Graphical drivers for text mode environments

DOS has some VESA drivers.

ANSI codes can also be supported. In DOS, this does not supported at the main command prompt unless a driver is loaded. The driver that comes with DOS may not be the best option, due to unnecessarily high memory usage. See: ][CyberPillar][: DOS memory for some further info/details.

w10ansi1.zip

In Windows 10, support for ANSI is provided by the console. See: Windows 10 ANSI demonstration (version 1). At the moment, the ZIP file is mostly intended as an example of what can be done, so it does not have a bunch of documentation associated with it. TOOGAM's answer to Makerimages's question on colored text discusses this file a bit further. Users of alternate shells, like Take Command, may be able to use such files by doing something like running "CMD /C TYPE OUT.ANS" or "CMD /C ECHO (ANSI Sequence)".

Linux has SVGALib

Video drivers for Windows

For 32-bit Windows, common knowledge dictated that video problems were often remedied by installing the latest available version of the video drivers.

If 32-bit drivers are unavailable, 16-bit drivers may work in some cases. However, in some cases they may not work at all, and even if they work somewhat there may be some compatibility loss and most definitely is likely to have substantial performance loss. Therefore, that option may exist but is probably not worthwhile, in most cases. The performance hit is likely to be substantial enough that searching for better drivers is likely to be more worthwhile.

Standard video card types

It does appear that Microsoft did distribute these, but they are not on the MSLFiles FTP site like they used to be. The filenames listed first are the ones that appear to be original/official, having reviewed several sites: http://www.isomedia.com/homes/ftp_html/microsoft/index.htm http://benedict.isomedia.com/homes/ftp_html/microsoft/DRIVERS.HTM http://fresh.t-systems-sfr.com/pc/src/microsoft/softlib/WDL.TXT http://www.geocities.com/~budallen/ftplist.html

Hercules
A graphics adapter with higher resolution than the newer CGA, but monochrome (black and white): All these are the same: http://knm.co.za/downloads/winupdates/herc311.exe http://www.conradshome.com/win31/files/herc.exe http://oldfiles.org.uk/powerload/download/herc.exe http://wejump.ifac.cnr.it/pages/pub/sw/os/w31_util/herc.exe
Color Graphics Adapter (CGA)
Q84753 says "Windows version 3.1 does not ship a CGA display driver." "Also, the Windows 3.0 CGA display driver can be manually installed into Windows 3.1." (Q84753 has more details on that.) CGA drivers for Win 3, CGA drivers for Win 3, CGA drivers for Win 3 (renamed) Once were at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/CGA.EXE Metropoli Files has three differnet files that are in valid Zip format, all of which are modified (containing advertisements for a BBS/site), but their contents are identical to the above files: CGA.EXE (modified from original), CGA drivers for Windows 3.1, CGA drivers for Windows 3.1
Enhanced Graphics Adapter (EGA)
For 16-bit Microsoft Windows

EGA driver. (Does not contain CGA drivers according to OEMSETUP.INF, despite some claims that it does, claims likely resulting from the presense of files named CGA*) EGA drivers from site 1, EGA drivers from site 2. The following are the same: http://oldfiles.org.uk/powerload/download/ega311.exe http://wejump.ifac.cnr.it/pages/pub/sw/os/w31_util/ega311.exe

Also available from Metropoli files in a EGA311.ZIP. (This is different than the *.EXE file, containing a BBS advertisement, but the files inside are identical to those from EGA311.EXE.) e.g. EGA311.ZIP. ConradsHome.Com Win3x software

For DOS
[#egasysms]: MS-DOS may come with an EGA.SYS which can be useful for task-switching environments. Q78435 discusses EGA.SYS in MS-DOS 5.0. QBASIC/QHELP's note (also at the end of Info on commands, from “Debug” alphabetically up through “EGA.SYS”) indicates this saves memory if a mouse driver is loaded later. Beginning of Smart Computing article makes it sound like the register issue had to do with EGA hardware, and that the issues were fixed in VGA.
More Drivers
MMDISP.EXE is the filename for MCGA Driver (300x200, 256 colors), Palletized VGA (640x480, palettized 16 colors), and VGAGRAY (640x480, 16 grays) WDL listing The versions of the file I did find of this weren't consistent. MMDISP.EXE http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/msdos/windows/video_drv/mmdisp.exe http://www.winsite.com/bin/Info?500000022273 (info page) redirected to identical file The following file was different: ftp://ftp.mpoli.fi/pub/hardware/DISPLAY/MSOFT/MMDISP.EXE
[#svga]: Super VGA (“SVGA”)

The term “Super VGA” (which may commonly be abbrevated down to “SVGA”) often refers to not only the original “Super VGA”, but also higher resolutions. Therefore, cards that claim to support “Super VGA” will often support newer standards like the XGA video mode resolutions. Be sure to check out driver support for “VESA BIOS Extensions” (commonly abbreviated down to “VBE” or just “VESA”) to see if even higher resolutions may be supported.

Q143315 refers to had a URL for the Super VGA (256 colors) driver at ftp://ftp.microsoft.com/softlib/mslfiles/svga.exe although that file is no longer available at that location.

As that file is no longer available at that location, I found the following:

The following are differnet from each other and from above:

  • ftp://ftp.mpoli.fi/pub/hardware/DISPLAY/MSOFT/SVGA.EXE
  • http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/msdos/windows/video_drv/svga.exe

Super VGA driver contains 640x480, 800x600, and 1024x768 modes, all in 256 colors, and the latter each having two versions, one for both Large fonts and one for Small fonts.

  • ftp://ftp.mpoli.fi/pub/hardware/DISPLAY/MSOFT/SV800.ZIP
  • http://ftp.funet.fi/pub/msdos/windows/video_drv/sv800.zip

WIN311.TXT probably refers to this driver when referencing the following: " - 256 Color generic SVGA video driver, which supports TSENG ET4000 chipsets and V7 but not ATI Ultra or S3 chipsets."

http://www.gaby.de/ftp/pub/win3x/drivers/svga.zip

Q82734 discusses the SVGAMODE= setting that gets placed in SYSTEM.INI and describes SVGAMODE=106 (to use video mode 6AH) as being “much more pelasing to the eye” with some VESA cards.

[#vesa]: Driver(s) for VESA cards (using “VESA BIOS Extensions”, commonly abbrevaited to “VBE” or even just “VESA”)
DOS

Some video cards came with some VESA drivers specific for the card (meaning that they worked with the card and provided support for VESA compatibility). Many video card manufacturers did not include such compatibility with their video card, even if the video card was capable of higher performance with such drivers. SciTech provided a solution for many video cards by providing shareware offerings. See: http://www.scitechsoft.com/ftp/sdd/ and http://www.scitechsoft.com/products/product_download.html and http://www.scitechsoft.com/ftp/snap/dos/ ( SciTech, UniVBE )

Newer versions of Windows
Apparently Windows XP has a VGA driver that supports VESA
[#w9xvesa]: VESA support in Win9x

VBEmp 9x Project, VBEmp 9x Project, VBEmp 9x Project, all of which replace VBEMP x86 Project Main page (download section) (archived by the Wayback Machine @ Archive.org), Main page (in Russian), download page, Actual drivers zip file Announcement. This has two drivers, one for ATI, 3DFX, Cirrus Logic, TSENG Labs, and the other for nVidia, Riva128, Intel, Trident, Matrox, and S3.

Note that DirectDraw and Hardware/Software Direct3D are not supported yet (as of January 12, 2008), but then again, it was only announced recently (Dec 6, 2007).

Another VBEMP page cites location of VBEmp source code. (This is for ReactOS, and differs from the VBEmp x86 project.)

Others
http://www.conradshome.com/win31/ has: http://www.conradshome.com/win31/files/vfw_elsa.zip http://my.scitechsoft.com/ http://www.betaarchive.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2902
Specific/Major manufacturers
nVidia

nVidia drivers for Windows (and also some other operating systems from the RIVA 128 section) was lengthy enough that the material went onto its own page. nVidia drivers for Windows (and others for RIVA 128)

The movie-like "demos" will likely be on a separate page on this site (near Second Reality demo, etc.) (See“nVidia demos” section of “Code-based Demos (that are like movies)”.)

ATi
Matrox
3DFX VOODOO
[#cirlgdrv]: Cirrus Logic CL-GD5446 Video card
Qemu FAQ says the program emulates a Cirrus Logic GD5446 unless -std-vga is used, in which case it uses a VESA VBE driver. As the latter, which supports higher resolutions, is not supported by all operating systems, the CL-GD5446 support may be useful. KidSquid's FAQ: Where can I find drivers for the graphics card for Windows NT 3.51? points to the one of the drivers from Index.