How to play DOS games on Windows 7 or 8?

How to play DOS Games on Windows 7 Today we are trying something oldschool. If you ever wanted to know how to play DOS games on Windows 7, you will find out how today. For this example I will download and install the DOS game Themepark on Windows 7. Back to the roots!


DOSBOX is only one of the tools to emulate DOS, if it does not work for you you could try some of the many alternatives

Installing DOS Games on Windows 7

To install DOS games on Windows 7, you will first need a DOS emulator. The DOSBOX is one of the best DOS emulators that works with Vista x86/x64 and Windows 7 x86/x64.

You can download the DOSBOX for free from their official website:
Download DOSBOX (yes, this also works on Solaris and Gentoo)

After downloading and installing the DOSBOX, start it via the Start menu.

DOS on Windows 7: DOSBOX

Oh yea, that’s DOS!!! I kinda missed the DOS interface ;)

Ok, next we have to mount the folder with our DOS games that we want to play on Windows 7.
No worries, it’s really simple and everyone can do it.

Create folder with DOS games

1. Step Create a new folder and copy your DOS games into the folder. I created my folder on C:/ and named it “DOSGAMES”, but feel free to create it somewhere else.

Mount drive

2. StepSwitch back to your DOSBOX and enter the following line:

MOUNT C C:\DOSGAMES

Mount C: DOSGAMES

Sidenote: To make a backslash hold down ALT + 092. In this case it is not needed.

Switch to drive

3. StepSwitch to your mounted drive by entering “C:”

Switch to mounted drive

CD to DOS Gamefolder

4. Step CD to your DOS game. Enter “CD DOSGAMEFOLDERNAME” (replace DOSGAMEFOLDERNAME with the actual folder name of your DOS game. In our example it would “CD themepark”.

CD stands for ChangeDirectory and allows you to switch the folder of your DOS game. Keep in mind that DOS folders can only have 8 characters (yes, old systems like DOS only allowed up to 8 characters for each folder or filename). If you want to CD to “themepark”, this is going to happen:

DOS Game Foldername too long
“directoryname is longer than 8 characters and/or contains spaces.”

5. Step Simply rename your folder to “themep” and then repeat step 4.

Install the DOS game

6. (Optional) Enter install.exe to install the DOS game on Windows 7.

CD into themepark DOS game

Sidenote: You don’t have to install themepark to play it.

How to play Themepark on Windows 7

If you want to play themepark, you don’t have to install it, you can simply run it.

Follow steps 1-5 and then enter “main” to run the game.

How to play themepark on Windows 7

Themepark: DOS games on Windows 7

Where to download DOS games for Windows 7?

You can find plenty of the old-school DOS games on http://dosgamer.com/top50/.
Themepark can be downloaded from there as well.

TOP 50 DOS games

1.Theme Park
2. Elvira II: The Jaws of Cerberus
3. FIFA International Soccer
4. Flashback The Quest for Identity
5. Elvira III Waxworks
6. Classic Concentration II
7. Ford Simulator: 5.0
8. Ford Simulator: III
9. Ford Simulator: II
10. Ford Simulator: I
11. Simusex
12. Three Sisters’ Story
13. Knights of Xentar
14. Interactive Girls
15. Classic Concentration
16. Marble Cooking
17. Leather Goddesses of Phobos II
18. Duke Nukem
19. Kings Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow
20. Doom II: Hell on Earth
21. Duke Nukem 3D Atomic Edition
22. Sex Olympics
23. Theme Hospital
24. Kings Quest VII: The Princless Bride
25. Wolfenstein 3D
26. Quake
27. Ladylove
28. Cover Girl Strip Poker
29. Leisure Suit Larry I: In the Land of the Lounge Lizards
30. Jones in the Fast Lane
31. Kings Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder
32. 1994 Penthouse Pet of the Year Play-off
33. Duke Nukem II
34. Aladdin 1693 Downloads
35. Sim City 2000
36. Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle
37. Strip Poker III
38. Sam & Max Hit the Road
39. X-COM: Apocalypse
40. Heretic: Shadow of the Serpent Riders
41. Cobra Mission
42. Command & Conquer
43. Doom III: Mr Smiley Heads Safari
44. Warcraft I: Orcs and Humans
45. Quest for Glory
46. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego Enhanced
47. Metal & Lace
48. Porntris
49. Angel
50. Police Quest IV: Open Season

5 of 5 0 (100%) 4 votes
- Cheers!

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Oliver is the founder and lead editor of this site. He is interested in finding new ways to break Windows, find common errors and help others to fix them. Aside from that, he loves to fully customize systems with Rainmeter and Dreamscene, find out more about ancient civilizations like the Chachapoya, sharpen his digital photography skills and create software with a small group of selected developers. If you would like to connect with him to discuss anything, send him a mail!

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58 Responses to How to play DOS games on Windows 7 or 8?

  1. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Taylor said:

    If You Drag the DOS exe onto The DOS box exe it will do all that suff automaticaly.

  2. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    John said:

    Thank you for the really cool program!

  3. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Little said:

    THX!!! :D

  4. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    arasan said:

    Hi, for every dos game whether we have to do this whole step for play, can you please advise, for each game(dos game) if we want to play we have to follow all these step, please help.

  5. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Gilly said:

    I found using a NDS emulator with a copy of theme park works a lot better, the game runs far too fast on Dosbox, the DS version has more benifits like replaying areas for more cash and the stylus/mouse actions are more effective, there is a legal issue though using a NDS emulator

  6. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Augman said:

    evertime i type in main it says “Illegal command: main.”

  7. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Catherine said:

    Augman, typing “main” didn’t work for me either. You have to type in the name of the application file in your game folder/on the CD-Rom. So, to get my ancient CD copy of Day of The Tentacle to play, i had to type in “TENTACLE” because that is the name of its application file.

  8. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Charles said:

    Typing main is an illegal command on mine too.
    And when I type in the file name it says I need Microsoft Windows to do it… but I am running Microsoft Windows.
    Same happens when I try to install it.

  9. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Janette said:

    This worked great for me, but once the gameplay started my mouse wouldn’t show up anymore and I had to start the task manager to get out of it. Any ideas?

  10. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    carrie said:

    I had trouble with the whole main part also untill i read the omment about writing the name instead. example: not SC2000>main but SC2000>SC2000

    That worked but is there a way to make it full screen? It only opens into a little box.

  11. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Labba said:

    ALT + ENTER key will switch between windowed / fullscreen.

  12. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    geel said:

    hi …
    I want to ask, began to stage 6 it appears the “illegal command” (Install.exe) and then to “main” also written “illegal command” too.
    how can i fix it?
    software in a folder on whether to be equated with the file name?
    thanks

  13. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    geel, please read through the comments. Other people also had problems with the illegal command and fixed it by entering the application name of the DOS game instead of main

  14. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    D0rksNinja said:

    Finally!
    I was looking for a dumb it down version to work DOSBox and here it is!
    Thanks so much. (:

  15. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    tom said:

    nope none of this helps ,i tried running warcraft 1. it ran the first time round perfectly but the next day it started saying illegal command when i tried to play again

  16. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    @tom “You have to type in the name of the application file in your game folder/on the CD-Rom”

  17. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Ash said:

    i get a divide error… i guess the application won’t work?

  18. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Ian said:

    Anybody had any success running an old Gametek game called “Ripper” under DOSbox? I’ve followed the above but I can’t even get it to install the game – let alone run it!

  19. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Bruce Basturdfist said:

    Take all the files and put them in one folder rather than having subfolders within themp, worked for me.

  20. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Bruce Basturdfist said:

    note: the only problem I’m having is the game running insanely fast and without sound :-\

  21. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    calico_mcSkitz said:

    will DOSbox run ISO files? trying to play sim safari and it doesnt seem to work when i try to CD to simsafari. here’s a screen cap. wut do i do now? :[

    dosbox iso files

  22. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    calico, have you tried to mount the ISO with PowerISO or Daemon Tools? Then copy whatever you need from the ISO file to your hard drive, e.g. to C:\DOSBOX\ then cd to C:\DOXBOX\simsafari and execute the commands to run the game, e.g. enter the name of the game file .. could be simply simsafari but you need to check that yourself

  23. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    shell said:

    mine is running insanely fast too…any ideas?

  24. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    shell said:

    nvm, found the answer…ctrl f11 and ctrl f12 to adjust speed :)

  25. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Ripstar said:

    Hi, been trying to run a ole favourite called Gone Fishing, can anyone guide me through the process please ?

  26. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Ripstar said:

    Hi, sorry should of said I have run in dosbox gone through the process but keep getting Error reading config file #5. any ideas please ?

  27. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    madden said:

    nice work, shell. i remember having to slow down mechwarrior back in the day with a counter, other wise the baddies just flew up and smashed you! haha

  28. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    madden said:

    hey, oliver, nice work mate but i’m having some trouble… i wonder if you could advise?
    i’m running a great old game called full throttle. i have actually got the disk ( i bought it back in the day) and i copied the files over into my dosgames/fullthro folder straight from the disk. it installed and did a sound test no worries, but when i go to run it, it asks me to insert the cd! (it was already in the cd drive)is there any way around this?

  29. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    chipmunk said:

    I cannot get my DOS box to work. I have typed in “main” and the file name but the program is still not working. it keeps displaying that it is an illegal command. I would appreciate it if someone could help.

  30. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    chipmunk, please read the comments “You have to type in the name of the application file in your game folder/on the CD-Rom” not main. It’s really not difficult to play some old dos games in Windows 7, most DOS games for DOSBOX also include a readme

  31. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Danny said:

    Hi,
    Do you install the game from the disk or cd or copy it to your c drive and install it from there?

  32. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Jordan said:

    So I went to DOSgamer and got a couple games. But, problem is, I don’t know which app file to type… help out an idiot please.

  33. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Brae said:

    I used the Alt+enter but instead of bid screening it it just centers it and adds a black border, which doesnt help with the small view, and help as how to make it seeable?

  34. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Monique said:

    I LOVE YOU!!! LOL! It has been at least 10 years since I have been able to play my favorites like kings quest extra im so glad I found this page thank you so much for sharing this kind of information so people like me can reconnect with much loved games. I’m still crossing my fingers for re-releases on these games though. Thank you again.

  35. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    greg said:

    mine says “unable to change to: doom” when i type in cd doom. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  36. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Martina said:

    Hi…thank you very much for this advice….it worked perfectly :) I found box full of floppy disks with lots of dos games :) and thanx to you I went back to my childhood….playing mario, dynablaster, the first version of prince of persia, duke nukem etc. thanks again :) PS: it’s fun to work with DOS again.

  37. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    kristofer said:

    How do you make : in Dosbos ??? been trying every combo i can think of :(

  38. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Aaron said:

    Hi,

    I followed the instructions properly all the way thru until it tells me to insert the cd into the drive aftetr i do this it starts up windows media player and starts playing audio tracks from the game and the game doesnt start at all . Any ideas? It will be greatly appreciated

    Thanks

  39. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Aaron said:

    Im also having a problem with the sound drive i select one it does the sound check then goes back to the dos screen and the game doesnt start, does anyone know what i type in to activate and start the game???

  40. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    ping said:

    this doesnt work for me at all. i get it running, but even using f11 the days fly by, so it takes me 3 years to open a park, then i lose cos by then i have no money so i cant get any of the things my customers want, it wont even let me move around the screen to put rides down.
    funny how it can work for some people, if we all have windows 7 it should work the same.
    this is simply UNPLAYABLE such s shame, works in theory but not in practice :(

    (ive tried the frame rates too and the game options, nothing works, when i get it slow enough it crashes)

  41. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Pontus said:

    I did every step and when I was going to start the program (sim town) it just said “This program must be run under Win32″. How do I solve this?

  42. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    sOliver said:

    Pontus, the file you downloaded is intended to run on Windows, not on DOS, therefore it doesn’t make much sense to use DOSBox to play this game on Windows 7.

    Maybe it’ll work on a Virtual PC with a Windows XP VHD? Sorry, can’t be of more help here.

  43. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    DaveA said:

    Easiest way I have found to use DOSBOX is to locate application file (or .exe file) and just drag and drop onto DosBox shortcut icon.
    Mounting and loading proceeds automatically.

  44. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Yopi Indra said:

    Thank you so much. I did it successfully…I can play the old Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

  45. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Seth said:

    Okay, can someone help out an idiot here? So far, steps 1-3 have gone fine, but when I get to “ChangeDirectory,” it says that it is “Unable to change.” I have read all of the comments posted so far, but, unfortunately, none of them have helped me. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

  46. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Seth said:

    Also, the reason I am persistent is because I really want to play The Dig, which my family actually has the CD for, but, since this is Windows 7, it doesn’t work in the CD Drive.

  47. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Rachel said:

    Hi, worked perfectly for me and I am able to play Toxic Bunny again! One problem however bugs me a little bit. I LOVE the music on this game, but it won’t play it. Sound effects are fine, its just the background and menu music. Any ideas on how to fix this?

  48. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Samuel said:

    I’ve been trying to run multiple games on dos (Jetpack, Wolfstein, Daggerfall, etc.) and somehow I cant get past step 4. Whenever I try to “CD” the games to my dos folder, it says “Unable to change to: dagrfall” or whatever game I am trying to get working. I found this AWESOME program for most of my dos games, its called D-Fend Reloaded. But some of my games still refuse to work! Please help.

  49. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    ANUJ said:

    when i play game full screen mode by pressing alt+enter it does nothing in full screen but after again press alt+enter in windows mode its work fine. what can i do for it?

  50. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Minki88 said:

    I have the same problem as ANUJ:
    “when i play game full screen mode by pressing alt+enter it does nothing in full screen but after again press alt+enter in windows mode its work fine. what can i do for it?”
    Any suggestions?

  51. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Minki88 said:

    ANUJ Cool, fixed the problem going according to earlier “opengl” advice. With Dfend reloaded 1.2.1 clicked on “emulation type” (left dropdown menus), “DosBox”, edit (at the top, pencil picture) and set the graphics (left monitor picture)to render-”opengl”.

  52. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Emma21 said:

    So, I two get the message that main and such are illigal commands. So I read everything you said up here(using the name in stead of main or install, dragging the dos exe to the dosbox exe) , tried it all and it still does not work. All I get is the message illigal commands. Though, I do have to say that after a wile even all the normal commands don’t work anymore.
    Now am I kinda good with pc’s, but I think the chance that I’m doing something wrong is fairly big, so all the help is welcome!

  53. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    charis said:

    when I want to run california games dos says: wou are 199K RAM short of heaving enough memory dude…

  54. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Jeremiah said:

    So…. I am having trouble playing ANYTHING on Fullscreen. I downloaded DOSBox, I love it. I just wanna be able to play on FULLSCREEN! Any ideas? Also, I have a PC Controller (Playstation style) and I wanna be able to use that as my joystick, but it doesn’t seem to read it.

  55. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Casey said:

    Every time I try to do step four it says “unable to change to:” and whatever I typed. it’s less than 8 characters…what do I do?

  56. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    D.a said:

    TY BRO you helped me :D now i can play elder of scroll : AREna !

  57. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Puggie6 said:

    I am trying to play Kings Quest VII and have followed instructions. I am stuck on changing the directory. It will not allow me and says unable to change to: kingsq. Someone please help me get through step four. Thanks

  58. Orange Community Approved Comment:
    Richard said:

    I have got championship manager 2 95\96 and I cant get it to work on windows 7 I have downloaded dos box but still nothing please help

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