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DOS (or Disk Operating System or Dynamic Operating System) is a shorthand term for several closely related operating systems that dominated the IBM PC compatible market between 1981 and 1995, or until about 2000 if one includes the partially DOS-based Microsoft Windows versions 95, 98, and Millennium Edition.
Since Microsoft Vista, Microsoft has opted to use a new proprietary program called PowerShell, which has been about as warmly accepted by programmers as a wet Q-tip in the ear.
Older programmers and more experienced programmers still like using DOS to write Batch Files (.bat) to execute various scripts in the DOS Prompt.
Launching a DOS Command Prompt
Despite the fact that Microsoft has just about abandoned MS-DOS, it is still there and is as still relevant today as it has been to previous generations of computer geeks.
The fastest way to open up a Command Prompt is to key WINDOW KEY+R, which launches the Run Prompt, then type cmd or cmd.exe.
Commands you should know
|Command||What it does||UNIX equivalent|
|help||Display documentation of various commands used in DOS.||help, man, info|
|doskey||Enhances DOS by allowing arrow keys to be used to scroll through past commands used. Generally enabled, but if not, you may want to type this command. It also allows you to use the tab key to complete entering arguments as well as scroll through them using the tab key.||None.|
|cd||Change Directory. Remember, Windows uses backslashes \.||cd|
|copy||Copies one or more files to another location.||cp|
|date||Display or set the date.||date|
|del||Deletes one or more files||rm|
|dir||Displays a list of the files and subdirectories in a directory.||ls or more specifically ls -l|
|echo||Displays messages, or toggles command echoing||echo|
|mkdir||Create a directory||mkdir|
|more||Display output one screen at a time.||more, less|
|move||Move one or more files from one directory to another.||mv|
|ren||Rename a file or files.||mv|
|rmdir||Remove a directory. (Use with caution!)||rmdir|
|type||Displays the contents of a text file.||cat|
There are other commands, but the ones listed in the table above are probably the most important to know.