Senior adult needs help

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Senior adult needs help

Postby john11139 » 2018-3-25 @ 19:22

Please bare with me as at my age I don't quite understand what I read. I need a little help. I have three programs that I have run on all my different computers, Even before windows 3.1 was available. Old DOS programs. I cant find any programs as simple to use and run as these, so I( have stuck with them over the years. (although I am sure newer programs are available that would work also) These programs have my tax, real estate, payroll records from 25 years ago. Every time I bought a new computer I would have 32 byte installed. up through Windows 7. I recently bought a new computer with Windows 10 and was told that 32 byte could be installed on it, but that is not true because no drivers are available for it. (The programs are Professional Write, Professional Plan and one called The simple book keeper) I had a student load my computer with the DOS box. I got my programs loaded and they work. But here is not what I can't figure out. I want to make a directory called "Apex" and every thing under that. (Prof plan, Prof Write) And then one under Apex called "Expense". So that under Apex I don't have 25 files showing up, ( Exp 1988 , Exp 1989 through Exp 2016 etc) When I try and make a directory with those names, it says "not a executable file." I know how to get into c: drive and also my DOS drive "Z" Can someone please walk me through this. Thanks
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby Errius » 2018-3-25 @ 20:55

Hello welcome to the forum. Note that DOSBox is intended for games and doesn't implement features needed for some office applications. This means that even if your programs all appear to work correctly, you may encounter problems down the line, including corruption of your data.
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby keenmaster486 » 2018-3-25 @ 21:33

It would help to know the command you're attempting to use when making a new directory.

Also, yes, DOSBox is intended for games but will work a lot of the time for other stuff. But vDOSplus may also be a good option for office programs.

The best solution might also be to set up a separate computer with DOS on it, or simply run a virtual machine with Windows XP 32-bit. Perhaps the student you mentioned could also help with that.
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby awgamer » 2018-3-25 @ 22:01

He's just asking how to make a directory. At the command prompt, type mkdir(or md) dirname; "mkdir apex" "mkdir exp1988" etc. Should work at the command prompt in the dosbox window or in a windows console(cmd) window. Could also make directories from windows file manager. Also, "not a executable file" would mean it took whatever you did as trying to run an executable.
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby keropi » 2018-3-25 @ 22:58

Alternatively one can make his desired directory structure in windows (following the 8 letter rule for DOS so things don't look weird in dosbox) and just mount that directory.
Or even find the directory dosbox mounts as C and holds all the programs/data, make the desired structure in there using windows and just load dosbox - the structure will be there.

What I mean to say is to do all file/directory stuff in windows - easy and quick.
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby Jo22 » 2018-3-25 @ 23:21

Hello John, welcome to the forums! :)

As the others said, DOSBox is primarily intended for games.

However, that doesn't mean that we do not like to help you or that your
programs won't run in DOSBox.

Rather, it is just a friendly reminder that no one can guarantee
that all your business programs work as they should :

Normally, they should work fine (more or less), since DOSBox is a quality piece of software.
On the other hand, DOSBox was made for games.

Which means, it will take "shortcuts" in simulating (emulating) an old MS-DOS computer.
These shortcuts make games play faster and smoother, but also produce "inaccurate" timings or calculations.

For example, when it comes to floating-point calculation..
That's the reason why we, the community, often warn about using it for anything except games.

Also, the normal version of DOSBox lacks a printing feature by default.

Anyway, I believe awgamer explained it well.
In essence, type this at the DOSBox prompt :

Z:\> C: [return]

C:\> mkdir apex [return]

C:\> mkdir exp1988 [return]

C:\> mkdir exp1989 [return]

C:\> mkdir exp1990 [return]


For more comfort, I suggest that you ask that student to install you a file manager inside DOSBox.
Something you were familiar with in the 80s. Say Norton Commander, X-Tree or similar.
Or one of its clone programs. For example, Midnight-Commander, etc.

This way, you won't loose orientation and you can copy/remove files more easily.

If you wish, you can even ask him to add it into the [Autoexec] part of DOSBox configuration file.
The [Autoexec] section is at the end of that file (dosbox.conf) and is in essence the same as the old Autoexec.Bat
that you had years ago on a real DOS computer.

Best regards and good luck!
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby john11139 » 2018-3-28 @ 10:46

Thanks for the help.
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Re: Senior adult needs help

Postby snorg » 2018-4-28 @ 21:16


May I suggest using something like Virtualbox and FreeDOS to set up a DOS virtual machine you can use on your Windows 10 machine? That would allow you to use your DOS programs exactly as you remember using them, it would be as if you're using a DOS system from 20 odd years ago. Virtualbox wouldn't be that much of a stretch beyond what it took to get DOSbox running, and would run DOS and your DOS programs a bit more accurately than what DOSbox would (this is not a knock on DOSbox, but as others have pointed out it was written more with games in mind). However, if everything is working with DOSbox, maybe it is better to leave well enough alone. Good luck!
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