Need help getting FreeDOS to run in QEMU with network and something like SMB

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  • BootAble – FreeDOS boot testing freeware

    To obtain direct, low-level access to a system's mass storage drives, SpinRite runs under a GRC-customized version of FreeDOS which has been modified to add compatibility with all file systems. In order to run SpinRite it must first be possible to boot FreeDOS.

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Well-known member
Jul 19, 2021
I am slowly getting ready to try and start to try and learn dos internal and some assembly programming for DOS. I found a few books online on dos assembly. I wanted to run freedos in QEMU and have someway of sharing files with it via a SMB share. Getting freedos installed was easy first I used:

qemu-img create freedos.img 512M

To create the hard disk image and then

qemu-system-i386 -hda freedos.img -cdrom FD13LIVE.iso -m 16 -boot order=d -display sdl -enable-kvm -nic tap,model=e1000,mac=52:54:98:76:54:32

To boot up the iso and install. At this point I have freedos install and when I boot I get


Notice the green QEMU networking detected. I thought with the -nic parameter that I could somehow get a DHCP lease just like the host system. I was thinking that tap was like a bridge.


I found on some junky old sites that I should be able to run ne2000.exe to install the driver, I was wondering if I could do that, then run DHCP.exe to get an ip address and maybe figure out how to mount a smb share some how or share the files in the freedos machine with smb. Either way. I tried to get information on the freedos wiki but it does not seem to be functioning. I think ne2000.exe needs like hardware information, when I was a kid, I think I might have used MSD.exe in dos to figure out stuff for hardware. I remember needing to know that stuff to get some dos games to work. But when I got my first 486 in 1994 I was 10, so I really did not have much of an idea what I was doing. :) I will try to post this on both grc and
Check out THIS page:

ALL of the development work I did for SpinRite v6.1 was done on a ZimaBoard on my local network which SMB mapped directory shares on my main development machine. So this is definitely possible. I also succeeded in doing this with a VirtualBox VM running in the same development machine. What I do NOT know about is QEMU.
Well I did get SMB working to and from a FreeDOS VM. I am using “The Revolutionary Guide To Assembly Language” to start which uses MASM 6. The source code is on I am including some screen shots of how I made the mappings to and from the FreeDOS VM. I created a share on a Windows 2000 VM that I found on WinWorldPC and I also got access to the FreeDOS VM from Windows 7 64. For some reason when I go into cmd and change to the FreeDOS mapped drive and type to do a “dir” I get “The system cannot find the file specified.” The biggest problem I have is that I was going to try and use CodeView to debug some of the “The Revolutionary Guide To Assembly Language” programs to figure out how to debug assembly programs. But I get a “CPU in protected or virtual mode” I googled that and I guess I can not have emm386 loaded.

I also noticed on something about creating 16-bit assembly programs with modern Vs with a 16-bit link.exe, I am not sure I understand that. Anyway, this is the progress I have made so far.

I downloaded the FreeDOS VM from here:


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Two other things I noticed while researching this issue. 1) It is possible to do remote debugging using a com port, do perhaps I could have two DOS VMs, one for the debugger and one for the program being debugged. 2) I am not sure if codeview is meant to run under windows, I was trying to get it to run under windows 2000 and I am not have much luck. Anyway, I took a break and shower and I might do some more googling on it.