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					MS-DOS


MS-DOS – short for Microsoft Disk Operating System – is an operating
system commercialized by the Microsoft Corporation. It was the most
widely used member of the DOS family of operating systems and was the
dominant operating system for the PC compatible platform during the
1980’s. MS-DOS was the first true operating system in the computer
market.

MS-DOS was originally released in 1981 and had eight major versions
released before Microsoft stopped development in 2000. It was the key
product in Microsoft’s growth from a programming languages company to a
diverse software development firm providing the company with essential
revenue and marketing resources. It has gradually been replaced on
consumer desktop computers by various generations of the Windows
operating system.

In the beginning, MS-DOS was developed primarily for IBM machines as
their main operating system, however IBM was also working on their own
versions of the MS-DOS system. Eventually, they began working together
with IBM producing the hardware and Microsoft producing the software.

MS-DOS was not designed to be a multi-user   or multi-tasking operating
system, however many attempts were made to   add these capabilities. The
“Terminate and Stay Resident” (TSR) system   calls w ere originally designed
for device drivers and extensible plug-ins   that enhance or added
features.

Some companies began to tap into the TSR design with products like Side
Kick. Add-on environments like Top View and especially DESQview
attempted to provide multi-tasking. They did achieve some success when
this was later combined with the virtual 8086 mode and virtual memory
features of the Intel 80386 chip along with later processors.

MS-DOS was the basis for all of Microsoft’s Windows operating systems.
However, because of its often difficult command line interface that
required user input, Microsoft realized that they needed to come up with
a much more user-friendly way to market their operating systems.

Even so, MS-DOS has effectively ceased to exist as a product. It has
become the bootstrap loader for Windows 95, Windows 98, and Window ME,
but it was integrated as a full product thus ending the days of a
standalone disk operating system.

Today, it is still used in various embedded x86 syste ms due to its simple
architecture, minimal memory requirements, and minimal processor speed
requirements. The command line interpreter of Windows NT is cmd.exe
which maintains most of the same commands and compatibility with DOS.

Without MS-DOS, the operating system we now know today would not be what
they are. Even though MS-DOS was a great product at the time, it quickly
outlived its usefulness and gave way to the more advanced systems of
Windows and their subsequent versions.

				
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