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How to Play DOS Games in Vista

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Perhaps you've been perusing

Play DOS Games in Vista
through that cabinet full of old games and you've found the original disk for Carmen Sandiego. Or, maybe you went online and found a free download for Jazz Jackrabbit. Either way, if you have a computer capable of doing virtually anything nowadays, they probably won't run because these DOS games are too old. This guide will show you how to play DOS games on Vista, Windows 7, or XP.

1. Get DOSBox
DOSBox is emulation software that lets your play downloadable DOS games or DOS games that you have around the house for free. In order to play DOS games on Vista, you'll have to download it. Visit the DOSBox website and download and install DOSBox to get started. Make sure you know what folder you save it to!

2. Find the game
If your game is on your computer's hard drive, you'll need to know what directory it can be found in. Getting your computer set up to play DOS games in Vista isn't really that hard, but it can be a burden trying to find a game that may be hard to find. Try the search function that has been greatly optimized since Windows Vista, or, if push comes to shove, just try re-downloading it on the Internet. Websites like Abandonia host loads of DOS games, and the one you're looking for may be on there.

If your games are on a disc or floppy or need installed from a disc or floppy, you can still play DOS games on Vista. Just put the disc or floppy in your computer and go on to step 3.

3. Install the game
If your game is already installed, or if your game does not require installation, you may skip to step 4.

Installing from hard disk or floppy
If the installer is on a floppy disk or on your hard drive, all you have to do is go to that directory and run the file. To begin, you must tell DOSBox what to call the drive by mounting it. The process of mounting can assign any folder on your computer as a drive. So, let's say you want to install Jazz Jackrabbit, and the installer is located on a floppy disk (drive A:) in the folder JAZZ. You would type:

mount J A:/JAZZ

This would make J: in DOSBox the same thing as A:/JAZZ on your computer. You can pick any letter you wanted instead of J if you would like.

From then you would run the installer file and follow its instructions. In our example, let's say the installer was called SETUP. You would type:


and hit ENTER.

Installing from a CD
If the installer is on a CD, you have a little more work to do. CDs must be handled differently by DOSBox than any other drive. So, in order for you to play DOS games on Vista, you must check to see what letter your CD-ROM drive is in My Computer.

Let's say we want to install King's Quest I from DOSBox, and that our CD-ROM drive is letter D:. To do this, we would type:

mount D D:/ -t cdrom

This would configure the CD drive to work in DOSBox on drive letter D. Then, if your installer was called SETUP, you would type:


and hit ENTER.

4. Playing the game
Use similar steps as above to play the game. Go to the directory in which the game is located and mount it. For example, if the file was C:/CRIME/Play.exe, you would type:

mount C C:/CRIME

If the file was on a CD with drive letter D and the file was called Run.exe, you would type:

mount D D:/ -t cdrom

5. Speeding up the game or slowing down the game
Now you've figured out how to play DOS games on Vista! However, the game may be too fast or too slow. Thankfully, you can change the artificial CPU speed (CPU cycles) in DOSBox with two key combinations:
CTRL+F11 to slow it down
CTRL+F12 to speed it up

With these tips, you'll be having a jolly good old time as you play DOS games in Vista, XP, or Windows 7, with DOSBox. Enjoy!


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