# FreeDOS, DOS, Windows

## Main Question or Discussion Point

FreeDOS (formerly Free-DOS and PD-DOS) is an operating system for IBM PC compatible computers. FreeDOS is made up of many different, separate programs that act as "packages" to the overall FreeDOS Project. As a member of the DOS family, it provides mainly disk access through its kernel, and partial memory management, but no default GUI (although OpenGEM is listed on the official FreeDOS website). FreeDOS is currently at version 1.0, released on September 3, 2006. [Wikipedia]

I'm not a student of science or computer-related field.

1: I don't really understand the difference between Windows-like OS's and DOS. I have always thought that Windows is also a DOS with GUI. I haven't used DOS. Can one install software in DOS (as one can in Windows) to do specific tasks. Like, in Windows one can install MS Office to do document creation related stuff, although Windows has built-in simple word processors such as Notepad and Wordpad.

2: What does it really mean where it says "it provides mainly disk access through its kernel, and partial memory management".

It would really kind of you if you could help me with the above queries. Thank you.

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For one thing, the DOS used FAT file system. Windows started using FAT32 and, later, NTFS.

Without a GUI, you have to manually enter each command you want the system to run.

For example, in a GUI (such as Windows) you simply click a folder to open it and view the contents.

In a command line application you have to enter command such as
Code:
cd /home/jared/desktop/myfolder && ls
to access and list the contents of a folder (this example is from Linux).

A simple description would be the kernel is the operating system (the thing that runs and does all the processing and execution of tasks) and the GUI is what you see on screen (all the pretty windows, menus, mouse pointer etc).
If a GUI is not installed, you have to interact directly with the kernel via a terminal / command prompt interface - typing each command.

To see what this looks like for dos (or a close approximation), you can open the Command Line client in windows.

You can install office through a command line interface. Theoretically, if all the dependencies are there you could install MS Office on DOS. The problem is it would be useless without a GUI.

Initially, Windows was just a GUI for DOS (DOS in the Microsoft sense - their first system).

Put simply, all a GUI does is interact with the kernel for you. It knows all the commands, so when you click on a folder it issues the correct commands to the kernel and then shows the results on screen. By using a GUI, you don't have to know all of the commands required to do a job.

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Thanks a lot, Jared. That's a very good reply and that too in simple words. Isn't Linux also a GUI OS?

I have a couple of questions on some elementary DOS commands. So, please be there to help me. Thanks.

Linux in itself, no.

Linux has a number of distributions - Ubuntu, Fedora, Redhat etc. (Each based on the same thing, but with various differences.)

Now, Ubuntu alone is simply a form of Linux kernel and not a GUI.

Gnome is the Ubuntu GUI.

Without Gnome, you have to manually enter all commands as per my previous post with DOS.

Windows is a tricky one because they don't separate out the various features - Kernel, GUI etc. So you either use it all or you don't use it at all.

Linux is different because you can either have just the kernel - a bit like having DOS, or you can have the kernel with a GUI - like Windows.

I'm a Linux person myself, not too good with DOS but I'll do my best. Personally, if you're looking to mess around with command line stuff I'd recommend installing Ubuntu (it's free) and using the terminal.

I'm a Linux person myself
Well, I'm kinda surprised. That would mean you are always there entering commands to operate every software. E.g. when you open your browser you have to enter a certain command. Isn't this too much time taking OS?

Ubuntu and all other those OS's are basically Linux and Linux in itself is based on UNIX. I have been told that most of the servers around the world use UNIX. Perhaps, UNIX and related OS's offer good security and management.

It can be quicker to type 'opera' than to click start, programs, applications, operasoft, opera.exe !

The big advantages of a command line OS is flexibility.
I can combine comands into scripts, so I have a command to list files (ls or dir) and a command to take this list and do operations on it and another command to copy files - I can write a new command which is "copy all the new documents that have changed since the last time, but don't include anything called tmp, or any large images, and copy them to a new folder on a server with the folder name being todays date" and do this automatically every time the machine stars

I could do that by clicking individual files in the gui and dragging them - but not automatically

Well, I'm kinda surprised. That would mean you are always there entering commands to operate every software. E.g. when you open your browser you have to enter a certain command. Isn't this too much time taking OS?
I use Ubuntu with the Gnome desktop environment. I meant I prefer Linux architecture over Windows.

I'm also going to add, just for your reference, if you don't have a desktop environment you can't use software with a GUI unless you install a separate window manager.
Ubuntu and all other those OS's are basically Linux and Linux in itself is based on UNIX. I have been told that most of the servers around the world use UNIX. Perhaps, UNIX and related OS's offer good security and management.
Windows is the most unsecure OS out there (mainstream), mainly down to the way it works. Linux/Unix/Apple based OS's are far less susceptible to viruses and other malicious software, hence not requiring AV software on those systems.
It can be quicker to type 'opera' than to click start, programs, applications, operasoft, opera.exe !
Certainly.
The big advantages of a command line OS is flexibility.
I can combine comands into scripts, so I have a command to list files (ls or dir) and a command to take this list and do operations on it and another command to copy files - I can write a new command which is "copy all the new documents that have changed since the last time, but don't include anything called tmp, or any large images, and copy them to a new folder on a server with the folder name being todays date" and do this automatically every time the machine stars
I have a number of similar scripts in place on my machine. The problem is, if you don't know what you're doing with command line it can be extremely difficult to work with.

I find the terminal a very useful tool, but for someone not so computer savy or someone just starting out, you can't beat a GUI.
I could do that by clicking individual files in the gui and dragging them - but not automatically
There is software to achieve that for use within a GUI with no need for terminal/command line access. In fact, I have one of them.

Although I do find the terminal very useful, and it does let me achieve things much more efficiently or customised by writing scripts, I do like having the GUI for general use - opening the internet, browsing files etc.

rcgldr
Homework Helper
OpenGEM ... DOS
OpenGem is based on Digital Research's GEM, which is a windows like GUI. It was available for the PC, but mainly used on the Atari ST, a Motorola 68000 based computer (like a color Macintosh). The Atari used GemDos, a 32 bit DOS similar to MS-DOS.

I don't really understand the difference between Windows-like OS's and DOS. I have always thought that Windows is also a DOS with GUI.
Early versions of 16 bit Windows (3.1 and older), were basically DOS with GUI, but added more memory management features than included in MSDOS 6.22 which was out at the same time. Extensions of Windows 3.1 include winmem32 and win32s, which allow 32 bit applications to run on Windows 3.1. WIndows 95/98/ME had win32s built-in, and most apps ran in 32 bit mode, but much of the kernel (the actual operating system) was still 16 bit and not multi-tasking.

Windows NT uses a bit pre-emptive (higher priority tasks can interrupt lower ones) multi-tasking 32-bit kernel, and is not based on DOS. The later 32 bit and 64 bit version of Windows, Windows 2000, Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, all use native 32 bit or 64 bit pre-emptive multi-tasking kernels.

Can one install software in DOS (as one can in Windows) to do specific tasks. Like, in Windows one can install MS Office to do document creation related stuff.
Programs don't need to be installed, just stored on a disk. Installation in DOS typically adds the installed program to the "path" that DOS uses to search for a program when you enter the name. Windows adds the feature to associate a file type with a program, so double clicking on file icon causes that file to be opened with the associated program. On a side note, when you click on a Windows file or program icon, it's just a single line batch file to launch the program with some specific command line parameters.

What does it really mean where it says "it provides mainly disk access through its kernel, and partial memory management".
A reference to DOS. It mostly includes the ability to support directories and file access (create / write / read / delete). "Partial" memory management is probably a reference to the fact that DOS doesn't support virtual or paged memory, it only supports the allocation and release of native memory on a LIFO (last in, first out) basis.

Thank you very much, everyone.

I have maximized the screen of Command Prompt Interpreter but now don't know how to reduce its size. What command should I use to get it reduced? Please have a look on the video:
Suppose there is an image file, "learn english.gif", in My Documents folder. The address to this file through Windows explorer would be: C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents\learn english.gif

When I write the above address Windows would open the image file using its built-in 'image viewer' program. How do I reach to this image file through Command Prompt? When I open Command Prompt I get this line: C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator>

What does this symbol ">" mean in DOS?

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change directory with "cd name_of_subdirectory" or "cd .." to go back up a level, "dir" lists all the files and directories.

">" in a command prompt doesn't mean anything, it's just to show you where the prompt (which normally contains the current directory) ends.

Thanks a lot, NBS. I still have two questions. I hoe you would help.

1: I have maximized the screen of Command Prompt Interpreter but now don't know how to reduce its size. What command should I use to get it reduced? Please have a look on the video:
2: This is possible to view and create text files in DOS. Is this also possible to view image file, such as .gif, .jpeg, in DOS?

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Within DOS itself it is not possible to view images. DOS via Windows and Terminal via Ubuntu Gnome are only able to because they use the Windows / Ubuntu software.

You need relevant software installed to view images and text files (et al). And possibly a window manager if you don't have a GUI based OS (DOS without Windows for example).

I don't believe there is a command to resize the command prompt window. It is done via window controls (minimise, maximise, close) in the top. Or dragging window edges.

Jared:
Windows is the most unsecure OS out there (mainstream), mainly down to the way it works. Linux/Unix/Apple based OS's are far less susceptible to viruses and other malicious software, hence not requiring AV software on those systems.
Some days ago I used my cousin's Apple laptop. I watched two movies on a single charge. Last week I went to see him again and he had Win XP installed on that Apple notebook. I again watched a movie. When I started watching the movie the battery was full and still I only managed to watch one movie on a single charge. I think some OS's consume more power than others. In my case Win XP is power hungry system. What do you say?

Of course they are.

It depends on what the OS is doing. Some are quite resource hungry even when idle. Windows is one of the worst offenders, although XP has been fairly good for me.

Not sure what that has to do with what you quoted though.

Windows is the most unsecure OS out there (mainstream)
It's insecure as well as resource hungry! That's what it has to do with what I quoted.

Could you please tell me which OS is the least power/resource hungry?

It's insecure as well as resource hungry! That's what it has to do with what I quoted.
Well insecure doesn't mean resource hungry.

I'd also point out that XP can, when setup correctly, use less resources than Ubuntu.
Could you please tell me which OS is the least power/resource hungry?
Again, that comes down to your setup. I can get Ubuntu to take as much in the way of resources as Windows 7.

Straight from install, I don't consider to be a good benchmark as most use little on a clean install of the OS. However, off the mark I'd say Ubuntu. But I have zero experience with Apple in this area so can't give an indication of those.

I'd also note that Windows likes to be restarted every now and then. If you don't, the system will slow down - quite significantly if left too long.

rcgldr
Homework Helper
I have maximized the screen of Command Prompt Interpreter but now don't know how to reduce its size.
Press <alt> + <enter> to toggle between full screen and windowed mode.

What does this symbol ">" mean in DOS?
It's the default prompt string terminator. Enter this command:

set prompt

and it should should "prompt $p$g", where $p means that the current directory path should be displayed, and$g means that ">" should be displayed. Enter this command to see all the options:

help prompt

if you wanted date and time prefixed to prompt you would enter:

set prompt=$d$s$t$s$p$g

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Mark44
Mentor
What does this symbol ">" mean in DOS?
It's the default prompt string terminator.
I don't think this was the context of jackson6612's question, but for the sake of completeness, > is also the symbol for redirecting output to a different stream. For example, the command type xyz.txt displays the contents of xyz.txt to the screen, while type xyz.txt > abc.txt writes the contents of xyz.txt to abc.txt.

The < symbol redirects input from the keyboard to whatever file or input stream is listed after this symbol.

Jared:

Some days ago I used my cousin's Apple laptop. I watched two movies on a single charge. Last week I went to see him again and he had Win XP installed on that Apple notebook. I again watched a movie. When I started watching the movie the battery was full and still I only managed to watch one movie on a single charge. I think some OS's consume more power than others. In my case Win XP is power hungry system. What do you say?
Were the movies you had watched on the same medium? Watching a movie that is already on the hard drive would consume far less energy than watching one on a DVD because the motor that spins the disc is a huge drain on power.