- In honor of FreeDOS turning 25 years old I figured I would revisit the project and play around with DOS.
Installation Source: USB Full Installer
Convert VMDK to VirtualBox VDI
- The USB disk image provided by the FreeDOS project is provided in the VMDK format.
- For this test I’m using VirtualBox, so I will convert the image to a VDI.
Add the disk image to the VM.
- For the purpose of installation, set the USB disk as the Primary IDE Master.
- Set the target disk as the Primary IDE Slave.
FD12FULL.vdiwill be the C: drive during install.
- The target disk will be the D: drive during install.
- Once the installation is complete, remove the
FD12FULL.vdiimage and set the target disk as the Primary IDE Master.
If a package has been previously installed, an error will popup that the package installation failed.
- Installation is done by
fdipkg.bat, if a package already exists, fdinst returns an errorlevel 1 with no option available to force overwriting the existing files.
- This functionality can be tested using the command:
- To get around this issue, and the endless prompting about packages already installed, I comment out the
if errorlevel 1 goto PkgErrorline in
Additional packages like games and development tools
The packages that provide development tools and games are not available from the standard installer, the advanced installer must be invoked to use them.
- Run the base installer, which should start automatically on the first boot.
- You will be prompted to format the disk.
- Re-run the installer in advanced mode to get things like games and devel tools.
Install DOSShell from the MS-DOS 6.22 supplemental tools disk.
- DosShell is just a simple file manager.
- DosShell is not strictly neccesary, in fact FreeDOS comes with their own take on the old DosShell file manager.
- DosShell was a must-install back when I was setting up DOS-based systems, so I find it both nostalgic and an interesting lightweight compatibility test.
Install Windows 3.1
- FreeDOS does not support Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Only Windows 3.1 can be installed.
- A reboot is required between installation and use.
- Although Windows 3.1 can be installed directly to FreeDOS 1.2, I found Windows functioned better if I first installed it to MS-DOS 6.22 and then used xcopy to copy the windows directory over to the FreeDOS drive.
Use GenISOImage on Linux to create an CD-ROM image that can be mounted on the FreeDOS machine.
- A fantastic game. Along the same vein as SimCity or Transportation Tycoon.
- Unfortunately, A-Train did not display correctly and it was VERY apparent that the old A-Train code depended on the system clock tick to move the trains around.
- The mono color version of the game worked a little better, but the timing was still off.
- There was no sound.
- The game played perfectly, although there was a small flicker on the map loading screen.