Duke Nukem 3D Game Dosbox Install Guide

Author: Glenn Scrima

(Please do not copy this guide. However anyone is free to link to this page.)

Killing aliens, busting heads and womanizing, all in a days work for Duke Nukem. Duke's golden age may be gone but that doesn't matter for Duke, there's always old jobs to revisit. But enough talking about the past, lets get some!

First Download & Install Dosbox on Windows XP:

Go To: http://www.dosbox.com > Downloads Tab > Click the Windows version (Under the Dosbox category)

Dosbox homepage
Next: Run the Downloaded Installer file and install Dosbox in a folder on your C:\ drive when asked. Finally when finished rename your Dosbox folder to Duke3d.

Next: Open the Duke3d folder and then locate and run Dosbox by double clicking on the Dosbox program icon.

Dosbox program icon
Next: At the the command prompt in Dosbox type "config -writeconf dosbox.conf" and then press the "Enter" key.

Creating the Duke Nukem config file
Next: Type "exit" to exit Dosbox.

Exit DOS command
Now: Locate and right click on the Dosbox config file. Click "open with" & select notepad.

Editing Dosbox config file
Next: Now with the dosbox config file open scroll to the bottom. We are going to place some text below [autoexec]:

mount c c:\duke3d
mount d d:\ -t cdrom -usecd 1

(note: replace d with whatever letter your CD drive happens to be, mine happens to be e)

Autoexec mount commands
After addiing this code save and close the config file. Now insert your Duke Nukem 3D CD and run Dosbox.

Next Install Duke Nukem 3D

Go to: The command prompt (Z:) and type d: and press enter, then type install and press enter again. The install screen for Duke Nukem should come up asking you to "Choose Program to Install". Select with the keyboard arrow keys "Duke Nukem 3D" and press enter.

Program install menu
Next: You will be asked the drive letter you would like to install the game on, the default is C: . Choose this and press enter. It will also ask you for the "default directory" which is shown as \DUKE3D. This also works fine just hit enter again.

Installing on drive C
Next: After installation has completed you should be given a message that you can run the program by pressing the Enter key. Please do this and the game settings menu will launch.

Ready To Get Some:

The most important setting on this menu and the one we are going to pay attention to right now is "Sound Setup". Select this option and press enter.

Sound setup menuNext: Under Sound Setup you are given the option to "Choose Sound FX Card" and "Choose Music Card". You can experiment with this to your liking but I choose Sound Blaster for each with the default settings given. After you have chosen the settings that work best for you hit the ESC key.

Finally: Scroll down to the option "Save and launch Duke Nukem 3D" at the bottom of the menu and press enter. Duke Nukem 3D will now launch. When later revisiting the game just type duke3d at the C:\ prompt for the game to start.

Duke Nukem 3D screenshot
Well now you can revisit this all time classic game from the comforts of your modern operating system. Enjoy and have a great weekend!


The config file is missing what do I do?
The game won't run on Windows Vista. What should I do?
The game runs sluggish. Is there a way to improve this?
How do I make the game launch in fullscreen mode?
How do I change the amount of RAM available?
How do I mount a hard drive or CD-ROM drive in Dosbox?
How do I change my machine type in Dosbox?
How do I capture a screenshot during gameplay?
I can't download from Abandonia. What should I do?
How do I close or exit Dosbox?


Em said...

Whenever I type d: [enter] then install [enter] it says
illegal command: install.
what am I doing wrong?
please send me an e-mail as soon as you can, Direprincess@msn.com

Lou said...

By following your great instructions, I installed Duke3d under Vista. However, I haven't been able to install the Plutonium Pack from the CD. There is a patch that must be run, and it always fails. Any suggestions? Thanks!

Anonymous said...

It wont let me save the dosbox config file to add the code.


Glenn Scrima said...

Hi, which version of Windows are you using?


danraccoon said...

thanks to the game works perfectly with no problems at all. One problem with Dosbox, when I type c:\duke3d to play the game, it says illegal command. what's going on D:

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Danraccoon, are you keeping the autoexec commands in the dosbox config or are you typing them in at the command prompt within Dosbox?

Randy said...

I can't seem to get the config file to save after I put in the modifications. It tells me I have an invalid pathway It will save as a config (not application file) in another location but when I paste it to the proper file it does not work (the original is an application file and this save as a conf file)
I run Windows Vista 64. Do you know what the problem is?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Randy, some people are having similar issues with Vista because of differences in it's security from XP. This affects writing to files on the C: drive mostly. I wrote a guide recently for readers who run into this problem (see link below). I'd definitely suggest trying both methods in the guide if one doesn't work as some readers have reported one working and not the other. Let me know if you run into any more issues and if not have fun play Duke again!


Glenn Scrima said...



Randy said...

Thanks for your help. The instruction guide that told me to run config file as admin worked. I am having another problem though. When I get to the directory to install to, the default is C:\DUKE3D
When I accept it I get a box telling me It's an invalid drive specification.
below is the instruction I put in the config file according to your instruction guide:

# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
mount c c:\duke3d
mount e e:\ -t cdrom -usecd 1

Like your system, my CD drive is E.

One other thing that may or may not be relevant; I have the Duke 3D Atomic edition and my screens look totally different than the ones you show in your installation guide.



Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Randy, I think this might be because the other edition of the game might have a different file structure. Dosbox is likely looking for files in that specific directory and they either are missing or they are in another directory. I don't have a copy of this edition on hand but the best thing to do would be to find out where the .exe file that launches the game is and change the hard drive mount commands (I have a guide in my FAQ section that should help with this). Sorry I couldn't be of more help.

Have a great New Year!


Anonymous said...

what am i doing wrong? I can play the game after the installation (by following your instructions) but whenever I try to play the game afterwards, I can't.

when I press (while the dos -program is on) c: and then duke3d, it seems to start, but all of a sudden it stops and says: "Playback failed, possibly due to an invalid or conflicting IRQ"

Can you help me?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi it sounds like Dobox is loading two of the same IRQ's. When you setup the sound in the game which card option did you choose. Also do you know the Interrupt, IRQ & DMA for the sound setting?


Anonymous said...

Uhh I dont have the CD but I downloaded an emulater but it wont work. HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi you will need the game itself to get it to work with Dosbox. You can probably pick a copy up cheap on ebay. Unfortunately the game isn't abandonware so none of the abandonware sites have a copy of the game.

Anonymous said...

after it asks me if it's ok to install on the C:\ drive and I press enter, it goes back to the screen where you select which game to install and locks up. The computer itself is not locked up but I cannont up arrow and down arrow on the game selection. It doesn't make it to the point where it is supposed to ask me about the default directory. I have vista. Any ideas? thanks for any help

Anonymous said...

AHHHH!!! I have the CD, but when I type D:\ then install, it just says that it's an illegal command! :S

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi your CD-Rom might be a different drive letter. You can check under my computer to see if that might be it.


the_anime_wiz said...

Same problem as the person a few comments up;

I choose Duke3D, then enter my C: drive. (It won't let me choose any other option, I press anything other than enter and I get a 'ping' sound) afterwards, I press enter and it brings me back to the game select screen with Duke3D highlighted, but does absolutely nothing.

I have the normal edition of the game.
Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

So I got my game to work, I can move shoot and such, but I can't aim. any fixes?

Anonymous said...

I got my duke nukem to work but I can't aim. I can do everything else though, and fixes?

Anonymous said...

I had the same problem but I fixed it and here is how: if you get the error "Playback failed, possibly due to an invalid or conflicting IRQ"
then go to setup in sound options and change the IRQ from 5 to 7. Then Duke Nukem 3D will run. Hope this helps.