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The first versions of my software that I developed back in 1991 were DOS-only versions that I wrote using Turbo Pascal. At the time, it never occurred to me that I would actually still be selling these products twenty years later. I never thought to create screenshots and document how the systems looked back then. Today, I'd love to have a visual record of what my software looked like through the ages.

How can I get these old DOS programs to run on a modern computer so I can take pictures of the screens to document and preserve the history of my software and its progression through time?

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Try the Linux program dosemu. –  Paul Tomblin Sep 30 '11 at 1:43
This sounds like a job for SuperUser! –  LarsTech Sep 30 '11 at 1:43
Or if you're on Windows, dosbox –  Rei Miyasaka Sep 30 '11 at 1:44
How can this get migrated to SuperUser? I asked here because I thought there might be other programmers who have done the same thing and came up with a solution. –  Cape Cod Gunny Sep 30 '11 at 1:56
The question is 100% within Super Users scope. SE doesn't base questions on the audience you want to target, but rather, the type of question asked. I would also have voted to have it moved. –  Diago Sep 30 '11 at 7:18
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migrated from programmers.stackexchange.com Sep 30 '11 at 2:03

This question came from our site for professional programmers interested in conceptual questions about software development.

4 Answers

up vote 16 down vote accepted

What you want, as mentioned in the comments, is DOSBox. DOSBox is an x86 emulator with DOS that can run all of those applications, even in full screen mode if desired.

Keep in mind that the primary target of DOSBox was for smooth gameplay for legacy games, so support for printing and networking are limited and still in development.

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Do you know if DOSBox can handle direct video writes? I made heavy use of the video buffer back then. –  Cape Cod Gunny Sep 30 '11 at 2:38
@CapeCodGunny yes it does :) –  John T Sep 30 '11 at 2:53
thank you... it works great. zilchworks.com/images/20years/DOS-ZILCH-v1.19.jpg –  Cape Cod Gunny Oct 1 '11 at 3:23
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You can run FreeDos in a virtual machine.

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I run Ubuntu Linux and have installed Qemu. SuperUser won't take my screen shot so I posted it at http://hk.pimco.mobi/andy/QemuDos.gif to show you. I had an old install disk for MS-DOS and read it into a disk image which I then used Qemu to install onto a hard disk image. It's not an emulator, it's the real thing.

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Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 is a good tool, you can install DOS or an older 32-bit Windows operating system in a Virtual machine and should be able to run dos programs in that.

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