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MS-DOS 5.0 vs MS-DOS 6.22?

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I'm in the process of recreating the computing environment I had in my very early teens. I had two computers in those days, my own 286 and the family 386, both running MS-DOS 5.0. I still have my original installation disks somewhere, along with tons of copies of 6.22. I'm just unsure which version to use, and practical use information seems hard to come by. The only difference I'm aware of are the disk compression utilities, but I always heard nothing but horror stories about that.

What I'm wondering is, what benefits are there to 6.22 over 5.0? I know most people go for the "latest version" but I'd just as soon use 5.0 for the personal "authenticity" of it, since I never owned a machine with anything but 5.0. Not to mention the machine I have came with 5.0 anyway.
 

Ole Juul

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I don't think there a lot of different in the OS, but there may be something in the utilities that would make a difference to you personally. People who run old DOS seriously seem to be split between 5 and 6 based solely on their personal history and not on actual performance which seems to be about the same. I'd go with what's historically correct for you - isn't that what it's all about?
 

krebizfan

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DOS 5 uses slightly less memory. DOS 6 has a few minor fixes in utilities and task swapping* and added disk compression. I would install whichever version I find first when looking for disks; the differences are not worth any extra effort searching.

* DOS 5 had a few significant bugs in the task swapping routines.
 

vwestlife

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MS-DOS 6.x includes third-party utilities licensed from Norton and Central Point that formerly had to be purchased separately as part of Norton Utilities or Central Point's PC Tools. 6.0 also includes Microsoft's DoubleSpace disk compression and MemMaker RAM optimization utility, improved on-screen help for DOS commands, Microsoft Diagnostics (MSD) utility, the CHOICE, MOVE, and DELTREE commands, InterLink (already available in IBM's PC DOS 5.02), support for CD-ROM drives with MSCDEX, the ability to add a startup menu in CONFIG.SYS and to bypass or step through the startup files with the F5 and F8 keys, and other minor updates.

Changes in MS-DOS 6.2: http://www.tekweb.dk/manuals/command/VERSIONS/MSDOS/620.HTM

MS-DOS 6.21 removed DoubleSpace due to a lawsuit by Stac Electronics. 6.22 replaced DoubleSpace with DriveSpace disk compression and a few minor updates.

MS-DOS 6.23, 6.24, and 6.25 were produced for government, military, and banking industry users, and were never released to the general public. These versions are claimed to offer FAT-32 support.
 

Pepinno

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If you want to play with DOS in any serious way, you will need DOS 6.22 to be able to use the boot menu option in CONFIG.SYS. Otherwise, if your hardware configuration is simple and non-changing, go with whatever version of DOS is period-correct for your kit.
 
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Thanks to everyone for the input. I ended up deciding to just go with DOS 5, since that was what I used growing up and couldn't really see much use for some of the extra abilities of 6.22. Sadly, I discovered that both my 5.0 and 6.22 floppies were corrupted (/sigh) so I had to find them on the internet anyway.
 

billdeg

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6.22 came with win 3.1.

No 286 computer would have used 6.22 originally. 5.0 would be an upgrade for that matter. You likely will need as much RAM for programs as possible, why take it up with 6.22's overhead? So, I think you made the right decision with 5 for that machine. You did not say how much RAM you had installed in the machine, I assume it's not maxed out.

The 386 does not matter which. 6.22 would be more useful if you needed to tweak RAM but there were plenty of ways to accomplish with a 5 system.
 

vwestlife

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6.22 came with win 3.1.

It was often sold that way to OEMs, but it was possible to buy MS-DOS 6.22 by itself as a retail upgrade. In fact, you can still buy it on Amazon.com!

http://www.amazon.com/Microsoft-MS-DOS-6-22-Upgrade/dp/B000NKN8OW

I have to check MS-DOS 6.22, but I do know that IBM's PC DOS 7.0/2000 uses less RAM than any version of DOS since 4.0. I have PC DOS 2000 running perfectly on my original IBM 5150 PC, so it would be equally suitable on a 286.
 

Caluser2000

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The full versions of MSDos 6.22 retail packages where available as well without windows bundled. I think the was a comparison here a few years back showing PC Dos 7 did free up more memory than 6.22.

Seems the OP is happy with 5. As mentioned there's a ton of utilities that did the same job as the ones bundled with 6.22.
 
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vwestlife

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Many of the newer DOS utilities will work just fine with older versions, too. The ACALC, DELTREE, and MOVE files from PC DOS 2000 work just fine in MS-DOS 3.3, as does EDIT, QBASIC, and UNDELETE from MS-DOS 6.22.
 

vwestlife

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The full versions of MSDos 6.22 retail packages where available as well without windows bundled. I think the was a comparison here a few years back showing PC Dos 7 did free up more memory than 6.22.

I found my own comparison, as originally posted here:

vwestlife said:
I just went through all my boot disks, and ran CHKDSK on each one to display the amount of free RAM (out of 640K) on each one, using a totally clean boot (no CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT):

PC DOS 2.00 ... 630,672 bytes
PC DOS 2.10 ... 630,672
PC DOS 3.10 ... 616,432
MS-DOS 3.10 ... 616,432
PC DOS 3.21 ... 609,392
PC DOS 3.30 ... 600,528
MS-DOS 3.30 ... 600,368
IBM DOS 5.00 ... 593,328
MS-DOS 5.00 ... 593,328
MS-DOS 6.00 ... 592,256
IBM DOS 6.10 ... 593,056
MS-DOS 6.22 ... 592,256
PC DOS 6.30 ... 593,024
PC DOS 7.00 Revision 0 ... 593,840
PC DOS 2000 (7.00 Revision 1) ... 593,760

I also have an MS-DOS 4.01 boot disk, but not a copy of CHKDSK which will work with it, so I can't give it an accurate free RAM amount, but judging by what other utilities report, it's somewhere in the ballpark of 590,000 bytes. So IBM claimed that PC DOS 7 offered the most free RAM of any version of DOS since 3.3, and that does appear to be true!
 

Stone

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I found my own comparison, as originally posted here:

just went through all my boot disks, and ran CHKDSK on each one to display the amount of free RAM (out of 640K) on each one, using a totally clean boot (no CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT)
While that's a good piece of work on your part it's not completely representative. As you know with DOS 5 and 6 most of it can be loaded high resulting in much more free RAM, e.g., when I boot 6.22 and load DOS high I get 617K (631,888 bytes) free. And, that includes a Ramdrive (1K) and Doskey (4K) in the boot process.
 

vwestlife

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While that's a good piece of work on your part it's not completely representative. As you know with DOS 5 and 6 most of it can be loaded high resulting in much more free RAM, e.g., when I boot 6.22 and load DOS high I get 617K (631,888 bytes) free. And, that includes a Ramdrive (1K) and Doskey (4K) in the boot process.

My point in doing those tests was to calm the fears that using newer versions of DOS would "take up too much RAM" on an PC/XT-class system with 640K. Obviously in a 386+ system the ability to use DOS=HIGH,UMB (and in PC DOS 7.0/2000, DOSDATA=UMB) will give you even more free conventional RAM by loading parts of DOS and TSRs into high memory and UMBs.
 
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