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Bochs 2.4.6.png
Bochs 2.4.6 with its "wx" graphical interface (wx display library) on Debian 7 GNU/Linux
Original author(s) Kevin Lawton[1][2]
Developer(s) Community based; owned by Mandriva
Initial release 1994; 21 years ago (1994)[3]
Stable release 2.6.8 / 3 May 2015; 6 months ago (2015-05-03)
Development status Active
Written in C++
Operating system Windows, Linux[4]
Platform IA-32, x64
Available in English
Type Emulator
License GNU Lesser General Public License

Bochs (pronounced "box") is a portable IA-32 and x86-64 IBM PC compatible emulator and debugger mostly written in C++ and distributed as free software under the 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, Xenix and Rhapsody (precursor of Mac OS X). Bochs can run on many host operating systems, like Windows, Windows Mobile, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, PlayStation 2.

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 PC games – which will not run on non-compatible, or too fast computers.


Bochs started as a program with a commercial license, at the price of 25 USD, 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 on 22 March 2000, when Mandrakesoft (now Mandriva) bought Bochs from lead-developer Kevin Lawton and released it for Linux under the GNU Lesser General Public License.[1]


Bochs emulates the hardware needed by PC operating systems, including hard drives, CD drives, and floppy drives. It doesn't provide any CPU virtualization features, therefore is slower compared to other virtualization solutions which do. On the other hand, it provides additional security by completely isolating the guest OS from the hardware. Bochs is widely used for OS developing, as it saves the need for constant system restarts (to test code). Bochs is also very helpful for Operating System development because of its extensive debugging features.

BFE makes it possible to debug software step-by-step at the instruction and register level, much like Borland's Turbo Debugger.

Emulated hardware[edit]

Class Device
Video card Cirrus Logic CL-GD5430 ISA
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5446 PCI
Sound card Sound Blaster 16 card (ISA, no Plug & Play)
Ethernet network card NE2000 Ethernet[5]
Chipset Intel 440FX PCI. Host-to-PCI bridge (PMC/DBX), PCI-to-ISA bridge, PCI IDE controller (PIIX3) are available. For PCI cards there are 5 PCI slots.
USB Root hub and the devices mouse, tablet, keypad, disk.
SMP Can simulate up to 8 CPUs.
Enhanced BIOS or SeaBIOS ElTorito, EDD v3.0, basic APM, PCIBIOS features, PCI interrupt routing table. 32-bit init for ACPI, SMM and SMP.

PlayStation 2 port[edit]

The PS2 version was ported by KarasQ (psx-scene forums).


  1. ^ a b Gael Duval (March 23, 2000). "MandrakeSoft buys Bochs for Linux and commits it to Open Source". Retrieved September 21, 2011. 
  2. ^ Thinking inside and outside the Bochs with Kevin Lawton, By Ken Hess, August 25, 2011, ZDNet
  3. ^ Bochs was written by Kevin Lawton starting in 1994., 1.1. What is Bochs?, Chapter 1. Introduction to Bochs, Bochs User Manual
  4. ^ "Download Current". Retrieved 13 April 2015. 
  5. ^ "Bochs User Manual - Features". Retrieved September 21, 2011. 

External links[edit]