USING MS-DOS 2
THE MS-DOS COMMAND LINE PROCESSOR 3
USER INTERFACE 3
COMMAND STRUCTURE 4
HOW TO LEARN DOS COMMANDS 6
COMMANDS AVAILABLE IN WINDOWS 95/98/ME/2000 7
DOS AND WINDOWS TUTORIALS 8
MS-DOS 6.22 COMMANDS 10
WINDOWS 95/98/ME EXTERNAL COMMANDS 11
WINDOWS 95/98/ME INTERNAL COMMANDS 11
WINDOWS 2000 COMMAND SET 12
WINDOWS XP COMMAND SET 14
INSTALLING MS-DOS 6.22 16
Disk Based Operating Systems 22
The Configuration Files 23
BATCH FILES 25
THE MS-DOS BOOT SEQUENCE 28
DOS MEMORY LIMITATIONS 31
PRODUCING AN EMS BOOT DISK 33
INSTALLING A CD-ROM IN AN MS-DOS SYSTEM 38
MS-DOS 6.22 Command List 41
Although Windows 95/98/NT/ME/2000and XP now dominate the operating system market, there are tens of thousands of PCs using MS-DOS as the underlying operating system. Some knowledge of MS-DOS is therefore an essential requirement of every PC service technician. It is also useful for troubleshooting, for example, if Windows 95/98/ME fails to boot properly for some reason, you usually get the chance to boot to the command prompt, or into MS-DOS mode. In this mode, Windows Setup only loads a few basic files thus stopping short of loading the application or driver that caused the crash. The technician can then enter various commands to check the system or run DOS based diagnostics software etc.
When installing or reinstalling Windows you can boot from the Windows Startup disk and enter commands to partition and format the hard disk or edit config.sys and command com. You can also use the command prompt from the Windows desktop for fast file manipulation, for example, to make a copy of a floppy disk in the A: drive you simply enter Diskcopy a: b:
To do this in Windows 95/98/ME/2000/XP:
Press Ctrl/ESC then 'R' (or Click on Start, then Run), for the command prompt.
In the command prompt box, enter Diskcopy a: a
You will now be prompted to insert the source disk in drive A: and after copying the disk to memory, you will be prompted to insert the target disk in drive A:.
You can also quickly move, copy, rename or erase files. Unfortunately in command mode you can only work with short file names up to eight characters in length. Long file names are shown in truncated form.
If you intend to take certain lead body exams in PC support you may well find some questions on MS-DOS, so it really is worth making the effort to learn the more useful commands and gain some familiarity with the syntax. 1
Some experimenters may be interested in setting up an MS-DOS based system on an old 486 or legacy Pentium system purposely to learn MS-DOS. Using an old system like this will allow you to become more adventurous, eliminating the fear of doing something catastrophic to the OS or stored files on your best computer. Later in this section we will take you through a typical MS-DOS installation.
The user interface is what you see and do when you interact with the computer. In general you see information and prompts on an output screen and interact by pressing keys, clicking buttons, moving a cursor or selecting from menus etc.
There are three main categories of user interface as follows
Windows is a GUI interface and this is the most popular interface for today’s applications as it affords a simple, effective and friendly WIMP 2environment. Menu driven interfaces are often used for specialist applications where the user can only interact by making selections by clicking specific keys or interacting with a touch screen. In a Command driven interface, the user interacts by typing commands and data at the keyboard. MS-DOS is inherently a command driven interface but applications running in that environment can provide a GUI interface. Indeed Windows 3.* is such an application.
There are a few advantages of a command driven interface:
However these advantages are modest compared to those offered by GUI interfaces.
The first thing most people find when first confronted with MS-DOS after using a GUI system, is how difficult it is to carry out basic tasks that are taken for granted in Windows. Every action requires a command and often a set of parameters that the user has to remember. Another disadvantage is that you often cannot immediately see the results of your actions.
In Windows all you have to remember is where things are and how to use the mouse. For example to move a file named ‘Sue’ from the TEMP directory (folder) to a directory called MYFILES in Windows, you just go into Windows Explorer and left click on the file ‘Sue’ in TEMP and while depressing the left mouse button, drag it to the MYFILES folder, then release the button and hey presto!
To do the same thing in MS-DOS you enter the following command at the DOS prompt:
MOVE c:\temp\sue c:\myfiles
It is an efficient system — just one concise statement is all that’s required —but until you know the commands verbatim, it can be very frustrating to use.