Author Topic: Run WordStar 7 for DOS in WIN XP on a Mac, in a VMFusion Win XP virtual Machine  (Read 4284 times)


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The WS directory is in Windows XP under VM Fusion. It was created by dragging over the WS folder existing on the Mac, in DOSBOX (where it works). I can't make it run in XP under Fusion. It says it can't find the WordStar.Pif file.

I cannot use the DOSBOX version, since I can't print, and it is too awkward to open it 30 times a day as I need to do for a 28-year-old work log and dBase 3+ file.

(NB, when in Windows I can't use some punctuation marks in filenames for screen pictures, so sometimes in filenames I have substituted a - or a comma for / or \ ,  and semicolon for colon in MAC OSX 6.5 also. But I always am careful about this in actual command lines. Careful, but not infallible, and often confused about whether my command should be "speaking DOS" or "Speaking Windows" or "Speaking Wordstar".)


Pic #1. Screen from clicking WS icon in XP\Program Files\WS, in VM Fusion virtual machine on MacBook Pro: "Windows cannot open this fill: WordStar.pif 3"

 In the WS directory in XP\Program Files, Wordstar.Pif existed only as an alias, called "Wordstar", that doesn't point to anything and can't be opened by XP. (This was true also of the "WS" program file also, which should be labeled "ws.exe", but it was seen by XP only as an alias, complete with bent arrow in the icon. Mystery.)

I have a working WordStar.PIF in a WS folder on the Mac, under DOSBOX. Tried to copy it into the \WS directory  (XP:\C:\Program Files\WS\. It refused to copy-- sometimes it came in as an empty file, mostly it just didn't copy at all-- whether I drag-copied, or clicked Copy/Paste.

Also, trying to copy or drag, a message says "Already have a file named Wordstar", not mentioning the .PIF extension that should be on that file. The existing file "WordStar" is perceived as the same as "WordStar.Pif", even though other filename extensions ARE shown in the WS directory. Somehow, in either Mac OSX or in XP, even if I change the name of the new file to "WORDSTAR.PIF 2" OR "WORDSTAR.PIF COPY", it still sees only the basic name "wordstar", but not the extension ".PIF", and sees it as a duplicate of the new file, and refuses to copy the file, only to replace it. And it won't even replace it. Another mystery.

Pic #2. Msg "16-bit MS-DOS Subsystem--Z:\DOS\C\WS\ws.exe -- Invalid startup directory,please check your pif file under blank black screen, no buttons.

Also I sometimes got this screen:

Pic #3. Msg title:"Wordstar/? "(used switch) "Windows cant find 'wordstar/?'. ...


Pic #4. Title "run", msg Z:Users\SG\DOS\CC:\WS refers to a location that is unavailable. ?"


If I forget about the PIF file, and click directly on the program file, WS.EXE, in XP\ProgrFiles\WS, it does open a (small)Wordstar opening screen labeled "[Inactive wordstar]", which won't do anything, and can't be enlarged to  more than 6" wide, though vertically it can be enlarged to fill the screen.
Here is my command in XP's Start Menu\Run:

Pic #5. Title "Run". Msg, Type the name of a program?.", I wrote c:\Pprogram Files\ws\ws.exe" (in Start Menu, Run).

It briefly responded and showed the commands of the WS opening screen (but I couldn't grab a picture of it). Then it showed just this empty screen, with no further action possible. I have no way to change directories or access my files. I have no idea what "[Inactive Wordstar]" means. How do I  make it "active?

Pic #6. Title of blank black screen in WS format: "[Inactive WordStar]. No buttons or choices.


If I abandon the WS folder under XP Program Files, and try instead to have XP access the duplicate folder of Wordstar on the Mac under DOSBOX (ie,  Z:\DOS\C:/WS\ws.exe), I get this error message.

Pic #7. Blank black window,Title "Z:\DOS\C\WS\ws.exe". Msg: "Invalid startup directory, check your pif file?..".


Pic #8 Window title: "Run". Msg: "Z:\Users\SG\DOS\C:\WS refers to a location that is unavailable?."


There seem to me to be four separate problems, mixed together, that I cannot sort out and isolate:

   1. First Choice: Make windows 98 install properly, with VM Tools, under Fusion. (I am writing Fusion about this.)

   2. If so, make WS7 for DOS run under Win98 under Fusion. (It works fine on my PC, but I can't keep two computers on my desk forever, and need both constantly.)

   3. OR, Second Choice:  Make WS7 for DOS run under XP (whether under Fusion or  without Fusion).       (Obviously this is a common problem in itself.)

   4. #3 evidently depends on getting Mac OSX 6.5 AND XP to handle paths accurately and recognize       WordStar file extensions.

I have had even more stubborn problems with my first choice, trying to run WordStar in Fusion in a Windows98 virtual machine, though that would be more familiar and convenient for me than XP; but I cannot even get the opening screen visible under Windows98, and I can't install VM tools with Win98. So I will settle for Wordstar running under the hateful XP, if I can just get it working! Since XP apparently runs properly under Fusion, the solution has to be a WS/XP problem, not an XP/FUSION problem.

I have been struggling unsuccessfully with this mess for more than a month, full time, and have downloaded and tried dozens of articles from this (wonderful!) WordStar Forum, from the VM Fusion site and the windows XP site, including many about problems running Dos-based Programs under XP, fiddling with compatability, startup files, 16-bit, 256 colors, etc. But I don't really understand these concepts well enough to know if I have done them right.

Can anybody at the Wordstar Forum help me get this setup working -- running Wordstar 7 for DOS under Windows XP installed as a virtual machine in VMware Fusion 3.1.1 on a Macbook Pro? Any help with getting my beloved Wordstar (my constant companion since my first Osborne 1 in 1982!) running again, in Win98 or WinXP, will be most gratefully received!

Member code # 4528744fad

(Like another of your forum correspondents, I already get tons of junk e-mail, and am not afraid of it. My salad of problems may be too quirky to justify such a long query in the Forum itself; if so, anyone can email me directly if they wish. By the way, I love your forum. Compared with all others I have seen, the members seem civilized and intelligent and literate -- which may say a lot for our mutual love of WordStar!)

P.P.S. ALAS! Everywhere there is a Pic #n above, I had  inserted screen shots to show the responses to my commands. (This post was originally written in a .RTF file). But I can't figure how to get the pictures into this post. Perhaps the text is self-explanatory? I hope so, and added explanatory captions (#1, #2, &) to replace the pictures.