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MS-DOS: What is it, what is it for and what is the history of this OS?

UPDATED ✅ MS-DOS is an old operating system that revolutionized computing and allowed many advances in it ⭐ ENTER HERE ⭐ and Learn more about the subject

MS-DOS also know as the operating system developed by the Microsoft company, which controls a large number of situations such as allocations of resources to computers, as is the hard drive, the memory even managing all input and output devices such as the monitor, horns, printers, among many other elements.

All of this is handled through a series of commands and primary instructions that are taken by the computer system and that allows a communication between the user and the equipment. In addition, all this has been destined to computers with x86 architecturewhich became one of the most popular operating systems.

According to all this, and the importance it has today the MS-DOS Here we are going to explain a little more about what it is about, its history and its main function.

What is the MS-DOS operating system and what is it for?

What is the MS-DOS operating system and what is it for?

MS-DOS It achieved its greatest popularity in the 1980s and 1990s where it was pre-installed on most computers. He himself is a basic software that allows and facilitates user interaction with the computer. In order to carry out this program it was necessary for the person to introduce some commands manually via the keyboardfor this they had to previously know each of these commands and their functions.

However, over time this operating system was being replaced by the new versions that went on the market as Windows. Despite this, MS-DOS It is still used by many experts in order to manipulate data on disks and perform functions such as formatting and software installation.

Another function of this operating system is that of power coordinate computer information so that it can work properly. In the same way, work with two series of commandsas they are the internal and the external.

internal commands take care of what is system boot on PCwhile external commandsare stored in transient point files. The same had to be at hand to be able to request the desired commands.

Some of the commands that we find in this operating system are the following:

  • CD..: Change to the parent directory.
  • CD: Change to the lower directory.
  • CD/: Change directly to the root directory.
  • COPY: Copy the files.
  • COPY WITH: Copy to a file the text typed until pressing “Ctrl-Z”.
  • DATE: Change the system date or allow only viewing it.
  • OF: It is used to delete a file, as long as it is not hidden in the file.
  • THREW OUT: Displays a specified text on the screen.
  • RD or RMDIR: Delete a directory that is completely empty.
  • DIR: It shows a list with all the files and directories that are in the directory of the disk.
  • EXIT: Allows you to exit one of the sessions.
  • TIME: Allows you to view or modify the clock time.
  • WATCH: Shows the version of the operating system.
  • TYPE: Shows the content of the file.
  • VOL: It is used to see the label of the hard disk and its volume if it has one.

MS-DOS levels What can be done in each?

MS-DOS levels What can be done in each?

This system has a large number of functions and tools that allow you to perform a large number of computer activitiesthis being one of the main reasons why it became one of the the most popular OS of the 80s and 90s.

According to all this, work with Two types of levels, which we show you below:

First level

This first level is mainly dedicated to what is hardware management in MS-DOS, where CPU coordination operates. All of this is known as the brain of the computer. Therefore, at this level the OS takes all the characters that are typed on the keyboard for later encode it and the CPU is able to read and understand it.

One time the CPU has managed to capture all the information that has been writtenthe information is reflected in computer screen so that now it is the user who can understand it.

We can say that the OS acts as an intermediary where it encodes each of the signals that are transmitted through the keyboard, each of these characters are converted into control codes that programs can use. It is also responsible for carrying out some activities related to the operation and use of the programs, either for disk formatting or for offer information about the files stored in the internal memory of the disk.

Second level

the second level consists in that the MS-DOS has a utilitarian function, which is carried out by executing the commands, this allows this level to interact with the computer in a direct way. Typically, these commands perform functions like those of changing the name of a disk, changing the time of the clock, copying files from one place to anotheramong many more functions.

These commands are usually treated as is as if they were a program, taking into account that these are more limited. Where they only carry out a specific task and are mainly used for general computer maintenance.

History and impact of MS-DOS How important was it for computing?

All this began in 1981, where for the first time it appeared the MS-DOSan interface that was created and developed for personal computers IDM PCfrom a previous version which was known as 86-DOS or QDOSbelonging to Seattle Computer Products.

The year after its launch appeared what was version 1.0which had its preinstalled PC-DOS version. It began to become very popular where it got massive use until the middle of The 1990swhere it was replaced by the windows operating system.

Although Windows was based on TWO, It offered users a improved and more user-friendly graphical interface, thus drawing the attention of most users. Currently, many of its structures are still preserved in the basic processes of some of the Microsoft Windows systems.

Features of MS-DOS What made it different from the rest?

This OS had a large number of important features that made it stand out from the competition. All this led him at the time to become in one of the best systems for computers.

That is why here we present the most important features of MS-DOS:

Type of system

One of the most outstanding features is the type of operating system with which it counts, which is a single userthat is, it can only be used by one person at a time Y monotaskwhere it only allows run one program at a time.

In the same waythe user’s communication with the OS is carried out through two modesthe first of which is interactive mode and the second batch mode.


Another of the most important factors in all this is access, in this case there are three different ways for the user to access it. In the event that the person uses a microsoft operating system old as Windows 95 or Windows 98, you will have to access it through the following route:

  • Sign in to “Start”.
  • Then select “To turn off”.
  • There choose the option “Restart computer in MS-DOS mode.”

Another way that we can find to access the OS also in these versions of Microsoft is the following:

  • Click on “Start”.
  • There select “Programs”.
  • then choose “MS-DOS Command Prompt.”

You can also go directly to DOS bypassing Windowsfor this you must press the F8 key repeatedly until a list with different options appears on the screen where you select “Command Prompt”.

The last way to be able to access this OS is if you are using a newer operating system from Microsoft, either Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8 or 10. In this case MS-DOS as such does not existbut if we find a prompt that simulates all or almost all DOS functions.

DOS does not exist in these versions of Windows because none of those systems are DOS-dependent, something that happens with Windows 95 and 98. Therefore, in some of these newer versions it is possible that some of the MS-DOS commands do not work.

To access the system from W10 you have to write the cmd command in the Cortana search boxyou can also do it by pressing the keys “Windows + R”, and there you write in the box “CMD”. Then you will see many commands of the MS-DOS as the following: CD, CLS, MKamong many others.


As we mentioned before, in MS-DOS only one program can be used at a time, this is because it has basic kernel functionsalso known as the operating system kernel. However, there is an exception with some TSR programs, which are capable of multitasking. But, despite this, problems with the non-reentrant kernel continue.

In this case it is that each time the process requires a service within the kernel of the operating system, it cannot become interrupted by another request until you have finished with the first. All this is because it has a monolithic corewhere the entire kernel is developed within the kernel in supervision mode.

Therefore, the kernel defines what is a high-level layer of abstraction on top of the hardware of the computerwhere a group of system calls are made to be able to implement each of the corresponding services, either process management, memory management, competition among others. In addition, it is worth mentioning that each of the maintenance modules is generally separated.

In this way, it is very difficult or complicated to be able to achieve the integration code between all the modules. This leads to when all modules run in the same address space, a single error in one of them can damage the entire system.

What are all the versions of MS-DOS that were developed?

Since its launch in 1981, this operating system has been launching several versions in order to increase functions and tools to facilitate its use for each of its users.

Next, we present each of these versions:


This first version was released in the year 1981 along with its release. The same it would last only one year since by 1982 the next version known as PC-DOS 1.1 would be released. back then so much PC-DOS What MS-DOS were developed by Microsoft and IBMbut it didn’t take long for them to separate.

After that Microsoft would announce that it wanted to create its own interface for DOSthis generated as a result Windows 1.0, which was announced in the year 1983, but at that time this did not generate any type of interest to IBM. It was then until 1985 when the first full version of Windows 1.01.

MS-DOS 2.0

That was how by March 1983 it was officially known the second version of this OS, which was thrown through of the new personal computer from IBM, which was called PC/TX and in turn had the new version 2.0 of MS-DOS. This new version was mostly inspired by Unix. where used the system FAT file and concept.

Therefore, this whole process allowed add new Unix features to MS-DOSwhich grew to 20.0 lines of assembly code. At that time, what was the CP/M86 and In this way it could be established as the new operating system dominant for computers.

Among its main innovations was that it managed to insert the hard drive into computers, this would allow running pretty big app without any problema, thanks to this the PCs began to go from be personal equipment to commercial machines, being used by small, medium and large companies.

MS-DOS 3.2

For August 1984, IBM launches the PC/AT, this became the first personal use machine that had the 28 chip6. In that same year the 10 MB disks and RAM diskwhere a part of the memory was used as a high speed disk.

Some time later it would end up launching what it was version 3.3this would include in its 3.5-inch floppy system high capacity available for IBM PS/2 computers.


In 1984 both IBM and Microsoft would release the operating system called OS/2, it took almost the same time as the release of the new version MS-DOS 3.3. East new system OS/2 launched on the market arrived with the purpose of being able to replace MS-DOS, but this could never be achieved as OS/2 was released with many delays and inconveniences, leaving it incomplete.

However, this system had many more benefits and features that DOS itself, especially because OS/2 used all available memory to run in protected mode. It was like that for In 1991, Microsoft announced to the public that it was abandoning the OS/2 project. this would not be accepted by IBM who were very close to close all kinds of negotiations with Microsoft.

MS-DOS 4.0

It took a little more time for IBM they were convinced that the OS/2 operating system it would not be accepted by the users, in this way he would not achieve the desired success with it and would abandon it. That was how he later surprised the public with the release of MS-DOS version 4.0it was also produced by Microsoft.

This new version will be produced with reverse engineering systemwhere they could distribute it through pc clone makers.

after this much IBM as Microsoft they managed to understand and were convinced that MS-DOS was not going awayTherefore, both companies made the decision to continue to improve the system so that it could continue on the market.

MS-DOS 5.0

Is version 5.0 was released in April 1991and which served to expand the system memory. But despite this still there were many restrictions on extended memory because it only allowed use 640KB, this is how the version was able to maintain for a longer time your own code in extended memory.

This new version managed to have the success desired by both companies and began to be sold in stores and by computer manufacturers.

MS-DOS 6.0

The new version of this OS was released in March 1993, two years after version 5.0. it was like that Microsoft added the disk compression utility called DoubleSpace. At that time the most popular disks had a capacity of around the 200 to 400MBbeing this very insufficient for most of the users since they needed a greater disk memory space.

This new version had tools like the DEFRAG disk defragmenter, memory optimization with MEMMAKER, and an antivirus protector principle, MSAV.

Nevertheless, version 6.0 presented flaws in your systemsince some were recorded data losswhich forced Microsoft to release a new version that would be MS-DOS 6.2.

MS-DOS 6.2

This version was released the year after version 6.0, which presented some faults in its system and had to be replaced. Therefore, for 1994, Microsoft He launched version 6.2, it had a disk compression package known as “Drive Space”.

In the same way, this company launched versions 6.23 and 6.25 for the US military organizations and whites. Both versions include what was support for FAT32 partitions.

MS-DOS 7.0

Finally what is would come version 7.0it began to exist only in a part of Windows 95 and Windows 98 systemswhere the original version of W95 would incorporate this new version released by Microsoft and IBM.

It was like that at the beginning of nineteen ninety five, new tools were incorporated into the system with the aim of continuing to improve its operation, this is how it had backup programs, antivirus, DOS Pen extensions, PCMCIA support, and also includes new tools to extend disk space and memory performance.


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