MS-DOS – Concept, history and basic commands

We explain what MS-DOS is and what was the history of this famous operating system. Also, a list of basic MS-DOS commands.

MS-DOS was pre-installed on most computers in the 1990s.

What is MS-DOS?

MS-DOS stands for Microsoft Disk Operating System (MicroSoft Disk Operating System) and is the name of one of the operating systems for computer systems based on an x86 architecture and designed by the North American software company Microsoft. It was popularly known as DOS.

This operating system It was pre-installed on most computers from the 1990s, and it was the basic software for human interaction with the computer. This required the user to enter some commands manually, using the keyboard, choosing them from a possible list of instructions called commands that I should know.

There were two series of MS-DOS commands: internal and external. The first, also called residentsThey were loaded automatically at the start of the computer’s operating system, from a stored file named; that is why it was possible to activate them without having the entire DOS on the unit from which they are run.

The external commands, on the other hand, were stored in temporary files of type transient, but which had to be kept on hand to be able to invoke the specific commands desired.

History of MS-DOS

MS-DOS was created as an interface to IBM PC computers.

MS-DOS was born in 1981, created as a basic interface for IBM PC personal computers, from a much more primitive previous version known as 86-DOS or QDOS, belonging to Seattle Computer Products. MS-DOS version 1.0 appeared in 1982, along with its pre-installed version on PC products: PC-DOS.

It was used massively until the mid-1990s, when it was replaced by Windows systems; Despite being based on DOS, the latter offered the user a much friendlier graphical interface than the arid DOS commands. Today much of its structure is preserved in basic and essential processes of some Microsoft Windows systems.

List of basic MS-DOS commands

MS DOS commands
There were two series of commands, internal and external.
  • CD .. – Go down one rung in the hierarchy of inspected directories or folders.
  • CD or CHDIR – It allows changing the current directory to any other determined one.
  • CLS – Deletes the complete information displayed on the screen, returning to the command prompt or prompt.
  • COPY – Allows you to copy a specific file to another specific directory.
  • DIR – Displays the contents of the current directory on the screen. The way it is displayed can be controlled by additional parameters: / w, / p, etc.
  • OF THE – Delete a specific file.
  • FOR – Re-enter a command already used.
  • MD or MKDIR – Creates a specified directory within the current one.
  • MEM – Displays the amount of RAM available and occupied in the system on the screen.
  • REN or RENAME – Change the name of a file to another that is indicated to the system.
  • APPEND – Specify the path of a data file or archive.
  • BACKUP – Back up specified files from hard disk to removable memory (floppy disk, CD, etc.).
  • CHKDSK – Carries out a hard drive check and fixes any errors found.
  • DELTREE – Delete an entire directory with its subdirectories and files.
  • DYSKCOPY – Makes an identical copy of a floppy, using an empty one.
  • FORMAT – It erases the entire contents of a physical drive (a floppy disk or a hard disk) and recreates the basic file structure that it needs to be used.
  • PRINT – Sends a one-time file to the printer.
  • LABEL – Displays on the screen and allows modifying the label assigned to a specific disk unit.
  • MOVE – Change the location of a specific file or directory, or rename its subdirectories as well.
  • KEYB – Modify the language assigned to the computer keyboard.