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TOP 100 applications for MS-DOS ? can you share some to the list?

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First post, by SETBLASTER

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My memory is not so good lately when it comes to pure DOS during the 90s
I wanted to know if you have a list or is there a site with a list of the TOP 100 applications that most of us used during the pure DOS era. Before windows 3.1 applications started to be released.


Im talking about programs like for example

Norton Commander
Fastracker,
PC Globe,
Norton Utilities
vga-copy
banner mania
i even remember using a Ms-Paint app that was for DOS.

any app, from memory managers, cheating apps, word processing, virus, file mangers, clone apps, etc
See i have been checking on archive.org for cds packed with old programs, but most of the cds include stuff released from Win95 era and win98. They have many CDs but i can`t find some that are DOS only.
maybe it is because CD burners started to appear with win95 and most of the old stuff was still kept on floppy, who knows.

Reply 1 of 19, by chinny22

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Word Perfect and Lotus 123 were the most popular Office app's by a large margin
Xtree or dosshell for file management.
QEMM for memory management.
Laplink for file transfers.

As most dos PC's were standalone so not many people worried about anti virus as you couldn't update the definition files (no internet back then) later dos versions included a basic scanner which some people would maybe run from time to time. I remember using Symantec on a Win3x machine which did most its work in dos.

I'd say CD's only became common in the mid 90's when most people that even had a CD drive has Windows 3 installed as well. I subscribed to PC User in 96 and they did have a small Win3x section but think that finished in 97 as well and unlike a CD you cant really fit much on a cover floppy disk

Reply 3 of 19, by Joseph_Joestar

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If you also count newly made utilities which make retro gaming easier on DOS-based systems, here are some of my favorites:

  • SetMul - an excellent slowdown utility. Most useful for Pentium MMX, K6-2+, K6-3+ and VIA C3 CPUs. Still great for quickly disabling both caches on other CPUs, which effectively turns them into a 386.
  • Throttle - another slowdown tool based on ACPI throttling. Works particularly well on VIA chipsets. Can be used to slow down an AthlonXP system to Pentium MMX, 486 and 386 levels.
  • NSSI - a system information and CPU benchmark utility. Great for testing the performance of your retro rig when using slowdown utilities.
  • XMSDSK & EMSDSK - a ramdisk utility which can be used to lower the available RAM memory. Useful for DOS games which refuse to work if more than 32 MB RAM are installed.
  • FASTVID - useful for improving software rendering speed in DOS games such as Quake and Tomb Raider
    VBEHz - used for increasing the refresh rate of certain DOS games on CRT monitors. Basically, if a game runs at 640x480 and higher resolutions, you can increase its refresh rate from the default 60Hz to 120Hz for a much crisper and flicker-free experience. Needs a VBE 3.0 compatible GPU and a CRT monitor capable of high refresh rates.
  • CDBeQuiet! - a very useful utility for slowing down compatible CD and DVD drives to 4x speed, making them nearly silent.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 4 of 19, by zyga64

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-03-17, 10:54:

[*]XMSDSK & EMSDSK - a ramdisk utility which can be used to lower the available RAM memory. Useful for DOS games which refuse to work if more than 32 MB RAM are installed.

There are two more ways for limiting memory size in DOS:
- himemx with /MAX=##### switch
- jemmex with MAXEXT switch

MAXEXT=l      limit extended memory controlled by XMM to <l> kB.

Both by Japheth https://www.japheth.de/Jemm.html. HimemX is very compatible. For me HimemX +emm386 works better than Jemmex (for EMS programs).

1) VLSI SCAMP /286@20 /4MB /CL-GD5422 /CMI8330
2) i420EX /486DX33 /16MB /TGUI9440 /YMF718+GUS
3) i440BX /P!!!750 /256MB /MX440 /SBLive!+Vibra16s

Reply 5 of 19, by Joseph_Joestar

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zyga64 wrote on 2021-03-17, 11:09:

There are two more ways for limiting memory size in DOS:
- himemx with /MAX=##### switch
- jemmex with MAXEXT switch

I remember looking into these as well, but XMSDSK & EMSDSK seemed more convenient to me since they don't replace EMM386.EXE and can be called from the command line when needed, instead of always being loaded on startup.

Using that approach, I made a simple batch file which I run before starting any game that crashes if more than 32 MB are detected (e.g. Aladdin).

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 6 of 19, by Jo22

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DOS stuff that was common in the early 90s..

Central Point PC-Tools
Symantec's Norton Utilities
Novell DOS 7
PC/GEOS and variations
DOS SHELL
Quick BASIC 4.5, VB DOS, PDS 7.x, PowerBASIC
Turbo Pascal 6/7
AutoSketch 3
Autodesk Animator (Pro)
Autodesk 3D Studio, 3s Studio Max (different)
Deluxe Paint
Ventura Publisher (GEM/ViewMAX based)

Free/Shareware:
Bananacom
Telemate
FProt
Sky Globe
STS Orbit Plus
FractInt
POV Ray
Laplink
Double Disk, Stacker, Double Density
..

That's all that comes to mind right now, sorry.
Though you may browse Win World (can't name URL here) and see if something familiar shows up.. 😉

"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

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Reply 7 of 19, by weedeewee

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Fastlynx - serial/parallel/network file transfer util
PCFormat - from pctools, dunno which version it was, allowed a reformat without losing 'too much' data if your floppy had some weak sectors
FDFormat - to format your floppies at a slightly higher capacity than normal.
4DOS - command com replacement with loads of extra features
Qedit - nice editor, also had an extra program that let the mouse control the cursor keys. very handy in some games. (doesn't seem to work in dosbox though)
...

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Reply 8 of 19, by jheronimus

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4DOS
Telemate and Terminate
NESticle, Genesyst and Fusion (all from late 90s, but still DOS apps)
UNIVBE
Moslo
Spinrite (for MFM hard drives)
NCSA Telnet (contained the only popular FTP client for DOS at the time — as far as I can see after reading several Usenet threads. Were there any better ones?)
PKZip
Locksmith (removing copy protection from games)
SYSCHK46
Landmark
CheckIt
Topview/DESQview (for mid-80s, I guess).

Reply 9 of 19, by dank0

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My Top are:
Volcov Commander
QuickView Pro
QEMM
MPXPLAY Audio player
Autodesk Animator Pro
3D Studio 4.0
Deluxe Paint II Enhanced
UniVBE
Wordperfect
SpinRite
Partition Magic
Laplink

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Roland SCC-1, Gravis Ultrasound Classic, Turtle Beach Tropez, Roland MT-32

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••• WANTED: ROLAND SCP-55 •••
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Reply 10 of 19, by Zup

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Some basic things...
- A file manager -> Norton Commander.
- A text editor (because EDIT was not present before DOS 5.x, and lacks many capabilities) -> I remember using Boxer.
- A picture viewer -> Compushow / SEA / Graphic Workshop.
- A variety of compressors -> PKZIP is a must, but I used mostly RAR (because of the GUI). Also, you should have tools to uncompress LZH and ARJ files (other compressors are rarer but you may need them).

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Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

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Reply 11 of 19, by Jo22

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Here's a site from 2002 that lists a lot of classic DOS programs, some of which were not so well known.
https://web.archive.org/web/20021211222040/ht … a4pnv/page1.htm

Edit: The site is still accessible directly, but the external links may be gone.
That's why I linked to the archived site..

"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 12 of 19, by Jorpho

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SETBLASTER wrote on 2021-03-17, 03:09:
Im talking about programs like for example [/b] Norton Commander Fastracker, PC Globe, Norton Utilities vga-copy banner mania […]
Show full quote

Im talking about programs like for example [/b]
Norton Commander
Fastracker,
PC Globe,
Norton Utilities
vga-copy
banner mania
i even remember using a Ms-Paint app that was for DOS.

There is too much diversity here. PC Globe would be popular if you ... like globes, I guess? A lot of people could easily care less.

I thought Printmaster and Print Shop (or The New Print Shop) were pretty big. (I remember how Printmaster would always corrupt any graphic you tried to create in its editor. Only many, many years later did it occur to me that this was probably an anti-piracy measure. I wonder if anyone ever got to the bottom of that?) And Harvard Graphics was gigantic.

See i have been checking on archive.org for cds packed with old programs, but most of the cds include stuff released from Win95 era and win98. They have many CDs but i can`t find some that are DOS only.
maybe it is because CD burners started to appear with win95 and most of the old stuff was still kept on floppy, who knows.

That's probably a big thing. Old CD compilations like Night Owl would be a good starting point. It looks like archive.org only has one, but there are undoubtedly others on the Internet, and of course the older ones would be expected to have more DOS software.
https://archive.org/details/cdrom-nopv22

But if you want to look for curated collections, you should look for scans of old computer magazines, which almost certainly had contemporary lists of popular DOS programs. They will at least tell you what to look for. It's frustrating that there was so much software distributed on magazine coverdisks that has gone completely unpreserved.

Reply 13 of 19, by Jo22

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Jorpho wrote on 2021-03-18, 18:48:
SETBLASTER wrote on 2021-03-17, 03:09:
Im talking about programs like for example [/b] Norton Commander Fastracker, PC Globe, Norton Utilities vga-copy banner mania […]
Show full quote

Im talking about programs like for example [/b]
Norton Commander
Fastracker,
PC Globe,
Norton Utilities
vga-copy
banner mania
i even remember using a Ms-Paint app that was for DOS.

There is too much diversity here. PC Globe would be popular if you ... like globes, I guess? A lot of people could easily care less.

When I was in elementary school, I *saved* an XT class PC with IDE HDD from being dumped..
I did hide it in a bush,after the teachers deposited it on the road side.
And it did contain PC Globe and some other weird stuff. 😕

"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 16 of 19, by MrD

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It makes me shudder to see people doing dos stuff on YouTube still using regular MSDOS DIR when D.COM exists. Automatic sorted output, files highlighted by extension, two characters fewer to type 😉 The very first thing I copy to DOS (or Dosbox even) is D.

Glance is very nice. I've since switched to LaunchBox, but Glance was what my Uncle had at the time and it was very user friendly.

Reply 17 of 19, by Jorpho

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How about terminals? I was quite fond of RIPterm back in the day, even on boards that didn't use RIP graphics. Terminate and Procom Plus were also huge, and Quicklink II was bundled with a lot of modems.

Direct Access 5 seemed to be ubiquitous for menu software but seems to be largely forgotten now.

SETBLASTER wrote on 2021-03-17, 03:09:

i even remember using a Ms-Paint app that was for DOS.

I forgot to mention that this was probably PC Paintbrush (aka ZSoft Paintbrush), which Microsoft initially licensed to produce MS Paint.

NeoPaint was pretty big back in the day as well, and Deluxe Paint was used to make a lot of video games – though it was usually the Amiga verison.

My old favorite was Dr. Halo III, bundled with a lot of Genius mice. Conveniently, it produced graphics compatible with WordPerfect 5.1. I know there was a Dr. Halo IV, but it must be really rare; I'd very much like to get my hands on a copy some day. It had a rather clever interface and I am surprised I never found another program that worked quite like it.

Reply 18 of 19, by 4xtx

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MrD wrote on 2021-03-23, 02:03:

It makes me shudder to see people doing dos stuff on YouTube still using regular MSDOS DIR when D.COM exists. Automatic sorted output, files highlighted by extension, two characters fewer to type 😉 The very first thing I copy to DOS (or Dosbox even) is D.

Glance is very nice. I've since switched to LaunchBox, but Glance was what my Uncle had at the time and it was very user friendly.

Oh I used to use HotDIR Plus as my "D" and your post just reminded me 😀 thanks!
I might also try the D.COM as this might be a bit faster for my target systems (8088)

https://lateblt.tripod.com/download.htm if you want to take a look at HotDIR