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.


The user must be in the games group . If necessary do gpasswd -a <USER> games and log out and in. Then emerge dosbox and you can launch it by dosbox to get a dos windows where you run on the Z: drive. The command exit closes the window.

To get access to a directory the following command created 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

brings now the dosou can mount any directory as the DOS 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

Additional configuration files can be created as follows:

Within the dosbox type

config -writeconf dosbox.conf

to create a configuration file in your home directory

Then type dosbox -conf dosbox.conf to get it used and running.

Inside the configuration file there is the


section that serves as the autoexec.bat file. so commands as the previously mount command can be added. A usefull command to put there is to set the keyboard as this example sets the swiss-german

      keyboard CONFIG -set dos keyboardlayout sg 

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

Figure 16.1. Sokoban


Figure 16.2. Sokoban



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


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

Such floppy or CD images run well in virtual machines under Linux. See the floppy chapter how to run an floppy image without having a physical floppy.

Note there is also openDOS that might be an alternative to FreeDos. Freedos can run well in virtualbox, so you can create a pc to run your historic programs.

Luckily freedos under virtual box support CD's, so you can create a cd iso image and have it read by free dos, this way you can move data to this historic environment. Ctrl+Alt+ Delete frees the cursor in Virtual box.

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

Commander keen:

Figure 16.3. Keen


Old software

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