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Installing DOS 5.0x in DOSBox-X


Key new features of DOS 5.00

  • First version to support 3.5" 2.88MB disks (ED)

  • First version to support HDDs up to 7.84GB with 2GB partitions

  • Re-written memory management tools with new LoadHigh and DeviceHigh

  • New Editor (EDIT)

  • QBasic replaces GW-BASIC and BASICA

  • New UNDELETE, UNFORMAT and MIRROR (from Central Point Software’s PC-Tools)

  • Adds HELP command, and /? parameter for commands

  • DOS Shell adds Task Swapping ability

Editions this applies to

  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.00

  • Microsoft MS-DOS 5.00a

    • Fixes a data corruption bug (CHKDSK and UNDELETE can in some cases cause corruption, alternatively use the "PD0646" patch).

  • IBM DOS 5.00

    • Adds a Mouse driver (MOUSE.COM)

  • IBM DOS 5.02

    • Adds ISO screen fonts

    • Adds Eject utility for lockable media

    • Adds APM Power management

    • Adds file transfer utility


  • DOS 5 is the last version that Microsoft and IBM shared code for, and later PC DOS and MS-DOS versions diverge from here on. Both IBM and Microsoft started selling their respective DOS versions directly to customers, and to other OEMs. IBM marketed it "For IBM and IBM Compatibles", while Microsoft simply said "for DOS systems". Microsoft and IBM also started to leapfrog each other with version numbers, so that it would appear their respective version was newer. This would continue until Windows 95 was released, and Microsoft lost interest in launching new stand-alone DOS versions.

  • The MS-DOS 5 Upgrade release that was available to end-users requires that you already have DOS installed. The disks are not bootable, unlike the later MS-DOS 6.x Upgrade editions. As such you need a separate DOS boot disk to be able to install the Upgrade edition on a clean system.

Creating a DOS 5.0x HDD image

Note: In addition to the below DOSBox-X command line utility, it is possible to create harddisk images from the DOSBox-X menu. Go to the "DOS" menu, and select "Create blank disk image…​". This option allows for various common harddisk types to be created, for less common types you need to use the command line utility.

Starting with DOS 5.00, installing DOS in DOSBox-X is much more straight forward, as you can have IMGMAKE create an HDD image that is already partitioned and formatted.

Maximum HDD size has increased to 7.84GB, but the maximum partition size is basically still 2GB, which is a FAT16 limitation.

Note: these instructions assume the "Full" version and not the "Upgrade" release.

 IMGMAKE hdd.img -t hd -size 2048
 IMGMOUNT C hdd.img

When prompted to change disk, on the DOSBox-X menu bar select "DOS" followed by "Swap disk". After the installation is finished, from the DOSBox-X menu bar select "Main" followed by "Reset guest system", and you will be back at the DOSBox-Z Z:\> prompt.

You can now boot these DOS versions directly from the HDD image as follows:

IMGMOUNT 0 empty -fs none -t floppy
IMGMOUNT C hdd.img