Due to the antiquated history of DOS it operates very differently to modern operating systems. It can be extremely difficult to successfully run legacy DOS applications on modern systems. DOS does not have an API such as Direct-X. So programmers for DOS had to include software drivers for any 3rd party hardware they wished to support including audio, graphic and interfaces. This means if you have modern hardware that is not intentionally backwards-compatible with this legacy then the DOS software is not going to be able to recognise and work with it.
This lack of DOS driver uniformity meant hardware support was dependant on the software program rather than the operating system. For optimisation and speed purposes it was common for games and intros to access the hardware directly using a technique known as real address mode. That creates a problem on newer editions of Windows such as 2000, 7, XP and Vista as they block this form of access to the hardware to keep the operating system more secure and stable.
To get around this you can use a DOS emulator which is software that fools DOS and DOS applications into thinking they are running on an old PC with the full hardware access they need. The emulator software is just a Windows program that correctly responds to all the requests by DOS in a way it would expect.
DOSBox is a multi-platform DOS-emulator that is designed to run DOS games on modern operating systems. It has been ported to numerous operating systems including Linux, Mac OS and works like a charm on Windows. By emulating the CPU DOSBox offers both 286 real mode and 386 protect mode as well as XMS/EMS memory configurations. This gives it impressive compatibility with older DOS games as well as many old scene productions and applications. DOSBox also supports Tandy, Hercules (HGA), CGA, EGA, VGA, VESA graphic modes as well as both the Sound Blaster and Gravis Ultra Sound range of sound cards.
In our opinion DOSBox is the best way to run older DOS based scene productions on a modern computer.
If you would prefer a Windows graphical user interface to use with DOSBox I would highly recommend D-Fend Reloaded which includes everything you need within a single software package.
To run scene DOS applications and programs I've used a combination of different D-Fend DOS profiles that I run in a sequence of trial and error.
All profiles should change the Graphics render default to a setting to either ddraw or opengl. As this greatly improves DOSBox's performance and often the audio quality.Hardware > Graphics
One of the biggest problems I have encountered with scene programs such as intros and crack-tros under DOS is their poor implementation of audio auto-detection. In general giving these programs access to multiple soundcards will confuse the detection and cause the applications to not load or to crash. So the listed settings turn off all potentially conflicting audio cards and to prioritise the Gravis Ultra Sound which was very popular with programmers of the era. Compared to the Gravis using SoundBlaster audio with intros is at times more buggy and prone to crashing.Hardware > CPU
The GUS wasn't the first soundcard on the market so for the intros that were created in early 1994 and prior I often use this profile as a fall back to SoundBlaster or AdLib audio.Hardware > CPU
Some older intros assume redundant defaults rather than detect settings for Creative SoundBlaster hardware. This profile uses legacy settings to match earlier generations of Creative hardware. Use it as a last resort if you can not gain audio through the previous profiles.Hardware > CPU
This is the troubleshooting profile I use that tries to eliminate any potential problems with running intros and crack-tros within DOSBox. Killing audio emulation usually fixes buggy audio detection implementations. Setting the Video card to VGA sometimes corrects programs that don't work properly with VESA backwards VGA emulation. Some buggy programs crash if they are run at unexpectedly fast CPU cycles so by changing this to a low, fixed setting I try to eliminate this problem.Hardware > CPU
This is my final troubleshooting profile which is much the same as the previous one. The major difference here is the switch of CPU type from auto to 486_slow. I have found on a couple of occasions that there have been some intros that will not run in DOSBox with the automatic CPU Type setting enabled.Hardware > CPU
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