FreeDOS, now 30 years old, will soon run Windows 3.x | TechSpot (
from to on 03 Jul 08:16

FreeDOS, now 30 years old, will soon run Windows

After serving the tech community for over three decades, FreeDOS, a free operating system that serves as an alternative to Microsoft’s DOS and other prompt-based systems, is set to expand its capabilities. According to Jim Hall, the founder of FreeDOS, future releases of this open-source project will include full compatibility with Windows 3.x series (Windows 3.1 and 3.11), providing a nostalgic computing experience for retro enthusiasts.

In a conversation with Ars Technica, Mr. Hall explained that while many people might not be interested in using FreeDOS on modern hardware, fans still appreciate its unique command prompt interface. This interest has remained relatively constant over the years as new users explore FreeDOS as their first foray into text-based operating systems.

As technology evolves, so does the challenge of running FreeDOS on newer PC systems due to the transition from BIOS to UEFI firmware. The project recommends utilizing virtual machines or emulators like DOSBox, PCem, and 86Box to achieve a full MS-DOS compatibility experience. This allows users to run legacy applications and games without requiring hardware that is powerful enough for today’s advanced software.

With the latest FreeDOS version (1.3) released in 2022, development continues with an emphasis on bug fixes and utility updates, preparing for the addition of Windows 3.x compatibility as part of its ongoing evolution.


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[deleted] on 03 Jul 08:40 next collapse

. on 03 Jul 10:42 next collapse

I got frustrated a couple years ago trying to run a very old windows game so I ran win 3.1 through DOSBox and it worked. on 03 Jul 14:20 collapse

Win 3.1 works great via DOSBox, even supporting higher resolutions and color depths. on 03 Jul 20:31 collapse

I’ve only ever used FreeDOS to update a Dell/HP computers BIOS and to upgrade the firmware on a WD Green hard drive.