Microsoft Disk Operating System Computer Science Essay

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MS DOS is a very powerful tool in today's society, even with it being just the first Microsoft Operating system. MS DOS is short for "Microsoft Disk Operating System". DOS was made through the team effort of Bill Gates, Microsoft team, and IBM. With commands such as Fdisk, Xcopy, and many others that still have effect on today's operating systems, these come together in DOS to make one of the best tools to have for an operating system, always a good thing to carry on you. Learning about DOS, its many capabilities, and all the ways it can be used can become a very powerful asset for any computer technician.

Keywords: MS DOS, operating system, Microsoft, IBM, Fdisk, Xcopy

What is MS DOS?

MS DOS is a very powerful tool in both the past and today's world. It was the first

operating system that Microsoft had ever come out with through their partnership with IBM.

MS DOS stands for Microsoft Disk Operating System, and is a completely text based interface

with no graphics. The strange deals, agreements, partnerships, ideas, and turn of events is

what was the motivation behind the creation of this powerful Operating system that would

sweep the nation from its release in 1981, up until its final update in 1994 and is still

used as a tool today, such as formatting, which is a breeze when you use Dos to do it while

not even inside of the operating system. This operating system may be extremely old and not

used very widely at all in today's society, but it's capabilities and advantages that it can

still be used for are too good to consider it to be an obsolete tool today.

The first Microsoft operating system was known as MS DOS, or Microsoft Disk

Operating System, or just DOS for short. It was the first operating system designed by

Microsoft, and is a powerful tool for Windows systems to this day. DOS was a completely

text-based operating system, which meant there were no graphics, buttons, icons, or anything

like that to navigate and open programs. Things like desktop icons, the start menu, taskbar,

and such did not exist back in this time, everything had to be typed out in order to

navigate. Similar to how this old operating system used to look is the "command line" that

Windows includes in their operating system today. The command line is an emulation of the

Microsoft DOS operating system, which is why it seems so familiar. Microsoft still wanted to

integrate a text-base interface into their newer operating systems, so they made a program

similar to the old DOS operating system and put it into the newer operating systems to be

used as a powerful tool when using a computer. This does not mean that MS DOS and the

command line are exactly the same though, since DOS is its own operating system, it would

not be able to interpret or understand many things on the newer operating systems, so many

things have changed when they made the command line, so the command line can do things on

newer operating systems that DOS would be unable to do, but DOS also has capabilities to

accomplish tasks that wouldn't be possible through the command line on newer operating

systems as well, and this is what sets apart DOS from the integrated command line program in

the newer operating systems today.

When IBM came out with the invention of a computer that users could keep and use in

their own homes, known as the Personal Computer, or PC for short, they had much help from

Bill Gates, who owned Microsoft, to make sure the Personal Computer was a major success.

Gates eagerly agreed to write a version of Basic into the ROM chips of IBM's new invention.

The only thing that was missing, was an operating system for the device, a layout for users

to interact with to use the Personal Computer. Bill Gates had recommended that IBM seek help

from Digital Research's Gary Kildall for ideas since Gary had written the very successful

CP/M, or Control Program for Microcomputers, operating system. Bill Gates thought that they

would get a decent start from them since the company's operating system was such a success,

as it had sold over 600K copies worldwide, and was the standard for many computers at this

point in time. Though Gary Kildall could not be reached by IBM to discuss this, they were

able to speak with Gary's wife, Mrs. Kildall, who eagerly refused to have any kind of

agreement with IBM about the matter of creating an operating system. IBM had no choice but

to trust Microsoft and Bill Gates to create an operating system for their new personal

computer. Little could anyone guess at this moment in time that the operating system that

Microsoft would create would ultimately be a standard for computers up until the current

day, throw Kildall's CP/M operating system into the state of being obsolete, and make Bill

Gates Billions of dollars in the long run. Microsoft used QDOS as a basis for making their

new operating system, which was a basis off of Kildall's very CP/M operating system, but was

legal due to the many differences between the two. A quick thinking Bill Gates had wisely

talked IBM into letting Microsoft keep the rights to the operating system they have created,

and have it be a separate entity from the Personal Computer. This was the deal that made

Gates his Billions that he now holds today. And from these agreements, deals, and

partnerships, the Microsoft Disk Operating System was born.

DOS can be used to do a multitude of things that cannot be accomplished through the

command line. The fact that DOS can be burned to a bootable device, such as a CD, makes it

greatly useful since it can be used on the computer outside of the operating system before

the operating system begins to load. So say you have a bad computer because it has just

gotten so slow because its full of junk files, programs, and probably a bit of malicious

malware, which makes it either impossible or extremely slow to use your computer. You may

then consider booting DOS outside of the operating system, which contains all the trash

files and malware and such, and use a command such as Fdisk to format your drive and clear

the hard disk of everything that is on the drive and start over again, provided you have a

genuine copy of a Windows or Linux operating system that you can install onto the drive

after you have wiped it clean, because this command also clears the current running

operating system on the computer. Another useful command is Xcopy. This command is a lot more

powerful than a copy command, because not only can it copy and paste files, but it can even

relocate directories and even whole drives! Not only that but there are many switches that

can further boost the power of this command, such as to continue copying even when an error

occurs, to copy hidden and system files, overwrite read-only files, and a whole lot more. An

example of how this command is useful is it can be used to copy the contents of an entire

hard drive, and place it onto a new hard drive. So if you really need all of your files,

programs, and everything moved onto a new hard drive for a reason like the new hard drive

has more space, then this is the command that can do it. The only drawback to this process

is that only one partition can be copied to the new hard drive, and since the new hard drive

has to be formatted with Fdisk, or something similar, for this to work, then the drawback is

the inability to copy more than one volume or partition onto the new hard drive. Even so,

these are just a few of the many capabilities that are offered to us through the use of MS


As it stands, Microsoft has really blazed the field with their disk operating

system. For being their first Operating System to ever be created, they sure have gone above

and beyond to have it be such a useful tool even still in today's world. A funny little fact

is that a slight change in someone's decision, a slight alteration in history, would maybe

have made it so that MS DOS was never created, and could never be used in society today.

Thanks to IBM's idea to take help from Bill Gates, Mrs. Kildall's rejection of IBM's request

for help to make an operating system for their Personal Computers, and Bill Gate's Microsoft

team and their abilities, we now have this amazing tool to use on computers today, even if

all it is, is just an extremely old Operating System. It's uses are extremely extensive,

such as the ability to format an entire drive without a need to load the operating system,

and even copy and paste the contents of an entire drive to a completely new one! So when it

comes to basic computer tools that you always want to have with you in your arsenal, always

remember to pack up a copy of MS DOS with you everywhere you go.