Disk Operating System
Before Windows there was DOS

        Direct control of steppermotors needs precise timming
        Windows interupts the program every now and then
        No problem if the motors run slow => but at high speed the result is no good
        Good Systems that use windows have their own external microcomputer
        (like a plotter/printer has its own CPU/MCU)

        CStep wil run on that old 386/486/586/686/Pentium1,2,3,4
        Millions of them, Workless ;-)

ThatsWhy DOS
Mariss from the Gecko2002 box project wrote
My thinking is there are 3 ways CNC programs are implemented 
(1)  Software only, DOS based. 
Inexpensive and adequate pulse rates (100 kHz). Funky looking DOS screen, 
antiquated OS drivers and 
support for anything else the PC has running.
(2)  Software only, WinXX based. 
Cool looking GUI. 
Miserable pulse rates (<10 kHz).
(3) Software / hardware. WinXX based. 
Expensive to very expensive. 
The hardware is not properly done on the low end versions.
And i think there should be a (4) option
RT-Linux With EMC 
Personally i like Linux => but find it verry hard to set it up
System requirements where higher as the workless ones i have
Think EMC has nice Gui's and backplotters
I think MGui is a cool looking DOS GUI => so Option 1 is easy / cheapest / best
(So why use windows with the miserable puls rate)

And if
    Your making the drawings on a newer Linux / Mac / Windows pc -
    and do not want to walk around with floppy disks
    Maybe you could insert a network card in the old DOS pc

    I went to several computer shops to buy a ISA networkcard
    and they all start  laughing ;-(
    So i have asked people at work if they have an old ISA network card
    yes (thanks George & Alex)
    Networking & driver doesnt seem to have any effect on motor timing performance

     i used IPX/SPX protocol on the DOS and windows computer


                                                                                overview No more FloppyWalk
Crosslink cable
Rj45 Plug
LPT cable
to stepper driver
3 axis Stepper Drivercard        ==
=                        ==
X, Y&Z
stepper motors
on xyz table
Pentium4 -1,9Ghz
Windows XP
i use for Programming CStep
And CAD drawing like Corel Draw
Upgraded to: Pentium?-200mhz
Upgraded to:

Running CStep
D:\ is network disk
(importing drawings from win xp computer)
helped me a lot

In my case
Gecko puls&dir

So the designer sits in his office behind the new pc
And the machine operator in the workshop with the old dos-pc has acces to the designers files
Naaaah cstep isnt that good
I use Visual Toolbox advanced engraving on the new windows XP in the house PC to create the hpgl/plot files
In the barn i have an old Compaq P3-450Mhz as buyed for 75Euro, running DOS & MguiCStep wich can acces the hpgl files via network connection
Works Great!

End and if        (youre tired off walking around with floppys)

Versions of DOS  http://www.vintageos.com/dosalt.html

I downloaded rawrite.exe and Fdb8_144.zip unpacked the zip file
Made a floppy with     C:\rawrite -f Fdb8_144.dsk
Deleted the config.sys file on the floppy
and changed the autoexec.bat file on the floppy to
                                                        c:\mouse.com                        to start the mouse driver
                                                        c:\mgui\luberth\cstep.exe     to start the program
so i have a bootable floppy wich starts CStep in FreeDOS
CStep Seems to run well in FreeDOS
 myfreedosfloppy.zip easy create of a FreeDOS boot floppy

Or get a bootfloppy from http://www.bootdisk.com/

Making a DOS boot floppy with windows xp
I translate this from dutch => so there maybe some faults
From the windows main screen choose pictogram "My Computer"
Choose pictogram "3,5 inch diskette station (A:\" => with right mouse click =>
and choose "format" from the popup menu

Mark / select => make MS-DOS boot disk
This will make you a DOS disk for smooth motor control
Restart your computer from A:\ drive
(Maybe you will have to set your BIOS to bootup from A and then C)