Networking FreeDOS - Quick Networking HowTo

  The original of this Quick Networking HowTo is available in internet
  with pictures, see:
  Networking_HowTo .

  The next chapters of this document will describe DOS networking with a
  lot of detail. But for the impatient users, here's a quick HowTo: It
  explains how to set up a network with FreeDOS 1.3.

Install the networking software

  By default there is no network preinstalled with FreeDOS.
  But the installer makes it pretty simple to set it up.
  *  Install FreeDOS according to
  *  Afterwards, leave the CD in the tray, reboot and choose:
     "Boot from system harddisk".

  (Picture installing FreeDOS from CD)

  *  After the reboot run the package manager FDIMPLES:

   (Picture with tool FDIMPLES activating FDNET, mTCP and HTGET.)

  (The install CD has to be present to see all the packages available.)
  *  In the left window choose Networking, in the right the programs
     you wish to install.
  *  FDNET is mandatory for networking in virtual machines. I
     would also recommend at least mTCP and wget. Confirm with OK.
  *  Reboot.

  (Picture showing FreeDOS 1.3 that booted up with network support.)

  The boot messages above show that the C:\FREEDOS\BIN\FDNET.BAT network
  batch file was able to identify my system correctly as running in
  VirtualBox. It loaded the correct packet driver PCNTPK.COM. DHCP.EXE
  from mTCP also found the network and was configured automatically.
  So far FDNET.BAT is able to identify the following virtual machines:
  QEMU, VirtualBox, VMWARE.

If you don't run FreeDOS in a virtual machine

  If you don't run FreeDOS in a virtual machine, you should first try
  to find a packet driver for your network interface card (NIC).
  Many packet drivers are written and collected by Russell Nelson and
  his Crynwr Software (*01). Download them from there or from the
  FreeDOS repository.

  If you found a packet driver, please add it to your AUTOEXEC.BAT
  right before the line with FDNET.BAT. For instance for the
  3COM 3c589 PCMCIA card you'd add:

     LH 3C589PD.COM 0x60 5 0x300
     if exist %dosdir%\bin\fdnet.bat call %dosdir%\bin\fdnet.bat start

Without a packet driver

  If you can't find a packet driver for your network card, there is a
  good chance to find a driver that was supposed to work with Novell
  Netware (ODI driver) or with the Windows Lanmanager or with Windows
  for Workgroups (NDIS driver). It's a bit of work, but you can use
  these drivers as packet drivers. Learn more about NDIS drivers
  or ODI drivers in this documentation.

The network's up. Now what?

  If you're using FreeDOS in VirtualBox, please check your settings for
  your network adapter. You have to decide between bridged Networking
  or NAT. Please see the HowTo about VirtualBox (*02).
  You need to configure your networking programs. For instance set the
  name and password for the FTP server by editing C:\MTCP\FTPPASS.TXT.

  Some DOS networking programs need to find the network configuration
  in C:\FREEDOS\WATTCP.CFG. In FreeDOS 1.3 it looks like this:

     my_ip = dhcp

  Unfortunately some old programs are not able to get the values by
  DHCP themselves. So either you put fixed IPs in here. Or you use a
  nice utility written by Canadian programmer Dave Dunfield: It will
  get the correct network settings via DHCP and insert them in

  If you want to do the latter,

  *  Open C:\FREEDOS\WATTCP.CFG and delete the line

     my_ip = dhcp

  *  Go to Dave Dunfields "DOS Widgets" page (*03).
  *  Download "DDHCP" from the network tools section
     (NEW: "DHCP", see (*04)).
  *  Put it into an directory C:\DDHCP and add these lines to
     AUTOEXEC.BAT, right after the FDNET.BAT line:

     if exist %dosdir%\bin\fdnet.bat call %dosdir%\bin\fdnet.bat start

  (The "/F" parameter will fill in all values that are missing in

  (PLEASE NOTE: The filename is not "DDHCP" but "DHCP"! So there
  maybe minor changes!)

  Now with every reboot, WATTCP.CFG is updated with the correct network

See also:

  *  (*01) Crynwr website, see:
           Crynwr packet drivers, see:
          (everything in ONE LINE, NO free space!)
  *  (*02) HowTo about Virtual Box, see:
  *  (*03) Dave Dunfields "DOS Widgets page" is here now:
  *  (*04) The file seems to have the name "" instead
           of So the new link is:

  Copyright © 2007 Ulrich Hansen, Mainz (Germany), updated 2022
  for FreeDOS help by W.Spiegl.
  For more information see here.

  This file is derived from the FreeDOS Spec Command HOWTO.
  See the file H2Cpying for copying conditions.