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FreeDOS is an open source DOS-compatible operating system that you can use to play classic DOS games, run legacy business software, or develop embedded systems. Any program that works on MS-DOS should also run on FreeDOS.

The current version is FreeDOS 1.3

Is FreeDOS really free?

Yes, FreeDOS is really free. It doesn’t cost anything to download and use FreeDOS. You can also share FreeDOS for others to enjoy! And you can view and edit our source code, because all FreeDOS programs are distributed under the GNU General Public License or a similar open source software license.

What makes FreeDOS better?

FreeDOS is a complete, free, DOS-compatible operating system. While we provide some utilities, you should be able to run any program intended for MS-DOS. Pretty much any program that works on MS-DOS will work on FreeDOS. You can also use FreeDOS on a network!

FreeDOS has many modern features not found in MS-DOS, or features that are significantly improved from DOS, including:

  • FreeCOM command line shell
  • FDAPM power management for APM information, control, suspend, power-off, ACPI throttling, and HLT energy saving
  • Cutemouse mouse driver, with scroll wheel support
  • FDNPKG package manager, with network support
  • GRAPHICS prints to ESC/P, HP PCL and PostScript printers
  • LBA large disk support and LBACACHE disk cache
  • DOSLFN for DOS Long filename support
  • JEMM386 and HIMEMX memory manager
  • FDSHIELD and ClamAV anti-virus and virus protection
  • FAT32 file system support
  • Linux-like tools and commands including grep, cal, head, tee, and less


  • Archive and backup your files with ZIP, UNZIP, and 7zip
  • Browse the web with Dillo and Arachne
  • Edit files with EDIT, Biew, Blocek, E3, Freemacs, Vim, Elvis, Pico, FED, and other editors
  • Listen to music and audio files with Mplayer and OpenCP
  • Play open source DOS games, including Freedoom, Floppy Bird, Nethack, Sudoku, and Tetris
  • Get help with integrated documentation and HELP viewer
  • Multi-boot with Linux, Windows, or other versions of DOS

However, you may experience problems running Windows on FreeDOS; Windows 3.1 in Standard Mode works on FreeDOS, but Windows for Workgroups 3.11 in Enhanced Mode does not (for now).

What programs can I run in FreeDOS?

We find most people use FreeDOS to do these things:

  1. Play classic games. You can play your favorite DOS games on FreeDOS. And there are a lot of great classic games to play: Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Commander Keen, Rise of the Triad, Jill of the Jungle, Duke Nukem, and many others!
  2. Run applications. You can run your favorite DOS programs with FreeDOS. Or use FreeDOS to run a legacy DOS application. Just install your DOS program under FreeDOS like you would any DOS application and you'll be good to go.
  3. Create new programs. FreeDOS includes lots of compilers, assemblers, and other programming tools so you can create your own DOS programs. You can also modify FreeDOS itself, because we include the source code under an open source license.

How do I install FreeDOS?

To install, simply download the FreeDOS install CD image. Write this to a blank CD, and boot your computer with it. The automated install program should walk you through the rest.

The FreeDOS distribution is available in multiple formats:

  • FreeDOS for everyone: Most users should use this to install FreeDOS. We recommend using a PC emulator or virtual machine to install FreeDOS. If you don't want to install, you can boot the LiveCD to try it out. Install extra programs from the BonusCD.
  • For real hardware: If you want to install FreeDOS on real hardware without a CD-ROM drive, use the FullUSB instead. The LiteUSB installs the same version of FreeDOS, but contains fewer of the extra programs.
  • For older hardware: If your system doesn't support booting from the LiveCD, try installing with the LegacyCD. This installs the same FreeDOS 1.3, but uses a different boot method. Use the BonusCD to install the extra programs.
  • For classic hardware: FreeDOS 1.3 includes a floppy-only edition! This edition should run on any original IBM PC system, including the PC, XT, and AT. Provides versions for 720kB, 1.2MB, and 1.44MB floppy disks.

Need help installing FreeDOS? If you need help, please read the FreeDOS Install Howto. There's also a guide for installing FreeDOS as guest in VirtualBox.

Several computer vendors may pre-install FreeDOS on new computers or provide FreeDOS on CD-ROM.

What do I need to run FreeDOS?

FreeDOS should run on any standard PC, although for better performance you may want an Intel ‘386 or better processor, 2MB or more memory, and 40MB disk space. If you are new to DOS, we recommend you use a PC emulator or Virtual machine such as VirtualBox to install and boot FreeDOS. You can find PC emulators for all computer platforms (Windows, Linux, Mac.)

FreeDOS should run on all PC hardware. However, you may experience hardware compatibility problems on really new computers because their UEFI does not support "Legacy" mode to emulate a legacy BIOS.

How can I contribute to FreeDOS?

We encourage everyone to contribute to the FreeDOS Project. A great way to start is to download FreeDOS and try it out. If you find a problem, please report a bug to help us improve FreeDOS. By participating in the development and debugging process, you help everyone.

If you are a developer, please consider joining the freedos-devel email list.

If you are fluent in a non-english language, please consider translating FreeDOS.

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