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back to article Microsoft's MS-DOS is 30 today

MS-DOS is 30 years old today. Well, kind of. On 27 July 1981, Microsoft gave the name MS-DOS to the disk operating system it acquired on that day from Seattle Computer Products (SCP), a hardware company owned and run by a fellow called Rod Brock. SCP developed what it at various times called QDOS and 86-DOS to run on a CPU card …

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Unhappy

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30+ and still not dead yet

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All growed up

And now it's in version 7, with a nice little graphical bit tacked on the front.

"The Space Shuttle of operating systems"

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Anonymous Coward

a nice little graphical bit tacked...

a tacky little graphical bit ......

There fixed that fro you.

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Stop

err

Is this an attempt to be funny, or are you just completely inaccurate?

I'm sure you knew WinNT wasn't based on MS-DOS, right? Windows 98 was the last version based off it...

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Facepalm

Correcting a correction

Surely you mean Windows Millennium Edition -- WinMe -- was the last version based off it?

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Coat

This is not a title

Yep, that just about sums it up.

Windows CE-ME-NT http://www.the-jokes.com/funny-picture-cartoon-138.html

Microsoft breaks Volkswagen's record: Volkswagen only made 22 million bugs!

Keyboard not detected, press f1 to continue.

Ther box said "needs Windows 98 or better to run", so I installed Linux.

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Shhhhhh....

We all want to forget that existed.

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WinME?

That never existed. It was just a bad dream that we've all spent the last 10 years trying to forget. I had almost succeeded to....

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Anonymous Coward

Keyboard not detected...

is a message by the BIOS, not the OS, I thought?

/Killjoy

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Keyboard not detected, press f1 to continue...

Is that really such a bad error message? basically what it's saying is that the keyboard is not plugged in, please plug it in and then press F1?

(I agree that it could probably be a bit more verbose :)

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Facepalm

Yeah, right!

I believe those pesky ps2 connectors wouldn't allow your keyboard to work after the F1 message appeared. You had to manually reset the PC in order for the keyboard to be operational.

And the mouse and keyboard connector were the same. I used to work in a helpdesk and the first question I asked customers, when their keyboard and mouse didn't work, was if they recently moved their computer to another location. Some people freaked out and thought I was psychic!

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Joke

History

"So on 27 July, 1981, the operating system became Microsoft's property,"

...

So on 28 July, 1982, Microsoft made their first changes to the OS.

On 29 July Microsoft released their first version.

30th July the first security hole was found in Microsofts changes.

31st July the first virus appeared.

Microsoft patched it in version 2.

<note>The above is not real</note>

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Pint

Happy Birthday DOS

Might have to hunt out a boot disk and stick it in the floppy drive for old times sake.

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Paris Hilton

Floppy Disk

There was a time when you age a computer geek by asking them to format a floppy disk.

There was the knowledgeable generation who opened a command prompt and typed "format a:"

The there were those newbies who would open explorer, right click on the floppy drive and selected "Format" from the menu.

Now they look at you blankly and say "What's a floppy disk?"

Paris? Because I'm getting old :(

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format <return>

Oh the joy of format; defaulting to the current drive. The screams as someone forgot the a: and formatted c:

Happy days.

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Anonymous Coward

Floppy Disk?

> There was a time when you age a computer geek by asking them to format a floppy disk.

Floppy disks are for newbies. Try punched tape and cards.

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What's a floppy disk? Bah.

I recently built a new PC at home. Not top-performing, but heaps and heaps faster than my five-year-old back-of-the-curve disaster area that it is replacing. Anyway, it is good that shiny-biscuit writers are available on SATA, because the motherboard has neither P-ATA nor floppy drive connectors...

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Ru
Facepalm

Re: Floppy Disk?

I must confess how much of a noob I am. I have absolutely no idea how one might format a punch card.

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Formatting a stack of punch cards

Not all that complicated, just need some water, a blender, a press (rolling pin in a pinch) and a cutting die. Rather time intensive though.

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Bah!

Who cares what you did on a toy computer? Real geeks were coaxing 1900s to perform 15 years after their useful service life had expired with a PLAN opcode card, a roll of paper tape and the light of Jesus in their eyes.

Real discs aren't given letters and don't "flop". They have octal numbers, eleven platters and are a foot across.

Whippersnappers!

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Coat

Re: Formatting a punch card

I suppose that it would involve another piece of card, and a bit of glue.

Or, considering the age of these things, incinerate the old one and replace it.

Reusable media, you say? Save the trees? Don't know what you're talking about.

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Re: Formatting a punch card

"I suppose that it would involve another piece of card, and a bit of glue."

Punch cards tended to jam if you stuck anything on them. However, splicing paper tape was quite common. I can remember using a device which we called a "micro VAX" - this thing held two ends of paper tape in place while you spliced them together. It came with a little tool with which to manually punch through holes in fresh tape covering a spliced joint.

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Why do I need a title to reply to a post?

Dos 6.22 is still available on Technet!

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FAIL

Pedantry again...

The last stand-alone version of MS-DOS was 6.22, not 5.0. I know this because I upgraded my 5.0 system to 6.22.

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Angel

@Steve the Cynic

I think what they meant by stand-alone version was that you could buy it off-the-shelf without the requirement of having a DOS (any DOS) present on the hardware. MS-DOS 5.0 shipped as upgrade from MS-DOS 3.3 and as a fresh install, but I am in agreement with you that MS-DOS 6.0 and later 6.2 did ship as both standalone and upgrade version.

Microsoft offered me MS-DOS 6.2 for free, and then 6.22 too because of the Stac lawsuit that made DoubleSpace in MS-DOS 6.0 illegal... Oh well. :-)

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Happy

DOS 6.22

...which can still be downloaded from TechNet. So can Windows/WfW 3.11 for those who like to run up VMs of old operating systems now and then... ;-)

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Pint

That really brings back memories

For the longest time as a child, I used to view computers as little more than glorified games machines. Oh, I'd sometimes type cheat programs in BASIC on my Amstrad but that's about as far as it got.

When my dad got his first PC, the pattern continued, with myself just playing a couple of games on it. Then one day I happened upon a tutorial for this weird thing called MS-DOS. It was confusing and terrifying but by the same token, oddly intruiging as well. I began poking around in different directories, learning how to move, copy and delete files using the command prompt. I even progressed to the arcane mysteries of creating custom config.sys and autoexec.bat files.

I was never blown away by Windows 3.x and only really started using it with the release of Windows 95. But I'll always be grateful to MS-DOS and that tutorial for showing me that there's more to computers than gaming.

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ironically

I started with windows 95, and MS-DOS was what you used if you wanted gaming... I learned an incredible amount from poking around in DOS trying to get a game working properly. The joys of owning a 'soundblaster compatible' card instead of the real thing!

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Anonymous Coward

And I...

started with Unix, and wrote off my first DOS PC as not doing anything at all.

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@ Sooty

Agreed. The kids today just can't appreciate the pleasure in finding the exact combination of device drivers being loaded (and loaded into UMB) that will suddenly make a game work...

Privateer was a pain in the neck - for some reason to get the thing to work I'd have to DriveSpace my C:, install the game on the rump bit that isn't compresseed, and then in an optional boot mode choose not to load drivespace - if I didn't drivespace the damn drive it wouldn't work for reasons I could never figure out.

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Devil

soundcards like these

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thunder_Board

what a piece of crap, sold it to some friend, lost the friend

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Anonymous Coward

Ah, memories

So many other platforms.. Double-DOS, so you could keep a BBS going and still use the computer for something else, QEMM, Novell's attempt at DOS before the show went TCP/IP (I believe that settled only down with Worries for Workgroups).

And yet, 30 years later they STILL cannot bring out an OS that you can just connect to the Internet without installing 3rd party products. I don't know of any other supplier that can get away with that and still be called "business ready". It's like continuing to sell cars without brakes that keeps up a whole industry in anchors and parachutes.

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3rd partys

"And yet, 30 years later they STILL cannot bring out an OS that you can just connect to the Internet without installing 3rd party products."

who ? microsoft? my windows connects to the internet . you must be doing it wrong

or do you mean safely?

if so then , well i'm glad they're not also doing the AV.

When you buy a pc from pc world it comes with Norton or whatever installed . its ready.

Just as when you buy a car it comes with a pioneer stereo or brembo brakes already installed.

dosent windows 7 got some sandboxing or something? or did i imagine that?

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Eh?

What third party products would one have to install to connect, say, Windows 2000 to the internet?

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Happy

@3rd partys

"When you buy a pc from pc world it comes with Norton or whatever installed . its ready."

Yeh - ready to be uninstalled.

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Windows Security Essentials

I thought MS were doing AV now - not that I know whether it is any good or not - I've never tried it.

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Ru
Facepalm

Re: or do you mean safely?

Are you all still plugging modems directly into your PC?

It has been quite a few years since I worried about connecting a fresh windows installation to the interwebs, because I've been happily using firewalls and NAT routers.

Since XP got a firewall by default (was that SP2?) I haven't worried about that particular issue at all. It isn't 2005 any more, guys.

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Microsoft Security Essentials

"I thought MS were doing AV now - not that I know whether it is any good or not - I've never tried it."

Yes, free and actually quite good. It is not particularly "heavy" and MS seem to keep it quite up to date.

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FAIL

Network drivers is I think what he means

At least that's what I mean. Countless times I've had to install Windows and get cd or usb and download the nic driver on it. It's ridiculous since I've been booting up Linux for 10 years and connecting right to a network. Only today, with corporate wireless was Windows 7 ready to connect to the internet.

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Thumb Up

IBM DOS

The OS for the new IBM PC was always “PC DOS” because “DOS” or “IBM DOS” mnemonic was already taken by DOS later renamed DOS/VSE and lives today as z/VSE.

Internally IBM had an emulator that hosted PC-DOS on VM/CMS for program development

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vmware

Dos 6.0 runs fine under vmware. Ditto Windows 3.1

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DOS hackers can still play...

thanks to the FreeDOS project.

http://www.freedos.org/

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Anonymous Coward

DOS about

6.22 was out around the time of Win3.1 / WFW 3.11.

Remember creating boot disks to get the autoexec.bat/config.sys to fire everything into "high memory"/himem to get as much base memory free to play some pernickity games.

Trying unsuccessfully to unify DOS and the GUI with Win95 (DOS 7.x), even going as far as removing the "Restart the computer in MSDOS mode" option in WinME.

It didn't really work until XP (from the NT line).

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Linux

DRDos 5

I won 10 copies of DR DOS 5 at a trade show. It had much better extended/expanded memory management and more powerful Batch file commands (IF/THEN) than the current MSDOS.

Using MSDOS without Norton Commander was a PITA.

I have managed never to pay for a MS product except one copy of XP,. Sorry Bill, I won't be buying any more.

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Meh

only 30?

I'm older than MS-DOS.

bloody hell thats depressing.

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Dos is older than me!

I hadn't actually realised how long Dos had been out for before I was small and blowing up my dads first IBM pc (Ops :O).

I don't feel quite so old now :)

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Meh

"...and blowing up my dads first IBM pc "

Glad to see I wasn't the only one to do that. (It was an accident, honest.)

Sadly, though, I am older than DOS....I must agree with Adrian. That's just depressing. Don't anyone tell my wife. She'll never let me hear the end of it.

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Windows

MS-DOS 5.0 last stand-alone DOS?

You sure about that? I distinctly recall in 1994 having the option of being MS-DOS 6.0 in Upgrade or standalone form. Because my PC came with MS-DOS 5.0, I opted for the upgrade version, although the upgrade pretty much was like the stand-alone version anyway, because instructions on how to install MS-DOS 6.0 Upgrade on a clean system were included.

Perhaps it was a specific edition for some markets, but the standalone option definitely existed.

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