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How to download and run Doom

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Note: This article is not a general troubleshooting guide for any of the operating systems listed below. It assumes that your hardware and existing software is set up correctly; even then, it probably does not pertain to every possible configuration. If you are having computer problems, please seek help wherever you would normally seek help.


The central experience of the Doom community, of course, is playing the game. If you have never played before, this article should help you get started.

You will need a computer or game console capable of running Doom (a fairly complete list can be found here), as well as two pieces of software:

  • The program, or executable, which tells the computer how the players and monsters move around and what the weapons and other objects do. Different operating systems usually require different executables.
  • The data file, or IWAD, which contains all the actual maps and the graphics used to draw them. This is the same for every system. IWADs are most commonly named as <game name>.WAD.

Console versions of Doom always include both of these. If you have a Windows or Macintosh computer, and you buy a prepackaged game from id Software or your favorite retailer or online auction site, both pieces are also included. If you have a different operating system, or you have simply encountered an annoying bug in the included Doom95, you may require or prefer an alternative executable (a source port) or an emulator; as open source programs and freeware these are generally free of charge, but do not include the IWAD, which is proprietary software owned by id Software. (The Freedoom project intends to create a non-commercial IWAD, but it is far from complete.)

For more detailed instructions, click on the kind of machine you are using:

AmigaOS Edit

BeOS Edit

Cell phones Edit

See also: #Portable media players / tablet computers.

Consoles Edit

If you have a Game Boy Advance, GamePark 2X, Xbox, or Xbox 360, you should be able to buy games (or at least get up-to-date advice about buying them) wherever you bought the console or online for the Xbox 360. The next paragraph, about secondhand software, applies as well.

Doom titles have also been released for the 3DO, Atari Jaguar, GamePark 32, Nintendo 64, Sega 32X, Sega Saturn, Sony PlayStation, and Super Nintendo. (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 like EBX);
  • flea markets, thrift shops, garage sales or yard sales.

The current availability of the WebTV Plus version is questionable, given its age and its thin client characteristics. ItPlaysDoom.com (via the Wayback Machine) provides some instructions for downloading this version.

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.

Macintosh operating systems Edit

Mac OS X Edit

The original commercial distributions of Doom predate OS X, but several major source ports have been compiled for it. Here is one way to get started:

  1. Download the latest version of PrBoom. This can be done, for example, at the Sourceforge project page; look for versions marked "prboom stable".
  2. Mount the disk image. You should get a volume called PrBoom-N, where N is the version number.
  3. Download the shareware IWAD. This can be done, for instance, at ibiblio.org; the file is called doom1v18.wad.gz.
  4. Decompress the archive. You should get a file called doom1v18.wad.
  5. Rename the IWAD doom.wad.
  6. Double-click the application, PrBoom.app. This brings up the launcher window.
  7. From the Tools menu, select Show Game Folder. This opens PrBoom's working directory in the Finder.
  8. In the Finder, drag the IWAD into the folder you just opened. The Launch button in PrBoom should now become active.
  9. Return to PrBoom and click the Launch button.
  10. Press Esc to bring up the main menu. Before starting a new game, you may want to view or change the controls by selecting OPTIONS, then SETUP, then KEY BINDINGS.

If you want more than the nine shareware levels, just place one of the full IWADs into the directory you opened in step 7 (see the Windows XP section for advice on obtaining those). Note that this version of PrBoom does not recognize the name doom1.wad, so if you want to use the full version of Doom or Ultimate Doom, remove the shareware IWAD first.

Mac OS 8.6 - 9.x Edit

Although the Doom series was actively marketed to Macintosh users in the mid-1990s, finding a copy in 2014 is quite difficult. Therefore, the following procedure is recommended:

  1. Download the Macintosh executable and shareware IWAD. This can be done, for instance, at Doomworld.com; the file is called MacDoomDemo.hqx.
  2. Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called Doom I Demo ƒ.
  3. (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.)
  4. Double-click the executable, DOOM.
  5. 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.

To avoid these problems, you can try a source port. Doom Legacy, for example, has been compiled for this operating system.

Mac OS 7.x - 8.5 Edit

Although the Doom series was actively marketed to Macintosh users in the mid-1990s, finding a copy in 2014 is quite difficult. Therefore, the following procedure is recommended:

  1. Download the Macintosh executable and shareware IWAD. This can be done, for instance, at Doomworld.com; the file is called MacDoomDemo.hqx.
  2. Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called Doom I Demo ƒ.
  3. (Optional)  In your Monitors and Sound 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.)
  4. Double-click the executable, DOOM.
  5. 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.)

The game needs about 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.

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.

You can avoid these problems with a source port. (Due to the age of your operating system, however, you may have to compile it yourself! If you have System 8.1 or later, Doom Legacy can be used.)

Microsoft operating systems Edit

Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8 Edit

Shareware version (free, but only has nine levels)Edit

There are many different ways to run Doom on a Windows computer. Here is one method.

  1. Download the Doom95 archive with the included shareware IWAD (a file named DOOM1.WAD). This can be done, for instance, here.
  2. Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called doom95.
  3. Ignore the Doom95 executable and instead obtain a modern version of the Doom executable as instructed below.

Full versionEdit

The numerous ways to obtain a full version of Doom include:

  • Pay to download Ultimate Doom, Doom II, or Final Doom from id Software's web site (roughly US$20 per title [This software is no longer available on ID's website]). This is by far the fastest method, and avoids the issue of disks being lost or damaged in the mail, but it requires a credit card and a very reliable internet connection in addition to being relatively expensive.
  • Pay to download any of the classic Doom games via Steam (US$9.99 per title). This is equally as fast as downloading the games from id Software, but installation of the Steam software is necessary and credit or debit 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 your favorite 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.)
  • Download Doom Classic from iTunes. In the apps menu, drag and drop the icon for Doom Classic to your desktop. Rename the .ipa extention of the file name to .zip and extract it. In the extracted files, open up the Payload folder. Inside of it, open the Base folder. Find doom.wad and drag it to your desktop. This is your IWAD for "The Ultimate Doom." Note that this method will not give you an executable. However, it can be played in source ports.

Alternatives to Doom95 and vanilla DoomEdit

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:

  1. Install whatever program came with the IWAD you want to use.
  2. Open the homepage of your preferred source port, browse to its download page and download the archive that includes the port's Windows version.
  3. Decompress the source port's archive, and put all the files/folders into the same folder as the IWAD.
  4. Double-click the source port's main executable (for example, zdoom.exe or prboom.exe).

Relatively stable and feature-rich programs include ZDoom, PrBoom, Doom Legacy, the Eternity Engine, GZDoom, Vavoom, Doomsday, Risen3D, Skulltag and ZDaemon. The last two are multiplayer focused.

Playing vanilla DoomEdit

To play using the original MS-DOS version of Doom, Doom II, or Final Doom, the following additional steps are recommended:

  1. Know how to use the DOS command line, or be willing to learn.
  2. 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 here. The Ultimate Doom and Final Doom executables are not legally available for download without buying the games.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 custom 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).

Windows 95/98/Me Edit

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.

  1. Download the Doom95 executable and shareware IWAD. This can be done, for instance, here.
  2. Decompress the archive. You should get a folder called doom95.
  3. Within that folder, double-click SETUP.EXE, and follow the on-screen instructions as you would when installing any other program.
  4. 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.
  5. 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, just 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 3.x Edit

MS-DOS Edit

The original Doom versions run natively on MS-DOS, although obtaining them can be tricky. Here are a few different methods you can try.

Shareware version (free, but only has nine levels)Edit

  • Download the shareware IWAD and executable here. 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.

Full versionEdit

  • 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 a Windows system to buy and download the games via Steam (US$9.99 per title). This is an extremely quick and easy method, but installation of the Steam software is necessary and credit card is required for payment. After downloading the games you can copy them over from <Steam directory>\SteamApps\Common\<game name>\base to your DOS system.

Alternatives to the original DOS executablesEdit

Instead of the original Doom executables you can also use an 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 download here. Simply unpack the ZIP file to the directory where the IWAD is located at and run the source port executable. This way you can also obtain the IWADs any way you prefer and you do not need the original executables at all.

Windows NT 4 Edit

Windows NT 3.5x Edit

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 download the shareware version of Doom. 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 (purist) 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.

Windows CE Edit

OS/2 Edit

DOS versions of Doom version will run in a DOS full screen session but sound only works with version 1.1 with a sound blaster.  Other versions do not work - as with Win NT.

You can try Dosbox - this has been ported to OS/2 to get sound or legacydoom.

Doom was ported to OS/2 - try a few versions here: http://hobbes.nmsu.edu/h-browse.php?dir=/pub/os2/games/action/doom

PDAs Edit

Palm OS Edit

Portable media players / tablet computers Edit

Rockbox, a custom firmware for certain iPods, irivers, and other various portable media players, has a Doom port called Rockdoom which is included by default in Rockbox builds.

Ports to Android include FreeDoom and Doom By Eltechs.

Unix/Unix-like Edit

BSD Edit

GNU/Linux Edit

In 1994, id Software released Linux versions of Doom. Although these versions can still be obtained (see the Doomworld.com shareware page, for example), Linux has changed a lot since 1994, and they probably will not work on your computer. Therefore, you will need to use a source port.

Precompiled binaries Edit

Some source ports offer precompiled binaries for generic Linux, or for certain distributions such as Debian or Ubuntu. If you decide to use a precompiled package, follow its installation instructions.

Compilation Edit

Depending on the source port you are hoping to compile and play, you must first download the correct source code. The source code is usually contained as a .tar.gz or .tar.bz2. Depending on the type of archive, you must first extract it via the command line or any other tool that suits your needs. If you use the command line, you must execute the following command:

If you have downloaded a .tar.gz:

tar -xzvvf <file name here>.tar.gz

If you have downloaded a .tar.bz2:

tar -xjvvf <file name here>.tar.bz2

Once the source is extracted, you will need to change into the source directory. Once you are inside you need to determine how it is built. Currently, there are multiple flavors to build source code within Linux.

  • Configure (PrBoom, and Odamex)
    • A file named configure.sh should exist in the current directory.
  • Auto-gen with configure (Chocolate Doom)
    • A file named autogen.sh should exist in the current directory.
  • Makefile Only (Doom Legacy, and ReMooD)
    • There should only be a file named makefile and/or GNUmakefile and not any of the above.
Configure based Edit

This setup requires multiple steps and is slightly more advanced. To start the configure script you must execute the following command:

./configure.sh

If the configuration fails, you must do as it instructs. Usually when it does fail, you do not have a required dependency to build the source port. If that is the case, then you must install the development libraries required. Once configuration is complete, you may then execute the following command:

make

If compilation is successful you may then either run the came or execute make install if you wish to install it onto your system. If compilation fails, you will have to make source code changes yourself or contact the source code maintainer.

Auto-gen based Edit

When in the current directory, execute the following command:

./autogen.sh

Then follow with the Configure Based instructions.

Makefile based Edit

The method is the simplest and most likely always requires only a single command to build the game. All you need to do is execute the following command:

make

If compilation is successful you may then either run the came or execute make install if you wish to install it onto your system. If compilation fails, you will have to make source code changes yourself or contact the source code maintainer.

Please note that if you are attempting to build Doom Legacy, you should use make SDL=1 as by default Doom Legacy defaults to DJGPP, a DOS targetting compiler.

Running the game Edit

Once you have compiler and optionally installed the desired source port, you will need to setup the proper WADs. Depending on the sourceport you are using, you may have multiple choices or just a single one. Once the game is setup, you will need to refer to source port documentation on how to configure the game.

Windows method Edit

This setup requires you to either place your WADs in the current working directory or state their exact location when using -iwad and/or -file. It is the standard way which is supported on every source port, however it usually requires more typing.

*nix method Edit

The original Linux executable looked for IWAD in $DOOMWADDIR , and most *nix ports also do. Some recent source ports (such as ReMooD, Odamex, and Chocolate Doom) also can look in variable DOOMWADPATH. It is only needed to set these environment variables once. DOOMWADDIR consists of a single directory such as "/usr/share/games/doom", whereas DOOMWADPATH may consist of multiple directories separated by a colon. Once the variables are set you may then launch the game; parameters -iwad and/or -file need not to include full path after that. If you do not wish to set any environment variables and you are using either ReMooD or Odamex you may add the following parameter when launching the game.

-waddir <directory>

Irix Edit

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.

NeXTSTEP Edit

QNX Edit

RISC/os Edit

Solaris Edit

More advanced topics Edit

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:

Sources Edit

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