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Microsoft DOS and DR DOS are considered abandonware due to the age of the OS and hardware as modern operating systems have moved on to GUI. The command line is retained for legacy, but no longer used by most end users. DOS normally refers to MS DOS as it won out within the DOS wars and the command set is normally in the range of version 3.3 – 6.0.

MS DOS Overview

Thirty plus years ago Microsoft bought the rights for QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for $25,000. QDOS, otherwise known as 86-DOS, was designed by SCP to run on the Intel 8086 processor (XT), and was originally thrown together in just two months for a 0.1 release in 1980. Meanwhile, IBM had planned on powering its upcoming Personal Computer with an Intel 8086-compatible version of CP/M, which was the standard OS for Intel 8080 and other 8-bit architectures at the time, but a deal could not be struck with CP/M’s developer, Digital Research. IBM then approached Microsoft, which already had a few years of experience under its belt with M-DOS, BASIC, and other important tools — and as you can probably tell from the landscape of the computer world today, the IBM/Microsoft partnership worked out rather well indeed.

IBM released its Personal Computer in August 1981 running version 1.14 of SCP’s QDOS — but a few months later Microsoft produced MS-DOS 1.24, which then became the standard IBM PC operating system. In March 1983, both MS-DOS 2.0 and the IBM PC/XT were released. The rest, as they say, is history. MS-DOS 3.0 followed in 1984 (alongside the IBM PC/AT), and MS-DOS 4.0 with a mouse-powered, menu-driven interface arrived in 1989. It’s around this point that IBM’s PC operating system, PC-DOS, began to diverge from MS-DOS — and of course, come 1990, Microsoft released Windows 3.0, which would change Microsoft’s focus forever.

It’s also around this time that developers start to feel the pinch of the 640KB conventional memory limit imposed by IBM’s original hardware specifications. DOS extenders were used like 4DOS were used to bypass the 640k limitation by gaming software developers, Microsoft added DOS extenders to the DOS operating system in the form of Himem.sys, Emm386.exe and memmaker in the 1990 release of DOS 5.0.

MS-DOS 5.0 was released (along with the much-loved QBASIC), and then MS-DOS 6.0 with much-maligned Double Space disk compression tool appeared in 1993. By this stage, IBM, Digital Research (DR-DOS), and Microsoft were all leap frogging each other with different version numbers and features. IBM released PC-DOS 6.1, and MS followed quickly with MS-DOS 6.2. IBM released PC-DOS 6.3 — and Novell trumped them all by releasing Novell DOS 7.0. In 1995, however, Windows 95 with an underpinning of MS-DOS 7.0 and its new FAT32 file system was released, and the history of DOS draws to a close.

Every other version of DOS was quickly squished out of existence by Windows 95, and it wouldn’t be until the late 90s and the emergence of the Dot Com bubble that another command-line OS would yet again rise to prominence in the shape of Linux.


DR DOS overview

Faced with substantial competition in the DOS arena, Microsoft responded with an announcement of a yet-to-be released MS-DOS 5.0 in May 1990. This would be released in 1991 and include similar advanced features to those of DR DOS. It included matches of the DR’s enhancements in memory management.

Almost immediately in May 1991, DR responded with DR DOS 6.0, code-named “Buxton”. DR DOS 6.0, while already at BDOS level 6.7 internally, would still report itself as “PC DOS 3.31” to normal DOS applications for compatibility purposes. This bundled in SuperStor on-the-fly disk compression, to maximize available hard disk space, and file deletion tracking and undelete functionality.

DR DOS 6.0 also includes a task-switcher named TASKMAX, supporting the industry standard task-switching API to run multiple applications at the same time. In contrast to Digital Research’s Multiuser DOS (successor of Concurrent DOS in the multi-user products line), which would run DOS applications in pre-emptively multitasked virtual DOS machines, the DR DOS 6.0 task switcher would freeze background applications until brought back into the foreground. While it runs on x86-machines, it is able to swap to XMS memory on 286+ machines. TASKMAX did support some Copy & Paste facility between applications. Via the task-switcher API graphical user interfaces such as ViewMax or PC/GEOS could register as task manager menu and thereby replace the TASKMAX text mode menu, so that users could switch between tasks from within a GUI.

Microsoft responded with MS-DOS 6.0, which again matched some features of DR DOS 6.0.

A pre-release version of Windows 3.1 was designed to return a non-fatal error message if it detected a non-Microsoft DOS. This check came to be known as the AARD code. With the detection code disabled, Windows ran perfectly under DR DOS and its successor Novell DOS. The code was present but disabled in the released version of Windows 3.1


is a term used to describe primarily computer software, but more recently also physical devices (which are usually computerised in some fashion) that are discontinued products and for which no product support is available, or whose copyright ownership may be unclear for various reasons. While the term has been applied largely to older games, other classes of software or equipment (such as productivity applications, utility software or mobile phones) are sometimes described as such.

To run legacy apps’ on modern operating systems a emulator is required DOSBox is one of the best, stable, well supported application running 100’s of applications and games including DOS extenders.


DOSBox : MS DOS Emulator, run DOS apps within modern operating systems

Commands : DOSBox Command Set

Downloads : MS DOS Abandonware; Full Games & Apps

Xtcabandonware : MS DOS Abandonware; Full Games & Apps


An A-Z Index Windows XP / DOS command set

ADDUSERS Add or list users to/from a CSV file

ARP Address Resolution Protocol

ASSOC Change file extension associations•

ASSOCIAT One step file association

ATTRIB Change file attributes


BOOTCFG Edit Windows boot settings

BROWSTAT Get domain, browser and PDC info


CACLS Change file permissions

CALL Call one batch program from another•

CD Change Directory – move to a specific Folder•

CHANGE Change Terminal Server Session properties

CHKDSK Check Disk – check and repair disk problems

CHKNTFS Check the NTFS file system

CHOICE Accept keyboard input to a batch file

CIPHER Encrypt or Decrypt files/folders

CleanMgr Automated cleanup of Temp files, recycle bin

CLEARMEM Clear memory leaks

CLIP Copy STDIN to the Windows clipboard.

CLS Clear the screen•

CLUSTER Windows Clustering

CMD Start a new CMD shell

CMDKEY Manage stored usernames/passwords

COLOR Change colors of the CMD window•

COMP Compare the contents of two files or sets of files

COMPACT Compress files or folders on an NTFS partition

COMPRESS Compress individual files on an NTFS partition

CON2PRT Connect or disconnect a Printer

CONVERT Convert a FAT drive to NTFS.

COPY Copy one or more files to another location•

CSCcmd Client-side caching (Offline Files)

CSVDE Import or Export Active Directory data


DATE Display or set the date•

DEFRAG Defragment hard drive

DEL Delete one or more files•

DELPROF Delete NT user profiles

DELTREE Delete a folder and all subfolders

DevCon Device Manager Command Line Utility

DIR Display a list of files and folders•

DIRUSE Display disk usage

DISKCOMP Compare the contents of two floppy disks

DISKCOPY Copy the contents of one floppy disk to another

DISKPART Disk Administration

DNSSTAT DNS Statistics

DOSKEY Edit command line, recall commands, and create macros

DSACLs Active Directory ACLs

DSAdd Add items to active directory (user group computer)

DSGet View items in active directory (user group computer)

DSQuery Search for items in active directory (user group computer)

DSMod Modify items in active directory (user group computer)

DSMove Move an Active directory Object

DSRM Remove items from Active Directory


ECHO Display message on screen•

ENDLOCAL End localisation of environment changes in a batch file•

ERASE Delete one or more files•

EVENTCREATE Add a message to the Windows event log

EXIT Quit the current script/routine and set an errorlevel•

EXPAND Uncompress files

EXTRACT Uncompress CAB files


FC Compare two files

FIND Search for a text string in a file

FINDSTR Search for strings in files

FOR /F Loop command: against a set of files•

FOR /F Loop command: against the results of another command•

FOR Loop command: all options Files, Directory, List•

FORFILES Batch process multiple files

FORMAT Format a disk

FREEDISK Check free disk space (in bytes)

FSUTIL File and Volume utilities

FTP File Transfer Protocol

FTYPE Display or modify file types used in file extension associations•


GLOBAL Display membership of global groups

GOTO Direct a batch program to jump to a labelled line•

GPUPDATE Update Group Policy settings


HELP Online Help


iCACLS Change file and folder permissions

IF Conditionally perform a command•

IFMEMBER Is the current user in an NT Workgroup



KILL Remove a program from memory


LABEL Edit a disk label

LOCAL Display membership of local groups

LOGEVENT Write text to the NT event viewer

LOGMAN Manage Performance Monitor

LOGOFF Log a user off

LOGTIME Log the date and time in a file


MAPISEND Send email from the command line

MBSAcli Baseline Security Analyzer.

MEM Display memory usage

MD Create new folders•

MKLINK Create a symbolic link (linkd)

MODE Configure a system device

MORE Display output, one screen at a time

MOUNTVOL Manage a volume mount point

MOVE Move files from one folder to another•

MOVEUSER Move a user from one domain to another

MSG Send a message

MSIEXEC Microsoft Windows Installer

MSINFO Windows NT diagnostics

MSTSC Terminal Server Connection (Remote Desktop Protocol)

MUNGE Find and Replace text within file(s)

MV Copy in-use files


NET Manage network resources

NETDOM Domain Manager

NETSH Configure Network Interfaces, Windows Firewall & Remote access

NETSVC Command-line Service Controller

NBTSTAT Display networking statistics (NetBIOS over TCP/IP)

NETSTAT Display networking statistics (TCP/IP)

NOW Display the current Date and Time

NSLOOKUP Name server lookup

NTBACKUP Backup folders to tape

NTRIGHTS Edit user account rights


OPENFILES Query or display open files


PATH Display or set a search path for executable files•

PATHPING Trace route plus network latency and packet loss

PAUSE Suspend processing of a batch file and display a message•

PERMS Show permissions for a user

PERFMON Performance Monitor

PING Test a network connection

POPD Restore the previous value of the current directory saved by PUSHD•

PORTQRY Display the status of ports and services

POWERCFG Configure power settings

PRINT Print a text file

PRNCNFG Display, configure or rename a printer

PRNMNGR Add, delete, list printers set the default printer

PROMPT Change the command prompt•

PsExec Execute process remotely

PsFile Show files opened remotely

PsGetSid Display the SID of a computer or a user

PsInfo List information about a system

PsKill Kill processes by name or process ID

PsList List detailed information about processes

PsLoggedOn Who’s logged on (locally or via resource sharing)

PsLogList Event log records

PsPasswd Change account password

PsService View and control services

PsShutdown Shutdown or reboot a computer

PsSuspend Suspend processes

PUSHD Save and then change the current directory•


QGREP Search file(s) for lines that match a given pattern.


RASDIAL Manage RAS connections

RASPHONE Manage RAS connections

RECOVER Recover a damaged file from a defective disk.

REG Registry: Read, Set, Export, Delete keys and values

REGEDIT Import or export registry settings

REGSVR32 Register or unregister a DLL

REGINI Change Registry Permissions

REM Record comments (remarks) in a batch file•

REN Rename a file or files•

REPLACE Replace or update one file with another

RD Delete folder(s)•

RMTSHARE Share a folder or a printer

ROBOCOPY Robust File and Folder Copy

ROUTE Manipulate network routing tables

RUNAS Execute a program under a different user account

RUNDLL32 Run a DLL command (add/remove print connections)


SC Service Control

SCHTASKS Schedule a command to run at a specific time

SCLIST Display NT Services

SET Display, set, or remove environment variables•

SETLOCAL Control the visibility of environment variables•

SETX Set environment variables permanently

SFC System File Checker

SHARE List or edit a file share or print share

SHIFT Shift the position of replaceable parameters in a batch file•

SHORTCUT Create a windows shortcut (.LNK file)

SHOWGRPS List the NT Workgroups a user has joined

SHOWMBRS List the Users who are members of a Workgroup

SHUTDOWN Shutdown the computer

SLEEP Wait for x seconds

SLMGR Software Licensing Management (Vista/2008)

SOON Schedule a command to run in the near future

SORT Sort input

START Start a program or command in a separate window•

SU Switch User

SUBINACL Edit file and folder Permissions, Ownership and Domain

SUBST Associate a path with a drive letter

SYSTEMINFO List system configuration


TASKLIST List running applications and services

TASKKILL Remove a running process from memory

TIME Display or set the system time•

TIMEOUT Delay processing of a batch file

TITLE Set the window title for a CMD.EXE session•

TLIST Task list with full path

TOUCH Change file timestamps

TRACERT Trace route to a remote host

TREE Graphical display of folder structure

TYPE Display the contents of a text file•

TypePerf Write performance data to a log file


USRSTAT List domain usernames and last login


VER Display version information•

VERIFY Verify that files have been saved•

VOL Display a disk label•


WHERE Locate and display files in a directory tree

WHOAMI Output the current UserName and domain

WINDIFF Compare the contents of two files or sets of files

WINMSD Windows system diagnostics

WINMSDP Windows system diagnostics II

WINRM Windows Remote Management

WINRS Windows Remote Shell

WMIC WMI Commands


XCACLS Change file and folder permissions

XCOPY Copy files and folders