How to run DOS programs on Windows 8

DOS programs were used to work with earlier versions of Windows as well as DOS Operating System, and ever since Microsoft ditched the DOS Compatibility from Windows, perhaps you believe it slipped support for DOS programs entirely. But, it’s not!

Most of the DOS applications still not work with any latest version of Windows OS. In general, these are utilities that function around the hardware, like diagnostic tools and defraggers. Many DOS games also work around the hardware, and these would possibly not run in Windows, either. However, being or not being able to operate DOS applications relies on whether you are using a 64-bit or 32-bit version of Windows OS. While most of the DOS based programs runs quiet fine with 32-bit (x86) version, 64-bit version makes it undoable.

Incase you still don’t know whether you are using which version of Windows OS, then this is the time to figure out. In Windows 8, Click on Settings charm and use PC info option to view the systems Properties, there you can find what you are looking for. That’s it!


In a 32-bit version of Windows 7, you can run most of the DOS applications just by double-clicking the .exe or .com file of a DOS application. But, the very first time you try to run DOS application on Windows 8, you probably need to install a feature named NTVDM. Even if the program doesn’t run, or if you’re using the 64-bit version of Windows 8, then try running it using DOSBox. This is free software, which is capable to run DOS in a virtual machine that looks quite close to imitating an old fashioned computer. However, it may not work with every DOS programs, but it work with most of it.

In order to use DOSbox, you have to create a drive for it. To do so, first of all you have to create a directory as near as you can to the root of any available partition, and provide it a short name without having punctuations or spaces. And then you have to put in every DOS applications you would like access via DOSBox, and of course you use as many sub-directories within that directory. For instance, lets create a directory named ‘DOSGames’ within primary partition(C:\DOSGames).

Finally, type dosbox in Windows 8 Search and Clicking on DOSBox Options will bring up a reasonably large file in Notepad. Now, Scroll to the bottom and find the [autoexec] flag. Below that flag, just type mount a c:\dosgames, and Save the file. From now onwards, whenever you try to run DOSBox, it’ll recognize that directory as DOSBox’s drive A. Once the application gets started, then you can use traditional DOS commands to access directories and files in DOSBox’s drive A.

dosbox-terminal

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