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

September 15, 2019

[♪ 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 ♪]

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