Playing Master of Orion on XP or Vista with DOSBox

The Microprose computer game Master of Orion was the great science fiction strategy game. It’s been almost sixteen years, and yet Master of Orion retains tremendous depth of tactical and strategic flexibility. The graphics aren’t great, of course, but few games have ever beaten Master of Orion’s sheer fun factor. And now with the excellent DOSBox emulator, it’s possible to play Master of Orion on a modern XP or Vista computer. Here’s how to do it:

1.) Download and install DOSBox.

(Note that if you’re running Vista, you will want to set DOSBox to run as an administrator.)

2.) Next, create a directory to serve as a virtual C drive during your DOSBox session. I usually just create a directory named ‘dos’ and stick it in the root folder of my hard drive. You can stash the folder in your user profile, of course, but typing C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Desktop\Dos every time you want to play Master of Orion gets old real fast.

3.) Put your Master of Orion CD-ROM in your drive, and start DOSBox.

4.) Use the following command to mount your dos directory (assuming you followed the example above) as your hard drive:

mount c c:\dos

5.) Mount your computer’s CD/DVD drive in DOSBox with this command:

mount d D:\ -t cdrom

Obviously, if your CD/DVD drive has a different letter than D:\, you’ll need to change it (mount d E:\ -t cdrom, for instance). It’s possible to use an ISO image in lieu of the actual cdrom, but I’ve had the best luck with the actual disc.

6.) To install Master of Orion, first change to the D drive:


And then type:


This will bring you to the Master of Orion installation program.

7.) Follow the prompts, and Master of Orion will begin installing:

8.) After installation is finished, you’ll be asked to configure your sound settings:

I’ve been able to get the sound to work on both XP and Vista; unfortunately, it seems a bit flaky, as I’ve seen systems where it will simply not work. I’ve had the best luck with basic SoundBlaster settings.

9.) Once the install finishes, make your way to the C:\mps\orion directory. The installer should leave you there automatically; if not, use these commands:


cd mps

cd orion

Then type the following to start Master of Orion:


You should now be able to enjoy the game.


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13 Responses to Playing Master of Orion on XP or Vista with DOSBox

  1. justin says:

    i am new to this whole computer thing so i have a few questions. i am trying to get master of orion to work on my pc with vista. i dont understand what you mean by creating a new directory in step two. is it the way i downloaded dosbox to my pc or what other info do you need from me? i would greatly apreatiate your help.


  2. Jonathan Moeller says:


    What I mean by that is you’ll need to create a new folder to store your game files. To do so:

    -Go to the Start Menu.

    -Go to Computer.

    -When Computer opens up, double-click on the C: drive.

    -When the C: drive opens up, right-click on a blank space within the window and select New, and then Folder.

    -A new folder will appear. Type the folder’s name, and you’re set.

    Hope that helps.

  3. Brother Order says:

    Ok I tried everything you said and I am getting an error message “could not locate cd”.
    Mind you I not only installed the version that should not need the cd, but I still left the cd in the drive just in case and I am still getting this error. I have no problems with MOM, but this game simply refuses to run on XP no matter what I do.


  4. Blacknight says:

    dont try to explain to people how to use dosbox for a specific game, unless you are going to have actual dosbox settings for that individual game, dosbox has their own website, and their own readme, and their own manual, and their own support, i know it sounds like a good idea to try to get more people playing that way, but what you should do is send them to the dosbox website and let them actualy learn what it is, what it does, why it does it, and how it does it, so that they might be able to actualy change those autoexec settings, and config settings, and stuff like that, with confidence

  5. Blacknight says:

    oh yah, forgot to mention, the game runs slow as hell on vista 64 with the default settings on dosbox, and guess what, this is the only possible guide i found for installing this game with dosbox, its compleatly useless for anyone who actualy has experience with the game and dos (oh, and the game runs just fine on microsoft’s virtual machine running in vista 64 creating a windows xp window, if you want sound, just use vdms and default sb16 settings in that xp window, even lets me run it there without changing both of my monitors to 16 bit

  6. UncleJoe says:

    For Blacknight: Yes, I tried the dosbox forum and got flamed for asking a newbi question. That’s why I’m looking elsewhere for help.

  7. shawn says:

    hey when I try to mount the dos folder the “\” is no where to be found. For example, if i click on the key for the “\” symbol and it makes the “}” symbol. can you help?

  8. shawn says:

    also when i go to the keyboard layout the key “\” doesnt exist on my computer. There is suppose to be an extra key there containing the “\” symbol but rather it is just “kl;’[enter]” key. Is there anyway to add the “\” key.

  9. Phil says:

    Help please….I keep getting ERROR! The following path is not valid. What am I doing wrong? Any help is welcome.


  10. Rebecca says:

    Get to the step where you enter an install path on the C drive and nothing will work. I’ve tried the c:\dos that I created – no luck. using the default path of c:\mds\orion – no luck. Can someone tell me what I’m missing?

    Thanks, Rebecca

  11. MC says:

    I got up to the part where you install the game and after I put in c:\Masteroforion (made this directory in my c drive to install to) I then get the insert disk message.. needless to say..its searching for a floppy disk still do I get around this ? Thanks

  12. MC-reposnder says:

    MC — now type orion…

  13. Spencer says:

    Awww, man, i am a computer beginner. I have got no clue as to what you are talking about. How do I create a directory? What is the root folder of a hard drive? For #4.) where do I insert the command? If I try to use the command Z:\4 mount c c:\Dos in DOSBox it tells me it is an illegal command. Could you please put this into terms that any one can understand, step by baby step?!!! I just realized that this information was posted like nearly 5 years ago….