Coverdisk Archive – DOSBox and D-Fend Reloaded Guide

Posted on October 6th, 2016

If you’ve been looking at the old PC coverdisk archives I’ve been uploading you might be wondering how to play them on a modern PC. The answer is DOSBox, or more specifically, D-Fend Reloaded.

DOSBox is a Intel x86 PC emulator along with all the sound (Sound Blaster, Adlib etc), graphic and input devices needed to play MS-DOS games. It’s the next best thing to playing on original hardware (and in many ways better as you can emulate all sorts of hardware combinations).

D-Fend Reloaded (DosBox Frontend Reloaded) is a frontend for DOSBox making it exceptional easy to configure and get going with the important job of playing games.

Installing DOSBox and D-Fend Reloaded

You don’t actually need to install DOSBox, the D-Fend Reloaded installer will do this for you.

Head over to dfendreloaded.sourceforge.net and get the latest full setup (not the update). It’s your everyday Windows installer, run it, install it.

Configuring D-Fend Reloaded

Normally when you configure a DOSBox profile you set it up to run a specific game. We’re not going to do that, we want the full 90s MS-DOS experience.

We’re going to make a profile that dumps you at the DOS prompt and allows you to run the coverdisk installer program (most of the coverdisks came with a small program that allowed you to browse and install the contents). Once installed you can navigate to the correct directory and run the game. More about that later. We’ll also create a “Floppy” folder on your PC that DOSBox will mount as a real floppy. You can then just copy and paste on of the archive contents to this folder and see it in DOSBox. Easy.

Start D-Fend and you’ll be greeted with the following window:

D-Fend GUI

Now click:

You’ll see a new profile window as bellow. Enter a profile name, in this case I called it “Coverdisk Archive Explorer”.

New D-Fend Profile

From the left hand menu select:

You’ll see a new dialog box. Select:

Navigate to your “Floppy” folder or paste the directory path. If you’ve placed the folder in D-Fend profile folder as above, it may show up as:

.\Floppy\

Select Drive Letter:

Ok the changes and your config should look like:

D-Fend Drive Setup

From the left hand menu choose:

This is optional but I find it easier when you’re copying floppy content across.

OK your changes and you’ll see the following dialog:

D-Fend Save Dialog

This is fine. Select Yes. You’ll see your new profile:

Saved DOSBox Profile in D-Fend

Loading a Coverdisk

Double click the profile and DOSBox will boot to a screen as below:

DOSBox DOS

Go the A: drive by typing the following followed by Enter:

a:

Display the contents of the A: drive with the following followed by Enter:

dir /w

You should see the following output:

Empty Directory

Head over to the Coverdisk Archives and download one the zips. Extract it to your local “Floppy” folder you created before. You do this within Windows as normal, not within DOSBox or D-Fend:

Windows Directory

Go back to DOSBox (no need to restart):

dir /w

As you can see all the contents are updated and seen as floppy drive by DOSBox

DOSBox Directory

That’s it! Easy. You can explore the disk, install the games and utilities etc. Normally there’s a small program specific to the magazine for installing the programs. In this example I’m using a PC Format coverdisk and we see PCF.EXE. Running this will load the main program:

PC Format DOSBox

Install the demos you want and run them from the DOS prompt as you would any other program. Tip they are most probably installed to:

c:\games\

For example:

c:\games\alien\alien.exe

Alien Breed running in DOSBox with D-Fend Reloaded

Troubleshooting

My game is too slow!

My game is too fast!

My game wont run!

There’s no sound!