Exit to DOS from Windows 98 SE

Posted on 2006-05-05
Last Modified: 2013-12-28
Quite a long time ago I created a shortcut to mimic the Exit to DOS from the START icon.  Both use C:\WINDOWS\DOSTART.BAT which is identical to C:\DOSBOOT\Autoexec.bat

However, the normal Exit to DOS does not have the features that the shortcut allows to substitute new versions of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS

I don't know when it first started, but the normal Exit to DOS now fails to return from setting the sound blaster parameters, and the computer hangs at that point.

In experimenting with the shortcut version, I have found that it will fail also when it is prevented from substituting changed versions of AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS
so it acts like a driver problem.

The only clue so far is that remarking out the CONFIG.SYS in the shortcut results in a single entry of DOS=SINGLE which I have not been able to identify.  A search with Google didn't provide a clue.

Has anybody seen anything like this before?
Question by:sysandprog
    LVL 29

    Assisted Solution


    As a starting point read this:

    I must log off now, but will be interested in the developments.

    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    Here's the properties of my Exit to Dos shortcut:
    pgm tab: cmd line = "C:\WINDOWS\"
        adv button: check "ms-dos mode"
        select option "specify a new msdos config"
        create a copy of autoexec.bat & config.sys into c:\dosstart & point them to that location after editing them to remove unwanted enties

    DOS=SINGLE forces windows in DOS mode, read these:    restarting pc in dos mode    msdos mode tips    problems quitting dos mode
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution

    Hi sysandprog.
    My Win98se system has neither of the following:
    C:\DOSBOOT\  (the folder or, obviously therefore, the Autoexec.bat file therein).

    When you refer to the "Exit to DOS" icon on the Start Menu, this is a DOS Shortcut namely:
    "C:\Windows\Exit To Dos.PIF", although you don't see the file extension.
    For your information, mine just hangs the system, so I don't use it.

    If you open the shortcut's properties, and click on the "Program", then click the "Advanced" button, you are probably seeing the following three tick-boxes:
    Prevent MS-DOS based programs from detecting Windows
    Suggest MS-DOS Mode as necessary
    MS-DOS Mode

    Your "Suggest MS-DOS Mode as necessary" box is probably ticked.
    Instead, tick the "MS-DOS Mode" box, and it will then show the options to use custom config.sys and autoexec.bat files.

    If I want to enter full DOS, I just select "Command prompt" from the F8 Boot Menu after restarting.  My F8 Boot Menu always shows because I have the following additional lines after the last line of X's in C:\MSDOS.SYS file:

    BootMenu=1            ; always show F8 boot menu
    BootMenuDefault=1                      ; force option 1 (normal) as boot default
    BootMenuDelay=7            ; default to above in 7 secs if no user choice
    Bootkeys=1            ; enable  F4, F5, F6, and F8 keys
    BootWarn=0            ; do not show safe mode warning dialog
    Logo=0                  ; do not display win98 logo

    Restarting your computer can be achieved using other alternative methods:

    A Desktop or Start Menu Windows shortcut set to the command:
    C:\WINDOWS\RUNDLL32.EXE shell32,SHExitWindowsEx 2
    or that command line entered into the Start Menu's "Run" field and executed.

    The 2 at the end can be replaced with a number that equates to the sum of the options you wish:
    0    Logoff
    1    Shutdown
    2    Reboot
    4    Force
    8    Poweroff (if supported by the hardware)
    So a 6 would be a forced reboot, a 5 would be a forced shutdown, and a 12 presumably would be a forced power-off.

    To restart the computer from DOS Mode (batch file or typed command - RESTART), you can extract the RESTART.COM file from the EBD.CAB file on a Windows 98 boot floppy, and copy it to your C:\ or C:\Windows\Command directory and restart the computer whenever you wish.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Oh yes, I forgot.
    The DOS=SINGLE line in the config.sys file is explained here as "causes your computer to start in DOS Mode":
    LVL 14

    Expert Comment

    Bill you overlooked what i already stated,  check "ms-dos mode" & DOS=SINGLE forces windows in DOS mode

    although you did add, the boot menu, & shellexitwindows (dang! that one slipped my mind - must be getting late)
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    FriarTuk. I didn't overlook it, I simply didn't see your comment before I posted because I didn't reload the question before posting my 1st comment, and didn't reload and scroll back up before posting the 2nd comment.  I was too busy looking for a page with screenshots of the DOS property pages.  My apologies.
    LVL 5

    Author Comment

    With your kind assistance I have pretty much solved the problem.  I had forgotten that there was another copy of the shortcut that is triggered from the START-SHUTDOWN-RESTART IN MS-DOS MODE.

    This additional shortcut is located at "C:\WINDOWS\Exit to DOS.PIF"
    and calls C:\WINDOWS\DOSSTART.BAT as a batch file.

    So, Bill, when your system hangs, the cure is to create both of these files.  However, it will most likely still hang unless you either include a DOSONLY=0 entry in DOSSTART.BAT or tailor the shortcut to include modified entries for CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT

    The DOSONLY=0 entry keeps the sound blaster from loading.  That prevents the system from hanging up when it can't get the right driver.  Evidently something comes across from the original windows CONFIG.SYS that produces the problem.  That is eliminated by providing a new CONFIG.SYS in the shortcut.

    The new AUTOEXEC.BAT in the shortcut needs to be only an ECHO or REM comment because the rest of the functions are provided by DOSSTART.BAT

    Final support for Windows 98 is going away in July, so you probably won't want to fiddle with it.

    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    Thank you, sysandprog.
    Glad the problem is resolved now.
    Actually, I haven't used the "Restart in DOS Mode" option for years because of the way I set my my msdos.sys to always shows the F8 Boot Menu anyway.

    >>> "Final support for Windows 98 is going away in July, so you probably won't want to fiddle with it". <<<
    I'll continue to fiddle with Win98se as long as the computers I have which support it continue to work :-)

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