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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