4DOS Tips & Tricks
4DOS Batches, Aliases, Functions
INFO for DOS
Updates and News
It was 16 years ago that I wrote most of these pages and wrote my 4XBTM batches. Since then, DOS has been superceded by (mostly) Windows, now in its 11th incarnation, 4DOS has been superceded by 4NT, Take Command (now V. 28), and most of my batches would need some reworking to run under TCC, if they were even useful under another OS.
So see this site as a nostalgic excursion to a simpler (in some respects) time. I do not maintain this site any longer (and have not for some years). Perhaps the batches may still serve as an example that it is possible to write quite complex programs in 4DOS / TCC batch language, so much more structured than the simple batch commands of Command.com or CMD.EXE. It was fun to write them.
So, keep in mind: stay healthy, and, most importantly: have fun! Ciao!
By now many of the old links are broken, and I have no time or inclination to seek replacements and correct all these pages. So sorry, but I thank all the nice people who still write me to correct my wrongs.
I stumbled, however, over a useful site from the past that may come in handy if you are looking for old sources:
has a lot of archives, code and tools for old Operating Systems.
And, most importantly: have fun!
2014-09-19 As you can see from the dates here, maintenance of this site has become increasingly spotty. There have been many changes on the JP Software website and their FTP-site is gone for years, with it some documents and versions I had linked here in the 4NT-section.
I have now updated the 4NT-pages, which now includes its succesoor, TCMD, and (free!) TCC/LE.
These are still going strong and have made great steps in developement. You cannot find an easier way to access all those new and lovely Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 features from the command-line while working in an Explorer-like GUI application.
If you have need of older versions, you may now find them here again.
And, most importantly: have fun!
2011-01-14 The new version (V.12) of TakeCommand and its command processor, TCC, is out (see JP Software) and as always it has a ton of new goodies. Check them out! Rex Conn has chosen to redesign the website, too, resulting in a more modern, clearer look. And a new logo has been designed.
Also, not surprisingly, not everybody liked the new look, the new icons, the new logo. I have made a few external icons using a free icon designer, making V.11 and V12 style icons in different colors, and JP Software icons representing the change over the years since the beginnings with 4DOS. you find them here.
And, most importantly: have fun!
2010-06-20 I don't find the time to really look after these pages, which would mean to frequently check over a thousand links, not all of them checkable automatically. And to sort new-found links into the existing pages and categories, remembering which already exist or creating new ones, etc.
So I've finally decided to put those of my collected DOS-related links which I haven't sorted into my pages as a simple unsorted list on this page:
2010-05-31 Surprisingly there's still life in the old operating systems, so much so that now appears a new print magazine that focuses on older PCs and relevant operating systems, including DOS and PC/GEOS. First issue should be available in July 2010. Its name is
and I wish it a lot of luck!
2010-04-03 Small corrections / additions only. Many of the external links are dead, and I still have to find the time (and inclination) to correct them all.
4DOS has found no new developer until now, and that's probably a good thing. Much better to invest creativity and sweat into a product for a living OS.
I doubt that I'll spend much more time on this site. It offered quite a good representation of what was available for DOS fans at one time. The degradation of my links here represents the degeneration of the available DOS support in general.
2009-03-05 Luchezar Georgiev, up to now maintainer and main author of new additions of free 4DOS, has announced that he'll work no longer on 4DOS:
Since his site(s) have access problems from time to time, I have made the 4DOS source files und necessary build info available here, too (see page 4DOS Sources)
I believe my site has no such
access problems. Since I already offer a collection of nearly all 4DOS
versions, I think this is the natural place to coordinate future versions.
I fervently hope that one or several new people will continue to create
new features for this great program.
2008-09-23 More housecleaning done on my site. Checked and updated all links on DOS Links, DOS Alternatives and DOS Gems. Found some software I'd thought I'd never see again on Vetusware. It's probably really the biggest abandonware farm I've come across. You have to register (email adress), but the downloads seem to be kosher.
2008-09-23 A little housecleaning done on my site.
I've added information about the latest developments in 4DOS and the JP Software's command processors 4NT / TCC.
I checked and updated all links on 4DOS Links and 4DOS Tools.
More checks will follow.
2008-09-17 Lucho Georgiev has done a lot to improve 4DOS along the lines 4NT / TCC moves. The latest version now includes a complete set of ISO 8601 compliant date and weekdate internal variables and functions.
I have used these to update my 4XBTM calendar to ISOCAL.BTM, which shows not only an ISO 8601 compliant calendar for 1980 - 2099, but also the christian holidays and has a reminder function for birthdays etc. Have fun!
2008-09-01 If you're a power user of the command line, you've probably gone from DOS to Windows XP/NT or Vista by now. For these operating systems JP Software now offers free TCC/LE. TCC is the new name of 4NT, their command processor for the NT / XP / Vista OS range. TCC/LE is essentially a 4NT light. It offers
to name just a few. Heartily recommended :-)
2008-08-11 I've finally updated the pages relating to 4DOS, to show the ongoing development the of free 4DOS version and it's use in the DR-DOS and FreeDOS community. I've added information about JP Software's new TCC / LE, the free "light" version of the new Take Command / TCC, successor to 4NT and TCI.
2008-06-02 I received a nice HTML version of the old 4DOS Kurs (german language) by Stefan Petri. You'll find it on the 4DOS Docs page. Its nice to know that there are still people who care enough about 4DOS to make the effort. Thanks, Helmut!
Luchezar Georgiev is still active maintaining 4DOS. He has produced several new versions of 4DOS with useful additions and bugfixes. He was even successful in hunting down needed tools to compile external programms like OPTION.EXE, which wasn't written by Rex Conn himself, so now all of the source code can be edited and compiled. Thanks, Lucho. His page ha moved here.
2007-01-18 Luchezar Georgiev has asked me if I would do a revision history of 4DOS. I started on version 2 and 3. The results can be visited here (the links are at the bottom of the page). I'd be grateful for any constructive feedback.
2007-01-15 Today Rex Conn announced "Luchezar Georgiev has taken over 4DOS maintenance and development. He's added a number of new features, bug fixes, and compatibility fixes; If you're still using 4DOS I recommend downloading the latest build from his web page at http://www.4dos.hit.bg/. I've also added a link to his web page on our download page in the 4DOS section."
If you go to Luchezar's site (* "Welcome to Revived 4DOS!" *), you'll find a patch for the original 4DOS freeware version (b. 132) which not only fixes a few bugs, but reinstates compatibility with 8086/8088 processors, adds support for newer DOS versions and adds new features to 4DOS.
I'm looking forward to seeing further developments of this project.
2006-12-13 Back from a nice Holiday on Turkey's Riviera. Looking through my in-tray, I find that the main 4DOS developer's site now seems to be Luchezar Georgiev's site here or here. There is already a new version with a few bugfixes available.
JP Software's site has undergone still another redesign, changing colours from a quiet and distinguished blue to an aggressive orange. Compare the looks using the Wayback Machine.
I cleaned up the Plugins section in my 4DOS LINKS a bit. They are not placed very well there, and I might do a 4NT LINKS some day soon :-) Please keep in mind that this site was originally dedicated to 4DOS and plain vanilla DOS, and that the newer operating systems and command processors like 4NT, 4OS2 were added later (and a bit reluctantly).
2006-11-19 4DOS has been released as open source for use with the Freedos project! See the announcement here and the source files here and the Wikipedia entry.
The license stipulates that 'the Software, or any portion of it, may not be compiled for use on any operating system OTHER than FreeDOS without written permission from Rex Conn'. So hopes for a port to Linux etc. are slim.
4NT is now at Version 8.01, and development at this stage seems mostly concerned with Windows Vista compatibility problems.
Plugin authors for 4NT are busy writing new plugins or adding to existing ones. It's a lively scene, and if you mention a problem in the forum, it's likely an author comes up with a plugin solution next day :-)
2006-09-12 Today the official availability of 4NT Version 8.00 was announced by Rex Conn. See my 4NT Versions or JP Software's homepage for more details.
Roger Byrne has announced QuickCommand, a new 4NT plugin providing command completion, still in early testing phase. You can find it here.
2006-09-05 After a long and strange summer (warmest June/July in history - coldest August) and spending much time in the garden I am finally back here :-)
Quite a few things are happening at JP Software. Rex has begun a new public beta cycle of 4NT 8, TCMD 8 and TCI 1. You can participate and download the files here. As usual, there are quite a few enhancements (see here) that will make working at the prompt so much more productive. Voice your findings in the support forum.
New and still in beta at this time is also JP Software's wiki (found here), another area besides the support forum where you can exchange opinions, ask questions, write articles and generally participate :-)
I have already updated the 4NT Versions page (where you also can find TCI). Quite a few new links in many other areas are waiting to be entered, and all old links here are due to be validated. If the weather holds out (quite rainy most of the time now) you may expect this in the near future.
2006-06-05 Back from a very cold and wet boating trip through the Frisian seas and canals in the Netherlands. A quick checks shows that JP Software has now switched to the new homepage design for good.
The formerly mentioned TConsole is now called TCI, to avoid confusion with other apps similarly named, and it's status is RC2 (Release Candidate 2), very near completion. Grab a copy to test, it's very useful for anybody working with console apps.
2006-05-18 A very low level of activity here on my side (not on my site, however!). The garden takes up most of my free time again, with 3 weeks sunshine in a row. Today it's raining, very welcomed by all the plants, so a few lines here.
JP Software is playing again with it's web presentation. You can sneak a look at the "erlk�nig" (that's what we call a prototype car) site here. The JP logo seems to change, too.
2006-04-27 The most interesting news this week for the command line user came from Microsoft: Monad is now named Powershell, and Release Candidate 1 can be downloaded. See the article with the download link.
If you don't know what I'm talking about: MS plans to replace the batch language of command.com and cmd.exe with this somewhat overblown Powershell (2.2 MB download, and you need the .NET Framework 2.0 RTM for it to work at all), sometime real soon.
Judging by the article mentioned above, you have to do a lot of typing to achieve anything, and the design decisions seem to have been made by a committee of people who value the pureness of their ideas more than practicability (note that you are not expected to write a script without the help of command completion tools).
Most of Powershell's virtues as praised in that article are nothing new to users of a real and powerful command processor like 4NT, with a much smaller overhead and a lot less typing.
I, for one, feel pretty sure I won't switch to Powershell anytime soon.
2006-04-17 Added a few new file collections to my DOS Links. It seems to become easier to find abandonware apps, tools, utils for DOS on the Net since it is no longer financially interesting, at least for most companies, to fight over them.
2006-04-08 TConsole beta test!
Exciting things are happening at JP Software's website. Rex Conn has opened the public beta test for TConsole. From Rex Conn's description:
So now can have several console sessions from e.g. CMD.EXE, 4NT.EXE, your editor, all nicely organized on tab ;-) instead of all over your screen. IMHO that is the best thing that happened to console applications since the invention of sliced bread.
For further info, join the JP Software support group (from their homepage at jpsoft.com).
What happened at this site? The usual: some new links. It is amazing what you can still find on the web when you really look :-).
2006-03-14 Added a "Latest News" RSS feed in English and German to the navigation bar (bottom left). It#s about computer news, and I hope you'll appreciate it :-)
2006-03-07 Several new links added. I am astonished to still find new ones, but of course the focus is spreading a bit to 32-bit console topics.
2006-02-25 I've updated my references to REXX, RUBY and PERL, 3 script languages which 4NT and TC automatically recognize and for which they offer internal support. Perl, due to some implementation bugs, is only unofficially supported.
2006-02-18 Now that 4NT and Take Command V. 7.01 are out, Rex Conn is inviting feature suggestions for the planned version 8. If you think you have a good idea, or want to strengthen the demand for an already proposed feature, join the support group and chime in!
2006-02-10 Added Google Site Search to the navigation bar (upon the urgent request of one individual). I am disappointed, however: all these tools search only in their already indexed database. So a search today for "plugins" or "plugin" doesn't lead you to the 4DOS Links page in Google, and Crawl-it (see Search page) even list pages no longer in existence and knows of no page updates in the last 4 weeks here.
Facit: you cannot dependably search this or any site automatically using an external site search engine. Visit pages with relevant topics and use your browser's page search function.
2006-02-08 Small additions to the 4DOS Tools and 4DOS Links pages. New additions here tend to concern 4NT and Take Command mostly, so their titles become more and more inaccurate.
4NT and Take Command V. 7.01 have now passed their public beta state and are available as release Versions from JP Software's site.
2006-02-05 Just discovered another incorrect link to a downloadable file here. I have the files indicated for download, so please record any non-functioning links to me. You can help to make this site better!
2006-02-03 Added a chapter for the new 4NT plugins becoming available on my 4DOS Links page. I invite authors to tell me about their plugins, provide additional download links (other than the JP Software website) and additional information. I can also host your plugins here.
2006-02-01 Old 16-bit DOS is dying, there's no denying it: DOS-dedicated web sites are deleted or abandoned in increasing numbers, while only very few new ones appear. Participation in DOS-dedicated newsgroups is dwindling. New computers are delivered with preinstalled XP or a Linux variant, and older hardware is failing or unable to meet modern demands, ending up scrapped in favour of new machines. Of course the remaining DOS aficionados deny this development very vociferously.
And this site is no exception: when you look at the dates here, you'll see that I spent half a year doing something more wholesome than cataloguing DOS sites. The reason is partly that I was a DOS/4DOS fan. In DOS I was quite comfortably at home, knowing my way around, how to tweak and how to tease. On a modern machine under XP this knowledge is mostly moot. My usage has changed and involves now almost exclusively point-and-click applications, and, to tell the truth, I do not miss the command line overly. So my interest in DOS has waned, while other interests waxed :-)
The command line is, however, as vigorous as ever: NT's (XP's) 32-bit command line has just received a powerful boost by the release of JP Software's new command processors 4NT V. 7.00, followed by 7.01 beta shortly afterwards, as well as their Take Command 7.00 and 7.01 beta graphical user interface.
Both command processors add a multitude of new commands, variables and functions to the already existing plethora, letting visions of bloatware appear before my eyes. The outstanding new feature IMHO is the possibility to incorporate user-written plugins (a SDK for writing plugins is available at JP Software's website), which make new variables, functions or commands available. Several very useful plugins have already been written by users and are available free on JP Software's site.
Much of what has been done by batches and aliases with cleverly written algorithms in 4DOS times is now available under 4NT in the form of ready-made variables, functions, commands, making life so much easier (and less satisfying, for some).
There are further changes at JP Software: the design of their website became modernized, a change in hosting the support forum is imminent. Mike Bessy, sometimes controversial but always interesting heart and soul of JP Software's support for many years, is no longer around, not even in the Usenet forum. His successor Steve F�bi�n handles support now, and does it well (though he takes a weekend off from time to time, contrary to Mike).
I will continue to look after these pages, in a leisurely fashion, as long as Dave Warren is willing to lend me this webspace and domain name.
For today you get numerous new links, old links checked, broken links repaired or marked, 4NT pages updated. A bit of feedback would not be amiss to provide more incentive to work on these pages.
2005-07-06 I did some studying on the statistics for my pages and found some dead links! Of course these are corrected now. I re-found links to some proggies that were missing after my last check, added some interesting material (if you are interested in which of my pages have changed: there's a Firefox extension and a service for the rest of the browser world :-) to be found on my Search Page!
2005-06-29 With a good deal of keyboard interference from my new batch (see below) I was able to add the links gathered in the last few weeks. Since I don't use a guestbook any longer (thanks, all you spammers out there!): any comments? Any suggestions? Please use the email link.
2005-06-05 After a 2-week holiday I've been using a rainy day to add newly gathered links and rechecked all old links to assure the pages are still reachable. The new batch mentioned below is coming along nicely, but there are still some leaks here and there :-)
2005-05-03 Slow weeks thanks to spring, the garden and a new batch :-).
2005-04-14 Links added, new topic Communication added to DOS Tools page.
2005-04-13 Links added, new topic Sound added to DOS Hardware page.
2005-04-07 'bout a dozen new links added I found perusing Usenet groups. Thanks folks for the pointers. I've checked all links today, corrected a few, replaced a few, and noted a few that seem to be unavailable for deletion if they don't return.
Please don't hesitate to inform me of dead or broken links you encounter here!
2005-03-28 Links, links, links added from my backlog
2005-03-21 General housecleaning and a few new links. Approximately 60 page hits / day :-) Keep coming!
2005-03-17 Bernd Schneider has sent me all his batches in the latest version. There are now some btms that weren't online before. I've redone that page and "touched" all archive files to make version control a little bit easier. Some original comments and explanations from Bernd are here.
2005-03-14 Federico Romano sent me his syntax highlight definitions for Textpad :-) Thanks, Federico!. This file has all the current keywords (as of Version 6.01 of 4NT / TCMD) and can probably be easily adapted to other editors as well.
I've finally reached Peter at the PLDOS site, and he has taken my old pages offline. He was under pressure because of Cebit, the big computer and electronics fair in Hannover. Hope he'll be in touch again :-)
From now on (140.358) my counter here reflects only hits on this site :-)
Found Eva Maria Krause's site today, with her links to many really old games and DOS progs. Wonderful :-)
2005-03-11: I'm very happy to announce that I finally received a German shareware 4DOS V.5.51c. This is a cobbled-together but working mix of files from German V5.50 and V5.51c. I've searched a long time for this one, and I'll still be happy to receive a complete version :-)
Some general housecleaning, a few new links added.
I still couldn't reach the owner of the server that my former site 4XBTM.de is situated upon :-( but traffic is up so I guess you hit this pages now more often ;-)
2005-03-07: Added a few items, mainly in the DOS Programs and Search pages.
2005-03-05: A few more links added, mainly to Dos drivers and links.
I've finally gained access again to my old 4XBTM.DE Freecity domain name plus counter and guestbook (a matter of a forgotten password).
I've added the counter to this domain, starting with its current count of 139.467 (since it is also still linked to a mirror of my old site at the polish PLDOS site, it shows the combined hits of both sites at the moment). I gave up my old domain at about 100.000 visitors, so nearly 40.000 people hit on those pages in the meantime. I hope you keep coming, now that all is fresh and up to date again!
I cannot add the guestbook, however, because it receives 60 to 100 spams every day. It takes just 100 entries, and I don't have the time to delete spam daily by hand one for one (Freecity's user interface). It's a pity, because there were some nice entries among all the shitty spam.
2005-03-01: Added quite a few links from my backlist. From now on changes will be slower in coming.
2005-02-23: I've finally got around to redo the Info for DOS pages, formerly the DLINKS and DTOOLS pages. I've found a new order, which I hope you'll find easier, and made the pages smaller and faster loading.
It was an interesting experience to see how many sites were gone or had changed their URL. On the other hand nearly every little old DOS proggie is still findable on the web or via FTP, and the number of sites indicates that DOS is still going strong.
I'll now keep adding links and pages to this site to keep it current, so look in regularly to see what's new.
If you feel this site should include links to topics or programs (DOS-related, of course) that you're not finding here, feel free to send me your suggestions. I'll be happy to include anything reasonably on-topic.
If your site is already included here and you feel I should mention some forgotten characteristics in my description, feel free to tell me. I'll do so within reason.
2005-01-16: Back online again! I received emails from all over the world while these pages were still available under their domain name of 4XBTM.DE, leading to home.t-online.de/home/K_Meinhard or to the now defunct 4xbtm.waglo.com site. The old general DOS part is still available at www.quasatron.com, but not much work has been done on maintenance, so there are now many broken links. My thanks go nonetheless to Robin Y. Milette and Kenneth C. Mazie who did their best to keep the old site alive..
Thanks to Dave Warren's generous offer of webspace for this site I am now able to present my collection of 4DOS and general DOS material again. And he threw in a free domain name! 4dos.info is of course just what this is all about, so I am very happy.
I've changed the design of these pages, and I am still working on this, so please bear with me, since I'm no html guru.
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