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Thread: DOSBOX Help

  1. #1
    Peach (Level 3) dgdgagdae's Avatar
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    Default DOSBOX Help

    Does anyone here have any experience with DOSBOX? I'm trying to use it to get an old game running - Wing Commander, actually. My problem is with the keyboard. Several keys do nothing - "=", "[", "single quote". And the backslash key makes a "]".

    I've tried searching the forums on the dosbox site, and I've waded through quite a few posts. I've also tried google, but no luck. I've installed D.O.G., but that didn't help.

    I've tried different keyboard mappings, but I'm just getting nowhere. Hopefully someone here has had some similar issues and can point me in the right direction. If the key won't work, I can't play this game. I can't even type the install directory without the backslash.

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    You don't need to type anything into the dos prompt to get .exe/.bat files to run, simply just drag the .exe/.bat file into the dosbox.exe file. Although I don't recall ever having a problem navigating the dos prompt in dosbox. If you can get the files to run and install, then just remap the buttons in the in-game config. Sorry, I know that it isn't an exact answer to your problem, hopefully someone can come alone and elaborate or give a better solution.

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    ServBot (Level 11)
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    Default hmmm...

    Can't you use one of the frontends and avoid the DOS prompt altogether?

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    Peach (Level 3) dgdgagdae's Avatar
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    I'm not sure, can I? The instructions at http://www.wcnews.com/techsupport.shtml say to use DOSBox. The only issue is, I'm having the keyboard problem I described above.

    If someone has another suggestion for running this old game, I'm all ears.

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    Insert Coin (Level 0)
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    He's talking about one of the DOSBox frontends. I use one (forgot which one and I'm not at my game system) and I never have to actually use the DOS prompt of DOSBox. You set up and config the DOS program in the frontends gui and it calls DOSBox and your game.

    Just did a Google search on DOSBox Frontend and it came right up. I use D-Fend.

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    Strawberry (Level 2) Borman's Avatar
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    Download dfend, itsa gui for DOSbox. Works perfectly

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuken View Post
    Can't you use one of the frontends and avoid the DOS prompt altogether?
    That's exactly what D.O.G. is, in theory.

    Are you using a standard US keyboard, Mr. Dgdgagdae ? What's the Input Locale in your Windows Keyboard control panel set to?
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    That's exactly what D.O.G. is, in theory.

    Are you using a standard US keyboard, Mr. Dgdgagdae ? What's the Input Locale in your Windows Keyboard control panel set to?
    Right, and I've tried D.O.G. The problem isn't just at the command line. It's also inside programs that those keys aren't recognized.

    In XP, my keyboard is set to "English (United States) - US". I've tried "keyboardlayout=none", "keyboardlayout=us", and "keyboardlayout=ux" in dosbox.conf, all with the same results.

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    I don't suppose you have something else wacky running in the background that might be monitoring those keys for some reason? Perhaps you can try running XP in safe mode? (I'm not sure DOSBox will run at all under such conditions, but it's worth a try.)

    As a last resort there's probably a Live Linux CD that includes DOSBox. Maybe that's worth a try anyway, to see if DOSBox at least works properly under those clean conditions.
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Great Puma (Level 12) -hellvin-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Trebuken View Post
    Can't you use one of the frontends and avoid the DOS prompt altogether?
    awww...but that totally kills the nostalgia of DOS altogether =*(. Isn't there a setup.exe, or install.exe in the wing commander folder?? Once you're in the directory of wing commander in dosbox, type in dir /w and see. Once you run the .exe that should tell have config for the button keys.

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    I think when he says "can't even type the install directory without the backslash" means that the keyboard isn't even working correctly on the command line, not just in Wing Commander. (?)
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Great Puma (Level 12) -hellvin-'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I think when he says "can't even type the install directory without the backslash" means that the keyboard isn't even working correctly on the command line, not just in Wing Commander. (?)
    Pardon me, I read the post incorrectly.

    Here, I downloaded dosbox just now again and read the couple of Q/As at the beginning and here's the scoop....I don't know if you've read and already tried all this stuff, but just bringing it to your attention if you have not:

    Q: I can't type \ or : in DOSBox.
    A: This is a known problem. It only occurs if your keyboard layout isn't US.
    Some possible fixes:
    1. Switch the keyboard layout of your operating system.
    2. Use / instead.
    3. Open dosbox.conf and change usescancodes=false to usescancodes=true.
    4. Add the commands you want to execute to the "configfile".
    5. Change the dos keyboard layout (see Section 7 Keyboard Layout).
    6. Use ALT-58 for : and ALT-92 for \.
    7. for \ try the keys around "enter". For ":" try shift and the keys
    between "enter" and "l" (US keyboard layout).
    8. Try keyb.com from FreeDOS (http://projects.freedos.net/keyb/).
    Look for keyb2.0 pre4 as older and newer versions are known to
    have a bug in the loader routines.

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    Peach (Level 3) dgdgagdae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -hellvin- View Post
    Pardon me, I read the post incorrectly.

    Here, I downloaded dosbox just now again and read the couple of Q/As at the beginning and here's the scoop....I don't know if you've read and already tried all this stuff, but just bringing it to your attention if you have not:

    Q: I can't type \ or : in DOSBox.
    A: This is a known problem. It only occurs if your keyboard layout isn't US.
    Some possible fixes:
    1. Switch the keyboard layout of your operating system.
    2. Use / instead.
    3. Open dosbox.conf and change usescancodes=false to usescancodes=true.
    4. Add the commands you want to execute to the "configfile".
    5. Change the dos keyboard layout (see Section 7 Keyboard Layout).
    6. Use ALT-58 for : and ALT-92 for \.
    7. for \ try the keys around "enter". For ":" try shift and the keys
    between "enter" and "l" (US keyboard layout).
    8. Try keyb.com from FreeDOS (http://projects.freedos.net/keyb/).
    Look for keyb2.0 pre4 as older and newer versions are known to
    have a bug in the loader routines.
    Wow, thanks for looking at all of that, but I've already tried. It's not just that I can't type a backslash. When I do, it puts out "]" instead. Typing "]" gives me "[", and typing "[" gives me nothing. I also get nothing from "'" (that's a single quote), and "=". These keys act the same way shifted or unshifted.

    I can use the forward slash at the DOSbox prompt, but that of course doesn't work inside of applications as a backslash.

    I've tried the other steps, including messing around with keyb.com. It was hard to find (the link provided in the DOSBox FAQ didn't work), and I wasn't having any success with it.

    I'll try the recommended steps later for booting into safe mode and the live Linux suggestion. I'd never heard of "live Linux", but a quick Google turns up a bootable distro that includes DOSBox.

    I do have one of those HP multimedia keyboards. I killed the task "keyb.exe" that monitors those extra multimedia keys, but that also didn't help.

    On the plus side - I was actually able to get Wing Commander running. I used the forward slash to mount to the directory where I wanted to install, so I didn't have to use the backslash in the installer. And those keys don't seem to be required in the game. And - even 17 years later, the game is just as fun as I remembered.

    Thanks for everyone's attempt at help, I am going to keep trying. I expect I'll need those keys later on down the line.

  14. #14
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    Default hmmm...

    VMWare or VirtualPC might help.

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by -hellvin- View Post
    6. Use ALT-58 for : and ALT-92 for \.
    I'd forgotten about that one. A rather clever workaround!

    To be explicit:
    -Hold down either one of your keyboard's ALT keys
    -Press (and release) the "9" key on the numeric keypad.
    -Without releasing the ALT key, press the "2" key on the numeric keypad.
    -Finally, let go of the ALT key.

    This works regardless of whether Num Lock is on, but you have to use the numeric keypad. I use that for special characters (particularly , ALT-0176) frequently - it beats looking them up in Character Map.

    Quote Originally Posted by dgdgagdae View Post
    I do have one of those HP multimedia keyboards. I killed the task "keyb.exe" that monitors those extra multimedia keys, but that also didn't help.
    If you just kill the task while Windows is running, it might not work - you should try taking it out of startup alltogether. A handy utility for disabling such things is Autoruns from http://www.sysinternals.com .
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Peach (Level 3) dgdgagdae's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorpho View Post
    I'd forgotten about that one. A rather clever workaround!

    To be explicit:
    -Hold down either one of your keyboard's ALT keys
    -Press (and release) the "9" key on the numeric keypad.
    -Without releasing the ALT key, press the "2" key on the numeric keypad.
    -Finally, let go of the ALT key.

    This works regardless of whether Num Lock is on, but you have to use the numeric keypad. I use that for special characters (particularly , ALT-0176) frequently - it beats looking them up in Character Map.



    If you just kill the task while Windows is running, it might not work - you should try taking it out of startup alltogether. A handy utility for disabling such things is Autoruns from http://www.sysinternals.com .
    Ack, don't change your avatar like that. Very confusing!

    I can't see using Alt-92 for much more than a character on a command line. If it was actually used in-game, that could be a bit tough.

    If the safe mode startup works, then I'll look at what I need to disable. I'll keep Autoruns in mind.

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    Great Puma (Level 12) -hellvin-'s Avatar
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    Really weird...I hate when inexplicable problems like this arrive with computers. Best of luck to ya fixing your problem though!

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    Well, I finally found the cause and I have a workaround. Thought I'd post it here just in case anyone comes across this thread during a search.

    The problem became more urgent when Typing of the Dead was released this week on GameTap and I found that I couldn't type an apostrophe. I checked DOSBox, and sure enough, that was another character that wasn't recognized there. I was looking at my keyboard drivers, and there were some there related to my remote receiver (I'm running Media Center Edition). As soon as I unplugged the USB remote receiver all characters were working properly in DOSBox and in the GT games I tried (I was testing with Typing of the Dead, Zork, and King's Quest). BTW, the problems were identical in DOSBox and those three GT games, including bracket behavior, backslash not working, and apostrophe not working. Maybe that points to a DirectX issue? Other windows apps are just fine.

    After removing one driver at a time, the culprit was "Microsoft eHome MCIR 109 Keyboard". If I remove that device from my keyboards list, all those characters work correctly. And I can't find any drawback to removing this. My remote continues to work just fine.

    The problem is that the driver is reinstalled on a restart, and I can't figure out how to make it stop doing that. It's not listed as that device in Device Manager, only in the Keyboard Properties control panel item. So I can't disable it.

    Oh well, at least I know what to do to be able to play the games I want to.

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    Red (Level 21) Jorpho's Avatar
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    Can't say I'm familiar with problems of that nature.

    But ooh, TOTD on GameTap? I don't suppose you know if it's the same as the original US release? (There were a bunch of other revisions released in Japan.)
    "There is much pleasure to be gained from useless knowledge." --Bertrand Russel (attributed)

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    Sorry, I'm afraid I don't know. The info card inside the GT interface says "2001", but the title screen of the game itself has a copyright date of 2000. If there's some way I can tell in-game, let me know, and I'll check for you. I will say that the phrases they have you type suggest it's not a translation. The cutscenes could be, hard to tell. But the typed phrases and sentences are obviously original english and not some Japanese version of English that we sometimes see.

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    Oh, one more thing that might make all the difference to the answer. It's the Windows version, not the Dreamcast version running through emulation.

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