Microsoft Disk Operating System

What Does Microsoft Disk Operating System Mean?

The Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS) is an operating system developed for PCs with x86 microprocessors. It is a command-line-based system, where all commands are entered in text form and there is no graphical user interface.


MS-DOS was the most commonly used member of the family of disk operating systems. It was the main choice as an operating system for IBM PC-compatible computer systems during the 1980s to mid-1990s. MS-DOS was gradually replaced by system’s with graphical user interfaces, particularly Microsoft Windows.

Techopedia Explains Microsoft Disk Operating System

MS-DOS was originally called 86-DOS. It was written by Tim Patterson (considered the father of DOS) and owned by Seattle Computer Products. Microsoft bought 86-DOS for $75,000, licensed the software and released it with an IBM PC as MS-DOS 1.0 in 1982. MS-DOS was originally designed to run on any computer with an Intel 8086 processor, but the various hardware versions on these computers made compatibility difficult. As a result, Microsft provided hardware equipment manufacturers with a development kit that could be used to tune the MS-DOS operating system for the computer’s specific hardware. As a result, there were many versions of MS-DOS. There were also compatibility issues with MS-DOS and IBM where some machines were compatible with MS-DOS but not IBM. These computers could only run programs that were written for MS-DOS and did not depend on any of IBM’s peripheral architecture.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse 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 explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…