Old DOS programs seems to be critical and do not run anymore under Windows. So the users ended up with some beloved programs and games that became useless.

Luckily Linux offers DOS emulators.


Dosbox creates a dos windows where dos commands can run

Install dosbox and launch it by dosbox to get a dos windows. Dos runs on drive Z: not C:

The command exit closes the window.

To get access to a directory the following command creates the C: drive:

mount c <directory in the home directory>


In the path the / character as in Linux need to be taken. The path starts from the working directory. So ~/<directory> is a good way the define where C: is.

C: changes now the working directory to the C: drive

Alt + Return switches in full screen mode and back

Ctrl + F10 locks and unlocks mouse in X window

The default configuration file is in ~/.dosbox

Add there (or modify the line that is already there)


to get swiss keyboard layout

There is also the


section that serves as the autoexec.bat file. so commands as the previously mount command can be added.

To be more flexible command line parameters can be used as dosbox <mount dir as c: > -conf <path to config file> so a directory gets directly mounted as C:\ drive and a dedicated config file overwrites the one in ~/.dosbox.

The classic Sokoban game from 1984 with amazing 4 color CGA graphics (black, white, magenta, cyan) runs well under Linux!

Figure 17.1. Sokoban


Figure 17.2. Sokoban


Finally there are front-ends for DosBox that help starting different configurations.


DosEMU emulates a PC under Linux, where MSDOS or an other DOS as FreeDOS can be installed.


An other solution is FreeDOS CD ISO image or floppy images can be download.

Such floppy or CD images run well in virtual machines under Linux.

Freedos can run well in virtualbox, so create a pc to run your historic programs.

Luckily freedos under virtual box support CD's, so create a cd iso image and have it read by free dos, this way data can be moved to this historic environment.

An other option is to install TCP/IP on freedos and use FTP. Software can be found on

Commander keen:

Figure 17.3. Keen


Old software

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