Happy Birthday, MS-DOS - 30 years old this week

It might be dead and gone and forgotten, but this week sees Microsoft's DOS (Disk Operating System) turning 30 years old.

It might be dead and gone and forgotten, but this week sees Microsoft's DOS (Disk Operating System) turning 30 years old.

On July 27 1981, Microsoft bought the rights for QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products (SCP) for a meager $25,000 and basically repackaged the product as MS-DOS. It might have seemed like a lot of money at the time, but given how much money MS-DOS must have raked in for Microsoft over the years, it was undoubtedly a fantastic investment.

I'm not going to bore you by going over the history of the OS (check out Wikipedia) and I'm not going to compare different versions of the OS (again, check out Wikipedia) but I am going to bore you a little with some reminiscing.

...

Actually, I'm not, because I realize that I've forgotten most of what I knew about the OS. I can remember the command-line interface and I remember a lot of the commands (my fingers remember them better than my head does). I must have spent hours endlessly messing about with the AUTOEXEC.BAT (lines like set BLASTER=A220 I7 D1 T2 still float through my mind when I close my eyes ...) and the CONFIG.SYS (playing with devicehigh to free up conventional memory ... an endless pursuit). I remember thinking that the DoubleSpace/DriveSpace disk compression tool was ultra cool. Oh, and that awesome disk defrag tool ... man, did I love to watch that work!

I also remember a LOT of 'Bad command or file name' messages!

And that's pretty much all I remember about MS-DOS. To be fair I don't remember much about Windows 3.1x either.

I thought that MS-DOS 6.22 was the ultimate OS ... nah, I didn't, I'm just saying that to be nice because it's MS-DOSes birthday. By 1994 (which was when MS-DOS 6.22 was released) I was far more impressed by what was being offered by Windows 3.1x. Yes, I upgraded to 6.22 when it came out, but it was mostly just for the experience.

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MS-DOS is dead and gone (outside of a very small number of fringe legacy apps), and that's a good thing. It was an OS from an era where only power users knew what was going on, and if you had an aptitude for such things, you could make some serious money. But those days are long gone and time's change.

And that's a good thing.

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