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GTA 1 on DOSBox Guide


Recommended Posts



Updated 30/3/2021 - Rewritten from scratch



DOSBox - dosbox.com

Grand Theft Auto Files - Steam / Original CDs



Start by installing the latest version of DOSBox.

Now navigate to its installation folder, usually (..but not always, this guide assumes you're running a 64bit build of Windows).

C:\Program Files (x86)\DOSBox-0.74-3

Open "DOSBox.exe" and a couple of black-and-white terminal windows will open that look pretty confusing. You'll see a flashing

command prompt with "Z:\>_" and likely have no idea what to do. Not to worry, we just need to run DOSBox.exe at least once to generate a configuration file

that has now been created somewhere else on your computer. Go ahead and close DOSBox.exe without having to type or press anything.


Now I prefer to copy DOSBox to a folder dedicated to the old game that I'm running, in this case I recommend creating a folder called "Grand Theft Auto" wherever you'd like.

Personally, I create mine in my "Documents" folder, which would usually appear like this:

C:\Users\yourName\Documents\Grand Theft Auto


Inside this "Grand Theft Auto" Folder, copy and paste your DOSBox installation and create a separate, brand new folder called "GTA". The folder structure looks like this:

\Grand Theft Auto
\Grand Theft Auto\DOSBox-0.74-3
\Grand Theft Auto\GTA


Use some CD ripping software of your choice that can rip discs to .bin and .cue format, and rip the Grand Theft Auto disc as "Grandtheftauto.cue" & "Grandtheftauto.bin". Place both of these files inside your GTA folder, we'll need them later so the music works when you play the game because they are treated as .cda audio tracks, just like a regular music CD.


Now open up Windows Explorer, and click on the directory, the part that usually says "> This PC > Documents" or whatever folder you have open. You need to replace this

by typing the following and hitting return:


This takes you to a folder called "Roaming". It contains files and configurations for a lot of software that is installed on your computer and is hidden by default. A little

frustrating but not impossible to access. Click on "AppData" to move "up" one folder and then open the folder called "Local". You should see a new list of folders and within

them a folder called DOSBox. Open that and there should be a configuration file inside called something like "dosbox-0.74-3.conf" (depending on the version of DOSBox

that you installed).


Copy this .conf file and paste it into your "Grand Theft Auto\DOSBox-0.74-3" folder the rename it to simple "dosbox.conf". This will be the configuration

that DOSBox loads by default for Grand Theft Auto, which makes things easier for keeping DOSBox games separated.


Excellent. Now install the original Grand Theft Auto as you normally would from the CD, by default to the root of your hard drive "C:\GTA".

You either need to move the files to your previously created "GTA" folder or simply point the installer at your "Grand Theft Auto\GTA" folder instead.

This will provide you with files and folders that look like this:

Grand Theft Auto\GTA\3DFX
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\GTADATA
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\GTADOS
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\GTAWIN
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\SETUP
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\AUTORUN.EXE
Grand Theft Auto\GTA\AUTORUN.INF

..and many more.


Return to your "Grand Theft Auto\DOSBox-0.74-3" folder and open the dosbox.conf file that you made in Notepad, you can right click the file in Windows and

click "Open with..." and clicking More apps if Notepad doesn't immediately appear.


You'll see a huge list of text that can be pretty confusing but we only need to edit a couple of parts. After the first collection of lines that begin with # you'll see

the following lines:



Simply make the following changes; "fullscreen=false" to "=true"; "fullresolution=original" to "=desktop"; and "output=surface" to "=ddraw".

Now it will look like this:



Next, scroll all the way down to the bottom of dosbox.conf to find the following lines:

# Lines in this section will be run at startup.
# You can put your MOUNT lines here.


You just need to add some lines underneath, copy these:

mount C ..\GTA
imgmount D ..\GTA\GrandTheftAuto.cue -t iso
cd gtados

Save dosbox.conf and close it.


Now when you open DOSBox.exe, Grand Theft Auto will launch in fullscreen, albeit in the wrong resolution when you get into the game, with most of the screen cut off.

Simply press F11 on your keyboard and use the arrow keys to select the largest resolution the game allows, usually 800x600x32 on the right and hit enter.

The screen size will change and the game should be ready to play.


For some more authenticity, create a shortcut to DOSBox.exe and rename it to Grand Theft Auto.

You can find the icon file in the "Grand Theft Auto\GTA\GTADOS" folder named "ICON.ICO".

Edited by Zom-B
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  • 6 months later...

Can You post how to emulate properly Grand Theft Auto London 1969 and Grand Theft Auto London 1961? It would be easier because the files are different and it was difficult for me to emulate first GTA even with Your help. Thanks it advance.

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  • 5 years later...

Hi. I'm struggling to pull this off. I'm a total klutz with stuff like this. Anyway I'm on a Windows 10 PC, any way you can get that video you posted here up again? Cos it says it's unavailable. Either that or maybe help me via remote assistance if you can find the time? I have official disc copies of the original GTA and GTA London 1969, and the London 1961 download. I'd be very grateful if you could help a dumb*ss like me!

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  • 2 months later...

I'm currently playing the 3Dfx version of this game on DOSbox. You know this is possible, right? 1969 and 61 too. And it is the best version available. Actually it was a lot easier to get than your description. When I have some free time I'll write the steps here, but it is a piece of cake. Check the difference here:


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