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Emulation (Games) Games

DOSBox Sees Continued Success 271

KingofGnG writes "DOSBox, the emulator designed to run DOS games on modern operating systems (and not necessarily on a PC), has been chosen as project of the month for May on SourceForge. It's the latest award granted to a piece of software that 'simply does what it is supposed to do,' as the authors say. After having amassed more than 10 million downloads, it will soon be getting an update that's been awaited for almost two years."
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DOSBox Sees Continued Success

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  • I love DosBox (Score:5, Informative)

    by SupremoMan ( 912191 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @11:58PM (#27902175)

    I use it to play Masters of Orion 2. It has a built in IPX simulator, so it makes multiplayer very easy. You can also record your games using built in feature!

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      It's also getting very popular on torrent sites with old games... and I love it. I can download a whole list of old games I grew up with, all packaged up in a .app. Double click and 'it just works'.

      Right now I'm playing Carmageddon and Command and Conquer for old time sakes.

      • by c_forq ( 924234 )
        I recently discovered this, and have been playing X-COM way too much. I have been thinking of trying to get X-COM Apocalypse with it, as I have the frustration ingrained in my memory of buying an X-COM compilation CD and my PC being unable to run Apocalypse at the time, but doubt it will compare to the original (one of the best games, if not the best game, to date in my opinion).
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          You could just buy it on Steam. They have it all setup to work.
          • Re:I love DosBox (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Sparr0 ( 451780 ) <> on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:57AM (#27902545) Homepage Journal

            I am one of many people who do not buy from Steam. How many times do companies have to turn off DRM servers before people realize it's a bad idea to buy that sort of content?

            • Re:I love DosBox (Score:4, Informative)

              by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 11, 2009 @01:36AM (#27902767)

              In this instance, it doesn't matter. The Steam version of X-COM Apocalypse consists of the DOS version, and a pre-configured version of DOSBox. Same goes for all their re-releases of DOS games. You can trivially extract the files, and run it with your own version of DOSBox, or even on a real DOS machine.

              In short - no DRM. Even the bundled version of DOSBox runs just fine without Steam.

            • Re:I love DosBox (Score:4, Informative)

              by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @03:08AM (#27903197) Homepage Journal

              Other games are just as easy to de-steam. The ones that are hard are those that are steam-only, like valve releases.

              UT3 for instance. Just manually extract the .exe's and .dll's from the latest patch, and overwrite the steam ones with them. UT3, bought and downloaded through Steam, but runs without Steam. (You do need your CD key though. Steam gives you this when you buy it)

            • I've lost or damaged the CDs to many of my games, while I can still download them (and do) off Steam. It's a huge convenience. And you don't need Steam running to play most of the games you buy on Steam, just to install them.

              Seeing as there are plenty of websites that show you how to pirate Steam software I don't think the DRM is really all that intrusive. In 10 years time, assuming Steam is gone by then, which is likely, I think we'll still be able to hack up some software and play our old stuff.

              • I've lost or damaged the CDs to many of my games, while I can still download them (and do) off Steam. It's a huge convenience.

                So basically all that a piece of call-home spyware has to do is offer you some advantage... compared to other DRM's that shouldn't exist in the first place, either?

                Reminds me of a joke some eastern-european coleague told me some years ago. Went something like, the constant state surveillance and phone taps weren't all bad. If you forgot what hour you're supposed to meet your girlfrie

            • Re:I love DosBox (Score:4, Insightful)

              by LackThereof ( 916566 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @04:41AM (#27903539)

              And I am one of many people who WILL buy from Steam, because I find the benefits far outweigh the idealogical downside of purchasing DRMed software.

              I don't need to go to a retail store and buy a physical box. This is huge for me. If I want a game, I can just press a button on a website and have it playing on my computer in a matter of minutes.

              If I want to show a friend a game, all I have to do is log in to my Steam account from their computer; all of my games are instantly available to install and play. This is a big one. They'll continue to be able to play my games until I log in back on my PC, and I don't have to tell them my password.

              Streamlined, built in auto-updating; it updates my games in the background, so the game is patched and ready to go by the time I want to launch it.

              Being able to instantly join a friend's online game by clicking one button in my friends list.

              Easy reinstalls in case of disaster, no storing a binder of CD's and keeping track of ugly product keys.

              Never having someone else's keygen stumbling onto my product key and blocking me from online play. Fuck yeah no CD keys.

              All this in exchange for the risk that if Valve goes out of business, in a worst case scenario I might have to apply a 3rd party crack to my games. Yeah, I think I'll continue taking that risk.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Sparr0 ( 451780 )

                Be glad there are cracks for Steam games. I don't think anyone ever managed to break the DRM on Plays For Sure windows media files, or that MLB game footage that they stopped authorizing.

                • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                  by dmbasso ( 1052166 )

                  Probably because no one (with the capacity to do it) cares about windows media files...

          • Does it work under Linux? Cus dosbox does!
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by c_forq ( 924234 )
            No I can't, and no it doesn't. Steam is for Windows, as is the game they sell. In addition I have already bought the game three times, why should I buy it again? Especially since it won't be the original programmers getting the money.
      • by node159 ( 636992 )

        Yup, DOSBox is the best :).

        BTW what is this .app packaging?

        I currently use a fork ( that allows you to run zipped up games and all writes go to a temp dir, means forever consistent images but is a slight nuisance to setup.

    • Re:I love DosBox (Score:5, Interesting)

      by malevolentjelly ( 1057140 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @01:04AM (#27902603) Journal

      This is probably the most common sentiment you'll find in reference to DOSBox. Everyone just loves this project... I think it really is because it has one singular focus and succeeds whole-heartedly at it. Also, the project has done a great job of remaining very gracefully platform agnostic. It's brought back the old Keen series and Little Big Adventure and such to me, on any system I might want to play it on.

      Now that even games on Steam are starting to ship packaged with DOSBox, you really have to take some time to reflect on how much this has done for an archive of almost forgotten and still very valuable games.

      • Re:I love DosBox (Score:5, Interesting)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <> on Monday May 11, 2009 @04:44AM (#27903551) Homepage Journal

        Ahh, that reminds me. Few years back I did some reverse engineering of Commander Keen using DOSBox.

        I tapped the emulation loop and wrote replacement functions for each address. So, for example, whenever address 0x1713 of the Keen segment was executed the function add_monster_1() would be called. It would do its thing and, if I had translated it correctly, the game would appear unchanged. I did this for a lot of functions:


        The result was much more enlightening than reading asm code. For example, John Carmack used the same code for doors in the game as he did for monsters. In a sense, doors *were* monsters, they just didn't have as complex "thinking" as some of the other monsters in the game. I could also confirm that there were no more "cheat keys" or secret levels in the game than the ones that had already been advertised :)

        I later tried to convert this to compilable source code using libSDL for the graphics but that project has been lost to me.. it's probably floating around on one of my old linux machines.

        • For example, John Carmack used the same code for doors in the game as he did for monsters. In a sense, doors *were* monsters

          If you'd played the game a lot, you'd know that - there are a few bugs caused by that overlapping. As I recall (been over a decade since I looked at the code), Quake used the same model.

      • It's not just games, either. If you've got a legacy bit of DOS software (and you'd be surprised how many companies still have) you can probably run it in DOSBox. It even runs the original VisiCalc and the Psion Series 3 emulator.
    • I use it to play Masters of Orion 2. It has a built in IPX simulator, so it makes multiplayer very easy.

      You can actually play Master of Orion II online (the Win95 Orion95.exe) easily now with GameRanger [].

      It doesn't emulate IPX over TCP/IP, but rather tricks MOO2 into using DirectPlay for TCP/IP, rather than DirectPlay for IPX, so it should play smoother.

  • Comments (Score:4, Insightful)

    by XanC ( 644172 ) on Sunday May 10, 2009 @11:58PM (#27902181)

    Can we get the comment count for each story back on the front page, please?

    • Re:Comments (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CSMatt ( 1175471 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:24AM (#27902393)

      I'll just be content when the JavaScript stops eating up all of my clock cycles every time it pulls in more stories.

    • by Necroman ( 61604 )

      Agreed. This is frustrating.

    • I'd imagine we'll get them back when Vista gives us back image previews that actually work consistently.

    • So you don't see it either? In fact my Slashdot bookmark took me to an RSS like page, rather than what I think of as the "main page"

      I want the old layout back without ajaxy or javascripty nonsense. I'm tempted to read and post in Dillo or links.

      • by pz ( 113803 )

        Same thing here, exactly.

        Taco et al, WTF? This is change for the sake of change without regard to impact and usability, and clearly without sufficiently extensive testing.

        No AJAX please. The pull-new-stories-at-the-botom-of-the-page experience IS TERRIBLE, especially on a slower connection where I have been more than once convinced that my browser has gone crazy and unecessarily closed it. Great IU design, guys. No, let me write without sarcasm, because that comes through so poorly: THIS IS A HORRIBLE C

        • The pull-new-stories-at-the-botom-of-the-page experience IS TERRIBLE,

          THIS. Also, I can't figure out why my reading level changed from -1 to 0... and the preference seems to have disappeared. I can't drag the slider down to -1, either. Give me back -1!

    • by Masa ( 74401 )
      I don't know, what I have done, but I still have the classic Slashdot view with comment counts. In my preferences I have disabled the beta index feature and in Discussions: Viewing, I have Slashdot Classic Discussion System selected.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      yes.... why did it stop showing ?
      please revert back to last working copy of slashdot.

    • Multipled'ed. Taco-meister, you listening?
    • by Thing 1 ( 178996 )

      Can we get the comment count for each story back on the front page, please?

      I've been tagging "howmanyposts" to every story on the front page, and will continue doing so until they're back. Removing information is never a "feature".

  • It'll never die.

    • Are there any HOWTO pages on running XvT or the like? I am running 64bit Fedora 10 on a Dell D830 maxed out.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by X0563511 ( 793323 )

      Bah, TIE-Fighter is where it's at. We don't need to stinking shields! (both games kicked ass though!)


      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by inhuman_4 ( 1294516 )

        Absolutely. Tie fighter IMHO was by far the best.

        I loved it because it had the opposite difficulty style of most games. In most games you are a really tough ship/guy, who needs to fight off hordes of weaker guys/ships. But in Tie Fighter you WERE the dinky POS, two shots and you were fried. For me it made the experience more intense. You couldn't just fly into a group of bad guys and start blasting. You had to have really good situational awareness, because surprises would kill you without a second chance.


  • No fullscreen mode for DOSBox :(

    Is Windows 7 the same way?

    • by d_jedi ( 773213 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:17AM (#27902333)

      Works for me. Press alt-enter.
      YMMV depending on the game, maybe?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Targon ( 17348 )

      I think you may be confusing DOSbox with the built-in command prompt in Vista. With Vista, the native method to run DOS applications no longer supports full screen mode(for no obvious reason). DOSbox, which is a third party application not owned or supported by Microsoft does such a better job at emulating a DOS environment that even ancient DOS based applications will run properly on Windows XP, Vista, or Windows 7, among others.

      So, if you dislike NOT being able to run your DOS applications in full-scr

    • I had the same thing happen when I installed on a friend's PC yesterday. Something about unable to set the display resolution, IIRC. :-/

  • by managerialslime ( 739286 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:07AM (#27902249) Journal
    Q&A for DOS was the best non-relational database of the pre-windows era. (Ok, so PSF/File and Alpha4 had their fans too.) When I needed to load a copy of Q&A to retrieve some old Q&A data, every version of the Windows Dos box would lock the system up. The early versions of DOS/Box would also crash on Q&A's nasty habit of directly accessing system video.

    However, for the last three years (at least), DOS/Box now loads Q&A and at least the Q&A search and export features work just fine.

    This is one fine product.
    • by anagama ( 611277 )

      I remember Q&A for DOS -- I may even still have the book hanging around unless it fell victim in my last purge of "things I paid a lot for and won't ever use again." It would be fun to give it a whirl again, though I'd have to buy a USB floppy drive.

      What I really want to try out though, is Deathtrack. I played that for hours with the guy next door to me in my dorm in the late 80s, and I've never found a satisfying shoot-em-up race game since.

    • by azgard ( 461476 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @01:55AM (#27902845)

      Actually, that's not quite true. Unfortunately, DosBox developers concentrate to games only, to the point they refuse patches for non-gaming hardware like printers or network cards (which could be used to make old DOS software work).

      I am not saying the emulator is not great, it is, just it focuses to much on games.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Celeste R ( 1002377 )

      I second the fact that DosBox is better than Microsoft's own offerings within Windows.

      Time-critical things are smoother, and there's quite a lot of legacy DOS applications that are time-critical.

      I've seen people program on an 8086 such compressed and timer-reliant code that only recently has Linux (before other OS'es for that matter) been able to get that functionality back.

      The same individual responsible was also a fanatic of the Atari 8-bit era, even going through large lengths to slave a PC to one

  • Virtual Floppy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by eggman9713 ( 714915 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:07AM (#27902255)
    Now what they need to do is make an app that will allow me to load all the old floppies with these games into DosBox in some way that it will act like floppies, virtual drives or such.
    • Re:Virtual Floppy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Drinking Bleach ( 975757 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:21AM (#27902367)

      Already done. Use dd to copy the disk images, and use imgmount to mount the disk images.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      GNU ddrescue [] can do what you are looking for. Even works for USB floppies. With tricks you can even get the m-tools to see the USB floppies as drive-letter-a and so on. Now all you have to find is a working floppy drive.

      FYI - copy protected sectors still have to be read by hand. Sorry, you're Ultima V disk isn't (directly) copyable. You'll have to use Neverlock or some other 'helper' software to play it without the disk in DOSBox.

      However, I'm open to suggestions about the above...

  • Dosbox ROCKS! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dudpixel ( 1429789 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:22AM (#27902371)

    Dosbox is fantastic for those times when you want to relive the moments when you first got into pc games (at least for anyone born before say 1984 or thereabouts).

    Many of the games we now regard as classics, were written for DOS. Many of those games even pioneered whole genres of computer gaming.

    Such games that come to mind include Wolf3D, Doom, Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Need For Speed, Microprose F1GP and the list goes on.

    They may not have been the first in their genre, but they were certainly the games that defined the genre. Current game developers would do well to look to the DOS classics for inspiration, not so much for ideas, but for how to create a true classic.

    Dosbox works incredibly well right now and I wish its developers every success in its continued development.

    • Re:Dosbox ROCKS! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by penguinchris ( 1020961 ) <> on Monday May 11, 2009 @01:33AM (#27902753) Homepage

      A couple of things I found amusing - first, I was born in 1986, and yet I still got into PC games in DOS. I started formulating this reply as soon as I read that you thought one had to be born before 1984 for this to be true :)

      But then the games you mentioned are not the ones I had in mind at all... I did play those games (I especially liked Wolf3D and Need for Speed, from that list - as an aside, I hate where they went with the Need for Speed series after the original...) but the games I grew up with were earlier ones, including a lot of side-scrollers and simpler games like that.

      My fondest memories are of Apogee/3d Realms side-scrollers like Secret Agent and Crystal Caves. Then, of course, the X-Wing series came along - pretty much the greatest thing ever invented to a nerdy kid who liked flying (my dad is a pilot), computer games, and Star Wars (and you can't forget Dark Forces - that was a great game, along with its first sequel).

      And I completely agree - I stopped playing games a few years ago not because I don't like to play games, but because the games are just not the same as they were. I don't find myself having anywhere near as much fun as I did, unless I simply play the old games. I stopped seriously playing games sometime after Rainbow Six 2. That was, for me, the last great era, with games like that as well as Battlefield 1942 and several great combat flight simulators. It's all gone downhill since then :)

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        My fondest memories are of Apogee/3d Realms

        You'll LOVE Duke Nukem Forever when it comes out. New footage has been leaked recently, so it should be any moment now...

      • has nothing to do with games, has everything to do with your brain maturing

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        A couple of things I found amusing - first, I was born in 1986, and yet I still got into PC games in DOS. I started formulating this reply as soon as I read that you thought one had to be born before 1984 for this to be true :)

        You were born in 1986 and your parents already let you be on the internet? You can't be more than...wait...holy're probably done with college

        Thanks pal. Now I feel old.

    • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @02:30AM (#27903043)

      Such games that come to mind include Wolf3D, Doom, Command & Conquer, Warcraft, Need For Speed, Microprose F1GP and the list goes on.

      You young whippersnappers! I used to play PACMAN, dammit!

    • Born in '86. First "PC" game was Doom, on DOS. I forget what version.

      My first games were on a TI-99 however.

      I think you have your dates wrong?

    • I'm playing Master of Orion 2, Battle at Anteres, with Dosbox, right now. For some reason, the DOS version works much better under Dosbox than the Windows version does under WINE.

      There's a slight sound stutter at times and a slight effects lag, but everything else is perfect. Still one of the best turn-based strategy games.

  • by innocent_white_lamb ( 151825 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @12:25AM (#27902405)

    Some folks are doing amazing things with dos emulators on Linux: []

  • About the update (Score:2, Informative)

    The "update that's been awaited for almost two years" will supposedly implement "the ability to save the state of the emulated game and to interact with the software through a GUI"

  • It snowcrashes my computer after less than a minute of playing Albion. White noise fills the screen, and bam.

    No idea what's with that yet.

    • It snowcrashes my computer after less than a minute of playing Albion. White noise fills the screen, and bam.

      No idea what's with that yet.

      Look out! Someone is trying to hack your brainstem!

  • DOSBox does not officially have printing support. People have added it, but it's not part of the main product. []

    Why is this? Is it because most games don't require printing support?

    I'm sure there are some people out there with Print Shop [] or something who would like to be able to use it... And I tried to help someone run a DOS accounting application under Vista using DOSBox. I couldn't figure out how to get printing to work and ran out of time. :-(


  • Spammer (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    KingofGNG recently tried to plug his site by adding the download count to DOSBox's Wikipedia article. And now he's doing it here. The source for the download count should have linked directly to or sourceforge, not this spammer's personal page. The difference? Wikipedia's editors caught it and removed it. Slashdot's editors? ...

  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @03:25AM (#27903265)

    I know quite a few companies that spent a killing in DOS applications back in the days, and who are either too cheap or too strapped for cash to replace those apps with newer ones, so they're stuck with having an ancient box around that still runs DOS. If you happen to have an old machine, don't throw it away, companies will pay for those machines if, and only if, they run DOS 6.22 (3.something, I forgot which one, would even be better) fine.

    Now DOSbox would be the saviour... IF it could print! Of course those ancient machines need to output their data somehow, and while the ones that fortunately just store data and spit it on discs can actually benefit from DOSbox, apps that need to create a hardcopy are just out of luck (at least about 9 out of 10 times).

    Print support in DOSbox would end the aera of legacy machines littering offices worldwide. THEN it would be the absolute app. And another foot in the door of offices for free software.

    • by Pecisk ( 688001 )

      Afaik DOSBox supports emulating standard lp qeues as printers, so printing from it shouldn't be a problem.

    • If your DOS app. will print to a file, you can print from DosBox. I use DosBox to run an old DOS based Cadd Program. When I want to plot a job to our HP plotter, I select HPGL/2 and plot to a file. I have a little script invoked by a launcher on my Fedora desktop which will copy the file to the plotter que, and then delete the file. Same trick works with a postscript printer.

      By the way, Dosemu supports both printing and networking, and has better support for fullscreen graphics. Dosemu is easy to install on

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @03:30AM (#27903293)

    Now that MT-32 emulator code has been included in ScummVM and bunch of other places, I really hope that they include it directly in Dosbox. There are some builds that contain the Roland thing, (such as [] ) but I'd rather have those included with the project itself.

  • DOS MMORPGs (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @04:02AM (#27903423) Homepage Journal

    I like DOSbox because it lets me play Shadow of Yserbius on ImagiNation Revival []. A first-person perspective (but still-frame) multiplayer RPG world originally offered by Sierra On-Line and called The Sierra Network and later ImagiNation Network. A group has gotten a server running that simulates the old dial-up systems, but over TCP/IP, enabling many players at once.

    For me, Shadow of Yserbius was the first MMORPG I played, and still may favorite. It is a fairly short game, and cheating is trivial to do (your character data is stored on your local machine), but if you play it fairly it is quite enjoyable and challenging.

    • The first 'M' is what differentiates MMORPGs from the old BBS games.

    • First MMORPG was indeed Ultima Online (UO's creator Richard Garriot invented the term). There were a lot of network games before that but really no one did it so well: hosted seamless persistent world with 100s of players.
      So no, Shadow of Yserbius was not MMORPG.

  • Funny that a project that hasn't had a release since august 2007 and that seem to collaborate by posting patches to a discussion board instead of using vcs branches is chosen for "project of the month" in may 2009... That said, that version (0.72) is still a damn fine piece of software. Let's hope for another release soon.

  • I discovered DOSBox only a year of so ago when my brother brought back the memories of one of the first DOS games we used to play on our first computer - Zed for DOS by Bitmap Brothers. We had a lot of fun playing that game back then. ( For me it simply is the best game ever made.)

    I thought it would be revive the good old times and see if the kids enjoy the game as much as we did - but a) I did not had the game installer any more and b) I had read on forums that the game won't run on modern hardware/os
  • So where can I buy this DOSBox? As a good capitalist I have my credit card ready for purchase, but I can't seem to find a price list anywhere. All I hear is that it opens sauce, or something like that.

  • by knorthern knight ( 513660 ) on Monday May 11, 2009 @09:05AM (#27905203)

    QBASIC for some quick-n-dirty programming when linux shell scripts or spreadsheets aren't enough, but C or PERL is overkill.

    dBASE IV, complete with DOS 4GW extended memory manager runs just fine. Woohoo.

    I also have the original floppies for Chessmaster 3000 (yeah it's ancient). I could not get it to run under WINE. But CM 3000 is so ancient that it supports Windows 3.1 and Win95. When they were throwing out old computers at work, they threw out the Windows 3.1 floppies with them. I took a set home with me. I couldn't install from the floppy drives, but I was able to image the floppies as disk files, and tell DOSbox to treat the image files as floppies.

    Win 3.1 was a graphical shell that installed on top of DOS. DOSbox's emulation is good enough that Win3.1 installed properly on top of DOSbox. Now I can pull up the DOSbox prompt, "CD \WINDOWS" and type "WIN", and up comes ye olde Program Manager.

    I also run the original Tetris under DOSbox. I use a cheat. Tell Tetris that you're using a joystick, even if you don't have one. That slows down the game to make it more playable.

    • by Hatta ( 162192 )

      Win 3.1 was a graphical shell that installed on top of DOS. DOSbox's emulation is good enough that Win3.1 installed properly on top of DOSbox. Now I can pull up the DOSbox prompt, "CD \WINDOWS" and type "WIN", and up comes ye olde Program Manager.

      Yep. I've used this to play old 3.1 games that don't work under Wine. Star Trek: Klingon [] comes to mind. One of the best FMV games there is, which means it's still awful, but in a fun way.

    • I installed Windows 3.1 on DOSBox just yesterday, amusingly enough. For a friend... and now I need to get the setup discs from him so I can do the same for myself.

      I put the best of windows entertainment package (bowep) on there, too, just in case he'd like to play some of those games... of course, they'd run on Vista, come to think of it, so I don't really know why I did that. lol.

Competence, like truth, beauty, and contact lenses, is in the eye of the beholder. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter