I'm using pure DOS 6.22 within Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and everything works perfectly, except I can't change my display mode from 80 columns to 132. I tried MODE CON: COLS=132 and DOS complained about this.

It's my understanding that VESA has this capability and VGA does not. In UNIX, all you have to do is change to CO#=132 in terminfo to accomplish this.

Anyone know how I can achieve 132 in pure DOS?

  • 1
    "In UNIX, all you have to do is..."? That was a strange assumption, as DOS is not a UNIX dialect.
    – TFM
    Jul 6, 2011 at 4:30
  • I wonder how different Windows would be today if DOS was a dialect of UNIX? Jul 11, 2011 at 4:38
  • 1
    Even Windows 7 still feels like a GUI front-end to DOS. I guess they wanted to maintain upward compatibility with DOS, but that started to partially disappear after DOS 6.22. I was hoping Windows would have been totally re-designed to not have any DOS-like features such as the cmd.exe CLI. Sep 11, 2011 at 5:06
  • Why? What's wrong with CMD.EXE? Still much easier to do many things at the prompt.
    – Alan B
    Dec 10, 2021 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


The DOS "mode" command is very limited. You'll need to use a third-party tool called "vmode" which you can read about here:

  WPDOS Text Mode Survival Guide

Within that document, search for "vmode.exe" and you'll find the following download link for this small tool:


I used this tool many years ago to increase the screen size with Norton Commander and various other DOS applications, and found it especially useful for developing my ASM programs to use any screen size (having a different number of columns proved very useful for testing).

I hope this is what you're looking for.

  • thank's i'll check it out.. I have a legacy INFORMIX-SQL (DOS) app and would like more than 80 columns wide for my forms so i can fit more things on one screen. Jul 6, 2011 at 4:08
  • I look forward to finding out if this is a good solution for you. Jul 6, 2011 at 4:09
  • I downloaded and installed vmode from columbia univ's site and tried vmode 54h, 55h, 64h and 65h, but none of these worked.. although it made the DOS window larger, it cleared the display. i tried typing DIR to see if it would echo directory display and nothing happened. when i executed my app, it reverted back to 80 column as if i had cancelled vmode. my VGA BIOS version is SantaRosa 1478 on an Acer Laptop. Jul 6, 2011 at 4:59
  • That means that your application is setting the video mode directly. I have encountered many languages from back in the DOS days for which the compiled output would reset the video mode if it was in some other unrecognized mode (and there was no option for the programmer to turn this off or control it in any way). It looks to me like this must be what's happening for you. Regarding the sketchy support for the more exotic video modes (that's what we used to call them for fun sometimes), some of the really cheap (as in super-low-cost) video cards screwed this up frequently. Jul 6, 2011 at 5:05
  • yes, most likely my apps runtime environment resets video to 80 X 24 DOS display, however before firing up my app, the screen went blank with those hex values. Im thinking there has to be a DOS VESA driver that could be loaded in CONFIG.SYS to achieve 132 X 40 display, otherwise nothings going to work. Jul 6, 2011 at 5:13

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