Robert J. Sawyer

Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Science Fiction Writer

Running WordStar under Windows

by Rob - October 30th, 2014.
Filed under: WordStar.

My favorite word-processing program is the versatlie, customizable, and powerful WordStar for DOS, last updated in 1992. Running it under Microsoft Windows can be difficult, particularly with 64-bit versions of Windows, and especially with recent versions (Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 8.1).

But a free new MS-DOS emulator called vDos makes it easy to run WordStar for DOS (and many other MS-DOS programs) under all versions of Windows from XP through to 8.1, whether 32-bit or 64-bit, with excellent printer and clipboard support. WordStar’s graphical Advanced Page Preview and InSet work under vDos, too, although only at standard VGA resolution (640×480 pixels).

I’ve written up instructions for using WordStar (versions 4.0, 5.0, 5.5, 6.0, and 7.0) under Windows via vDos. You’ll find them here.

Oh, and if you’re curious why I (and other professional writers, including George R.R. Martin) prefer WordStar to Word or any other program, see my essay here.

Robert J. Sawyer online:

4 Responses to Running WordStar under Windows

  1. I have a few writer friends using wordstar, their arguments are sound, although their employer is pushing them to use more recent applications, they are trying to fight this, but it’s almost a lost battle.

    I’ve recently rediscovered Illegal Alien, almost a prequel to Calculating God :)

  2. Emacs, the Swiss-army-knife of text editors, has WordStar key-bindings available.

  3. Where can you download WordStar these days?

  4. Sadly, nowhere legal. Mattel is the current ultimate owner of the core WordStar code these days, but because the makers of WordStar licensed modules — thesaurus, graphics integration, file-format conversion, etc. — from third parties, Mattel has been reluctant, despite entreaties, to release WordStar and its source code into the public domain. Copies show up from time to time on eBay, but rarely, and almost never WordStar for DOS Version 7.0 Rev. D — the final release — which is the one to get.

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