Tips on how to Set up Home windows 3.1 on an iPad


Because of a MS-DOS emulator known as iDOS 2 at the App Retailer, you’ll set up Microsoft Home windows 3.1 for your iPad—then play vintage Home windows video games or just surprise your pals. Right here’s the way to set it up.

Introducing iDOS 2

Just lately, we spotted FastCompany editor (and buddy of How-To Geek) Harry McCracken on Twitter experimenting with working Home windows 3.1 on an iPad. Along with his blessing, we’re about to give an explanation for how he pulled off this wonderful feat.

To run Home windows 3.1 for your iPad, you’ll want to purchase an app known as iDOS 2 that’s to be had within the App Retailer. Recently, it prices $4.99, which turns out like a cut price taking into consideration what it will probably do.

The iDOS 2 entry in the Apple App Store.

iDOS has a spotty historical past at the App Retailer. Long ago in 2021, Apple pulled an previous model of the app as it allowed other folks to run unapproved code loaded thru iTunes. Remaining 12 months, its writer up to date the app to drag DOS recordsdata from iCloud or the Recordsdata app, and Apple licensed it. Thus far, it’s nonetheless indexed, so let’s hope that it sticks.

After buying and putting in iDOS 2 for your iPad, run it as soon as to make certain that it creates no matter folders it must paintings for your Recordsdata app. It’s going to create an “iDOS” folder for your “On My iPad” space in Recordsdata. That’s vital.


Earlier than diving into the Home windows setup procedure underneath, you may want to make yourself familiar with how iDOS works. In a vertical orientation, you’ll see a window close to the highest of the display that incorporates the video output of the emulated MS-DOS device. Underneath that, you’ll see a toolbar that permits you to load disk photographs (when you faucet the floppy pressure), take a look at the DOSBox emulation velocity (a black field with inexperienced numbers), and take a screenshot or exchange Settings (through tapping the ability button).


On the backside of the display, you’ll to find an onscreen keyboard that permits you to kind no matter you wish to have into the MS-DOS device. If you happen to turn your iPad horizontally, the MS-DOS show space will take over the display, and you’ll pull up a toolbar that permits you to get entry to the keyboard, mouse, and gamepad choices at any time through tapping the highest heart of the display.

Set Up Your Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse

After you have iDOS 2 put in, it’s possible you’ll need to use it with a {hardware} mouse and keyboard. Fortunately, so long as you’re working iPadOS 13 or upper, it’s simple: Simply seek advice from Settings > Bluetooth and pair your favourite Bluetooth (*20*)keyboard and mouse.

Linking mouse and keyboard in iPad Bluetooth Settings.

When you have hassle getting your Bluetooth keyboard to paintings with iDOS 2, open Settings and navigate to Accessibility > Keyboards and disable “Complete Keyboard Get entry to.” If that doesn’t assist, you’ll nonetheless use iDOS 2 with a digital onscreen keyboard.

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Get and Get ready the Home windows 3.1 Setup Recordsdata

Right here’s the difficult phase: To put in Home windows 3.1 in iDOS 2, you’ll want to someway reproduction the Home windows 3.1 set up recordsdata over on your iPad. The excellent news is that there’s an absolutely criminal approach to do that when you personal (*13*)unique Home windows 3.1 set up floppies—through actually copying the entire recordsdata off of the floppies and striking them right into a folder. If you happen to do personal the disks (and thus, a license to make use of Home windows 3.1), you may additionally be capable to to find disk photographs of the floppies someplace on the internet, however we’re leaving the criminal and moral implications of doing that as much as you.

Then again you got the Home windows 3.1 set up disks, you’re going to need to reproduction the contents of each disk (or disk symbol) right into a unmarried listing, most likely the use of any other device like a PC or Mac. On a PC, WinImage or 7-Zip can extract recordsdata from disk photographs. In our instance, we positioned all the set up recordsdata copied from seven other Home windows 3.1 set up disks right into a folder known as w3setup.

Reproduction the Home windows 3.1 Setup Recordsdata to Your iPad

After you have all the Home windows 3.1 setup recordsdata in one folder, you’ll want to reproduction the w3setup folder into the iDOS 2 folder situated within the Recordsdata app. There are lots of tactics to do that.


A technique is to plug your iPad right into a Mac, after which find your iPad within the Finder sidebar and click on “Recordsdata.” Drag the w3setup folder from Finder or your Desktop onto “iDOS” within the Recordsdata record.

(On a Home windows PC, you’ll set up iTunes and use iTunes Report Sharing for this.)


You’ll additionally use iCloud Force, Dropbox, or any other cloud garage provider as an middleman. As soon as it’s transferred on your iPad, use the Recordsdata app to duplicate the w3setup folder to the iDOS folder in Recordsdata.

RELATED: The entirety You Can Do With the Recordsdata App on Your iPhone or iPad

Set up Home windows in iDOS 2

So long as you’re positive that you’ve the contents of each unmarried Home windows 3.1 set up disk for your w3setup listing, putting in Home windows 3.1 in iDOS 2 is simple. The entirety that you just put into the iDOS folder in Recordsdata turns into the contents of your MS-DOS C: pressure robotically.

To begin the Home windows set up, release iDOS 2, and the use of your keyboard (actual or digital), kind w3setupsetup on the C:> suggested and hit Input. You’ll see a blue setup display that claims “Welcome to Setup.”

The beginning of the Windows 3.1 setup process in iDOS 2 on iPad.


Hit Input, after which make a choice “Categorical Setup” at the subsequent display through urgent Input once more. Home windows Setup will start copying recordsdata from the w3setup folder into a brand new listing known as C:WINDOWS.


After a second, the Setup will transition from MS-DOS persona mode with the blue background right into a Home windows 3.x-style graphical set up. At this level, your mouse will have to be running, and you’ll transfer the mouse pointer across the display. When it asks on your title, kind no matter you’d like, after which click on “Proceed” or hit Input two times. Set up will proceed.

The Windows graphical setup process in iDOS 2 on iPad.

After copying all the recordsdata, Home windows Setup may ask to arrange a printer. Choose “No Printer Hooked up” and click on “Set up.” If it asks if you wish to see an academic, make a choice “Skip Educational.”

Click "Skip Tutorial."

And in the end, you’ll see an “Go out Home windows Setup” window pop up. Restarting inside of MS-DOS doesn’t paintings in iDOS 2 these days, so that you’ll want to force-quit iDOS 2 through citing the App Switcher and swiping iDOS 2 upward off the display.

RELATED: Tips on how to Shut and Restart iPhone and iPad Apps

In spite of everything, Run Home windows 3.1 for your iPad!

Once you give up iDOS 2, release it once more. Now that Home windows 3.1 is put in, it’s time to run it for the primary time. On the C:> suggested, kind win and press Input. After a second, you’ll see the Home windows 3.1 splash display.

The Windows 3.1 splash screen in iDOS 2 on iPad.

After that, you’ll be on the Home windows 3.1 desktop. Congratulations, you’ve finished it! You’re working Home windows 3.1 on an Apple iPad. Time to cackle like a mad genius.

The Windows 3.1 desktop in iDOS 2 on iPad.


If you happen to’re like us, the very first thing that you just’ll do is open the “Video games” program staff and run Solitaire to play a handy guide a rough sport that’s nonetheless as a laugh because it was once in 1992.

Running Windows 3.1 Solitaire in iDOS 2 on iPad.

Or, it’s possible you’ll check out Minesweeper, which comes with Home windows 3.1 as smartly. If you happen to’re feeling inventive, mosey on over to the “Equipment” program staff and run Paintbrush, a undying vintage.

Paintbrush in Windows 3.1 in iDOS 2 on iPad.

And naturally, you don’t at all times have to look the iDOS border across the emulated display. Simply turn your iPad into horizontal orientation, and the border will disappear. You’ll have a in reality great, full-screen Home windows 3.1 revel in at the move.

Benj Edwards

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Subsequent Steps: Sound Give a boost to and Extra Video games

Through default, Home windows 3.1 gained’t play sounds for your iPad except you put in a different sound driving force. To try this, you’ll want to download the Soundblaster 16 Inventive Audio Motive force discovered at the RGB Vintage Video games web site. Extract the ZIP document to a folder known as sb and replica it over on your iDOS listing in Recordsdata.

To put in it, run iDOS 2 and kind sbinstall on the C:> suggested, after which apply the onscreen directions. Most significantly, you’ll want to exchange the Interrupt from 5 to 7 all through the setup procedure.


If you happen to’d love to get extra Home windows video games, a just right position to search out them is the Web Archive. With screenshots and the power to run them for your browser, you’ll check out them out sooner than you even reproduction them on your iPad.



If you happen to discover a sport that you just like at the Web Archive, you’ll normally to find the ZIP document for the sport indexed within the sidebar at the proper facet of the display. Obtain the ZIP document on a Mac or PC, extract it to its personal folder (below eight characters lengthy so it’s DOS pleasant), after which reproduction it over on your iDOS folder at the iPad.

You’ll set up it in Home windows 3.1 through deciding on Report > New > Program Merchandise in Program Supervisor. Then, “Browse” to the sport’s listing and make a choice the principle EXE or COM document that runs it. If that sounds tedious, that’s as a result of it’s! That’s simply the best way that Home windows was once again then.

And right here’s the name of the game 6th Sense twist for the very finish: You’ll do all of this for your iPhone as smartly. Simply take into account that on every occasion Home windows or any other program asks you to restart your PC, you’ll need to force-close iDOS and run it once more. Have a laugh!

RELATED: Tips on how to Set up Home windows 3.1 in DOSBox, Set Up Drivers, and Play 16-bit Video games