How To Install FreeDOS (Part 2)

9/22/2012 9:07:17 AM

So here we are, all DOS'd up and ready for action. Now what? Let's start by heading to DOS Games at Here you'll find a wide selection of games that will run under DOS-based operating systems; in this particular case, we've decided to pick Doom from the list. Clicking the link for Doom downloads a zipped file containing the relevant executables, but there's no way to transfer them over to the FreeDOS VM. To make things easy, we unzipped the contents into a folder, Imaginatively entitled 'Doom', and converted the folder Into an .iso using ISO Recorder ( By right-clicking on the folder and selecting 'Create ISO Image File' then labelling the new .iso volume as 'Doom' and selecting 'CD', we can now launch the folder as if it was a normal CD within FreeDOS VM.

Description: Ahh Doom. Now this is more like it!

Ahh Doom. Now this is more like it!

With the created .iso on your host's hard drive, select 'Devices' from the menu along the top of VirtualBox VM window. Then click on 'Choose a Virtual CD/DVD disk file' from the submenu and point it to your newly created .iso. Once that's done, wait for a few seconds and type Into FreeDOS 'D:' to change drives to the virtual CD/DVD drive. With luck, you should be able to type in 'dir', and see the contents of the .iso. After that you just need to, usually, type in something like lnstall.bat.

Amazingly, Doom installed perfectly. We left the defaults selected, Including the sound, which was SoundBlaster (IRQ 220 and so on) and we enjoyed getting shot to pieces all over again. So now we know how to get a DOS program to work, what other titles are there for us to play with? As well as Doom, here are a couple of other games we thought were worthy of some attention.

Duke Nukem 2

Description: Duke Nukem 2. Classic DOS gaming

Duke Nukem 2. Classic DOS gaming

Somewhere in between classic Duke and the unforgettable Duke 3D, there came Duke Nukem 2. Although it didn't do quite as well as the other Duke titles, it's still a favourite. To get it working, do the same as Doom: download, unzip Into a folder called 'Duke' (or whatever) convert the folder to an .¡so via .ISO Recorder, load up the .iso into VirtualBox and run lnstall.bat from within FreeDOS. It works okay, but the sound was a little choppy, then it failed altogether, but we made up our own sound effects after that.


Description: DOS was designed purely for space shooters (that may not be true)

DOS was designed purely for space shooters (that may not be true)

2D top-down space shooters were all the rage at one time, and Galactix was one of the more top-notch versions available. Point your collective browsers to to download the zipped file. Do the same as the above games, but this time make sure you have at least 600KB of conventional memory available before trying to play it.

DOS Apps

With the internet at our fingertips, it's easy to get hold of virtually every DOS game ever conceived. Although licensing and copyright may inevitably get in the way, there's also the chance to get hold of some of those really cool DOS programs or applications that we used to tap away at in the wee hours.

Breeze Word Processor

Breeze word processor was developed way back in 1993 and is still available today from It's a pretty good word processor and contains most of the useful tools we expect to see in a modern word processing application. All you need to do to get it working is download the zip file from the site, unzip it into a folder and convert the folder to an .iso, then load the .iso up into FreeDOS via the Devices menu in VirtualBox. When the .iso is ready, create a folder on FreeDOS called Breeze by typing 'md Breeze'.

Description: Breeze, the DOS word processor

Breeze, the DOS word processor

Next, change into the Breeze folder with 'cd Breeze'. Your prompt should now be c:\Breeze. If it is, then type in 'xcopy d:\*.* ' to copy the contents of the .iso into the Breeze folder. All that's needed now is to type in 'Breeze' to run the program.


Developed in 1998, the original QuickView, version 1.03b (real mode) is a superb media player for DOS-based systems. You can find the relevant downloads from the QuickView site at We used the 1,03b version in our testing with FreeDOS and it worked perfectly, albeit a little slow in comparison to a modern media player, obviously. Do the same as with Breeze to get QuickView running, but you may want to consider including an AVI in the folder before making it into an .iso. Be warned, though, by default FreeDOS will only look at CDs, so you'll have to play around a little to get a DVD working. Once you have the QuickView files copied over, simply launch the program by typing in 'QV', then follow the on-screen help (at the bottom of the screen) to navigate to the selected location of the movie or image files you want to view.

Description: A media player for DOS, although the media played pretty poorly

A media player for DOS, although the media played pretty poorly

A world of DOS

There are tons of DOS dedicated sites, and we've put some together in the boxout, so have a look around and see what you can get running with FreeDOS. More importantly, have fun reliving your computing days with DOS.

DOS sites worth visiting

Here are a few of our favourite DOS related sites:

Vernon Frazee

DOS 6.22 command line reference: LkxWks

Abandonware DOS

Great DOS games, all abandoned: bit. ly/LQe983

Free Classic DOS games

A site with some free classic DOS games, oddly enough:

DOS Archive

A home for legacy DOS software:

Apogee Software Archive

Full of Apogee DOS games:


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