DOSBox is a free DOS emulator that makes it possible to run programs and games originally made for DOS-based systems on present-day home computers. DOS was the dominant consumer-level operating system until it was superseded by Microsoft Windows in the early 1990s. Many hobbyists and programmers enjoy using DOSBox to efficiently run old DOS-based software, and it is legal to do so providing you own a copy of the original software in question. However, installing DOS-based software from disk images often poses a problem. DOSBox comes with a built-in solution called "imgmount."
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Start DOSBox. Once it has loaded, you will see "Z:\>" and a blinking cursor below the welcome message. This is DOSBox's default command prompt, where the user enters the commands that DOSBox will execute. "Z" is DOSBox's default virtual drive letter and need not be changed using the "cd" command.
Locate the disk image you want to mount for installation and note its location on your hard drive. DOSBox can mount disk images in the ISO, BIN/CUE and IMG formats. The disk image in question does not need to be moved, but you do need to know its exact location to correctly format the necessary commands. You must also know what type of image it is. DOSBox can mount disk images derived from floppies, which are usually in IMG format, and CD-ROMs, which are usually in ISO format.
Type the following at the command prompt, without quotation marks: "imgmount x" followed by a space. Imgmount is a subroutine that tells DOSBox to mount a disk image and "x" represents the virtual drive letter that DOSBox will assign to that image. Any letter not already used by your system is valid. After "x," type the exact location and name of the image to be mounted. For example, if the disk image is called "image.iso" and resides on your C: drive, type "c:\image.iso" followed by a space. DOSBox will require further information, so do not press "Enter" yet.
Type "-t" and enter the disk image type. The "-t" command tells DOSBox that what follows specifies the disk image type. DOSBox needs to know this to mount the image properly. The disk image types DOSBox understands are "floppy" and "iso." "Floppy" indicates an image made from a floppy disk and "iso" indicates an image made from a CD-ROM. For example, if the image you are mounting is a floppy image, you should enter "-t floppy."
Double-check the command to ensure correct formatting. It should appear similar to the following, without quotation marks: "imgmount x c:\image.iso -t floppy." This example tells DOSBox to mount image.iso to virtual drive X, and that the image is a floppy image located on drive C.
Press "Enter." DOSBox will mount the disk image and assign the desired drive letter to that image. The files on the image can now be accessed using the "cd" command. For example, if you mounted the disk image on drive F, type "cd f:" and press "Enter." This will change the command prompt to the drive letter associated with the disk image.
Type "dir" at the prompt and press"Enter." DOSBox will display a list of the files on the disk image. In order to install the software on the disk image, you need to find the correct executable file for launching the installation dialogue. This file is usually called "install.exe," "setup.exe" or "autorun.exe," but the name may vary. If possible, check the documentation for the software you intend to install. It should specify which executable file to run.
Enter the name of the install file at the prompt and press "Enter." The installation program will run, and from this point on it is simply a matter of following the prompts. You can install the program found on the disk image anywhere on your hard drive, but it is a good idea to keep all DOSBox-related software in one place. Consider creating a dedicated folder somewhere on your hard drive for this.
Tips and warnings
- DOSBox must be running in order to use any programs or games you have installed from disk images.
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