Posting-frequency: 28 days
Last-modified: 14 Aug 2003
comp.os.msdos.programmer FAQ Version 2003.08.14
This is the Frequently Asked Questions list for the newsgroup
Copyright 2003 by Jeffrey Carlyle. All rights reserved. This article is
not in the public domain, but it may be redistributed so long as this
notice, the acknowledgments, and the information on obtaining the latest
copy of this list are retained and no fee is charged. The code fragments
may be used freely; credit to the FAQ would be polite. This FAQ is not to
be included in any static: archive (e.g. CD-ROM or book); however, a
pointer to the FAQ may be included. See <Q:01.14> [Where can I get the
latest copy of this FAQ list?] for a link to the latest version of the
This is part 1 of 5 parts.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
PART 1: (this part)
Section 1. General FAQ and Newsgroup Information
<Q:01.01> - Is MS-DOS Dead?
<Q:01.02> - What is this article for?
<Q:01.03> - Who has contributed to this article?
<Q:01.04> - How can I search this article for a particular topic?
<Q:01.05> - Are the answers guaranteed to be correct and complete?
<Q:01.06> - What is comp.os.msdos.programmer about?
<Q:01.07> - Is comp.os.msdos.programmer just for C programmers?
<Q:01.08> - What is comp.sys.ibm.pc.programmer?
<Q:01.09> - Is comp.os.msdos.programmer available as a mailing list?
<Q:01.10> - What's this netiquette?
<Q:01.11> - How can I learn more about Usenet?
<Q:01.12> - What other technical newsgroups should I know about?
<Q:01.13> - Where are FAQ lists archived?
<Q:01.14> - Where can I get the latest copy of this FAQ list?
Section 2. General Reference
<Q:02.01> - Are there any good on-line references for PC hardware
<Q:02.02> - Are there any good on-line references for PC interrupts?
<Q:02.03> - What and where is Ralf Brown's interrupt list?
<Q:02.04> - Where can I find lex, yacc, and language grammars?
<Q:02.05> - What's the best book to learn programming?
<Q:02.06> - Why won't my code work?
<Q:02.07> - Are there any good sources of example code?
<Q:02.08> - What and where is SNIPPETS?
<Q:02.09> - Is the source code MS-DOS available?
<Q:02.10> - What are my alternatives for MS-DOS compatible OSes?
<Q:02.11> - What and where is FreeDOS?
<Q:02.12> - Where can I find out about batch files?
Section 3. Compile and link
<Q:03.01> - What the heck is DGROUP > 64K?
<Q:03.02> - How do I fix 'automatic data segment exceeds 64K' or 'stack
plus data exceed 64K'?
<Q:03.03> - Will Borland C code and Microsoft C code link together?
<Q:03.04> - Why did my program bomb at run time with 'floating point
formats not linked' or 'floating point not loaded'?
<Q:03.05> - How can I change the stack size in Borland's C compilers?
<Q:03.06> - What's the format of an .OBJ file?
<Q:03.07> - What's the format of an .EXE header?
<Q:03.08> - What's the difference between .COM and .EXE formats?
<Q:03.09> - How do I create a .COM file?
<Q:03.10> - Where is EXE2BIN located?
<Q:03.11> - What does this message mean: 'A20 already enabled so test
is meaning less?'
Section 4. Keyboard
<Q:04.01> - How can I read a character without echoing it to the
screen, and without waiting for the user to press the Enter
<Q:04.02> - How can I find out whether a character has been typed,
without waiting for one?
<Q:04.03> - How can I disable Ctrl-C/Ctrl-Break and/or Ctrl-Alt-Del?
<Q:04.04> - How can I disable the print screen function?
<Q:04.05> - How can my program turn NumLock (CapsLock, ScrollLock) on
<Q:04.06> - How can I speed up the keyboard's auto-repeat?
<Q:04.07> - What is the SysRq key for?
<Q:04.08> - How can my program tell what kind of keyboard is on the
<Q:04.09> - How can I tell if input, output, or stderr has been
<Q:04.10> - How can I increase the size of the keyboard buffer?
<Q:04.11> - How can I stuff characters into the keyboard buffer?
Section 5. Disks and files
<Q:05.01> - What drive was the PC booted from?
<Q:05.02> - How can I boot from drive B:?
<Q:05.03> - Which real and virtual disk drives are valid?
<Q:05.04> - How can I make my single floppy drive both a: and b:?
<Q:05.05> - How can I disable access to a drive?
<Q:05.06> - How can a batch file test existence of a directory?
<Q:05.07> - Why won't my C program open a file with a path?
<Q:05.08> - How can I redirect printer output to a file?
<Q:05.09> - How can I redirect the output of a batch file?
<Q:05.10> - How can I redirect stderr?
<Q:05.11> - How can my program open more files than DOS's limit of 20?
<Q:05.12> - How can I read, create, change, or delete the volume label?
<Q:05.13> - How can I get the disk serial number?
<Q:05.14> - What's the format of .OBJ, .EXE., .COM files?
<Q:05.15> - How can I flush the software disk cache?
<Q:05.16> - How can I see if a drive is a RAM drive?
<Q:05.17> - How can I determine a hard drive's manufacturer?
<Q:05.18> - Where can I find information about the ATA/ATAPI
<Q:05.19> - How can I copy files to or from filenames containing date
Section 6. Serial ports (COM ports)
<Q:06.01> - How do I set my machine up to use COM3 and COM4?
<Q:06.02> - How do I find the I/O address of a COM port?
<Q:06.03> - But aren't the COM ports always at I/O addresses 3F8, 2F8,
3E8, and 2E8?
<Q:06.04> - How do I configure a COM port and use it to transmit data?
Section 7. Other hardware questions and problems
<Q:07.01> - Which 80x86 CPU is running my program?
<Q:07.02> - How can a C program send control codes to my printer?
<Q:07.03> - How can I redirect printer output?
<Q:07.04> - Which video adapter is installed?
<Q:07.05> - How do I switch to 43- or 50-line mode?
<Q:07.06> - How can I find the Microsoft mouse position and button
<Q:07.07> - How can I access a specific address in the PC's memory?
<Q:07.08> - How can I read or write my PC's CMOS memory?
<Q:07.09> - How can I access memory beyond 640K?
<Q:07.10> - How can I use the protected mode?
<Q:07.11> - How can I tell if my program is running on a PS/2-style
<Q:07.12> - Is there a 80x87 math unit installed?
<Q:07.13> - How can I power off the computer from a batch file?
Section 8. Other software questions and problems
<Q:08.01> - How can a program reboot my PC?
<Q:08.02> - How can I time events with finer resolution than the system
clock's 55 ms (about 18 ticks a second)?
<Q:08.03> - How can I find the error level of the previous program?
<Q:08.04> - How can a program set DOS environment variables?
<Q:08.05> - How can I change the switch character to - from /?
<Q:08.06> - How can I write a TSR (terminate-stay-resident utility)?
<Q:08.07> - Why does my interrupt function behave strangely?
<Q:08.08> - How can I write a device driver?
<Q:08.09> - What can I use to manage versions of software?
<Q:08.10> - What's this 'null pointer assignment' after my C program
<Q:08.11> - How can a batch file tell whether it's being run in a DOS
box under Windows?
<Q:08.12> - How can my program tell if it's running under Windows?
<Q:08.13> - How can a program tell whether ANSI.SYS is installed?
<Q:08.14> - How do I copyright software that I write?
<Q:08.15> - How can I place date and time information into environment
Section 9. Downloading
<Q:09.01> - What are SimTel and Garbo?
<Q:09.02> - Can I get archives on CD-ROM?
<Q:09.03> - Where do I find program <mumble>?
Section 10. Vendors and products
<Q:10.01> - How can I contact Borland?
<Q:10.02> - How can I contact Microsoft?
<Q:10.03> - What is the current version of DJGPP?
<Q:10.04> - What and where is DJGPP?
<Q:10.05> - Are there any good shareware/freeware compilers?
<Q:10.06> - Where is QBASIC?
<Q:10.07> - What is a vendor's web site address?
Subject: Section 1. General FAQ and Newsgroup Information
Date: 5 Feb 2002 22:03:03 -0400
The General FAQ and Newsgroup Information section contains information
about how to use the FAQ and the newsgroup.
Subject: <Q:01.01> - Is MS-DOS Dead?
Date: 7 Feb 2002 14:31:56 -0400
No. Though Microsoft may not be actively developing MS-DOS there are
still many computers that are not capable of running Microsoft Windows.
The current versions of Microsoft Windows will also run most MS-DOS
programs; therefore, MS-DOS is not dead, and will most- likely never die
just as Commodore-64s and Amigas have not completely died.
Indeed, DOS has found a new life in embedded systems. Other parties
continue to develop MS-DOS compatible operating systems for more
information see <Q:02.10> [What are my alternatives for MS-DOS
Windows NT, 2000, and XP all have a "Command Prompt" which is similar to
the orignal MS-DOS command prompt. The new Windows command prompt has
some differences from the original MS-DOS command prompty; see <Q:01.12>
[What other technical newsgroups should I know about?] for pointers on
where to learn about these diffences.
Subject: <Q:01.02> - What is this article for?
Date: 5 Feb 2002 22:03:03 -0400
This is the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list for the newsgroup
FAQ lists are intended to reduce the noise level in their newsgroups
that results from the repetition of the same questions, correct answers,
wrong answers, corrections to the wrong answers,
read more »