Old Windows and DOS programs with USB serial port

Old Windows or DOS devices using RS232 or USB to RS232 connection may work on Linux (including Windows Subsystem for Linux) using WINE or DOSBox. The examples assume a USB to RS232 adapter.

Windows RS232 on WINE

From Terminal:

adduser $(whoami) dialout

Logout and login again.

Plug in USB-RS232 adapter.

ls /dev/ttyUSB*

The USB to serial converter will probably show up as /dev/ttyUSB0 Find the corresponding WINE device port by

ls -l ~/.wine/dosdevices

If necessary, change the serial port mapping in WINE via regedit.

DOSBox RS232

Another way to use USB to serial converters with old DOS programs is via DOSBox on Linux, Mac, Windows or Android.

  • setup serial port DOSBox on Linux
  • TODO: do Bluetooth to serial port adapters work from DOSBox?

Physical serial ports on Linux

For computers with 9-pin / 25-pin RS232/RS485 port. StarTech makes good PCI cards with 2, 4, or 8 RS232 ports that are Linux-friendly.

apt install setserial

setserial -g /dev/ttyS* | grep -v unknown


  • If you’re not currently running Linux you can use an Ubuntu Live USB stick.