What is MS-DOS?

Rashmi Bhardwaj | Blog,Programming & Software

We all know Windows is the face of the multinational corporation Microsoft. What if I said there is another OS that laid the foundation for Microsoft’s grand success around the world? Are you surprised?

In this article, you will get to know about the Old-Gold MS-DOS. Though it is out of the market now, there are still some products and devices using this as an Operating System. Here is the complete history of MS-DOS, take a look at the table to know about the details discussed in this article. 

First things first, here is the answer to your question –


What is MS-DOS?

MS-DOS is a short form of Microsoft Disk Operating System. It is a single-tasking and user operating system that is developed or used for IBM’s earliest version of home computers. They don’t have a graphical interface they run based on the command line communication. 

Today many Operating systems might surpass the MS-DOS, but in its time MS-DOS was one of a kind.  And it is still used by independent programmers, developers, and businessmen all around the world. It was originally called 86 – DOS.  In the 1980s and ’90s, DOS was considered the best operating system. 

Here is a short walk through into the history of MS-DOS.

History of MS-DOS

It all started from the earliest Operating system – Control Program for Microcomputers which is also known as the CP/M.  The CP/M was created in the 1970s by Gary Kildall for digital research. It is an 8-bit Operating system that laid the foundation for the Command line system of the MS-DOS.

In 1980, Tom Paterson who is called the father of DOS created the QDOS – Quick and Dirty Operating System. The QDOS is created for Intel’s 16 –bit 8086 processor for microcomputers. Its popularity rose tremendously and this is where Microsoft enters the picture. 

In the next year 1981, Microsoft Inc. purchased the QDOS from the Seattle Computer products and renamed it MS-DOS 1.0. and offered it as the Operating System for IBM’s new personal computers. And then rest is history. 

By this single brave move Bill Gates (founder) and Microsoft become a giant tech corporation. MS–DOS’s success gets boosted by the increasing popularity of the home or personal computers around the world. Even today, MS-DOS form part of Microsoft’s Income though they launched their own GUI (Graphical User Interface) based Operating systems.   

Limitations and fall of MS-DOS

Although MS-DOS was in high popularity in the 1980s and 1990s it wasn’t able to keep up with the competition in the late ’90s and 2000s. The system lacked in different areas, importantly in the factors like multi-user capabilities, multi-tasking, and Graphical User Interface. 

The final versions of MS-DOS 7.0 and 7.1 lacked in different aspects; they were fixed and replaced by the New Microsoft Windows 95 OS. Now MS-DOS is no longer used by Microsoft. The earlier version windows like Windows 2000 and XP contain the emulation option to run MS-DOS programs, thereby providing backward accessibility. 

However, in the following years many clones or alterations of the MS-DOS have been created by many individual creators. The most famous and notable clones are FreeDOS, DR-DOS, OpenDOS. 

Future of MS-DOS

Though the development of MS-DOS stopped after releasing its last version in 1997, many individual developers are using it in small embedded devices. The MS-DOS requires low maintenance and is easy to manage. With the new development in the hardware sector like faster computers and processors, the MS-DOS has much to offer. 


Officially Microsoft has announced that there will be no more updates relating to the operating system. But it still has its life among hobbyists and new individual developers. And it is hoped there may be some revolution and DOS technology might give a comeback. 

If you want to know anything more about the MS-DOS please share them in the comment section below.  

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