[=DOSBox=] is a program which {{emulat|ion}}es a Pentium-class {{IBM PC}}[[note]]to be precise, a number of configurations can be emulated, from Hercules or CGA PC XT through Tandy/PCJr to SVGA Pentium[[/note]] running MS-DOS. Development is focused on compatibility with games, but the vast majority of DOS software works just fine under [=DOSBox=].

The project was born out of frustration with DOS incompatibility with the various versions of Windows available around 2000. Microsoft later dropped support for 16-bit software completely in 64-bit versions of Windows. [=DOSBox=] provides a means of continuing to enjoy older Windows games that cannot be run under current versions of Windows by running Windows 3.1 [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsGUZqCnI2A or even Windows 95]] inside [=DOSBox=] (yes, the compatibility is that good).

Anyone used to using DOS will be right at home with the [=DOSBox=] shell, which not only implements most DOS commands, but also includes the ability to change the configuration from the [=DOSBox=] command-line using built-in "programs" (although most users will probably just edit the dosbox.conf file in a text editor).

The official distributions do not support functions like printing, given the emulator is geared towards gaming. The developers have also cited no interest in emulating a [=SoundBlaster AWE32/64=] card, arguing that the Gravis [=UltraSound=] (which is emulated by DOSBox) produces far superior sampled sound, despite repeated requests from users. Of course, given the program is distributed under the GPL, you can always make your own custom patches and compile if you need to.

Another advantage the program has is the ability to support modern USB joysticks and gamepads within the older programs. And even if a game was never meant for them, you can use addons like ''[[http://www.electracode.com/4/joy2key/JoyToKey%20English%20Version.htm Joy to Key]]'' to add the ability. This runs in the background and routes each button press of your gamepad/joystick to a button on the keyboard which the game can support.

[=DOSBox=] has proven popular with commercial developers who originally wrote their games for DOS and have started selling them again.

Creator/IdSoftware bundles [=DOSBox=] with the UsefulNotes/{{Steam}} versions of a number of their games, including:

* ''VideoGame/CommanderKeen''
* ''VideoGame/Wolfenstein3D'' and ''Spear of Destiny''
* ''VideoGame/{{Doom}}'' and ''Doom II''
* ''VideoGame/{{Heretic}}''
* ''VideoGame/{{Hexen}}''

Creator/ApogeeSoftware's games available through their online store also come with [=DOSBox=] if the game doesn't run natively under Windows.

When Creator/{{Bethesda}} re-released ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsArena'' and ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIDaggerfall'' for free on their website, the updated installation instructions for the games explicitly stated you would need [=DOSBox=].

Also, whenever Website/GOGDotCom re-releases PC-DOS-classic games of past times, you can expect it to be possible thanks to [=DOSBox=].

You can download [=DOSBox=] from http://www.dosbox.com/