I do not wish to cause problems by asking for one product recommendation over another, on this type of forum. Maybe a list of several that specifically you have found can function well on a particular model Pi?

All my Pi's are now running Buster. I'm hoping I can use the Pi3B+ for this, but I do have a Pi4B (4G) available, if an emulator or virtual machine will need the extra performance and memory.

Some useful utilities for RF communication systems and paths are available as vintage(?) DOS programs, some in BASIC. The Pi is fast becoming my daily used platform for amateur radio related projects. With many of those utilities still available as vintage DOS programs, that makes a DOS emulator or virtual machine a next project on the Pi. Hoping to not need to reinvent the wheel regarding a DOS emulator, I am hoping for some thoughts on any various solutions the community has tried and found mostly useful and stable. Some of those amateur radio related utilities do produce onscreen graphics, so the emulator should also ideally be able to map those old PC and DOS based graphics generation faithfully to the Pi systems versions, IOW, not just a BASIC text solution.

I am willing, schedule permitting, to convert some of those old BASIC utilities into python, but I will need a reliable DOS emulator to actually view and test the utilities first, hopefully, on the Pi. I'd rather not need to dig out and dust off the old 8088 4 mhz box with the 30 mb (yes, megabyte) hard drive, just to test those programs, and to look at the BASIC code of these vintage utilities.

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    Why? Linux shell scripts can do everything DOS could do better, faster and easier without the DOS limitations
    – Milliways
    Jan 27, 2020 at 21:18
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    @Milliways -- rephrased, they are executables that were originally written to run on an x86 'DOS' box, and are not actually DOS scripts. I am hoping to duplicate or emulate the intended operating environment, on the Pi, as closely as possible. Which means, I'd like the emulator, on the Pi, ideally to look like I am back on that old 8088 in storage, running DOS 3.1 (I think that is what was on it), with something like MSBasic or GWBasic. I am trying to avoid as many rabbit holes as possible, by finding and using a stable true emulator, or virtual machine. Jan 27, 2020 at 22:37
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    As one might well imagine, support for those vintage programs might be non-existent, so I'm hoping for a reliable emulation that does not add yet another layer of who knows, if it isn't working as expected. Jan 27, 2020 at 22:42
  • have you performed a search for the phrase "raspberry pi DOS emulator" - surprisingly, there are About 354,000 results - the first page in google is all you need to do your research Jan 27, 2020 at 23:56
  • @Jaromanda X 1 -- 354,000 -- that is partly the point. An occasional problem with Google is result overload or option-saturation. SE and SO can very much be a refuge where one can find a 'person' in an environment where a back and forth dialogue is encouraged, between people with experience. If those resulting exchanges are in a Google result, that can be helpful, yet as I said, I am trying to avoid re-inventing the wheel, by approaching this one by having a dialogue with people, right from the start. Yes, I am deep in Google results also, but also asking here. Jan 28, 2020 at 1:14

1 Answer 1


The first step to verify what can help you is to install dosbox. It is part of the default Raspbian repository and you only need to install it with:

rpi ~$ sudo apt install dosbox

Its description says:

DOSBox is a x86 emulator with Tandy/Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA/SVGA graphics, sound and DOS. It's been designed to run old DOS games on platforms that don't support it.

The following legacy sound devices are emulated: PC Speaker, Creative CMS/Gameblaster, Tandy 3 voice, Adlib, Sound Blaster Pro/16, Disney Soundsource and a Gravis Ultrasound. MPU-401 is forwarded to the host.

With the available graphics emulation you may have also a good chance that it supports graphic output.

  • That is looking like an excellent first experiment, with its popular use in the various retroPi projects. I have read and heard that a qemu solution, if configured correctly, may be faster and possibly more versatile, though it is far more involved to configure. Any thoughtful comparisons? Apart from any further thoughts, I will be trying DOSBox first. Jan 29, 2020 at 18:45
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    @always_learning I do not have own experience with qemu running dos but I think qemu cannot use hardware accelleration for virtualization from the ARM processor (does it have one?) so it must run in full virtualization mode and that is known to be agonizingly slow on a RasPi as I heard from running MS Windows. Maybe it's a bit better on a RPi 4B?
    – Ingo
    Jan 29, 2020 at 20:34
  • I am looking into that. I heard someone had a mod that improved upon that, but I am trying to avoid falling into that sort of rabbit hole, no offense intended. Its a matter of time that I can spend on this, and getting a mod to work as hoped. I am not particularly fluent in emulations and their configs, hence the OP. Your post and comment are helpful for the limited research and testing I can do with this. Jan 30, 2020 at 21:38

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