Software for DOS-based systems

Here is a collection of freely downloadable utilities that you may find useful for DOS systems. Some may also run under Windows 9x but others may require an exit to DOS mode. Software on this listing has been tested on my computer(s) and shown to work and be at least moderately useful; I've done what I am able to sift through all the buggy and subpar software out there to find what I consider the best options but make no guarantee that any of these will work for you.

As many of the programs listed here are 20+ years old and it may be difficult or impossible to complete registration for them any more, I am only including shareware programs if they are sufficiently useful even in their unregistered form. Some optional features may be disabled in these programs but none of them should be obnoxious, overtly crippled or rigged to expire. If you are the author of any of these programs and are still offering registrations, please contact me so I can add relevant up-to-date links for doing so. Gratis programs have been preferred where feature sets are comparable.

Further, due to the volatile nature of the web particularly with regards to older files, I am now hosting downloads for all programs listed here on my page. In cases where a program homepage is listed you might wish to check for newer versions (I will note if new versions are known to remove DOS support).

DOS software - (Un)archivers

Programs that can work with .ZIP and similar files. These are generally provided as self-extracting installers.

SoftwareVersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
PKZIP2.04gWell-known packing and unpacking utilities for the ubiquitous .ZIP format. A utility to handle this format is practically mandatory and this one's a tried-and-true option.Sharewarepkz204g.exe
UNARJ2.65Unpacker for .ARJ archives. These are rarer than .ZIP, but not entirely uncommon in older file collections.
Source code is also included.
Freewareunarj256.exe

DOS software - File Editors & Checkers

Software for editing files in text or hex, checkers for file hashes, patching utilities

SoftwareVersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
PEDIT4.00Simple but featureful text editor made to serve as a familiar replacement to standard EDIT, an excellent choice.
Understands CRTL-C, CTRL-X, CTRL-V standard for copy/cut/paste.
Freewarepedit400.zip
HexIt1.57Powerful hex editor.
Quite possibly the best option for pure DOS use. If you're using Windows 9x, Hexplorer is probably even better.
Freewarehexit157a.zipHomepage
Funky Chicken Utilities FileCRC1.00Calculate CRC32 hashes of files. C source code included.Freeware32crcfck.zip

DOS software - Graphics, Painting, ANSI Screen Editors

Art programs for both graphics and text modes.

SoftwareVersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
GrafX 22.0 beta 96.5%Deluxe Paint style graphics program with lots of nice features.
Note that this is an old version of the program, which works in DOS. A few functions are not available in this version. Newer versions are available but DOS support was dropped.
GPL2gfx2b965.zip
Source code
Homepage
(newer non-DOS versions)
VGAPaint 3861.4 FinalDeluxe Paint style graphics program. Some other programs are a bit more advanced but all the expected basics are here.
Requires DOS4GW.EXE which is not included in the author's .ZIP.
GPL2vp386.zip
Source code
Homepage
Empathy1.00pANSI text-screen graphics editor, designed around demoscene use. Has a lot of nice features including VGA palette support. Keyboard commands are designed to be familiar to users of TheDraw and AcidDraw.Freewareempd-100.zip
TheDraw4.63ANSI text-screen graphics editor, one of the more popular programs of its kind in days past.Sharewaretdraw463.zip

DOS software - Music Editors

Trackers for MIDI, MOD, etc.

SoftwareVersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
Scream Tracker3.21Music tracker for Amiga .MOD files and its own Scream Tracker .S3M files.

Must be run in pure DOS mode for correct display.
Freewarest321.zip
Midget II2.0A MIDI tracker program that can compose to its own format and also export to standard .MID.
Supports MPU-401 or PC speaker as a fallback, but does not support AdLib/SoundBlaster OPL synthesis.
Freewaremidget20.zip

DOS software - Game Editors

Programs designed to create/modify the data for video games.

SoftwareVersionDescriptionLicenseDownloadSite
Doom Construction Kit (DCK)3.62A Doom, Heretic, and Hexen map editor. Primarily based around laying sectors with a rectangle-select-style tool.
Shareware version lacks a few non-essential features that were offered in the registered version, but is for the most part fully-featured for map editing.

Must run in pure DOS mode.
Sharewaredck362.zip
WAD Auxiliary Resource Manipulator (WARM)1.6Compiler for Doom, Heretic, and Hexen maps (node builder/reject map builder). After all this time, this remains the preferred one that I use for all my WADs, as it does better vanilla compatibility.
Source code is included.
Freewarewarm16.zip