QUESTION: A few years ago I found a new cd to an old dos game my dad liked, and so I got it not realizing it was dos. I happened to find out about dosbox, so I got it and watched several videos explaining it on youtube, and I can get as far as telling it to setup the game, but it comes back with "please run under windows 3.1 or higher" I'm on windows 7, and while I know it's higher I realize it may be too high, but do I have to get windows 3.1 in order for it to work or am I basically screwed? And if I can find windows 3.1 is it much trouble running both versions of windows simultaneously? Thanks for your time, I appreciate it...
ANSWER: I'll tell you up-front that you will not be installing Windows 3.1 (nor dual-booting with it) on a modern computer; since around 2006 most modern computers won't even install or run Windows 98, let alone something as ancient as Windows 3.1 (driver support being the biggest problem, but there are other factors). Your only options here are emulation, or purchasing a much older computer that runs an appropriate operating system (and also meets the hardware requirements of the game). Something that's curious to me is that the game is on CD, which generally means it is newer than the era of DOS gaming (CD-ROM was more of a late 1990s phenomenon; most DOS-targetted games came on diskette). This, coupled with the game's error about wanting Windows 3.1 (as opposed to the MS-DOS environment that DOSbox is emulating) makes me think the game is probably a Windows title; do you know the specific title of the game (and if possible, who published it)?
That in mind, what it sounds like is happening is that you're attempting to run the game's installer within Windows 7 (e.g. putting in the CD and letting Windows 7 execute its auto-run), but hoping to run the game itself via DOSBox. This won't work - you have to install the game thru DOSBox as well. To do that you'll have to mount the game's CD in DOSbox, which this guide will explain:
(it requires setting up some features within DOSBox's configuration and then loading the CD up and issuing the correct command).
If the game truly requires Windows, you are probably better off finding an older computer that runs an appropriate version of Windows (and here, knowing the specific game would be helpful - things would be easier for your situation if the game can be run in Windows 95, or even better, Windows 98). You *can* install Windows 3.1 under DOSbox, however you have to have an existing copy of the install media for Windows 3.1 (and I will not discuss or advocate pirated software) - here is a guide that explains that process:
However if the game is very demanding in terms of hardware requirements, it may be better off run "natively" (that is, on a machine running an older version of Windows, and you install the game there) rather than via emulation; most 3D games fit into this category, for example.
Finally, another thing I would consider - it would probably be a good idea to find out if this game was ever ported or released for a game console. It is much easier, for example, to track down and purchase an old Super Nintendo and a copy of your game, than to configure and tweak complex emulation.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Hey thanks for the quick response. I am actually trying to install the game in dos box, but I get as far as telling it to install (or setup as it is in my case) and then it comes back with the "please run under windows 3.1 or higher" I actually tried this on an xp just to see if there was a difference and I got the same thing. The game is called "Connections: a mind game" it's based on James Burkes' Connections series, and I'm pretty sure it's never never been released on any other format. I did read somewhere online that it was still possible to buy windows 3.1 legally for fairly cheap on ebay, but I also read that running it with dosbox is a fairly complicated affair, so I'm not sure if I'm even interested in going to lengths that far if I have to. Just thought it would be nice to get it to work, but we've lived without it for so many years, it's not too much of a problem continuing that. Thanks for your help.
Okay, so based on what you have observed the game does require Windows, not just DOS (which is why DOSbox isn't working outright). A bit of looking at the game and it appears it supports Windows 95 - finding an older machine with Windows 95 would probably be the easiest solution at this point; the bits I've found (I'll admit that I'm not familiar at all with this specific title) seem to agree with what you've been finding: getting this specific game working under DOSbox looks like a potentially monumental task.
One thing you might try, if you have a Windows XP machine, is installing the game with compatibility mode for Windows 95 enabled (you'll probably even have to run the initial setup.exe off the disc with compatibility mode) - it may just work (some Windows 9x games will work with compatibility mode enabled). Alternately, Microsoft's VirtualPC 2004 and 2007 can provide a Windows 9x environment, however it cannot be hosted under Windows 7; 2007 is available for free from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4580
but you will need a WindowsXP or Windows Vista host machine (Wikipedia offers a VPC compatibility matrix: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Virtual_PC#Supported_host_and_guest_operati
Here is an MSDN article that looks at installing Windows 95 under VPC:
You can also try Windows 9x under VirtualBox, but it is not officially supported; here is an article explaining that in some detail:
And another here: