Skip

Gimme 5!
September 12, 2007 1:24 PM   Subscribe

No PC should be without MS DOS 5 - apparently because it has mouse support, a full-screen editor, and an utterly inexplicable music video. Guaranteed to save you at least 45K!!! of RAM, that is.

No doubt produced by the same people who brought us W-W-W-Windows 386.
posted by Afroblanco (55 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
I still like:
tree

tree /f

and

tree > tree.txt

ren works with wildcards and remains one of the easiest ways to rename a lot of files. Sometimes DOS is better than windows. It sure was a lot more stable too.
posted by caddis at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2007


*double-clicks GIRLS.BAK; Confirms Mouse Operation; masturbates furiously*
posted by BaxterG4 at 1:43 PM on September 12, 2007


More...
posted by Rhomboid at 1:44 PM on September 12, 2007


Some of the computer terminals at work run on DOS, all I could remember when I got to command prompt was

dir /p
posted by drezdn at 1:45 PM on September 12, 2007


How'd we survive the late 80's? If I were the Soviets I'd have just nuked us.
posted by signalnine at 1:48 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, it's a nostalgic rush to see floppy disks that were actually floppy.

So... dare I ask... what year would that MS DOS 5 video be from?
posted by languagehat at 1:55 PM on September 12, 2007


June, 1991 was when it was released, so presumably not much more than two months prior.
posted by Malor at 2:01 PM on September 12, 2007


1991 was the same year N.W.A. broke up. Coincidence? I think not. MS DOS 5 rapper guy would wear the crown from that day foward.
posted by jlowen at 2:09 PM on September 12, 2007 [2 favorites]


For all you young whippersnappers out there who might get the wrong impression: no, this was not considered cool or even passable in 1991. 1991 was when Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was big. Videos like this were considered as dorky and old-fashioned then as they seem now.
posted by Bugbread at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2007


Obvious marketing gimmicks/interior corporate propaganda always make me nauseous but the douche chills caused by these Microsoft videos might require a trip to the emergency room.
posted by quite unimportant at 2:12 PM on September 12, 2007


Previously on the blue.

Also, the "world's first cyber-sitcom", with J. Aniston and M. Perry.

Audacious stuff.
posted by papafrita at 2:14 PM on September 12, 2007


Well, Wikipedia sez MS DOS 5 came out in '91... which explains the white guy rapping, as that was the height of the Vanilla Ice era.

In a weird way, I like how achingly awful these vids are--maybe because I feel a little weird for liking their current series of (barely) Vista-promoting virals starring Demetri Martin.
posted by arto at 2:15 PM on September 12, 2007


Argh! Didn't notice the "more inside" link, Afroblanco. Sorry!
posted by papafrita at 2:16 PM on September 12, 2007


ECHO
ECHO IS ON
ECHO IS ON
IS ON
ECHO ECHO
ECHO
ECHO IS ON
IS ON
ECHO
ECHO IS ON
ECHO OFF
ECHO IS OFF
posted by dersins at 2:32 PM on September 12, 2007 [13 favorites]


They should've hired Big Daddy Kane.
posted by TrialByMedia at 2:35 PM on September 12, 2007


Dos is freaky. I remember running a modem and the Telix program on Dos 5 to connect to the Internet back in the days of Lynx. Text mode baby! This one time my computer started going crazy, with the modem constantly screeching and my mom got scared, She said 'You're movin' with your auntie and uncle in bel Air'. I whistled for a cab and when it came near the license plate said fresh and it had dice in the mirror. If anything I can say this cab is rare But I thought 'Now forget it' - 'Yo homes to Bel Air'.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:52 PM on September 12, 2007 [8 favorites]


C:> LO /L
posted by tommasz at 2:55 PM on September 12, 2007


Someone say slashdot? No? Are you sure?
posted by oddman at 2:57 PM on September 12, 2007


I'm guessing that this video was meant for software vendors and resellers? The crass bits at the end where MC DOS starts drooling over the millions of customers they're going to have, and how to go about foisting it upon consumers like fries with a burger strike me as the kind of thing you would NOT want to show consumers.

It's the kind of video you just couldn't make today, since it would be all over the Internet immediately. As opposed to, y'know, 16 years later.
posted by bicyclefish at 3:01 PM on September 12, 2007


I kinda miss Telix. There was something pure about having to fire up a terminal program to go online. It meant you were actually doing something, instead of just letting the computer connect when it thinks you need to be online.

Anyway, the last time I actually had to think about MS-DOS was when I applied for a tech support job at Go Daddy Software in 2001 -- their staffing agency was still using a DOS proficiency test to screen new hires. Also part of the screening? Cutting and pasting in Windows. Not in the screening? Anything about domain names or web hosting. I should have taken that as an omen....
posted by faster than a speeding bulette at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2007 [3 favorites]


You just made me remember something I have in a back cabinet. I went back to look, but it wasn't my copies of MSDOS,

it was a couple of IBMDOS 3.0, still in the shrink wrap, with some big heavy binder and slipcover. Heh.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 3:30 PM on September 12, 2007


I've found myself getting lured to the pricey Apple side of things lately. This may have just pushed me over the edge.
posted by itchylick at 4:00 PM on September 12, 2007


I actually installed MSDOS (though v6, iirc) just a couple of years back, to run a MIDI sequencer on. On a P1 it just flew. The sequencer Just Worked. Everything was cool.

Shame I'm so crap at keyboards really...
posted by pompomtom at 4:20 PM on September 12, 2007


I think an IBM laptop (386 I think) was the first computer I ever touched. And obviously I spent most of the time on that computer on MSDos, playing games like Commander Keen and Wolfenstein 3d. In that days I may have even thought MSDos was something made for running games, because there was Windows 3.1 for the *serious* applications.

[derail]
Then it came the Amiga 500 Plus and I fell in love. Without hard disk, so I may have used Workbench once or twice. Most of the times I was playing games. In the first years of the nineties Italy was not unlike the Pirate Bay. There was no copyright law protecting games (or at least it wasn't strictly enforced) and you could buy your copy of Monkey Island or Alien Breed at the newspaper shops (at least in Naples). Obviously there were no computer shops around my house so if there was a legit way of obtaining games in Naples, Italy in the year 1993 I still don't know. I think I've never seen the box of an Amiga game.

When I was lucky the games were translated to italian, but most of the time they weren't.
[/derail]

I think I spent most of my free time playing videogames and being not very popular with girls from '93 to '97.
MsDos may have helped my generation to getting confortable around computers. There was some amount of work to do to run games (creating boot disks, toying with Autoexec.bat, etc) and you had to understand how things worked. And most of what I learned playing with MSDos it's still useful today. So (at least for one time), thanks Microsoft!
posted by darkripper at 4:25 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


MS-DOS 5 was solid, but I loved MS-DOS 6 because with it came MEMMAKER, and thus the ability to play games that I couldn't otherwise because they ran out of conventional memory. Long-gone days of tweaking DEVICEHIGH statements in CONFIG.SYS so that I could play TIE Fighter and Dark Forces...
posted by Kosh at 4:27 PM on September 12, 2007


If only there were a better way to organize those midi files
posted by 2sheets at 4:37 PM on September 12, 2007


Well, I dunno, darkripper, optimizing your high memory memory with careful positioning of your EMS stack frame, and then loading your drivers into high memory in specific order to fit more in, probably doesn't rank high on the list of current useful job skills. :)

After I switched away from the Amiga to the PC, I used two terminal programs; Commo and Telemate. Telemate was sort of pseudo-multitasking, in that you could be downloading and editing a file and doing, um, something else at the same time... it was the closest I could get to the pure functionality I had on my Amiga. I didn't really duplicate the Amiga's pure usefulness on the PC until NT 3.51; that was the first PC OS that was reliable enough to trust and could run multiple programs without much effort. (I'm ignoring Desqview, which was apparently an awesome design, but a few years too soon: it was slow and very hard to use for we clueless people of the era.)

That's something we often forget, in our hurried multitasking these days... we'll start loading a web page, and if it's slow, pop over to email or something. If a task is taking too long, you just start something else. You couldn't do that in DOS. To paraphrase Charles from MASH, it "did one thing, did it very well, and then it moved on." You could really, really trust most DOS programs, but if something was going to take awhile, waiting was the only option.

Multitasking is probably the single biggest change in the way we use computers, maybe even bigger than the GUI, but hardly anyone really noticed.

And man, you sohuld have heard the scorn from the PC people when we Amiga owners said multitasking, 4,096 colors, and stereo sound were really important features on a computer. :)
posted by Malor at 4:38 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


tree, xcopy, and Microsoft Bob.

*basks in warm glow of 14" monitor*
posted by disclaimer at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2007


At my present job in a hospital there is a GE mobile C-arm that I (after some head-scratching and poking around, because GE has the user pretty thoroughly locked out of anything the user ought not to know) found was running over DOS 5. I was actually glad to see this because GE provides nothing in the way of network troubleshooting tools for this device, which is supposed to be able to send its images over a LAN but often enough can't. Its being DOS-based meant it was possible to start it up from a DOS boot floppy with a Crynwr NIC packet driver and a few DOS ports of Unix utilities e.g. ping.exe, traceroute.exe, and do lightweight net troubleshooting from the console, GE be damned.

But that's not the best OMG-it's-a-LIVE-PTERODACTYL sighting of which I've had the pleasure. That would be discovering, not too many years go in a lab where I then worked, that their very high-class little Finnegan MAT isotope ratio mass spectrometer was running on Concurrent CP/M. I just imaging the Finnegan engineers going "Ve only need vier concurrent zessions. Concurrent CP/M vill gif us vier zessions. A CP/M license costs 12 pfennig. Ve vill NICHT NICHT NICHT pay for Vindows licence."


> (I'm ignoring Desqview, which was apparently an awesome design, but a few years too soon: it was slow
> and very hard to use for we clueless people of the era.)

Vas NICHT slow--if you, as you suggest, knew how to tweak your EMS memory settings and helped it out a bit by using fast, lightweight, text-mode programs in each window/session. (COMMO is an excellent example of exactly this.)
posted by jfuller at 5:05 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


DRDOS shall rise again!
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2007


Oh, you know, I was thinking of Desqview/X when I was talking about 'slow'. Sorry! Desqview/X went graphical, and had an X server in it... which was reported to be quite slow on the machines of the day. I never used it myself(I was far too poor to afford Desqview, which was a fantastically expensive program), but judging from my experiments with Linux and its early X server on 386s and 486s, the speed complaints were probably very accurate.

Desqview was rapidly eclipsed by Windows... I think 3.0, although I'm not certain on the timing anymore. Windows of that era was terrible; if you've never used it, you can't even imagine how horrible it was. Unstable, badly designed, ugly, full of misfeatures... very probably the worst software hack job ever to become successful.

So if Windows sucked so bad, why did people buy it? Well, first, they didn't know better, so any graphic interface was way cooler than nothing at all. But I've believed for many years that people bought Windows because of Word, and then bought other programs because they had Windows. I'm firmly convinced that Microsoft's empire is based on the word processor, not the operating system. Those early versions of Word for Windows were really fun to use. They choked and died on long documents, but most people don't write long documents. So people used it, loved it, and copied it for their friends.... massive piracy was the other leg Microsoft stood on. Word and piracy, piracy and Word.

Microsoft doesn't like to talk about that, but those two things made an empire. And because they don't even like to think about it much, and insist on putting the screws to the market with their very anti-consumer DRM and piracy-prevention crap, they're giving the freeware alternatives the opportunity to flourish.
posted by Malor at 5:41 PM on September 12, 2007


I need to find a copy of QBASIC so I can get my GORILLA.BAS on.
posted by bondcliff at 5:56 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]



ren works with wildcards and remains one of the easiest ways to rename a lot of files. Sometimes DOS is better than windows. It sure was a lot more stable too.


You might like Linux or FreeBSD or some other UNIX, then; it's like taking DOS (stability, flexibility) and dipping it into a vat of OMGTFA.

1991 was when Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was big.

Holy crap, my old beater car was built two years after Smells Like Teen Spirit came out? That makes me feel old.
posted by davejay at 6:13 PM on September 12, 2007


yaaay, Malor! Telemate was the bomb-diggity! It had all kinds of useful features that made it perfect for bbsers. (Anyone who needed *SERIOUS* terminal emulation used Procomm Plus, which was, I recall, pretty square.) I remember the pseudo-multitasking - it let you edit a file, look at your dial list, and dig through your scrollback buffer all while you were downloading. It was badass!

I gotta disagree with you about Desqview, though. Desqview completely rocked. It was simple, pared down, and only did what it needed to do. It was sort of like having Windows Task Manager without the rest of Windows. The reason people didn't like it was because it was all in text mode. Personally, I thought it was easier to use then Windows, but Windows was all flashy and supported by Microsoft and crap.

Being all in text mode gave Desqview one advantage, though - it was super super fast. Very low overhead. I used to be able to run my WWIV BBS while playing Lemmings, and this was on a 386 DX40 with, like, 2MB of RAM.

And you want to talk about memory managment? Hah! Desqview users didn't need to wait for DOS 6. We had it back in the DOS 5 era, because every copy of Desqview came bundled with a copy of QEMM, the most hardcore, balls-out, kick-all-ass-take-no-prisoners memory manager ever made for the PC. Even once MS got their sorry ass in gear with MEMMAKER, they still couldn't beat QEMM for amount of memory saved.

(Wow, it's been a while since I've thought about all that. Thanks for bringing me back. Civilizations I, .MOD files, and BBSes forever!)
posted by Afroblanco at 6:13 PM on September 12, 2007 [1 favorite]


Word and piracy, piracy and Word.

Piracy. Word.
posted by davejay at 6:14 PM on September 12, 2007


(Oops, I just read Malor's second comment. Yeah, I never used Desqview/X either. I don't think that anybody did.)
posted by Afroblanco at 6:20 PM on September 12, 2007


I am now permanently frightened.
posted by ninjew at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2007


So if Windows sucked so bad, why did people buy it?

Multitasking, pure, plain and simple. The graphic interface, the mouse, mere window dressing. Windows allowed you to keep more than one program alive without crashing the OS. As one who usually has around a dozen windows open, this feature was important enough to outweigh all the performance and other ills windows brought. Desqview and similar abortions just never really worked. Windows also more efficiently addressed a larger memory space.

You might like Linux or FreeBSD or some other UNIX, then; it's like taking DOS (stability, flexibility) and dipping it into a vat of OMGTFA.

I know, but really, I think that was the other big thing about GUIs like Windows and Apple's OS's; the learning curve on command line interfaces is just too steep for the casual user. If you're the geek (and I was) then the command line interface had uberpower, and you could very easily execute powerful tasks. A little bit of toying around with UNIX and LINUX shows me that this is even more true here, but I am busy now. I just don't have the time to play, and playing is how you perfect your knowledge. I remember when I first figured out how to take advantage of unused accounts on the university mainframe, oh, that opened the door to some pretty wild experimentation and learning. All of a sudden that manual that stretched five feet across the table became more like a treasure map than a nightmare. If I stole your account, I apologize. I know all you had to do is complain to get it back. That's OK, I had dozens of others. (password = nullpass, now that was not secure.) My memory is a bit hazy, but I think this was VM/370. The mainframe was pretty big, so an exploration of all the stuff everyone had stored there was like surfing the net, yet less legit. When I first found the internet it was like heaven, a bigger space to search and you didn't have to cloak your activities. Yay.
posted by caddis at 7:02 PM on September 12, 2007


Fuck that noise.
posted by furtive at 7:44 PM on September 12, 2007


Telemate was indeed the bomb. I do miss it but suspect if I used it today I would be disappointed. Still, it was a sad day when I finally went SLIP/PPP from home, but the ability to have multiple terminal windows open made up for it - many people stayed with terminal server connections for Internet access well into the late 90s. They may even still be out there, running lynx and tin and pine at 56k from a telcom program under DOS. I hope so.
posted by stbalbach at 7:51 PM on September 12, 2007


If I knew then what I know now, I'd have invested heavily in Microsoft and Google, and wouldn't be wasting my time here.
posted by Dave Faris at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2007


I always used Procomm Plus for my terminal emulation.

I had forgotten about all the fucked up ridiculous EMS and XMS nonsense we had to do because they wanted every machine to be backwards compatible with PC 1.0

That's one of the things that the Apple move to OS X taught me... remove the stupid backwards compatibility and you can have a better OS.
posted by MythMaker at 8:32 PM on September 12, 2007


Well, I dunno, darkripper, optimizing your high memory memory with careful positioning of your EMS stack frame, and then loading your drivers into high memory in specific order to fit more in, probably doesn't rank high on the list of current useful job skills. :)

yeah, but it WILL help you play master of orion and master of magic

priorities, man, priorities
posted by pyramid termite at 9:41 PM on September 12, 2007


Long-gone days of tweaking DEVICEHIGH statements in CONFIG.SYS so that I could play TIE Fighter and Dark Forces...

Goddamn, you just brought back some memories. I can't adequately describe the warm tingle in my stomach right now. I remember swilling cheap beer and screaming at whatever poor bastard was playing my R2 unit in X-Wing and TIE Fighter (i.e., the guy that manned the keyboard while I flew, before we switched off for the next mission): SHIELDS FORWARD, YOU COCKSMOKE!

Actually, it was usually the guy who actually taught me how to tweak the DEVICEHIGH statements, now that I think about it.

Good times.
posted by middleclasstool at 10:26 PM on September 12, 2007


The reason Windows was popular was because of drivers.
It had the drivers for all the various graphics cards and printers out there.

Before Windows, every program you bought had to have a driver for every graphics card and every printer that the customer might own. The most successful programs, such as Word Perfect, had the most drivers.

When Windows came out, Microsoft provided all the drivers. Lots of powerful features were suddenly available to every piece of software you bought.
posted by eye of newt at 12:45 AM on September 13, 2007


The reason Windows was popular was because of drivers.

I thought it was because of solitaire.
posted by darkripper at 2:25 AM on September 13, 2007


> I gotta disagree with you about Desqview, though. Desqview completely rocked. It was simple, pared down, and only did
> what it needed to do. It was sort of like having Windows Task Manager without the rest of Windows.

Sure, sure, but it was still cool (i.e. too cool to resist) that you could run Windows and therefore Windows-only apps, up through Win 3.1, in Desqview window, and QEMM would give it its own upper memory area; and when Windows stepped on its own shoelaces and hung, it only hung its Desqview session, not the whole machine--in most cases just kill the Desqview window that has the BSOD in it and proceed merrily. (N.b Windows could not do this the other way 'round, which I'm sure won't surprise anybody.)
posted by jfuller at 5:56 AM on September 13, 2007


When Windows came out, Microsoft provided all the drivers.

but not all the .dll files, which various programs put in one or two common directories and placed the poor user in dll hell
posted by pyramid termite at 7:17 AM on September 13, 2007


I have an MS Dos 6 manual and certificate of authenticity.

My copy of Dos 6 is pirated though, 'cause the original disk became corrupt, so I had to obtain a copy. Go figure.
posted by caution live frogs at 7:41 AM on September 13, 2007


You guys didn't sell computers for a living. :) Most people bought Windows because of Word. Very few bought it because of multitasking. A few did, sure, as a few did for every other feature it offered, but almost everyone bought it to run Word.... even the people who claimed to buy it for other features still ended up buying Word anyway.

Claiming that multitasking was a primary seller of Windows is completely forgetting the mindset of the time. "Multi-what?"

And buying it for unified drivers? You gotta be kidding me. All hardware manufacturers offered drivers for all the popular programs of the time. It was the same then as now; you ran your install floppy, it figured out what programs you had, and copied the right drivers into the right places. Nowadays, you run your install CD, it figures out what flavor of Windows you have, and copies all the right drivers into the right places. That hasn't changed _at all_ from the end-user perspective. I doubt anyone on the planet bought Windows for drivers, at least in the first five years. Eventually, because Windows drivers became the ONLY drivers -- yeah, sure, absolutely. But not in the early days.
posted by Malor at 9:22 AM on September 13, 2007


My copy of Dos 6 is pirated though, 'cause the original disk became corrupt, so I had to obtain a copy.

That's not piracy. You paid for it. :)
posted by Malor at 9:23 AM on September 13, 2007


Here's what El Jobso was up to in that same time frame (1993).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j02b8Fuz73A
posted by Scoo at 11:49 AM on September 13, 2007


Doh! NeXTStep Demo 1993
posted by Scoo at 11:50 AM on September 13, 2007


Metafilter: No PC should be without it.
posted by pica at 1:59 PM on September 13, 2007


Although of dubious distinction, I am the poor soul who edited--online and compositing--that sorry video at Pinnacle Post in Seattle. And, no, bluescreen certainly wasn't invented the day before it went to post. The one bright spot was that the young woman playing one of the hapless users in the video was quite lovely.
posted by bz at 4:10 PM on September 13, 2007 [3 favorites]


« Older The Google Datacenter = The Great Pyramids   |   let me tell you about my numbers Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post