USB Support for DOS

A number of people used to think that USB support in DOS was not possible, and there were no USB drivers for DOS. However, this is no longer true. In fact, most newer BIOS should support USB keyboards and even USB mice natively, so no additional USB keyboard/mouse driver for DOS is needed at all in this case. Also, many other USB devices, particularly many different kinds of USB Mass Storage devices, will usually work great under pure DOS if the correct drivers are loaded. Here are some types of USB Mass Storage devices that should be relatively easy to work in DOS:

1. USB Hard Drives
2. USB Floppy Drives
3. USB CD Drives
4. USB Flash Drives (Thumb Drives, Compact Flash, etc.)
5. USB ZIP Drives
6. USB MO Drives

Below are some very useful USB drivers for DOS:

DUSE

DUSE is a half-universal yet full-featured USB Mass Storage driver for DOS, which support USB Hard Drives, USB Floppy Drives, USB CD Drives, USB ZIP Drives, and USB MO Drives.

Downloads:

Version 4.2  Version 4.3  Version 4.4  Version 4.9

Example:

DEVICE=<path>DUSE.EXE INT XFER=32 DRIVES=2 CDD=USB-CD

USBASPI

USBASPI is a "universal" driver for many different USB Mass Storage drives with different chipsets, such as Intel, VIA, NVIDIA, Ali and SiS chipsets. Especially USB Flash drives should work fine with this driver. But note that this driver is actually a "converter", i.e. Convert USB devices to SCSI/ASPI devices,  so you also need to load some universal SCSI/ASPI driver after USBASPI in order for the devices to work correctly.

Downloads:

Version 1.07  Version 2.01  Version 2.06  Version 2.15

Example:

DEVICE=<path>USBASPI.SYS /R /V

ASPI?HCI

Similar to the above USBASPI driver, but this driver has many limitations. Anyway, it should work with some Iomega USB Mass Storage devices. ASPIOHCI.SYS is for OHCI devices, ASPIUHCI.SYS is for UHCI devices, and ASPIEHCI.SYS is for EHCI devices. Note that you also need to load some universal SCSI/ASPI driver after ASPI?HCI in order for the devices to work correctly.

Downloads:

ASPIOHCI.SYS  ASPIUHCI.SYS  ASPIEHCI.SYS

Example:

DEVICE=<path>ASPIOHCI.SYS /INT /ALL

SCSI drivers

In order for SCSI/ASPI devices to work under DOS, the corresponding SCSI/ASPI drivers must be loaded. SCSI drivers consist of two parts: the specific driver for the SCSI controller and the universal driver for the SCSI device. As the matter of fact, the USBASPI or ASPI?HCI driver above is the former part of the SCSI drivers. Thus, once USBASPI or ASPI?HCI is loaded successfully, you need a universal SCSI driver for that device to really work. For USB/SCSI CD drives to work properly under DOS, MSCDEX must be loaded after the corresponding CD driver.

Downloads:

Drivers for SCSI Hard Drives:  DI1000DD.SYS  ASPIDISK.SYS
Drivers for SCSI CD Drives:  USBCD.SYS  ASPICD.SYS
More drivers:  GUEST.EXE  RAMFD.EXE

Example:

DEVICE=<path>USBASPI.SYS /R /V
DEVICE=<path>DI1000DD.SYS /H1
DEVICE=<path>USBCD.SYS /D:USB-CD

USB_CD

USB_CD.SYS is a USB CD driver for DOS. However, it will work with certain chipsets and models only, such as IBM USB Portable CD-ROM Drive (P/N 33L5151). For other chipsets and models, please use the more generic USB DOS drivers.

Download:

USB_CD.SYS

Example:

DEVICE=<path>USB_CD.SYS /D:USB-CD

USBLink

USBLink is mainly for USB keyboards and USB mice support under pure DOS. So if your BIOS doesn't support USB keyboards/mice natively, you can try this driver. OHCI.EXE is for OHCI devices, and UHCI.EXE is for UHCI devices. Unfortunately, this driver has some bugs and limitations.

Downloads:

OHCI.EXE  UHCI.SYS

USB4DOS

This driver was made by CATC Corp. Unlike other USB drivers for DOS, this one is not freeware and quite expensive. CATC say USB4DOS supports all different kinds of USB devices, including USB Mass Storage devices, USB printers, USB modems, and so forth.

Link:

CATC USB4DOS page


If you have any questions, experiences or problems with USB support for DOS, please free feel to mail me, or in the new DOS Forum!

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Wengier, China DOS Union. 2002-2004.