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First post, by Dochartaigh

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Probably been asked a million times but no matter how I search I find posts asking how to run Windows 98 INSIDE DOSBox - when I want to be able to run DOXBox on a computer running Windows 98!

Is this possible? I'm slowly going through my list of games and there's a very small number that I can't run on my P3 700mhz (soon to be upgraded to a 1Ghz Coppermine/100mhz bus) because it's too fast. My computer is from 2000, with a video card from 2002 (GeForce 4 ti 4600), so besides the one outlier below we're talking about a 10-13 year difference...and DOSBox was first released in 2002 so I thought that this might just be possible. Here's a couple of the games which won't run for me:

Barbarian 1987, Jazz the Jackrabbit 1994, Silent Service ii 1990, Wing Commander 1990

I can't disable any caches on the BIOS of my Dell's 440bx-based motherboard, so I still need to try the bunch of those slowdown programs, but many report stuttering problems with the software solutions so I thought I'd look into DOSBox as well.

And yes, I know, I know, "just run it on a modern computer" ...but modern computers don't let me use my beautiful all-beige computer with 1997 CRT monitor so I want to try this first!

Reply 1 of 7, by DosFreak

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The official version of DOSBox supports a host OS of Windows 95/NT4 and above with Active Desktop and 386 (I want to stay official DOSBox is compiled with 386, if not then >=Pentium Pro) and above. This is intentional since DOS games even on a 486 can run too fast and DOSBox was designed when 9x\Windows 2000 were mainly used and XP was still a POS (before SP2).

To run on Windows 95 or NT4 without Active Desktop requires a modification to DOSBox so that it doesn't store the dosbox.conf in the user profile, see my thread here where I am wiriting guides on compiling DOSBox: DOSBox Compilation Guides
For NT3.51 a further change is to modify the DOSBox configure to use WSOCK instead of Winsock2.
For NT3.50 a further change it to modify SDL to disable fullscreen and copy the joystick file from 3.51 to 3.50.

The reason DOSBox currently still supports Windows 95,98,NT4 and 2000 is that it currently uses SDL1.2 and is compiled with MinGW w/GCC or MinGW-W64 w/gcc. The unofficial DOSBox builds you see on the Internet are usually compiled with Visual Studio 2008+ which does not work with 9x without workarounds which most don't bother to implement or with clang which is XP or Vista+ (Newer version of msvcrt dependency) depending on the version used.

You shouldn't get the "run it on a modern computer" responses here (within reason, i.e. Crysis on a P2 or original game was a buggy POS) and if you do let us know so we can ban them 😉

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 2 of 7, by Dochartaigh

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DosFreak wrote on 2020-02-03, 20:19:

To run on Windows 95 or NT4 without Active Desktop requires a modification to DOSBox so that it doesn't store the dosbox.conf in the user profile, see my thread here where I am wiriting guides on compiling DOSBox: DOSBox Compilation Guides

Thanks! This is absolutely awesome to know!!! ...I was literally thinking of building an even slower computer to run older DOS games if I couldn't get it to work on my current retro build - and I REALLY don't need another project!

....you lost me a bit though. I visited that thread, and dosbox.conf it says "Need to look into setting dosbox.cfg or dosbox.ini in dosbox code although dosbox still reads "dosbox.conf" as "dosbox.con" in DOS anyway" - then links to a Github which doesn't mention dosbox.conf anywhere so I don't quite know what exactly I have to do to modify this to run on my Windows 98SE system...

DosFreak wrote on 2020-02-03, 20:19:

The reason DOSBox currently still supports Windows 95,98,NT4 and 2000 is that it currently uses SDL1.2 and is compiled with MinGW w/GCC or MinGW-W64 w/gcc. The unofficial DOSBox builds you see on the Internet are usually compiled with Visual Studio 2008+ which does not work with 9x without workarounds which most don't bother to implement or with clang which is XP or Vista+ (Newer version of msvcrt dependency) depending on the version used.

Also good to know - I'll stick with the builds from your Google link in that topic - and I'm VERY happy I don't have to compile it myself (as I've never, ever, been able to do that before and it's put me off of a lot of projects over the years...I'm just not that technical - I can get DOSBox to run, and I have before, but that's about it 🤣).

So I'm six levels deep in your folder structure: DOSBox > Windows > Releases > Mingw (kinda guessed here, I saw "64" in the other Mingw-w64 folder, and I know my system isn't 64 bit...) > 5-2-2018 > i386+ >

Which release do I want there? The options which may pertain to me are: dosbox351x32.exe, dosboxx32.exe, (NT one isn't for me as I'm running 98SE), or dosbox95x32.exe (which I assume will work on Win98SE)? I browsed the documentation folder and didn't see what the difference is between versions. Struck out in googling all those mentioned on the same page too (sorry if I'm asking stupid questions...I'm trying to be proactive and find the answer myself but I struck out...)

DosFreak wrote on 2020-02-03, 20:19:

You shouldn't get the "run it on a modern computer" responses here (within reason, i.e. Crysis on a P2 or original game was a buggy POS) and if you do let us know so we can ban them 😉

Yeah, people are actually saying that I need a SLOWER computer 🤣. Love it.

Reply 3 of 7, by Jorpho

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You can run DOSBox in DOS using HX DOS Extender if you really want to; there are even versions with sound support. I haven't read about that in a long time, though.

Dochartaigh wrote on 2020-02-03, 14:26:

Here's a couple of the games which won't run for me:

Barbarian 1987, Jazz the Jackrabbit 1994, Silent Service ii 1990, Wing Commander 1990

I can't disable any caches on the BIOS of my Dell's 440bx-based motherboard, so I still need to try the bunch of those slowdown programs, but many report stuttering problems with the software solutions so I thought I'd look into DOSBox as well.

There's got to be some practical solution for Wing Commander considering how popular it is. Jazz Jackrabbit ought to work fine with a Runtime Error 200 patch. (There are lots of those; it's a matter of replacing one particular hex string with another hex string.) There's also OpenJazz, but apparently it isn't an exact match.

Reply 4 of 7, by DosFreak

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The official version of DOSBox should work fine for your purposes. You don't need to modify anything or use my builds.

If you want to use my builds then just use the ones from the Google Drive link. The only diff between those and official DOSBox is they are using the latest SVN as from when they were compiled whereas 0.74-3 is the same as 0.74 game compatibility wise

There are mingw and mingw-64 folders. Both offer 32bit executables. Mingw builds are for i386+ and mingw-w64 builds are for i686+. I haven't yet recompiled mingw-w64 to compile for <i686 so that's why mingw is still used.
For Windows 98+ use the builds without an OS specified after dosbox so dosboxx32.exe

I should have some new builds up using the latest SVN fairly soon assuming RL doesn't get in the way again. There is one posted at the end of my thread but make sure you use overlay or opengl with that one.

Qbix recently introduced a new scaling feature so would like to put some builds up for users to test on the older operating systems.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline

Reply 5 of 7, by Tertz

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Try different software environments (and mb emulator's builds) as they may affect the emulation speed. For example, 0.74 worked faster in XP (I booted it from a Live CD, mb Alkid's one) than in Win98 SE.

"soon to be upgraded to a 1Ghz Coppermine/100mhz bus"
If your video card will hold 83 MHz AGP, then 1 GHz 133 bus CPU mb more interesting. You'll can set 66 MHz to reduce it to ~500 MHz. This may help with some DOS apps as is close to top PII 450 MHz produced at the end of DOS/Win9x era. At least, I noticed one app (GameWizard) which rejected to work at 750 MHz and higher but worked at 500 MHz.

DOSBox CPU Benchmark
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide

Reply 6 of 7, by Jo22

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Hello, I've got an related question to "Can you run DOSBox in Windows 98"..
Do the known builds of DOSBox take care of 4KiB alignment out-of-the-box or do they plan to do so in the future ?
If so this would be neat, so they could benefit from Win98's CacheMap feature..
https://www.techrepublic.com/article/speed-up … -with-winalign/

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 7 of 7, by DosFreak

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I'm mainly concerned with compatibility in my builds. The 4kb alignment slightly increases the code size while slightly decreasing the time to launch the application. Not sure if there would be a ton of people constantly launching and closing DOSBox on Windows 98 and ME all the time and what the level of improvement would be. A few seconds mabye?

NT wouldn't care if it's aligned or not so if it were aligned then only 98 and ME would potentially benefit. The official version of DOSBox and my builds are not alignd I don't remember anyone ever complaining about DOSBox load times so not sure I see a point. I can add to my todo at the very bottom of the list though.

Pros:
Likely slight decrease in load time

Downsides:
Slight increase in size
Used only for 98 and ME which would further bloat the guide or just use the unecessary file alignment switch for all Windows Operating Systems which wouldn't make any sense.
Latest VS that supports this is VS 2008 which is the last version to support 9x using the current method in my guide. Although I plan to look into 9x using VS2010+ using the method in my previous posts.

DOSBox Compilation Guides
DosBox Feature Request Thread
PC Game Compatibility List
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
Running DRM games offline