DOS Networking

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Networking on MS-DOS can be simply installed using Microsoft's DOS LanManager v3. The utility supports many ISA cards such as the 3com Etherlink III and NWLink, NetBEUI and TCP/IP protocols. The basic install can be made to fit on a bootable 1.44MB Floppy Diskette.



The software is available from Microsoft in DSK3-1.EXE and DSK3-2.EXE.

  • Move these files into a temporary directory and run in turn to unpack (answer Y when prompted to overwrite files)
  • Run setup.exe
  • Choose your network directory and user name, etc
  • You should now be in the main configuration screen that lists your setup options
  • Select the main configuration screen and choose "Network Configuration"
  • The network adapter should be listed in the top box
  • Tab to the upper box and select "NWLink IPX Compatible Transport"
  • Tab to the lower box and select "Remove"
  • Setup will then ask for a protocol. Select TCP/IP (or NetBEUI if required)
  • Adapter setting may need to be configure by selecting "Change Settings" with the adapter is highlighted (IRQ, IO Address, DMA Channel, etc)
  • Setup will then build all the configuration files

When the computer is restarted the network should start automatically.


A possible corruption issue was fixed per Microsoft knowledge base Q129164, but this article is no longer available.  The download however survives, NNET.EXE.


The installation does not include share functionality; i.e. it can only connect to network shares. Network shares up to and including Windows Server 2003 can however be used.

Server functionality can be added using a Microsoft download WG1049.exe.

  • Move this file into the network directory and run, overwriting all files when prompted.
  • Ensure Share.exe is in the DOS directory and loaded in CONFIG.SYS (install=c:\dos\share.exe)
  • Edit the system.ini file in the network directory changing filesharing=no and printsharing=no to "yes" as required

Resources can then be shared using net share (use net share /? for available options).

DOS 4 and below

Loading the network with TCP/IP has a high memory requirement in DOS terms.  Due to the limited (or absent) upper memory capabilities of DOS 4, it may therefore be impossible to run IP.  IP can be run on DOS 4 if XMS is available (and enabled with HIMEM.SYS), but all command in AUTOEXEC.BAT up to NET START much be issued before any TSRs, such as SMARTDrive, are loaded.  NetBEUI has a lower memory requirement.