Basic concepts | Select an emulator | DOSBox | Printing | Home page
The short version of this page: Go immediately to one of these two pages (or, preferably, look at both, then decide which you prefer:
Click this link to read about this site's vDosWP system.
Click this link to read about this site's DOSBoxWP system.
Do not bother with the rest of the current page unless you have extremely good reasons for doing so!
This page is written primarily for users of 64-bit Windows, but may also be useful if you have 32-bit Windows Vista or 32-bit Windows 7, 8 or 10. Starting in 2009, almost all laptop and some desktop computers are sold with a 64-bit version of Windows preinstalled. Do not send me e-mails saying that you think or believe that you may have a 64-bit version of Windows; find out for yourself whether you have a 64-bit version.
If you recently bought a Windows 7, 8, or 10 computer, you almost certainly have a 64-bit version of Windows. You will have a 32-bit version of Windows 7, 8, or 10 only if you explicitly requested it from one of the very few vendors who supply it, or if you installed 32-bit Windows 7, 8 or 10 by yourself. (And you will remember if you did that. You really will.)
If you don't know whether you have a 32-bit or 64-bit version of Windows, follow these instructions from Microsoft, or use the Windows Control Panel (Help! How do I find the Control Panel?), switch to the detailed view or small-icon view of all Control Panel applets if necessary, and open the System applet. On the General tab, look at the information listed under "System". If you see "x64", then you have a 64-bit version of Windows. If you see "x32" or if you see neither "x32" nor "x64", then you have a 32-bit version of Windows. Read the preceding sentence again if you are not absolutely certain that you understand it.
However, these methods also work under 32-bit Windows. The only reason to use any of these methods under 32-bit Windows is that some of them support WordPerfect's graphics mode (print preview and image editing in WPDOS 5.1 and 6.x, and graphic-mode or page-mode editing in WPDOS 6.x) and some of them support full-screen text mode and WordPerfect's 512-character mode (required for use with Arabic or Hebrew WPDOS 5.1). See the description of these methods for details. If you use WPDOS, I firmly believe that you should, if possible, run 32-bit Windows instead of any 64-bit version of Windows.
You must understand the following concepts before you begin:
64-bit versions of Windows will not run any software written for MS-DOS or ancient versions of Windows such as Windows 3.1; such programs are called "16-bit" programs, and 64-bit Windows does not include the complex software that would be needed to translate 16-bit program code into its own 64-bit operations. (64-bit versions of Windows will, however, run programs written for 32-bit versions of Windows, such as any software specifically written for Windows 95 or any later Windows version.) 32-bit versions of Windows include the software needed to run 16-bit programs; 64-bit versions do not.
In order to run WPDOS under 64-bit Windows, you will need to use "virtualization" or "emulation" software. These are two different approaches to the same solution: in both cases, the software creates a "virtual machine" or "emulated computer" inside your actual computer. A virtual machine or emulated computer is, in effect, a computer that does not exist as a physical box, only as a window in the physical computer on your desk. A virtual machine or emulated computer is made entirely from software. It runs a copy of Windows, Linux, DOS, or other operating system as if it were a physical machine, completely separate from your actual, physical computer. Your physical computer can be running Windows, and the virtual computer inside it can be running Linux; or the reverse.
The virtual or emulated computer typically has its own simulated hard disk, CPU, network card, video card, etc., but it can typically use the CD-ROM drive and diskette drive on your physical computer as if they were drives on the virtual or emulated computer. What you see in a virtual or emulated computer window (or in full-screen if you switch the virtual PC to full-screen mode) is what you would see on a physical monitor if the virtual PC were an actual, physical PC.
Your actual physical computer is called the "host computer"; the virtual or emulated computer is called the "guest computer". You must understand these terms before you proceed!
You can use any of a number of emulator programs to run WordPerfect for DOS in 64-bit Windows. (Note that all these methods also work with 32-bit windows; they are not restricted to 64-bit Windows.) Here is a list of some possibilities, together with some advantages and disadvantages of each. Note that all of these methods supply expanded (EMS) memory for use with WPDOS and any add-on software that you may use with it.
The vDosWP method. This method is provided by this site, and, despite minor limitations, is the easiest method to set up and use. Please see a separate page for downloading and setup information.
The DOSBoxWP method. This method is provided by this site, and, despite limitations, is reasonably easy set up and use. Please see a separate page for downloading and setup information.
Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 (for Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 7, NOT Windows 8). (Note that under Windows 7, Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 can be installed only if "Windows Virtual PC" is not installed.) See details of setup and use on the linked page.
Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC (for Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate only (not Windows 8); no support for any graphics mode in WPDOS). Some people like this method very much. In my experience, initial setup is extremely difficult and complicated, and certainly not worth the effort. I won't help you to set it up; if you want advice, ask for help in the WPDOS forum at WPUniverse.com. If you do try it, remember that Tame is required for adequate speed. Remember: Windows XP Mode and Windows Virtual PC cannot be installed on a system with "Microsoft Virtual PC 2007" installed; you must uninstall "Microsoft Virtual PC 2007" before installing Windows Virtual PC. (Note: If you really want instructions for setting up this method for use with WPDOS, I may be able to supply them, but only if you are willing to pay an outrageously and unreasonably high consultation fee.)
VMware Workstation and DOSEMU under Linux. See the linked page for details of setup and use.
DOSBox installed manually. See the notes elsewhere on this page for details. I strongly recommend that you do not install DOSBox manually, but instead use this site's DOSBox-based DOSBoxWP system.
Client Hyper-V running Windows XP under Windows 8
Windows XP or MS-DOS running under VMware Workstation, VirtualBox, or other emulators
This site's DOSBoxWP system overcomes many of the limitations and problems described below. You will encounter many problems (described below) if you set up DOSBox by hand and if you use the normal release version of DOSBox, and I will absolutely not help you solve those problems. I have already solved most of them in my DOSBoxWP system. Use that system instead!
DOSBox is designed a platform for running old computer games. Its developers have stated emphatically that they have no interest in modifying DOSBox for use with application software such as WordPerfect for DOS. DOSBox can be forced into running WordPerfect for DOS, but you will have a much better experience running WPDOS under 32-bit Windows, without DOSBox, so please do not ask me for additional advice about using it. If you insist on using DOSBox, the following summary may help you make it work reasonably well, but only if you are reasonably expert with computers and you understand the difference between the guest system and the host system. Remember: I don't think you should be doing this at all.
DOSBox is brilliantly written but not brilliantly or fully documented. You may be able to get answers to questions about it by asking (very politely) in the forum at the Vogons website.
Warning: DOSBox does not and never will include full support for "task-switching" programs like the WordPerfect Shell and the "launcher" program used by WordPerfect for DOS 5.1+ (five point one plus) and 6.x. This means that macros that the Shell program, WP macros that run DOS commands, and features like the WP Font Installer (for WPDOS 6.x) may or may not cause DOSBox to lock up. See the explanation of the D-Fend Reloaded "Profile" menu below for advice on ways to avoid these potential problems. (Or you can use this site's DOSBox-based DOSBoxWP system, which eliminates most or all of these problems.)
Another warning: DOSBox, unlike all the other emulation and virtualization programs described on this page, displays a graphic image (a picture) of the text that you type into WordPerfect. You cannot use the mouse or keyboard to select text in a DOSBox window and copy it into Windows. You can only copy a picture of the WordPerfect screen and paste the picture into other applications. You may not care about this built-in limitation of DOSBox, but you should know that it exists. (And you can use this site's DOSBoxWP system if you want to select text in WordPerfect and copy it to the Windows clipboard, which is otherwise impossible with DOSBox.)
Yet another warning: If you want to use the graphic editing mode in WPDOS 6.x, DOSBox may not work! When you use WPDOS in graphic mode in DOSBox, you may not be able to move the cursor out of the bottom half of the window, although you should be able to use graphics mode with DOSBox running in full-screen mode. This is a longstanding fault in DOSBox that cannot be fixed until the DOSBox programmers decide to fix it. You will probably have to wait many, many years - perhaps forever - before the problem is entirely fixed.
To set up WPDOS in DOSBox, I strongly recommend that you do not follow the instructions below, but use this site's DOSBoxWP system instead!
If you absolutely insist on setting up DOSBox by hand, then read on, but do not ask me to help unless you are willing to pay an enormous consulting fee. Remember, I told you to go to another page instead!
So, if you want to ignore my warning: First decide whether you plan to install a fresh copy of WordPerfect, or use a copy that already exists on your hard disk (or that you have copied to your hard disk). You will need to remember your decision as you proceed.
Next, download this nofkeys.txt keyboard mapping file and copy it into a convenient directory. You will need it in a later stage.
If you already have DOSBox installed on your system, uninstall it. Next, download and install D-Fend Reloaded, which includes a copy of DOSBox that you should use instead of a standalone copy of DOSBox. The following description is based on D-Fend Reloaded 1.0; later versions may differ.
Run D-Fend Reloaded. Choose Add, then Add Manually..., then Add DOSBox Profile..., to create a new "Profile" for WPDOS. Proceed as follows through the menus (ignore all settings not mentioned below):
Profile: For the "Profile name" use "WordPerfect" or whatever other name you like. Enter a brief file name in the "Filename" field; this will be the filename of your saved DOSBox program settings. If you plan to install WPDOS on the DOSBox virtual drive C:, then leave the "Program file" field empty for now (later, after you have installed WPDOS, you can return to these settings and add the full path to the program on the DOSBox virtual drive C:, including the .com or .exe extension, and any command-line switches you normally use (such as /R). If you already have WordPerfect installed in a directory on your hard disk, enter in the "Program file" field its full path (including the .com or .exe extension). In the "Program parameters" field, enter any command-line switches that you normally use (such as /R); if you have WPDOS 5.1+ or 6.x, add the /DL switch in this field, or WP will probably lock up when you attempt to Go to Dos (Ctrl-F1). (You may need to omit the /R setting for most stable operation.)
DOSBox settings: Set "DOSBox priority (foreground)" to Highest. Set "DOSBox priority (background)" to Normal or Higher (but you may want to experiment with this setting). If you already have WPDOS installed in a directory on your hard disk, and you have specified the Program File in the Profile tab, then you may want to check the box next to "Close DOSBox when program closes."
CPU: Set "Emulation core" to Dynamic. Set "CPU cycles (emulation speed)" to Max.
Memory: Ignore the "Memory (in MB)" field. Enable (click in the checkbox) "Use XMS (eXtended Memory System)," Use EMS (Expanded Memory System)," and "Use UMB (Upper Memory Blocks)."
Graphics: Set "Window resolution" to "original." Set "Fullscreen resolution" to "original" (but feel free to experiment). You may want to enable "Start in fullscreen mode," but it may be safest to wait until the system is working properly. Experiment with the "Keep correct aspect ratio" setting; it may or may not be necessary with your monitor. Set "Render" to "surface" (but you may want to experiment with the alternate settings "overlay" or "ddraw"); set "Video card" to "vesa_oldvbe (VESA 1.2 compatible S3 SuperVGA card)"; set "Scale" to "No Scaling (none)" (but feel free to experiment); "Frameskip" may be set to zero, but you may want to experiment with higher numbers if you use WPDOS graphics modes.
Keyboard: Enable (add a checkmark to) "Use scan codes". If you are outside the US, you may need to experiment with the "Keyboard layout" and "Codepage settings; I cannot help you with these settings. At the foot of the menu, specify "Use this custom DOSBox key mapping file," and browse to the nofkeys.txt file that you downloaded at the start of this procedure. Warning: This keyboard mapping file may not work correctly in Windows systems outside the US; please let me know if it does.
Mouse: Remove the checkmark next to "Auto lock mouse."
Sound: Unless you plan to use the sound feature in WPDOS 6.x, remove the checkboxes next to all "Activate" settings. However, if you want to use sound in WPDOS 6.x, DOSBox is the only modern environment that allows WPDOS sound to work reliably. (DOSEMU under Linux also supports sound, but unreliably in recent versions of Linux.)
Drives: You need to know what you are doing before you can use this menu properly. If you plan to install WPDOS from floppy diskettes, click "Add"; in the Type field, choose "Folder as floppy," in the "Folder for mounting" field enter the path of your floppy drive (typically A:\ which must include the colon and backslash), and choose A as the "Drive letter." If you plan to install WPDOS from a CD, in the Type field choose "CD drive" and try to figure out the most suitable settings for your system.
Still in the Drives menu: You will almost certainly need to add emulated drives that access existing folders on your hard disk containing documents or existing WPDOS systems. Remember that WPDOS will interact only with the drive letters and directory structure that you set up in DOSBox, and the same folder will probably have a different drive letter in DOSBox and your host system. (If you do not understand this, ask a friend for help; you absolutely must understand this if you hope to share files with your host system.) In the "Type" field, choose "Folder as hard disk," and figure out for yourself which folders you need to access. You must remember the emulated hard drive letters in the guest system and the matching directories in the host system when working in WPDOS. After setting up printing, you will need to add a drive setting that will share the folder that you use for temporary print files (as described in the instructions on printing).
Click OK when you are finished creating your settings. Run WPDOS under DOSBox by double-clicking the profile name in the D-Fend Reloaded main menu. Or right-click on the profile name, choose "Create Shortcut...," and create a desktop shortcut for running WPDOS under DOSBox without first launching D-Fend Reloaded.
These methods are not required if you use this site's vDosWP system or the DOSBoxWP method, both of which print to any Windows printer (or, for the sake of additional flexibility, to a PostScript or PCL printer).
(a) If, and only if, a WordPerfect driver exists for your printer (for example, if your printer is an HP LaserJet that supports PCL5e, or if your printer is a PostScript printer), you can use the "PrintFile method" of printing to your printer, as described elsewhere on this site. After setting up this method on your host computer (and only after setting up this method), use the shared-folder feature in your emulation software to share your WordPerfect print spool directory (typically C:\WPSPOOL) as drive P: (or some other letter) in your guest system; find and select the option that lets you share this folder whenever the system starts up. Now, run WordPerfect, install the driver for your printer and change the port for the printer to the filename P:\OUTPUT.PRN. This will send the printfile from WP in the guest system to the spool directory on the host that you created when setting up the PrintFile method. (Note: This method should work with DOSBox, but only if you set up DOSBox carefully and you understand that the drive and directory name to which you print inside DOSBox has a completely different drive letter and directory name from the drive letter and directory name that you specify in PrintFile. If you don't understand the preceding sentence, do not even try to use PrintFile with DOSBox!)
(b) To print to any Windows printer from a Windows guest computer, set up this site's automated-installation method of printing to any Windows printer on your host computer, but cancel out of the installation at the point where it asks where to find WordPerfect. Use the shared folder feature in your emulation software to share the print spool directory set up by the automated installation (typically C:\TEMPWP) as drive P: (or some other letter) in your guest system; find and select the option that lets you share this folder whenever the guest system starts up. Now, in your guest system, run WPDOS, select and install the printer driver for the Apple LaserWriter IINTX (or, preferably, one of the Ghostscript drivers available elsewhere on this site), and change the port setting for the printer to the filename P:\WPDOS.PS. This will send the printfile from the copy of WP in the guest system to the spool directory created by the automated-installation method, and your file should print. (Note: This method will not work with vDosWP or any DOSBox-based system, nor will it work with any guest system that emulates DOS or Linux instead of Windows.)
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