Slashdot is powered by your submissions, so send in your scoop


Forgot your password?
It's funny.  Laugh.

DOS 5 Upgrade Video 373

Every now and then I stumble on something so ridiculous that I have to share it. This is a promotion video to upgrade to DOS 5 obviously made in a different era. Promoting features like mouse support, a graphical shell, and freeing up at LEAST 45k of memory, well, Gimme 5! Did I mention that it's all set to a hip beat? You'll love it. And by "Love" I mean "Stick forks in your eyes".
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

DOS 5 Upgrade Video

Comments Filter:
  • Hey, DOS 5 was cool (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:38AM (#20572471)
    Much better than 4. And the memory management did help. I remember with the help of QEMM I was able to get something like 633K free, which was incredible.
  • by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:38AM (#20572481)
    The marketing geniuses who brought you this video live on in Redmond. Who else would design a brown media player and name it "Zune?"
  • by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother@oEINSTE ... minus physicist> on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:39AM (#20572491) Journal

    Can I downgrade to DOS 5 instead? Why, the productivity gains alone would be worth it! And I suspect it's not nearly as bloated as Vista.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you don't use the web, create a partition for it, install Dos5, some suitably archaic wordprocessor (WP 5.1 should do nicely), and an old copy of Lotus or Quattro, then see whether you really are working faster today than you did 15 years ago. It's not as pretty, but there's something to be said for some of those older technologies. If I wasn't doing graphics and reference heavy technical writing, and just writing, I would seriously consider running something like WordStar in full screen mode. Hands n
      • Re:Forget Vista! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:41PM (#20574823) Journal
        It was just last year, I did an on-site service call for a small business owner. He said his printer quit working and he wanted it repaired. It turned out, he had an old Epson dot-matrix printer, and the reason he wanted it repaired, rather than just replaced, was because it was paired up with a 386 class desktop PC running MS-DOS. (I think he was actually "current" with version 6.22 though, not 5. Heh.)

        The only thing he did with this PC, since it was new, was business-related work, including Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets and printing address labels from some address label software. (MyMailList Pro I believe)

        It was amazing how functional and productive this arrangement really was for him. As he pointed out, the old dot-matrix printer ribbons were FAR cheaper than inkjet cartridges, and he didn't need better print quality for address labels or for reports generated from spreadsheets.

        He could pull up his software and start working in less time than it takes Windows to boot, even on a really fast, modern PC. With no Internet connectivity, he had almost zero worry about a virus or spyware messing things up -- and running DOS, he didn't even have to mess with regular software updates, requiring reboots and all.

        (We actually did managed to fix his printer, by buying another broken one off eBay that had a different issue. His just had a dead power supply board in it.)
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by El_Oscuro ( 1022477 )
          I recently had to have a key card reprogrammed for our downtown parking garage. Much too my surprise, the entire system was controlled by an old 386 running dBase IV. I think it also had a dot-matrix printer for invoices. The application need some tuning however, as reprogramming the card required querying the entire database. What a pleasure to watch that old 40MB hard drive grind away for 10 minutes, and knowing I could make the same query run in less than 1 second, even on that old 386.
  • Those were the days (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I cannot get to the video due to my work's security policy, but....

    I remember well. Dos 4 sucked. Upgrading to DOS 5 was probably the best upgrade I have ever done from M$!

    Of course, DOS 3.4 was fairly stable too!
  • by onion2k ( 203094 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:43AM (#20572599) Homepage
    Coders today are right lazy bastards. 45kb was a lot. You had to think about organising things properly. Today I write code in languages (PHP mostly, some Perl) that hide all manner of management away from you. I'm certain that someone of my Dad's generation who wrote software in the olden days (1960s/70s/80s) would have a fit at some of the stuff I get away with.

    We shouldn't laugh at the idea of freeing up 45k, we should thank our lucky stars it's no longer something we have to care about. We have it easy.
    • by lucifig ( 255388 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:48AM (#20572669)
      I know it, back in my day we coded by punching holes in little cards! In the snow! And we loved it!
      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:40AM (#20573643)
        And uphills! Both ways, to and from work, too! And we didn't have those fancy things called shoes, today you wouldn't go into a server room without your boots, we went in there barefooted. And did it harm us? When we wanted to know if a computer is on, we had to touch its wire, no fancy flashing lights and all the other goodies you have today! When the modem died, I had to sit there for hours and whistle in 300 baud what was on the screen! Yes, 300 baud, and we were GLAD we had that kinda speed! And no fancy debuggers either, we just watched the code fly by and we knew EXACTLY what it did. Wasn't that hard when your whole code has to fit into less than what you got as cache on your CPU today. Oh, and there was only ONE program running at a time, and you had to wait for yours to run. What do you mean "on my machine"? You didn't have one, there was ONE machine for the company, and it was in the basement. Rather, it WAS the basement! When it was cold, and it was often cold because we couldn't afford heating EITHER, that was just after the war, remember, we had NOTHING (ok, except kickass expensive computers)... where was I? Right, when it was cold, we'd huddle together between the tubes (no, Timmy, not the Tubes of the Senator, that Senator didn't exist... ok, he did, but at least he kept his yap shut back then) to stay warm.

        Hey. HEY! Where d'ya think you're going? (muttermutter) Spoiled brat...
    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:51AM (#20572741) Journal
      I agree, especially if these are (like I believe it to be) 45K freed of conventional memory []. I remember the times and can assure you 45K freed wasn't to be laughed at, but a real benefit. DOS users were often trying to cram in as much as they could in conventional RAM at one point, and 45K could be the difference of one more TSR process [] or not. Ah, the memories... And later joys of Quarterdeck and their QEMM [], and so on.
      • by dada21 ( 163177 )
        QEMM was awesome, especially under DESQview with a 386. The problem on my 286 (12 Mhz with Turbo button, of course) was that it had extended memory, not expanded, so it didn't work with QEMM. The 386, OTOH, worked great. My first multinode BBS ran 6 nodes under DESQview and I still had more than enough processor speed to do some basic text gaming in another window. was in my autoexec.bat by default.

        Ahh, the days of the 640k cap. Remember "real-time" memory compression software? Ugh.
        • HA!

          My 6-node BBS ran with a Cyrix 486 DLC over clocked to 42 MHz! But it did start out as a 386/25.

          How did you get COM5 and COM6 working? I mangled the address lines on an ISA serial card for mine and snaked over the 16-bit IRQs from a different slot. BNU FOSSIL.

          Did you have two monitors going? I used to run real work from VGA and the board from the hercules card. Also handy when playing with Turbo Pascal.
      • In good ol' DOS, "conventional" ram was treasured and valuable. We all know the "640k is enough for everyone", and that was the corner stone of all that was inconvenient. Because, no matter how much ram you had, whether it was 4m or even 16m (you rich bastard), you only had 640k conventional. And of course, all those TSR programs you had nibbled away on that precious few 640k.

        So you had like 20 different configurations. One for everyday work. One for those applications that needed extra much ram. One for th
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:58AM (#20572875) Homepage
      They also sacrificed a whole lot to get those 45kb. Forget using lots of generic objects, instead you custom code almost everything. Make all sorts of nasty shortcuts and hardcoded structures that make expandability a mess. You may have heard of the "y2k" problem which was only one of many symptoms. Time was wasted not improving the software, but making small optimizations.

      Today you have tons of prefabricated libraries and code. Creating, organizing and assembling those to quickly and effectively make complex, stable, expandible, feature-rich, user-friendly applications using a minimum of time and money is a very real skill - even if it's not that same skill. I think your dad's generation would be rather shocked by the requirements of what you should do in a 6 month project.
    • I'm certain that someone of my Dad's generation who wrote software in the olden days (1960s/70s/80s) would have a fit at some of the stuff I get away with.

      Speaking as someone from those olden days, here's something else to consider. I don't know a single computer user from that era that doesn't have a good understanding of how computers work. That includes secretaries who, when not filing or painting their fingernails, spent their working hours in a command-line environment. And they liked it. ;-)
      • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:57AM (#20573947)
        Doesn't stop at users. I'm honestly baffled every time when I have a talk with a few programmers here and realize how precious little they know of the machine they're working with. Yes, they're coding in C#, some in Perl, but be honest, was there a single programmer in your time that didn't know that a "stack" is not only the pile of documents he didn't read on his table? And why a stack overflow is not only a nuisance but a danger to system integrity? Especially in a von Neumann architecture (which earns you another blank stare)?

        I think that's at the very least as scary as the illiteracy we see today in users. Programmers aren't much behind in cluelessness. They have their handful of tools, and they can apply them. They know a few algos and they punch them in. Why? No idea. How they work? No idea.
    • by Varitek ( 210013 )

      45kb was a lot.

      It wasn't so much that it was a lot - it was that by the time you loaded a mouse driver, maybe a cd driver, himem.sys, and all that, some programs just wouldn't load in low mem. I spent hours fiddling with the order stuff loaded in to get some games to run, and finding a mouse driver that only took 6k instead of 18k was a god-send. I had four or five copies of autoexec.bat tailored for different games; in the end, DOS 6 introduced a menu system to take the hassle out of it.

    • I'm certain that someone of my Dad's generation who wrote software in the olden days (1960s/70s/80s)

      I'm not that old, son. And your mother and I were wondering if you'd given any more thought to finding your own place.

  • by Ransak ( 548582 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:45AM (#20572619) Homepage Journal
    ... the artist is "YO! MS Raps".
  • Certainly must have sold better than Vista. Are people getting smarter?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by cnettel ( 836611 )
      Well has been redfined. In absolute numbers, the sales were minimal compared to today. The channel was also a lot slower, so manufacturers continued bundling older releases (all through the fall of '91, at the very least).
    • by XSforMe ( 446716 )
      PCs were not that prevalent back then, but to answer your question: YES! DOS 5 was a major upgrade and sold like pancakes. It was the first time you could actually buy the thing, before that you either bought a new computer or pirated it. Feature like undelete and unformat were well worth the money back then.
  • by Retron ( 577778 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:50AM (#20572703)
    Scary stuff: 17 years later, if you're running Vista 32-bit, pop open a command window and type:

    command /c ver

    I bet MS didn't plan on it sticking around quite as long as that when they made that video!
  • by CaptainPatent ( 1087643 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:52AM (#20572751) Journal
    so here's the Youtube [] version.
  • Taco (Score:3, Funny)

    by slapout ( 93640 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @10:58AM (#20572887)
    "Every now and then I stumble on something so ridiculous that I have to share it."

    Nah, too easy.
  • by Nero Nimbus ( 1104415 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:00AM (#20572927)
    1. I'm sure the little animation of the hammer smashing the computer has actually played out in millions of households since the release of that video. 2. Those girls are probably still asking, "Would you like fries with that?" to this day.
  • by Farmer Tim ( 530755 ) <> on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:02AM (#20572959) Journal
    And by "Love" I mean "Stick forks in your eyes".

    Oh great, I can still hear it, but now I can't find the close window button. You bastard!
  • Anyone know the story behind the ad? 5 minutes is a bit too long to be shown on TV as a commercial. Where exactly was this shown?
    • Re:5 minutes? On TV? (Score:4, Informative)

      by sakusha ( 441986 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:12AM (#20573155)
      If you can stand listening through to the finish, somewhere near the end they talk about selling this upgrade with new systems, and how every system purchaser will want one, like "do you want fries with that?" So this was obviously targeted at sales reps the dealer channel. I used to work in computer sales right about the time of this video, and we always received tons of stupid sales promo videos like this.
  • by p14-lda ( 517504 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:02AM (#20572969) Homepage
    Seriously... that is how they beat OS2.... IBM... if you couldn't beat that you deserved not to win the OS battle.
  • Just remember (Score:4, Insightful)

    by flynt ( 248848 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:09AM (#20573091)
    20 years from now, people are going to be laughing as hard and reminiscing at our current technology and ads for it.

    "4 GB of memory, lol, amazing they could do anything with that!! Coders must have been gods back then to get any performance out of those machines. I miss those days! Sigh...."
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      20 years from now, people are going to be laughing as hard and reminiscing at our current technology and ads for it.

      The scary thing is, 20 years from now people might look back and envy us being able to do whatever we wanted with our computers:

      Dear citizen, due to your recent visit to the following website:, on 9-12-2027 at 0154 UTC according to our logs, your internet privileges have been withdrawn. This website has
    • Yea I think the reason this is hilarious is because off the presentation. Nothing like rapping the content's of a press release.
    • Going from 8 bit computers to 16 bit computers was a giant leap forward. Compare a ZX Spectrum/Commodore 64/Apple II/Atari 800 to Atari ST/Amiga and the differences are huge. 16-bit computers were machines that you could get things done.

      32-bit systems are more than enough for most tasks.

      Are 64-bit systems useful? well, perhaps for specialized tasks.

      So I am not holding my 20 years time, we will still have these 32-bit PCs, and a few people will have 64-bit computers and programs.
      • by cnettel ( 836611 )
        Graphics can easily use 512 MB. We'll see more 1024 MB GPUs soon. That memory needs to be mapped. Not mapping all of it directly in RAM (possibly even twice, both in kernel and some in user space) will cause the same kind of bloat and pain that "expanded memory" did for us on 16-bit x86.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Wow, did you actually just say "4 Gig should be enough for anybody"?!?!?

        Dud you have NO IDEA where computers will be in 20 years, but one thing that is sure, 4 gig will be NOTHING.
  • Freeing up 45K (Score:3, Interesting)

    by kupekhaize ( 220804 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:10AM (#20573105) Homepage
    Back in the days of DOS 5 and 6, freeing up this much memory really was a big deal. I was trying to run some BBS software at one point (I want to say Renegade, however its been a very, very long time). The program refused to run without something like over 500K of conventional memory available, maybe more, and there didn't seem to be anything I could do to get it available.

    After lots of research, I found an advanced book that talked about a small 'bug' in MS-DOS' EMM386.EXE extended memory manager. EMM386 had a flag that let you include specific blocks of memory to include. For some reason, if you tacked on the A000 memory range, rather then adding this block into extended memory, it would tack it onto the end of conventional memory. Even better, any available sequential block after A000 could also be included, and it would get added as conventional memory as well as long as it was not in use.

    This was hit or miss, as some systems part of the AXXX memory range was being used by the actual video card. However, IIRC more advanced video cards didn't touch this portion of memory any more. The result? Adding something like the following to config.sys:

    DEVICE=C:\Windows\EMM386.SYS I=A000-AFFFF

    Tacked on quite a bit of extra conventional memory. There was nothing like running the command to show memory usage (and its been too long, I don't even remember what this was at this point) and seeing >750K of conventional memory available and being used.

    Ahh, memories...
    • by Dunbal ( 464142 )
      There was nothing like running the command to show memory usage (and its been too long, I don't even remember what this was at this point)

      It was (tadaa): mem

      Yeah we all used to celebrate the day we were able to load our mouse drivers and whatnot in "high" memory. I remember playing the excellent F-16 sim "Falcon 3.0", but this game was EXTREMELY fussy because it required something like 620K (out of our 640!) to be "free". If you didn't have the right set up to move most of your drivers
    • Re:Freeing up 45K (Score:4, Interesting)

      by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:02PM (#20574039) Homepage
      That worked because you were stealing RAM below "intended" for certain other things, like video cards, SCSI BIOSes, etc.

      Originally, address 9fff:ffff was supposed to be the top of memory, but you could move that around. Just like moving the top or bottom of BASIC on a Commodore 64. Nothing special about the memory, it just has to be contiguous, installed, and unused.

      Anyhow. The A000 block was used for VGA memory. But, if you didn't have a VGA card, and you could slide the top of DOS memory to 0xafff:ffff, you got another 128K of conventional RAM. Assume your high mem area was actually populated (e.g. you had 1024KB or more RAM installed, excluding LIM EMS cards).

      B000 was for MDA (hercules) video.
      B800 was for CGA.
      C800 for your hard disk controller. (remember, debug g=c800:5?)

      I think SCSI controllers usually wound up around e000, and the system BIOS around f000. But it's, ah, been a while.
  • I have a copy of DOS 5 in the box. I had to visit the video to see if this was IBM's PC DOS or Microsoft's MS DOS.

    DOS 5 is too generic for a title.
  • Memories (Score:4, Funny)

    by Selfbain ( 624722 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:18AM (#20573267)
    Ahh, the memories. The horrible, horrible memories. Excuse me while I crawl under my desk, rock back and forth and weep softly.
  • I remember when DOS 5 came out. It was supposed to be a huge upgrade to 3.3. I guess it was, it still seemed like it pretty much sucked. But since it was the best MS had to offer the one thing DOS 5 did was convince me to buy an Amiga.

  • Could be worse... (Score:3, Informative)

    by FlyByPC ( 841016 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:35AM (#20573557) Homepage
    Could be DOS 4. (The Windows ME of the DOS series.)

    Pretty much everyone I know went from 3.x right to 5.
  • The Turtleboy video link below it (' []) was far more amusing. :)
  • by fishthegeek ( 943099 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @11:53AM (#20573883) Journal
    I've written a blog that will surely make the front page of Slashdot. It is titled:

    Top ten list of things that Ron Paul said about Apple products while typing on a Linux computer at an Anti-Iraq war conference.

    The reason I don't read Digg often is that I want real, biased, geeky, obscure fact riddled news commented on by opinionated sysadmins!
  • by Ralph Spoilsport ( 673134 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:09PM (#20574169) Journal
    Imagine being an actor and having THAT on your demo reel.


    You would never work again...


  • (sigh) (Score:3, Funny)

    by ribuck ( 943217 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:11PM (#20574205) Homepage
    I suppose I'd better upgrade then. I could do with that extra 45kB of memory.
  • by simong ( 32944 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:11PM (#20574207) Homepage
    MS-DOS 5 must have been the last time that Microsoft included a programming language with an operating system, dear old QBasic. Actually, it was in MS-DOS 6 and 7, and by definition Win95 and was what ran when you typed 'edit' at the command line. Still, how many hours were wasted throwing exploding bananas at gorillas on skyscrapers? I was so much simpler then.
  • MSDOS 5 (Score:3, Funny)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) * <jwsmythe@jwsmy[ ].com ['the' in gap]> on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @12:41PM (#20574827) Homepage Journal
    That was just cruel. Cruel to the poor schmucks who were in the videos. Cruel to us who watched even a small part of it.. I can feel my brain bleeding...

        Lets hope that isn't the song that's going to get stuck in my head for the rest of the day..

        (Gimme 5, whoo, gimme 5, whooo)

        Oh god.

  • by Wiseazz ( 267052 ) on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @01:00PM (#20575193)
    Why is Bob Saget in DOS training?

    RTFM, Bob.
  • Please! (Score:5, Funny)

    by alexandre ( 53 ) * on Wednesday September 12, 2007 @01:18PM (#20575481) Homepage Journal
    Kill me! Now! ahhhh! my eyes!

1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes