MS-DOS issues with Windows ME

Updated: 04/26/2017 by Computer Hope

How do I create an autoexec.bat or config.sys in Windows ME?

Windows meWindows ME features a "legacy-free environment" which means that IO.SYS does not process either the config.sys or the autoexec.bat file like other versions of Windows. Instead, it scans these files for environment variables and imports them. These files contain settings and preferences that configure the global environment for the computer when you boot, and whenever you start a new MS-DOS virtual machine.

*Real-mode programs and drivers can no longer be loaded. Windows ME only
supports environment values.

If the autoexec.bat and config.sys are modified, when the computer is
restarted or Windows is shutdown, Windows will remove automatically any value
that is not specified in the Registry.

To specify or edit values in the *autoexec.bat* the user must edit the
following Registry value:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\currentcontrolset\control\session
manager\environment

Within this key the user can modify pre-existing values that are currently
defined in the autoexec.bat

Additional information about the Windows Registry can be found on our Registry page.

How do I get ansi.sys to work in Windows ME?

Windows ME does not support Real-Mode drivers therefore cannot load ansi.sys. See below note to why Real-Mode support was removed.

If you need access ansi.sys or have batch files that require it, you can use a third-party file, ansi.com, instead. It provides the same functionality as ansi.sys with improved support for all video modes. It also permits sizing and clearing the key-assignment buffer, and provides high-speed screen updating. Download this file from the PC Magazine ANSI.com website.

Why was Real-Mode support removed?

Microsoft has multiple reasons why Real Mode was removed from Windows ME, but was primarily removed to prevent problems with Windows programs and get the computer to boot faster.

How can I dual boot with Windows ME?

Does Windows ME have a Safe Mode?

Yes, Safe Mode is accessed the same way as Windows 98; press F8 or hold down the Ctrl key.

How to set the LASTDRIVE or FCBS statement

The LASTDRIVE and FCBS is not configurable by the user.

How to specify the FILES statement in the config.sys

The FILES statement that sets the amount of file handles in an application Job File Table (JTF).

Because Windows ME does not parse the config.sys, however, this may be needed for MS-DOS applications, this line can be defined in the system.ini in the [386Enh] section by adding the below line.

PerVMFiles=<number>

How to modify the BUFFERS statement

The buffers values is a fixed value and cannot be changed by the user.

How to modify the STACKS statement

Microsoft indicates "The STACKS setting determines the number and size of the stack spaces that are created to handle interrupt handling in real mode. Because almost all of the device drivers that are used are written to run in protected mode, this value has no effect on the operation of existing MS-DOS-based programs."

Additional information

  • See our problem definition for further information and related links on this term.