Vista, Virtual PC and full screen text display

Vista, Virtual PC and full screen text display

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One of the less noticed changes to Windows Vista is that it no longer supports displaying in 'full screen text mode'.  This means that if you open a command prompt - you cannot put it into full screen mode.

However - you can put a Virtual PC virtual machine that is displaying text into full screen mode.  The reason for this is that Virtual PC emulates its own video card, takes the display information from that emulated video card, and then uses DirectX to draw it as one big bitmap to the physical computers screen.  So while you may be looking at what looks like text on the screen - Windows Vista just thinks it is a bitmap.


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  • Easier to just install Powershell. ;)

  • Virtual PC (or another x86 virtualizer) is definitely a necessity for DOS gaming now.

    Unless you use DOSbox, which is an EMULATOR and not a VIRTUALIZER (I gave up trying to get it running at a decent speed a long time ago, even under XP).

    I still want full screen command prompts. :(

  • DosFreak

    Powershell cannot do fullscreen text mode either.  Vista cannot do it at all.



  • I've always wanted something like full screen mode but using Virtual Server and the VRMC Active X Control.  

    Do you know of a way to achieve something similar?


  • Weird, I could have swore I had poweshell running fullscreen. Guess I should lay off the drugs.... ;)

    If you really want a full-screen command prompt in Vista then you can install the XP (XDDM) video drivers. I wouldn't recommend it but if you have XP video driver speed, compatibility with command prompt then you'll have to if you don't want to use another XP machine.

    As for the comment above about DosBox being slow it's not true.

    I have an Athlon XP 2800+ (processor from 2002) and with DosBox 0.70 pretty much every game can be run at proper speed. For instance Duke 3D,Blood,Redneck Rampage  run fine @640x480.

    I'm building a new machine right now (C2D), should be extremely fast then.

  • DosFreak, i was about to ask what drugs VPGuy was on because i can do full screen command prompt, but then i had to install the XP drivers for my ATI 9200 on my Compaq X1000 laptop to get video working as the ones shipped with vista don't work (surprise surprise), and reading your post that would be why.

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