Dosbox Emulator Fullscreen FAQ: How to Make Programs and Games Launch in this Mode

Author: Glenn Scrima

Method #1:
This first method is useful for someone who wants to launch dosbox automatically in full screen mode each time they use it. To do this open the directory where dosbox is located on your hard drive (example c:\dosbox).

Next: Look for the file dosbox.conf. This is the configuration file for dosbox. It essentially tells dosbox which settings are wanted each time dosbox launches.

Now: When you find the file right click on it. Click "open with" & select notepad.


Next: With the dosbox config file open find the line "fullscreen=false" under the section labeled [sdl] near the top. Change the command to "fullscreen=true" then save and exit.


Now each time you launch dosbox it will be in fullscreen mode. If you want to change back to your original setting in the future just change the command "fullscreen=true" back to "fullscreen=false".


Method #2:

This method is much simpler but must be done each time dosbox is running. Simply hold down the keys Alt and Enter and you can switch between full screen and windowed mode.

FAQ:
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?

90 comments:

Jacob said...

for some reason dosbox becomes very slow when i switch to full screen while playing uakm... any thoughts?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Jacob, the most likely reason for this is that the video card is doing more work in full screen mode. When you run the game in a window the game is running in it's native resolution say 640x480. If you run the game in fullscreen mode Dosbox's rerendering engine has to kick in and this is more taxing on your system. If you haven't already you might want to check out an article I wrote on 8 steps to speeding up Dosbox. Although all of these should help to varying degree you should definatly try the frameskip section as this is probably the most related to the issue you are experiencing.

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

thanks alot for this walkthrough

Glenn Scrima said...

Thanks for visiting and have fun enjoying your old games again!

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

Very cool...Some terrific memories ;)

Anonymous said...

I spent hours trying to get it setup to run properly going to random sites that came up on google search. Finally I came to your site now everything works 100% perfect dound no lag, thanks alot for the guides.

Daniel Gloyd

Glenn Scrima said...

No problem have fun enjoying your old DOS games!

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

Hi, Thanks to this site I got Tyrian to work allright... Just one thing, when I Type Fullscreen=True, and run Tyrian, the program needs more space than my screen has... How can I fit Tyrian to my screen resolution in fullscreen mode?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi do you know the resolution you are running your PC at? Also what error message do get?

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

THANKS A MILLION!!! THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!

Glenn Scrima said...

No problem enjoy playing your old DOS games!

Best,
Glenn

kris said...

Hi Glenn,

I appreciate this walk through very much, and hate how DOS dumb i am. I have downloaded the first 3 police quest games... followed your directions step by step, and dosbox tells me that the command we put in the config file doesn't exist. then that it can't switch over to "pq" and then sierra is an illegal command. Am I missing something, or is the download it self not utilized for this procedure?

kris said...

Hi,

hate how DOS dumb i am. I've downloaded the police quest from another source... very thankful to have found your walkthrough, yet the edit to the config file does not work for me. it mounts c:\ successfully, but then says that it can not switch over to cd pq. what is it I am too blind to see? Any thoughts?
thanks!

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Kris, it sounds like the games files didn't extract into the right folder. When it is unable to use the cd, "change directory" command it means that directory doesn't exist within the one that contains Dosbox. I'd give extracting the game files a second try and just double check and make sure the file path given on the guide is the same you use to extract the game.

Best,
Glenn

LiedDerSturmen said...

Hello. When I try to run SimCity 2000 on Vista, it simply says "This system does not support fullscreen mode. Click close to terminate the program."
What do I do?

Kevin said...

Hi first tahnks for the guide it's really helpful.
I have some sound isses running dosbox particularly with digital speech,I run the sound setup programs (usually selecting soundblaster) but still have no sound.
Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

greetings,

firstly many, many thanks for your hepfull walk throughs, was the first time I have ever used dosbox or anything like it and sorted it first time...well almost! I donloaded constructor, got it playing in full screen...but no sound? any ideas?

paul aaron said...

i HAVE ALREADY INSTALLED DOSBOX BUT HOW CAN I THE WORD INSTALL AFTER I TYPE D: ?

paul aaron said...

how can i type the word install after i have typed the word d:?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Paul, do you mean at the command prompt in Dosbox? You just need to press Enter to add another command.

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

Hi Glen,
Thanks for all the useful stuff, it's great to play ascendancy again :)
I've managed to play it fullscreen as you said, but my laptop has a widescreen monitor, so fullscreen is not very nice, default screen size is too small.
Is there a way to play it in windowed mode, but say, in double size?

Anonymous said...

P.S: Now i have tried fiddling with the config file, i have set the windowresolution to 1024x768, but it did not do anything. Then i changed the output to oplengl. After this, the window size changed, but the game did not start for some reason... Why was that?

paul aaron said...

yes i always do that but when i enter the word install it doesnt load

Glenn Scrima said...

I'd give ddraw a try and see if that helps the image show up again. Let me know if that helps at all.

Best,
Glenn

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Paul, which game are you trying to run?

Best,
Glenn

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Kevin, which game are you running?

Best,
Glenn

Anonymous said...

what i do is just press "alt"
and "Enter" and thats it.

Glenn Scrima said...

Ya the second method is quicker but the first is good too if you always want full screen.

Best,
Glenn

Taro said...

Thanks for your gift and guide on this side, now I can run the constructor game on the DOSBox system. But absolutely there is a one problem it be that I can't solve alone, I try to solve this but still can't be.....; The sound could not be running on the system so I play this game without any sound running or was detected.
So can you help & give me a guide about this one?!

Brant said...

when i try to run commander keen 6, dosbox tells me:

"improper video card! if you really have an EGA/VGA card that I am not detecting, use the -HIDDENCARD command line parameter!"

any thoughts?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Brant, is this only in fullscreen mode?

Best,
Glenn

Brant said...

Hi Glenn,

It wasn't in fullscreen mode. Something similar happened to me with another game, and it called for me to switch to mcga video mode. I tried it for this, and it solved the problem! Thanks anyways,

Brant

Charlie said...

Awesome instructions. Even I, a computer illiterate, found them easy to follow. Yay I am playing dune 2 again. Thanks for your time and effort putting them together

Parabola said...

Hi Glenn,

really thank you for this guide so well written and explained. I can finally play Constructor with my brothers! But I get one problem with the fullscreen mode. When changing from one menu to another, and in the introduction with Acclaim and all this things, they get like 100 times slower than it should be (from a transition that should take 0,2 between 2 menus, to more than 20 secs). I've tried changing the config file parameters, such as fullscreen, fullresolution, aspect, frameskip, cycles, the memsize, fulldouble, scaler... And I get nothing better.
Another way would be in window mode, a bigger window, but I don't know how to do it, even changing the windowresolution to something like 1024x768, nothing happens.

It would be great if you or someone with the same problem could help me with this issue.
Thank you again and enjoy you too all this great DOS games!

Sergio

Glenn Scrima said...

Charlie and Parabola thanks for your kind compliments. Parabola it might be worth trying a slightly older version of Dosbox to see if this happens again. Sometimes new issues can come up when updates to older editions of Dosbox are made.

Best,
Glenn

Richard said...

Hey Glenn,

Many thanks for the cool opportunity to reconnect with my 5th grade self. Quick question about the DOSbox bizz...Is there any way of changing the keyboard controls so I can make different keys control different functions? For instance...I would like the directional("up" and "down")arrows to control the icons and character movements.

Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

Very good guide, realy helped me!

Glenn Scrima said...

I'm not sure if there is a key mapping feature within Dosbox. Is there any options in the game setup menu that gives this option?

Best,
Glenn

Glenn Scrima said...

No problem enjoy playing your old DOS games!

Best,
Glenn

nihmx said...

Glenn, thanks for the fantastic guide! Dune 2 fires up perfectly, and runs with no hiccups. I do have an issue when attempting to switch to fullscreen.. it disappears! I've tried both editing the code and the key command with the same result. any thoughts?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi nihmx, when you say disappears is it crashing/closing or just going back to a window mode?

Best,
Glenn

nihmx said...

It's crashing/closing when I hit alt/enter, and it crashes/closes on open if I re-write the config file.

Huberer Kinekai said...

Hi Glenn, my name is Miguel. Is nice to have back those old-full-of-dust-games of our past to remember THE nice days :D BUT, i have a problem...

I'm running DOSBox on Vista Basic on laptop, inspirion 1525 (if it works the info i'm givvin you...) and the problem that promps is this:

"SC2000
This system does not support fullscreen mode. etc" <-- you know the drill...

And my problem is that. I tried to run as your guide said, by putting the fullscreen ON always, but no...

I have the config at 1440x990 pixels and quality color at 32bit. Any help? Plz? Would like to play old games again, but it seems almost all people have this problem. How can be solved? Thanks again for the support ond the will to read our comments :P Have a nice day.

Huberer Kinekai said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

Hello, Greetings.
Now, I don't particularly know exactly how to word my question but here goes.
I can load up games and what-not in full screen and have them perfectly run without any problems; however, the color or contrast, I dunno which; goes haywire whenever I play a game in full screen. Any clues as to what might be happening? I mean, I had windows XP before and I never had any such problem, so it MAY be that I'm running windows 7 now. I Also auto execute most of my games out of habit.
Any aid would be appreciated if it doesn't bother you.

Anonymous said...

hey, im having trouble actually seeing the game. i followed to instructions and when i click "war" to load the game. it will keep saying" it does not support in fullscreen", and i will hear the game start up and hear arrows and what not but not see anything???
thanks
-ryan

lacey said...

Hi, I bought the cd rom to warcraft orcs and humans, tryed to install it, and it just keep wanting to play it as an audio cd. I have windows 7 and I followed your directions and still can't get it right. I dont know where im going wrong...can you please help me?

Lacey

Susan said...

Hi Glenn. Thank you so much for this informative, (and more importantly, incredibly clear) walk through. Got it working for Kyrandia the first time. Only trouble is I can’t hear the character’s voices in the game (funny, narration works in the intro). Any advice?
Sincerely,
Susan

Anonymous said...

Hello,
I am running Dune II on wide screen (1366x768 resolution)laptop. As per you instruction I have modified "dosbox config file" and change to "fullscree=true". game work great, only problem is whole screen is "Streched" (did not maintain aspect ratio).
So i modify my disply setting to maintain "Aspect ratio"
and run game. This time it maintain aspect was maintained but top and bottom of screen has big space (left and right side is normal).

Can you help so I can get a maximum viewing area is covered (ie. no spaces at top and bottom).


Thanks in advance

Peter Cotton

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi, unfortunately since you have a widescreen display (16:9) and the game runs at a conventional 4:3 aspect ration you will either need to run the game stretched or leave black borders to maintain the correct framing of the game. This wasn't really an issue when the game was released since 99% of displays were 4:3 ratio display's but now with most displays being widescreen this issue comes up for most older games.

Best,
Glenn

Simon said...

Hi Glenn, tremendous work keeping us informed. When using dosbox upon upload it says "the system does not support full screen". I know other have posted with htis issue .I am trying space crusade via dosbox on a dell laptop, i have read the forum here and following your instruction, changing to 16bit display, adjusting the aspect ratio, changing the config and the settings of the program itself but I am at a loss. Your advice would be much appreciated

Anonymous said...

Hey there Glenn!

First things first, I'm an idiot when it comes to downloading things, but your guide helped me to download WOLF so easily!

But I need help with one thing. All the music is working fine, no glitches there. But there are no game sounds! Like I can't hear the wolf howls, the gun shots, etc. Can you help?

Another thing. I found out that the only way for me to get my cursor back without quitting the game is to make it go full-screen, then back to a smaller screen. Do you know a simpler way to get the cursor back?

Thanks again!
Ashlee

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi Ashlee, its most likely those sound files weren't included with the rest of the files from Abandonia to save on the size of the download file. However, the good news is there is a way to switch your cursor from the game back to Windows. Dosbox automatically uses a setting called autolock. To turn this feature off while playing the game press CTRL-F10 and you will be able to move your mouse between the game and Windows.

Best,
Glenn

Rusted....... said...

I cant save the game... Wat to do nw????

Rusted....... said...

i cant save the game... What am i missing???

Anonymous said...

I have Ubuntu and when I use ALT+ENTER to switch to fullscreen the screen will jump back and forth between the default size and fullscreen but won't stay in fullscreen mode...i tried to find where the dosbox files were located so i could change the config. but no luck...i'm fairly new to Ubuntu/Linux Any thoughts or suggestions?

Glenn Scrima said...

Hi, what game are you trying to save?

Best,
Glenn

Glenn Scrima said...

You can create a config file in the same directory as the Dosbox program by typing "config -writeconf dosbox.conf" at the C:\> prompt in Dosbox.

Best,
Glenn

David said...

Thanks a million Glenn! I'm playing Duke Nukem 3D for the first time in years to this awesome guide! This has been a huge help to me! Thanks again sir. Now back to shooting that Pig Cop...

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,
This is a truly wonderful thing you have done! Thank you so much. I have a question: I cannot seem to get past the character choice part at the very start of Lands of Lore. i chose my character, and then the screen goes black and nothing happens. It's most distressing.
All the best and thanks again,
FW.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I followed the instructions and I'm now running PGA Tour Golf without any issues.

So thank you very much.

I have a simple question though..

How can I get the original Golf-ing sound on the game?..I mean the the sound of the swing and the sound of the ball bouncing off the green etc..

At the moment I can only hear beep sounds when the ball bounces..

I would appreciate your help

Thanks in advance..

Izzy said...

I've done everything exactly as the instructions say. And have figured out about three to four of my own confusions..but I have this one, evil, last one that I can't figure out. When I click the DOSBox 0.72 program-the only one with the pretty icon-I just get the DOSBox 0.72 black, blank program opposed to the Wasteland game. I have the directions under the [autoexec] thing for the game to be used, and I downloaded the files and extracted them properly...so I don't know what I did wrong. Would it have anything to do with the fact that the files are not ONLY where I extracted them, but also on my desktop-and maybe elsewhere too? Or is it something else?

Anonymous said...

When I try to switch to full screen using alt enter, I get a message "Input not supported". Can you help?

szeverini said...

Thank you very much!

Anonymous said...

how do you play the game in color?

Bloggergirl26 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

For some reason, my computer says it doesn't support full screen mode. Any ideas about how to get my program to work?

Bloggergirl26 said...

P.S. Carmen Sandiego won't play because my computer doesn't support full screen mode. Any thoughts about how to get it to work?

Bloggergirl26 said...

I’m trying to run Where in America’s Past is Carmen Sandiego. I downloaded the installer file for the DOSBox, and I entered C:\Games\CarmenPast, but I wasn’t able to get the folder “CarmenPast” to appear. Is this folder hidden somewhere on my desktop? Can you help me?

I noticed that music does play when I run the application C:\Games\CARMEN 1\WIAP\RUNME.EXE. Is this the actual game? Or is the game in the folder “CarmenPast?” Please let me know.

Bloggergirl26 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pipoldchap said...

Hi Glenn, Loving your work. Could you possibly help me fix a problem I have with DOSbox and SCUMMvm? Both used to run on glorious full screen with no problems but now when I toggle to full screen, the image stays the same size and crystal clear, but the rest of my screen is a garbled mess. I've tried adjusting the resolution, but maybe I've missed something? It worked fine for hours and then I came back to it later and it was ruined. I've not installed or changed anything in between. Literally turned it off and back on. Thanks in advance!

Anonymous said...

Hiya! It's me Ashlee again.

First off, thanks for letting me know about the Ctrl F10 solution. It's so much easier and faster to get my mouse back!

But I have another question: you said 'its most likely those sound files weren't included with the rest of the files from Abandonia to save on the size of the download file.' and I just wanted to know if there was a way I could add the sound? I never appreciated how helpful and actually fun hearing the sound is.

Anonymous said...

hi glenn,

wen i run sc2000, it works great. then i change to fullscreen and it freezes. when i change back to the normal screen it works fine again. any thoughts ?

chantelle

Anonymous said...

Hello, can you help me to fix the next problem. When I run Willy beamisch in dosbox it works great, however when i save my game, i never can restore my game.
It just is not in the dir.
What is the most simpely solution.
greetings Otto from The Netherlands

Anonymous said...

Problem is allready fixed, I forget to give it a name.
greetings Otto

Anonymous said...

I cant play the story "Harvest of horror" by Blood and Magic. I click on the area but they dont start. Other Storys are playable.
Can anybody help me please??? ;(

anders said...

Hey. When i enter dosbox and then hit the ALT+Enter to get in full screen, the color turns to purple, and it should not be that way..

I have set my pc to run over an Lcd screen with hdmi, can that be the problem ?

HeavenAngel said...

Hi glenn! I have no sound voices from the characters, any methods to rectify this?

par said...

I cannot open my Wordstar 7 (dos) in full-screen mode even using alt ent. I think this might be because the WS application itself is set up for window mode, or else my earlier Vista ruined it by forcibly changing it to window mode. I have windows 7 64bit. On earlier versions of Windows I could open the ws.exe file and change it to full-screen, but that can't be done with Windows 7. I'm not very computer literate so I hope someone could guide me. I know this software is obsolete these days, but I have thousands of files on it and need to refer to them from time to time. I tried converting them to word but they lose some of the data that is required during conversion, such as the comments on the pages. Anybody out there who is a wiz with dos, please help. Thanks in advance.

Mister G said...

Hey Glenn!
Thanks so much for your perfect guides! I did have to figure out that since my computer has users that I needed to mount the C: drive by typing in users/student/etc.
I do have a question about playing other games. I downloaded Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and have been playing. Now I want to download Oregon Trail. Do I need to install another dosbox? Or use the same one? Maybe a guide for that help...or maybe you already have it and I can't find it. thanks!!
Mister G

Cap said...

I have tried both methods of going full screen with dosbox. However it attempts to go full screen it just switches back to a small window. And says, windows color scheme has changed. Im running win 7 at 64 bits.

PP said...

I followed exactly this excelent help, downloading Populous (populous_dos.zip) from house of games.

But 1st, the dosbox window told me : illegal command: pop.

I changed pop for populus in the .conf file.

I have no more error messages, but populous doesn't launch... In Fact nothing happens. I tryied to lanch dosbox with and without administrator privileges, same results.

any idea ?
Thanx in advance for any help

Anonymous said...

It Hangs or Stops When i go to Fullscreen help please.

Anonymous said...

hi i don't know if you can help me but i did everything on the walk through but when i try to open the game it says 'this system does not support fullscreen mode. Choose close to terminate application'. how can i get it to work.

Anonymous said...

how can i acess the warcraft 2 map editor?

Maurits said...

Hey, I just downloaded Dosbox and Lands of Lore - Throne of Chaos (omy, how neat..) i can get it 'fullscreen', problem is that the screen is as small as with 'small screen' with big black surroundings to fill the screen up. i want to be able to play so badly! can someone help me out?

Anonymous said...

I've just installed Hidden Agenda, but I can't launch it in fullscreen. After I press Alt + Enter, the game freezes, and then DOSBOX shuts down. Could you please give me any advice how to play this in fullscreen mode? I would be very grateful for any assistance.

Anonymous said...

Hi there

The game works great - thanks! - but the movement is so fast whether I use the keyboard or the mouse, so it's too hard to play. I've changed the settings in the options...but is there any other way ?

Chill Zone said...

How do you get it to run on a 16 bit one? It won't work for me.

Anonymous said...

Hi Glenn,

I've downloaded couple of games, but only one them runs successfully. The other two, aladdin and lionking keeps coming up with illegal command.

This is what i command in DOSBOX

z:\ mount c c:\games
"drive c is mounted as local ..."

z:\c:
c:\cd aladdin
c:\ALADDIN>aladdin
illegal command: aladdin?

Can you please help me? I uninstalled the games and installed it again, it still wont work. My other game Dave works just fine with the same command.