Trying out FreeDOS.

For my next PC based project I intend to build an old PC capable of running DOS and/or Windows 95 coupled together with a very early 3DFX graphics accelerator card (or early Nvidia TNT card). This is so I can ‘re’run some of my floppy based DOS games such as Doom,Tie-Fighter and Duke Nukem as well as early 3D accelerated games such Interstate ’76, 3d Snooker and Quake (with 3d patch).

DOSbox running under a modern O/S does a damn fine job with most older DOS games but I really want the best compatibility and to run them on native hardware –  especially as DOSbox or Virtual PC images can’t take advantage of 3D graphics cards yet.

All of this is for a later post but whilst I’ve got a little bit of free time, I thought I’d  play around and create a DOS based Virtual PC.

My first snag – Sadly, Microsoft’s Virtual PC 2007 doesn’t support MS DOS 6.22 therefore rather than tracking down an older version I thought I’d try out the popular DOS replacement FreeDOS which is something I’ve been meaning to look at for some time now.

First, I downloaded and installed a copy of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 –

..and created a Virtual PC by selecting ‘other’ from the list of O/S environments. For my Virtual PC, I’ve allocated 32mb of ram and created a 50mb virtual harddisk.

After downloading the FreeDOS .iso file from – I started the Virtual PC with the freeDOS installation .iso image mounted in a Virtual CD drive. You can either do this from within MS Virtual PC 2007 or use something like Daemon Tools to mount the image.

Here’s the FreeDOS main screen providing options to run live from the CD which then provides further options to install to the harddrive (or in my case Virtual harddisk I created earlier).

Installation of FreeDOS is pretty straight forward and reminiscent of my days prepping DOS PC many many moons ago. Simply run the installer, format the (virtual) Harddrive and install FreeDOS.

FreeDOS installed and booted in MS Virtual PC 2007.

One thing is for sure, FreeDOS contains many useful programs! –  I wish they were around in the early days!

Time for some fun. Digging around my software cupboard, I found my Star Wars Dark Forces big box from 1994.

Behind a veil of secrecy the evil Empire is creating a doomsday army – one that, if finished, will become the final cog in the Empire’s arsenal of terror and domination’ – ‘Your Mission? Join the Rebel Alliance’s covert operations division, infiltrate the Empire, then battle every man and machine the Imperial Forces can muster. Search a vast galaxy for clues, attack enemy bases all in a desperate attempt to stop the activation of this fearsome new weapon‘.

Forget Kyle Katarn, agent StiGGY is on the case 🙂

Loving the blocky SVGA graphics and Midi renditions of the Star wars tunes . The first time I saw it, it was  barely running on my 486 66mhz but even so I was totally blown away. It still plays brilliantly after all these years!

Plenty more DOS games to follow and I’m hoping my Doom II floppy disks still work. If you’ve got half an hour spare, I highly recommend you give FreeDOS a try. If you want to get cracking with DOS games without the hassle of Virtual PC’s, you might like to try DOSbox – and pick up a few freeware games from




One response to “Trying out FreeDOS.

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