■ WITH TJ BYERS
In this column, I answer questions about all
aspects of electronics, including computer
hardware, software, circuits, electronic theory,
troubleshooting, and anything else of interest
to the hobbyist.
Feel free to participate with your questions,
comments, or suggestions.
You can reach me at:
This month, our readers went
wild with questions about theory
applied to practical problems.
✓Powering the Ethernet.
✓Internet call waiting.
✓Lissajous and inductance.
✓DOS is alive and well.
✓Car radio solutions.
DOS: ALIVE AND WELL
QIn the June ‘06 issue in the
section titled “Software On
The Cheap,” your answer
says to create a MS-DOS
boot disk. I have lots of MS-DOS
programs. Can I run these programs
from that boot disk after rebooting with
that disk? I’m running XP and currently
switching to a DOS window and/or full
screen, but can’t print from the window
or full screen without screwing around
with the clipboard. Any hope?
— Bob Kolhoff
AI really miss DOS because it
lets you get to the heart
of the PC using simple
commands. It’s still a solid
operating system for dedicated PCs that
monitor, control, and/or automate.
Batch files are easy to
create and QBasic is still
a powerful, plain-English
And yes, you can run
your MS-DOS programs
from a 3.5-inch DOS
boot disk. I recommend
version 6. 22 because it
was the last stand-alone
DOS issued, and
contains nearly 80 commands — along with a
usable CD-ROM driver.
Find a free download at
If you’re working
in XP, here’s what I’d
do. Create a CD-ROM
DOS boot disk with
all the DOS 6. 22 files
on it. There’s even
■ FIGURE 1 enough room to
include the extended files (you can
find all three extended file disks on
eBay for under $10). Go into the PC’s
BIOS and set it to boot from the floppy first, CD-ROM second, and hard
disk last. That way, you can override
XP without having to create a separate
boot section on the hard disk.
As for printing in DOS, DOS 6. 22
defaults to ASCII printers only — like
the old Epson dot matrix thrashing
machines — not graphics. Look for
the Print Screen (PrtScn) key. See
ts/ tec091299.html for details. For
every other printer, you’ll need a DOS
Many DOS applications — like
WordPerfect — have printer drivers
that come along with the package.
Simply pick your printer from those
listed and follow the bouncing
screens. Unfortunately, late model
printers don’t support DOS. But there
is hope for DOS users who have a
USB printer. It’s called
disk.com/usb.htm Never tried it, but
it appears solid.
QI have been working on building a wireless bridge between
two buildings and have run
into a problem with power-