Comparison of x86 DOS operating systems

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This article details various versions of DOS-compatible operating systems.

Contents

Historical and licensing information

Originally MS-DOS was designed to be an operating system that could run on any 8086-family computer. It competed with other Operating Systems written for x86 based computers, such as CP/M-86 and UCSD Pascal .Each computer would have its own distinct hardware and its own version of MS-DOS, similar to the situation that existed for CP/M, and with MS-DOS emulating the same solution as CP/M to adapt for different hardware platforms. So there were many different versions of "MS-DOS" for different hardware. But the greater speed attainable by direct control of hardware was of particular importance, especially when running computer games. So very soon an IBM-compatible architecture became the goal, and before long all 8086-family computers closely emulated IBM's hardware, and a only single version of MS-DOS for a fixed hardware platform was all that was needed for the market. This version is the version of MS-DOS that is discussed here, as all other versions of MS-DOS died out with their system. One version of such a DOS (Z-DOS) is mentioned here, but there were dozens more.

Name Creator Current code owner/maintainer License First public release date
PC DOS 1.0 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1981, August 12
PC DOS 1.1 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1982, May
PC DOS 2.0 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1983, March
PC DOS 3.0 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1984, August
IBM DOS 4.0 (called PC DOS 4.0) IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1988
IBM DOS 5.0 (called PC DOS 5.0) IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1991
PC DOS 6.1, 6.3 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1993
PC DOS 7 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1995
PC DOS 2000 IBM No longer supported Proprietary 1998
MS-DOS 1.0[1] Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1982
Z-DOS 1.25 OEM Zenith No longer supported Proprietary 1982, May
MS-DOS 2.0 (first version with name of "MS-DOS") Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1983, March
MS-DOS 3.0 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1984
MS-DOS 3.2 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1986
DOS 3.27 (similar to PC-DOS 3.20 with minor improvements) OEM Olivetti No longer supported Proprietary 1986, December 22
MS-DOS 3.3 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1987
MS-DOS 4.0 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1988
MS-DOS 5.0 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1991
MS-DOS 6.0 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1994
MS-DOS 6.22 Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1994
MS-DOS 7.0 (Windows 95A) Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1995
MS-DOS 7.10
(Windows 95B/OSR2, 95C/OSR2.5, 98, and 98SE)
Microsoft No longer supported Proprietary[2] 1996
MS-DOS 8.0 (Windows Me)[3] Microsoft No longer supported [4] Proprietary[2] 2000
DOS Plus 1.2 Digital Research No longer supported Proprietary 1986
DR-DOS 3.x Digital Research No longer supported Proprietary 1988
DR-DOS 5 Digital Research No longer supported Proprietary 1990
DR-DOS 6 Digital Research No longer supported Proprietary 1991
Novell DOS 7 Novell No longer supported Proprietary 1993
OpenDOS 7.01 Caldera Systems No longer supported Free for non-commercial use 1997
DR-OpenDOS 7.02 Caldera Systems Not officially supported;
maintained by Udo Kuhnt as Enhanced DR-DOS
Free for non-commercial use 1997
DR-DOS 7.02 Caldera Systems No longer supported Proprietary 1998
DR-DOS 7.03 Caldera Thin Clients/
Lineo
DR DOS Inc. Proprietary 1999
DR-DOS 8.0 DeviceLogics No longer supported[5] Proprietary 2004
DR-DOS 8.1 DR DOS Inc. No longer supported[5] Proprietary 2005
FreeDOS 1.0 Jim Hall The FreeDOS Project GPL 2006
PTS-DOS 32 PhysTechSoft PhysTechSoft Proprietary  ?
PTS-DOS 2000 PhysTechSoft PhysTechSoft Proprietary  ?
PTS-DOS 2000 PRO PhysTechSoft PhysTechSoft Proprietary  ?
ROM-DOS Datalight Datalight Proprietary 1989

Technical specifications

Name Max Hard Drive partition size File systems supported natively 3.5" Floppy capacities supported natively 5.25" Floppy capacities supported natively Integrated disk compression utility? Long File Names supported natively?
MS-DOS 1.1 n/a FAT12 n/a 320kB (double-sided) No No
MS-DOS 2.0 10MB FAT12 n/a 360kB No No
MS-DOS 3.0 32MB FAT12 n/a 360kB, 1.2MB No No
MS-DOS 3.2 32MB FAT12 720kB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
MS-DOS 3.3 32MB FAT12 720kB, 1.44MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
MS-DOS 4.0 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
MS-DOS 5.0 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
MS-DOS 6.0 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB DoubleSpace No
MS-DOS 6.22 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB DriveSpace No
MS-DOS 7.0 (Windows 95A) 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB DriveSpace No (DOSLFN)
MS-DOS 7.1 (Windows 95B/OSR2, 95C/OSR2.5, 98, and 98SE) 124.55GB (with FAT32)

[6]

FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB DriveSpace for versions of Windows 95, None for Windows 98 No (DOSLFN)
MS-DOS 8.0 (Windows Me)Template:Fn 124.55GB (with FAT32)[6] FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No (DOSLFN)
DOS Plus 1.2 32MB FAT12, FAT16, CP/M-86 n/a 360kB, 1.2MB, CP/M 320kB No No
DR-DOS 3.x 32MB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
DR-DOS 5 512Mb FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
DR-DOS 6 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB Super-stor No
Novell DOS 7.0 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
(DR-)OpenDOS 7.0x 2GB FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB  ? No
DR-DOS 7.03 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB Stacker No
DR-DOS 8.x  ? FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 (buggy ?) 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
FreeDOS 1.0 2TB FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB  ? No (DOSLFN)
PC DOS 1.0 n/a FAT12 n/a 160kB No No
PC DOS 6.1 (early version) 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB,
2.88MB
360kB, 1.2MB,
No No
PC DOS 6.1 with Compression / 6.3 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB,
2.88MB
360kB, 1.2MB,
SuperStor No
PC DOS 7 / 2000 2GB FAT12, FAT16 720kB, 1.44MB,
1.86MB (XDF), 2.88MB
360kB, 1.2MB,
1.54MB (XDF)
Stacker No
PTS-DOS 32  ? FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No (DOSLFN)
PTS-DOS 2000  ? FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
PTS-DOS 2000 PRO  ? FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No No
ROM-DOS  ? FAT12, FAT16, FAT32 720kB, 1.44MB, 2.88MB 360kB, 1.2MB No Yes

References

  1. Doug Conner. "Father of DOS Still Having Fun at Microsoft". Micronews. http://www.patersontech.com/Dos/Micronews/paterson04_10_98.htm. 
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 Current understanding has it that if one has a license to run a Windows version, one can also legally install any MS-DOS version up to the level of that Windows' version.
  3. MS-DOS 8.0 has most of the functionality of previous versions, but there are significant losses of usability, like: the loss of FORMAT /S command, that can be substituted by formatting HDD/FDD and then copying IO.SYS from CD-boot A: image, as first ever file onto drive; loss of SYS A: (or SYS B:) command for floppies, that can be substituted too in the same way as FORMAT /S; inability to boot to a command prompt without substitution/modification of IO.SYS (other than CD-boot version) and COMMAND.COM. For purpose of booting from C: drive, an unmodified IO.SYS from simulated A: boot diskette image, that is placed on Windows Me OEM CD, from which that CD boots, can be used, and English COMMAND.COM can be modified by replacing in this file at hex offset 00006510 byte 75 by byte EB, or substituted by (now freeware) 4DOS (from which NDOS is derived) http://www.jpsoft.com/download.htm
  4. While Windows Me may be unsupported and end-of-life, a version of its underlying DOS is included with Windows XP. When one formats a floppy in Windows XP and selects "Create an MS-DOS startup disk", the floppy is formatted with a DOS version that identifies itself as "Windows Millennium [Version 4.90.3000]".
  5. 5.0 5.1 The entire DR DOS 8 series was pulled from the market after it was discovered that 8.1 code had been lifted from FreeDOS in violation of the GPL license.
  6. 6.0 6.1 As mentioned at http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;EN-US;Q184006& Microsoft's KB article 184006 , the limit of 124.55GB for FAT32 partition size is a primarily a limitation of Windows 95/98's 16-bit SCANDISK utility. Other DOS versions supporting FAT32 may allow a larger partition size closer to the theoretical ~8TB maximum suggested by FAT32's specifications (maximum of 268,435,445 clusters times 32 Kb cluster size). Windows 2000 and XP can mount and use a FAT32 partition larger than 32GB, but they cannot natively create one, which according to Microsoft is by design.

See also

External links

ro:Sisteme de operare x86 DOS

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