LGR – Installing MS-DOS on a New Gaming PC!

LGR – Installing MS-DOS on a New Gaming PC!

[♪ Music and Keyboard Typing ♪]
Greetings, and welcome to an LGR thing!
And today, let me introduce to you, this fine computer.
A buddy of mine was recently wanting to build a PC,
so I said I’d help him do it, with his chosen specs being an
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X CPU, 16 gigs of Corsair Dominator Platinum RAM,
a 500 gig 960 EVO M.2 SSD, a 6 gig GeForce 980Ti SuperClocked video card,
a Fractal Design Define C case,
and MS-DOS 6.22. *Chuckles*
Oh just- I’m kidding, he didn’t pick that. I did.
Suffice to say, this is just for a bit of fun.
I do not recommend installing DOS on a modern PC;
There’s a whole host of compatibility issues,
but that’s kind of what I wanna explore in this video.
Legacy support is an interesting subject to me, as you know,
the fact that modern PCs still technically run
all sorts of older compatible software,
including old Microsoft operating systems like MS-DOS,
and so I figured, “Hey, why not try to install this on there?”
This, straight onto the SSD
from floppy disks and everything.
Um, yeah, let’s try to make that happen because
I’ve actually never done this with a computer this new.
So, what we’re going to be using to accomplish all this
is an external USB 3½ inch floppy disk drive,
with an MS-DOS boot disk, and you know,
I’ve never tried this out on a modern machine-
Just booting from a USB floppy, but we’ll see if it works!
Just gonna go into the BIOS here and check
the boot settings to see if it sees it as a boot device,
and yes it does! A USB floppy drive showing up right there.
So, just hoping it’ll work and… it works perfectly fine!
MS-DOS is booting just like that!
Of course, we can’t actually install anything to the C: drive yet, it hasn’t been partitioned
or formatted or anything, so I’m gonna see how fdisk handles this 500 gig M.2 SSD.
This is asking if I want to enable Large Disk Support, cause
this version of the program I’m actually using is from Windows 98.
And it does recognize it as a fixed disk drive,
so I’m going to tell it to use the maximum
available size for a primary DOS partition.
So alright, let’s just go ahead and try to format the C: drive, and…
well, *Chuckle* it says that it’s “18,18.5 megs.”
I’m assuming that’s 18 gigs and
180 megabytes or something like that.
I’m not entirely sure…
It might be actually seeing the whole 512 gigs
and it’s just not displaying it properly.
Either way, this is going to take far too long for me to mess with.
That’s gonna take a looooong time!
I dunno if I wanna do that!
I *don’t* want to do that.
So I’m just gonna go back and not even mess
with trying to have it see the whole drive.
And just limit it to the two gigs that I know that MS-DOS will work with.
And that time around, it is doing it just fine
and formatting very very quickly!
We’ll give it a volume label right here
that is appropriate for this particular situation
and there we go! We have a formatted C: drive,
ready to install MS-DOS!
Which I have on another floppy disk here and the setup is just going to go through and…
Well, this is MS-DOS 6.22, so it’s pretty standard.
It just sees it as any other PC that it would
see it as because DOS, it don’t care.
All it knows is that there’s an A: drive, a C: drive, and
there’s a PC it can be installed on, so that’s what it’s gonna do.
Once those three disks are complete,
MS-DOS is completely installed.
We’re just gonna restart the computer, and…
Well, it’s not seeing it. At all. I completely disconnected
the disk drive, went into the BIOS, and made sure
that it’s only trying to boot from the one internal drive,
and it’s just- just not doing it!
So whatever this system is looking for,
it’s just not finding with MS-DOS 6.22.
However, if I start it up *with* a boot floppy disk, and then
go over to the C: drive, you can see everything is there.
And… MS-DOS is now working!
Just for the heck of it, let’s run ScanDisk and see how that works!
Wow! That was… instantaneous. *Chuckles*
I mean, I guess I shouldn’t expect anything less, but uh…
Yeah, I thought that was kind of amusing.
Alright, time to try out some games and I have
Commander Keen, Episodes 1 and 4 on a floppy disk here.
We’re just gonna copy them over to the C: drive,
and then try out Commander Keen 1.
This is a 16-color EGA game
and it’s booting up just fine, however…
It’s kind of hard to see it in this because my camera
was correcting for it a little bit, but the colors are… wrong.
They’re not nearly as vivid as they should be.
The white is tinted a little bit green,
and there’s no sound effects whatsoever.
Just the melodious echoing tones of the Model M keyboard.
[Keyboard clicking noises]
Now this is not a game that uses like a soundcard for sound effects or anything,
but that’s one reason that I was wanting
to try this first because it uses the PC speaker.
But it’s not even playing that!
I was thinking maybe it was just disabled,
so I went into the BIOS again and checked and saw that there was a boot beep that you could enable there,
but I also saw that it says
“Please note that a buzzer is needed.”
Sure enough, that made absolutely no difference in-game.
There’s still no sound effects. Keen walking here should be making a little sound.
It doesn’t. Turns out this board does not
have any kind of PC speaker or buzzer installed.
Just one last thing to check though, I thought maybe it might be
pushing the PC speaker tones through the sound card output.
I’ve seen some systems that do that,
so I plugged in some speakers here and… NOPE!
Still no sound whatsoever, so apparently you just have
to find a PC speaker and install it in this computer.
There is a motherboard header that you could plug it into.
PC speaker is a thing of the past.
Many of them rely on board indicators and
lights and things like that instead nowadays.
Alright, time to try Commander Keen 4 here.
Amusingly, it does say that the PC speaker is detected,
but that probably just means that while there’s the thing
on the motherboard that allows it, so whatever,
it’s not going to get any sound cause there’s just not one installed.
However, I did want to check to see if
the EGA would be weird here too, and…
it certainly is. Again, everything has this sort of greenish hue going on.
It’s just tinted in such a way that does not look right whatsoever.
Yellowy-green, pee-colored mush going on top of everything.
And I’ve seen this happen on a bunch of more
modern video cards like this one. This is a 980Ti.
So while they do have legacy compatibility for CGA and EGA graphics,
it’s… not quite accurate for games like this.
In fact, you can see some corruption going on here
with some of the tiles or whatever it’s using for the graphics.
They just don’t look right at all.
Text modes seem absolutely fine and ASCII characters are showing up,
it’s all good there, but EGA is just not quite compatible.
Alright, I wanna try some other larger games out,
but I don’t wanna copy them over by floppy or anything.
And I don’t have an external CD drive on hand,
so what I’m going to try here is FreeDOS,
which, as the name implies,
is a free alternative to DOS
and it has all sorts of extra options for
more modern hardware, including USB support.
So you can plug in USB sticks and this version of DOS
will allow you to open programs and stuff from those.
And once I had it installed, it booted up just fine.
Whereas MS-DOS was needing a boot disk,
FreeDOS was perfectly cool;
The computer saw it and booted to it, no problem.
So I’m gonna go to the D: drive, which is a USB stick that I have
here and installed on it are some games I wanna try.
We’re gonna start with Jazz Jackrabbit here, the CD-ROM version,
and it boots up to my surprise, absolutely fine!
Again, of course, there’s no sound whatsoever,
but it does have the VGA graphics displaying properly…
and, in game… it’s good!
It’s colorful and responsive and it’s fast as it needs to be.
For the most part, it’s very smooth.
I did notice some stuttering every so often,
but that could be because
I think the game actually runs at 75 hertz?
Or 70 or something like that.
So, it’s dropping some frames every so often,
which causes a stutter, but otherwise, yeah,
I mean, it’s running it perfectly fine, which is awesome! No color corruption or anything.
Next I wanted to try Duke Nukem 3D and
I’m gonna try it in 640×480 VESA compatible mode and…
Well… *Chuckles* This was a little bit of a surprise.
It runs… like total garbage and
there’s some weird corruption going on here.
All sorts of choppy stuttering texture issues,
from the menus to the game itself,
mostly in the overlays of the different graphics,
like your user interface bits and overlays of the weaponry and whatnot.
But it is even worse once you get into certain areas
of the game where you have a mirror *Chuckles*
It’s just abysmal! The game completely craps itself.
And this is not an uncommon problem,
even on like late ’90s, early 2000s video cards.
They just weren’t quite compatible with these SVGA-kinda VESA modes going on,
so it does not surprise me that a more modern video card
like this would not have the comparability for those modes built in.
And to confirm that it is the VESA mode that is the culprit,
I tried to run it in 320×200 and it is absolutely fine.
Runs full speed with no problems that I could really tell,
there’s no corruption, all the colors are good,
yeah, this is just Duke Nukem 3D and it’s running nicely,
except there is absolutely no sound effects once again.
But that’s just gonna be how it is. And yep,
the areas with the mirrors are no problems whatsoever.
Yeah, turns out the AMD Ryzen is great for running
Duke Nukem 3D in DOS in 320×200 non-VESA 2.0 mode.
Stick that on the box and sell it.
One more thing I wanna try here, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually tried
a game in CGA yet, so I was going to try out the CGA version of Lemmings,
just to see if the colors were messed up like EGA was and… yes it is.
Everything has that sort of greenish tint to it.
Anything that’s supposed to be like white or blue has a yellowy-green overlay
on top of it, is what it looks like. It’s just rendering the colors completely incorrectly.
And just to satiate those wondering if maybe it’s the monitor
that I’m using, I am going to try it here on another monitor,
which I know runs EGA and CGA stuff perfectly well
when it has the correct video card.
And yes, you still get the same weirdly mismatched color
going on with the palettes of CGA and EGA, it’s just wrong!
And that pretty much satiates my curiosity for testing out
legacy compatibility on this machine here.
Time to install boring old Windows 10 for the guy that his-
this is actually his computer,
so I’m sure he would rather have that than FreeDOS because uh,
probably actually wants to be able to use his computer he bought
and you know, there’s always DosBOX.
So what is the life lesson,
what did we learn here today on LGR?
Absolutely nothing of value, I can tell you that!
Uh, hopefully it was something at least of
slight curiosity and interest.
Yeah, you know, I don’t really know that I have a point here,
to be honest, but that’s okay!
Uh, one other thing though that I did want to mention
before I finish up here, is the sound card issue
because obviously it wasn’t just the PC speaker, it was the fact that I was getting no sound whatsoever.
I did try a couple of other things, like adding
the SoundBlaster variables to autoexec.bat and whatnot,
to see if I could force it to get some sort of
SoundBlaster compatibility off of the built-in sound chip, but…
You can’t do that. These Realtek integrated things just don’t have
that sort of DOS compatible sound in there at all, as far as I know.
So that’s why I wasn’t able to get SoundBlaster stuff to work.
I just didn’t go into that much earlier.
The other thing is, maybe you could *theoretically*
get it to work if you had a PCI sound card,
like SoundBlaster 16 PCI or something. Yes, it has audio drive, whatever,
and plugged it in here, and got that to work.
That might actually work, but you would need for
First, either to have a PCI slot or a PCI to PCI Express in here, an adapter and whatnot.
RetroManCave, the channel on YouTube, actually did a topic video on that
and he had some real problems even getting that to work with FreeDOS.
Maybe if you have a modern motherboard with a PCI slot natively,
you might be able to get like SoundBlaster sound on a Ryzen computer.
I’m not aware of any configurations like that.
Anyway, I’m just rambling at this point now.
Who cares? This- this is a pointless project
and I hope that you enjoyed watching.
And if you did enjoy what you saw here, then perhaps you’d like to see some of my other videos.
I occasionally do weird crap like this, and other times
it’s something a little more serious, like the history of blue LEDs.
But whatever the case may be,
thank you very much for watching LGR.
[♪ Music Outro ♪]

100 thoughts on “LGR – Installing MS-DOS on a New Gaming PC!”

  1. Bro there is something called DOS BOX or Virtual Machines that are meant to run these types of stuff

    I can't guarantee about the audio working or not

  2. Would be nice to try installing an Win98 on this, all the videos I found were not brave enough to do that, and they all did it on a virtual environment or something, meh.

  3. No point of all this?

    Nothing to be learned?

    You're wrong. People learns that modern computers are still IBM PC compatibles even today. Perhaps not all the way as intended, but pretty close.
    Backwards compatibility so far back, your grandparents remembers it. Beat that, console gamers! Hah! ;P

  4. We all know that MS-DOS is so out of date, it's ironically more secure thann *nix, if only in stealth….. 😉

  5. Que saudades do MS-DOS depôs dessa vou ate instalar um virtual-dos pra matar a saudades de alguns jogos

  6. I remember that color issue happening in lemmings on 486dx VGA so long ago I can't remember the fix. Wayback machine to grade 5.

  7. It's because modern computers use UEFI. You can get it to boot if your motherboard supports legacy boot

  8. Guy: i wonder if it runs windows 7!
    Guy 2: I wonder if it runs windows 98!
    LGR: I wonder if it runs MS DOS

  9. If you set the correct environment variables, I think you should be able to run the on-board sound in Sound Blaster compatibility mode.

  10. MS-DOS: Sees a disk over 512 megabytes
    MS-DOS: hey you have a LARGE DISK do you want large disk support?

  11. Did you system format the drive? Im too lazy torewind and check, but without the boot flag set to the partition it won't boot.
    Perhaps FreeDOS automatically sets the flag when installing.
    As for your vesa issues, most definitely a combo driver/incomplete VESA implementation issue. To this day video cards still have vesa fallback options, but the implementations are often incomplete. Something like univbe offers new drivers and "emulates" missing bios call functions for DOS compatible OSes (while many "alternative" OSes have their own solutions built in).

  12. You need dos audio drivers for "proper" sound. So you are gonna need a old PCI interface on your motherboard for a real Soundblaster card that is compatible with dos. I wonder if there is a PCIe 3.0 x -> old PCI.

  13. best DOS is DOS 5.0 , and there was a different DR DOS 6 which enabled you to double the size of your hhd from my memory 1064 ext 640k base with ssx25 MHz  doubled your hdd 42mb I had to 80mb literally and liberally  :}    the best function of DOS I miss was fdisk.exe  all  the best USA :}}

  14. At last i must delete win10 and fainly install word star 4.0…
    Mr. LGR Question: Is any way to configure my epson wifi printer with ms-dos and word star 4.0 and ez way to convert word star *.document file to modern system format? This is no joke i rly wont know that… Or some emulator for dos to convert LPT1 to wifi/usb print… Good job! PS.i still use win 98 SE edition on oldshool pc then i need only info about print…. Thanks. Cheers from Poland.

  15. Lame. MS-DOS 6.x naturally cannot boot from FAT32 partition (which "support big disks" stands for). You should use native 6.x fdisk or pay attention to compatibility using 7.1 fdisk.
    Running DOS was hard enough even using same epoch hardware. You failed, like all, who don't bother to turn his head on and RTFM.
    "Plug & Play" is not about DOS at all.

  16. Commander Keen was one of those series I played over and over and over again as a kid, along with Solar Winds and Castle of the Winds

  17. You need dos drivers for all your hardware. Newer chipsets do not have them for dos. You might be able to install via the autoexec and bat file, compatible drivers but it takes a long time of trial and error to find the right combination or drivers.

  18. well there is one lesson, which you overlooked at all. before today, getting games running, you had to do a lot more than today. those people had much more challenges to get it done. and they had much more experience in pcs than today so called technicians

  19. Hi LGR!
    The most important lesson given is that compatibility is important and PC still have lots of it. I see that many people today are bombarded with the idea that modern hardware is important and in fact, it is, but compatibility too. There are many programs like Tango for DOS, that open my old board files, if I Don't have Dos Box installed, I am unable to see these old files. And windows (by Microsoft) looses many of this compatibility since Windows vista.

  20. Amazing, just truly amazing friend your videos never decline to please thanks for everything. Cheers friend from Canada 🇨🇦

  21. Studdering, choppiness, incompatible, reboot, partition, C: drive, words that bring back wonderful memories. I mean nightmares.

  22. What's the difference in functionality between the boot DOS in which he used to format the drive and the Ms dos he installed?

  23. Show Windows 3.11 booting on a modern pc. Wanna bet you don't even see the title screen? Edit: the graphics issues in Duke Nuke could be caused by refreshing the graphics too frequently due to the high CPU speed. I could be wrong though. EDIT 2: some games can be patched or updated to use more modern hardware.

  24. This would work better on a new motherboard that still has PCI slots. Then you could put in older video cards like a FX 5200 and sound cards like an ESS Solo One card which has an authentic Yamaha chip on the card for adlib support or a Soundblaster Live CT4620 which still has adlib support. Just set the BIOS to legacy mode. DOS might work fine except for the speed sensitive games naturally. It would be interesting to experiment with. I have done builds installing Windows 95 on a Core 2 Duo 2.4GHz with 512MB RAM. I had to use FIX95CPU because the fast processor speeds but it works like a charm and is really fast.

  25. I miss DOS, it made computers fun. lol
    I used to use a word processor called Wordstar. It came one one 360k, 5.25" floppy disk and it included a spell checker. It had room to save a few documents on the same disk. Duke Nukem was an awesome game in it's day. Even better when you played it with a friend over a dial-up modem. lmao
    Thanks for trip down memory lane!

  26. 2GB was huge for DOS. My 250MB was huge till I decided to put on Stacker trying to get 500MB. Yea… haha them weren't away's the days.

  27. Possibly the problems with DOS was of the PC having too much RAM? Reduce the RAM down to 16 MB and give it a go. That is, if a 16 MB RAM chip can still be found to fit the PC.

  28. lol this computer is more lame than mine i have amd ryzen 5 nvidia geforce rtx 2070 32 gb of ram and all stuff is rgb

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