Using the SETVER Command (96767)

The information in this article applies to:
    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 Q96767


This article describes how you can use the SETVER command to add an MS-DOS-based application to the version table so that you can run it successfully under MS-DOS 5.0 and later.


Some applications check which version of Microsoft MS-DOS is running when you start them. Such applications may not run if you are using a version of MS-DOS that the application was not designed for. For example, an application designed for MS-DOS version 3.30 may not start if you are running MS-DOS version 6.0; instead, the application may display a message similar to the following:

Incorrect DOS version
This message indicates that one of the following problems exists:
    The application is incompatible with your version of MS-DOS.
    The application is compatible; however, the application cannot run because it interprets the MS-DOS version as incompatible.
Contact the manufacturer of your application to determine whether it is compatible with MS-DOS versions 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2. If it is incompatible with these versions, you need to obtain an updated version of the application.

When to Use SETVER

If the application is actually compatible but interprets your version of MS-DOS as incompatible, you may be able to work around this problem by adding the application to the version table. The version table is a list of applications that need MS-DOS to report a version number other than 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2. MS-DOS maintains the version table in a file called SETVER.EXE, which is in your DOS directory.

Installing SETVER.EXE

To use SETVER, you must also have the "DEVICE=C:\DOS\SETVER.EXE" command in your CONFIG.SYS file. This command installs the SETVER.EXE file, which contains the version table, each time you start your computer. Usually, Setup adds this command for you when you install MS-DOS version 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2 on your computer.

If "DEVICE=C:\DOS\SETVER.EXE" is not in your CONFIG.SYS file, use a text editor to add it.

You must restart your computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL for the change to take effect.

NOTE: Make sure you have only one SETVER.EXE file on your hard disk drive. Each SETVER.EXE file contains a unique version table. If you have multiple version tables, SETVER may not report the correct version number to an application.

To display the complete list of applications in the version table, type "setver" (without the quotation marks) at the MS-DOS command prompt. The setup programs for MS-DOS 5 Upgrade and MS-DOS 6 Upgrade add several programs and device drivers to the version table; therefore, even if you don't add any programs to the version table yourself, you will see a list of applications when you type the command.

Adding an Application to the Version Table

To add an application to the version table, use the SETVER command. The syntax of the SETVER command is as follows:
   setver <filename> <n.nn>
where <filename> is the name of the application file, including its extension (you do not need to specify the location of the application file), and <n.nn> is the version number you want MS-DOS to report. Specify the version number of your previous version of MS-DOS. For example, if your previous version of MS-DOS was 3.20, specify 3.20 on the SETVER command line.

NOTE: You must restart your system by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL for the change to take effect.

Suppose you have an application called EASYEDIT.EXE that requires MS-DOS to report version 3.30. To work around this version number problem, type the following command at the MS-DOS command prompt to add EASYEDIT.EXE to the version table:

setver easyedit.exe 3.30

Removing an Application from the Version Table

If you install an updated version of the application, you may need to remove its entry from the version table. You can do this by using the /D switch with the SETVER command.

For example, to remove the EASYEDIT.EXE application from the version table, type the following command:

setver easyedit.exe /d

You must restart your computer by pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL for this change to take effect. Once you do, MS-DOS goes back to reporting the current version of MS-DOS to the application.

Incompatible Applications

The SETVER command does not affect whether an application is actually compatible with MS-DOS. The command works only for applications that are already compatible with MS-DOS version 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2, and simply need to receive a different version number when they check for the MS-DOS version at startup.

If an application is incompatible, you must obtain an updated version from the manufacturer of the application.

CAUTION: You many want to contact your software manufacturer to determine if your specific program works with MS-DOS 5.0, 6.0, or 6.2. Some programs rely on outdated MS-DOS functions that may not be present in later versions of MS-DOS. Adding an incompatible program to the version table may result in lost or corrupt data or system instabilities. Microsoft is not responsible for any lost, damaged, or corrupted data.


For more information about the SETVER command, see Chapter 14 of the Microsoft MS-DOS 5.0 "User's Guide and Reference" if you are using MS-DOS 5 Upgrade.

If you are using MS-DOS 6 Upgrade or MS-DOS 6.2, see MS-DOS Help for more information about the SETVER command. To use the MS-DOS Help, type help at the MS-DOS command prompt.

Modification Type: Major Last Reviewed: 5/12/2003
Keywords: KB96767