Running MS-DOS games on a modern machine?

By Admiral Hipper
Feb 2, 2005
  1. I have a 1993 MS-DOS CD-ROM game named "Jutland", which is a huge WWI sea battle.

    Installation: The game appears to install to my hard drive. I've "Explored" the CD and the files on the CD do appear with some exceptions to have installed to my hard drive. (I'm assuming those files that did not install are "read me only" files the game accesses from the CD disc during play. I am not certain of this however.)

    Running Game: I'm trying to run the game on a contemporary machine with Windows XP Home as the Operating System. It won't run. My attempts to get it to run involve clicking on the "Executable file". I've tried to do so both where this file was installed to my harddrive and clicking upon the Executable file in the CD as well. The little black MS-DOS window appears briefly and then disappears without any visible prompts or error messages and of course the game does not run. The seller was quite clear it needed to be run in MS-DOS. I've tried every tweak to get it to run on Windows, including using:

    1. "The Program Compatibility Wizard" (a Windows based program accessed from START/All Programs/Accessories/Program Compatibility Wizard. The "Wizard" is "backward" compatible only to Windows 95 and that is probably why it failed, though I tried every combination;

    2. I tried downloading a program called "DOSBox", which if I understand it correctly is an "emulation" which seeks to tweak and fool a MS-DOS game being run by Windows XP into a configuration where it behaves as if it is being run by MS-DOS. It also did not work.

    3. I tried other tweaks including finding the "executable file" which starts the game from a "Windows Explorer" search from START/All Progams/Accessories/Windows Explorer. Once the "exe" file was located, the tweaks suggested were to "Right Click" and select the "Properties" query. On the Properties file "Tabs" I selected "Program" and unchecked the "Close on Exit" box, with the hope that when the Executable File attempted to start the game, I would be left with a prompt or error message. Unfortunately, it closes just as quick with no visible text. From the same Properties query, I tried a host of tweaks from the Tabs pertaining to "Memory", "Misc", and "Compatibility", none of which worked.

    Which brings me here.

    I'm convinced this game must run in MS-DOS. My question is can I get my modern machine to Boot Up in Fully Functional MS-DOS to play this game?

    Furthermore, I do know that MS-DOS accessed data from FAT16 or FAT32 formatted partitions. (My Max Blast format Softare only appears to utilize FAT32, so I am concerned this could be a problem. I rudimentarily understand that there are Gig limits to FAT formatting, but that is about all I understand.) My hard disc is of course formatted NTFS. I do have a second hard drive, I could drop into the machine, format it FAT and install the game. The bottom line is this, This is a MS-DOS game that utilizes files in its play that have to be on the computer harddisk. Must this "Directory" or location be formatted FAT? And if so, Which version of FAT?

    I have a boot diskette version 6.22 MS-DOS with CD ROM drivers obtained from bootdisk:

    I suspect I'm getting close, but I'm the proverbial hack. I really don't know what I'm doing and I know NOTHING about DOS or DOS commands, including Batch files. All I know is that I want to climb aboard a German Battlecruiser. I want to take the helm. I want to identify the Royal Navy on the horizon and range my guns upon the ship in the van. I want to mark my salvos and call out calmly when the Queen Mary disappears in a flash of cordite "Queen Mary sinking redirect fire to next ship in formation". I want to target Beatty on the Lion and Jellico on the Iron Duke and Hood on the Invincible. If Lord of the Admiralty Churchill had the fortitude to come to sea he'd slide beneath the waves as well. When its over I want the Royal Navy to understand that it has had a very, very bad day.

    I know it can be done, even if a complete 1993 DOS environment has to be set up. I want to set it up as easily as possible. Can someone help me? Caveat I don't interpret well, I'll need precise instructions.

    I have Nero burn software, burners, an extra hard drive. It may be I have to set up a multi boot hard disk. If thats the case my concern is the detail/procedure for the MS-DOS installation. I can handle the subsequent XP installation. However, once its complete I have no idea what MS-DOS commands or mouseclicks run DOS. Never been there. Puke:


    Vize Admiral Hipper
  2. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    How did DOSBox not work?

    You can keep the program's output if you run it from within the Windows command prompt. E.g. first open command prompt, then navigate to your game directory, then run the program.
  3. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    It's possible.
    Of Microsoft's DOS versions, only MS-DOS 7 and above (versions with Win95 OSR2 to WinME) support FAT32. FreeDOS too.

    I'd try it in FreeDOS. It has a brief new user guide here.

    FAT16 has a limit of 2 GB (or with 64k clusters, 4 GB), and the game most likely won't require more than that, so it shouldn't matter which you choose, FAT16 or 32.
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