First post, by ruthan
This post is WIP - Work in progress it would be updated, with new info.
Yesterday (2018.09.06) i just tried to install PC Tools and find out that there is some multitasking utility too, multitasking in DOS sound interesting for me.. and because im greedy i want to know more.. So this article was created.
- Someone could argue that if you want to use multitasking you use Windows 3x/9x or Dosbox, but something not working within them.. and its nice to see where Dos could be pushed. For example for my would be nice to have possibility play the game, switch task to text editor and make some notes to file, instead of paper / tablet / phone / second computer.. or run some custom music.. or use Translator, look into some readme / manual / walkthrough.
- Vogons are about gaming, so gaming compatibility is at first place and MS-DOS is King, so this guide is more about Gaming with some multitasking that Multitasking with some gaming, at least for me.. But at least for now best multitasking (and only one which is somehow working with VGA/SVGA games) is possible with DR-DOS, so there is not clear winner, if you want both Multitasking and Gaming.
- For this thread is Task switching good enough, you course that real Multitasking (2 application which are running in parallel and really doing something in parallel not just stay stoped if they arent focused) is better. Multitasking means - play music during text editing or copy files during pdf reading etc.. And i can image even more..
- most solution bellow are working only for text mode application, only DR-DOS Taskmgr is working with VGA/SVGA modes.
a) PC Tools Task switcher:
How to run it:
With PC you use 2 utilities (Task switcher and second is i think required as support utility) and add to Autoexec these lines:
REM PC TOOLS Task switcher lines
REM XMS is how much memory would be used for Task Switching in KB
C:\DRIVERS\PCTOOLS\CPTASK /XMS=16000 /HOTKEY=CTRL+ESC
Because EMS could use only 32 MB, its lots of free mem to use for it on modern machines, even when you have 64 MB, i didnt tried / needed more.
It looks this switcher is working only in text mode - because when you press hotkey it show some text table in middle of screen, when you can switch between utilies and run some command line command etc.. I tried it in games like Doom, Quake, Dungeon Master.. but it looks like that these game are using some own keyboard handling runtines which are overwriting keyboard handling.. they have for same reason all problem with some printscreen utilities.. or second reason could be that Task switcher is not simply working in graphical mode..
I used it for switching between multiple File managers, Rar and Edit and to run some command in all in text mode all of this its working fine.
- graphics is some Text mode apps as File Wizard (is my beloved frankenstein dos FM) is broken..
b)DESQview from Quarterdeck
I found DESQview from Quarterdeck - QEMM company, which is also text mode multiple windows at once multitasking utility:
How to setup it working:
- install it from 3,5 floppy image, img could be extracted with 7zip and copied to HDD directly
- during installation i find some programs, some of them was wrongly detected on my machine, for example mTCP as Nortol Commander.. some file in Arachne as DOS shell etc..
- there is optimal QEMM 8 install with last version DesQview 2.8
- its recommended to use it with QEMM, but in this video, someone is using it with EMM386
- in readme is mentioned that MS-DOS 7 is supported
- for start write DV on command line, its just *.bat in c:\ , deskview dont modify Autoexec and config
- i need some key shortcuts and how to use, its not intuitive
- when i started it, i get some small windows but only Dos big option is available and when i use it.. im back in DOS command line.. i have strange character instead of some option, i would probably need to edit this menu..
- after execution of DV, i have only 421KB of free convetional mem with EMM386 its dead end..
- i tried it with QEMM 97 (DOS versions), when i start it get some menu, but when i use Open windows, pc speaker starting beeping as error reporting and not working well too..
c) DOS Shell:
- DOS Shell wikipedia
The DOS Shell that is part of MS-DOS 5.0 (and 6.x by installing the supplement disk) has true task-switching functionality.
- have found it here - in topmenu i can enable task switching, but when i try to run some application i get command.com / doswapp unable to load error, maybe this version is trimmed and Task switching is not working, i set something wrong..
Update: When i isntalled it from MS-DOS 6.22 Supplementary disk - you can choice selective install and install only this feature through setup.bat, its working fine.
- for comeback from Application to DOS Shell ESC+CRTL should be used.. ALT+TAB is working as in Windows, switching between multiple apps.
- its for text modes programs fine, i never was succesfull with games , it often get not enough memory error (DOS4GW), or games froze before start, i tested at lets 10 games, but i tested it inside Vmware with EMS - 32 MB and 64 MB ram, that could be problem.
- derived from GEM operating system
- if not wrong is not for MS-DOS
e) DR-DOS 7.0.1 Inbuild multitasking (TaskMax), community patched version is renamed to OpenDOS
- biggest difference of this one its that working at least with some degree (more testing needed) with not text videogames too
- its from my hero Gary Kildall, his visions and products was usually ahead of time and better than from MS-DOS and he invested BIOS!, because he was lazy to write machine specific code again and again..
- DRDOS.org wiki
-DeltaSoft OpenDOS site - outdated..
- DR-DOS history after 1997
- here is info about multiboot
- patch for 7.01.04 - Enable to create FAT16 4GB partition, instead of 2GB FAT16
- here are my ultimate config files, which are compatible with my Dos Drivers and Tools package ported to DRDOS.
How to make it working:
- where DR-DOS 7.01 floppy or HD installation files, if you dont have floppy drive, or you are simply lazy as me, its better to just boot somehow normal MS-DOS (from HD, floppy, Flash drive, CD etc - but it has to be FAT16 formatted not FAT32) and start install from DR-DOS 7.01 HD installation file, its self extraction archive, after extraction just run install executable. I personally modified MS-DOS 6.22 boot iso with WinISO (free up to 100 MB) copied extracted DR-DOS files to own DRDOS folder, start MS-DOS install wizzard, quick to command promt with F3 and start DR-DOS setup process (its on target drive is not FAT16 partition you have to create it with MS-DOS or DRDOS fdisk).
- requirements are pretty low - 386 with 2 MB for Multitasking, 286 with 3MB for Task switching (multitasking is not possible). You can find installation HD image as OD701.exe on the internet., i could be found here for example.
- installation from MS-DOS 6.22 bootdisk, it a bit strange, first of all you have to creative partition with DR-DOS FDISK its in DRDOS extracted installer directory, after that you have to restart computer and after that you have to fomart it (because DR-DOS needed some operation system floppy disk, i used MS-DOS formater to bypass that), you run DR-DOS install.exe - during installation, i get some write files errors for autoexec and config.sys files.. I had reboot after installation (target disk reported still booting error), so i had to boot from CD once again and copy DR-DOS 7.01.06 patched ibm* files to root and autoexec and config file from other DR-DOS machine, after reboot it finally worked and booted into DR-DOS.
- ok i thing that i figure out, why i have problem with not copy autoexec and other files.. Its probably because i change first installation directory from C:\ to C:\DRDOS its badly explained, its probably has to be directory where are insallation files copied during installation, because installation is triggering at its start this copy process.
- I also tested that is possible to use XFDISK from MS-DOS 6.22 boot cd, it has to problem to see right size of newer HDDS (160 GB tested) and i can create FAT16, which can be formated by DR-DOS format c: /x tool and command and DRDOS is able to be installed on partition created by such way.
- if you use install DR-DOS 7 over MS-DOS 6.22 or older, old root file would have renamed on @*.ui, but they will not deleted also DRDOS using its own directory so C:\DOS would be touched..
- dont use newer version that 7.0.1 if want to have FAT32 support, version 8 has not Taskmgr at all, how to patch 7.0.1 for FAT32 is few post bellow - there is guide simply install 7.01.06 patch (rewrite files in C:\ and C:\(DR)DOS) not and any newer.
- DR-DOS autoexec and config setting info - F8 boot debugging and 9 menu items are possible..
- here is tutorial for menu items is more workaround than direct support, but its working same as with MS-DOS:
- memory settings is a bit different that in MS-DOS.. for example EMS size, look here
- TaskMgr is not working with Himem only, you need to EMM386 to run, other taskmgr start will give you that Operating system is not support message..
- To make it working you need to run taskmgr which is in DRDOS directory, it would say you that it needs to run share.exe which is same directory, after that you can use ESC+CRTL (could be changed in taskmgr.ini)- to call Taskmanager GUI and CRTL+Numbers (right CRTL+Numpad are working) to switch between apps..
- There is taskmgr.ini in DRDOS folder with Taskmanager memory and other settings..
- Taskmanager settings info
- if you have WIn9x or other DOS on same partition, DR-DOS autoexec and config should be named like this: AUTODOS7.BAT and DCONFIG.SYS and i need to also rename command.com a define config line with its new name.
- in Taskmgr.ini you can set Foreground/background ratio - that mean how much resources should be used for now used and for 1 background application. If you have more background application, each are using value of CPU to given by ratio, so if you have more background app, resources for main application are smaller. There is passage from manual how it is calculated : A value of 10, for example, means that the current (foreground) task gets ten times as much processor time as any single background task. If you had ten tasks running in the background, the current task would get fifty percent of total processor time. The default foreground/background ratio is 5.
- if you want to run some application twice its locking file or do write operation is good idea simply copy it and use 2 instances of it no HDD if its possible..
- If understand it correctly VDISK.SYS, is DR-DOS equivalent of typical MS-DOS RAM disk.
- load taskmgr in autoexec, after mouse and other thing which you want to share in all sessions (Taskmanagers tasks), but before others conventional memory eaters which you want to use in main session only.
- About TaskMgr option - in TaskMgr menu (ESC+CRTL) will show how much free memory you have.., maximum is 20 tasks.
- if ESC+CRTL is not working form you started application, because its use own Keyboard handling for this hotkey, try other hotkey combination for TaskMgr in its ini, if its not working, even after few other combination tried, program is not possible you such application with Taskmgr 🙁 In documentation is also something about command.com, that application could use different command.com and could have option to change it for systems, which is needed for TaskMgr to work. Look here seach for text If the problem still remains
- I have found some work around, its possible that ESC+CRTL is not working, but CRTL+1/2/3.. for Task switching is working, so you only need to start at least in one session program, which is working with ESC+CRTL fine.
- TaskMgr could be ended only if all Task are Deleted, and for delete a Task you have to exit from running application to command line and hit ESC+CRTL, after is possible to Delete it (it has to be named command and if you have only 1 instance is not possible to delete it - its main session). You cant like in modern OS simply kill running application, its probably because of file integrity security. If application which you running freeze, taskmgr will not help you.. or at least its not possible to delete (kill) its task..
- you use Taskmgr without its gui from command line, that is good for start some typical programs automatically through some batch file etc, without have to it manually through Taksmgr GUI - command is TASKMGR [/?|/H] [/C command] [/K:nn] [/L=nnnn] [/N[:nn] name] [/N[:nn]] - its Taskmgr already running only /C (add task) and /K (remove task, nn is task number) options are available.. After running task command you should regarding of readme wait 10 seconds to regain keyboard control. /N can name / rename task, without nn parameters, rename current session.
- CRTL+ALT+DEL reboot is blocked when TaskMgr its running you need to remove all task and with last one, you can remove TaskMgr (Del key).
- you can even run Windows 3.11 as Task - with multitasking in Standard mode, with TaskSwitcher (not working with FAT32 mod, with vanilla 7.0.1 is working) in Standart and Enhanced mode (i dunno what it means, im not Win 3.11 use, im lazy to google it)
- its recommended to use minimally Files=40 for number of paralely open files, if you have compatibility problems with Tasks combinations, you can try more..
- thx info from Rayer and i later would it in official documentation too you can start DR-DOS boot form NT loader, which could be on same partition as MS-DOS or Windows 9x (and its DOS), you need these files - NTLDR, NTDETECT.COM, BOOTFONT.BIN, BOOT.INI
- al least in EMS mode with in Vmware setmul l1d - crash DR-DOS Virtual x86 mode exception, cachectl is the same.
- MS-DOS EMM386 amd HimemX.exe are working with DR-DOS, its could be fine for bigger games compatibility, its not working for multitasking..
- NWCACHE seems to be Smartdrive equivalent
How to create DosBootSector backup for DR-DOS start, but or work for all other data in MBR if you want to backup them thx to Rayer
- i need Norton utilities, bellow is info from gdjacobs how to do it without it with Linux
- start diskedit c:
- menu "Object|Boot Record" (Alt+B)
- menu "Tools|Write Object To...|to a File|C:\filename.bin" (Alt+W)
Now you can use that boot sector for older DOS or DR-DOS start (with limitation that it need to be probably on FAT16 or FAT32) from NT bootloader (NT/2K/XP) and NT bootloader can be started from WIn7 bootloader or from Linux grub, if you need on same machines more modern OSes.
To recover MBR: // You dont need it for any DR-DOS settings.
- again with disk utilities
start diskedit c:
menu "Object|File...|C:\Filename.bin" (Alt+F)
menu "Tools|Write object To...|to Sectors...|C:\0-Boot area" (Alt+W)
How to use NT bootloader to start DR-DOS 7 on FAT16 partition
- why to do this? By default DR-DOS could be started only its MBR code, so it means, that you on whole HDD only DR-DOS as bootable system, with NTbootloader you can have multiple system on HDD where is DR-DOS used.
- i used BOOTPREP.EXE from this Rayers side http://rayer.g6.cz/os/os.htm, be aware at least Avira antivirus has false DOS virus detection for it
- when you run it, you get message that all HDD data would be destroyed, but true is that for my on FAT16 partition all data stayed on disk
- Bootprep just boot MBR code to machine, you still need manually copy/create boot.ini - file and copy bootfont.bin and ntldr and ntdetect.com from existing WinNT/2000/XP installation..
- regarding this article - https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/200 … using-bootprep/ , bootprep is needed for FAT16 partition and NT loader even for Windows and but it could work with FAT32 boot, but its not neded for nt bootloader.
- i created DOS boot sector with Norton Disk Editor - its described in first post save it as DRDOS.bin file
- there is my boot.ini:
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="XP innstalation if you have one" /noexecute=optin /fastdetect
- there is DR-DOS compatibility Matrix made by my, for now there are only results without Multitasking, i will test, multitasking later, for now i just need to know, if game working with DR-DOS at all, in Vmware
- Its very now for me, i just tested Doom 2 and new command (Edit text editor) switching in Vmware, i got some slow downs and even 1 freeze i dunno if it is Vmware related, but there is quite change that it is, Vmware to DOS is not polished how would people expect.
- Rayer was able to make 2 instances of Quake running (with 7.0.3 which is FAT16 only)
Questions / Todo, lots things to learn and research, answered thing would be moved to knowledge base:
1. I also searched for background CD / music player utility how could be used with game, but i even found one, but i never made it working with games, maybe someone does.. Im not sure, if you need to these second (at least virtual drivers) and how it coexist with games which are trying any inserted audio cd to play, like Quake etc.
2. How to use these utilities, someone linked some solutions, but some guide would be nice too..
3. What about second monitor support for secondary task.. if i remember correctly that AmigaOS had something like that, so maybe someone did it for Dos.
4. Was actually someone successful with not text Programs / Games and Task switching with any tool?
5. Is there way how to make working DOS Shell, in DOS 6.22 its installing right into DOS directory, so would be good ideal install it into Windows directory, or floppy DOS 7.1 version? Update: OK i have tried to install it into own directory, but when i trying to executed it, im getting invalid command.com file and request to point to path to proper one. Its good idea copy backported 6.22 command.com to MS-DOS 7.1?
6. Is there any DR-DOS game compatibility matrix?
7. DR-DOS games with Task manager compatibility testing - report what game is or not compatible.
8. Try mTCP FTP server with DR-DOS task manager, i theory you could be its FTP server enabled forever at background.. has have possiblity to access to DOS machine driver every time..
9. If DR-DOS Taskmgr will have good preliminary compatibility results, i will create some compatibility matrix for games.
10. Start DR-DOS from Linux Grub2 bootloader.
11. Find slowdown utilities which are working with DR-DOS, and its EMS mode.
12. Make DR-DOS booting from FAT32 paragon, it tried to convert, patched bootable FAT16 to FAT32 to by Paragon, but its not booting, i dunno if conversion broken it, or its DR-DOS bootloader problem. Problem is that 7.01 or 7.03 installer is not able to find FAT32 formated system partion, or more precisely its FDIS is but, installer doesnt.. So i dunno how to make it install right to FAT32.. the are patches for installed DR-DOS, but not for installer and i dont know if MBR code is FAT32 capable at all.
13. Test DR-DOS installation with other FDISK program as that from Freedos, its not big change but its worth of shot..
Some links / info for harvesting:
- Some old Vogons thread about 6.22 Multitasking - multitasking dos 6.22
- ViewMax (Thx to Jo22) - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphics_Enviro … Manager#ViewMAX
- I also find out that there was some special MS-DOS 4 multitasking version, but these feature were removed from future versions.
- I think that i saw also something which was called.. sidekicks or something like that in Computer Chronicles.. and these were some TSR on screen widgets. There is even episode called Multitasking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKzleg4AcXg + https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xV2rxImyGYE (1986)
As you probably find out, im not good with letters+grammar in every language, i never had brain for that, i was always better with numbers and analytic, sorry. If something is not clear, just ask.
Guides for responses:
When you address something form Question section pleas use issue number from list (numbers are hardcoded so, they are future proof), thanks.
If you want to support my projects with something else that with your knowledge:
- i would mind if someone would donate Aureal Vortex 2 and PCI Graphics card with DVI connector (i thing that there were at least few Geforce cards for PCI), X79 board with PCI slots if exists and some dualCPU MB with Intel 5520 chipset with PCI slots, Super socket 7 MB to check pure DOS sound cards compatibility
- if could donate me through Paypal, but i accept only 1 or 2$ donations, unless you are super rich (have own house, car and new computer) sen money on ruthan at email.cz Paypal account
Thanks all people who helped / are helping with this thread!
The knowledge must flow!
Im old goal oriented goatman, i care about facts and freedom, not about egos+prejudices. Hoarding=sickness. If you want respect, gain it by your behavior. I hate stupid SW limits, SW=virtual world, everything should be possible if you have enough raw HW.