Switching between full screen and window

To use DOSBox in full screen, press the ALT key and, while pressing the ALT key, press the Enter key. Do this again, and you return to the DOSBox window. To enhance image quality, continue reading.

Changing the DOSBox resolution and image quality

DOSBox window resolution 1280x960 - Leisure Suit Larry 1.Here at DOSGamers, we like our DOS games to look clear and just like the original. As most DOS games are made for screens with a resolution of 320x240 pixels, DOSBox needs to scale the image. With default settings, DOSBox in full screen looks blurry or fuzzy and squashed in case of wide screens. At startup, the window is also kind of small. So what did we do?

  • Open the DOSBox configuration file:
    • Windows 7: Press CTRL + ESC (or Start button), type in dosbox and the options file should appear in the search results, click it
    • Windows 8 and Windows 10: Press the Windows key + Q, type in dosbox, and the options file DOSBox 0.7x Options should appear in the search results, click it
  • Look for the [sdl] section
  • Use fullscreen=true for full screen
  • Use fullscreen=false for DOSBox in a window
  • Change fullresolution=original to fullresolution=desktop
  • When using a window, change windowresolution=original to windowresolution=1280x960 (or use 1024x768 for a smaller window). You can enter any resolution you want but remember that DOS games were made for screens with a 4:3 width/height aspect ratio. See also the aspect setting below.
  • Change output=surface to output=openglnb (uses graphics hardware and maintains crisp image with scaling). You might try output=ddraw if your hardware doesn't support OpenGL. In some cases ddraw also has a lower CPU load.
  • Scroll down to the [render] section
  • Change aspect=false to aspect=true (maintains 4:3 aspect ratio for both full screen mode and windowed mode. If you've set a resolution with another aspect ratio, like 1280x480, this will be converted to 640x480. In the same way your desktop resolution like 1920x1080 will be converted to 1440x1080. Otherwise keep on false if you like the aspect ratio of your resolution setting.)
  • Save the configuration file with CTRL+S (or File - Save)
  • (Re)start DOSBox
Comments from the retro community
Jeff · 30-03-2014 · 00:23 CET · [#]
Thank you!!!!! it worked!!! and mine isn't a game, it's some financial software that is better than anything on the market and now I don't have to use Quicken!
stugpanzer · 18-12-2014 · 19:49 CET · [#]
Just curious Jeff....what financial software are you using?
dismapsuxlol · 16-05-2015 · 03:07 CET · [#]
I just created an account to say thank you for this information! My dosbox resolution was working fine and then one day without warning a bombshell must have went off in my program and the resolution / aspect ratio suddenly got all messed up. I've been banging my head against the wall for years trying to figure out how to fix it. This is a lifesaver, now I can finally be once again immersed in my old games.
DOSGamers · @DOSGamers · 18-05-2015 · 16:49 CET · [#]
Thank you for taking the time to create an account and say thanks! Much appreciated!
Nirxnmirxn · 29-10-2015 · 01:45 CET · [#]
...just created an account too to say thank you for the instruction. DosBOX was running fine quite some time and all of a sudden it "crashed" by changing the resolution, forcing me to "alt-tab" out of it, "alt-tab" into it and "alt-enter" again. Figured out I was lucky all the time 'cause I can't remember doing anything to the config, just "alt-enter" to get fullscreen smile After doing the changes in config no error for nearly an hour. I consider myself lucky again, although I have to get used to the new look smile
DOSGamers · @DOSGamers · 29-10-2015 · 14:47 CET · [#]
Sudden screen issues with DOSBox could very well relate to the software/game you run on it. Anyway, what was the "old look" looking like, and did you like that better? There are quite some options to tweak the DOSBox video output that haven't been mentioned on this page (yet) wink
Nirxnmirxn · 29-10-2015 · 15:12 CET · [#]
The "old look" basically was a "dull widescreen" version of any game. I got used to it, the less you can see the more your imagination has to work it out. Now, with settings closer to the original version, for the first time I can identify single pixel bigsmile The new look is like watching HD, compared to what I had on the screen before smile
KvotheTBL · 19-06-2016 · 07:06 CET · [#]
Hey guys, sorry for the necro, but I'm following your guide and having some issues. I'm running Windows 10 64bit with dosbox 0.74 and this is what my options settings look like:



When I run DosBox, I use run as administrator, it still opens full screen in the original resolution. I've tinkered with the settings for a couple of hours and I can't really get any change in resolution. Any extra pointers for people running this on Windows 10?
DOSGamers · @DOSGamers · 19-06-2016 · 09:59 CET · [#]
Hey KvotheTBL, thanks for your message! This isn't a forum, this is a site that tries to keep retro gaming alive, and all comments are relevant smile Your settings look ok. I think you're talking about game resolution, correct? The article above is about DOSBox screen and window resolution. You can't change the game's resolution, which for most DOS games is 320x200, or for later games 640x480. You can use another scaler (hq3x, 2xsai or similar) to make the game look smoother (less pixelated or blocky), but that's not necessarily better. Depending on the game, there could be a source port available, which allows you change the game's resolution. Like DXRebirth for Descent, or Doomsday for Doom. For most older games there's no such thing. But we all love those pixels right? wink
Ant_222 · 07-08-2016 · 14:48 CET · [#]
Bear in mind that DOSBox 0.74, the latest release at the time of this post, has very limited support for pure pixel-perfect display, and even that without aspect-ratio correction. Most of the time, this can be achieved by specifying the follwing parameters in the config file:
the exact scaler depending on the relation between the game's and the display's resolutions.

'surface' is the only output type that does not automatically stretch the image until it touches the horizonal or vertical borders of the screen, while aspect=false disables rescaling the image according to the pixel aspect ratio of the game. This is the only way to preserve equally-sized sharp pixels in DOSBox 0.74.

output=openglnb does keep the pixels crisp, but it garbles the whole image by enlarging different rows and colums to differnt integer scales. [url=http://r84.imgup.net/dosbox-scab194.png]Compare[/url], for example, the DOSBox title screen produced with recommented settings with that rendered by openglnb:

Owners of Windows are welcome to the test pixel-perfect scaling and aspect-ratio correction that I have implemented and built into [url=https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=49160&start=20#p518448]this[/url] version of DOSBox. Should somebody need a build for another OS, I shall soon upload a diff patch for DOSBox SVN revision 3989.
Ant_222 · 07-08-2016 · 14:49 CET · [#]
Sorry for the wrong markup in my previous post. Please, let me know how to mark up text here and delete my comment. I will rewrite it.

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