DOSBOX is an emulator program that emulates an IBM PC compatible
computer running a
DOS operating system. Many IBM PC compatible
graphics and sound cards are also emulated. This means that original
DOS programs (including PC games ) are provided with an environment in
which they can run correctly, even though the modern computers have
dropped support for that old environment.
DOSBox is free software
written primarily in
C++ and distributed under the GNU General Public
DOSBox has been downloaded over 34 million times since its
SourceForge in 2002.
DOSBox can run old
DOS software on modern computers which would not
work otherwise, because of incompatibilities between the older
software and modern hardware and operating systems.
A number of usability enhancements have been added to
emulating DOS. The added features include virtual hard drives ,
peer-to-peer networking , screen capture and screencasting from the
An official version of
DOSBox has not been released since
in May 2010, although development continues in the SVN version. Forks
DOSBox SVN Daum and
DOSBox SVN-lfn provide additional
features, which include support for save states and long filenames
A number of vintage
DOS games have been commercially re-released to
run on modern operating systems by encapsulating them inside DOSBox.
* 1 Features
* 1.1 Hardware emulation
* 1.2 OS emulation
* 1.3 Configuration
* 2 Ports
DOSBox and the Wine compatibility layer
* 3 Usage
* 3.1 Commercial deployment
* 3.2 Non-commercial notable uses
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 External links
DOSBox is a command-line program, configured either by a set of
command-line arguments or by editing a plain text configuration file.
For ease of use, several graphical front-ends have been developed by
the user community.
A popular feature of
DOSBox is its ability to capture screenshots and
record gameplay footage. The video is compressed using the lossless
Zip Motion Block Video codec. In its uncompressed state the footage
is almost an exact replica of the actual program. The video recording
feature was added in version 0.65. In earlier versions, one had to
rely on custom modifications and a third-party screen recorder to
record video, but the quality and emulator performance was generally
DOSBox project has a policy of not adding features that aren't
DOS games if they take significant effort to implement, are
likely to be a source of bugs or portability problems, and/or impact
performance. Perhaps the most common hardware feature of DOS-era PCs
that the official version of
DOSBox doesn't emulate is the parallel
port that was used to connect printers. As an alternative, the
PrintScreen function of modern OSs can be used to capture the output
of DOSBox. For similar reasons, no support for long filenames and
Ctrl-Break is added into official versions, though support for them is
available in some unofficial enhanced SVN builds.
DOSBox is a full CPU emulator, capable of running
DOS programs that
require the CPU to be in real mode or protected mode . Other similar
programs, such as
DOSEMU or VDMs for
Windows and OS/2, provide
compatibility layers and rely on virtualization capabilities of the
386 family processors. Since
DOSBox can emulate its CPU by
interpretation, the environment it emulates is completely independent
of the host CPU. On systems which provide the i386 instruction set ,
DOSBox can use dynamic instruction translation to accelerate
execution several times faster than interpretive CPU emulation. The
emulated CPU speed of
DOSBox is also manually adjustable by the user
to accommodate for the speed of the systems
DOS programs were
originally written for.
DOSBox can emulate a wide range of graphics and sound hardware.
Graphics emulation includes text mode , Hercules , CGA (including some
composite modes and the 160x100x16 tweaked modes), Tandy , EGA , VGA
Mode X and other tweaks), VESA , and full
S3 Trio 64
emulation. Sound hardware that can be emulated includes the PC
speaker (played back through the host's standard sound output, not its
physical internal PC speaker),
Gravis Ultrasound , Tandy ,
Creative Music System/GameBlaster ,
Sound Blaster 1.x/2.0/Pro/16 , and
Disney Sound Source .
MIDI output through an emulated MPU-401
interface is available if the host is equipped with a physical
MIDI-Out connector or a suitable software
MIDI synthesizer. (MT-32
/CM-32L emulation is included in unofficial enhanced builds, but not
in the official source code repository due to need for copyrighted ROM
images .) Storage is handled by mapping (either through the
configuration file or through a command within the emulator) a drive
letter in the emulator to a directory, image file, floppy disk drive,
or CDROM drive on the host. A permanently mapped Z: drive stores
DOSBox commands and startup scripts.
Emulation of Voodoo cards is in development. This should give not
only support for games that use the Glide API, but also provide
Direct3D support to Win9x guests.
DOSBox, unlike many other emulators, can simulate peer-to-peer or
Intranet networking. This includes modem simulation over
TCP/IP , allowing for
DOS modem games to be played over modern LANs or
the Internet, and
IPX network tunneling, which allows for old
multiplayer games to be played as
UDP/IP over modern LANs or the
Linux specific builds support direct serial port
access. Some third-party patches also allow
DOSBox to emulate an
NE2000 -class network interface card as a passthrough to the host
computer's own network card, essentially allowing full internet
connectivity (for example, using
Windows 3.1 and Trumpet
Winsock ) and
web browsing using programs such as
Netscape Navigator , although this
is more of a curiosity than a useful feature.
DOSBox is capable of timing-compatible implementation of the serial
ports, which can enable older hardware and software dependent on
serial port timing to work; however, some
USB devices that are
supported by the host OS can act as a replacement for older serial
port devices when using the emulator.
DOSBox provides a high level emulation of the
DOS and BIOS
interrupts, and contains its own internal DOS-like shell . This means
that it can be used without owning a license to any real
system. Most commands that are typically used in installer batch files
are supported, but many of the more advanced commands of later DOS
versions (e.g. post-
DOS shells) are not. In addition to its
internal shell, it also supports running image files of games and
software originally intended to start without any operating system .
DOS emulation enables
DOSBox to mount folders of the host OS as
It can also boot disk images with real
DOS environments (e.g. MS-DOS
DOS , DR-
DOS or Free
DOS ) as well as other operating systems,
Windows 3.1x , and
Windows 95 . Since
not optimized for this mode of operation, booting any real OS inside
DOSBox entails the loss of the use of directory-based virtual hard
drives and some other enhancements that aren't directly compatible
with the way real operating systems access hardware. For the kinds of
hardware (such as disk drive controllers and computer mice) that are
almost always accessed by DOS-based games through
DOS and/or through
IOS and/or through a software driver, rather than through direct
access to hardware registers,
DOSBox generally provides no
hardware-level emulation. This means that the direct use of
copy-protected physical media or of floppy disks in non-standard
formats is generally not possible from DOSBox.
This article CONTAINS INSTRUCTIONS, ADVICE, OR HOW-TO CONTENT . The
purpose of is to present facts, not to train. Please help
improve this article either by rewriting the how-to content or by
moving it to Wikiversity, Wikibooks or Wikivoyage. (May 2017)
DOSBox installer under
Windows creates shorthand links to launch
DOSBox options, console mode, noconsole mode, recordings, and keyboard
DOSBox can automatically handle most host keyboard and mouse
events, and also offers to define special mappings, e.g., Ctrl-Alt-Del
or the Ctrl-F10 "host key" to release a mouse captured in the guest
VDM cannot be used directly in the guest. Another example is to
QWERTY -layout in the guest with a
QWERTZ -keyboard in the
host, or vice versa, if the
DOSBox default for the host does not work
in an old application.
DOSBox console window shows stdout and stderr text
messages for a running guest VDM. The
DOSBox noconsole shorthand link
uses command line option -noconsole to disable this console window,
redirecting any console messages to host files stdout and stderr.
The options shorthand link allows to edit the (per user) DOSBox
configuration, an ordinary text file with sections for the emulated
machine, video, sound, and so on. The section is executed as
AUTOEXEC.BAT after showing the
DOSBox intro message. The section
could CLS the intro message, query or set the emulated VER (default:
5.00 as in
Windows NT 5.x VDMs ), MOUNT folders or devices as DOS
drives (e.g., mount a a: -t floppy), IMGMOUNT an
ISO image , switch
the current drive from
DOSBox Z: to a mounted C:, set the PATH , etc.
DOSBox commands allow to manipulate configuration options
within a guest VDM, there is no corresponding virtual
The optional first argument of
DOSBox in a shorthand link or on the
command line can give a host directory or file. This has the same
effect as explicitly mounting the host folder as drive C: in the guest
VDM, switch to this drive, and start the DOS-executable file. Command
line option -exit can automatically terminate
DOSBox AFTER this
executable file. Command line options -c something or -c "make it so"
can specify commands run BEFORE this executable file, e.g., set
environment variables .
This approach covers many common scenarios without editing
configuration files, and it allows to share one
file with several
DOS applications. For applications supporting their
own command line arguments such as DEBUG a
DOSBox command line option
-c "c:debug arguments" can be used.
Command line option -securemode disables the section in the
configuration, and does not offer to MOUNT host folders within the
DOSBox uses the SDL library and has been ported to many operating
AmigaOS , Microsoft
Windows , Mac
OS X v10.3 or
later (for example, Boxer),
KolibriOS , eComStation , RISC OS
OpenBSD and others. A port for Microsoft Xbox
(called DosXbox) was released in 2004. Using the HX
DOS Extender , it
can even run in
DOS . The source code has also been forked to provide
compatibility on a number of non-x86 PC computer platforms, including
Palm OS ,
PlayStation Portable , Android , iOS ,
Symbian , Maemo
BlackBerry PlayBook ,
Wii , and the
GP2X , on various computing
SPARC , MIPS and ARM .
included in the software repositories of many
Linux distributions such
as Fedora ,
Debian , and Ubuntu . There is also a port to Google
Native Client called NaClBox, a port to Java applets called jDosbox,
and a port of jDosBox to GWT (using the
Canvas element ) called
DOSBOX AND THE WINE COMPATIBILITY LAYER
Starting with versione 1.3.12, the developers of the Wine
compatibility layer have begun the process of integrating
Wine to facilitate running
DOS programs that are not supported
natively by the Wine Virtual
DOS machine (winevdm).
id Software has used
DOSBox to re-release vintage games such as
Wolfenstein 3D and
Commander Keen on Valve 's Steam . In the process,
it was reported they violated the program's license, the GNU GPL; the
breach, which was reported as an oversight, was promptly resolved.
Activision Blizzard has also used it to re-release Sierra
LucasArts used it to re-release Star Wars:
Dark Forces for modern machines on Steam.
2K Games producer Jason
Bergman stated the company used
DOSBox for Steam re-releases of
certain parts of the
DOSBox for some of
Bethesda Softworks recommends
DOSBox and provides
a link to the
DOSBox website on the downloads page for The Elder
Scrolls: Arena and
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall . Bethesda also
DOSBox with both games in
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls Anthology
3D Realms also recommends
DOSBox and, like Bethesda
Softworks, provides a link to the
DOSBox website on their downloads
Electronic Arts uses
DOSBox for some of their classic games on their
Origin client like
Wing Commander III , Crusader: No Remorse , and
SimCity 2000 .
dBase LLC utilizes
DOSBox in their db
DOS product since 2012.
NON-COMMERCIAL NOTABLE USES
Since 23 December 2014, the
Internet Archive hosts a browser-based
DOSBox (converted to
Emscripten ) with
thousands of playable PC games . The collection is provided for
"scholarship and research purposes only".
Free software portal
* Video Games portal
* D-Fend Reloaded - a grafic cover for dosbox, that allows automatic
* LaunchBox - a
DOSBox frontend that focuses on organizing
into a collection.
Rpix86 - A
DOS emulator for the
Raspberry Pi .
ScummVM , a portable interpreter for classical adventure game
DOS - A
DOS emulator designed for the running the more "serious"
DOS apps (not games) on 64-bit NT systems (effectively a replacement
NTVDM on modern systems).
Comparison of platform virtualization software
* Category:Games commercially released with
* List of
* ^ "Project of the Month, May 2009".
SourceForge . Retrieved
* ^ "Project of the Month, January 2013".
SourceForge . Retrieved
* ^ http://sourceforge.net/projects/dosbox/files/dosbox/0.74/
SourceForge Binaries Available (Release Version)
* ^ "SVN changelog (
DOSBox Home web)".
* ^ "
DOSBox Wiki - SVN Builds Info". Dosbox.com.
* ^ "EmuCR Compiled Binaries -
DOSBox official & unofficial
* ^ "p/dosbox/code-0 - Revision 4006: /dosbox/trunk". Sourceforge.
* ^ "Download Statistics". Retrieved 8 August 2017.
* ^ A B "SVN Builds". DOSBox. 2012-12-01. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
* ^ "
DOSBox Frontends". DOSBox. 2008-12-15. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ "DosBox Capture Codec". 2008-03-09. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ bakkelun (2008-03-07). "Recording video from DosBox". Archived
from the original on 2008-12-11. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ A B C Qbix (2008-04-30). "Interview with Qbix" (Interview).
Interview with Classic Dos Games. Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ Hoffman, Chris (2015-10-05). "How To Use
DOSBox To Run DOS
Games and Old Apps". How-To Geek. Retrieved 2017-02-09.
* ^ A B "Usage". DOSBoxWiki. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
* ^ "Boxer: The
DOS game emulator that’s fit for your Mac".
Boxerapp.com. Retrieved 2012-10-19.
* ^ japheth (2013-07-25). "HX
DOS Extender". Archived from the
original on October 13, 2014. Retrieved 2013-12-30.
* ^ FAST Intelligence. "DOSpad,
DOSBox for iOS". Retrieved
* ^ NaClBox. "NaClBox homepage". Retrieved 2013-02-05.
* ^ Endagdet (2011-05-12). "NaClBox brings DOS-based gaming to
Chrome along with sweet, sweet nostalgia". Retrieved 2013-02-05.
* ^ danoon2 and co. "jDosBox homepage".
* ^ Kevin O'Dwyer. "js
* ^ "Wine 1.3.12 Brings Initial
DOSBox Integration". 2011-01-21.
* ^ "Are id Software and Valve Thieves?".
Softpedia . 2007-08-06.
* ^ Purchese, Rob (2007-08-07). "id sorts GPL Steam issue".
Eurogamer . Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ Bergman, Jason (2008-09-04). "Comments-morning discussion".
Shacknews . Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ "Our Thanks".
GOG.com . Retrieved 2009-01-03.
* ^ "
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls Official Site - The Elder Scrolls: Arena".
Bethesda Softworks . Retrieved 2011-03-03.
* ^ "
The Elder Scrolls
The Elder Scrolls Official Site - The Elder Scrolls:
Bethesda Softworks . Retrieved 2011-03-03.
* ^ "
3D Realms Site: Master Download Page".
3D Realms . Retrieved
* ^ Ohlheiser, Abby (2015-01-05). "You can now play nearly 2,400
DOS video games in your browser".
Washington Post . Retrieved
* ^ Each New Boot a Miracle by Jason Scott (December 23, 2014)
* ^ collection:softwarelibrary_msdos in the
* ^ "
Copyright Policy". archive.org. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2015-01-08.
Access to the Archive’s Collections is provided at no cost to you
and is granted for scholarship and research purposes only.