Dell’s announcement of a line of business PCs bundled with FreeDOS (to get around MS’s prohibition of OS-less PCs) got me thinking about DOS again.
I vaguely remember some time ago someone asking me if it would be possible to set up an MS LAN Manager server in DOS on a 286 that would be accessible from Windows boxes. Not very likely, I said.

Well, I was wrong. At least mostly wrong. Yes, you can set up an MS LAN Manager server and share drives and printers from DOS. What I don’t know is whether it’d run on a 286 or if a 386 would be required.

I also don’t know exactly why you would want to do it, other than to show off, because the PCs you’ll be connecting from have more RAM than most 286s had disk space.

Before anyone asks: Yes, I have a 286 motherboard laying around somewhere, so I could put together a 286 system to try this. No, I am not willing to try it.

If you want to try it, instructions for setting up this crazy thing are here.

And I’m sure someone is asking if there might be a legitimate use for something like this. I suppose the answer might be yes. You could make a bootable CD-ROM with this stuff on it to use to quickly bring up an emergency file/print server for disaster recovery. Of course it’s just as easy to keep a hard drive stored somewhere with a configured Linux distro on it and Samba, and that’ll perform a whole lot better.

But if DOS intrigues you and you want to find all sorts of odd uses for it, you can find a linkfest over here.