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Jerry Rhyne

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Display 1980's Lotus 1-2-3 program full screen with VMWare Workstation Pro 12.5

I had this question after viewing Win7 x64 Host + Winxp guest + DOS Application Full Screen mode?.

I admit to being a dinosaur that actually misses MS DOS 6.2 and loved Windows XP. The reason being that all my financial records are on Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheets (dating to 1984) and I am not going to try a transition all of that to Excel.  Lotus 1-2-3 ran beautifully full screen on my old XP machine but with MS refusing to keep XP alive I have transitioned to Win 7. The Lotus program will run in the XP mode of Win 7 but the screen is about postage stamp size regardless of how the  Window options are configured in the shortcut.  VMware is a bit better by allowing me to get to a 10" X 6" 20 line screen that is readable but I am still looking for a real "full screen" option.

"Aciddo" indicated that DOS programs ran full screen in Ver 7 of workstation after tweaking the options feature but I am using a 30 day evaluation version of Ver 12.5 and have had no success with the Ver 7 fix.  I have tried adjusting the screen resolutions in both host and guest to lesser values but that totally scrambles the desktop icons causing consternation upon exit from the DOS programs.   I have even tried DOSBOX but even though the screen goes to full the Lotus 1-2-3 program still is about 3" X 5" within the full screen.

There may be no viable fix for this problem but if anyone has ideas they will be welcome.
Avatar of Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert PRO / EE Fellow/British Beekeeper)
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what is your host resolution ? e.g. does 3" x 5" on your current resolution = 320 x 200, or 640 x 480?

so the display is correct, but it's just being viewed on a super high resolution screen ?
I keep an old computer (or 2 or 3 ) around to run old programs that still make me money.
e.g. I have a laptop screen size (display resolution) or 1920 x 1080.

when I play, Magic Carpet, which is an old DOS game, it shows as 640 x 480, which is the correct resolution for the game, when it was written.

see here

User generated image
this is actual size, this is how computers were and their resolutions, there is a function within DOSBOX, to SCALE UP, but it does not re-size with re-sample, it just blows it up to screen size, and looks terrible!

It appears TINY on a 1920 x 1080 screen!
Avatar of Jerry Rhyne
Jerry Rhyne


My host resolution is 1920 X 1080 but I tried adjusting it to 640 X 480 that is when the desktop scrambled.  That is really not a good option for me since it requires a complete rearrangement of the screen. The display on the 1920 X 1080 is correct but it is shrunk to the 3 X 5 size. I never really got far with the 640 x 480 because of the scrambled display.
Yes, adjusting screen resolutions to match the application is not an option, and will cause you issues.

I'm afraid 3 x 5 is what you will need to live with I'm afraid, unless you run at full screen in DOSBOX, and it will then look awful.
From all the options that I have explored the idea of simply keeping an old machine alive for this dedicated purpose is probably the best idea.
Your options are therefore

1. Adjust the host display to match application. (and will scramble your desktop, and icons, and may also not be at your LCD screen desired resolution, or native resolution.

2. run the application in DOSBOX at FULL SCREEN, and this is not going to look pretty, as it will effectively "blow up" the 640 x 480 to 1920 x 1080, and look horrible.

3. Old machine with simple graphics card with a resolution of 640 x 480
I think some options solutions have been given, and should be selected as an answer.
Maybe late, but what the heck. I have a W10 machine with VirtualBox and 1920x1080 screens. It hosts an old W98SE2 virtual machine that I can put in 1152 x 864 mode, which isn't bad at all. It won't allow me to go up to  HD resolution, but the quality is excellent. I bet it can still run Lotus 1-2-3 but sadly I never kept a copy...
I'll give that a try.  Certainly better than trying nothing or an old machine cluttering up the place.  Thanks
And lightning fast... You may have to get some screen drivers somewhere, like SciDoctor.

See also
One more suggestion -- outside the box.  Add a second monitor to the system if you can -- preferably an older 17" tube monitor.  Configure that monitor for 640x480, and then arrange it in Windows 7 side-by-side with your existing monitor.  When you want to run Lotus, simply drag it to that other screen, and it will be nice and big!
Have you tested your *.123 files in an up-to-date version of LibreOffice (my preference - a fork of OpenOffice code) or OpenOffice running on your Windows 7 computer?

My old Lotus 1-2-3 *.123 and WordPro *.LWP files opened in LibreOffice Calc and Writer respectively the last time I had LibreOffice installed a few years ago.  My old Lotus (SmartSuite?) files were more recent than yours, dating perhaps from the early 90s, but it might be worth your time testing.

IBM released the Lotus Symphony suite of office applications in 2007 as the successor to the final release of Lotus SmartSuite.  It was later made "freeware", and was finally handed over to the Apache Foundation as open source code for in 2012.  If you can get the final version of Lotus Symphony (version 3.0.1), it may help as an intermediary (export to xls) to address any compatibility issues and lost formatting that might result by going straight to LibreOffice or OpenOffice with your *.123 files.
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The solution is to the fullscreen/full screen mode for LOTUS 123 running in a virtual machine is to change the virtual machine's User Interface -> View to "Scaled Mode". It will then make LOTUS 123 full screen. I know this is 5 years late but hope it helps someone else