How to Run Old Games on Your New PC: A DOSBox Tutorial

by Reads (5,535)

If you’re an avid gamer and you have been for a while, chances are you have old games just sitting around collecting dust. If you’ve been staring at some of them longingly for a while now, read this tutorial and find out how to get them to run on your newer PC.

Old DOS-based favorites such as the Ultima series, DOOM, Wolfenstein 3D and Commander Keen can be experienced again – don’t let the fact that your PC runs on Windows 7 get in the way! 

DOSBox is a free-to-use emulator that creates a MSDOS environment and allows almost any system to run (almost all) DOS-based games. There is a trick to it though; we’ll go over all the steps you need to make it work.

Doom II

Look at those stunning graphics! The blood just looks so real.

The Steps

  • Download DOSBox from this list; choose the file that corresponds with your operating system. You may need to disable your browser’s popup blocker for the download to begin.
  • Extract or install the game(s) you wish to play onto your C: drive in its own, separate folder. Give the folder a name without spaces and make sure it contains 8 characters or less. This will ensure that you can mount it properly in the next step.
  • Open the DOSBox program from your desktop or find it in the list of programs on your PC
  • Type mount c c:\nameofthegamesfolder and press the enter key (for example: mount c c:\keen). If completed successfully, it should say “Drive C is mounted as local directory c:\yourdirectory.”
  • Type c: to enter the c:\ drive directory.
  • Go into the same folder you created (with the game in it) and find out what the game was named/saved under (example: for me, it was KDREAMS). Note that this is different from the folder name. Type C:\>CD GAMENAME to change the directory to the application launcher for the game.
  • Type START YOURGAME and replace it with the game’s filename in step 5 (example: START KDREAMS).

And, voila! Your name should launch. If you need to launch a game from a CDROM instead, follow the first three steps and then type Z:hit enter, and then type mount d d:\ -t cdrom.

A short FAQ:

Q: My game is running too fast (or slow). Can I speed it up or slow it down?
A: Yes, here are the commands to fix your game speeds:

CTRL+F7 = Decreases frameskip
CTRL+F8 = Increases Frameskip
CTRL+F11 = Slows down the game
CTRL+F12 = Speeds up the game

Q: My game isn’t displaying in full screen…?
A: Hit ALT + enter.

Q: My game isn’t running and I’ve tried everything.
A: Some games just won’t run. Alternatively, you may need to download a different version of DOSBox, or run an alternative program because you don’t have a Windows-based PC.

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