VOGONS


First post, by DeathRabbit679

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I've loaded Win95 OSR2.1 on an old Gateway 2k I found in my grandfather's closet, and I'm trying to grow my DOS brain and understand how things are set up before I attempt to start remaking them with customs syses and bats and whatall. I've looked at the Exit To Dos.pif and it's not set to any special autoexec.bat/config.sys but nonetheless, I can tell some things are being configured for me somewhere because I have a %PATH% in DOS Mode and sound works in DOS games that aren't dependent on %BLASTER% being set for my SB16 (CT2770), which surprised me considering I've only installed the sound driver(sbw9xup.exe) in Windows. I know from reading around, as well as my own testing, that it's not the autoexec.bat or config.sys sitting in C:\, nor does it seem to be DosStart.bat as I've seen suggested a few places (Indeed, I don't have one). Is there some inscrutable automagic here and I just need to not worry about it, or have I just not found the right file yet that shows what's being configured/exec'd by default? Apologies if this has been asked a lot, but I looked and google/forum search failed me, so just trying to learn and not blindly follow a guide and such, thanks!

Reply 2 of 9, by doshea

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Maybe Windows 95 "Single DOS Application Mode" adds always SET BLASTER will explain it? I referenced a registry key in there which might be able to do this, but GL1zdA had another explanation for how it can happen.

Reply 3 of 9, by DeathRabbit679

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doshea wrote on 2022-07-05, 10:57:

Maybe Windows 95 "Single DOS Application Mode" adds always SET BLASTER will explain it? I referenced a registry key in there which might be able to do this, but GL1zdA had another explanation for how it can happen.

Ooh, that's a good lead, I'll check that out tonight. To be clear %BLASTER% isn't actually being added in dos mode, but other stuff and things are being configured... somehow. Including the driver, as I can set it myself or use a setup program that lets me manually point irq/dma/etc and voila, sound without me having ever installed a dos sound driver.

Reply 4 of 9, by doshea

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Sorry DeathRabbit679, I didn't pay enough attention to your post, and my reply was probably more relevant to what jakethompson1 said.

I think the real answers to your questions are:

I think you get some default PATH entries from the version of DOS built into Windows 9x, although I'm not sure.

DOS games generally don't use drivers for sound cards, or at least not separate drivers, they generally have their own drivers built into them. It would be fairly rare to find a DOS game that supports sound cards that doesn't support Sound Blaster! As for an SB16, maybe not all games support that, but then I'm not sure that they need to - I think that most games which have Sound Blaster support will work with an SB16. Probably some other people on here know a lot more about SB compatibility than me though!

Reply 5 of 9, by Gmlb256

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2022-07-05, 04:46:

I've noticed a DOS box in Windows 9x often has BLASTER set even with no autoexec.bat, so not surprising DOS mode might have it too. I believe the sound driver would be doing that.

This is true, Windows 9x sound card drivers can inject or alter the BLASTER environment variable for DOS applications but that isn't kept when going into MS-DOS mode, which may use the Windows registries as doshea pointed out or use the one set in AUTOEXEC.BAT (the normal one if available).

doshea wrote on 2022-07-06, 11:43:

DOS games generally don't use drivers for sound cards, or at least not separate drivers, they generally have their own drivers built into them.

In most cases yes, but certain DOS games do require separate drivers to get sound working.

Reply 6 of 9, by Meatball

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You don't need to worry about it.

The "SET BLASTER" configuration windows automatically set up is ONLY for running DOS applications within DOS windows running within Windows 9x. The DOS windows won't pay any attention to hard coded configuration files/autoexec.bat you set for the sound card and vice versa - once you drop out of windows into MS-DOS mode, the "SET BLASTER" which was created for Windows is ignored (actually not even created) and your configurations for DOS are now active.

Example - when you setup TOMB RAIDER while windows is running, if you choose to "detect sound" automatically, it will pull the settings from the "SET BLASTER" configuration Windows set. However, when you drop to MS-DOS mode, you need to make sure SET BLASTER was in your autoexec.bat (for auto-detect to function), or you could run SET BLASTER yourself before playing the game, if you choose. Alternatively, of course, you could skip the auto-detect and manually key in the sound card settings with what was "Jumper'd" for the sound card. If it was a PnP sound card, some kind of included or related sound card utility can tell you what the IRQ, DMA, etc. configurations are set.

The above is most of the reason why you don't need to put just about anything in the autoexec.bat/config.sys for Windows. The DOS "PIF" file should contain all the autoexec/config settings per application (particularly if dropping out into MS-DOS mode). Or you could setup some kind of boot menu to choose DOS, Windows, etc. You're only slowing down windows and/or increasing likelihood of instability by including autoexec/config commands while running windows (and most of them are ignored, anyway).

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Reply 7 of 9, by DeathRabbit679

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Fascinating info all, did not know that thing about most games including their own drivers. I definitely did find out the hard way, you can wreck the world by messing with the win95 config.sys last night, but it was pretty easy to unwreck. At some point I'll probably do something similar to what Phil does in a pif file somewhere, but I just wanted to do some exploratory spelunking, and try to actually grok stuff. In that regard, you folks have helped immensely. I feel like I'm starting down the path of gaining the deep knowledge now. So far, games have been easy to get working, but I'm sure at some point I'll run into a real bugbear and knowing these kinds of things will help immensely.

Reply 8 of 9, by jakethompson1

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DeathRabbit679 wrote on 2022-07-06, 21:52:

Fascinating info all, did not know that thing about most games including their own drivers. I definitely did find out the hard way, you can wreck the world by messing with the win95 config.sys last night, but it was pretty easy to unwreck. At some point I'll probably do something similar to what Phil does in a pif file somewhere, but I just wanted to do some exploratory spelunking, and try to actually grok stuff. In that regard, you folks have helped immensely. I feel like I'm starting down the path of gaining the deep knowledge now. So far, games have been easy to get working, but I'm sure at some point I'll run into a real bugbear and knowing these kinds of things will help immensely.

I recommend: https://archive.org/details/RunningMSDOSVersi … e/n431/mode/2up

Reply 9 of 9, by doshea

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-07-06, 12:56:

Thanks, I didn't imagine that there were so many!