Short for Microsoft Disk Operating System, MS-DOS is a non-graphical command line operating system derived from 86-DOS that was created for IBM compatible computers. MS-DOS originally written by Tim peterson and introduced by Microsoft in August 1981 and was last updated in 1994 when MS-DOS 6.22 was released. MS-DOS allows the user to navigate, open, and otherwise manipulate files on their computer from a command line instead of a GUI like Windows
Today, MS-DOS is no longer used; however, the command shell, more commonly known as the Windows command line is still used by many users. The bottom image is an example of a Windows command line window running in Microsoft Windows 10.
Most computer users are only familiar with how to navigate Microsoft Windows using the mouse Unlike Windows, MS-DOS is navigated using MS-DOS commands. For example, if you wanted to see all the files in a folder in Windows you would double-click the folder to open the folder in Windows Explorer. In MS-DOS, you would navigate to the folder using the cd command and then list the files in that folder using the dir command
MS-DOS is an operating system for x86-based personal computers mostly developed by Microsoft. Collectively, MS-DOS, its rebranding as IBM PC DOS, and some operating systems attempting to be compatible with MS-DOS, are sometimes referred to as “DOS”.
THE USE OF MS DOS
MS-DOS allows the user to navigate, open, and otherwise manipulate files on their computer from a command line instead of a GUI like Windows. Today, MS-DOS is no longer used; however, the command shell, more commonly known as the Windows command line is still used by many users
FEATURES OF MS DOS
Features of DOS
Following are the significant features of DOS −
- It is a single user system.
- It controls program.
- It is machine independence.
- It manages (computer) files.
- It manages input and output system.
- It manages (computer) memory.
- It provides command processing facilities.
- It operates with Assembler.
Complete List of MS-DOS Commands
DOS commands are the commands available in MS-DOS that are used to interact with the operating system and other command line based software.https://6254249cda50696b713d9da6889fc75b.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Unlike in Windows, DOS commands are the primary way in which you use the operating system. Windows and other modern OSs use a graphics-based system designed for touch or a mouse.
If you use Windows (like Windows 10, 8, 7, etc.), then you have no need for DOS commands because you don’t have MS-DOS. Check below the table at the bottom of this page for more information.
A Complete List of MS-DOS Commands
Below is a complete list of MS-DOS commands, commonly referred to as just DOS commands, available as of MS-DOS 6.22:
|MS-DOS Command List|
|Append||The append command can be used by programs to open files in another directory as if they were located in the current directory.|
|Assign||The assign command is used to redirect drive requests to a different drive. This command can also show drive assignments and reset drive letters to their original assignments.|
|Attrib||The attrib command is used to change the attributes of a single file or a directory.|
|Break||The break command sets or clears extended CTRL+C checking on DOS systems.|
|Call||The call command is used to run a script or batch program from within another script or batch program. The call command has no effect outside of a script or batch file. In other words, running the call command at the MS-DOS prompt will do nothing.|
|Cd||The cd command is the shorthand version of the chdir command.|
|Chcp||The chcp command displays or configures the active code page number.|
|Chdir||The chdir command is used to display the drive letter and folder that you are currently in. Chdir can also be used to change the drive and/or directory that you want to work in.|
|Chkdsk||The chkdsk command, often referred to as check disk, is used to identify and correct certain hard drive errors.|
|Choice||The choice command is used within a script or batch program to provide a list of choices and return the value of that choice to the program.|
|Cls||The cls command clears the screen of all previously entered commands and other text.|
|Command||The command command starts a new instance of the command.com command interpreter.|
|Copy||The copy command copies one or more files from one location to another.|
|Country||The country command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to tell MS-DOS to use country-specific text conventions during processing.|
|Ctty||The ctty command is used to change the default input and output devices for the system.|
|Date||The date command is used to show or change the current date.|
|Dblspace||The dblspace command is used to create or configure DoubleSpace compressed drives.|
|Debug||The debug command starts Debug, a command line application used to test and edit programs.|
|Defrag||The defrag command is used to defragment a drive you specify. The defrag command is the command line version of Microsoft’s Disk Defragmenter.|
|Del||The del command is used to delete one or more files. The del command is the same as the erase command.|
|Deltree||The deltree command is used to delete a directory and all the files and subdirectories within it.|
|Device||The device command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to load device drivers into memory.|
|Devicehigh||The devicehigh command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to load device drivers into upper memory.|
|Dir||The dir command is used to display a list of files and folders contained inside the folder that you are currently working in. The dir command also displays other important information like the hard drive’s serial number the total number of files listed, their combined size, the total amount of free space left on the drive, and more.|
|Diskcomp||The diskcomp command is used to compare the contents of two floppy disks.|
|Diskcopy||The diskcopy command is used to copy the entire contents of one floppy disk to another.|
|Dos||The dos command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the memory location for DOS.|
|Doskey||The doskey command is used to edit command lines, create macros, and recall previously entered commands.|
|Dosshell||The dosshell command starts DOS Shell, a graphical file management tool for MS-DOS. The dosshell command was only available up to MS-DOS 6.0 but most MS-DOS 6.22 installations were upgrades from previous versions so the dosshell command is usually still available.|
|Drvspace||The drvspace command is used to create or configure DriveSpace compressed drives. DriveSpace, executed using the drvspace command, is an updated version of DoubleSpace. DriveSpace is an updated version of DoubleSpace, executed using the dblspace command.|
|Echo||The echo command is used to show messages, most commonly from within script or batch files. The echo command can also be used to turn the echoing feature on or off.|
|Edit||The edit command starts the MS-DOS Editor tool, which is used to create and modify text files|
|Edlin||The edlin command starts the Edlin tool, which is used to create and modify text files from the command line. Edlin was only available up to MS-DOS 5.0 so unless your version of MS-DOS 6.22 was upgraded from 5.0, you likely won’t see the edlin command.|
|Emm386||The emm386 command is used to give MS-DOS access to more than 640 KB of memory.|
|Exe2bin||The exe2bin command is used to convert .EXE files to binary format.|
|Erase||The erase command is used to delete one or more files. The erase command is the same as the del command.|
|Exit||The exit command is used to end the command.com session that you’re currently working in.|
|Expand||The expand command is used to extract the files and folders contained in Microsoft Cabinet (CAB) files.|
|Fasthelp||The fasthelp command provides more detailed information on any of the other MS-DOS commands.|
|Fastopen||The fastopen command is used to add a program’s hard drive location to a special list stored in memory, potentially improving the program’s launch time by removing the need for MS-DOS to locate the application on the drive.|
|Fc||The fc command is used to compare two individual or sets of files and then show the differences between them.|
|Fcbs||The fcbs command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the number of file-control blocks for file sharing.|
|Fdisk||The fdisk command is used to create, manage, and delete hard drive partitions.|
|Files||The files command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the maximum number of files that can be open at the same time.|
|Find||The find command is used to search for a specified text string in one or more files.|
|For||The for command is used to run a specified command for each file in a set of files. The for command is most often used within a batch or script file.|
|Format||The format command is used to format a drive in the file system that you specify.|
|Goto||The goto command is used in a batch or script file to direct the command process to a labeled line in the script.|
|Graphics||The graphics command is used to load a program that can print graphics.|
|Help||The help command provides more detailed information on any of the other Command Prompt or MS-DOS commands.|
|If||The if command is used to perform conditional functions in a batch file.|
|Include||The include command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to allow you to use the commands from one CONFIG.SYS block within another.|
|Install||The install command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to load memory-resident programs into conventional memory.|
|Interlnk||The interlnk command is used to connect two computers via a serial or parallel connection to share files and printers.|
|Intersvr||The intersvr command is used to start the Interlnk server and to copy Interlnk files from one computer to another.|
|Join||The join command is used to attach a drive letter to a directory located on another drive. It’s similar to the subst command which associates a drive letter with a local directory.|
|Keyb||The keyb command is used to configure a keyboard for a specific language.|
|Label||The label command is used to manage the volume level of a disk.|
|Lastdrive||The lastdrive command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the maximum number of drives that can be accessed.|
|Lh||The lh command is the shorthand version of the loadhigh command.|
|Loadfix||The loadfix command is used to load the specified program in the first 64K of memory and then runs the program.|
|Loadhigh||The loadhigh command is used to load a program into high memory and is usually used from within the autoexec.bat file.|
|Md||The md command is the shorthand version of the mkdir command.|
|Mem||The mem command shows information about used and free memory areas and programs that are currently loaded into memory in the MS-DOS subsystem.|
|Memmaker||The memmaker command is used to start MemMaker, a memory optimization tool.|
|Menucolor||The menucolor command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set text colors.|
|Menudefault||The menudefault command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the startup configuration that will be used if no key is pressed within the specified timeout period.|
|Menuitem||The menuitem command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to create a startup menu from which you can select a group of CONFIG.SYS commands to be processed upon reboot.|
|Mkdir||The mkdir command is used to create a new folder.|
|Mode||The mode command is used to configure system devices, most often COM and LPT ports.|
|More||The more command is used to display the information contained in a text file. The more command can also be used to paginate the results of any other Command Prompt or MS-DOS command.|
|Move||The move command is used to move one or files from one folder to another. The move command is also used to rename directories.|
|Msav||The msav command starts Microsoft Antivirus.|
|Msbackup||The msbackup command starts Microsoft Backup, a tool used to back up and restore one or more files.|
|Mscdex||The mscdex command is used to provide CD-ROM access to MS-DOS.|
|Msd||The msd command starts Microsoft Diagnostics, a tool used to display information about your computer.|
|Nlsfunc||The nlsfunc command is used to load information specific to a particular country or region.|
|Numlock||The numlock command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the state of the NumLock key.|
|Path||The path command is used to display or set a specific path available to executable files.|
|Pause||The pause command is used within a batch or script file to pause the processing of the file. When the pause command is used, a “Press any key to continue…” message displays in the command window.|
|Power||The power command is used to reduce the power consumed by a computer by monitoring software and hardware devices.|
|The print command is used to print a specified text file to a specified printing device.|
|Prompt||The prompt command is used to customize the appearance of the prompt text in Command Prompt or MS-DOS.|
|Qbasic||The qbasic command starts QBasic, the MS-DOS based programming environment for the BASIC programming language.|
|Rd||The rd command is the shorthand version of the rmdir command.|
|Rem||The rem command is used to record comments or remarks in a batch or script file.|
|Ren||The ren command is the shorthand version of the rename command.|
|Rename||The rename command is used to change the name of the individual file that you specify.|
|Replace||The replace command is used to replace one or more files with one or more other files.|
|Restore||The restore command is used to restore files that were backed up using the backup command. The backup command was only available up to MS-DOS 5.00 but the restore command was included by default with later versions of MS-DOS to provide a way to restore files that were backed up in previous versions of MS-DOS.|
|Rmdir||The rmdir command is used to delete an existing or completely empty folder.|
|Scandisk||The scandisk command is used to start Microsoft ScanDisk, a disk repair program.|
|Set||The set command is used to display, enable, or disable environment variables in MS-DOS or from the Command Prompt.|
|Setver||The setver command is used to set the MS-DOS version number that MS-DOS reports to a program.|
|Share||The share command is used to install file locking and file sharing functions in MS-DOS.|
|Shell||The shell command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to specify the command interpreter that DOS should use.|
|Shift||The shift command is used to change the position of replaceable parameters in a batch or script file.|
|Smartdrv||The smartdrv command installs and configures SMARTDrive, a disk caching utility for MS-DOS.|
|Sort||The sort command is used to read data from a specified input, sort that data, and return the results of that sort to the Command Prompt screen, a file, or another output device.|
|Stacks||The stacks command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to set the number and size of stack frames.|
|Submenu||The submenu command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to create a multi-level menu from which you can select startup options.|
|Subst||The subst command is used to associate a local path with a drive letter. The subst command is a lot like the net use command in Windows except a local path is used instead of a shared network path. The subst command replaced the assign command beginning with MS-DOS 6.0.|
|Switches||The switches command is used in the CONFIG.SYS file to configure DOS in a special way, like to tell DOS to emulate different hardware configurations.|
|Sys||The sys command is used to copy the MS-DOS system files and command interpreter to a disk. The sys command is used most often to create a simple bootable disk or hard drive.|
|Time||The time command is used to show or change the current time.|
|Tree||The tree command is used to graphically display the folder structure of a specified drive or path.|
|Type||The type command is used to display the information contained in a text file.|
|Undelete||The undelete command is used to undo a deletion performed with the MS-DOS delete command.|
|Unformat||The unformat command is used to undo the formatting on a drive performed by the MS-DOS format command.|
|Ver||The ver command is used to display the current MS-DOS version number.|
|Verify||The verify command is used to enable or disable the ability of Command Prompt, or MS-DOS, to verify that files are written correctly to a disk.|
|Vol||The vol command shows the volume label and a serial number of a specified disk, assuming this information exists.|
|Vsafe||The vsafe command is used to start VSafe, a basic virus protection system for MS-DOS.|
|Xcopy||The xcopy command can copy one or more files or directory trees from one location to another. The xcopy command is generally considered a more “powerful” version of the copy command though the robocopy command trumps even xcopy.|
Skills Needed To Run Dos Successfully
Required skills with essential pre-requisite knowledge are as follows :
- Able to create assemblies
- Able to debug and test small .com files
- Able to patch .exe and .com files
- Able to work with 80*86 assemblies
- Able to work on instruction such as MOV, ADD, INT, DB, JMP, LOOP, etc.
- Able to work with notable imitators include DR-DOS, OpenDOS, and FreeDOS.
Though its barely an operating system but it has vast functionality and os to work with. It’s work on the phenomenon of doing less and getting more. It opens up a large window into the glorious past of IBM PC compatibles, and there are many websites where you can download hundreds of old, archived DOS programs. It really has its much importance as it was an enabler for you to develop ad-hoc batch (*.bat) files or programs to that tasks could be automated. Command Line Interface also allowed you to use commands with switches to interact with the PC resources. It also allows us to use undocumented API’s such as :
- Microsoft’s QuickPascal
- AARD code
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Dos
Now you must have been cleared on how to work with DOS; we need to know the advantages and disadvantages of using it.
So the following are the advantages:
- We have direct access to the BIOS and its underlying hardware.
- Its size will “boot” much faster than any windows version; thus, it will run in a smaller system.
- It is very lightweight, so it does not have the overhead of the multitasking operating system.
- It is good for making workarounds for managing/administering an MS system and for combining programs.
With the advantages, it has many disadvantages too, which are listed below:
- No multi-tasking supported by the OS.
- Difficulty in memory access when addressing more than 640 MB of RAM.
- Interrupt levels for hardware needs to be managed by our self.
- The OS does not support automatic IRQ ordering.
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