DOSEMU, stylized as dosemu, is a compatibility layer software package that enables DOS operating systems (e.g., MS-DOS, DR-DOS, FreeDOS) and application software to run atop Linux on x86-based PCs (IBM PC compatible computers).

DOSEMU Running on C:\
Developer(s)DOSEMU Team
Initial releaseSeptember 3, 1992 (1992-09-03)[1]
Stable release
1.4.0 / May 5, 2007 (2007-05-05)
Operating systemLinux
TypeCompatibility layer


It uses a combination of hardware-assisted virtualization features and high-level emulation. It can thus achieve nearly native speed for 8086-compatible DOS operating systems and applications on x86 compatible processors, and for DOS Protected Mode Interface (DPMI) applications on x86 compatible processors as well as on x86-64 processors. DOSEMU includes an 8086 processor emulator for use with real-mode applications in x86-64 long mode.

Currently it is only available for x86 and x86-64 Linux systems (Linux 3.15 x86-64 systems cannot enter DPMI by default. This is fixed in 3.16).[2]

DOSEMU is an option for people who need or want to continue to use legacy DOS software, in some cases virtualisation is good enough to drive external hardware such as device programmers connected to the parallel port. According to its manual, "dosemu" is a user-level program which uses certain special features of the Linux kernel and the 80386 processor to run DOS in a DOS box. The DOS box, relying on a combination of hardware and software, has these abilities:

  • Virtualize all input-output and processor control instructions
  • Supports the word size and addressing modes of the iAPX86 processor family's "real mode", while still running within the full protected mode environment
  • Trap all DOS and BIOS system calls and emulate such calls as needed for proper operation and good performance
  • Simulate a hardware environment over which DOS programs are accustomed to having control.
  • Provide DOS services through native Linux services; for example, dosemu can provide a virtual hard disk drive which is actually a Linux directory hierarchy.[3]
  • API-level support for Packet driver,[4] IPX, Berkeley sockets (dosnet).[5][6]

See also


  2. "#751632 dosemu: DPMI fails to initialize on x86_64 with linux 3.15". 140715
  3. "The dosemu HOWTO". 090430
  4. "dosemu v1.3.5 source". 090430 src/dosext/net/net/pktnew.c
  5. "dosemu v1.4.0 source". 2007-05-05. Retrieved 2016-04-06. src/dosext/net/net/ipx.c src/dosext/net/v-net/dosnet.c
  6. "The DOSEMU team is proud to announce DOSEMU 1.4.0,". 2007-05-05. Archived from the original on March 15, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-06. NetWare and other network connectivity via built-in IPX and pktdrvr support /../ the dosemu-freedos binary package starts a DOS-"C:\>"-Drive 'out-of-the-box' in a normal user's $HOME directory and runs without any further configuration (no root rights needed)CS1 maint: unfit url (link)
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