Updated March 13, 2023
Introduction to DOS
Any operating system which runs from the hard disk drive is termed a Disk Operating System ( D.O.S ). This also refers to the specific family of disk operating systems known as MS-DOS or Microsoft disk operating system. Anything that commands and controls the computer’s hardware and peripheral devices with control over the program, and its functionality is known as the operating system. This operating system which runs through the hard disk, is known as a disk operating system. For the first time, It was made and introduced for IBM by Microsoft, known as IBM PC DOS, in 1981.
List of DOS
The list of DOS made from 1981 – 1998 are as follows:
- IBM PC DOS – 1981
- DR-DOS – 1988
- ROM-DOS – 1989
- PTS-DOS – 1993
- FREE-DOS – 1998
It was rebranded version under the title IBM PC DOS, both of which came in the year 1981. DOS other than Microsoft in the market are:
- Apple DOS
- Apple Pro DOS
- Atari DOS
- Commodore DOS
- Amiga DOS
It was the first operating system used by IBM-compatible computers. It was first available in two different versions that were typically the same but marketed and controlled under two different brands. MS-DOS was the framework behind Windows operating systems until Windows XP.
“PC-DOS” was the version of dos developed by IBM and sold to the first IBM-compatible manufactured computers. “MS-DOS” was the version of dos that Microsoft bought the rights and patents and was merged with the first versions of Windows. Command-line was used by DOS, or text-based interface, that typed command allowed by the users. By giving simple instructions such as pwd (print working directory) and cd(change directory), the user can open files or run the program or browse the files on the hard drive. Written originally by Tim Patterson (considered the father of DOS) and owned by Seattle Computer Products, Microsoft takes over 86-DOS for $75,000, licensed the same software, and released it with an IBM PC MS-DOS 1.0 in 1982 with IBM and Microsoft joint venture.
It works on the phenomenon of operating functions through commands; here, we have 8 types of commands:
- Assoc: Associated Extension
- Tree: View Directory Structure
- File Search & Comparison
- Network Commands
- Windows Utilities
- AT commands
To explain it more, I can give you some example of commands under its command prompt, which are:
- Edlin and may more
To refer to more commands under ms-dos, I am sharing a link that you can view it later, Computerhope.
Features of DOS
Here are some of the distinguishing features which you should clearly know :
- It is a 16-bit operating system.
- The mouse cannot be used to operate it e, Input in it is through basic system commands.
- The maximum space available is 2 GB.
- It is a free OS.
- It uses a text-based interface and requires text and codes to operate.
- It does not support a graphical interface.
- It is a single-user operating system.
- It is a Character-Based interface system.
- It helps make file management, e.g., creating, editing, deleting files, etc.
Advantages And Disadvantages
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.
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
So with the introduction of Windows 3.0, It was near to its extinction. The Gui severely demolished the use of Ms DOS. With the introduction of Windows 95, It was used for bootstrapping, troubleshooting, and backwards-compatibility with its old software, particularly games, and no longer released as a standalone product. So it was the whole overview of Ms DOS. So, in the end, I would like to say that it has a vide element of exposure so it can never be outdated. So people working on it will always be profitable as it is free and it has the whole feature compared to the paid version of any operating systems such as IOS, Windows 10, etc. Apart from that, it’s a licensed os from Microsoft, so we can trust it as it is one of the biggest software company.
This has been a guide to What is DOS. Here we have discussed the Commands, Required Skills, Advantages, and Disadvantages. You can also go through our other suggested articles to learn more –