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Make one of those Keen DOS Startup Menus

Intended For
Windows 98
Windows 95
Since MS-DOS 5.0, users have been able to create menus to switch between different configurations when first starting the computer. Although the Windows documentation doesn't tell you how to do it (or even that it's possible), the old DOS tricks still work (it's a good idea to get your old DOS manual ready). This functionality can be useful for users who use DOS more than just occasionally and don't want to be forced to enter Windows first just to play a DOS game. Note that this procedure can be tricky, and requires some basic knowledge of the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files. Here's how you do it:

Step #1:

Step #2:

  • Use a text editor (such as Notepad) and open CONFIG.SYS located in the root directory of your boot drive (usually C:\) - if it's not there, create a new file.
  • Type the following lines (might need some adjustments for your system) at the top of the file:

    MenuItem = MS-DOS
    MenuItem = Windows
    ... put any other menu items you want here
    MenuDefault MS-DOS,4
    MenuColor 15,1
    ... put all your MSDOS drivers here
    ... put all your Windows drivers here (should be empty)
    ... make a section for each additional menu item, with each name
        matching a "menuitem" command above
    ... put all the stuff you want loaded all the time

Step #3:

  • Now, save CONFIG.SYS, and open AUTOEXEC.BAT from the same directory, using the same text editor, and type the following at the top of the file (this may need some adjustments if you have added more menu items):

    @echo off
    Rem * If user selects "Windows" it must be run manually here *
    IF "%CONFIG%"=="Windows" win
    IF "%CONFIG%"=="Windows" goto skip
    ... put all your DOS autoexec stuff here

  • Save AUTOEXEC.BAT when finished, and restart your computer to test the new menu.

  • Note: The particular drivers required by your system depend on the devices you have installed. There are no "standard" CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files to copy.

  • Note: You might also want to try the 95 Multi Booter (8 kb), which is easier to use, but only allows you to use the predefined Windows startup menus.

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Last updated: Thursday, August 16, 2001

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