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Old 03-20-2009, 07:44 AM   #1
Red Dragon

Join Date: April 1, 2003
Location: The Midlands
Posts: 1,568
Default DOSBox

Does anyone have a really simple to use idiots guide to using DOSBox? Iíve downloaded Frontier: First Encounter (Elite 3) but Iíve no idea how to use DOSBox to run it. Any tips?
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Last edited by Target; 03-20-2009 at 07:44 AM. Reason: Can't spell!
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Old 03-22-2009, 02:26 AM   #2
Shadow Stranger

Join Date: December 9, 2007
Posts: 594
Default Re: DOSBox

I have used it successfully for some AD&D games like Ravenloft: Stone Prophet.
Firstly, I created a new directory, C:\OldGames. All new games are installed in this directory.
Secondly, OldDosBox program itself is installed at: C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.72. You can activate it via the Start Menu.

My dosbox.conf file has been altered so that the only thing I need to do is type in "sp" and press Enter. The relevant part of the file is shown below:
# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
MOUNT C C:\OldGames\Prophet
MOUNT D Y:\ -t cdrom

An example, Mounting Lands of Lore - Throne of Chaos. Create a directory in OldGames called "LandsofLore-TheThroneofChaos". Note the lack of spaces.

In the Command Prompt:
C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM32>cd C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.72
C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.72>dosbox C:\OldGames\LandsofLore-TheThroneofChaos
C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.72>

(This mounts the directory as the virtual C: directory in OldGames.)

In the Dosbox itself:
type "lands" at the prompt

(Omit the quotes, "lands" is what you would type at the Command Prompt to run the program.)

Q: Great README, but I still don't get it.
A: A look at "The Newbie's pictorial guide to DOSBox" located at might help you.
Also try the wiki of DOSBox:

(For anyone familiar with Stone Prophet, you will know that you are supposed to type in "Prophet". This activates the file prophet.bat, which leads to an annoying message about obsolete sound drivers coming from a defunct Canadian company. So I just go straight to sp.exe.)
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Old 03-22-2009, 08:56 AM   #3
Jack Burton

Join Date: March 31, 2001
Location: The zephyr lands beneath the brine.
Age: 37
Posts: 5,459
Default Re: DOSBox

Going the longer manual way round, it's a case of typing
"mount c c:\" to get access to your C drive. You can use most of the old DOS commands to navigate. Useful ones include:
"C:" to switch to your C drive
"cd 'foldername'" to access a folder (if it's nested, either use a few times in succession or string them together, e.g. "cd 'folder1'\'folder2'\'folder3') all without the "s and 's of course.
"cd\" or "cd .." to go back to C or back one folder level
"cd\'folder4'\'folder5'" to go back to C and to a new folder directly.
"dir" or "dir /w" or "dir /p" give you a listing of files and folders in your current folder (as single column, multiple column or single column with pauses so you can see whatever scrolls off-screen).
Long file and folder names will be abbreviated with ~1 and that's what you type to open them.
"filename" or "filename.bat" or "filename.exe" will run a .bat or .exe file, which is what usually starts a game.
"exit" quits the program.
CTRL-F11 and CTRL-F12 slow down and speed up DOSbox cycles so you can adjust game speed.

Depending on the game you're trying to run, you may have to mount your D or cd/dvd drive as well. You might need to fiddle with DOSbox memory settings, fix sound issues and change game .ini files.
"mount -t cdrom d d:\" works for the former if D's your drive.

Of course, once you get everything going you get to the real issue; manuals were actually decent back in the days and contained a lot of game and background information. In some cases they were vital to completing the game. Jumping straight in might leave you feeling lost both in objectives and controls (no tooltips either to identify the different buttons).
Some games are more intuitive than others, some come with a tutorial, but in general it's a good idea to grab and read a copy.

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Old 03-22-2009, 08:21 PM   #4
Shadow Stranger

Join Date: December 9, 2007
Posts: 594
Default Re: DOSBox

If you can't find a copy of a manual or other game resource, try Replacementdocs:
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