PSCALE & PTOOLS on Windows Vista (32 bit Versions)
(c) 1989 - 2010 Tremaine Parsons RPT
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03/09/07 - The new Windows Vista platform has just been released, is in the stores, and bundled with most new PC's that are sold. The new Vista Version is available in 32 bit and 64 bit versions. Most all retail systems currently sold have the 32 bit version installed and the word on the street is that, given a choice, most users who are upgrading, should install the 32 bit version until which time that software programs and hardware drivers are written to take advantage of the 64 bit PC hardware.

The Pscale and Ptools programs run fine on the 32 bit version of Windows Vista! I will need to do a few minor tweaks because the Vista window rendering cuts a bottom line of explanation text on some of the help windows. Pscale 3.5 (100% Vista 32 bit compatible) is now finished and update files will be posted shortly.

The mighty Microsoft has given me another grace period. Starting around Windows M98 / ME / NT / XP releases, the word was that Microsoft would no longer support MS-DOS and many legacy earlier Windows programs written during the days of Windows versions 3.X. Most of the coding for Pscale and Ptools was written between 1996 and 1999 on the Windows 3.X (16 bit) platform. To this day, Microsoft has chosen to bundle legacy 16 bit backward compatibility into the newer versions of Windows (98, NT, 2000, and XP) and the same holds true for the recent release of Windows Vista in the 32 bit version. From everything that I have read, the eventual migration, during the next few years, to Vista 64 bit, will not include support for Windows 16 bit programs. This was was initially claimed for Vista32 which does include 16 bit support. I believe that Vista 64 will not include 16 bit legacy support. I have no plans to re-write Pscale for the Windows Vista 64 bit platform so if you plan to continue using Pscale or Ptools, plan to use Vista 32 bit or one of your old computers. Also, keep track of your Win 3.1, 95, 98, or XP install disks because you will be able to use Virtual PC (included with Vista 64) or VMWare to install an older operating system (3.1,95,98,XP) to run as a "virtual machine" within your new 64 bit machine when we get , or are forced, there in a few more years. This will allow you to run any older Windows 16 bit or MSDOS programs.

The two routines of Pscale Win 3.4 that do not work in Vista 32 (now fixed in Pscale Version  3.5 for Win): As Pscale migrated from a MS-DOS program, there is a button in the Windows version for "Graphics / DOS" which puts the user into the earlier MD-DOS graphical editing environment. I personally rarely use this feature anymore but did originally because I was so used to the Pscale MS-DOS version which is why I included the routine in the Windows version. This MS-DOS sub routine does not work in Windows Vista 32. There is one other routine in Pscale for Win that is no longer supported by Vista. The Graph Compare routine also makes use of a previous MS-DOS graphics subroutine because I ran out of steam writing the windows code when I could just call some previously written code as a MS-DOS subroutine for comparing graphs. This has been corrected in Pscale Version 3.5 with the help of the "Open Source" DosBox MS-Dos emulator. Pscale 3.5 for Win will now run all features, including graph compare in Vista 32 bit.

The kicker here is that the "Open Source" DosBox program will run Pscale and Mscale for DOS in Windows Vista straight out with no problems. It will be a fine day down the road when you can run Pscale DOS in DosBox but won't be able to run Pscale 16 bit for Windows in Vista 64 bit. By that time, the "Open Source" folks will probably have created a 16 bit emulator for Vista 64. Actually, I have just installed Windows 3.11 inside of DosBox and it runs Pscale for Win (see pictures below). Rule of thumb: Keep all of your old operating system install disks.

What is interesting is that the new Windows Vista 32 version does not abandon MS-DOS support as everyone has claimed it would. Windows Vista will still run many MS-DOS programs. The change that affected Pscale had to do with controlling Video hardware so as to control Digital Rights Management (DRM) and make it harder for people to hack copy protection of Music and Movie CD's / DVD's. So, essentially, Vista will not run the above mentioned  Pscale Dos subroutines because of a clampdown on Music / Movies copy protection issues. Go figure...

Read another , earlier, rant about Microsoft and Windows Vista

Tremaine Parsons - Sierra Software Services

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Windows 3.11 using DosBox Emulator on a Vista Machine