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FIX8X14 - 8x14 font fixer

Copyright © 1997-2002 BTTR Software



On the recommendation of the VESA committee many producers of graphics cards removed the 8x14 font from their graphics cards BIOS' to gain more space to implement the latest VBE functions. But there is still some software that relies an that font. To restore such a font, these companies developed several "Terminate & Stay Resident" utilities.

FIX8X14 is the first 8x14 font-fixing implementation as a true device driver, that can be loaded BEFORE ALL other DOS programs which perhaps use an 8x14 font. In addition to the device driver we developed a TSR to achieve maximum customer satisfaction.

To test whether your computer system requires FIX8X14 or not, we developed DIAG8X14. It analyzes your computer with its own algorithm and allows visual inspection too.

The following DOS software has been tested to require an 8x14 font fixer and is known to work with FIX8X14:

Company Product Works with ...
Borland Quattro Pro 4 COM/SYS
Maxis Software SimCity 1.02 COM/SYS
Nu-Mega Technologies Soft-ICE 2.80 SYS
Number One Systems Easy-PC COM/SYS
Soleau Software Alphaman 1.1 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Blind Wars 1.1 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Bolo Adventures I 3.0 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Bolo Adventures III 1.0 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Crusher 3.2 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Isle Wars 3.1 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Numlo 1.0 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Plix 1.0 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Robix 1.1 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Sea Run 1.0 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Wordle 1.2 COM/SYS
Soleau Software Wordmax 1.1 COM/SYS
The Software Toolworks Miracle Piano Teaching System COM/SYS

The following graphics cards have been tested to require an 8x14 font fixer and are known to work with FIX8X14:

  • ATI XPERT@WORK 98, ATI XPERT 2000, ATI XPERT 2000 PRO, ELSA ERAZOR II, ELSA VICTORY Erazor/LT, Matrox MGA Millennium G100, Matrox MGA Millennium G200, Matrox MGA Millennium G400, Matrox MGA Millennium G450, Trident Cyber 9397 chipset

Modern graphics cards that support an 8x14 font are the Voodoo (2k/3k/4k/5k) series from 3dfx Interactive and probably all cards/chipsets that have an 48K bytes BIOS, e.g., Creative 3D Blaster GeForce2 MX, SiS 630 chipset, Trident/ALi CyberBLADE Aladdin i1 chipset, ...

For your information here is an excerpt from "VESA BIOS EXTENSION (VBE) Core Functions Standard Version: 3.0 Date: September 16, 1998":


Removal of Unused VGA Fonts

VESA strongly recommends that removal of the 8x14 VGA font become a standard way of freeing up space for VBE 3.0 implementations. The removal of this font leaves 3.5K bytes of ROM space for new functions, and is probably the least painful way to free up such a large amount of space while preserving as much backwards compatibility as possible. The 8x14 font is normally used for VGA Modes 0, 3 and Mode 10h, which are 350-line or EGA compatible modes. When those are selected the 8x16 font may be chopped and used instead. When chopping a 16 point font to replace the 14 point, there are several characters (ones with descenders) that should be special cased.

Some applications which use the 8x14 font obtain a pointer to the font table through the standard VGA functions and then use this table directly. In such cases, no workaround using the 8x16 font is possible and a TSR with the 8x14 font is unavoidable. Some OEMs may find this situation unacceptable because of the potential for an inexperienced user to encounter "garbage" on the screen if the TSR is not present. However, OEMs may also find eventually that demand for VBE 3.0 services is great enough to justify the inconvenience associated with an 8x14 font TSR. To date, no compatibility problems are known to be caused by the use of such a TSR. VESA will make available a TSR that replaces the 8x14 font, please contact VESA for more information.


Copyright © 1993-1998 Video Electronics Standards Association


Screenshot #1: Maxis SimCity 1.02 on a system without an 8x14 font.
Screenshot #1: Maxis SimCity 1.02 on a system without an 8x14 font.

Screenshot #2: Maxis SimCity 1.02 with FIX8X14 loaded.
Screenshot #2: Maxis SimCity 1.02 with FIX8X14 loaded.

System requirements

  • Intel i80286 microprocessor (or compatibles)
  • IBM VGA graphics card (or compatibles)
  • Digital Research DR DOS 5.0, IBM PC DOS 3.30, Microsoft MS-DOS 3.30 (any other DOS compatible operating system should work too)

Version history


  • added product reference to Borland Quattro Pro 4 and reference to the Trident Cyber 9397 chipset
  • reduced DIAG8X14's executable by ~40 bytes


  • using SPHiNX C-- compiler 0.237 reduced size of DIAG8X14 executable


  • reduced device driver size on disk again


  • reduced disk & memory footprint of device driver


  • removed a bug (introduced on September 19, 2001) in the device driver that prevented loading the driver on Digital Research DR DOS 5.0 (and lower), and the FreeDOS kernel (all versions)
  • slightly reduced device driver's size on disk


  • slightly reduced resident part's size of device driver


  • added a short description to the docs on how to create a desktop shortcut when using the Microsoft Windows environment
  • made some other minor changes to the docs


  • changed keyboard handling of DIAG8X14 slightly
  • added product reference to Easy-PC
  • added reference to the Trident/ALi CyberBLADE Aladdin i1 chipset
  • made some minor changes to the docs again


  • added product reference to PIDSIM


  • made two other changes to the docs


  • fixed 2 typos in the docs


  • released initial public version


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Binaries + Manual: (18.4 Kbytes)
Source code (The Netwide Assembler + Sphinx C--): (18.8 Kbytes)

Page last modified on November 12, 2010.
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