What Does Debug Mean?

Debug, in the context of MS-DOS, is a command that allows users to examine and alter memory content sources that occur within the operating system. The technique of giving the computer task instructions through a command line interface was originally used in MS-DOS environments to translate assembly language code into operation code, and machine language into executable (.exe) files.


The debug command allows users to examine memory contents, make changes, and then execute COM, .exe and other file types.

Techopedia Explains Debug

Microsoft first introduced the debug command in MS-DOS 1.0 as a program-testing method. Additional functionality was added and geared toward varied operational tasks, such as displaying memory portion contents, entering memory data at a specified address, running executable memory files, hexadecimal arithmetic and manipulating register memory.

The term is primarily used to refer more generally to the process of removing program bugs or errors.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.