Making Software Emulate on IA

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This document is very much in flux. It has been created quickly to allow people interested in uploading their old DOS and Windows programs (plus other platforms) into the Internet Archive. It will be improved on and made more clear, but all the information is here.

Be sure to read the Internet_Archive_Emulation article.

It is highly recommended you browse the Internet Archive Software Library to see in-use examples of the metadata pairs that are set on functioning systems.

A Word about the Internet Archive Emularity Environment

On first (and probably fifth) look, the Internet Archive's emulation environment seems very strange and non-intuitive. This is a reflection of the multiple internal systems it needs to negotiate to be referenced; think of it as how a spacecraft has to work in both the vacuum of space and a salt-laden ocean. It is not you; it is a very hard learning curve.


All programs intending to have in-browser emulation running DOS or WINDOWS 3.1 should be added to a .ZIP file. The file can be named *.ZIP or *.zip, but case matters, so note it for late.

  • There have been cases of older .ZIP files (especially ones with "messages" that print when looked at) confusing the system, so it's generally a good idea to unpack all the contents of a .ZIP file and then re-pack it into a brand-new .ZIP files (not just "appending" to the previous one). Otherwise, the system might not find the file and will return some errors.
  • Please endeavor to add as much description and information about what you are uploading as possible. History, context, description of what the program does, what it's for, what date it is from, and what subjects it might be thought to cover. In many cases you will be the only person who describes the software and you should be best fitted to put in the appropriate information. Be complete!

When uploading, set the mediatype to software. Also, set the collection to open_source_software. (It can be moved later by admins at Internet Archive.)

Add the following metadata pairs to your upload:

For DOS .ZIP files

  • emulator should be dosbox
  • emulator_ext should be ZIP or zip depending on your filename.
  • emulator_start should be the name of the file in your .ZIP file that should be executed when starting.

When your item finishes uploading and being added to the Archive, there should be a large "Emulate It!" logo at the top of your item. If so, you can press this button, start the emulation and see if everything is working.

For WINDOWS .ZIP files

WINDOWS programs are the same as DOS, with an added metadata pair:

  • emulator should be dosbox
  • dosbox_drive_d should be emularity_win31/
  • emulator_ext should be ZIP or zip depending on your filename.
  • emulator_start should be d:\runapp PROGRAM where PROGRAM is the executable program within your zip file.

If all of these settings are correct, you should be able to execute your windows program after the system has added it. It will show the "Emulate It!" logo, with a start button.

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