infobox software

caption = Bochs for Windows displaying HAL91 (Linux)
developer = Community based; owned by Mandriva
latest release version = 2.3.7
latest release date = release date and age|2008|6|3
operating system = Cross-platform
programming_language = C++
language = English
status = Active
genre = Emulator
license = GNU Lesser General Public License
website =

Bochs is a portable x86 and AMD64 PC emulator and debugger mostly written in C++ and distributed as free software under GNU Lesser General Public License. It supports emulation of the processor(s) (including protected mode), memory, disks, display, Ethernet, BIOS and common hardware peripherals of PCs.

Many "guest" operating systems can be run using the emulator including DOS, several versions of Microsoft Windows, BSDs, Linux, AmigaOS, Rhapsody and MorphOS. Bochs can run on many "host" operating systems, like Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux and Mac OS X.

Bochs is mostly used for operating system development (when an emulated operating system crashes, it does not crash the host operating system, so the emulated OS can be debugged) and to run other guest operating systems inside already running host operating systems. It can also be used to run older software – such as computer games – which will not run on non-compatible, or too fast, computers.


Bochs can emulate the hardware needed by the guest operating system, including hard drives, CD drives, and floppy drives. Disk and ISO images can be "inserted" while the system is being run. However, the system performance is very slow because it is only emulated. It doesn't provide any CPU virtualization features. However, it is useful for capturing screen shots in researching old DOS software. Bochs is widely used for hobbyist OS developing, as it saves the need for constant system restarts (to test code). Bochs is also convenient for OS developers because it has error reporting and dump files that other emulators may lack.


Bochs started as a program with a commercial license, at the price of $25, for use as-is. If a user needed to link it to other software, that user would have to negotiate a special license. That changed in 22 March 2000, when Mandrakesoft (now Mandriva) bought it and released it for Linux under the GNU Lesser General Public License.

See also

* Comparison of virtual machines

External links

* [ Bochs development homepage]
* [ x86 Emulation makes it to the Handheld PC] discussion of BOCHS running under Windows CE]
* [ Bochs project of the month interview on]

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