The ISA-Bus

One blog to bind them all.

Windows in DOSBox: Set it to 256 colors

When you install Windows 3.0 or 3.1 in DOSBox, always be sure to get an SVGA driver and set it to at least 256 colors. If you run it in VGA mode, the palette will be wrong. The bright colors will be correct, but the dark colors will be too light and of the wrong hue. Here’s a screenshot of Windows 3.0 running on DOSBox in VGA mode:

Windows 3.0 in DOSBox, VGA

And here’s what it should look like, and does look like when set to 256 colors:

Windows 3.0 in DOSBox with an SVGA driver

Quite a difference, isn’t it? The two screenshots above are unedited, if you download them, you can look at the palette in IrfanView or D-Pixed.

For another comparison, I’ll use George Sutty’s Backgammon, which uses the dark colors prominently. Here’s what it looks like with the wrong palette:

Backgammon VGA

And here’s what it’s supposed to look like:

Backgammon SVGA

I used Windows 3.0 screenshots because I had them handy. It’s similar in Windows 3.1, though the palettes are a bit different. In both cases: If you want the correct colors, install an SVGA driver and set it to 256 colors!

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