Author Topic: How's your DOS ?  (Read 6852 times)

Offline DavidA

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How's your DOS ?
« on: October 08, 2015, 08:18:42 AM »
A bit of a head scratcher.

I use an old 486 PC running DOS 6.2 to do a lot of my mathematical programming. I use GWBasic as I am comfortable with it.

However, Today I fired up the dinosaur and to my GWBASIC directory with the usual CD GWBASIC command.  The GWBASIC is in the root directory C:
I then did a DIR as I had forgotten what is in there. And found no files except the usual hidden two.

No program (*.BAS) or data (*.DAT) files etc.

'Odd', Thinks I. 'Maybe I have them on Drive D:'

DIR D: (from C:))and there they were.

OK, So let's use D:

CD D:

NOTHING.

Used MSD to check if I actually had a drive D: (although I had already done a DIR on it) and yes, there it was. Same size as drive C:

To cut to the chase, I am being denied access to drive D:  The files are there, but I can't access them.

When I try to change directory (I like that word, far nicer than 'folder') all that happens is a brief pause and I am back in root directory C:.

Any clues as to what is going on?

Oh yes, If I change the boot sequence to read D,A, SCSI it still boots up in C:  The normal sequence is A,C, CDR

Dave.

Offline philf

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2015, 08:27:47 AM »
David,

I don't think you should be using cd d: to change to the d drive. It would be looking for a directory within the current drive and directory.

You should only have to type d: to change the drive.

cd with a /d switch can be used to change disk but it's more typing.

Phil.
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lordedmond

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #2 on: October 08, 2015, 08:55:41 AM »
Yep

Just type help or ? To get a list of commands


Or write a .bat file to run the program from c drive
Call the file maths.bat

Echo off
d:
Gwbasic

Should do it if my brain cell can remember that far back
Do you still have to stoke them up with coal , naw that a steam engine but nearly as old 😈

Stuart

Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2015, 10:20:07 AM »
PhilF, Stuart.

Thanks. 

But after I had typed in the 'problem', switched off  and had set off out the house I realised what I had done.

You can tell it is months since I used DOS.

You are both, of course, right.

Exit stage left, feeling rather silly.

Dave. :doh:

Online awemawson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2015, 10:20:47 AM »
Don't knock DOS 6.2 - at least it's not calling home for updates every few hours  :lol:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 10:31:42 AM »
Andrew,

You are so right.

DOS 6.2 is more or less set in stone. And it is very versatile.

I have forgotten most of what I learned years back, but it soon comes back if I need it. With DOS and GWBASIC you can rule the world.

It's nice to work completely off line in a self contained computing environment. No GCHQ or NSA snooping into your files. Not as though there is anything of interest to find.

And, (wait for it) there are HARDCOPY MANUALS to come to the rescue. Big books with real indexed information to hand.

No Stuart, they are not also known as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Dave :thumbup:

Online awemawson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 11:21:11 AM »
I well remember loading up a very early Windows release - possibly Windows 2 - not sure, and it taking SO long to do anything on my 286 machine we thought that it had crashed !

Every release of a new operating system, (and this isn't confined to Windows) seems to deliberately use more and more system resources thus demanding more memory, more disk space and faster processing power. OK modern versions of Windows allow you to be very much more productive, but unfortunately the designers and programmers have lost the art of packing high performance into tight spaces.

When I think that back in the 1970's the CEGB National Grid Control Centre ran on a Ferranti Argus machine with 56Kb of CORE store, and that monitored the entire UK power distribution network and put up graphical displays. Another example was Eastern Electricity Board's white goods distribution warehouse at Waltham Cross. Again a 56K Argus with a 1Mb Sperry DRUM backing store, and that ran all the automatic high aisle picking cranes as well as holding the actual stock and doing order picking for shops that they had in virtually every East Anglian high street.

Current programmers would have kittens working within the same constraints - now they just demand more memory, and more processing power to make up for their inefficiency.

//OK rant mode off //
Andrew Mawson
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Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2015, 12:11:59 PM »
Andrew,
Years back, post dinosaur; but not by much, I had an NEC/APC I still do, and can just lift it off the floor.  But I do recall typing in a program that provided elevation and azimuth for the AMSAT satellite. It wasn't a long program and the display showed maybe five columns and five rows of angles and times.

When you ran this program you could literally watch it doing it's stuff as presented each line on the screen; with a pause in between.
I then moved on the an Amstrad PCW8256 (Very useful machine. Pity about the Mallard Basic) and the same program was about twice as fast (Z80 processor)

A TRS-80 was about the same, (same processor ) and it wasn't until I started on machines with 8086 processors that things really began to improve.

Of course, the only real improvement was the clock speeds. I was using some version of BASIC on all the machines.

A few nights ago there was series called 'Girls can Code'. And was looking forward to computing's version of Carol Vordermann showing us that at least in this realm, women are as good as men at byte slicing.  It was quite disappointing to see that  they really were just using applications, not coding from the grass roots upward.

Still, if it wasn't for the Countess Ada and Jacquard, where would we be ?

Dave.

Offline mcostello

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2015, 12:37:43 PM »
I know of at least one complex 6 story forming machine using DOS 1 for the last 25 odd years.
High Speed steel in a Carbide world.

Offline jcs0001

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2015, 01:56:18 PM »
My first computer course involved printing out a series of punched cards, putting them in a reader (after lining up with a bunch of other students for long time) and then finding that there was a glitch and it wouldn't run.

Next was a desktop with two 720 mb floppies - I figured I had the world by the tail and used dos a lot.  Once I got it my wife figured she was a "computer widow".

Things have sure changed.

John.

Online awemawson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #10 on: October 08, 2015, 02:24:47 PM »
My first computer course involved printing out a series of punched cards, putting them in a reader (after lining up with a bunch of other students for long time) and then finding that there was a glitch and it wouldn't run.


John.

Oh yes, stacks of (un-numbered) 80 column punch cards loosely held together with a long rubber band - running down the stairs at college from the punch room to the computer suite and dropping the lot. Been there and cried  :bang:

Cobol and Fortran on an ICL 1900
Andrew Mawson
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Offline CrazyModder

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #11 on: October 08, 2015, 02:33:56 PM »
Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Unfortunately (or maybe not) I missed the punch cards.

I entered the digital age with a brand new Atari 800 XL, complete with a very nice monochrome green monitor and datasette. If I recall correctly, it included the manual, which was actually pretty complete. It contained the complete hardware wiring, a complete Assembler reference etc.. I soon had a few books with listings which I typed in fervently. I remember as if it was yesterday, having typed in a quite longish (for my taste) BASIC program, and then trying a new command... NEW. Oops.

Eventually I got most everything - 5 1/4" floppy etc., "real" games. I programmed it in assembler and BASIC a lot. I actually almost, but not quite, got a 300 baud coupler running with it near the end of it. I also wired LEDs to most of the hardware lines (like the adress/data lines going from/to the CPU) and got an awfully expensive 320KB RAM expansion (which had to be memory banked for a whopping total of 384KB). I did everything. Like write a very large assembler program from scratch including a GUI and everything; it was used to inspect, copy, format floppies. Please guess how I lost this program.

I could use a 2-floppy Amstrad PC (8068 I believe) at an uncle's. I learned the hard way what the RENUM command of that particular DOS flavour did - it renumbered all files on the floppy starting from 00001 in case the directory information got lost. Guess how I lost my DOS boot disk (hey, only one way to find out!).

Then, 268 (40 MB HDD! Unbelievable!) and from there on the whole shebang. The 286 was actually the one and only PC I ever bought. The computer I am typing on right now (more or less a gaming rig) is a direct, unbroken descendant from that one back then, being updated piecewise. I must have used a dozen or more programming languages over the decades.

Times they are a changing. I pitty the kids today who do not have the chance of a pickle in a supernova of repeating such a journey, i.e. understanding every and any single detail about such a machine, from the very level of transistors upwards, at the time it is current state of the art.

Offline jcs0001

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #12 on: October 08, 2015, 02:58:45 PM »
Yes - Fortran IV as I recall, on a huge university mainframe.  I didn't spill the cards but also didn't have much of a clue so it was not my favourite course by any means.  I must admit that going from a small town to a huge university in the city was a bit of a shock and didn't help my studies.

Much later I took a couple of college level courses using pascal - bought turbo pascal as it was almost the same and I could fool with it at home.  No more punch cards - real terminals for a change.  Did so much playing with it that it was intuitive at times.

John.

Offline Jonny

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #13 on: October 08, 2015, 05:16:46 PM »
Still use my Casio FX-7000P from 1984 with basic proggies written, 10 yrs later was beating the whizz kids by 10 mins that took me 12 seconds.

Who remembers the Apple 2E had one in 80 and wont have another Apple in the house.
Atari ST was a bit weird in basic same machine at the time to do the Smarties adverts and still got it converted to 1 meg.
At least you knew where you were with the Spectrum.
Just threw out a 94 SX25

Offline Lew_Merrick_PE

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #14 on: October 08, 2015, 05:38:20 PM »
My first computer course involved printing out a series of punched cards, putting them in a reader (after lining up with a bunch of other students for long time) and then finding that there was a glitch and it wouldn't run.

Next was a desktop with two 720 mb floppies - I figured I had the world by the tail and used dos a lot.  Once I got it my wife figured she was a "computer widow".

My first computer had a discrete component RTL processor running at a (then) screaming 16 kHz!  It was "programmed" through bat switches that lit up grain o' wheat bulbs -- until I finally got a Flexowriter hooked up to it...

I suspect that your floppies were 720 kB rather than 720 mB.  [My first floppies were 8 inch 32 kB beasties.]

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #15 on: October 08, 2015, 06:07:52 PM »
Still got a CNC milling machine on DOS 6.2
Works great and if I upgraded to say Mach 3 i would loose a few things like a one line G Code for thread milling.
John Stevenson

Online awemawson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #16 on: October 08, 2015, 06:13:24 PM »

My first computer had a discrete component RTL processor running at a (then) screaming 16 kHz!  It was "programmed" through bat switches that lit up grain o' wheat bulbs -- until I finally got a Flexowriter hooked up to it...

I suspect that your floppies were 720 kB rather than 720 mB.  [My first floppies were 8 inch 32 kB beasties.]

... oh no...not Friden Flexowriters .... they were a nightmare to work on. My first printer was a Creed 54N 'hunt and peck' - just post war, driven at telegraph signal voltages (80-0-80) which I interfaced using a home made opto-coupler - an OC71 germanium transistor with the paint scraped off the glass case pushed into a bit of Hellerman rubber sleeving with an led pushed into the other end  :bugeye:

Eventually I got my hands on a Shuggart 801 8" floppy drive with all of 128k kbytes but that wasn't until the mid 70's when I built my S100 / CPM system.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2015, 02:29:31 AM by awemawson »
Andrew Mawson
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Online awemawson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #17 on: October 08, 2015, 06:14:37 PM »
Still got a CNC milling machine on DOS 6.2
Works great and if I upgraded to say Mach 3 i would loose a few things like a one line G Code for thread milling.

Is that running Ah-Ha John?
Andrew Mawson
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Offline jcs0001

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #18 on: October 08, 2015, 06:44:10 PM »
Lew - I think you are right about the 720 kb. floppies.  As I recall they were huge and would allow me to do any number of things.

I also worked with a sliderule but haven't yet used an abacus - I have used my fingers and toes on occassion - does that count as old :D

John

lordedmond

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #19 on: October 09, 2015, 02:18:04 AM »
Ok I will get modern 20mb HDD


My first foray was a home brew zilog z80 beast with CPM I then home brewed a cuts interface for tape followed by a disk interface for the early single sided 8 inch floppy.

Then hand coded a boot strap EPROM that lived at A hex address I have forgot and then bought poly dos on disk

Printer a old Teleltype terminal hooked on to a spare keyboard bit again hand coded routine patched into the correct position

Speed well it was a Z80a so 4 meg

Those were the days
Colossal Cave anyone

Stuart

Offline John Stevenson

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #20 on: October 09, 2015, 04:52:15 AM »
Still got a CNC milling machine on DOS 6.2
Works great and if I upgraded to say Mach 3 i would loose a few things like a one line G Code for thread milling.

Is that running Ah-Ha John?

Yes, it must have been awesome in it's day. Had this machine probably 15 ? years and it dates back to 1988 I think but since retrofitting it 15 years ago and AHHA was the only affordable controller out there it's never errored out once from software.

Works on an ISA slot in the computer [ got a spare waiting in case ], Pity it couldn't be ported to a PCI card.
John Stevenson

Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #21 on: October 09, 2015, 07:06:43 AM »
Isn't a deep knowledge of CP/M a sign of a misspent youth ? Or is that being good at pool ?

The Amstrad PCW8256 runs CP/M.

Dave.

lordedmond

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #22 on: October 09, 2015, 07:46:35 AM »
Dave

Yes pip across the file

Stuart

Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #23 on: October 09, 2015, 11:28:13 AM »
And we haven't yet mentioned IBM's response to DOS; OS2/Warp.
If I  remember correctly this had the advantage of bypassing the early DOS 640 K memory limit.

I still have, behind me on a shelf, a boxed OS2 set with it's manuals. Maybe I will install it on an old IBM PC and get that authentic retro experience.

Dave. :D

Offline Lew_Merrick_PE

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #24 on: October 09, 2015, 11:42:55 AM »
I also worked with a sliderule but haven't yet used an abacus - I have used my fingers and toes on occassion - does that count as old?

When I was in 2nd Grade, my eldest sister gave me an abacus/sliderule where the sliderule was the outside face of a cylinder and the abacus was the (top) flat surface.  It was small enough that I could hide it under my desk and answer arithmetic questions before anybody else -- until I got caught in 8th grade and people realized I had never learned to add, subtract, multiply or divide conventionally.  I spent about two months of 1-2 hours/day of being drilled on my arithmetic as a result.

lordedmond

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #25 on: October 09, 2015, 12:06:18 PM »
Dave

Don't get mixed up OS2 may be a server version OS2 /Warp was the single user version for desk top computers

In the engineering dept for NWB comp centre we had a server with OS2 as the OS boy did it have some lag

The banks mainframes ran on some IBM software I believe it was cobol not certain with a time share system on one of the main frame but it could be 15 mins between key press and result when busy

It's been a trip down memory lane what with soldering up 4116 mem chip et al.
I think my first dos was 3.1

I could not afford the IBM PS2 micro Chanel offerings that the bank used just as a terminal emulator

But how things have changed now the hardware is of no interest but the software still is at this time I use swift with metal api,s

Hope we have not derailed to OP thread with our ramblings

How about the BBC Acton that used a mix of basic and pascal for its OS uggg


Stuart

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #26 on: October 09, 2015, 12:25:44 PM »
Still got my slide rule - an Aristo Scholar that took me through college, but I do have an Abacus hanging on the wall of my office as the ultimate back up device   :lol:
Andrew Mawson
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Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #27 on: October 09, 2015, 01:23:21 PM »
Stuart,

This is the stand-alone version.
I just pulled the box out to have a look.

World's most popular 32 - bit operating system.

OS/2 Warp  Version 3.

System requirements .
Intel 386 SX compatible or higher personal computer.
4MB of RAM
35 - 55MB free HD space
1.44MB floppy
OS/2 compatible CD - ROM drive.
VGA support
IBM compatible mouse.

And it comes with the cd, two floppies to install the CD.
A manual for the system and one for the different keyboard configurations.
And a bonus pack with IBM Works, Online Access and other programs.

Thing is, you can also retain your DOS as well as utilise Windows 3.1

Pretty versatile.

Ah, the good old days.

Andrew, Lew,
I have a good slide rule, but no cursor. Must get around to fixing that.

But it is amazing the number of kids who have difficulty with straight forward arithmetic these days.
Long division is enough to send many to their therapists.

Dave

Offline CrazyModder

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #28 on: October 09, 2015, 01:55:03 PM »
OS/2 Warp was nice indeed. When Windows 3.1 - 98 were still little more than DOS with a fancy GUI on top, OS/2 Warp did most things right under the hood. Too bad it had bad marketing and bad market share. I have a feeling if it had just a little bit more/better applications, it would have gone somewhere. But IBM management decided to give it a Windows 3.1 compatibility layer  :palm: - bad for them that Microsoft decided to go their own ways and didn't give them the newer APIs. And when Windows NT4 and later XP got real operating systems with a kernel instead of DOS, it was the end of the story for OS/2.

Offline philf

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #29 on: October 09, 2015, 01:59:36 PM »
I have an old Compaq SLT  286 luggable with DOS 6.22 on it but it hasn't been switched on for years. (And probably won't boot if I were to try it as the CMOS backup battery is built in to the Dallas Real Time Clock chip - there is a fix for it. ) Cost an absolute fortune when new - prices started at $5,399!

If any one wants to upgrade their old 486 DOS PC to a Pentium I have at least one and possibly two Pentium Overdrive units which will plug into a 486 processor socket and upgrade your machine to a 90Mhz Pentium.

Free to a good home. The luggable would have to be collected. I'd post out the Overdrive(s) in exchange for a donation to MadModder.

Phil.
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Offline DavidA

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2015, 02:25:12 PM »
Phil,

Ah yes, the Dallas real-time clock chip.

I have a couple of machines that need 'the fix'.

A while back I took a computer into our local computer emporium and asked the about the cause of my 'won't boot' problem.

The nice lady didn't quite burst out laughing, She did say that they couldn't do anything. Then disappeared for a while and came back with two sheets of paper.
"Here is the answer, if you want to try it".

It was the fix.

And when I can get up the courage to take a Dremel to the chip I intend to do it.

Actually it looks pretty straight forward.

Worth doing it just to gain bragging rights.
After all, how many people these days can claim that they fixed their computer by taking an angle grinder to the real time clock ?

Dave.

lordedmond

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2015, 02:26:14 PM »
I think we have forgotten

Linux , UNIX and BSD I think that's the one

 Then there was the G5 IBM processors aka power PC

UNIX is the base for OSX

And so the show goes one

But it's my belief that the slower processors with a simple OS that is not a multi tasking one can be just as fast to do one task as the modern computer think of the One they used to crack the enigma code yes it was slow but it only did one thing no fancy bells and whistles just KISS

Stuart

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Re: How's your DOS ?
« Reply #32 on: October 09, 2015, 03:02:33 PM »
A variety Unix is the basis for the  windows Kernel if I'm not mistaken. Much of DOS was very unix like in the early days. And CP/M had much  DOS compatibility, with all the same low end system calls and the first 100 Hex addresses for i/o

None of these things developed entirely in isolation, if only because the programmers moved from one organisation to another.

I was googling nostalgically last night regarding the Ferranti Argus machines I used to work on. It was always rumoured the the ICL 1900 used exactly the same function codes at the machine code level - sure enough they do (XFMN to the initiated)

X= accumulator to use
F= function code(add, subtract, sift etc
M=Modifier (page addressing effectively)
N= Address

The modifier bits allowed the memory addressing to be extended by pointing to extension registers that were concatonated with the N address

Explained by Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferranti_Argus

(The chap in the photograph is called Leo Capaldi and used to run the Edinburgh office for me - was a crazy rally driver !)
Andrew Mawson
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