|Windows||July 22, 2002|
|Linux||July 22, 2002|
|macOS (OS X)||March 30, 2006|
DOSBox is an open-source emulator for running DOS-based applications on a wide variety of modern operating systems. While running only in the form of a command console by default, unofficial frontends exist to streamline and simplify the emulation process for novice users, and are also available from the official website.
CD checks for the games being emulated can be bypassed by making an image of the CD and using IMGMOUNT to mount the image.
Almost all official digital releases of DOS-era video games come with a pre-configured DOSBox distribution.
- Official DOSBox site
- Official DOSBox wiki
- Official SourceForge repository
- List of games officially distributed with DOSBox
Graphical user interface
DOSBox does not use a graphical user interface. However, frontends such as DBGL can be used. Their links can be found on the official DOSBox download page.
There are various unofficial builds, typically called forks, of DOSBox which provide additional functionality. A full list can be found on the DOSBox Wiki.
DOSBox ECE (Enhanced Community Edition)
Currently, DOSBox ECE differs from normal DOSBox in these features:
- Emulation of a 3Dfx Vooodoo card through OpenGL without an external Glide wrapper (No external Glide wrapper needed)
- Improved emulation of OPL3 and [PC speaker audio, as well as new emulation of Roland MT-32 and Fluidsynth MIDI synthesizers
- Support for up to 10 joystick axis and 2 D-pads and making full use of two Xbox 360 compatible controllers, as well as mouse buttons mappable to keyboard or controller buttons including separate sensitivity settings for both the X and Y mouse axis
- Supports up to 384 MB of RAM, required for running Windows 9x on top of DOSBox ECE, and up to 4 MB of VRAM, reducing sprite flickering in games using the Build engine (Duke Nukem 3D, Blood, etc.)
- Until version r4301 DOSBox ECE also featured 4x, 5x and x6 scaling in window mode and an Pixel-perfect output model for undistorted scaling of the picture. This build still can be found in the "archive" folder.
- The DOSBox ECE developer also hosts compiled versions of the latest DOSBox SVN (development builds of the official DOSBox) on his website.
DOSBox-X aims to be a complete DOS emulation package that is both fully-featured and easy to use. It also tries to implement more accurate emulation both to improve the general DOS emulation and to aid retro-development. By now it has an impressive list of unique features. Some examples:
- Better compatibility with DOS non-game applications
- Configuration options with built-in debugger and logging options, automatic drive mounting (Windows only), and Clipboard Copy and Paste support
- Emulation support for additional DOS variants as well as NEC PC-98 and Windows 95/98, additional sound formats (FluidSynth and Timidity++, Roland MT-32, Innovation SSI-2001) and more accurate PC Speaker emulation; and addiitional graphics APIs which are not native to DOS
- Save and load states, CPU optimization and Turbo mode
- Support for more DOS and CONFIG.SYS commands, more CPU types, FAT32 and Long Filenames (LFN), ROM BIOS images, printer output, NE2000 Ethernet, overscan border and stereo swapping
dosbox-staging attempts to modernize the DOSBox codebase by using current development practices and tools, fixing issues, and adding features that better support today's systems.
Windows 3.0 through 98(SE) can be installed inside regular DOSBox. However, this is unsupported and instability issues occur. One of the forks, DOSBox-X does support Windows, and allows even Windows ME to run to some extent.
Alternatively, try the HX DOS Extender (up to version 2.17), which grants a minimal Windows runtime environment. Note that it only supports Windows console apps and simple GUI ones. The latest versions (version 2.18 and later) are located on its GitHub site. An unofficial version 2.17+ (with support for modern sound cards) can be found here.
DOSBox running in Windows:
Z:\> Z:\>mount c c:\game_directory Z:\>imgmount d d:\game_disc.iso -t iso Z:\>cd d:\ D:\>game_install.exe D:\>cd c:\ C:\> C:\>game.exe
Substitute the pathways with the given conventions of the host operating system.
Alt+↵ Enter to maximise the window; Ctrl+F4 to switch between mounted disc images. Use double quotes, " ", when mounting folders with spaces ("c:\installation folder"); for mounting multiple disc images,
-t iso is required only once at the end of the last disc image, this defines how DOSBox should emulate the volume and iso defines the type of volume.
DOS/32A is a more advanced extender and open source replacement to DOS4GW. It can improve both performance and stability of many games. More info here.
- If DOS/32A has issues with a particular game, alternatively try the Causeway extender or PMODE/W.
Although DOSBox will not gain the performance improvements this program promises, it will add additional video modes. Although 5.0+ were initially released as commercial software, SciTech later released them as freeware; versions 1-4 were always freeware. The 5.x series is generally the best to use with DOSBox. Additional DOS display utilities can be found here.
The Gravis Ultra Sound or GUS was a sound card produced by Advanced Gravis Computer Technology, who were best known for their Gravis PC Gamepad. One of the features of the GUS is its ability to use real world sound samples instead of digitally generated instruments. This allows for a richer quality of sound when playing midi sound. Unfortunately, the official patches (drivers/samples) cannot be distributed with DOSBox due to conflicting licenses. A guide for installing them can be found there here. Similar is true for some Sound Blaster games; see here.
DOSBox stores configuration information in *.conf files. Individual conf files can be create for each piece of software used and additional parameters can be appended.
To modify a configuration option within DOSBox, use the
config command. For example,
config cpu cycles fixed 30000
|Widescreen resolution||Requires game being emulated to support it.|
|4K Ultra HD|
|Field of view (FOV)||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Windowed||Toggle with Alt+↵ Enter.|
|Borderless fullscreen windowed||See the glossary page for potential workarounds.|
|Anisotropic filtering (AF)||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Anti-aliasing (AA)||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Vertical sync (Vsync)||Set
|High dynamic range display (HDR)|
|Color blind mode||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Keyboard and mouse||State||Notes|
|Mouse sensitivity||Adjustable in DOSBox configuration settings.|
|Mouse input in menus||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Mouse Y-axis inversion||Depends on game being emulated (not implemented by DOSBox itself).|
|Controller support||See Controller support.|
|Full controller support|
|Controller Y-axis inversion|
The DOSBox Mapper (Ctrl+F1/⌘ Command+F1) can be used to reassign keyboard, mouse and joystick commands.
DOSBox has several virtual joystick modes which affect what inputs are seen in-game and also what inputs can be remapped using the Mapper. See the DOSBox manual for details.
DOSBox supports both IPX and Modem emulation. A guide to setting it up can be found here. There's also a guide to adding additional protocols for networking here. Several method are listed.
Not officially supported, requires this DOSBox version. See also here.
Game appears stretched horizontally
|Fix incorrect aspect ratio|
Green or black screen in fullscreen mode
- With some video cards, DOSBox's default output mode will render with a green or black screen in fullscreen mode.
|Edit DOSBox configuration file (DOSBox.com versions)|
|Run Graphic Mode Setup (GOG.com versions)|
Character/camera/cursor constantly moves in one direction
|Change joystick timing setting|
|Disable joystick support|
Can't remap keys/joystick
Some games have fixed inputs. Use the DOSBox Mapper to remap the controls.
Unable to use D-pad/Analog stick not working (XInput controllers)
|Change DOSBox configuration file|
Can't open Steam overlay in-game
|Change output in configuration file|
- Official DOSBox builds don't support printing in games that use it.
|Enable printer support|
[printer] printer=true dpi=360 width=85 height=110 printoutput=printer multipage=false docpath=. timeout=0 [parallel] parallel1=printer
- ↑ [
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- ↑ gog.com - last accessed on May 2023
- ↑ About DOSBox and Xbox 360/XInput Controllers, page 1 - Forum - GOG.com - last accessed on May 2023
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Adding DOSBox to Steam Client and enabling Steam Overlay, page 1 - Forum - GOG.com
- ↑ Verified by User:Garrett on September 27, 2017