Problems running DOS applications in Windows?

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Don R. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I run some old DOS programs on my new XP PC and am running into memory problems. I have tried all the memory manager options I see, but they have no result. Any suggestions? "

Side note: MS DOS is the predecessor operating system to Microsoft Windows. Unlike Windows, DOS operates from a command line. For example: to load a program, you would typically need to navigate to a program folder (by issuing DOS commands) and then execute a program by typing in its name. A sample MS DOS Window can be seen here.

My response:

I get asked this (and similar) questions often with respect to running old DOS applications in Windows. Sometimes the questions refer to memory errors, while others ask why a DOS application seems to run at hyper-speed. After a bit of research, I came across a neat site called, which has a number of helpful utilities designed to help bridge incompatibilities between DOS and Windows (regardless of whether it's a DOS game or a DOS application). To quote:

" DOS Emulator - Runs some DOS games better than Windows: Want an easy way to run some DOS games in Windows better than Windows does? Try DOSBox. It works in Win95, 98, and ME, but is probably more helpful for Windows XP/2000 users who don't have a "real" version of DOS on their machines, DOSBox is a DOS emulator, meaning it simulates DOS on your computer. (Similarly to Microsoft's "Command Prompt", but better.) It includes SoundBlaster support, and is constantly being improved to work with more games. If a game doesn't work in WinXP, try running it in DOSBox instead!

Moslo - Slow-down Tool: Ever downloaded a neat looking game, only to find that it runs too dang fast on your speedy Pentium machine? This little program is your answer. When you use it to run a game, it slows it down to a playable level. (You can set how slow the game will run.) It's a great solution to this problem. "

Another helpful link comes from, which details DOS-related issues with memory, sound, and video.

DOS Essentials: Help from Infopackets Readers?

Do you have any tips on running old DOS programs? Send me your tips.

Update 2004/11/10: This article has been updated. Click here to read!

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