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Author Topic: Installing and running Vintage BASIC on Windows  (Read 41602 times)
Lyle Kopnicky
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« on: November 18, 2009, 03:36:40 AM »

A lot of people have told me they have trouble running Vintage BASIC. When they run the program, a black windows pops up, then disappears.

Vintage BASIC is, as the name implies, an old-school program. As in the old days, it knows nothing of graphical user interfaces. That means it only works from the command line. Once you set up your command-line environment to use Vintage BASIC, it will be easy.

The first thing to do is put vintbas.exe (the file you downloaded) in a good location. I recommend creating the folder "C:\Program Files\Vintage BASIC" ("C:\Program Files (x86)\Vintage BASIC" on Windows 7) and putting it there. If you don't have administrator rights, you may have to put it in your home directory. Anywhere is fine, just remember the path.

Now you should put this folder in your Path environment variable, to make it easy to access from the command line. You can do this via Control Panel -> System -> Advanced Settings -> Environment Variables. (On Windows Vista/7 you can search for "environment" in the search box on the Start Menu.) In the top box are your local variables. Double-click on the Path variable. You will get an edit box with a long string of text. Go to the end of the text and add a semicolon (";") followed by the path to vintbas.exe. E.g., you might add ";C:\Program Files\Vintage BASIC" to the end of the text. Then click OK.

You should have a folder in which to put all your BASIC programs. Let's say that is "C:\Users\Lyle\BASIC". Now you will want to make a shortcut to the command prompt that can open up straight in that folder. You can find Command Prompt in the Start Menu under All Programs -> Accessories. (Windows 7 users: you can optionally use PowerShell instead of Command Prompt.) Instead of clicking on it to run the Command Prompt, right-click on it and select Copy. Then right-click on your desktop and select Paste Shortcut. That will make a shortcut to the Command Prompt. Click on it to rename it. Give it a more useful name like "Run BASIC Programs". Then right-click on the shortcut and select Properties. Change the contents of the Start In box to the path for your BASIC programs. Click OK.

All that work only has to be done once! Now you are ready to run BASIC programs.

Suppose you have downloaded a BASIC program to C:\Users\Lyle\BASIC (or whatever folder you are using to store your BASIC programs). Or you have edited a BASIC program with Notepad or some other editor, and saved it in that folder. Let's say that BASIC program is called "fungame.bas". All you have to do to run it is double-click on your desktop shortcut "Run BASIC Programs" to open a prompt, and type "vintbas fungame.bas" at the prompt and press Enter. Your program will run in the command window.

Another trick is that you can associate the file extension .bas with vintbas.exe. (You may not want to do this if you have some other BASIC installed.) If you do that, then when you double-click on the icon for a BASIC program, it will automatically open a Command Prompt window and run your program inside it. However, as soon as the program is done, the window will close automatically. To prevent that, you would have to add a statement to the end of your program like: INPUT "PRESS ENTER TO CLOSE WINDOW";E$.

How can you associate file extensions? It depends on your Windows version. Windows XP: http://support.microsoft.com/?kbid=307859. Windows Vista or 7: http://www.winvistaclub.com/t19.html.

One of these days, maybe I'll get around to writing an installation script....
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