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Windows ME - The End Of UMSDOS And BeOSfs Over Vfat?

Cliff posted more than 14 years ago | from the they-call-that-backwards-compatibility dept.

Microsoft 531

Juan Rojo writes: "I recently got a copy of Microsoft Windows Millennium Edition (which is suppossed to be the next generation of the Windows 9x series, supposed to mantain 'backwards' compatibility with older versions. In them all the ports and memory access are unprotected). I was really surprised that "pure" DOS access was simply removed. You can't enter into pure DOS in any way. No more 'Command Prompt' option when pressing F8 at the startup.. No more 'Shutdown to MSdos' and no more shorcuts to DOS mode. I even tried removing the Windows directory and it crashes at the startup instead of going back to a DOS prompt (like Win98 or 95). The only possible way seems to be booting from a disk with a Win98 DOS kernel installed. This seems to be a serious problem for UMSDOS based unix distros, for the BeOSfs that runs over Vfat and even for using LoadLin, which many users still may need. I wonder if Microsoft did this on purpose.. or if they have some 'excuse' about it." That doesn't sound very "backwards" compatible to me either. Considering the source, is anyone really surprised?

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Re:LoadLin etc. can still work (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#873815)

Don't be so sure about that. Loadlin depends on
the system being nearly uninitialised (e.g.
if I loadlin from the dosprompt after shutdown of
win98SE( type mode Co80), my network card doesn't work.

Hardware initialisation done by WinME will make this tough. Specially if the Linux drivers are
reverse engineered from an cleanly booted machine.

The only way is to kill 98, keep a dos partition, and install winME in another partition
(to keep loadlin, there is of course also LILO)

Microsoft is weening us off our 9x "bad habits" (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#873821)

Microsoft is trying to get us to stop using the DOS prompt.

This is because Windows 2000 does not have it and they are expecting to move people off of the 9x architecture into Win2K very soon. They want the transition to move as smooth as possible.

Evidence of this:
- Removal of the DOS prompt.
- Adding more Windows 2000-like features to ME
- Changing the naming scheme of the OS. Windows 2000 took the naming scheme from this product line.
- The next version of Windows 2000 will include a consumer edition that will be sold for the same price as Windows 9x.

Microsoft has been promising to end the Windows 9x product line for 4 years now. They are finally starting to follow through.

I do have to add, that personally I think that removal of the DOS prompt is very premature. I feel they have to develop some decent recovery tools before taking the DOS prompt away.

Re:I can understand this (3)

Anonymous Coward | more than 14 years ago | (#873822)

I'm no Windows expert, but maybe the conspiracy loving maniacs are wrong this time.

Afaik they killed dos because
- The luser doesn't need it, and the power user should use Win2000 in their view.
- The quickstartup shutdown feature is incompatible with the normal dos booting way.

Also maybe there is some util on the CD for real users to tweak things so that an dos prompt remains an option

Shocking (3)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#873837)

My definition of backward compatibility does not include working with older versions of OTHER PEOPLE'S software. Nor does it include 'working in exactly the same way as the old version'. Or even 'keeping certain boot procedures the same so that other entirely unrelated 3rd party software works the same way as it used to.'

This IS NOT a backward compatibility issue.

Re:Shocking (3)

Jon Peterson (1443) | more than 14 years ago | (#873838)

It is not the job of one OS to play nice with another, any more than it is the job of one program to play nice with the other.

In the case of programs, the OS (or kernel) mediates between them, and stops them trampling on each other's memory etc.

In the case of OSes, it should really be up to the firmware/hardware/BIOS to enforce rules for OSes on one machine to behave well, by hiding them from each other.

What's Wrong With This Picture (3)

Effugas (2378) | more than 14 years ago | (#873842)

DOS should not be loading before Windows.

It shouldn't, I'm happy it's not, it's excellent that they've pulled out yet another layer of headaches, huzzah.

The problem--and it's a real one--is that they're preventing DOS from loading at all.

There's *no good reason* for F8 not to allow a DOS session to start up. Yes, there's a good reason for DOS not to load when Windows is loading--but from a pure troubleshooting point of view, access to the core filesystem is inordinately useful for system repair and there is no benefit to the customer for such functionality to be removed.

It's sad, really. This is yet another example of Microsoft's technological achievements(successful migration of the PC industry from DOS/Win16 to Win32, excavation and elimination of DOS legacy code) being marred by the relentless drive of their business side to quell competition. DOS is not just a lower operating system--it's a basic environment that can be entirely overwritten by whatever code happens to run underneath it. Much has been said about the ability to run alternative operating systems being quelled by this design; the faults generated are actually much more devious. DOS lets the user replace anything with everything; under the Windows model, Microsoft holds the final say on what calls you're allowed to issue, what memory you may rewrite, what partitions you may generate. Even the simple requirement to rewrite applications such as Partition Magic in full Win32 code--and that's presuming a hard drive partitioner could be allowed to function through the API--at minimum makes the code much less portable across OS's, and gives Microsoft leverage over yet another critical element of system configurations.

The philosophy of the DVD contracts was to achieve restrictions over consumers in excess of what the law would impose by preventing any vendor from being able to legally provide entire realms of fair use functionality to consumers. By doing an end run around the law, the studios hoped to effectively reverse entire swaths of public policy. Considering the anticompetitive and intrusive charges against Microsoft, this code extraction is similarly an end run around the technological capability of the generally open PC platform to run operating systems and environments other than those prescribed by Microsoft.

I don't like it, I'm not happy, and I do believe formal complaints should be issued in this circumstance. This isn't just about Microsoft making it harder for their users to run alternative operating systems; it's about Microsoft closing off direct access to a user's own system to the point of forcing the OS to crash before giving the user a command prompt.

Crashing is not a feature.

Yours Truly,

Dan Kaminsky
DoxPara Research

Re:MS just can't win? (1)

cremat (2727) | more than 14 years ago | (#873844)

When Microsoft bought out Win95 and it still had DOS people complained that it was just a shell running on DOS, not a real OS.

Now when they bring out WinME and DOS is gone, people suggest that they have to have an "excuse" to do it...

You got it wrong. It is a question of software architecture.

People complained that Win 9x wasn't a new OS, but a GUI on top of DOS (pretty much like Win 3.1 except for the use of protected drivers instead of real-mode). Now, WinME STILL is a shell on top of DOS with a more restricted access to the plain, but don't say that DOS is gone, 'cause it's still there. and while it's there, I'd prefer to have access to the command prompt.

Re:MS just can't win? (1)

Lally Singh (3427) | more than 14 years ago | (#873847)

Well, WinME DOES still run on DOS. Same ugly hacks as it ever had. Now they're just trying to trap you within it. Never was a real OS, never will be a real OS.

If you want a real OS, I'm sure either the NT based OSes or a *NIX will do the trick for you instead. Sure, BeOS too...


This doesn't make sense, though (2)

Loundry (4143) | more than 14 years ago | (#873851)

A while back I talked to a Microsoft technical drone who told me that Win2K will contain full command line support. He explained that everything that can be done from the GUI can be done from the command line. I recounted for him the story I read about another Microsoft spokesdroid stating that "the command line and scripting were weaknesses of UNIX." His response to that was to make a face at me.

So if what he says was true (and, of course, all his words are suspect as he was a Microsoft employee), then future versions of Windows will definately contain some kind of CLI support (which will probably be MS-DOS based).

Can someone clarify this matter?

Interesting ... (3)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 14 years ago | (#873855)

... will DosEmu be ported to Win ME?

Startup time (1)

Ewan (5533) | more than 14 years ago | (#873859)

By removing the autoexec.bat, config.sys and other old DOS config files, startup time has been dramatically reduced - they dont need and excuse, but there's one (oh and you can still get to DOS, it's still there, just not obvious).


Does BOOTGUI=0 or MODE CO80 work? (2)

hazeii (5702) | more than 14 years ago | (#873861)

Having no wish to install WinME to try it, what hapens if you put BootGui=0 into your MSDOS.SYS file? (for those who don't know, this means the system boots to a command prompt rather than autostarting Windows). Also, does LOGO=0 in the same file suppress the graphical display?

Personally, I used to love the way old versions of Win9x said "It is now safe to turn your computer off" - and if you typed MODE CO80 blind at that point, you got the C:\> prompt....go ahead, find an old W9x and try it!

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (3)

Psiren (6145) | more than 14 years ago | (#873862)

Well, there's a simple solution to this. Don't upgrade to ME. Problem solved.

Rescue floppies? (1)

Cardinal Biggles (6685) | more than 14 years ago | (#873864)

Have they also dropped the "rescue" floppies? AFAIK Win9x allows you to make a floppy containing COMMAND.COM and some basic utilities.

Maybe WinME can boot completely from CD. That would be cool, then I wouldn't have to waste a partition on Windoze any more for the approx. one time a month I need it.

Re:Rescue floppies? (1)

Cardinal Biggles (6685) | more than 14 years ago | (#873865)

The COMMAND.COM has been changed to protect the MBR

Really? That sucks. What's their excuse for disallowing changes to the MBR?

I can understand dropping DOS mode, but stopping people from changing the MBR? Why?

I find it hard to believe they're doing this for anticompetitive reasons (i.e. make dual-boot harder), at a time like this. That would be extremely arrogant, even for Micros~1. But maybe I'm just naive...

The end of the CLI (2)

jjr (6873) | more than 14 years ago | (#873866)

Microsoft want to to do away with the CLI because they like thier customer stuck in their way of thinking. Microsoft does not want thier customers think outside the box. Hey this just an assurance that they keep thier customer base.

Heh (1)

Art Tatum (6890) | more than 14 years ago | (#873867)

Maybe we can convince them to put BASH in the next Windows OS. &ltgrin&gt

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (2)

deusx (8442) | more than 14 years ago | (#873874)

Umm, ever heard of a rescue disk? That disk Windows asks you to make upon installation?

Yeah. Try that.

Backwards compitability ... (1)

fidros (8566) | more than 14 years ago | (#873875)

Compatibality done backwards.

About Time Too (1)

pwhysall (9225) | more than 14 years ago | (#873883)

It's not that you can't get a DOS prompt - you can - but more that they've done much to stop the "it's a 32-bit GUI running on a 16-bit shell written for 8 bit hardware...."

Having said that, quite what WinME offers that W2K doesn't, apart from pricing, I don't really know.

I guess it depends on whether WinME will require WDM drivers or not - after all, one of the primary problems with W2K is that much legacy hardware is flat out not supported, due to cobwebbed 16-bit drivers, which may or may not install in WinME.

And finally, StarDock's WindowFX looks MUCH cooler in W2K than anything else...

CLI isn't going away. (1)

battjt (9342) | more than 14 years ago | (#873887)

Check out the way you can type anything into the address line of the taskbar in w2k. How about typing most anything into the Address line of ie.

The command line isn't going away.


I don't get MS... (1)

uradu (10768) | more than 14 years ago | (#873895)

I was under the impression that their official line was that 98SE was going to be the last iteration of non-NT Windows. I thought ME was some sort of fat-free version of 2000, without a lot of the Enterprise stuff (networking, security, etc). With all the work they seem to have put into making 2000 a semi-decent games platform, it seems that it would have made more sense to move 2000 towards the consumer, rather than 98 towards the entrprise. You know, without the 800 MB installation footprint and 128 MB RAM requirements.

But instead it's just another Win98 sibling, 98TE maybe. I guess Win98 is too lucrative a platform to let go of. Oh well...

Uwe Wolfgang Radu

I can understand this (5)

pheonix (14223) | more than 14 years ago | (#873914)

It makes sense. I don't LIKE it, but it makes sense. MS has been promising to make DOS a thing of the past since 3.1, they've just finally delivered. No more legacy 8 and 16 bit processes should mean more stability. Would you be the one to say that Windows doesn't need all the stability it can get?

As I said, I don't like it, I prefer to do half my work CLI style, but I've seen it coming for 6 years now.

pure DOS == command shell? (1)

geophile (16995) | more than 14 years ago | (#873920)

The posting says there is no "pure DOS", not that there is no command shell. I'd be very surprised if WinME had no command shell. Many of the postings are reacting to the absence of a command shell.

Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (2)

ravage (17762) | more than 14 years ago | (#873924)

Moderators, please mark this as troll material.

>"Microsoft has the right to produce whatever kind of program it wants to, and we have no right to judge its endeavors."

Actually, we have every right. The quality of a product is judged not by those who develop it but by those who use it.

As far as "backwards compatability" is concerned and as an administrator, I have since win95b considered having to be familiar with winblow$ having to be backwards compatable. Removing this makes dealing with users client machines that much more inefficient and unnecessarily difficult to maintain. All the more reason to use Linux or BSD exclusively.

...Of course I look at the very bright side to this. My company has been replacing Winblow$ and SCO servers for months now with Linux, now is the chance to really make some headway into clients desktop machines.

>when Windows Millennium Edition ships, I'll be standing in line for my copy.

That makes one of us.

>and I'm not going to pretend I'm some how more important than Bill Gates.

You've got to be kidding. This isin't actually *too* bad. it does *kind of* look like a fear tainted/ignorant newbie point of view. on the other hand though, it is pretty ignorant....definitely thinly veiled troll material.

Some details (1)

platypus (18156) | more than 14 years ago | (#873925)

Pick a side and stay there! (1)

Scutter (18425) | more than 14 years ago | (#873931)

I don't understand the complaint. For years, people have been complaining that "Windows 9x is just DOS with a fancy GUI." Now that Microsoft has removed DOS, people are STILL complaining about it. My take is this: If you need DOS, don't install WinME. Microsoft isn't twisting your arm and forcing you to upgrade. You can only maintain backwards compatibility up to a point. After that, it's legacy code and needs to be dropped or replaced.

I see this in my business (network engineer) constantly. People always want the newest and best, but they don't want to upgrade everything. They insist on running Windows 2000 but they refuse to upgrade the 486 they're trying to install it on.

If you have software that requires DOS, you either get new software or keep using DOS. Why would you upgrade one and not the other?

Re:Stupid Stupid Stupid (1)

Ben Esacove (22025) | more than 14 years ago | (#873943)

You can still do this, you just have to create a Startup Disk (or just use a pre-existing Win98 boot disk)... Microsoft didn't really get rid of DOS, they just tried to hide it. Their explanation is something along the lines of "less confusion for beginning users"...

Re:Rescue floppies? (1)

AndyElf (23331) | more than 14 years ago | (#873950)

Does this mean I can still type at the Start/Run prompt? If so, then DOS is still there, it's just hidden...

Polarize and extend? (1)

FascDot Killed My Pr (24021) | more than 14 years ago | (#873951)

This is a monumentally stupid move. Who is taking marketshare away from MS? Linux (and probably OS X soon). And if you asked a random person to characterize Linux and OS X:

Linux: That command line thing
OS X: MacOS with a command line

All the up-and-comers have command lines--in fact, all up-and-comers are BASED ON command lines with a removable GUI. MS is apparently trying to steal from Apple's idea file again, but accidentally went into the archive vault to do it.

Ahhh, well. I'm sure there are people who are praising this idea as a "quantum leap forward". I'll be running circles around them computationally--in the Internet world that's darwinian death.

BeOS? (2)

Dr. Sp0ng (24354) | more than 14 years ago | (#873952)

I don't see why this would affect BeOS, unless they changed the structure of the VFAT filesystem. The BeOS installer, at least with the Linux-friendly version, is a boot disk, and the Be filesystem resides on the Linux ext2 filesystem. It doesn't use Linux OS services at all, and Linux isn't running. I'd imagine it works the same way under Windows.

Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

ccweigle (25237) | more than 14 years ago | (#873956)

and we have
no right to judge its endeavors.

Sure we do. We call it a review usually. They are about the only form of feedback we have to Redmond. Given that PCs will ship with Windows ME, whether we use something else or not, it won't be noticable enough to their bottom line for all UNIX-like users to refuse to buy it. But we can still raise a stink on the 'net and point to the features we don't like. Goading MS into making a system that we'd actually want to use should be considered a good thing.

Now, this new feature doesn't actually sound like a bad thing. They've been saying they'd do this for a long time; good for them that they finally did. One poster seems to misinterpret this as the end of the command prompt, but that's not what this is ... this is the end of Windows over DOS ... a 2000/NT like command prompt will still be there (too much of MS's own current stuff needs a command prompt to ditch that).

Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

jason_aw (28317) | more than 14 years ago | (#873958)

Is there any evidence that the actual architecture of the system has changed? I'm very dubious; I suspect all that has happened is that they've removed the options to boot into DOS mode...

(And hence not the "end of Windows over DOS", obviously. That's Just What They Want You To Think :-)

Re:Interesting ... (1)

raffe (28595) | more than 14 years ago | (#873961)

offtopic about yahoo:
Enabling this vast, distributed, redundant network is a mix of custom and packaged applications. While the front-end search servers run BSD UNIX*, back-end servers employ Microsoft* Windows NT* and an Oracle* 8i database. These multiprocessor Intel Architecture servers are tasked with querying a vast offline database and performing data warehousing duties.



akey (29718) | more than 14 years ago | (#873967)

OHMIGOD, Microsoft has finally lived up to a promise from many years ago and removed support for MSDOS? Those bastards!

This is about a non-story if I ever heard one. On the one hand, MS is blasted by the non-MS community for maintaining legacy 16-bit code. Then, when finally cutting it free, the same community suddenly realizes that they've been benefitting from the old 16-bit code and throws a hissy fit. You can't have it both ways.

All this really means is that people will need to keep old boot diskettes around, or perhaps look at creating a boot floppy using FreeDOS. If it doesn't work now with FreeDOS, I suspect that it could certainly be made to given the proper impetus. In any case, it hardly means the End Of UMSDOS And BeOSfs Over Vfat, as the title of the article suggests.


while i'm all for bashing microsoft... (1)

downerad (29939) | more than 14 years ago | (#873969)

i think this anti-linux conspiracy paranoia is going a bit far this time. microsoft has promised to do away with dos, and they've finally delivered. i'm sure linux installers aren't the only programs affected. however, the end result is a far more stable operating system. most of what i've heard about win-me has been quite postitive.


Re:BeOS? (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#873985)

That's very true. The only part of Windows that BeOS depends on is the VFAT filesystem, which ME still uses.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:LoadLin etc. can still work (1)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#873986)

Or, like BeOS, use a boot-disk.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:The end of the CLI (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#873988)

MS is *not* doing away with the CLI, by any means. You can still run DOS programs, and you can still get a C:\> prompt. All it means is that you have to do so inside of Windows ME; Heck, just make it fullscreen by pressing ALT-ENTER. This is equivalent to only being able to run a terminal under X. Big deal.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:booting WinME (2)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#873989)

Under Windows 98, there was an option inside the MSDOS.SYS file that specified whether or not to boot GUI; There may be such an option under ME.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

Re:Funny, but... (4)

Foogle (35117) | more than 14 years ago | (#873992)

Where is it said that Microsoft abandoned the prompt? You can still use the prompt in Windows ME. You can still run console applications in Windows ME. What you cannot do, is boot straight to MS-DOS, because it doesn't exist as an operating system on its own. You need to run console-based (and DOS) applications from a shell-window inside Windows ME.


"You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

umsdos based linux... (1)

Trojan (37530) | more than 14 years ago | (#873994)

I don't know if umsdos based linux distros really won't work on Windows ME, but I can only hope so! Linux deserves its own partition. Introducing people to a crippled version of Linux is what makes them prefer Windows.

Anyway, implying that this whole thing somehow is a plot by Microsoft to fight Linux is just silly.

Just to quash a rumour.... (2)

Nafta (42011) | more than 14 years ago | (#874003)

i think this anti-linux conspiracy paranoia is going a bit far this time. microsoft has promised to do away with dos, and they've finally delivered. i'm sure linux installers aren't the only programs affected. however, the end result is a far more stable operating system. most of what i've heard about win-me has been quite postitive.
Linux does not need MS-DOS to run.

Why should this be a bad thing? (1)

JFMulder (59706) | more than 14 years ago | (#874017)

I mean, nobody ever really uses DOS these days. Almost, if not all, applications have their DOS equivalent under Windows. And if the program you develloped for a company needs DOS to run, then you probably don't need Windows ME anyway. This is a good thing they decided to remove DOS. Besides, Windows NT4 workstation works soooo well. I had only one BSOD in 8 months! And I do some heavy stuff like realtime video effects for a TV Network. I'm pretty sure backward compatibility with DOS is the reason for a certain amount of BSOD. So this should turn out to be a good think. Viva Windows ME. :-\

Re:Won't this break several BIOSes too? (1)

birder (61402) | more than 14 years ago | (#874018)

Of course you can still use a boot disk. ME is just stopping people from being able to use autoexec.bat/config.sys during startup.

Stop worring, 90% of the info being posted here is FUD. I've used the beta. It's basically Windows 98 3rd edition. With the hack out there to uninstall media player 7 and replace it with 6.4, I might actually use it.

It is still there (4)

cansecofan22 (62618) | more than 14 years ago | (#874037)

Windows ME will still have DOS compatibility. To get rid of DOS would mean to re-write Windows (ala NT). There was an article in PC Magazine or Smart Computing or something I read that said there was a way (undocumented of course) to get to DOS mode. Microsoft is most likley doing this so they can create an illusion of having DOS gone so they can get people used to the "no dos" design of there upcoming OS that will merge Win 9x and NT (2000).
Of course that is just my opinion

Re:Even though (1)

Cybie (63418) | more than 14 years ago | (#874038)

This is nothing new... I don't have a link handy, but they had mods for apache to allow FP extensions as far back as FP95 I think... I just never installed them because they didn't have them for the DEC Alpha version of Apache...

Re:Even though (1)

Cybie (63418) | more than 14 years ago | (#874039)

Though, now that I think about it... they didn't post the source to the patch back then... just a binary only version...
I don't think this is a conversion on M$'s part to the light side of the source... just an acknowledgement of widespread use of non-MS os's as web servers.

Stupid Stupid Stupid (2)

ChunkOChowder (71324) | more than 14 years ago | (#874054)

This has gotta be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Do I have to tell you how many times DOS has saved my ass? "Oops! Some how my registry and half my sys files have been corrupted, better get into DOS mode and transfer that term paper that's due tomorro to a floppy." This has happened more than once. I don't care what anyone says, floppys and DOS are indespensible if you run 95/98/98SE.


Re:CLI isn't going away. (1)

donstenk (74880) | more than 14 years ago | (#874060)

Sure you can type there or in th |start|run| and a another couple dozen places but that wont let you boot in beos in fact.

I have tried winme with beos pe and pro but it doesnt like the beos bootloader either way. So now I dualboot with win95 - good enough.

Re:I don't believe it. (2)

jonnythan (79727) | more than 14 years ago | (#874073)

Dammit man!! Read the other posts. There's still an "MS-DOS" icon,a nd you can still type "command" to pop up a DOS window. The ONLY thing that is different is that you can't BOOT into a PURE can't have WinME DOS running with no actual WinME.

You still have FULL access to the command line from within windows. I'm on WinME right now - the only difference is the lack of "Reboot to MSDOS" and an "Command Line Only" on the F8 menu. Oh yeah, and there's no more /s switch to can't "copy system files."

Re:Double Standards (1)

Lion-O (81320) | more than 14 years ago | (#874077)

After all winNT hasn't included a true dos for a heck of a long time

Try formatting a diskette with WinNT 4.0 and then check the bootrecord of that floppy. You'll notice that it was formated using MS-DOS 5.0. Their DOS may not be complete, as in lacking autoexec.bat and stuff (the files, not the options they offer), but it sure is as real as it gets.

making things easier? (1)

Lion-O (81320) | more than 14 years ago | (#874078)

In the early days I'd open up a DOS box and did 'diskcopy a: b:' or 'scan c:\uploads' and stuff like that because this was the fastest thing to do. When other people finally opened 'my computer' to copy a disk mine was allready reading the sourcedisk. But I guess we now have to adapt to the speed Windows can handle. In this case; slowing down big time.

Re:Ok, probably a dumb question (1)

JonK (82641) | more than 14 years ago | (#874079)

It's still there: Win-R, and it's c:\ time. As to whether your legacy app will run: if it's reasonably polite and doesn't (for example) do raw hardware access then it probably will. If it's no more than a quivering mound of unstable hacks then you're probably SOL (if it runs under NT then it'll probably also run under Me)

Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | more than 14 years ago | (#874080)

Microsoft has the right to produce whatever kind of program it wants to, and we have no right to judge its endeavors.

Sure we do. We do it all the time, be it in the form of reviews, purchasing the product, etc. You're right in that MS has the right to produce whatever they want, but one would think that they would want to release a product that keeps the consumer happy in order to keep making money.

I'm not going to pretend I'm somehow more important than Bill Gates.

Um, you are more important than Bill Gates. We all are. We don't need him, but he does need us in order to keep making his money. If MS was to go out of business tomorrow, then companies and individuals out there would survive without him. They'd simply find alternatives for MS products. The two credos to keep in mind are, "The customer is always right", and "The customer is in charge".

Just my $.02...

Re:Won't this break several BIOSes too? (2)

D'Arque Bishop (84624) | more than 14 years ago | (#874081)

Of course you can still use a boot disk. ME is just stopping people from being able to use autoexec.bat/config.sys during startup.

Actually, I forget where the article is offhand (you can probably find it by doing a search on LinuxToday [] ), but according an article reviewing the beta of Win ME, they stated that the only boot disk you can make is one of their rescue disks. The /s switch in format no longer works, and I don't believe there's a "Copy system files" option in the GUI format command.

This is not good, seeing as I can't see newbies trying to flash a BIOS knowing which files to delete off the boot disk to make room for the BIOS image. On the other hand, some recent motherboards (my Epox mobo being one them) do allow you to flash the BIOS via a command option in the CMOS setup...

Just my $.02...

Re:Shocking (2)

steelhawk (90209) | more than 14 years ago | (#874089)

Uhm... if you makes changes to a operating system and you want to claim that it's completely backwards compatible... shouldn't it then work with all programs that worked with the previous version of the OS?
One purpose of the OS is to control the execution of the applications, and if applications made for the previous version don't work with the current version I sure wouldn't say that it's backwards compatible...


Re:Is Caldera OpenDOS (DR DOS) still free (or open (2)

bero-rh (98815) | more than 14 years ago | (#874098)

Officially, they claim it isn't [] , but they probably forgot to remove it from their ftp servers, it's still here [] .

Re:Shocking (1)

Bushwacker (101443) | more than 14 years ago | (#874105)

I'm willing to bet money that this is just another one of CrackerBill's plots to make it impossible to run any OS other than Windows on your computer. Even partitioning doesn't always cut it. I has SuSE last year and guess what. Winblows decided to expend it's swap file bast the static (not dynamic) partition and destroy 'nix in the process. Ironically enough, it destroyed itself too, so scratch one for Free Software ;-}

This is one of the most ridiculous.. (1)

swdunlop (103066) | more than 14 years ago | (#874115)

..Examples of knee-jerk zealotry I've seen. So Microsoft /finally/ followed through, and moved MSDOS on top of the Win32 kernel, instead of the other way around.. I don't know about the UMSDOS distros, but this certainly doesn't kill BeOS R5 Personal in a FAT32 image. They aren't doing away with FAT32, just moving the kernels around to better approximate the NT and 2k arrangements.

Hell, if I wanted to get nasty, I would say that half the slashdot kiddies should be happy with WinME.. After all, it does theming, now. *eye roll*

Nonsense guys (5)

alexhmit01 (104757) | more than 14 years ago | (#874121)

Guys, you're being absurd. They announced two years ago that they would be removing DOS mode. In fact, they had planned on doing so for Win98, but needed to maintain it for one more edition.

The entire Win32s for Windows 3.1 and Windows 4.x series (95, 98, 98SE, ME) has existed for one purpose: get all applications replaced by Win32 versions and migrate everyone to NT.

This is not a hidden agenda. Gates talked about this in the EARLY 90s ('92 or '93). Back then WinCE was referred to as modular windows, Chicago was Windows 4.0, etc.

None of this is secret. None of this is aimed at killing Linux. This is aimmed at killing DOS applications that won't run in a NT VDM. Those applications are the enemy, not Linux. They prevent MS from killing the DOS legacy and moving everyone to NT.

Right now, MS is saddled by that compatibility and limits their products ability to work. There is a world of difference between NT 3.51/4.0/5.0(W2K) and Win3.1/95/98 (can't say for me) in terms of stability, etc.

They keep migrating to new driver models that were more similar to the NT ones to improve stability and make the migration easier (more driver support for NT).

This isn't aimed at Linux, it is aimed at helping MS make a better OS.


I dont see the connection with MS-DOS (1)

MfA (107204) | more than 14 years ago | (#874125)

I think you are confusing CLI with a pure text console.

FreeDOS (1)

Vanders (110092) | more than 14 years ago | (#874127)

Need DOS? Got Windows ME? You can always create a FreeDOS partition or bootdisk, and use that.

Microsoft removing DOS from Windows has been on the cards for years, face it. I'm actually surprised it didn't happen earlier...

Re:I can understand this (2)

buzzcutbuddha (113929) | more than 14 years ago | (#874131)

Having to use W2K at work, which also denies direct access to DOS, I have to say that it is tons more stable now, and hasn't crashed but once in 4 months of use, and that is miles ahead of where Windows used to be.

Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

Calamari Indigo (116437) | more than 14 years ago | (#874140)

/me tosses a handful of Purina Troll Chow in your general direction.

And here it is... (5)

Calamari Indigo (116437) | more than 14 years ago | (#874141)

From the ZDNET review. []

"Officially, Microsoft says you can boot to the real-mode command prompt only from the Emergency Boot Disk, which may leave too little memory free for running BIOS-flashing and similar programs that run only from the command prompt. Unofficially, Microsoft insiders told us to create a minimal bootable floppy disk by copying Io.sys and from the WindowsCommandEBD folder to a blank formatted disk."

Enlightenment is a Trap

Won't this break several BIOSes too? (1)

petard (117521) | more than 14 years ago | (#874143)

IIRC, the only way to flash-update BIOS on many motherboards and PCI cards is to boot into DOS mode to run the utility. If M$ provides no way to do this and doesn't even include a boot disk that allows for it, people who purchase new systems could have a hard time applying these manufacturer-supplied fixes. Talk about shooting themselves and many hardware mfrs in the feet. I guess FreeDOS can fill this gap, though.


Il vaut mieux avoir l'air sans l'effet que l'effet sans l'air.

I don't believe it. (1)

vw_bob (117531) | more than 14 years ago | (#874144)

This can't be correct. I simply don't believe it. The code for Win ME is supposed to be from the same code as SE, 98 and 95. I don't see how they could say it's from the same family and still remove the command prompt.

Furthermore, what about visual studio? (and many other programs) Lots of people still use the command prompt for lots of stuff! I mean come on! How am I supposed to rename 100 files in my x:\dir\dir\dir directory named this01ismyfile.txt to this01isntmyfile.txt ? Jesus, that'd take all day!

And my next point. Did anyone try clicking start->run and then running "command" this has always brought up a command prompt and I expect that it still will.


Ok, probably a dumb question (1)

synesthesia (120307) | more than 14 years ago | (#874148)

Ok, does this mean I will be unable to continue to use my legacy dos programs? I have a Random House Unabridged CD-Rom Dictionary that I have been using for years now(Dos 5/Win3.1). Will I have to trash it or will WinME still run it if I run the setup.exe file from the Run window (assuming WinME still has that).


Re:MS just can't win? (1)

dabadab (126782) | more than 14 years ago | (#874163)

But DOS is not gone - it is still the heart of WinME, it's just hidden - so some functionality is crippled and they sure need an excuse for that.

Re:No real legal foundation for these suits (1)

solszew (130449) | more than 14 years ago | (#874171)

what?? did you read the topic??

Haiku (1)

enneff (135842) | more than 14 years ago | (#874183)

DOS has long gone,
Microsoft doesn't want it.
Stuck in GUI hell.

(GUI pronounced gooey)


CLI still exists. (2)

enneff (135842) | more than 14 years ago | (#874186)

Please note that this does not mean that you can't access the command line interface. There is still a link on the start menu for an MS-Dos prompt. (and still exists).

Basically this is a move by Microsoft to make people become less reliant on the CLI side of windows by removing the functionality (which could just as easily stay and make no difference) in order to condition people for future releases of windows which won't contain the MS-Dos support.

Twice so far (in two months) have I _needed_ to boot into dos only to be thwarted by this "feature". Luckily I had a boot disk handy.


Of course it's intentional. (1)

Eloquence (144160) | more than 14 years ago | (#874198)

Microsoft is a for-profit company. In order to increase their market share, they need to crush the competition, and they can do that nicely by making access to core parts of the system harder. That's why the DOC format is so poorly documented that not a single third party I know of as been able to write fully compatible import filters, that's why Microsoft adds shitloads of proprietary crap to HTML documents exported from MS Word, that's why the Windows API and the MFCs are such a mess, that's why Windows doesn't come with free compilers, that's why Internet Explorer tried to introduce ActiveX for web applications etc.

Also, hiding DOS gives them the ability to spin the media nicely: "The first Windows without DOS." I bet that works very well.

By doing all this, however, MS becomes more and more inferior to open-source alternatives. By locking their users in, they will eventually lock them out. I know many who would like to leave Windows if they could, but who would come back to it?

The transition to open alternatives is the difficult part, you literally have to walk through walls. That's why projects like KDE and KOffice are so important: To break the barriers. Linux people should concentrate their efforts on defining open standards, especially in mainstream applications, and making Linux easy-to-use (without dumbing down the user).


Re:Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 14 years ago | (#874201)

>Microsoft has the right to produce whatever kind of program it wants to

This is correct.

>and we have no right to judge its endeavors

This is incorrect.

Expected, but still irritating (1)

matlhDam (149229) | more than 14 years ago | (#874205)

We've known about this for a while, and although I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said before, this is definitely a bad thing for tech support types.

At the moment, I'm working on a help desk for an ISP. One of the checks we tend to use for connection problems is ping (both in the absence of an nslookup to check DNS status, and also to test data throughput - although that can obviously be done from our end, too). I certainly hope that you can still run ping from the Start/Run box, otherwise it's going to cramp my style.

More seriously, it's going to be a problem for network and system administrators. Certainly being able to drop to DOS mode has saved my arse a few times, and I'm sure that's true of others, too.

You have to wonder about the logic (OK, it's Microsoft, so there may not be any logic involved, but hey) behind this: in my experience newbies take one look at a DOS prompt and run screaming for the hills, so leaving it in doesn't cause them any grief, and really, its omission just hurts the users who grew up with DOS and who still find it more natural for some tasks.

Finally, people do still play games which only run in DOS mode, which means that you'll need a boot disk (quite possibly from 98, too... can you do a command-line boot disk in ME? Doesn't sound like it). Obviously these are older games, but I for one still enjoy some of those games quite a bit more than current games. (That's not to say current games are bad.)

Anyway, I guess the point of this rambling passage is basically just to reaffirm that I think removing the DOS prompt is a bad thing.

Double Standards (4)

grahamsz (150076) | more than 14 years ago | (#874210)

To be fair you are being just a little hard on Microsoft here.

I can see it now, if they had left dos in then the story would read "Microsofts 20th attempt at a graphical OS still relies on the command line".

Surely this is a step in the right direction and surely the linux/BeOS people can find a way round it.

After all winNT hasn't included a true dos for a heck of a long time and ultimately that is the model that the simultaneous windows versions are striving towards (slowly striving that is).

This has been known for a while.... (1)

aliastnb (155659) | more than 14 years ago | (#874218)

As far back as I can remember reading about Win ME, one of the new "features" it had listed was the final complete and total utter eradication of DOS from underneath windows. Whether this is a good thing or not, it's there and it's not going to change. Of course, it wouldn't be difficult to move Win ME's command interpreter back a notch or two to the win 98SE version (or earlier) much in the same way it was possible to remove IE4 from Win98 and use the original explorer.exe. And hey jingo, there's you command prompt back, for those who wish to use it. --

WinME FAQ and DOS prompt (1)

happynoodleboy (166108) | more than 14 years ago | (#874234)

you should check out this Windows ME FAQ [] . according to this document you can get to a DOS prompt by using a bootdisk...and your native DOS apps should still be supported.

still, ME doesn't sound all that great. i don't think i could survuve without command line. :)

"When all clock radios are outlawed, only outlaws will have clock radios."
--Zippy the Pinhead

WinME & 2000 (1)

Onyx Primal (167346) | more than 14 years ago | (#874241)

As was stated, Micro$oft have been planning to get rid of DOS since the dawn of time. But this is something else. Win 2000 even has a little MS-DOS lookalike application. This could be not only a ploy to get other OS's off Window's boxes, but also a shot at trying to get people more into the 'life without DOS' lifestyle.

ext2 fs anyone? (1)

perlmonky (171634) | more than 14 years ago | (#874245)

At least I still have my linux partition to go in and fix the crap that happens in Windows Land. Although I like the command line style (hence the linux) I really think it was something they had to do. Still having to support dos/dos apps make developing a stable system difficult. Constantly checking environments and if/elsing your way through an application sucks!! I am not a MS advocate in fact I hate billy boy with such zeal it can only be matched by Stallman :) But I gotta hand it to MS this is a step in the right direction for them.

LoadLin etc. can still work (1)

morgus morphus (175508) | more than 14 years ago | (#874254)

While DOS based programs won't work, I'm pretty sure that an equivalent program could be written for WinME ...

After all, allowing those kind of tricks is the whole point of WinME, so dumping windows from memory should be possible (their are some OS functions under Windows that give unrestricted memory access).

The equivalent programs for WinCE had to deal with similar difficulties, after all there's no DOS mode there eighter.

Even though (1)

acumen (179458) | more than 14 years ago | (#874262)

Microsoft is trying to get into Open Source, check this [] .

Re:Microsoft is weening us off our 9x "bad habits" (1)

1134 (191981) | more than 14 years ago | (#874276)

If you mean that Windows 2000 does not have a command prompt, you are wrong. It has cmd.exe wich is far superior to It also has a cmd.exe based boot up incase you screw up your shell.
Windows 98 ME doesn't suck because Windows 2000 sucks. It sucks in its own right.
I would recommend running Win2k over 98ME even for games.

Re:And what would you be saying otherwise? (3)

Elvis Maximus (193433) | more than 14 years ago | (#874279)

The fact that DOS still existed in the "all new" Win95/98 was always ridiculed by Mac/Be/Linux people who claimed it showed that Windows was still nothing more than a shell on top of 20-year-old DOS code...

But isn't it still a shell over 20 year-old DOS code, just now without access to the underpinnings of the shell?


Funny, but... (2)

mirko (198274) | more than 14 years ago | (#874284)

Microsoft abandon the prompt when it is integrated in MacOSX.
I guess this won't please the developpers : in most of my former companies, they were using some special compilation stuff to be launched from within Visual Studio.
Also, what about gamers who still love to play eiher Quake1 or Doom and who won't be able to launch their favorite mod anymore?
This definitively make me think Microsoft is inviting people to use Windows2000 rather than WindowsME.

Isn't this Microsoft's preregorative? (1)

vertical-limit (207715) | more than 14 years ago | (#874300)

Yes, this may be a boneheaded move, but let's stop bitching. Microsoft makes Windows; we don't. We may make GNU/Linux and BSD, but Windows isn't open source and it doesn't really matter what we think about it. Microsoft has the right to produce whatever kind of program it wants to, and we have no right to judge its endeavors. If we don't like it, we don't have to use it -- we just use Linux or our other operating system of choice.

I can't speak for the Slashbots, when Windows Millennium Edition ships, I'll be standing in line for my copy. Sure, I'll still probably use Linux more, but that shouldn't stop me from buying it. WinME has been development for a long time, with a lot of coders behind it, and I'm not going to pretend I'm somehow more important than Bill Gates.

Microsoft can drive its operating systems into the ground however it wants. You don't own the Windows concept; they do.

Re:Microsoft is weening us off our 9x "bad habits" (1)

Patrick Hancox (208810) | more than 14 years ago | (#874305)

Almost right.

Win2K does not have "DOS" at all, thus no DOS promt. What it does have is a shell that looks much like "" thats named "Cmd.exe". Works much like dos but has no support for direct hardware call (bypassing the HAL).

In event of a problem the system can be booted in this UI instead of Explorer.exe by an Admin to repair/recover. Win2K-CLI (limited)

Re:I can understand this (2)

myatt (209809) | more than 14 years ago | (#874308)

Actually, just because MS is getting rid of DOS doesn't necessarily mean no more legacy 16-bit processess. Windows NT has this thing called WOW (Windows on Windows) that provides support for 16-bit processes and it still seems to run even if you aren't running any 16-bit apps. Doesn't seem like this increases stability.

Backward compatable... (1)

myosin (214390) | more than 14 years ago | (#874314)

Do microsoft consider DOS to be part of their windows plan anymore? Isnt it all super-user-friendly GUIs now? As long as it can still run your DOS binaries, i dont think MS think it matters there isnt a traditional CLI.

Troll Hebrews 8:8 (1)

Troll Messiah (215206) | more than 14 years ago | (#874316)

But Gates found fault with the lusers and said:
The time is coming, declares the BSOD when I will make a new covenant with the house of CompUSA and with the house of Fry's.

It seems faster and more stable to me but, (1)

Bender Unit 22 (216955) | more than 14 years ago | (#874320)

I have tried it too and the fact that you can't start up in DOS, bugs me a lot. Specially when it went crashed on me once and wanted to do a scandisk in GUI. The only problem was that there was a program (somewhere) that kept on making disk access so scandisk started over and over and.... So I cound not start up in DOS and avoid it, sigh.
But I am afraid to say that i runs faster and is a lot more stable than Win98 and the crash it made was because of a overclocked GeForce ;-)
Still, I fear when I have to start making customer support on this.
Well, now I am going to find a way to boot on that WinSE partition without GUI.

Re:Haiku (1)

heatdeath (217147) | more than 14 years ago | (#874322)

(GUI pronounced gooey)

I'm not sure that you had to tell the slashdot community that. ;-)


Re:Won't this break several BIOSes too? (1)

Keegi (218117) | more than 14 years ago | (#874327)

With the hack out there to uninstall media player 7 and replace it with 6.4, I might actually use it.

The 6.4 player is still there, even on WinME with its default 7.0.

Make a search on mplayer2.exe and re-point your shortcuts there.

And what would you be saying otherwise? (2)

plastik55 (218435) | more than 14 years ago | (#874330)

The fact that DOS still existed in the "all new" Win95/98 was always ridiculed by Mac/Be/Linux people who claimed it showed that Windows was still nothing more than a shell on top of 20-year-old DOS code... are you, the same people, criticizing Microsoft for removing the oft-ridiculed feature?

I don't see why loadlin, beos, etc need DOS mode anyway. An executable is an can still kick out windows and start clean. Mac people never had a DOS to work with and we still have BootX [] which works just fine to load Linux. It's not a big deal.

DOS still here and compatibilities issue (1)

Vincent Bernat (218934) | more than 14 years ago | (#874332)

Since DOS drivers, VxD drivers can still run on WinME, DOS is still here. Windows Me is just a new flavor of Windows 9x. There is no rewrite of the system. But Microsoft wants to get ride of DOS. A simple way is to hide it. Officialy, there is no mean to fo in DOS mode, so DOS mode doesn't exist.
About the compatibility issue. At each new version of Windows, MS makes a step against other OSes. Not something too big. Not something too visible. For example, with NT 4, the HPFS support has disappeared. HPFS is used by OS/2 and is an "old" version of NTFS. There is no drawback to leave HPFS. Except the fact that a user can still share data with another OS. Windows 2000 introduced some disfunction in the IBM Boot Manager. Why ? I don't know.
If we go backward in the time, we can find that a DR DOS user had problem to install Windows 3.1 but no problem with Windows 3.0 (which is older than DR DOS 6). Why ? We don't know.
We can't pull a definitive conclusion, but we can say that MS is not trying to maintain compatibility with other systems.

Re:Ok, probably a dumb question (1)

zeng (219739) | more than 14 years ago | (#874335)

I haven't been keeping up to date on millenium, but the original post says that it maintains backwards campatibility.

MS just can't win? (2)

TheDocOz (219752) | more than 14 years ago | (#874336)

When Microsoft bought out Win95 and it still had DOS people complained that it was just a shell running on DOS, not a real OS.

Now when they bring out WinME and DOS is gone, people suggest that they have to have an "excuse" to do it...

Go figure.

booting WinME (2)

dbaguy (219753) | more than 14 years ago | (#874337)

Hi, you can actually boot DOS in WinME. Make a rescue disk and boom, you're in DOS if you boot of the disk. I'm sure with some hacking one can make this true for the HD boot too. Imagine, my machine could boot Win2K, WinME, Suse6.4, and DOS all from one boot menu :) l8r someguy...

Re:Rescue floppies? (1)

mrovers (219755) | more than 14 years ago | (#874338)

You can still make the Startup Disk, just don't try to setup a dual boot with it. The COMMAND.COM has been changed to protect the MBR. However it does allow the use of all commands all previous Startup disks have allowed.
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