Running Console Applications from Windows

The software described on this web site falls into three classes:
  1. Windows software offered for sale.
  2. Console applications (which can be run under Windows) offered for sale.
  3. Console applicatons which can be downloaded for free.

Console applications were often originally written to run under DOS but will run equally well from a Windows console application window. In a Windows NT environment such a program is called a "Win32 console application".

Such software does not have the usual features of Windows software, such as radio buttons and check boxes, but when well-designed it is as easy to use as the usual Windows software — and always takes up a lot less disk space.

All of the console applications which can be downloaded from this web site, or are offered for sale (e.g., Mayan Calendrics), work under Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0.

A console application can be run under Windows by any of three methods:

  1. By invoking the DOS command processor (a.k.a. the command prompt). This will open a DOS window with a DOS prompt >. You can then run the program by typing in its name, together with any required command line parameters — extra items of information needed by the program. Those who used PCs prior to 1990 will know about this.

  2. By opening the Run box in Windows (by left-clicking on "Start" then selecting "Run") and typing in the name of the program, plus any required command line parameters. This is equivalent to entering the command at the DOS prompt in the first method.

  3. By invoking the File Manager (in Windows 3.1) or Explore (in Windows — which you get to by right-clicking on "Start" then selecting "Explore"), then locating the program and double clicking on its name or on its icon. This method is suitable only if no command line parameters are required.

The current directory is the one which is displayed in the Exploring (or File Manager) window — or the active one (if there are two or more such windows open). If no such window is open and active then the current directory may be C:\WINDOWS\DESKTOP or some other. In order to specify the current directory, either (i) open Explore (or File Manager) and click on that directory or (ii) enter the name of the directory into the Run box.

In order for a program to be invoked it must either (i) be in the current directory, (ii) be specified by giving the path to the program or (iii) be in a directory which is contained in the PATH variable.

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