Sunday, June 11, 2017

Guest post: How I started with FreeDOS

Longtime FreeDOS contributor Fritz Mueller responded to this month's Blog Challenge and sent his FreeDOS story. Fritz doesn't have a blog of his own, so I have shared it below with his permission as a guest post:
In the year 1999, computer parts were rather expensive, so we had computer flea markets in my and in other neighboring cities. So it was on a Sunday that I drove to a city about 50 miles away. One of the traders was selling CDs with the "FreeDOS OS" on it. As the price was only a few German Deutsche Marks, I bought a copy. Later, I learned that FreeDOS was free software.

At home, I tested FreeDOS and noticed that there was only a bootdisk on it, but most other necessary programs were on it.

I googled for FreeDOS and found the website and downloaded extra tools. Well, it was not as stable as MS-DOS, but it worked fine on many systems and as it was much smaller than MS-DOS. I could run the OS and the backup tool I used at that time from one disk. This made work much easier!

At work, I developed a Windows98 DOS Boot CD with a lot of programs on it which could be started by a simple batch menu. I used this to run different backup tools, virus checkers, hard drive wipeout tools etc.

As parts of this software were not open source or freeware, I developed a bootable FreeDOS CD with 135 free games on it. This worked well, but you had to save game results on a diskette so that you could continue the game later. The CD is still available on my website, but since the introduction of SATA and more modern BIOSes, it is out of date. But with the correct settings, it should still work.

Later, I tried to run the same games in virtual machines, but this was never finished. Maybe some day in the future. A first beta is also available on my website, but a lot of batch files are waiting for changes.

-Fritz Mueller

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