A Complete Guide To Windows 3.1 In DOSBox

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This page can help you install Windows 3.1 in DOSBox with no ads, garbage, or slow loading webpages. It will show you everything you need to get a working installation with drivers, making some things more simple, and getting to install some software and play some games.

Table Of Contents
Downloading Important Files
Preparing DOSBox
Preparing Installation
Installing Sound Driver
Installing Video Driver
Resources And Links


Downloading Important Files

You will need these files and programs to install Windows 3.1 successfully.
Make sure you have a fast internet connection to download the files. Some aren't small!

Windows 3.1 Download 6-10MB~
SB16 Driver Download 2.8MB
S3 Trio 864 Download 600K
DOSBOX Download 1.4MB
*credit to rgb classic games for the drivers! I am not hot linking.

Preparing DOSBox

You can download DOSBox above or at this link.

You will need a directory to act as your C: drive in DOSBox. You should place the directory at the root of the drive just to save time typing. You can name it whatever, but mine is at C:\DOS.
You can now try putting some files in the directory and mounting it.
To mount the drive you can use the "mount" command.
Typing MOUNT C C:\DOS will make C:\DOS the C: drive.

If you want to make this command run each time you start DOSBox you will need to add some lines to the config file.
Open the Start Menu, Programs, DOSBox, and click DOSBox Options.
That should open the dosbox config file.
In Notepad use the find dialog and find "autoexec" (or scroll to the bottom of the page)
You can put the following lines under [autoexec]
MOUNT C C:\DOS
C:\
CLS
AUTOEXEC.BAT


DOSBox will now start in your chosen directory.
Create a new blank file using notepad in your directory named "AUTOEXEC.BAT". That file will be used by Windows and some software later.

Preparing for the Installation

Obviously to install Windows 3.1 or any version of Windows you need some disks.
You can get Windows 3.1 install disks from WinWorld at the link above or from your own collection like me. You do not need to install MS-DOS as DOSBox sort of has a really crippled version of DOS as it's literally just command.com, but I do not know how to actually install DOS in DOSBox. Suprisingly, Windows 3.1 does not complain.

You should now have the Windows 3.1 install disks ready. You probably have folders names Disk1 to Disk6 (or more)
You need to get all of the contents from every folder and put it all in one single folder in your DOS directory. If you get errors saying that there are files with the same name then that will not work. Try some different disks.
As far as I know there is no way to boot from disks or do disk swapping in DOSBox.
I named the folder "INSTALL" whenever you are making file names in DOS or Windows 3.1 remember that it only supports 8.3 filenames. (only 8 letters long plus 3 more for an extension. ex. INSTALL1.TXT)

Now open DOSBox again and type DIR for a directory listing. If you see your install folder then type CD INSTALL to change to the "install" directory.
Type SETUP and complete it.
The install should be really fast because it is not running off disks. Obviously, no disk swapping is needed, just sit back and relax while Windows installs on your computer... for a few seconds. Once it's done click "Restart Now" to close DOSBox.



Once you open it agan and type "WIN" Windows 3.1 should boot up. If you would like Windows to start when you open DOSBox, add WIN to the end of your AUTOEXEC.BAT file.
For convenience you should probably do that when you're done because there's still things to do in DOS!

Installing Sound Driver

The sound driver is very easy to install as it has it's own installer. The sound driver and video driver are thanks to classicdosgames.com driver page.

DOSBox emulates an amazing Sound Blaster 16!! and you can download the driver at RGB Classic Games or at Downloading Important Files

Download the ZIP File and extract it into your DOS driectory.
Open DOSBox and run the INSTALL.EXE file.
Follow the insturctions. Here there is no need to change it's default settings and mess around with all those confusing things in DOSBox.



If it finds duplicate files you should probably just replace them.
You can delete it's B~K Backup files from C:\ when it's done.
And then, Please remember to REBOOT your system!

Now go back into Windows and you can do a Canyon test!!
When the test is done you can safely exit Windows for the next step.

Installing Video Driver

Installing the Video Driver is not as easy as the Audio Driver but it's pretty simple. What makes it less simple is that it has no installer. You have to manually select the files with the Windows setup.

DOSBox can use the S3 864 Drivers. You can get them at RGB Classic Games or at Downloading Important Files
Put the folder with the drivers in your DOS directory (C:\S3) or wherever you want it.
Now that you have those, open DOSBox change to the "WINDOWS" directory and type "SETUP".
Move up to and choose "Display".
Scroll down to the bottom of the list and choose "Other" in the box type the location of your drivers (C:\S3)
You should now have S3 864 Drivers in the list.
Choose whichever one you want but i'm gonna go with 640x480 256 colors. Press enter to confirm and exit the setup. You may need to give it the loaction of the files again... then once more!! Ok now once it's done forgetting where the files are type WIN and see the magical... More Color!!!

Resources And Links

Thanks for reading! I would now like to show you some links for your new Windows 3.1 install.

CD.TEXTFILES.COM Directory
IBM Gopher
Dark Corner BBS
Windows 3.1 Downloads
Win31.de
and more to type down soon..

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Updated Oct 13, 2018