Doom on legacy systems
Since Doom is known to run on practically anything, and there is a widespread enthusiasm for legacy systems such as ancient PCs, pre-PC home computer systems, and classic gaming consoles in the Doom community and the wider gamer scene in general, this article outlines the path of least resistance for running Doom on a wide range of different hardware and operating systems which are considered obsolete or otherwise discontinued.
- 1 AmigaOS
- 2 Apple Macintosh (Mac OS 7.x - 9.x)
- 3 Atari operating systems
- 4 Classic consoles
- 5 Microsoft Windows
- 6 MS-DOS
- 7 OS/2
- 8 iPod
- 9 Irix
- 10 Web browser
- 11 More advanced topics
- 12 Sources
Apple Macintosh (Mac OS 7.x - 9.x)
Although the Doom series was actively marketed to Macintosh users in the mid-1990s, finding a copy for classic Mac OS in 2018 is quite difficult. Therefore, the following procedure is recommended:
- Download the Macintosh executable and shareware IWAD. This can be done at Doomworld; the file is called MacDoomDemo.hqx.
- Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called Doom I Demo ƒ.
- (Optional) In your Monitors control panel, change the screen depth to 256 colors. If you also change the resolution to 640x480, the game will run faster and fill the screen.
- Double-click the executable, DOOM.
- Choose New Game from the File menu to begin playing. You may first want to choose Movement... from the Control menu to see which keys do what.
If you want more than the nine shareware levels, just remove DOOM1.WAD from the folder Doom I Demo ƒ and replace it with one of the full IWADs (see the Windows XP section for advice on obtaining those). Because this executable predates Ultimate Doom and Final Doom, however, it has two significant limitations:
- Episode IV of Ultimate Doom is inaccessible.
- To play Final Doom, you must also have the IWAD for Doom II. Start the program as though you were going to play Doom II, then press S during the opening credits to access the single-player setup screen. Click Load WAD File..., locate the Final Doom maps (TNT.WAD or PLUTONIA.WAD), then click Start Game. When the built-in demo begins, choose New Game from the File menu.
In addition, no music will be played unless it is present in Episode I of Doom. For instance, all of the intermission screens have music, but level 29 of Doom II does not.
Mac OS 7.x - 8.5
The game needs 5MB of free memory to run at all, and 10MB to run smoothly. If you do not have 10MB of memory, you can speed the game up by choosing Small Graphics from the Options menu, or by pressing S during the opening credits, checking the "Kill" Finder & Other Apps box, then restarting the program.
If the sound is missing or choppy, and you have plenty of memory:
- for 680x0-based machines, make sure you have Sound Manager 3.0 (or higher), and disable the "QuickTime PowerPlug" extension if it is present.
- for PowerPC-based machines, make sure you have Sound Manager 3.1 (or higher). Sound Manager 3.0 can also be used if you have the "Apple Multimedia Tuner" extension.
Due to the age of your operating system, most source ports may not be available. If you have System 8.1 or later, Doom Legacy can be used.
Atari operating systems
Doom titles have also been released for the 3DO, Atari Jaguar, Game Boy Advance, GamePark 2X, GamePark 32, Nintendo 64, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, Sony PlayStation 3, Super Nintendo, Tapwave Zodiac, and Xbox. (The Sega Dreamcast port is not an officially licensed product; see nxDoom for details.) These consoles are all discontinued, but secondhand games can be obtained in various ways, including:
- online auction sites, such as eBay;
- online gaming shops which sell used titles, such as GameStop;
- brick-and-mortar gaming shops which sell used titles (if your console is really old, your best bet is a local store, not a national chain);
- Flea markets, thrift shops, garage sales and or yard sales.
You can read our articles about console ports if you have more than one of these machines and want to know how their Doom versions differ.
There are many different ways to run Doom on a Windows computer. Here is one method.
- Download the Doom95 archive with the included shareware IWAD (a file named DOOM1.WAD). This can be done .
- Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called doom95.
- Ignore the Doom95 executable and instead obtain a modern version of the Doom executable as instructed below.
The numerous ways to obtain a full version of Doom include:
- Pay to download any of the classic Doom games via GOG or Steam. In the latter case, installation of the Steam client software is necessary, and in either, a credit card is required for payment. The games are the original DOS versions which run under the DOSBox emulator, which is the most developed way to run the original, unaltered version of the Doom games on modern systems. However, DOSBox has speed problems with older systems, and setting the games up to run in an alternative, Windows-native executable (called source port) is often a better choice for such systems.
- Search for "Doom" on an online auction site such as eBay. For instance, on eBay, there are usually at least a dozen copies of Doom and Doom II for sale at any given time, and because the game is so old, you might be the only bidder for a particular item.
- Visit a brick-and-mortar gaming shop and look through the discount/clearance shelf, particularly for a compilation like The Depths of Doom Trilogy (1997) or Doom Collector's Edition (2003). Note that collections of user-created levels, such as D!ZONE, generally do not include the executable or IWAD.
Alternatives to Doom95 and vanilla Doom
For most Doom fans today, modern community-developed versions of the Doom executable (called source ports) are the preferred method to play the game. Source ports are generally more compatible with modern Windows systems and usually feature an array of various new features and bug fixes.
To install and launch a source port, you most commonly do the following:
- Install whatever program came with the IWAD you want to use.
- Open the homepage of your preferred source port, browse to its download page and download the archive that includes the port's Windows version.
- Decompress the source port's archive, and put all the files/folders into the same folder as the IWAD.
- Double-click the source port's main executable (for example, zdoom.exe or prboom.exe).
Playing vanilla Doom
- Know how to use the DOS command line, or be willing to learn.
- Before you buy an IWAD, make sure it comes with the DOS version of the executable. For instance, version 1.666 does, but the Collector's Edition does not. However, it is also possible to download the original executable along with the shareware version of Doom . The Ultimate Doom and Final Doom executables are not legally available for download without buying the games.
- On Windows NT systems the game may run, but without sound. If this is the case, either turn off the sound effects and music with the -nosound command line argument, or install a third-party utility program such as SoundFX 2000 or VDMSound.
- If you own a relatively modern system and want full sound support, try using DOSBox, a multi-platform MS-DOS emulator.
Another way to recreate the vanilla Doom experience on modern operating systems is Chocolate Doom, which purposely imitates the original's behavior and limitations as closely as possible. If your purpose is to participate in speedrunning, keep in mind that, along with any other third-party executables, it is not allowed for submissions to the renowned Compet-n site, or to any other site which has adopted Compet-n's rules.
Due to the widespread usage of Windows 95 and its descendants, there are many different ways to run Doom on your computer. Here is one method.
- Download the Doom95 executable and shareware IWAD. This can be done .
- Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called doom95.
- Within that folder, double-click SETUP.EXE, and follow the on-screen instructions as you would when installing any other program.
- Find the Doom shortcut you just created on your desktop or in your Start menu. If you used the default folder names in the setup wizard, there should be a Doom folder inside the Programs folder of the Start menu. When you open the shortcut, the Doom95 launcher window will appear.
- Choose a map and a difficulty level, then click the New Game button to begin. (You may want to click the Configuration... button first to see which keys do what.)
If you want more than the nine shareware levels, replace doom1.wad with one of the full IWADs (see the Windows XP section for advice on obtaining those).
If the game's graphics are distorted or discolored, make sure you have the version of DirectX which was current at the time your version of Windows was published. For example, if you have Windows 98 SE, you need DirectX version 8.
Windows NT 3.5x
Note: These instructions may apply to Windows NT 3.1 as well.
You will run into several problems when trying to install and run Doom on Windows NT 3.5 or 3.51. The first caveat is that Windows NT 3.5 will not work on Pentium Pro processors or newer (e.g. Pentium II, III, AMD K6, Athlon, etc). Instead, use Windows NT 3.51.
The installation of NT 3.5x can be rather tricky, and unless you are prepared with the proper network card drivers (or have one of the few cards NT can detect natively), you may not be successful in connecting to a LAN or the Internet. In this case, these instructions can be carried out by transferring the files via floppy disks or CD-R discs, though you obviously will not need a web browser.
No web browser, by default, is installed in this early version of Windows NT. A web browser will be necessary to download the source port to run Doom on this operating system, and will also come in handy for other uses. It is recommended that you use the built-in FTP client (ftp.exe) to download an evaluation version of Opera 3.60, or another similar old version. If you have a way to transfer the setup executable to the computer running Windows NT 3.5x (over a LAN, for instance), the evaluation version of Opera 3.60 available from Oldversion.com works well. If not, use NT's built-in FTP client to connect anonymously to ftp.cdrom.com, navigate to the /pub/simtelnet/win3/inet/ directory, download ow362e16.exe, and install it.
Next, you will need to download the shareware version of the PKUNZIP utility from this page. This is necessary if you wish to unzip compressed ZIP files (for instance, the shareware version of Doom). Place it in a temporary directory.
You will now want to either transfer your Doom IWADs to the NT 3.5x machine, or . If transferring your IWADs manually, take note that the vanilla Doom executables will run on NT 3.5x, although sluggishly and without music or digitized sound effects. If downloading the shareware version, unzip it using PKUNZIP, run the installer program, and install shareware Doom to your hard drive.
If you manage to get the proper sound and video drivers installed in NT 3.5x, you will be able to play Doom using a source port. Otherwise, you will be stuck in VGA mode (16 colors) and have no sound. Using the DOS executables may be a better choice if that is the case.
A number of the more modern Windows source ports will not function on Windows NT 3.5x because it does not support DirectX. The Chocolate Doom port is known to work on Windows NT 3.51 (so long as you use Windows GDI instead of DirectX for rendering). Other source ports also using SDL as a base, such as PrBoom, may work as well if configured in the same way.
Another (older) option that was developed for early Windows NT versions is NTDoom. To obtain it, download the latest binaries from its home page and extract the ZIP file (using PKUNZIP) to your Doom directory. The file .doomrc that NTDoom generates acts much like the configuration file produced by SETUP.EXE. You can either edit this file manually to modify how NTDoom works, or use the contents of DEFAULT.CFG after making changes with SETUP.EXE.
The original Doom versions run natively on MS-DOS, although obtaining them can be tricky. Here are a few different methods you can try.
- Download the shareware IWAD and executable . Next download the PKUNZIP utility from this page and use it to unpack the Doom shareware ZIP file to a temporary directory. Switch to that directory and execute install.bat which should install the game. Note: it is possible to use the shareware executable with all the Doom IWADs. Unfortunately this means Ultimate Doom's fourth episode is not available and the Final Doom episodes only function if the IWADs are renamed to doom2.wad.
- Search for "Doom" on an online auction site such as eBay. For instance, on eBay, there are usually at least a dozen copies of Doom and Doom II for sale at any given time, and because the game is as old as it is, you might be the only bidder for a particular item.
- Use a Windows system to buy and download the games via GOG or Steam. This is an extremely quick and easy method, but a credit card is required for payment, and Steam requires installation of its client software first. After downloading the games you can copy them over from the installation directory you chose (for the GOG distribution) or from <Steam directory>\SteamApps\Common\<game name>\base (for the Steam distribution) to your DOS system.
Alternatives to the original DOS executables
Instead of the original Doom executables you can also use alternative fan-developed versions of the Doom executable (called source ports) which usually feature various bug fixes and new features not available in the original Doom versions. One popular DOS source port is MBF which can be downloaded . Simply unpack the ZIP file to the directory where the IWAD is located at and run the source port executable. This way you do not need the original executables at all.
DOS versions of Doom version will run in a DOS full screen session but sound does not work, as with Windows NT.
You can try DOSBox, as it has been ported to OS/2.
Doom was also natively ported to OS/2, with versions available here.
Id software released an unofficial port of Doom to SGI Irix machines, but it is quite old at this point and may be difficult to set up. More information is available at SGI DOOM FAQ.
More advanced topics
If the game is running, but you are having a lot of trouble finding your way through the levels, you can read our walkthroughs.
If you want to do more than just play the standard levels in single-player mode, your options are varied. You can try:
- Playing multiplayer games.
- Playing add-on levels (known as PWADs).
- Playing a different Doom-engine game (such as Heretic, Hexen, or Strife).
- Recording and watching demos.
- Speedrunning (competing against other players for the fastest demo on a given map).
- Creating your own levels.
- Helping to program, debug, or test a source port.
- Otherwise interacting with the (still active) community of Doom fans; for instance, there are Doom web sites, IRC channels, and Usenet groups.