Running DOS programs on Linux

Lot of people from DOS days must have played & enjoyed those DOS games. And today those don’t always play or not play straight away on Windows. And so, the newer generation might have heard about them, but never got a first hand experience. Moreover, today there are more Linux users than ever. Ya ya, on Linux, people have been using wine for Windows emulation of the executables, but not always straight forward for the graphics part. So, for the DOS game lovers, or for that matter for executing any DOS program to get that antique feeling, there is a simpler elegant way. It is using dosbox, which is available in various Linux distros. Just install it as a package. And run with the command dosbox.

And DOS would so-called boot and give the DOS prompt with Z:\ drive as system drive. Then, it is all DOS in that dosbox window. Now, how to run external DOS executables? Assuming they are available in some folder under Linux, say ~/DOS. That could be mounted in the dosbox, by the following command:

Z:\>mount c ~/DOS

With this, the ~/DOS folder from Linux is mounted as C:\ drive in dosbox. And now the various DOS things are applicable to it. One may switch to it by typing the drive, as follows:


If it has game executables, compiler executables, … from DOS days, those can be run by just typing them as the executable with complete path, as was to be done in those DOS days. Just remember that the directory separator slash used in DOS is backslash (\) like in Windows and unlike in Linux. And front slash (/) is used for command options.

To get a list and help on the default available (DOS) commands, type:

C:\>help /all

And finally to exit from the dosbox:



Anil Kumar Pugalia (123 Posts)

The author is a hobbyist in open source hardware and software, with a passion for mathematics, and philosopher in thoughts. A gold medallist from the Indian Institute of Science, Linux, mathematics and knowledge sharing are few of his passions. He experiments with Linux and embedded systems to share his learnings through his weekend workshops. Learn more about him and his experiments at

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