in Musing

Nostalgia! Installing MS-DOS alongside Windows 3.1 on Virtual Box

You may remember MS-DOS and Windows 3.1 if you are 28 or older. These were the most important software and apps on a computer in that time. Most of us had memorable moments with these operating systems and applications. Actually, I started programming with QBasic and then moved to Visual Basic on Windows.


Today I decided to get back to that sweet moments and tried to install MS-DOS on Virtual Box.

The first thing I had to do was to find the MS-DOS OS and other files; so, I can install it on my virtual machine. As a result, I Googled and found This is an amazing site contains most of old and nostalgic operating systems, games, applications and developer tools. In addition to MS-DOS, I also downloaded and installed some other apps on the virtual machine which I’ve listed below:

  • Windows 3.1: One of the first operating systems with graphical user interface by Microsoft.
  • Borland C++ for MS-DOS: A powerful IDE (Actually in its own age) to develop, debug and compile C and C++ applications in DOS.

As a gift for this Christmas, I packaged all of the apps alongside MS-DOS OS into a single “.VHD Virtual Hard Drive” file which can be access via the following link:


Note: The zip file password is:

All you need to do is to download this package, unzip it and then import it in your Virtual Box. If you don’t know how to import a VHD file in Virtual Box, follow these instructions:

Open Virtual Box and click on “New” icon to create a new Virtual Machine.


The “Create Virtual Machine” window asks for three things. The first is a name which can be anything you want. The second is type which has to be set to “Other”. The third is version which must be DOS. By clicking “Next” you’ll be navigated to the second step which is memory allocation. Since MS-DOS is a very small OS, 32 MB of RAM is enough but you can select as much as you want (Don’t select too much memory because MS-DOS may not support it).


After the amount of RAM is defined, click next to navigate to the third section. This page will ask you to whether you want to create a new virtual hard drive or use an existing one. Select “Use an existing virtual hard drive file” then select the VHD file you’ve downloaded above.

You’re done. You can now start your MS-DOS 6.22 by double clicking on its icon in Virtual Box.

Enjoy and Happy Christmas!

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  • Pauley455

    Wow, that’s cool,,,A relative newcomer to computing, Followed the instructions, Works!
    Question. From the command prompt, where I am now, Can I run 3.1, or, are there other steps to perform. Really Cool, thanks again!

    • ramezanpour

      I’ve already installed Windows 3.1. Just do the following:
      cd C:Windows

  • Pauley455

    I get, C:Windows prompt,,,Sorry if I am ignorant!!!

  • Pauley455

    The following is a list of WIN.COM switches and their functions:
    WIN [/3] [/S] [/B] [/D:[F][S][V][X]]

    /? Prints this instruction banner.
    /3 Starts Windows in 386 enhanced mode.
    /S Starts Windows in standard mode.
    /2 Synonym for the /S switch.
    /B Creates a file, BOOTLOG.TXT, that records system messages.
    generated during system startup (boot).
    /D Used for troubleshooting when Windows does not start
    :F Turns off 32-bit disk access. Equivalent to SYSTEM.INI [386enh]
    setting: 32BitDiskAccess=FALSE.
    :S Specifies that Windows should not use ROM address space between
    F000:0000 and 1 MB for a break point. Equivalent to SYSTEM.INI
    [386enh] setting: SystemROMBreakPoint=FALSE.
    :V Specifies that the ROM routine handles interrupts from the hard
    drive controller. Equivalent to SYSTEM.INI [386enh] setting:
    :X Excludes all of the adapter area from the range of memory that
    Windows scans to find unused space. Equivalent to SYSTEM.INI
    [386enh] setting: EMMExclude=A000-FFFF.

  • Pauley455

    This got me going,,,:)

  • Pauley455

    I want to thank you for taking the time to answer, Mohammad. I am looking at the history of computing, and, it’s so much fun to be able to see it in action! Works! Thanks Again and Good Day,,,

  • Chris

    Awesome, this saved me a lot of hassle getting an old word processor running to convert some old documents. Do you remember which set of windows install disks you used from so I can keep it consistent when I need to install drivers and whatnot?

    • ramezanpour

      Unfortunately no. But you can download the disk image and check it yourself.

  • richard odell

    can someone please email a copy

  • James Owen

    Sat 10/31/2015 9:56 am. It’s wonderful! I actually have tons of MSDOS executables and other nonsense I’d love to resurrect — including 1988 Turbo C!

    However, I couldn’t figure-out how to get anything in/out of the emulated MSDOS (+WIN). You have any hints? I tried creating a floppy image file, but it didn’t seem to like it. I’ve got a USB 1.4Meg 3-1/2″ floppy and maybe that’s the wrong one? … Obviously I’m a real vbox expert (joke; I’m definitely NOT). … Got a link perhaps with detailed how-to?

    — best wishes
    jgo *