DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

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sproaticus
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DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#1 Post by sproaticus »

[Mod note: for lack of better option, the present has been made the official forum topic for DOSBox; https://www.portablefreeware.com/?id=687]

[Mod note 2: post subject amended, originally was "Portable app - DOSBox"]

DOSBox is a DOS emulator for Windows (and Linux and Mac OSX and so on...). In it, you can play games that run too fast for Windows, or which expect ownership of memory or the CPU.

From the website: DOSBox is a DOS-emulator that uses the SDL-library which makes DOSBox very easy to port to different platforms. DOSBox has already been ported to many different platforms, such as Windows, BeOS, Linux, MacOS X... DOSBox also emulates CPU:286/386 realmode/protected mode, Directory FileSystem/XMS/EMS, Tandy/Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/VESA graphics, a SoundBlaster/Gravis Ultra Sound card for excellent sound compatibility with older games... You can "re-live" the good old days with the help of DOSBox, it can run plenty of the old classics that don't run on your new computer! DOSBox is totally free of charge and OpenSource.

To install: download installer from http://dosbox.sourceforge.net and run it, copy the files to another directory, then uninstall. Program is now portable.

Saves settings to: local directory. Note that there is no configuration window; you must edit the "dosbox.conf" file. You can also specify a directory which DOSBox will treat as the root of a hard drive, and since this path can be relative to the executable, this should work on a thumbdrive.

Note: This is just an emulator. You need actual games for it to be useful, which are not included in the package. I recommend googling for DOS freeware. One website I enjoy is http://www.the-underdogs.info/ - but please be aware that not all games on that website are free.

Also note: Some minor configuration is needed for a quick start. You need to create a directory (e.g. "games") and copy files into it. Also, the dosbox.conf file has a section titled "[autoexec]" which runs like autoexec.bat - here's what I have in mine (in fact, the only changes I made to dosbox.conf):
mount c games
c:
When you start DOSBox, you are presented with a DOS window, right down to the "C:\>" prompt. It is expected that you know how to change directories and run programs. :)

Also also note: There are many launchers for DOSBox to make this process simpler, but I haven't tested any of them. Others giving input on this front would be appreciated.

sproaticus
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Joined: Sun Sep 10, 2006 8:22 am

#2 Post by sproaticus »

WHOOPS - this should've been in the Portable Freeware Submission forum.

Moderators, could you please move it? Thanks.

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Midas
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#3 Post by Midas »

Very old topic update: DOSBox last release was v0.74-3, from 2019-06-26 (see announcement at https://www.dosbox.com/).
Ideally, 0.75 should have been released by now, but some bugs took a lot longer than expected.

Apparently development is still going, as a patch for Linux posted 2021-01-27 attests.

There's a forked DOSBox-x, available at https://dosbox-x.com/, with v0.83.12 released 2021-04-01 (release notes at https://dosbox-x.com/release-0.83.12.html).

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Midas
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#4 Post by Midas »

An interesting game reversing project that partly relies on Dosbox-X:
[Touhou PC-98 Restoration Project] aims to perfectly reconstruct the source code of the first five Touhou Project games by ZUN Soft (now Team Shanghai Alice), which were originally released exclusively for the NEC PC-9801 system.
PC-98 emulation is messy and overly complicated. It has been getting better as of 2018 thanks to DOSBox-X adding support for the platform, but even at its best, it will always consume way more system resources than what would be appropriate for those games.

EDIT: some DOSBox screen capturing tips that may prove handy...


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Midas
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Re: 86Box

#5 Post by Midas »

[Mod note: the current post was moved here from where I originally posted it (viewtopic.php?t=25348), due to its original topic being moved to a deprecated forum... Any user similarly affected feel free to contact the forum team, BTW.]

Almost an year later to the day, here's another interesting, if very niche, emulator offer for the topic purpose (untested!): 86Box...
86Box is a low level x86 emulator that runs older operating systems and software designed for IBM PC systems and compatibles from 1981 through fairly recent system designs based on the PCI bus.

Image

Latest 86Box is v3.11, released 2022-11-26 (changes and downloads at https://github.com/86Box/86Box/releases/).

Incidentally, I found the following 86Box FAQ entry highlighting differences between hypervisors and emulators rather instructive:


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Midas
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Re: DOS_deck (browser-based DOS game emulator)

#6 Post by Midas »

As DOSBox development seems to have stalled, here's a pointer to something related I've come across recently: DOS_deck.
Experience classic games with modern convenience at DOS_deck. With full controller support and a carefully curated game collection, enjoy timeless classics and hidden gems, readily available for instant play in your web browser on devices you already own.
Some ingenious individuals managed to make DOSBox run within a web browser, giving rise to the marvelous software package known as JS-DOS. DOS_deck is built upon the foundation of JS-DOS, which, in turn, relies on DOSBox.
DOS_deck runs great on Chrome or Edge on a Steam Deck, but [] needs a few steps to activate the controller properly. By default, browsers cannot detect the controller. Instead, controller input is received by Chrome and Edge as if you pressed a keyboard key.

DOS_deck currently supports 14 games -- including Doom, WoW, and Command & Conquer -- all playable in your (Chrome-based) browser...

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vevy
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#7 Post by vevy »

There is also this, which attempts to combine both game and accurate app emulation.

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Midas
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#8 Post by Midas »

vevy wrote: There is also this, which attempts to combine both game and accurate app emulation.

Yep -- I mentioned DOSBox-X above... 8)

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vevy
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#9 Post by vevy »

Midas wrote: Thu Nov 23, 2023 7:05 am
vevy wrote: There is also this, which attempts to combine both game and accurate app emulation.

Yep -- I mentioned DOSBox-X above... 8)
:oops:

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SYSTEM
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#10 Post by SYSTEM »

DOSBox Staging is yet another DOSBox fork with a bunch of extra features over the original, such as high DPI support.
My YouTube channel | Release date of my 13th playlist: August 24, 2020

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Midas
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#11 Post by Midas »

SYSTEM wrote: DOSBox Staging is yet another DOSBox fork...
:o Wow! DOSBox Staging looks like a robust and mature project built upon the somewhat shaky DOSBox foundation -- so thanks for drawing my attention to it, SYSTEM.

They even talk about Windows support; plus, they have an updated list of DOSBox forks in their wiki:

Apparently (and expectably?), the ZIP archives supplied are natively portable, although portability is only mentioned regarding Windows 7 downloads -- and I'm assuming that because download links point to the same packages.

I'd recommend anyone interested in DOSBox Staging to start by reading their "Getting Started" wiki page:

BTW, DOSBox Staging latest release is v0.80.1 from 2023-01-06 (downloads and release notes at https://dosbox-staging.github.io/downloads/windows/).

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Midas
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Re: DOSBox [legacy OS emulator]

#12 Post by Midas »

Yet another DOS game ported to WASM (i.e., Web Assembly): Sopwith v2.3.0...
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