MSDOS.SYS Commands - Windows 95/98

The MSDOS.SYS file is a hidden, system, read-only file created on the root of the boot drive. There are several boot configurations that can be changed using this file. To edit it, remove the attributes (ATTRIB -h -s -r MSDOS.SYS)-then use a text editor to make any changes. Most values either require a 0 (disabled) or 1 (enabled)

The [Paths] section can contain the following settings:
HostWinBootDrv={Root of Boot Drive}
Default: C
Purpose: Specifies the location for the root of the boot drive.
WinBootDir={Windows Directory}
Default: Directory specified during Setup (for example, C:\WINDOWS)
Purpose: Lists the location of the necessary files for booting.
WinDir={Windows Directory}
Default: Directory specified during Setup (for examples C:\WINDOWS)
Purpose: Lists the location of the Windows 95 directory specified during Setup.
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The [Options] section can contain the following settings:
BootDelay={Seconds}
Default: 2
Purpose: Sets the amount of time the "Starting Windows" message remains on the screen before Windows 95 continues to boot.
BootFailSafe={Boolean}
Default: 0
Purpose: A setting of 1 forces your computer to boot in safe mode.
BootGUI={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 forces the loading of the GUI interface. A setting of 0 disables the loading of the GUI interface.
BootKeys={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 enables the use of the function key boot options (that is, F4, F5, F6, and F8). A setting of 0 disables the use of these function keys during the boot process
NOTE: A setting of BootKeys=0 overrides the use of BootDelay=n.
BootMenu={Boolean}
Default: 0
Purpose: A setting of 1 enables the startup menu. If this setting is 0, then you must press the F8 key when "Starting Windows" appears to invoke the startup menu.
BootMenuDefault={Number}
Default: 1 if the system is running correctly, 4 if the system hung in the previous instance
Purpose: Use this setting to set the default menu item for startup.
BootMenuDelay={Number}
Default: 30
Purpose: This setting is used to set the number of seconds your system will pause on the startup menu. If the number of seconds counts down to 0 without intervention, the BootMenuDefault is activated.
BootMulti={Boolean}
Default: 0
Purpose: A setting of 0 disables the multi-boot option. (For example, with a setting of 0 you cannot boot your previous operating system.) A setting of 1 enables the F4 and F8 keys to boot your previous operating system.
NOTE: This setting is set to 0 by default to avoid the corruption of data by allowing you to inadvertently boot MS-DOS and run a disk utility that does not recognize long filenames.
BootWarn={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 0 disables the safe mode boot warning message and the startup menu.
BootWin={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 forces Windows 95 to load at startup. A setting of 0 disables Windows 95 as your default operating system (this is useful only if you have MS-DOS version 5.x or 6.x on the computer).
NOTE: Pressing F4 inverts the default only if BootMulti=1. (For example, pressing the F4 key with a setting of 0 forces Windows 95 to load.)
DoubleBuffer={Boolean}
Default: 0
Purpose: A setting of 1 is a conditional setting that enables double-buffering for controllers that need it (for example, SCSI controllers). A setting of 2 is an unconditional setting that enables double-buffering regardless of whether the controller needs it or not.
DBLSpace={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 allows the automatic loading of the DBLSPACE.BIN file. A setting of 0 prevents the automatic loading of this file.
DRVSpace={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 allows the automatic loading of the DRVSPACE.BIN file. A setting of 0 prevents the automatic loading of this file.
LoadTop={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 0 does not let Windows 95 load COMMAND.COM or DRVSPACE.BIN/DBLSPACE.BIN at the top of 640K. If you are having compatibility problems with software that makes assumptions about the available memory try setting this to 0.
Logo={Boolean}
Default: 1
Purpose: A setting of 1 forces the default Windows 95 logo to appear. A setting of 0 prevents the animated logo from being displayed. A setting of 0 also avoids hooking a variety of interrupts that can create incompatibilities with certain third-party memory managers.
Network={Boolean}
Default: 0
Purpose: A setting of 1 means the network was installed and adds "Start Windows, bypassing startup files, with network support" as an option on the Windows 95 startup menu.
 

Below is a sample MSDOS.SYS File

[Paths]
WinDir=C:\WINDOWS
WinBootDir=C:\WINDOWS
HostWinBootDrv=C

[Options]
BootGUI=1
Network=1
BootMulti=1
;
;The following lines are required for compatibility with other programs.
;Do not remove them (MSDOS.SYS needs to be >1024 bytes).
;xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxa
;xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxb
...
;xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxs

Written by Mark Hasting

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