How to play classic DOS games on Chromebook and other android system

There are good emulators for Android that allow you to play games on different platforms.Emulating DOS games is straightforward and the right steps, although it is a bit more complicated than the latest games. We’ll walk you through the entire process to get rid of your 90s game day. Best of all, this game even runs on budget Chromebooks.

How to Install and Use DOS Emulator on Android and Chromebook

Unlike GBA emulators, DOS emulators are few and far between for Android. Your best option is Magic Dosbox, which offers quality-of-life features that help you get around some of the frustrating elements of other DOS emulators (for example, you don’t have to play games from the command line with Magic Dosbox). There are also adjustable settings.

The free version is a great way to get started with Magic Box, but you can sign up for the paid version if you prefer. The paid version allows you to add some games to the main menu, and if you want to use virtual controls, additional game tools are required.

When you open DOSBox, you need to create two folders in your device’s internal storage to store game files and settings. You can install this anywhere on Android phones and tablets, but on Chromebooks, you’ll need to create a folder inside your “storage” folder, as that’s the only directory Chrome and Android apps have full access to.

Follow the on-screen instructions to mount your folder. Once done, you’re ready to install and play some DOS games!

How to install DOS games on Android and Chromebook

After opening Magic Dosbox and completing the initial setup, it’s time to install the game. We’re using a Chromebook for this tutorial, but the steps will be the same for Android phones and tablets.

Copy the file

For this first example, we’ll use the original shared version of Doom. Like the official port released by Bethesda last year, Doom is a good example of how to download and install a DOS game, although there are better ways to play it on Android.

Download the installer package to your device, then open it in the Games folder inside the Magic Box folder you created when you installed the app.

How to add DOS games to Magic Dosbox

Once you have opened your game, you are ready to add it to Magic Dosbox. First we need to run the installer.

Open the magic box.

Select the Add button on the left side of your screen.

Select New Game from the pop-up window.

This will open a window with some settings and options, but don’t worry if it seems overwhelming, because you don’t need to touch many of these options. Some DOS games have specific hardware requirements, but Doom’s requirements are close to the default settings. However, regardless of the game, there are some important steps to follow.

How to create an installer in Magic DosBox

Enter the name of the game in the Name field.

Scroll down to the Tools header.

Click on the Select button and find the game pack that you have extracted.

Scroll down to the Software header.

Under the Setup heading, click the Select button.


When you’re done, confirm your changes by clicking the check mark at the bottom of the window. If done correctly, Magic will create an icon with your name on the DosBox home screen. Now you can install the main application.

How to install DOS games on Magic Dosbox

We couldn’t launch Doom from the Magic Dosbox home screen because we only specified the installer, not the main application.

Press/tap and hold the game icon.

Select Edit.

Select Setup.

This will open the installer. If the steps were followed correctly, you should see this screen:

Press C on your keyboard to install Doom on the virtual C: drive, then press Enter to confirm the installation. It may ask you to create a directory; press Y in this scenario

After copying the files, the installer will ask you which management method you want to use. Select Keyboard + Joystick so that your game works with a physical keyboard and virtual/mapped joystick controls.

Press Enter in the remaining steps of the installer to accept the default settings, and when everything is finished, press Enter in Save Settings and activate the DOOM option. The game should start, but before you rip and tear like Doomguy, you should make one last change to the game settings.

How to go through the installation steps for installed DOS games:

Return to the Magic DosBox main screen.

Press/tap and hold the game icon.

Select Edit.

Scroll down to the Software header.

In the main program title, click the Select button.

Select DOOM.EXE.

Under the Setup heading, click the Select button.


Launching the game from Magic DosBox will launch the game immediately instead of restarting the installation process.

Now you can play Doom or your DOS game of your choice! However, depending on your controls, you may need to tweak the settings further.

How to set up controls in Magic Dosbox

If you’re playing a DOS game on a device that uses a physical keyboard and mouse (such as a Chromebook), you won’t need to edit anything. However, if you are using an external keyboard and mouse, open the mouse settings in the emulator and select the Absolute setting. This will cause the virtual mouse to track your clicks exactly.

If you rely on the touchscreen, you’ll want to focus on games that primarily use a mouse for input. Examples include SimCity 2000, The Oregon Trail Deluxe, and the first Sid Meier’s Civilization games.

If the game requires joystick input or just a few keys (like Doom), you can use an Android-compatible controller. The Magic Dosbox emulation setup allows you to map keyboard keys to controller buttons. After mapping the ‘A’ button on my controller to the left mouse button and mapping the ‘X’ to the space bar, I was able to play Doom just fine.

Finally, Magic Dosbox allows you to create on-screen buttons mapped to joysticks and keyboard keys, but the setup process is cumbersome. The Add Virtual Buttons option in the Magic Dosbox menu will create a design mode where you can place and move buttons on the screen.

The built-in wizard walks you through the details, which includes holding down on certain areas of the screen and choosing what kind of button you want there. Most of the options, including the all-important joystick, are only available in the paid version of the app.

How to play DOS games from disk images

Most DOS games are archived as a collection of files that you can usually save to your DOS folder without any problems. However, some games always expect a CD to be inserted and are not designed to run exclusively from the hard drive. Using disc images will also prevent Android from indexing the contained files, so you won’t get a popup in Google Photos asking if you want to back up random photos from the game.

How to play a DOS game from an ISO file

Let’s use the ISO image for The Ultimate Shareware Games Collection from 1995 as an example. Download the ISO file from the archive page and place it in the DOS games folder as shown below. If it has an .img extension, rename it to use an .iso extension, otherwise Magic Dosbox will not be able to detect it.

Create a game by clicking the plus button in Magic Dosbox

In the Title heading, enter the name of the game.

Scroll down to the Hardware heading.

Select the Select button and locate the game folder you just extracted.

Scroll down to the CD-ROM header

Check the Enabled box

Press the plus button to the right of the checkbox.

Click the Select button and select the ISO file.

Enter a name in the CD Label field.

Press the checkmark button to save the changes.

Once you’ve done that, you can choose the installer just like you did with Doom, but Magic Dosbox now lets you choose files from the CD image.

Relive the days of classic DOS games

Hopefully, you should now have the knowledge needed to play some classic DOS games on Android devices and Chromebooks. But if you want to relax with something newer, check out our roundup of the best Android games.


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