16 Difference Between DOS And Windows Operating System (With Comparison Chart)

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An operating system (OS) is an interphase between a computer user and computer hardware. An operating system performs all the basic tasks like file management, memory management, process management, handling input and output and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives and printers. 

Examples of operating systems include:

  • Linux
  • Windows
  • macOS (formerly OS X)
  • Disk operating system
  • VMS
  • OS/400
  • AlX
  • Z/OS

Disk Operating System (DOS)

A disk operating system can be described as a computer operating system that resides on and can use a disk storage device such as a floppy disk, hard disk drive or optical disc. A disk operating system must provide a file system for organizing, reading and writing files on the storage disk.

DOS was first the first operating system used by IBM-compatible computers. It was originally available in two versions that were essentially the same, but marketed under two different names: PC-DOS and MS-DOS. MS-DOS was the version that Microsoft bought the rights to and was bundled with the first versions of Windows. PC-DOS was the version developed by IBM and sold to the first IBM-compatible manufacturers.

DOS uses a command line or text-based interface that allows the user to type commands. By typing simple instructions such as pwd (print working directory) and cd (change directory), the user can browse the files on the hard drive, open files and run programs. While the commands are simple to type, the user must know the basic commands in order to use DOS effectively. Examples of DOS commands Include:

  • DATE-Displays or changes the system date
  • DELTREE-Deletes one or more files or directories
  • DEL and ERASE-Deletes one or more files
  • MOVE-Move one or more files to another directory
  • EDIT-Launches the text editor
  • DIR-Displays the contents of a directory

Versions Of DOS include:

  • MS-DOS
  • FreeDOS
  • PTS-DOS
  • DR-DOS
  • 86-DOS
  • ROM-DOS
  • OpenDOS
  • Novell DOS etc.

What You Need To Know About DOS

  1. DOS is an operating system that uses a disk storage device such as floppy disk, hard disk drive or an optical disc.
  2. DOS uses a command line or Text based interface.
  3. Disk operating system runs on disk storage devices such as hard disk drive or floppy disk for executing commands.
  4. As a command line OS, users need to type the commands manually to give instructions to the system.
  5. DOS versions include:  MS-DOS, FreeDOS, PTS-DOS, DR-DOS, 86-DOS, ROM-DOS, OpenDOS, Novell DOS etc.
  6. DOS does not support multimedia files.
  7. DOS can run on a few megabytes memory.  A typical DOS machine would require around 512 KB to 1MB for the operating system, application as well as data.
  8. The usage of DOS systems has declined drastically. It is currently being used for embedded systems development. DOS was popular between 1980 to 1995.
  9. DOS is a single-task operating system. You have to wait for a command to finish before giving another command.  
  10. DOS uses a simple catalogue framework for its registry information and swap framework. The entire information is contained in a specific index or sub-directory which makes it more vulnerable to attacks.
  11. Networking in DOS was an add-on functionality. A computer was rarely connected to a Network. This made it difficult to share files between computers.
  12. DOS does not involve use of drivers, making it more complex to use.
  13. Text entered in command-line serve as everything for DOS. These commands were type in through keyboard and therefore the keyboard was the primary mode of input for DOS.
  14. With DOS the user has remember the various commands to perform the action.
  15. DOS command execution is faster than Windows.

Windows

Microsoft windows commonly referred to as windows, is a group of several proprietary graphical operating system families, all of which are developed and marketed by Microsoft.  Microsoft introduced windows operating system on November 20, 1985 as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS in response to the growing interest in graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

Currently, Windows Operating System is the most advanced and modern version. It has all the fantastic graphics to make the visuals more appealing. The textual commands have been replaced with colorful interactive icons that respond to mouse clicks, human touch and voice commands as well.

Windows is a multitasking operating system, meaning that it can run multiple program processes simultaneously. A typical Windows session might consist of the user browsing the Web while adding music to an MP3 player with their email program checking for new messages in the background.

Versions of Windows include:

  • Windows 95
  • Windows 98
  • XP
  • Vista
  • Windows 7
  • Windows 8
  • Windows 10  

What You Need To know About Windows

  1. Windows is a group of graphical operating system family which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft.
  2. Windows has Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a Command Line Interface.
  3. Windows operating system runs on GUI for providing more interactive, intuitive and user-friendly interface.
  4. Windows provides a graphical interface where users can run an application just by recognizing icons and images.
  5. Windows versions include: Windows 95, Windows 98, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 10 etc.
  6. Windows support multimedia files.
  7. Windows require gigabytes of memory to run. It offers more graphic-rich features such as images, videos, games etc. For example, the minimum requirement for Windows 10 OS is 4GB RAM and 500GB disk space.
  8. Windows is a popular operating systems today. It has users all over the world.
  9. Windows is a multitasking operating system. You can type a document while playing music and copying files at the same time.
  10. Windows uses a complex directory-based system to store registry information. It is an entangled web of information storage system which makes it difficult to erase this crucial information.
  11. Windows comes with a built-in network connection of computers. This enables the computer to share disk storage and files with other devices such printers, scanners, plotters, photocopiers etc.
  12. Windows use drivers which makes it easier to use.
  13. Mouse and keyboard are used as input devices in windows. Windows introduced a pointer on the screen and a joystick/mouse to control that pointer. Click/Scroll events performs majority of the non-texts related tasks.
  14. There is no need to remember commands in windows.
  15. Windows operations are slower when compared to DOS.

Also Read: Difference Between Logical And Physical Address In Operating System

Difference Between DOS And Windows Operating System In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON DOS OPERATING SYSTEM WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEM
Description DOS is an operating system that uses a disk storage device such as floppy disk, hard disk drive or an optical disc.   Windows is a group of graphical operating system family which are developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft.  
Interface DOS uses a command line or Text based interface.   Windows has Graphical User Interface (GUI) and a Command Line Interface.  
Framework Disk operating system runs on disk storage devices such as hard disk drive or floppy disk for executing commands.   Windows operating system runs on GUI for providing more interactive, intuitive and user-friendly interface.  
Working As a command line OS, users need to type the commands manually to give instructions to the system.   Windows provides a graphical interface where users can run an application just by recognizing icons and images.  
Version MS-DOS, FreeDOS, PTS-DOS, DR-DOS, 86-DOS, ROM-DOS, OpenDOS, Novell DOS etc.   Windows 95, XP, Vista, Windows 7, 8, 10 etc.
Multimedia Files DOS does not support multimedia files.   Windows support multimedia files.  
Memory Requirement DOS can run on a few megabytes memory.  Windows require gigabytes of memory to run.
Popularity And Usage DOS was popular between 1980 to 1995. Windows is a popular operating systems today. It has users all over the world.  
Nature DOS is a single-task operating system. Windows is a multitasking operating system.
Registry DOS uses a simple catalogue framework for its registry information and swap framework. Windows uses a complex directory-based system to store registry information.
Networking Networking in DOS was an add-on functionality. Windows comes with a built-in network connection of computers.
Input Device Text entered in command-line serve as everything for DOS. Mouse and keyboard are used as input devices in windows.
Commands With DOS the user has remember the various commands to perform the action.   There is no need to remember commands in windows.  
Speed DOS command execution is faster than Windows.   Windows operations are slower when compared to DOS.  

Advantages And Disadvantages Of DOS

Advantages

  • There is direct access to the BIOS and its underlying hardware.
  • It is very light and therefore it does not have overhead of the multitasking operating system.
  • Due to its size, it will ‘’boot’’ much faster than any windows version, thus it will run in a smaller system.
  • MS-DOS is good for making workarounds for combining programs and for managing/administering an MS system.

Disadvantages

  • Automatic IRQ ordering is not supported by the OS.
  • Interrupt levels for hardware needs to be managed by our self.
  • It has difficult memory access when addressing more than 640 MB of RAM.
  • No multi-tasking supported by the OS.

Advantages And Disadvantages Of Windows

Advantages

  • Its standardized look and feel makes windows easy to use.
  • There is a huge selection of software available for windows.
  • There is backward compatibility in windows. Every program works well with newer version of windows.
  • Windows is perfect in the area of plug and play support for PC hardware.
  • Windows is compatible with MS driven websites.
  • It provides plenty of gaming games as well as other different supporting gaming hardware.

Disadvantages

  • Windows requires huge resource of computer hardware as it requires a faster CPU, more internal memory and a large hard disk.
  • When compared to other operating systems, windows security is weak.
  • The source code of the windows is inaccessible; its only Microsoft that has direct access to it and therefore trouble shooting is unavailable. Users can only try to find out a problem through trial and error.
  • Windows OS has paid license and you cannot use windows OS legally free. The cost of buying a copy of windows OS is high as well.
  • Windows support is not good for most users. Its only large organizations that can get a good support from the windows team.