Wednesday, March 19, 2008

First Looks: DOSBox 0.72 - Run your favorite DOS games with this free utility

DOSBox Review

Do you miss one (or some) of your old DOS games? Wish you could play them on your XP or Vista (or even Linux) system and have everything, including sound, work? Well, you can if you use DOSBox, an Open Source DOS emulator. And if you need a copy of your old DOS game, chances are you will find it at Home of the Underdogs or Liberated Games.  

Even though this application is still in beta form, I had no problems running several older DOS games with it on my XP machine. Everything - sound, mouse, graphics worked fine. The application has been written specifically to run old games, but theoretically should work with any DOS program.

When you run DOSBox it opens a, well, a DOS box in a window (actually, 2 of them - a status window and a main window). This looks just like the Windows command prompt, except that the drive letter is Z: instead of the usual C: . The reason for this is that DOSBox sets up a virtual drive in memory, since it is just "pretending" to be DOS.

Once you've installed DOSBox, installing an older DOS game is simple. Copy the install files for the game into a directory on your hard drive. Then use the MOUNT command to create a virtual drive containing this directory:

MOUNT C: C:\MYDIR (where C:\MYDIR is the directory that contains the install files)

Now, type in C: to change to the C: drive. Run the install program for the game just as you would on a DOS machine. After the install completes, type in the command to run the game and you're off and playing, just like in the good old days.

From there, you can run the program in a windowed or full-screen mode (alt-enter switches to full-screen). You can also create screen captures, movies and sound recordings from the DOS program.

The Bottom Line...

This is a great utility if you have a need for it. The developers are obviously dedicated gamers who miss some of the classic DOS games, like Quake and Doom, that millions enjoyed. Development for this program is ongoing, and their is an active user community on the DOSBox website. If you miss one of your DOS games even a little bit, I would recommend giving this program a try. DOSBox works with all Windows, including Vista. You can download it here: DOSBox 0.72 .

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