DOS on a Mac Mini

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby FuzzyLogic » 2016-8-25 @ 04:09

Scali wrote:
FuzzyLogic wrote:Even if you have DOS booting, it would be useless because you don't have any drivers for sound, video, or lan. VGA support is limited. You'll end up with one speedy little command.com box.


DOS doesn't need drivers. It accesses hardware directly.


I never said it did. Either you misconstrued or you are joking; it's hard to tell which. Let me clarify myself. What I meant was that you would have a fast, but very limited DOS box. As for the drivers, you would need them for Windows or other GUIs that run on top of DOS.
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby Cyberdyne » 2016-8-25 @ 06:25

Even if you can install DOS to Mac Mini, you sit in silence, or are you deaf. Yo can not even install LPT covox.
I am aroused about any X86 stuff that has full functional ISA stuff. I think i have problem.
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby Zup » 2016-8-25 @ 07:03

As I said on other post, DOS won't work with USB keyboards. On PC it can work because most BIOS have a legacy option that re-routes keypresses through standard PC ports (0x60?), but that option does not exist on Mac.
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby Scali » 2016-8-25 @ 07:17

FuzzyLogic wrote:What I meant was that you would have a fast, but very limited DOS box.


Why? Because you don't have drivers? That doesn't make sense, as you can see.

FuzzyLogic wrote:As for the drivers, you would need them for Windows or other GUIs that run on top of DOS.


Yes, but the topic was never "Windows or other GUIs", and indeed you need drivers for Windows. Those are Windows drivers. Not DOS drivers.
Then again, as long as your card is VGA register/BIOS compatible (as it needs to be for most DOS software), you can run Windows on it as well. It comes with Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA drivers as standard. So you don't really need specific drivers for your Mac as long as it can do VGA (which at least theoretically shouldn't be an issue, since Apple uses the same GPUs as Windows PCs do. They would just need to include the right firmware for it... which they might need for installing Windows in Bootcamp anyway. Windows needs some basic video support before you can get as far as installing a custom driver. It probably falls back to a default VGA/VESA driver).
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby Scali » 2016-8-25 @ 07:19

Zup wrote:As I said on other post, DOS won't work with USB keyboards. On PC it can work because most BIOS have a legacy option that re-routes keypresses through standard PC ports (0x60?), but that option does not exist on Mac.


In theory you can make this work in DOS as well. I mean, if the BIOS can do it, then so could a simple TSR in DOS, which you can load from config.sys or autoexec.bat.
Perhaps this may be of help: viewtopic.php?t=30367
http://web.archive.org/web/201107160123 ... ohnson.us/
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-12-07 @ 19:17

Cyberdyne wrote:Even if you can install DOS to Mac Mini, you sit in silence, or are you deaf. Yo can not even install LPT covox.


sure?
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby xjas » 2017-12-07 @ 19:37

^^ Interesting, although the discussion in the thread is about using it to run DOSBox under DOS with sound support, so it's still not a "native" way to run DOS stuff on HDA or AC97.

Incidentally, to finally follow up on this thread, I do have FreeDOS running on one of my Minis. The way you do it is (1) boot from the FreeDOS install CD, and install it as normal, and (2) you're done, that's it.

I don't have OS/X on the drive so the EFI sees that & automatically switches to BIOS mode and boots to DOS with no trouble. Everything seems to work as you'd expect, including the standard CD/DVD drivers & FreeDOS's rudimentary APM support. Most standard VGA modes seem to be supported although I haven't done any thorough or extensive testing. FreeDOS supports USB keyboards, but the BIOS doesn't provide any USB->PS/2 emulation so some games or whatever that try to read the keyboard directly won't work, but as Scali said above this would be solvable with a TSR.
mini4.jpg

This is an old (2006) Mini which is able to boot XP and will apparently happily boot from a fully MBR / FAT32 disk. YMMV with newer models.
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby dr.zeissler » 2017-12-07 @ 21:06

1,5 core solo or 1,66 core duo or a later model ?
any idea which minis can boot freedos too and therefore have a "bios-mode" ?
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby xjas » 2017-12-07 @ 21:34

Mine's a 1.66 Core Duo although it shouldn't matter as they're all the same logic board, including the Core 2 models (there was an EFI update between the 2006es & 2007s.) All Intel-based Minis have BIOS emulation, but they need to be able to boot an MBR disk as AFAIK FreeDOS doesn't support GPT. You might even be able to do it on a 2012 or 2014 Mini but I haven't tried.
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby torindkflt » 2017-12-08 @ 01:53

I haven't really done any in-depth experimentation, but I just made a quick-and-dirty attempt at manually installing DOS 6.22 on my 2006 Mac Mini (manually, since the 2006 Mac Mini AFAIK lacks the ability to boot from USB floppy drives). Basically I just downloaded an ISO version of a typical DOS 6.22 boot disk, repartitioned and formatted the hard drive, and manually copied the files on the CD to C:\DOS. It's a bare-bones installation, but it works...mostly, with the following notable exceptions:

-Even after formatting the hard drive with the /s switch, I had to run FDISK /MBR before it would boot from the hard drive. From what I've gathered in other posts though, this is par for the course when trying to install DOS on many newer systems.

-I cannot use EDIT or QBASIC to edit any files. Doing so causes a hard freeze whenever I try to open any of the menus. Because of this, I had to manually create AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS one line at a time using ECHO commands. I must admit though, this COULD be an incompatibility with the PS/2-based KVM and/or the PS/2 to USB adapter I'm using on my workbench causing it to stop responding to keyboard input (Maybe it's getting caught up when I hit the ALT key, thinking I'm about to switch inputs?). I currently have no way to test this, as the only spare USB keyboard I have has gone AWOL.

-There is no PC speaker audio whatsoever as far as I can tell.

-HIMEM.SYS apparently cannot detect the extended memory OR has some other sort of problem that prevents it from loading. When trying to load, it shows an error message that I'm not given sufficient time to read (the CD-ROM driver clears the screen when it loads for some reason).
EDIT: Was finally able to see the error. It says "Unable to control A20 line. XMS Driver not installed."

-Attempting to use F8 to step through the startup process causes a hard freeze (another reason I can't read the error HIMEM.SYS gives), but again this could potentially be an incompatibility with my KVM and/or PS/2-USB adapter.

And now for a couple positive tidbits:

-I tested a DOS-based screen saver called Razzle Dazzle. It properly detects and runs in high-color SVGA mode perfectly!

-I discovered quite by accident that it also supports EGA mode, as that's the mode a Tetris clone I tested uses. It ran perfectly fine, minus the lack of audio.

I mostly did this out of curiosity after seeing this thread, just to see if I could do it since I had a spare Mac Mini on hand I could try it on. Beyond this simple curiosity, I honestly have no pressing desire at this time to thoroughly debug and get DOS working on a Mac Mini. :lol:
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Re: DOS on a Mac Mini

Postby xjas » 2017-12-08 @ 03:11

^^ MS-DOS 6.22 isn't the right DOS for this. It was never designed for modern hardware and I'm kinda surprised you even got it to boot. FreeDOS *is* designed to run on modern hardware which is why it was painless to set up, I had no trouble formatting the drive & making it bootable (I used FAT32) and things like the memory managers, APM & DVD divers worked out of the box. YMMV though.
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