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What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 available?
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Author:  johnye_pt [ Thu Mar 07, 2019 6:03 pm ]
Post subject:  What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 available?

I have an old Toshiba 1900-305 Compaq Armada E500 laying around so I decided to Install 3 operating systems in it:
- MS-DOS 7.10 (FAT32 + LFN support)
- Windows Me (native plug n' play USB among other nice features)
- Windows XP Professional.

I found this version of MS-DOS 7.10 (used wayback machine because current page no longer contains links). I want to install all 3 OSes in Portuguese, so I'll try to "translate" whatever version of MS-DOS I decide to use by replacing the files with localized files from Windows 98/98SE/wherever they came from, if I can ever figure that out.

So the question is: are there "better" versions of MS-DOS 7.10 in circulation? Whatever is closer to MS-DOS 6.22 compatibility and functionality will suffice for me.


On a side note, I already tested the triple boot in VirtualBox and it works great. Here's the steps I used, probably most of you know them by heart but here they are anyway for whoever needs to use a similar approach:
- split HDD in 2 FAT32 partitions (used Vista/7's SHIFT+F10 and diskpart for partition alignment and quick format)
- install MS-DOS 7.10 to 1st partition (C:)
- create C:\BOOTSECT.DOS with "DEBUG <READ.SCR" (more about this step here)
- backup autoexec.bat, bootsect.dos, command.com, config.sys, io.sys and msdos.sys to C:\BOOTDOS\
- install Windows Me to 1st partition (C:, didn't like the drvspace/dblspace files in the root so I moved them)
- create BOOTSECT.DOS with "DEBUG <READ.SCR" and rename to BOOTSECT.W40
- backup autoexec.bat, bootsect.w40, command.com, config.sys, io.sys and msdos.sys to C:\BOOTWME\
- install Windows XP to 2nd partition (D:)
- add the following lines to C:\BOOT.INI:
c:\bootsect.dos="Microsoft DOS 7.10" /WIN95DOS
c:\bootsect.w40="Microsoft Windows Millennium" /WIN95
- copy files from C:\BOOTDOS\ to the 1st partition root, replacing existing ones
- rename them all to .DOS extension
- copy files from C:\BOOTWME\ to the 1st partition root, no need to rename
- done: reboot and enjoy!

/WIN95 instructs NTLDR to boot a legacy system by renaming its boot files from .W40 to the original extensions, and the already existing ones to .DOS extension.
/WIN95DOS instructs NTLDR to boot a legacy system by renaming its boot files from .DOS to the original extensions, and the already existing ones to .W40 extension. Curiously, IO.SYS is renamed to BINBOOT.SYS instead of IO.W40. Whatever, as long as it works ;)

EDIT: Replaced Toshiba 1900-305 with a Compaq Armada E500. The Toshiba (P4+DDR) has a n AC97 audio chip which doesn't have MS-DOS drivers. The Compaq (P3+SDR) has an ESS Maestro 2E / ES1978 audio chip that also doesn't have MS-DOS drivers, but its VXD drivers provide sound for MS-DOS programs running inside Windows by adding maestro.com to autoexec.bat, which means it will only work with Windows 95/98/98SE, but not Windows Me. So basically MS-DOS 7.10 in this configuration will not have sound, but command line under Widows 98SE will. Oh well...

Author:  yourepicfailure [ Thu Mar 07, 2019 9:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

johnye_pt wrote:
So the question is: are there "better" versions of MS-DOS 7.10 in circulation? Whatever is closer to MS-DOS 6.22 compatibility and functionality will suffice for me.


No. Any distribution of "Dos 7.1" originated from the China Dos Union hackjob.

Author:  Overdoze [ Thu Mar 07, 2019 10:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

The only real MS-DOS 7.1 was part of Windows 95 OSR 2.x and Windows 98, and was never distributed separately.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Thu Mar 07, 2019 11:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Overdoze wrote:
The only real MS-DOS 7.1 was part of Windows 95 OSR 2.x and Windows 98, and was never distributed separately.

Yes I know that, hence the question about the most trustworthy ms-dos 7.1 version, since they're all hacks from Windows 95/98 files.

yourepicfailure wrote:
No. Any distribution of "Dos 7.1" originated from the China Dos Union hackjob.

So I guess the one I have is as good as any other? I'll take a look inside the .pak files (pkzipped with a ":MSDOS" password), try to find out where they were extracted from and replace them with the equivalent localized versions. Whatever I find out I'll post it here, just for reference. Might take a (long) while though :mrgreen:

EDIT: I'm definitely using this 7.1 version! I tried it in the laptop which already had Windows Me and XP, it detected a NT/2K/XP boot loader and added itself to it without messing up the MBR!

Author:  ComputerHunter [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

I have a clean MS-DOS 7.1 taken from Windows 98 that does not have any third party apps installed and it would be the most original version of 7.1 you can get.

Author:  os2fan2 [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

If you want a localised version of microsoft DOS 7.1, you can make it thus:

1. Install Windows 98 or 98se into a fat32 partition.

2. Install Windows 2k or XP into the same directory. The win98 gets removed, but there is a hidden directory 'C:\MSDOS7', and a few files in the root directory.

3. This MSDOS7 is the remains of Win98 or 98se, being essentially the DOS from those systems. You can delete the 'defrag.exe' utility, as it is a win32 app, and will not run under DOS. The rest can be transferred to a floppy disk.

4. In the root directory, there is a small file i think it's called 'BOOT.DOS'. This contains one line, which can be added to the end of the boot.ini file. You have to remove the R, S, H attributes from it to do it. Unhide the msdos7 directory, and when you reboot, you have both windows xp and dos there.

It's a genuine msdos7, not hand-hacked out of the source installs. Thanks Offer (he of boot.ru fame)

Author:  johnye_pt [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 12:05 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Thank you for the suggestions. Unfortunately that kind of defeats the purpose of having an installable MS-DOS 7. Another alternative method would be to install Windows 98SE, copy the files from C:WINDOWS\COMMAND and the \OTHER\OLDMSDOS cd folder to C:\DOS, edit MSDOS.SYS to add BootGUI=0 and LOGO=0, delete the other folders and I would get an identical result.

The most practical method so far still seems to be using the release I found and just replace the files inside the .PAK for localized files from my Windows 9x CDs. The installation method they use in the floppy is very interesting and customizable, I might even translate every dialog box in SETUP.INF just for kicks. I once also tried to make a setup floppy for a bootable cd project of NT 3.1/3.5 that mimicked msdos/nt3.51/nt4 setup with gdisk for partition management, I might resume that project using the files from this floppy since it also uses gdisk but with a nicer menu system.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 2:59 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

For anyone interested, I found this page: http://tarpino.free.fr/Mini98/mini98.htm

It contains a MS-DOS 7.10 / 8.00 Creator and a Mini Win 98 / Me Creator, all you need is a CD to use as source (it fails under WinXP and partially fails under WinME with a Win98SE ISO), but most importantly it lists most of the original source links for the utilities used in the floppies, many of them require the Wayback Machine to work.

I believe MS-DOS 7.10 Creator creates 3 floppies instead of 2, the 3rd could be the optional "addons" asked during setup, and probably the disk DeFacto was asking for in this topic.

Author:  Ekrator [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

johnye_pt wrote:
For anyone interested, I found this page: http://tarpino.free.fr/Mini98/mini98.htm

It contains a MS-DOS 7.10 / 8.00 Creator and a Mini Win 98 / Me Creator, all you need is a CD to use as source (it fails under WinXP and partially fails under WinME with a Win98SE ISO), but most importantly it lists most of the original source links for the utilities used in the floppies, many of them require the Wayback Machine to work.

I believe MS-DOS 7.10 Creator creates 3 floppies instead of 2, the 3rd could be the optional "addons" asked during setup, and probably the disk DeFacto was asking for in this topic.


Super, I will try out. I thought the latest MS-DOS version was 6.20.

Author:  AlphaBeta [ Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Ekrator wrote:
Super, I will try out. I thought the latest MS-DOS version was 6.20.

The latest standalone version of MS-DOS was actually 6.22, the later versions were distributed together with Windows and had major changes done to them because of their purpose.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Darn... the main reason for having MS-DOS 7.1 went down the drain... basically the laptop's audio chip doesn't support MS-DOS, and the "new" laptop I got does, but only under Windows 95/98/98SE because it needs to load a file in autoexec.bat which Windows ME doesn't do (check 1st post). So Windows ME got replaced with Windows 98SE which already has MS-DOS 7.1 anyway...

However I still find interesting to have an installable MS-DOS 7.1 floppy version with FAT32 and LFN support, so I'm going to try to backtrack every program used, replace it with newer versions, fix the "Engrish" text, then make a localized version. Let's hope it all goes smooth...

Author:  os2fan2 [ Tue Mar 12, 2019 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

LFN support is not in plain DOS. You need some thirdpaty proggies for that.

I have a version of msdos 7.1 which i'm working on to do a multi-windows dos.

Author:  dfawcus [ Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

os2fan2 wrote:
LFN support is not in plain DOS.


That is what I've always thought.

Following through the links posted earlier suggested that the DOS one can extract from W98SE and/or WinME (I can't remember which) would have LFN support at the plain DOS level.

Since I've never played with either, I don't know.

I know that the W95 provided DOS's did not provide this.

Author:  roytam1 [ Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

os2fan2 wrote:
LFN support is not in plain DOS. You need some thirdpaty proggies for that.

I have a version of msdos 7.1 which i'm working on to do a multi-windows dos.

You should say "plain 'MS-'DOS". ROM-DOS 7.1 supports LFN natively.

Author:  winnt32 [ Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

just extract DOS 7.1 from win98

Author:  johnye_pt [ Wed Mar 13, 2019 11:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

winnt32 wrote:
just extract DOS 7.1 from win98

Obviously that's an option, but where's the fun in that? Sure, it works in a pinch, but it wouldn't feel like a real MS-DOS without a nice installer, a full set of working tools, some KB upgrades/fixes like kb263044 and kb311561, among other small tweaks and customizations.

I guess I unintentionally answered my own question: "the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 available" is the one where you can verify the source of every file used, instead of just presenting a mashup of files to the final user without any mention to where they came from, which ones where modified and why/how. I'm currently checking every file in the MS-DOS 7.1 release I mentioned in the 1st post and cataloging every step taken to recreate it. When I'm finished, I'll try to fix the "Engrish" text and post the final result here.

Author:  os2fan2 [ Thu Mar 14, 2019 10:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

This is the thread on how i constructed my msdos71.2400. It gives all of the sources and patches.

http://reboot.pro/topic/5497-ms-dos-71/

It's designed to work with utilities from 'msdos 6.3', which is also in the same forum (ie thread-folder). They are both part of Wendy's Win9x project' The third disk has not been made yet, as i am still thinking of what to include. QBasic, dosshell, msd 2.12 (3.00 patched, it came out between 2.11 and 2.13.) 6.3 is a variable 6.20 / 6.22 boot set.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:40 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

os2fan2 wrote:
This is the thread on how i constructed my msdos71.2400. It gives all of the sources and patches.

http://reboot.pro/topic/5497-ms-dos-71/

It's designed to work with utilities from 'msdos 6.3', which is also in the same forum (ie thread-folder). They are both part of Wendy's Win9x project' The third disk has not been made yet, as i am still thinking of what to include. QBasic, dosshell, msd 2.12 (3.00 patched, it came out between 2.11 and 2.13.) 6.3 is a variable 6.20 / 6.22 boot set.

I already had your link on my list, it's where I took the KB references from :mrgreen: I like to split MS-DOS 7.1 in 2 versions: 7.1a should include everything up to MS-DOS 6.22, and anything new added up to MS-DOS 7.1, including any files upgraded by Windows 9x patches and custom/homemade patches, which you already include. 7.1b should include 3rd party files that add newer functionality to MS-DOS, but without cluttering memory space or floppy requirements. I definitely prefer a 7.1b version.

I like the China DOS Union MS-DOS 7.1 style installer because it's very customizable (but I won't mess with it much because I don't want to break it) and it uses pkzip to compress all the files together. The greatest flaw I see so far is the heavy modifications they did to some files just to cram it all in 1 ou 2 floppies: I'm OK with using UPX to reduce file sizes, but removing header data just to save a few bytes permanently "damages" the files, making it slightly harder to track down the source files. One special case is bootpart.exe 2.50 from WinImage, which is a 32-bit PE (Portable Executable) with a 16-bit DOS stub which is actually a full program instead of the usual "This program cannot be run in MS-DOS" message, and I don't have a clue on how they managed to extract the DOS stub of 16.274 bytes from the original 45.568 bytes file, so I placed a pin on it for now...

Author:  os2fan2 [ Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Have a look at http://www.os2fan2.com/files/utils.dsk . It is the custom addin to any installed dos, even contains a config.sys/autoexec backup. The utils disk has a setup, which creates a c:\use directory for its stuff, and creates an optimised config/autoexec for the system. I use a uk keyboard, but the keyb program supports other versions. The use of c:\use goes back to 1992, when i used to put third-party single file stuff into that directory.

Other disks there are msdos631.rar and msdos711.rar, which are versions of msdos 6.2x and 7.11, which i use in my dos vms. 711 is still in beta, but 631 is nearly at release stage. (It needs an INF to install it in Windows 9x). Both of these run under Windows DOS boxes.

Author:  johnye_pt [ Tue Mar 19, 2019 1:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

Thanks! I'll take a look at those next weekend. Darn work always gets in the way of my retro fun...

Author:  os2fan2 [ Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: What's the most trustworthy version of MS-DOS 7.1 availa

The files http://www.os2fan2.com/files/msdos.dsk and http://www.os2fan2.com/files/pcdos.dsk are the diskettes used to 'complete' the DOS distros. They contain DOS-generic files like editors, languages and help systems. Both contain dosshell (msdos 6.x and pcdos 7,x).

Some of the files have been altered to avoid clashes with OS/2 files. The PCDOS cmdref.inf is now doscmd.inf, and files updated to match. Likewise, the qbasic editors are now called qbed.com, while the win95 editor is msed.

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