How to Play DOS Games on New Versions of Windows.

The old DOS based games are no longer compatible with the newer Windows operating system, but you can still play the old games with a DOS emulator. These instructions will allow you to set up this simulation of DOS in about an hour. Knowledge of DOS is helpful, but not required. This is a free and legal way to enjoy those old games. Click here to browse some of the classic DOS games now available for free.

We will be using a DOS Emulator called DOSBox to simulate a DOS environment on your computer. DOSBox is a widely used program available for free.   It is available here but we will talk about installation in step 2 and 3.

Step 1: Create a Folder

First you create a folder to store the files we will create in the following steps. I created a folder called dosgames in my program files folder on the C: drive.

To do this:
1. Open My Computer from the desktop or start bar.

2. Open C:

3. Open Program Files

4. Right click on white space within the file.

5. Move your mouse to new and select Folder.
-You may revive a message asking for permission to do this.  Click yes.

6. Rename your folder by:
-right click the folder.
-type in the desired name of the folder eg. dosgames.

The location of the folder is:
C:\Program Files\dosgames
Because DOS dose not do spaces it is also called:

You can create the folder wherever you want, but make sure you know the location.  If you are having issues with future steps then I recommend creating the folder at the same spot i have.

Step 2: Download DOSBox

We will be using a program called DOSBox to simulate DOS on the computer.

1. Download DOSBox here .  

2. Clicking the link will take you to a list where you should choose your Operating System, OS.  

3.  After clicking the operating system you have there will be a 5 second delay before the download starts.  

4. Download the file.  It does not matter where the file is downloaded to as long as you can open it.  

5. Opening the file will begin the Installation process.

Step 3: Install DOSBox

With DOSBox downloaded you can now install the program.  

1. Open the downloaded file.

2. Click next through the License Agreement.

3. Decide if you want a desktop shortcut for your DOS game and click next.

4. On where you want to install this installed, "Destination Folder", choose the folder we created in step 1; like in the image for this step.

5. Click install once you have chosen you creation location.

6. Click to close the installer when it is finished installing.

Now we move on to installing the game we want to play.

Step 4: Placing Install Files

This step is about placing the install files into the proper folder.

1. Create a folder within the dosgames folder from step one.  This new folder is for the game Installation files to go.
example: C:\program files\dosgames\installdoom
or DOS format: C:\progra~1\dosgames\instal~1

2. Copy over all the installation files of the game to the newly created Installation folder in dosgames.  
-If the game is on a CD then open the CD from "My Computer" and copy over all the files from the CD.

Step 5: Installing the Game

With the install files in the proper location we can now install the game.

1. Open DOSBox as administrator.  
-To do this:
      1. Use the desktop shortcut you created, or find where you installed it.
      2. Right click on the file named DOSBox.
      3. Select "Run as administrator".

2. You will have a window open up that looks like DOS with a command line with Z:\

3. Type the following with the Z:\ command line (capitals do not matter):
mount c c:\progra~1\dosgames
- You should revive a message that says "Drive C is mounted as local directory c:\progra~1\dosgames\".
-If you revive an error then check that you have the proper spacing and name of the folders are correct.

4. Type:

-Now the z:\ should be a c:\

5. type:
-you will see all the files within dosgames

6. open the game install file by typing (the dir command will tell you what the name of the folder is):
cd (name of the folder)
eg. cd instal~1

7. Type the name of the main install file:
eg: install

8. Follow the game install steps and save it in C if it asks for a directory

If no error occurred, you have sucsesfully installed your game inside the dosgames folder.

Step 6: Edit DOSBox

With what you have done you can now play your DOS game.  To play it all you need to do is open DOSBox and type:
mount c c:\progra~1\dosgames
(name of installed game)
(game name)

mount c c:\progra~1\dosgames
cd dooms

If you wish to make this simpler, there is a way. You can make DOSBox open to your game without typing any command lines.  

1. Find and open he DOSBox folder

2. Open a file named "DOSBox 0.74 options"

3. Scroll to the bottom of the text box

4. Typing commands at the very bottom on this text box will make these commands happen when DOSBox starts up.  
Type the following and put in missing data:
mount c c:\progra~1\dosgames
(name of installed game)
(game name)

mount c c:\progra~1\dosgames
cd dooms

5. save and exit the text document

Step 7: Run DOSBox

When you run DOSBox it will open into the game that you told it to.  Now your DOS games are a simple click away.  To undo the auto launch feature go back to step 6, delete what you wrote, and save.  Now that you can use a DOS emulator there are a lot of other emulators you can try, just Google  search them. 

Useful notes:
-Alt+Enter= Full screen

-Type "exit " into command line to quit out of DOSBox

-Inside "DOSBox 0.74 options" you can change alot of features to work better with you system and game.
eg: Turn fullscreen on by setting  fullscreen=true

-If you wish to be able to play multiple games there are 3 ways you can do this:
1. For Fast: Install multiple DOSBox's for each game you want to play, and set each one up like in this instruction. Re-name each DOSBox to your game to make sorting simpler.
2. For Lazy: Skip step 6 and type all the command lines at the start of step 6 into DOSBox every time you open DOSBox.
3. For people who want to work more: A program called Norton Commander is used like a DOS file system.  There is an instructible on how to set it up here .

Enjoy the old game and thank you for reading this.
If you have any ideas of how i can make this better please comment.
All images are my own screen shots.



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    4 Discussions


    7 years ago on Step 6

    It looks like this as a global dosbox setting tho.

    So if you have multiple games installed, how could you make it so any given one could start automatically? (For example, different shortcuts for Doom, Wolfenstein, etc.)

    2 replies

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Added an edit to step 7 for multiple games. Hope that helps and thanks for the comment.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, but meanwhile I tried to find the answer for myself. Actually, what I found (after I broke down and R'd the FM) was a better way even than those you mentioned in step7:

    Different games will naturally work best with different configuration settings. Something to consider is to define a conf file for each game that will set the appropriate configurations and start the game for you. Then, create a shortcut such as DOSBox.exe -conf "DOSbox-GameName.conf" so that you can start your game in the least possible number of steps.