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An example of the MS-DOS command-line interface, showing that the current directory is the root of drive C
Company / developerMicrosoft
Programmed inx86 assembly,[1] later versions also used C
OS familyDOS
Working statePreserved pieces exist in 32-bit Windows
Source modelClosed source; open source for select versions since 2018[2]
Initial releaseAugust 12, 1981; 39 years ago (1981-08-12)[3]
Discontinued8.0 / September 16, 2000; 20 years ago (2000-09-16)
Update methodRe-installation
Package managerNone
Supported platformsx86
Kernel typeMonolithic
Default user interfaceCommand-line, text
MIT License (v1.25 & v2.0)[2]
Succeeded byWindows NT (as of Windows XP)
Official websiteMS-DOS overview
Starting MS-DOS

MS-DOS is a computer operating system by Microsoft Corporation. It stands for "Microsoft Disk Operating System", and came from an operating system Microsoft bought called 86-DOS, originally called QDOS, or "Quick and Dirty Operating System." The operating system used a command-line interface for the user to input commands. It was popularly used in PCs before a GUI operating system called Microsoft Windows came out, and still is used in some places today.

OS/2 was made to replace MS-DOS, but that replacement did not succeed. MS-DOS was the framework behind Windows operating systems until an operating system known as Windows XP.

MS-DOS is a text-based operating system, meaning that a user works with a keyboard to input data and receives output in plain text. Later, MS-DOS often had programs using a mouse and graphics to make work more simple and quick. (Some people still believe that working without graphics is really more efficient.) It is called a disk operating system because it was originally made to be loaded into a computer's memory with a floppy disk each time the computer is started (booted) up.

MS-DOS was released as proprietary software, but decades later after most users had gone to other systems, it was released as free software.[2]

How-To Books

Many books were written on how to use MS-DOS. A popular introductory book was MS-DOS for Dummies, by Dan Gookin, the book in the For Dummies series of easy to follow instruction books.