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Windows XP and MS-DOS

Hard as it is to believe, sometimes it makes sense to run plain old MS-DOS. Games are usually not the reason—most games that were designed back in the DOS days can't cope with the blazing speed of today's processors. However, some people still need to use specialized hardware that works only under DOS, such as industrial control and hardware programming systems. The software for these devices often don't work when run from an XP Command Prompt window because Windows doesn't give it the direct access to hardware it needs. So, for occasional use, you might want to run MS-DOS to perform specialized tasks.

NOTE

This section discusses ways to boot your computer under DOS, so that Windows isn't running at all. You might be able to run your MS-DOS program in an emulator—a program that mimics a PC running DOS. This might let you run games and old DOS software without going to the trouble of booting up DOS itself, but it probably won't help you with old hardware issues, unless you can extend the emulator (the open-source DOSBOX emulator could be a candidate for extension). For a discussion of emulators, see the end of this chapter.



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