And then you discovered 4DOS. Which was damn amazing. And the 4DOS tools worked on any DOS you put them on, too.
But, for years, my computer's scripting - every line from booting to loading drivers to starting games - was a combination of batch files, PC Pro / PC Magazine command-line utilities, and simple freeware.
STRINGS, CHOICE, AMENU, it's all coming flooding back.
Those were the days. When the computer did what you told it to and no more. And if you wanted, you could get 638Kb of base RAM out of 640Kb with enough drivers to play game X or run app X and just stick it in a menu. And a reboot took seconds and pushed you into a nice menu that loaded up the exact configuration you needed for a program, and you never even saw the jiggery-pokery to make it all work but you could at any point.
Can''t even squeeze a webpage into 640Kb now. Still have no control over what starts up or in what order when you start Windows and half the stuff you can't turn off without breaking completely unrelated features (did you know that if you stop the Window Search service, you can't then add a new keyboard language?).
Never used a batch file compiler because - well, you never needed to. A 386 was more than capable of churning through a batch file in no time at all.