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I am looking for a emulator for MS-DOS for OS X to run old games on.

Are there any free emulators for MS-DOS that run on an Apple machine with OS X?

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    Yes, NetHack (and Hack, from which NetHack was derived, and Rogue, which inspired Hack) were all originally for Unix systems. There was an early port of Hack to MS-DOS, and later versions of NetHack were ported to MS-DOS as well. There was a port of Rogue to MS-DOS as well. – Ken Gober May 12 '16 at 17:40
  • @blubberdiblub : Right. – TOOGAM May 25 '16 at 6:46
  • DosBox appears on almost every platform – phuclv Aug 12 '16 at 9:57
  • What does a port of some game to or from MSDOS have to do with an emulator? – rackandboneman May 29 '17 at 9:33
  • @rackandboneman Look at the edit history. The question was originally about running Nethack. – Thorbjørn Ravn Andersen Jul 24 at 5:05
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The nicest DOS emulator for Mac OS X is Boxer, which is an OS X-specific version of DOSBox. Not only is it free, it's free software (or open source if you prefer); its source code is available and freely modifiable.

Boxer or DOSBox are the best option nowadays for running old DOS games (it has pretty good hardware emulation for the kinds of peripherals used with games). If you want a full-blown, free, DOS experience, you could install FreeDOS inside a VirtualBox virtual machine, but that's more complicated to set up; in particular, VirtualBox's guest additions aren't available for DOS, so it's harder to transfer files from your OS X environment to your DOS environment than it is with Boxer. Instead of FreeDOS, inside VirtualBox, you could also try DR-DOS, or MS-DOS if you have a license for it.

If you're looking to really experience what the operating system was like back when it was still in widespread use, you'll need to find an old PC and run DOS directly on it — a lot of the quirks of daily DOS use are related to the hardware of the time (IRQ handling, memory management...), and emulation environments, be they DOS emulators such as DOSBox or full-blown virtual machines such as VirtualBox, don't allow you to relive that to the same extent.

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    DOSBox isn't an MS-DOS emulator. It's a hardware emulator really. Many MS-DOS functions are not supported. Question really should be retitled. – Thraka May 12 '16 at 17:27
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    I believe the actual intention of @EᴀsᴛᴇʀʟʏIʀᴋ is to play the DOS version of NetHack (if that's the case, editing the question to reflect that might help getting more directed answers and would make this answer more valid), where a fully-blown command.com might not be required. A plain DOSBox/Boxer might or might not be sufficient. – blubberdiblub May 12 '16 at 18:03
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    DOSBox's compatibility list shows Nethack as having near-perfect support. – Mark May 12 '16 at 18:10
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    @mnem no worries, I think you started writing your comment while I was writing that update! – Stephen Kitt May 12 '16 at 19:08
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    @Brian that does work; you can also “burn” CD contents to ISO images instead of using a CD-R, and mount the image in the VM. I recently came across EtherDFS which provides file transfers between DOS and Linux systems, but I haven’t tried running the DOS part in a VM. – Stephen Kitt Jul 23 at 18:33
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I have had great success with the Qemu emulator! I have been able to run (emulate) DOS and MS-DOS on an Apple computer with it. Because some versions of DOS may require a different CPU architecture than what your Apple runs on, you can use Qemu to emulate another CPU architecture. Here is the homepage to help get you started: http://wiki.qemu.org/Main_Page

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Although I don't recommend this course of action except for educational purposes, it is possible to do a bare-metal boot of FreeDOS on some x86 Macs. The problem with actually using it (as opposed to noodling around in wonder that it works at all) is that most interesting DOS software gets down and dirty with the hardware, and a modern Mac isn't exactly register-level compatible with a 1990s-era PC.

1

Doxbox for Mac would work. I have Dosbox for PC (Windows 10). I love it and use it run everything from 1980 or later. I have GW-Basic, Turbo Pascal, Old games like Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy from the early 90's. You can run off a flash drive or hard drive.

DosBox 0.74

Another thing you try..Something my uber extreme computer geek of a son did. Partitioned the drive and installed windows 7 on one, and Linux on the other. Apparently it worked so don't quote me on it.

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I was playing sometime in the past and I'm very satisfied with the RetroArch Emu.

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    Given your other posts across the network, I take it you’re involved with Retrostic, is that correct? “All the emulators” is a bit of an exaggeration, there are only two listed here. – Stephen Kitt Jul 23 at 18:40
  • Yeah… you should definitely be letting us know you want to advertise Retrostic. I've edited your answer to remove reference to Retrostic from it – please read How not to be a spammer before you try to edit it back in. – wizzwizz4 Jul 23 at 19:03

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