Magazine article Technology & Learning

PC Owners: It's Time to Upgrade to MS-DOS 5.0

Magazine article Technology & Learning

PC Owners: It's Time to Upgrade to MS-DOS 5.0

Article excerpt

The latest MS-DOS product offers some features previously unavailable to PC users. Is it an investment worth considering?

When it comes to upgrading software and operating systems, I'm something of a laggard. Unless I have a good reason to change. I prefer to stay with software versions that suit my needs and are bug-free. I earn my meager living with a computer, and the specter of an operating system failure is terrifying both for me and for the bank that holds my mortgage.

I recently threw caution to the winds, however, and breathed new life into my PC with MS-DOS 5.0. The reviews of this operating system have been fabulous, and not one writer has mentioned anything about systems crashing or files trashing. I ordered the software, backed up my files and installed the new DOS. My expectations were exceeded, and I found that the new operating system delivered everything it promised.


The minimum requirements for installing MS-DOS 5.0 are 512K of RAM, an 8088 processor or higher, DOS version 2.11 or later, and at least 2.8 megabytes of available space on your hard disk. My guess is that almost everyone who is reading this column and who has a PC or compatible meets these requirements. I have one of the oldest living XTs, and I experienced no installation problems.

The installation procedure for MS-DOS 5.0 is just as simple as the user's manual suggests. You pop the setup disk in drive A, type A: SETUP, and follow the directions on the screen. In addition to the system disks you receive in the package, you will need a blank disk or two. The installation process will modify your AUTOEXEC or CONFIG.SYS files, so to avoid disaster, the installation software saves your original files on the blank disk.

It took me about 45 minutes to complete the installation process. Most of the time was spent deleting useless files on my hard disk so I had enough room for the new system. I experienced no colds sweats during installation, and I doubt you will either. (You can use the time when the operating files are being written to disk to preview the documentation that comes with the software package.)

During the installation process, the program will ask you if you want to backup your hard disk. This can be a time- and disk-consuming operation, so I'd suggest doing it yourself before you install DOS 5.0 And rather than back up your whole disk, you might just want to copy essential data files. You will have the original copies of your application disks, and if anything happens to them, you can reinstall them quickly.

This might be a good place to mention an easy way to move up to a hard disk or increase the amount of storage you now have. There are a number of "hard cards" on the market today. These are hard disk drives built onto a circuit card you can insert in one of the expansion slots of your PC. They come in various sizes, from 20 to 80 megabytes, and cost several hundred dollars. Hard cards are offered by several manufacturers and are available through mail-order houses and computer dealers. If you need more disk space, there is no easier path to take than a hard card.

The Benefits of MS-DOS 5.0

Using the original MS-DOS operating system was about as intuitive as flying a 747. …

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