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FAQ about MS-DOS
What is MS-DOS?
MS-DOS is an old CLI operating system sold by Microsoft between 1981 and somewhere in the very late 90's, designed with built-in file management and a big API for any programmer wanting to do wonders with such an operating system. It is still the heart of Windows 9x (95, 98, ME), and it's present in all 32-bit versions of Windows NT (including these modern Windows versions such as Windows 10). The main thing we like about MS-DOS is the fact it doesn't protect anything. It was designed to run under real mode (a mode for every x86 and x86_64 CPU starting in BIOS mode, which has limited memory address and unprotected access to RAM and I/O), so every byte of RAM and every I/O port is yours (if you know how to use them).
What an old OS! How can I use it?
Take in mind CMD is not MS-DOS! If you are using a computer that doesn't have Apple nor Raspberry
as brand, you can use it directly by installing MS-DOS though advanced methods (or floppy disks!),
using FreeDOS (which is mainly the same as MS-DOS) or through an emulator. A good emulator is DosBox
(a DOS-specific emulator, useful for games), but feel free to use virtual machine software. Be sure
any hardware you use boots in BIOS mode, DOS is not compatible with EFI/UEFI at all!
How can I use sound, video or internet?
For sound, you are dead if you're not already using ISA SoundBlaster audio cards. Yes, those are old as hell, but (unless you like PC speaker) you won't get good sound from a modern computer if you cannot use a SoundBlaster. Of course, many emulators can do SoundBlaster, and there are good games that do wonders with the PC speaker itself (...coff-Lotus III-coff...), while some games can work with FEW modern sound devices. Video is already good with ANY computer (MS-DOS programs are really nice with any kind of video card), your modern computer already has VGA and VESA compatibility, which are more than enough for this old stuff. About internet, you need an old (PCI or older) ethernet card and a packet driver for it (it has to be the right driver for your specific computer!), and a program that works with packet drivers. But MS-DOS is already good offline, don't worry.