Run DOS Without Microsoft

Put a freeware DOS onto your computers.

Among the various permutations of Windows, XP offers the best mix of DOS compatibility and system stability. However, you will still run into a lot of problems running your favorite old DOS applications [Hack #70] even under Windows XP. And if you’re running Mac OSX, Linux, or an earlier version of Windows, you may run into more trouble.

If so, there are a couple of solutions. DOSBox [Hack #69] will let you run most applications without grief, and it should be your first stop.

But for pure DOS goodness, nothing beats running DOS right on the bare metal. Dig that 386, 486, or Pentium out of your closet, and get ready to boot it, old school style.


If you want a DOS for your computer, and you’d prefer to use libre software, FreeDOS is just what you need. Even if you are in need of a DOS just because you can’t find your old DOS boot disks, FreeDOS is probably just what you need. It offers excellent compatibility, is actively supported and developed, and has advanced features such as power management and IDE DMA support. You can read all about FreeDOS and download it at

This Old Box

If you want to run FreeDOS on a real computer, you’re going to need the right equipment and software:

  1. If your FreeDOS computer can boot or read from a CD-ROM, all you need is another PC with a network connection and the ability to burn a CD-ROM. Download the FreeDOS CD-ROM image and burn it to a CD. You may want ...

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