How to Download and Install QBasic

You may already have QBasic on your system. See Chapter 0 on how to check if this is so.

The following steps should work on any recent Microsoft operating system.

Step 1. Create a Subdirectory for QBasic

Create a subdirectory to contain QBasic. Call the subdirectory olddos (or any other name that you like). Typically this directory is put in the C:\ disk.

Use whatever method you prefer to create this subdirectory. Here is a way that uses the command prompt window:

1A. On your desktop, click on "Start"

1B. Click on Run. Then in the Run dialog box type CMD and click on OK.

A DOS window (sometimes called a command prompt window) starts up:

1C. Change the directory to the root directory of C: (or any other disk) by using the CD command followed by a backslash:

1D. Now make a new directory under C: by using the MKDIR command:

If you want, you can change to the new directory by using the CD command, and then list out the files in this directory with the DIR command. There will be no files (yet) in this directory.


Step 2. Download OLDDOS

2A. With your Web browser, go to the site:

Scroll down to nearly the bottom of the page until you see Download Olddos.exe now.

2B. Click on: Download Olddos.exe now. An alert window will pop up.

2C. Click the button "Save File". (Different operatings systems have different windows, here.)

2D. Click on OK.

2E. A "Save As" dialog appears:

2F. Navigate to the subdirectory that you created in Step 1, C:\olddos.

2G. Click on "Open". Click Save. The File Download dialog shows the progress.

When the download is done, the dialog title changes to "Download complete".

2H. Click Close.

Step 3. Unpack the OLDDOS Files

3A. Go back to the DOS window of Step 1 (or start a new one and change its default directory to the directory where you put OLDDOS.EXE.)

3B. Enter the command DIR to see the files in the subdirectory.

The file OLDDOS.EXE should be there.

3C. At the command prompt, type olddos.exe

3D. Answer the question "Do you want to extract these files now" by typing "y".

A long list of files is extracted and left in your subdirectory. QBasic is contained in the two files QBASIC.EXE and QBASIC.HLP. You could delete all the other files but these, but it does not hurt to keep them. (If you keep OLDDOS.EXE you will have all the files in compact form.)

At this point, QBasic is on your computer.

3E. To confirm that it works, type qbasic in the DOS window. (The working directory should be the directory that now holds QBASIC.EXE.) The window will be filled with the QBasic system:

3F. For now, just exit QBasic by typing "escape" then "alt" and then "f".

3G. Push the down arrow on your keyboard until "Exit" is highlighted, and then hit "enter". You will return to the DOS prompt.

(Note: you will not be able to use your mouse to make slections by clicking on words and icons within the QBasic window. To make selections from the menu, use the "Alt" key, and then use the arrow keys to change the selection. Another way to do this is to hit "Alt" and then use the first letter of the menu selection you want.)

Step 4. Change the PATH Variable

At this point, you could run QBasic by starting a DOS window, changing to the subdirectory that holds QBASIC.EXE, and typing "qbasic" at the command prompt. But it is more convenient to be able to run QBasic from any subdirectory.

For Windows 98/2000:

4A. Click Start. Select Settings/Control Panel.

4B. In Control Panel double click on System.

4C. In System Properties, click on Advanced:

4D. Then click on Environment Variables:

4E. Click on "Path" under "System variables".

4F. Then Click the "Edit" button just below it. The new dialog shows "Path" in the Variable Name box, and a list of things in the Variable Value box.

4G. At the end of whatever is there, type a semicolon followed by the pathname of the directory where QBASIC.EXE is located:


4H. Click OK.

4I. In Environment Variables, click OK.

4J. In System Properties, click OK.

Now you should be able to start QBasic from any DOS window merely by typing qbasic at the command prompt.

You are done installing QBasic.