How to run old MS-DOS games and programs on Google Android devices

DosBox iconMS-DOS was command line operating system for IBM-PC computers used in 80's and 90's developed by Microsoft. It was also popular platform for older video games, such as Prince of Persia, Wolfenstein 3D, UFO and other thousands games.

If you want to run DOS software on modern operating systems you can use the DOSBox emulator that is compatible with most DOS programs and games.  It is available for Windows, Mac OS X, Linux and not long ago a DOSBox clone for Google Android, called aDosBox was released as well.

How to run MS-DOS programs on Google Android

In this article we will introduce you how to easily run DOS games and programs on your smart phone or tablet device with Google Android operating system.

Step 1 - Install aDosBox and copy DOS program to Android phone

aDosBox is still in BETA version, but most features from desktop DOSBox are working properly. It is available to download on official Google Play Store for free.

aDosBox in Google Play Store

aDosBox in Google Play

Connect the phone, or tablet as USB mass storage device. Copy DOS programs to the SD card, or internal  storage of a phone.

Optimal performance for games is CPU about 1GHz and higher, 512MB RAM, mobile graphic accelerator like Adreno, Tegra, PowerVR SGX etc. It is required Android 2.2 and higher.

Step 2 - Run DOS program in aDosBox

Start aDosBox. At first start you need to set up Device configuration. Select Where to download application data option and set, which storage will be mounted as virtual C: drive to aDosBox. Other settings can be modified later. Click on OK button.

aDosBox storage settings

aDosBox storage settings

aDosBox opens a classical DOS command prompt. Click on Android settings button → select onScreen Keyboard icon and use DOS command CD to navigate to the directory on storage where the DOS program is stored (in our case Prince of Persia stored in C:\Prince folder).

You can find table with Basic MS-DOS commands and their overviews at the end of the article.

aDosBox command line

aDosBox command line

To start DOS program you to need to know which executable file will run it. DOS use three file extensions for executable files EXE, COM, BAT. In our case Prince of Persia uses prince.exe executable file.

Example C:\>cd prince

Example C:\>PRINCE>prince.exe or simply prince without extension.

aDosBox commands

Start program in aDosBox

Now you can play original Prince of Persia DOS version on your Android phone or tablet.

Prince of Persia in aDosBox

Prince of Persia in aDosBox

aDosBox contains OnScreen Joystick (like gamepad) for gaming. If you need to remap Joystick keys press the Android settings button → SDL SettingsOn-screen keyboardRemap on-screen controls.

To improve performance in the game, press the Android settings button → DOSBox and set high CPU cycles.

Basic MS-DOS commands

aDosBox is working as full MS-DOS operating system with all commands. Here is the list of DOS basic commands that you can try in aDosBox.

ATTRIB Displays or changes file attributes
CD Displays the name of or changes the current directory
CLS Clears the screen
COPY Copies one or more files to another location
DATE Displays or sets the date
DEL Deletes one or more files
DIR Displays a list of files and subdirectories in a directory
DISKCOMP Compares the contents of two floppy disks
DISKCOPY Copies the contents of one floppy disk to another
EXIT Quits the CMD.EXE program (Win32 command line)
FIND Searches for a text string in a file or files.
FINDSTR Searches for strings in files
HELP Provides Help information
MD Creates a directory
MKDIR Creates a directory
MORE Displays output one screen at a time
MOVE Moves one or more files from one directory to another directory
PATH Displays or sets a search path for executable files
PRINT Prints a text file
PROMPT Changes command prompt
RD Removes a directory
REN Renames a file or files
RENAME Renames a file or files
REPLACE Replaces files
RMDIR Removes a directory
SET Displays, sets, or removes Windows environment variables
TIME Displays or sets the system time
TREE Graphically displays the directory structure of a drive or path
TYPE Displays the contents of a text file.
XCOPY Copies files and directory trees


Related software and links:

aDosBox icon

aDosBox    Google Android platform
MS-DOS emulator for Android

DOSBox icon

DOSBox    Microsoft Windows platform
A popular DOS emulation software


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Related file extensions

bat - Batch file (executable)

dof - DOSBox capture movie file

dro - DOSBox Raw OPL format

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