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How to Use Windows 10 to Run Old DOS Programs

If you have ever tried to run a game or program from your past on Windows 10, you were probably tragically disappointed. Windows 10 isn’t set up to run most traditional DOS programs. If you try to run one of these programs you will most likely be faced with an error message.

Don’t despair though! If you actually do need (or just want really badly) to run one of these DOS programs, there is a free program that will help you to do just that.

DOSBox, which is a free and open source emulator, allows users to run MS-DOS programs by mimicking the functions of the old program.

There are plenty of ways to access these retro games and programs. One way is to buy games on a floppy disk or CD-ROM from websites such as Amazon or eBay. Another is to find a site that offers Abandonware. Abandonware is programs that have been abandoned, either because nobody is maintaining them any longer or possibly because the party that developed the program no longer exists. It is up to you to check and see whether or not these programs are legal to download in your particular area.

There is also a large number of MS-DOS games in the Internet Archive. The Archive also contains a bunch of old MS-DOS applications. Most of the programs in the Internet Archives can be run right through your web browser.

Once you have the game or program, you were looking for you will need to copy the program files.

The first thing you will need to do is open the Windows File Explorer and find the directory that DOSBox is installed in. Once there, right-click inside the window and create a new folder. You can name it whatever you want, something simple like Retro Games would suffice.

The next step is to copy and paste your program into this file folder.

To launch DOSBox, you will double click the DOSBox shortcut which is located on the desktop of your Windows 10. You will need to guide your DOSBox to your new game. To do this, you must create a virtual C:\ drive, by using the mount command. It will look something like this:

Mount C Retro Games (or whatever you have named your folder).

Next, press Enter and the type in: C:

After this, you must install the program. This part can be a little tricky as it will vary from file to file.

What you will do is use the command DIR to list all the files contained in your folder. You want to find a file with the .BAT or .EXE at the end of it.

You’ll probably find something like SETUP.EXE. Type setup to run this.

If you don’t have a .BAT or .EXE you may have an .ISO. In that case, you will type in the following: Imgmount  D  REDALERT.ISO Then you can switch to the virtual D:\ drive by typing in: D:.

On the chance that you are using a floppy disk, you will want to create an IMG (image) file and then follow the same steps you would for an ISO file. Don’t forget that these will be A:\ drive files.

So, once the .IMG file is in your Retro Games folder you will type in the following:  IMGMOUNT A image_1 -t floppy. Then you will type in: A:.

Once you have completed the installation process, you should be automatically switched to your game’s folder. If that doesn’t happen, simply use cd to change back to the folder you used during the setup process.

To run the game, use  DIR to find the files and type in the name of the .exe.

Certain games can support multiplayer through something called Internetwork Packet Exchange or IPX. DOSBox can allow multiple players on the same network to play by using UDP.

What you will need to do is enable IPX in your DOSBox .conf file. Without having the file running, open up file explorer and type in: C:\Users\whatever your user name is\AppData\Local|DOSBox

Next, you will right-click on the file and first pick Open With and the More apps. Then choose Notepad.

At this point, you need to press Ctrl+F and type ipx. This will allow you to get to the multiplayer section. Find the spot that says ipx=false and change it to ipx=true.

After this, you can use the DOSBox shortcut on your Windows 10 desktop to start the IPX server. This makes it so that other people on the same server can connect with you. Here is the command you need to type next: ipxnet start server <port> ipxnet start server enter number here

If a firewall notification appears simply click allow access.

Now anyone else on your network can connect by typing in: ipxnet  connect <yourip> <port> ipxnet connect enter number here.

Then you can start the game.

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