How to install MS-DOS 3.30 in QEMU

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This page details how to install MS-DOS 3.30 in QEMU. MS-DOS 3.30 was released by Microsoft in February 1988. While it is obviously lacks in features compared to FreeDOS or even MS-DOS 6.22, it runs some software and OSes like Windows 1.0 and Windows 2.0 with more stability.



You'll need QEMU installed.

MS-DOS 3.30

You'll need the MS-DOS 3.30 floppies to proceed. Get it from WinWorld.

Starting up


First, make a disk image by opening the Terminal (or Command Prompt) and typing this:

qemu-img create -f qcow2 DOS.img 32M

32M can be replaced with however big you want the hard drive to be (with M standing for Megabytes). MS-DOS is extremely old and takes up basically no space, so 32 MB should be plenty.

When that's done, start up QEMU with a command like the following:

qemu-system-i386 -m 1M -hda DOS.img -net none -vga std -monitor stdio -rtc base=localtime -fda /path/to/dos3.3-disk1.img

Pretty basic command here since you really don't much for DOS. We disable the network since this version of DOS can't use it anyway (newer versions can use a packet driver).

We give it 1 MB of RAM, mostly so SeaBIOS can actually start. MS-DOS 3.3 itself only needs around 36 KB of RAM to work.

If all went well, you should be in a screen like this:

Type fdisk, and a screen like this should appear:

Create a primary DOS partition, and when it asks you to use the maximum size for a DOS partition, press Y and hit enter.

Run the following command in the QEMU console: boot_set a (sets boot to floppy), sendkey ctrl-alt-delete (restarts the system)

The system should restart. Format the hard drive by typing format c:, hit Y, and hit enter. Afterwards, type sys c: and you should see a message that says "System transferred".

Now type a:, and type copy *.* c:. Go to the QEMU console again and type change floppy0 /path/to/dos3.3-disk2.img, and boot_set c. Run the same copy command again. Restart the system when done.

Afterwards, if everything went well, you should be in DOS 3.30!