I recently installed FreeDOS on an old laptop and then transferred some dosbox based GOG games I own to the FreeDOS installation. The problem is the manuals for these games is in PDF format and I cannot find a working DOS based PDF viewer.

The one program I could find, called psview crashed and gave me this output when I tried it on a PDF:

TEMP directory: c:\\
Bad command or filename - 'pdftops'.
CHDIR failed for 'c:\gs'.
Bad command or filename - 'gs386'.
Bad command or filename - 'lxpic'.
File not found: 'C:\TEMP.PS'
(Couldn't get the rest of output because screen scrolled past really fast)
PSVIEW collapsed to DOS
(End of output)

I also tried viewing PDFs in two web browsers that run in FreeDOS called Arachne and Dillo, both in vain. Any way to view PDF files in FreeDOS?

  • To take it off the table: only version 1.0 of Adobe Acrobat was available for DOS, which can't view most modern PDFs.
    – Tommy
    Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 20:56
  • 8
    It looks as if your DOS PDF viewer is trying to use a version of GhostScript compiled for a DOS 32-bit extender. Searching for that may get you somewhere: rendering PDF within 640KB RAM isn't really practical. Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 21:11
  • 2
    Why did you not ask on software recommendarions?
    – Mawg
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 19:43

5 Answers 5


I discovered the answer on my own. Turns out PSVIEW requires GhostScript, PDFTOPS, and LXPIC to be installed on the hard drive in order to run. GhostScript must be placed in 'C:\gs'. PDFTOPS and LXPIC must be in a directory mentioned in the path environment variable set in 'AUTOEXEC.BAT'.


FLTK for DOS - Apps - XFDOS distro:


Here you will find mupdf.zip which has been working very well for me over the last hour since I downloaded it. Acrodos is useless except for viewing the pdfs it came with.

You will need cwsdpmi.exe in the same directory as mupdf.exe / very surprised at how well it's handling modern pdfs so far - especially for a program compiled for DOS in 2012.


Looks like Acrobat Reader 3.0 might be the latest version of Acrobat Reader that will work under Windows 3.11, which you can install in a DOS environment.

If you have enough disk space, and are willing to replace FreeDOS with an actual MS-DOS 6.22 install, you can try installing Windows 3.x and use that to read PDFs when needed.


A long time ago there was an official release of Acroreader for DOS. I assume it would work with FreeDOS, but I don't know. I also don't know where you might find a copy, but if you search it is probably still out there.


I think the last Acrobat for DOS was version 1 Acrobat 1.0 for DOS



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