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DOSBox Staging is a modern continuation of DOSBox with advanced features and current development practices.

It is meant as a (mostly) drop-in replacement for older DOSBox versions—your existing configurations will continue to work, but you will have access to many advanced features.

Because DOSBox Staging comes with sensible defaults, you’ll need to write a lot less configuration than with older DOSBox versions. Most games and application software require no tweaking and will work fine with the stock settings. However, the extensive configuration options and advanced features are available if you wish to dwelve deeper.


  • Improve the out-of-the-box experience for new users.
  • Encourage new contributors by removing barriers to entry.
  • Implement new features and quality-of-life improvements.
  • Fix, clean up, and integrate notable community-developed patches that fill valuable general-purpose and/or gaming-focused emulation holes (provided they don’t impact broader compatibility, performance, stability, or code maintainability).
  • Prioritize the quality of newly written code to minimize technical debt and ease future maintenance, which generally means following the Staging Coding Style Guide and being aware of best practices, like the C++ Core Guidelines.
  • Deliver a consistent cross-platform experience.
  • Leverage upstream and community developments in DOSBox.
  • Focus on supporting up-to-date, current operating systems and modern hardware.

Please refer to the Feature highlights section of our front page to learn about the advanced features DOSBox Staging offers.

The key features for developers are summarised here.

We plan to add the features listed in the backlog.


  • Support old operating systems (Windows 9x/Me/XP, OS/2, and Mac OS X 10.5) and limited CPU/memory hardware, which are constraints DOSBox continues to support.

  • Support the use of Windows 9x/Me in the emulator. Windows 9x/Me emulation is supported by projects such as QEMU and VirtualBox, although DOSBox forks like DOSBox-X and DOSBox Pure also support this. This may change if wanted by the DOSBox Staging community in general.

  • Pursue hardware accuracy when it impacts the above goals or detracts from the source material, although config options may be added in case of issues. If you need perfect emulation in terms of accuracy, you may look at PCem and its derivatives like 86Box and PCBox, which are examples of cycle-accurate emulators.

  • Be the fastest DOS emulator on x86 hardware. Linux users interested in emulation speed should look at dosemu2.

  • Act as a general-purpose DOS operating system. For that, there is FreeDOS.

Relationship to DOSBox

DOSBox Staging is separate from and not supported by the SourceForge-hosted DOSBox project or its development team, the DOSBox Team.

We acknowledge and are thankful for the work shared by all DOSBox contributors.


This project is maintained by the DOSBox Staging team.


Content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

DOSBox Staging is licensed under a GNU GPL version 2 or later.