From Chapter Five of...
The Windows 95 Bug Collection
'Welcome to Gamers Hell'
by Bruce Brown, Bruce Kratofil and Nigel R.M. Smith
|MORE THAN exploding stones or a talking
dog, gamers who venture into the new Windows 95 world are going to need an
old fashioned knowledge of expanded memory, device drivers, and boot
Sound familiar? In an almost Calvinist twist, people who want to play games in Windows 95 are forced to suffer more than people who just want to count beans. The reason is not deific pique, however, but rather the "legacy" of DOS.
The achieve the graphics and animation needed, DOS game developers have long pushed the limits of the C:\ prompt, crafting custom programming solutions which often required every ounce of muscle MS-DOS could muster.
Windows 95 does wonders for developers of new games, but it doesn't do that much for players of old DOS games. Many of these games were a pain to properly configure in DOS, and they remain a pain. Judging the glass to be half full, Computer Gaming World declared DOS game setup under Windows 95 "certainly no worse than configuring them under DOS."
Basically, there are three choices for installing DOS games under Windows 95. If you've been living right, you can simply create an icon for the game, and run it.
If that doesn't work, and it won't for a significant number of popular DOS games, you'll have to run the game in Single Application Mode, which is to say in exclusive MS-DOS mode, which forces you to reboot to get back into Windows 95 and the rest of your programs (cool!).
And finally, if that won't work, you'll have to boot from a floppy with your old pre-Windows 95 version of DOS and setup files.
If your favorite DOS game falls into the great Single Application Mode heap, here's what you do. Go Explorer, open the directory which contains the game and find the .EXE file that runs the game. Highlight it, right click your mouse, and choose Properties. Select the Program tab at the top of the box, and then the Advanced button, and finally click "MS-DOS mode."
Now things get a little dicey. Each game can have its own AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files containing drivers for your CD-ROM drive, mouse, etc. Chances are, you are going to have to manually add this information from your old pre-Windows 95 AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files.
To do so, you "Specify a new MS-DOS configuration," and copy the lines from your old setup files into the appropriate windows. It's best to start with just the drivers you think you'll need, and then add more as necessary.
One caveat: be certain there is no blank line at the end of the AUTOEXEC.BAT file you create for your game's Single Application Mode setup.
When you've got your AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files the way you want them, click "Use current MS-DOS configuration."
Now if you're lucky, when you double-click on the game's icon, your machine will reboot and up will come your DOS game.
Are we having fun?
"The Windows 95 Bug Collection" © Copyright 1995 Bruce Brown