Windows 95 in DOSBox

PLEASE NOTE: This chapter is for experienced users. It’s assumed that the user is familiar with the basics and able to help himself in case of problems.

In this chapter we’ll explain how to get Windows 95 run in DOSBox. It’s considered as a proof of concept, because DOSBox is intended for DOS games and Windows 95 works better in virtual machines like VMWare or VirtualBox.

Preparation

For use in DOSBox, either Windows 95 is already installed on a harddisk image or you have to get setup to install Windows there. Executing “setup /is” might help.

You also need the following drivers:

The rest of the hardware, like the Sound Blaster 16, should be detected automatically.

Configuration

[dosbox]
machine=svga_s3
memsize=32 or at least 16

[cpu]
core=normal or simple
cputype=auto
cycles=fixed 127000

[autoexec]
mixer master 63
mixer cdaudio 50
mount x /path/to/the/image/folder
x:\
imgmount c win95.img
boot win95.img

Notes

Since you boot into a separate image, DOSBox is used as a plain “PC emulator”. That means, DOSBox specific features like its shell or mounted drives can’t be used in Win95. However, you can use everything that is accessible over the keys.

Unlike Windows 3.x, it’s currently not possible to install Win95 directly without a separate disk image.

In order to share files with Win95 (just like installing games), you have to copy them into the disk image before you boot (boot win95.img). Fortunately, you can use the imgmount command in DOSBox for this. A file manager like Norton Commander might be useful.

Since Win95 won’t work properly with core=dynamic, it’s pretty slow. Complex games from the late 90s usually refuse to run due to insufficient performance and missing hardware acceleration.

Win95 should be quite stable in general, however there might be some unexpected issues now and then. Consider that not all games and programs will run properly. The main stability heavily depends on the graphics driver and the cpu settings.