VOGONS


First post, by hansor

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Hi.

I have laptop with 1.5MB RAM running Windows 3.11.
When I try to run "MS-DOS prompt" inside of Windows 3.11 I get out of memory errors and dialog about creation of custom .pif file.

How to configure such .pif file in order to run DOS windows inside of Win 3.11?

ps. I have 4MB swap file enabled.

Reply 1 of 13, by yawetaG

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Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

Reply 2 of 13, by darry

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yawetaG wrote on 2020-09-18, 05:48:

Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

I second that . I will add that, IMHO, unless you have software that requires Windows 3.1 or 3.11 to run (and does not run under Windows 9x), or have nostalgia for it (both valid reasons), I don't much see the point in running any Windows version below 95 for gaming purposes . that's just my 2 cents .

Reply 3 of 13, by Jo22

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..wasn't there a Covox-based Sound Blaster emulator driver for Windows 3.1x ? 😁

Anyway, don't underestimate the powers of WfW 3.11.
It contains backports of Chicago project and was more compatible than the Windows NT of the time (pre-NT4).

In fact, according to an issue of Byte, Snowball was the quickest, best performing Windows for a while (outperfoming Win NT).
- If both FastDisk and the Cache were enabled only, of course. 😀

The windowed DOS-prompt has seamless mouse support, also. If memory serves.

Edit: I have to check my stuff for that article of Byte. May take a day or two.

Edit: Byte, February 1994, page 181. "Windows for Workgroups 3.11";
'Previews of two new technologies-Chicago and At Work-make this the most advanced version of DOS-based Windows now available'

Edit: Typos fixed.

Last edited by Jo22 on 2020-09-20, 09:14. Edited 2 times in total.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 4 of 13, by hansor

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yawetaG wrote on 2020-09-18, 05:48:

Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

Sorry but I'm talking about Windows 3.11 - as this machine can't run WIndows 95.

darry wrote on 2020-09-18, 06:44:
yawetaG wrote on 2020-09-18, 05:48:

Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

I second that . I will add that, IMHO, unless you have software that requires Windows 3.1 or 3.11 to run (and does not run under Windows 9x), or have nostalgia for it (both valid reasons), I don't much see the point in running any Windows version below 95 for gaming purposes . that's just my 2 cents .

I need Windows 3.11 for PPP driver over serial, so I can use internet and IBM 3270 terminal emulator.
And I want to have MS-DOS prompt program so I can use some command line C++ compiler at the same time.

So what is the minimum requirments for RAM to run "MS-DOS" prompt inside (in window) Windows 3.11?

Reply 5 of 13, by Grzyb

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I would say 1.5 MB of RAM is not enough for Windows 3.11.

It's enough for Windows 3.1 Standard Mode, but not for 386 Enhanced Mode.
I think 2 MB is the absolute minimum for Enhanced, but it's necessary to force it (WIN /3), by default it still runs in Standard.

In 3.11, there's no Standard Mode, so I'm surprised it runs with 1.5 MB at all...

Reply 7 of 13, by Grzyb

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2020-09-19, 13:19:

Windows not-for-workgroups 3.11 does indeed have standard mode

OK, then.
For Windows 3.1 even 1 MB should be enough.
3.11 obviously needs more, and with 1.5 MB it's still on the edge.

Removing all memory-resident stuff from CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT might help, especially SMARTDRV.
But it should be noted that DOS sessions in Standard Mode can only be full-screen, not windowed.

Reply 8 of 13, by yawetaG

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hansor wrote on 2020-09-19, 11:16:
yawetaG wrote on 2020-09-18, 05:48:

Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

Sorry but I'm talking about Windows 3.11 - as this machine can't run WIndows 95.

I never suggested you use Windows 95. I merely stated using the DOS window in Windows 3.x and lower usually isn't a good idea if you need stability.

darry wrote on 2020-09-18, 06:44:
yawetaG wrote on 2020-09-18, 05:48:

Just use real DOS for DOS stuff if you're using Windows 3.11. The only thing you usually gain from running DOS programs at the DOS prompt in versions of Windows lower than 95 is added instability.

I second that . I will add that, IMHO, unless you have software that requires Windows 3.1 or 3.11 to run (and does not run under Windows 9x), or have nostalgia for it (both valid reasons), I don't much see the point in running any Windows version below 95 for gaming purposes . that's just my 2 cents .

I need Windows 3.11 for PPP driver over serial, so I can use internet and IBM 3270 terminal emulator.
And I want to have MS-DOS prompt program so I can use some command line C++ compiler at the same time.

With only 1.5 MB RAM you want to use an internet browser and a C++ compiler, with the latter in a DOS window to boot? Not recommended.

Reply 9 of 13, by Jo22

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I'm afraid I have to agree with the others. 🙁
Windows 3.x, as small as it may be, needs a few Megabytes of memory to properly work.
Contiguos memory, to be precisely. Even in the early 90s, my father and me installed a total of 4MB in my 286-12 via SIMMs.
In the 90s, a proper Novell Netware or WfW 3.11 mail server consisted of a 486 with at least ~10MB of RAM.
Cash registers based on 486 and other embedded CPUs had approx. 16MB or more.
In fact, EMS boards from the 1980s had 512KB to 2MB of RAM per board.
Windows 3.0 in Real-Mode supported wallpapers only if EMS was available.
Add this to 640KB of Base Memory and you're near to the 1, 5MB you have got.
That's without any network stack and extra drivers. For 3.0.

Edit: Windows 3.1 on a 386 with 640K RAM - Possible?

Edit: Many older laprops had internal RAM slots. My Compaq SLT 286, for example, had special SIMMs.
I upgraded mine by borrowing some of a broken SLT. This way, I had got 4MB.😀

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 13, by hansor

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Thx for reply - but most of answers are not helpful.

1.
It is sad that no one even _mentioned_ ANY of MANY configurational options of PIF file. Anyone?
Actually I was able to modify the PIF file using buildin PIF editor and get the DOS windows start - but it fails when loading command.com itself. Is there any alternative?
2.
I'm not able to upgrade this laptop - there is no expansion slots and RAM is buildin in very unique non-standard slot with coprocessor slot.
3.
<b>What is the purpose of SWAP file in Windows 3.11 then if not providing memory on disk as in Linux? For example in Linux I can boot in 4MB of ram and then swap even 128MB of ram from DISK - its super slow, but never fails etc. Is it possible to do the same under windows 3.11</b> ?

Reply 11 of 13, by DosFreak

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1. It isn't.
2. Then you've found the problem.
3. Are you running in standard or enhanced?

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

Reply 12 of 13, by Grzyb

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Actually, there are alternatives to COMMAND.COM, see 4DOS.COM/NDOS.COM
But they aren't likely to be helpful here, they provide greater functionality than COMMAND.COM, so safe bet they need even more memory.
Seriously, that laptop isn't designed for Windows 3.11, get over it.

Reply 13 of 13, by Jo22

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1) While the amount of memory for DOS applications can be specified in PIF editor,
for both Standard and Enhanced mode, it is of little help if there's not enough RAM left for the application. A C++ compiler likely won't run in, say, 256KB of memory. 🙁

2) I had to completely disassemble my SLT 286 to get to the RAM slot.
If there is a slot that that's easily accessible, maybe a memory module from eBay can be installed. I've seen many of my old laptops there, often sold as broken or as-is.

3) As I mentioned before, Windows 3.x needs contiguous memory to properly work.
Especially below 1MB. Under such extreme conditions,
Windows likely can't swap in and out anymore.
Also, Windows and non-Windows applications are handled slightly different, I vaguely remember.
Also, running Enhanced mode with less than 2MB is no official configuration.
As already mentioned, Windows will fall back to Standard mode automatically, if less than a 2MB are installed (unless forced by Win /3)..
Personally, I think it's a miracle that Windows went this far at all.

Edit: Since you're apparently a programmer (C++ compiler),
I was assuming that you know how to configure WfW..
For advanced features to work, you'll have to have both 32BitDiskAccess and 32BitFileAccess in Virtual Memory dialog to be enabled (incl. permanent swapfile).
The 32BitDiskAccess (aka FastDisk) is disabled on laptops, by default, in order to not corrupt data due to proprietary power-savings technologies. Also, it was written for MFM/RLL era controllers, not really IDE.
For modetn IDE drives, something like the MicroHouse driver is required.
See http://win31.de/edrivers.htm

Edit : There's a workaround. If you need a console only, you can try programs like "WinCLI".
They simulate a DOS console and have useful extra commands included. They also can execute programs. Since these consoles are essentialy Windows programs, they should not be affected by this error message.

Edit: I searched my old backups for you and finally found a shareware copy of WinCLI.
From what I can tell after a few tests, it can indeed execute both Windows and DOS programs. And handles paths with both \ and / as separators.
Runs on Windows 3.0, even!

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"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//