Rediscovering your DOS drivers
by Alan Zisman
(c) 1997. First
published in Computer Player, June 1997
When Microsoft designers were designing Windows 95,
they realized that
most consumers weren't ready for a complete break with DOS; many users
still have DOS programs they want to run... this is especially true of
game players. In the past few months, in this column, we've looked at
to make your DOS programs and games cooperate with Windows 95.
month?s column is kind of techie? but be brave and read on!)
But some of your DOS programs simply won't run
properly under Win95...
to maximize performance, they want control of the hardware in ways that
Win95 just doesn't allow.
MS-DOS Mode is the Win95 equivalent of a customized
boot disk... with
it, you can remove Windows from memory, and give your program the
it needs to access your CD-ROM, mouse, and sound card from DOS.
But there's a catch for many users. If you upgraded an
to Win95, you probably have the DOS driver disks for your CD-ROM and
card, and Win95 saved your old setup files, with the settings for
those devices in DOS... you'll need them for MS-DOS Mode. But if you
a new system, with Win95 pre-installed, you may not have those DOS
disks-if that's the case, go back to your vendor and demand them right
You can get to MS-DOS Mode like this... go to Start
Menu's Shut Down
dialogue box and pick Restart the Computer in MS-DOS Mode. But don?t be
surprised if when you do that, you can't access your CD-ROM or sound
In fact, you'll probably get an error message, when MSCDEX, the DOS
software doesn't load properly, because it's driver wasn't loaded.
What?s happening is that Win95 doesn't know about your
drivers for CD-ROM or sound... each model is different; unlike common
like MSCDEX, each brand uses different filenames and settings, and
haven?t been loaded. So your standard MS-DOS Mode setup never quite
If you upgraded an older system and the DOS drivers
are still on your
system, restart in MS-DOS Mode, and open the files CONFIG.SYS and
in DOS Edit. In the CONFIG.DOS window, look for a line something like
It may start Devicehigh=, and it will probably load a different driver,
but most will include the letters "CD"; this is your CD-ROM driver...
that line exactly into your CONFIG.SYS file.
Similarly, find and copy lines loading the driver for
your sound card.
For my SoundBlaster 16, I need:
Devicehigh=C:\Creative\CTSB16.SYS /Unit=0 /Blaster=A:220 I:5
Save Config.Sys, and similarly, open AUTOEXEC.BAT and
Find the MSCDEX line in AUTOEXEC.BAT and change the /d: setting to
the one in CONFIG.SYS. Check in the AUTOEXEC.DOS file for lines that
to refer to the sound card, and copy them to the other file. For my
16, I need:
SET MIDI=Synth:1 Map:E
Set BLASTER= A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 T6
(your mileage may vary).
Reboot, and see if the CD-ROM and sound card work in
your DOS programs.
If you don't have the DOS files to use as examples, if
you have your
DOS driver disks, when you're in MSDOS Mode, you can run their
programs-if these are DOS programs. If they are Windows 3.1 programs,
run them... look in the documentation; in most cases, this will tell
how to manually adjust your CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files.
One more trick with MSDOS Mode? if your game requires
MSDOS Mode, you
can use the Shutdown/Restart in MSDOS Mode option, then type the
to start your program? or you can give your program an icon that will
all that automatically. (Much handier!) You may need to create an icon
for your program (if so, dig out that copy of last month?s column).
right-click on the Start button, and choose Open from the popup menu.
until you find your game?s icon. Right-click on it, and choose
from the popup menu. Switch to the Program page in the dialogue box,
click on the Advanced button. Click the MS-DOS Mode and the Specify a
MSDOS configuration options, and copy the Config.sys and Autoexec.bat
your previous MSDOS Mode attempt. (You did print them out last time,
After clicking OK a couple of times, and closing all
the left-over windows,
you?ll find yourself with an icon that will neatly restart your
load the appropriate DOS drivers, and start your game. When you quit
game, the computer will restart again, this time reloading Windows 95.
Smooth and very slick.