Using MS-DOS 4.x Shell Under MS-DOS 5.0 and later (84864)

The information in this article applies to:
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 4.01
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 5.0a
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.0
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.2
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.21
    Microsoft MS-DOS operating system 6.22

This article was previously published under Q84864


It is often possible to use MS-DOS version 4.0, 4.01, or 4.01a Shell under MS-DOS 5.0 and later. Although this configuration has no known problems, it has not been fully tested. MS-DOS 5.0 and later were not designed to support the MS-DOS 4.x Shell. For more information, see the "Potential Problems section below. This configuration can be useful in the following instances:
    You want to refer to your 4.x Shell program items and groups while configuring MS-DOS 5.0 or 6.0 Shell.
    You want to use a feature that only exists in the 4.x Shell.
    You prefer the 4.x Shell user interface.
    You are a support professional and your customers have MS-DOS 4.0, 4.01, or 4.01a and require assistance with the 4.x Shell. You are running MS-DOS 5.0 or later, but need to have the 4.x Shell available for reference.


To reinstall the MS-DOS 4.x Shell on your hard disk after installing MS-DOS 5.0 or later, do the following:

    Create a directory to contain the MS-DOS Shell files (for example, C:\SHELL).
    Copy the following files from the MS-DOS 4.x MS-DOS Shell disk to the directory you created in step 1.


    For example, if the MS-DOS Shell disk is in drive A, you could use the following commands:

    copy a:\dosutil.meu c:\shell
    copy a:\shell*.* c:\shell
    copy a:\pcibmdrv.mos c:\shell

    NOTE: Do not copy all the files from the MS-DOS Shell disk.
    Copy any other .MEU files found in the former MS-DOS 4.x directory to the directory containing Shell. For example, type copy c:\dos\*.meu c:\shell at the MS-DOS command prompt and then press ENTER.

    These .MEU files describe individual groups within the MS-DOS 4.x Shell that you have created.
    Using MS-DOS Editor or another text editor, create the following batch file and name it SHELL.BAT. Use this batch file to run 4.x Shell. This batch file is based on the one included in Appendix A of the Microsoft MS-DOS Shell "User's Guide" for version 4.x.
          @ECHO OFF
          CD C:\SHELL


    The line beginning with "SHELLC" ends after "/DATE". When you type this line, do not press the ENTER key until after "/DATE."

    This example works if the MS-DOS Shell files have been placed in a C:\SHELL directory on drive C. If you have placed the files in another directory, you must change lines 2 and 3 accordingly. SHELLC.EXE will only find SHELL.CLR and .MEU files that are located in the directory SHELLC.EXE was executed from.

    If you use a name other than DOSSHELL.BAT for this batch file, use that name on the "SHELLB" line in place of DOSSHELL. For example, if you name this batch file SHELL401.BAT, the line should read "SHELLB SHELL401."

For more information, query on the following words in the Microsoft Knowledge Base:

dosshell.bat and 4.00

Potential Problems

When you upgrade a system from MS-DOS 4.01 to MS-DOS 6.2, Setup moves the SHELLB.COM and SHELLC.EXE files to the UNINSTALL subdirectory. To correct this problem, copy these two files from the C:\OLD_DOS.1 directory to the DOS directory. If you have already deleted OLD_DOS.1, expand SHELLB.CO_ and SHELLC.EXE from the original MS-DOS 4.01 disks.

If you receive the error message "Color file missing or unreadable" when you try to run Shell 4.x under MS-DOS 6.2, ensure that all necessary files are in the directory that contains your MS-DOS files (typically C:\DOS). If you still receive the error message:

    Make a backup copy of the DOSSHELL.BAT file. For example, type copy c:\dos\dosshell.bat c:\dos\dosshell.pss at the MS-DOS command prompt and then press ENTER.
    Use MS-DOS Editor to edit the DOSSHELL.INI file and remove any lines between "SHELLC" and "/TRAN..." (usually "/MOS:PCIBMDRV.MOS").
    Save the DOSSHELL.INI file and exit MS-DOS Editor.
You should now be able to run Shell 4.x under MS-DOS 6.2.


Microsoft MS-DOS "User's Guide," version 4.x, Appendix A

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 5/12/2003
Keywords: KB84864