How to Use DOSBox Config

Written by jason savage
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How to Use DOSBox Config
Different systems may require some tweaking of DOSBox's configuration file. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

In most cases, DOSBox will run properly using the default configuration file that it creates when first loaded. Occasionally, a user needs to get "under the hood" and change specific parameters so that the DOS-based software they are using with DOSBox can run properly. For example, you may need to change DOSBox's audio settings in order to hear the sound effects in a game, or configure DOSBox to use your mouse or joystick. There are basic steps to take using DOSBox's configuration file to adjust parameters as needed.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click on the "Start" menu button and navigate to the DOSBox folder under "All Programs." Enter the subfolder named "Configuration" and click on the icon labelled "Edit Configuration." The DOSBox configuration file --- named "DOSBox.conf" --- will open in Windows's native Notepad application.

  2. 2

    Read all sections of the file that are preceded by number signs ("#"), also called "hash marks." These lines are comments and instructions for using the file, not part of the parameter settings. If you want to make notes inside the configuration file itself, you can do so as long as each line is preceded by a hash mark. For example, if you want to make a temporary change to a certain parameter, make a note of its original setting in case you want to change it back later.

  3. 3

    Find the parameter you want to change. For example, if you want to change the audio parameters --- such as switching DOSBox's audio output from SoundBlaster to Gravis Ultrasound emulation --- find the section of the configuration file that corresponds to that parameter using the hash tag sections as a guide. Each section has its own heading. In this case, the SoundBlaster parameters are found under the "[sblaster]" heading, while the Gravis UltraSound parameters are found under "[gus]." Other examples include "[joystick]" for the joystick parameters, or "[cpu]" for the CPU emulation settings.

  4. 4

    Change the parameter you want to configure by entering the required parameter value after the parameter name. For example, to switch from SoundBlaster to Gravis Ultrasound, go to the SoundBlaster section ("[sblaster]") and change "sbtype=sb16" to "sbtype=none." Then go to the Gravis UltrSound section ("[gus]") and change "gus=false" to "gus=true." Each heading is followed by instructions (the lines preceded by "#") outlining which parameter values are valid, and what each parameter value does.

  5. 5

    Save the DOSBox.conf file when finished by clicking "File" and selecting "Save." You can now open DOSBox and it will behave according to the new parameters you have set.

Tips and warnings

  • To reset the configuration file to its default settings, go to DOSBox's folder in the "Start" menu, then to the "Configuration" submenu, and then click the icon labelled "Reset Configuration."
  • When changing parameters, be sure to preserve the formatting as seen in the original configuration. In other words, if the original parameter reads "core=auto," do not add a space after the "=" sign when entering a new value.

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