Running Windows 3.1 on DOSBox

There may be many a times where you want to run really old programs and CDs in your computer. Maybe to share classic experience of yore with the new generations, or simply to ride onto that wave of nostalgia. As you will quickly realize, your shiny new install of Windows will absolutely refuse to run the gems from your golden collection.

Enter DOSBox. This neat piece of software allows you to run DOS within a window on your current OS, as long as its an OS supported by DOSBox, and all other DOS programs inside it. But what if your program needs something really obscure, like Windows 3.1 ?

Fortunately for us, Windows 3.1 runs as a program under DOS.

Installing Windows 3.1

Windows 3.1 is a graphical OS which runs as a program under the DOS environment. Its technically still owned by Microsoft, but you cannot grab a fresh copy legally anymore. You will need to provide your install disks of Windows 3.1 from your grand daddy’s collection, or crawl any of the abandonware sites to download a copy. Since DOSBox doesn’t let you “swap” floppy disks on the fly while installing Windows 3.1, you also want to make sure that you have consolidated the data from all the 6 installation disks into one location and install from there.

I assume your “C” drive for DOS is in the folder


Installing Windows

Make the following directory, and put your consolidated install files here.


Fire up your DOSBox terminal, and mount your DOS C drive and navigate to it.


Start installing Windows. All the default options should work just fine.


Once windows is done installing, drop back to the DOS prompt to install the drivers.

Installing Drivers

Download the SoundBlaster and the S3 Video drivers, unzip them and place them in


Back in the DOSBox shell,


Follow the on screen prompts to install the sound driver.

Make sure the path to Windows 3.1 is correct

Make sure the interrupt setting is at 7

Once that is done, install the Video Driver.


On the prompt, select VGA, and then scroll down to the Other option.

Type the following when prompted for path


Choose the 800x600 256 colors LF option. Press enter to continue with the install.

If it asks for a path, enter the same path again.

Once done, exit and start DOSBox again. You can now use Windows 3.1 with proper sound and graphics support!


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