:Wouldn't DOS/4GW require at least a 386?

Certainly.
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