Getting old MS-DOS games to run in Windows
Getting old MS-DOS games to run in Windows.
As Microsoft Windows progresses not all older games and programs are going to work or work properly. Below are various recommendations in getting older games working as well as additional information about issues you may encounter.
Install from command line
When running the game, make sure you are running the game through a MS-DOS window or command line. If the game reports errors you will be unable to read them as Windows closes command line windows immediately after completion.
Use 8.3 format
Make sure the name of the directory you are installing the game into is no longer than eight characters. Although Windows supports longer filenames and directories, some older MS-DOS games do not. For example, do not install older games in the "Program Files" directory.
Check for patches
If the game developer is still in business, see if any patches or updates are available for that game that may help to resolve issues that you are encountering.
If you are running Windows 95, 98, ME, or XP, change the compatibility of the program by right-clicking on the shortcut, clicking on properties, and clicking the compatibility tab.
Use a boot diskette
If you are encountering memory errors such as not enough Expanded (EMS), Extended (XMS), or conventional memory when attempting to run the program follow the below steps.
- Right-click on the shortcut for the program and click Properties.
- Click the Memory tab. If you do not have a Memory tab skip this section.
- In the Memory tab you can adjust the amount of memory as needed for that program. Unless you know how much memory the program needs, try setting these values to Auto.
By default, many of these settings are set to 1024. Users should also set the Initial environment value to the highest value of 4096.
Specify sound settings within game
Many older MS-DOS games will not auto-detect your sound card and require that the user define the values of their sound card either in the game or in the autoexec.bat and config.sys. If the game allows you to specify the sound settings within the game try specifying the common settings: INTERRUPT=220 IRQ=5 or 7 DMA=1.
Remark sound settings in autoexec.bat
Configuring sound in autoexec.bat
If the above steps have not resolved your issues and you're running Windows 95 and 98 try specifying the sound settings by adding the below line in the autoexec.bat.
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 H5
Determining your sound card settings
Users can view their sound card resources by viewing the properties of the sound card in Device Manager. Users running Windows 98 can also check their sound card settings through the System Information program by following the below steps.
- Click Start, Programs, Accessories
- Click System Tools
- Click System Information
- Start and then Run
- Type: msinfo32
If you are unable to get the sound to work in DOS, companies also provide software sound emulators that in some cases can enable your sound card to work through MS-DOS. A great example of a free sound emulator is VDMSound.
If after following the above recommendations you are still unable to get your MS-DOS game working properly, try the below recommendations.
- Consider trying an emulator program such as DOSBox.
- If the program you're running is not a MS-DOS program but an older version of a Windows program you can also run PE Explorer, a program designed to adjust the SizeOfImage value to a value compatible with Windows 2000 and Windows NT. You can download this program through http://www.heaventools.com/
- Create a dual boot with Windows and MS-DOS.
- If you're computer is using FAT16 or FAT32 and not NTFS create a boot disk and boot from that diskette to run the game.
- Consider purchasing an older computer dedicated to playing older games.