Why not just install Win 98 and close into a dos prompt ? Don't know what the upper limit in terms of mhz for Win 98 is . However I remember hit it once on a high end laptop. Strange error message that lead to microsoft document that explained the limit. Have fun.
History of Dos: The "Microsoft Disk Operating System" or MS-DOS was based on QDOS, the "Quick and Dirty Operating System" written by Tim Paterson of Seattle Computer Products, for their prototype Intel 8086 based computer.
QDOS was based on Gary Kildall's CP/M, Paterson had bought a CP/M manual and used it as the basis to write his operating system in six weeks, QDOS was different enough from CP/M to be considered legal.
Microsoft bought the rights to QDOS for $50,000, keeping the IBM deal a secret from Seattle Computer Products.
Gates then talked IBM into letting Microsoft retain the rights, to market MS DOS separate from the IBM PC project, Gates proceeded to make a fortune from the licensing of MS-DOS
Masochist. It's possible and I do it all the time for connecting laptops running DOS logging programs during ham radio field day. No big deal but you do have to do some hacking. Most of the older
802.11b cards that were around 6-10 years ago come with MSDOS drivers. Orinoco Silver "classic" card and Cisco 340/350 cards are examples.
I'm not sure which model DLink network card you own, but it's not important. It probably won't work as it's too new. You will have problems with 32bit CardBus cards. I've only gotten 16bit PCMCIA cards to work.
Add "fear of numbers" as you didn't bother to supply any model and version numbers. Please give yourself a slap on the wrist (either wrist will do) and don't do that again. Numbers are important.
Start here and create a working DOS boot disk. Pick your favorite DOS mutation, but be prepared to experiment.
suggest using Bart's Boot Disk and using the ethernet card in your laptop for starters. That's fairly easy and usually works without difficulty. Then go down the list of network drivers and see if your unspecified model DLink card is listed. If not, check the chipset. If also not, then extract the NDIS drivers from the DLink driver pile and manually install the files. It's actually quite easy.
When done, you'll be able to run telnet, ftp, ping, tracert, and various network utilities from the command line. There are DOS applications for just about everything but I'm too lazy to list them all. Here's an old list:
You can run any flavor of DOS, Linux or Unix, or multiple Windows OSs you care to under XP. If you get the DOS ethernet driver configuration right, it will be able to use all the internet-connectivity of the machine doing the hosting.
VMWare and MSVPC implement specific ethernet chips, listed in the documentaion. The first thing you should do is to see if you can find DOS drivers for that chipset. If you can't, it's a showstopper for IP connectivity.
You can d/l either for a 30 day eval, which should be enough time to see if you like it.
It's good on the resume, too, if that matters to yoiu.