Creating a Game DOSBox Shortcut

If you add the path to a game's executable (.COM, .EXE or .BAT) to the end of what's in the "Target" box in a DOSBox Shortcut, you can start that game in DOSBox by simply double clicking the Shortcut.

  1. Create and Modify a DOSBox Shortcut
  2. Customizing the Shortcut
  3. Customizing DOSBox's Settings
  4. Automating Commands for DOSBox
  5. An example

1. Create and Modify a DOSBox Shortcut

Create a DOSBox Shortcut - then modify it for your game.

Right click on the DOSBox
Shortcut and choose "Properties"

This will bring up the Shortcut's properties dialog.
It's what's in the Target box that we want to modify.

Depending on where you have DOSBox installed, what's in the Target box for the Start Menu Shortcut will be something like:

"C:\Program Files\DOSBox\DOSBox.exe"

IMPORTANT: When specifying paths with any spaces in file names you must place it in quotes, i.e. "C:\My Game Folder". You do not need to if there are no spaces, i.e. C:\MYGAMEFOLDER.

This is the path to DOSBox. We want to get It to use a specific config file that will setup DOSBox for the game. We need to add a path to the configuration file to be used after the dosbox.exe pathy in the "Target" box:

"C:\Program Files\DOSBox\DOSBox.exe" -conf "C:\SIERRA\QG4CD\dosbox.conf"

To start a game in DOSBox with this Shortcut, all that needs to be done is to mount the game's folder as the harddrive, change to that harddrive and state the game's executable in the autoexec section of the dosbox.conf.

On Vista/Windows 7, you can easily copy the path to your game's dosbox.conf by holding the shift key down, right click on the conf file and choose "Copy as path" from the context menu to copy the file's path to the clipboard. For Windows XP, a small free utility to make finding the path to files easier is Send To Toys from Gabriele Ponti. It adds a "Clipboard (as name)" choice to the "Send To" menu. Once installed, right click on a file and choose "Send To" > "Clipboard (as name)" to copy the file's path to the clipboard.

2. Customizing DOSBox's Settings:

DOSBox can be configured to emulate different hardware or to use different display modes. You can set the speed (cycles) and memory options that DOSBox will use. You can also specify what settings the emulated hardware will use. All of these make DOSBox highly adaptable to be compatible with a very wide range of games.

You can use a custom config file for each game that you setup a DOSBox Shortcut for. You can either copy the dosbox.conf from DOSBox's installed folder to the game's folder and modify it or create one that only has the non-default options you want and DOSBox will use the defaults for all the other settings.

Graphics modes you may want to try are some of 3x scalers. On a 19" monitor, this will make the screen about the same size as a 14" monitor. There are also options for antialaizing (gets rid of the stairstep looking edges) and perspective correction. See the DOSBox README for more information on these settings.

To use this custom config file add its path to the Target box for the game's Shortcut:

"C:\Program Files\DOSBox\DOSBox.exe" -conf C:\SIERRA\TRIAL\dosbox.conf

3. Automating Commands for DOSBox:

If your game needs the CD-ROM drive or floppy to run, you will need to mount them before DOSBox (and your game) will be able to see them. You can automate this by adding the mount commands to the [autoexec] section of the config file. For more on mounting, see this guide.

4. Customizing the Shortcut:

You, of course, can rename the Shortcut to the game's name and change the icon to one for the game (through the "Change Icon" in the Shortcut's Properties dialog. More importantly, you can modify DOSBox's behavior by adding "switches".

Adding -noconsole to the target will prevent DOSBox's console window from opening. Adding -exit will close DOSBox after you exit the game. A complete list of these switches can be found in the DOSBox README.

5. An example:

The Shortcut Target

To run, say, Quest for Glory IV (with the game's folder mounted as "C:" in the autoexec section of the specified dosbox.conf), if DOSBox is installed to its default location, you didn't want the console window opening and you wanted DOSBox to close after you exit the game, this is what you would put in the target box :

"C:\Program Files\DOSBox-0.73\DOSBox.exe" -conf C:\SIERRA\QG4CD\dosbox.conf -noconsole -exit

If you find that the game runs best on your computer at 12,000 cycles, you can set this speed in the the [cpu] section of your config file.

If you want perspective correction to keep things from being vertically compressed (the Sierra logo should be round, not an oval) and you wanted antialaizing you would need to add:


to the [render] section of your config file.

Mounting and starting the game can be handled through the [autoexec] section:

mount c c:\sierra\qg4cd

tells DOSBox to mount the Quest for Glory IV game folder as the "C:" drive. The game needs the CD to install and run, so you would need to add to the [autoexec] section of your config file:

mount d e:\ -t cdrom -ioctl

Which tells DOSBox mount your real "E:" drive as DOSBox's "D:" drive. The -t cdrom tells DOSBox to mount it as a CD-ROM drive. The -ioctl tells DOSBox to use low level access for problematic CD games.

To change to the game's folder, add:


To start the game add the name of the game's executable:


The dosbox.conf:






mount c c:\sierra\qg4cd
mount d D:\ -t cdrom -ioctl


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