Querying There is no DOS in XP advices

Self-built / Local
January 14, 2010 at 00:50:56
Specs: Windows XP Home, 2 Gb
OK guys, I know I'm gonna get a caning on this topic but I get a bit frustrated with the continual advice that "There is no Dos in XP".

Open Command.Com using Start>Run and the top line on the page says "Microsoft (R) Windows Dos", open Windows\system32\Config.nt and the first line shows "Rem Windows MS-Dos Startup File".

Entering Command /k ver at Start>Run displays MS-Dos Version 5.00.500

We know that XP is not built on MS-Dos and we know that there is no stand-alone MS-Dos available in XP (?) but should we be forever answering a Dos question with "There is no Dos in XP" which doesn't assist the OP in any way? MS seems to promote the idea that Dos/MS-Dos in some form is available in XP.

Comments appreciated, please don't flame.

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January 14, 2010 at 01:50:06
All you get in XP is an MS_DOS emulator. It is no different than if you were running an MS-DOS emulator on Linux if such a thing exists

Command.com is the MS-DOS command interpreter which allows you to run some MS-DOS commands, but by no means all of them. Becasue it is a .com file and not a .exe file, there are sever restrictions as to what it can do compared to native XP executables.

Just to make it more clear, MS-DOS is a 16 bit single tasking environment, Windows XP is a 32 bit multi taking environment. The problem with Windows 98 was that trying to mix the two completely different environments caused untold problems.


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January 14, 2010 at 02:26:57
Edit: Ninja'd!

The reason people tend to answer like that is because they are constantly bombarded with posts that say dos instead of the windows command processor/batch script, with little other pertinent information as to which exact system is the target.

One thing that really tends to steam people up is requests for windows batch scripts in "Disk Op. System" forum, I believe it was given this name specifically to avoid such requests and hopefully direct them to the programming forum. None-the-less the problem persists.

Batch script can have many variations between windows versions alone(it quite common to get similarly negative responses when simply saying windows, without citing a version). It can be near impossible to answer some of the questions/provide code to work in dos as many of the commonly used commands were introduced with nt or later(like "for /f").

I agree it can be a little over the top at times, but try to answer questions in the programming forum for a month or so and it should be clear where the frustration comes from(Though from memory you questions seem pretty clear to me).

Now as to the information you posted above....

32bit nt based windows have ntvdm - the vdm stands for virtual dos machine, which runs dos programs(like command.com). Command.com isn't dos itself, just a command processor that runs in dos or ntvdm as it may be.

You may notice the copyright notices for most versions of windows extend back to 1987, for compatibility reasons programs like command.com and debug.exe were included(though probably modified).

I'll leave it up to the viewers to decide if xp has dos or not, though I believe almost all(if not all) dos compatibility has been striped out of 64bit editions of windows(so it may be true for xp 64), but be warned this is second hand knowledge to me...

Batch Variable how to

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January 14, 2010 at 02:43:09
Hi Wahine,

No flames, no canes.

Yeah, it's tedious. Some folks know it isn't DOS. Others still don't know even after being told. Hard to tell who's who.

I try to help more than rant. Doesn't always work.

Helping others achieve escape felicity


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Related Solutions

January 14, 2010 at 10:03:00
Someone once said something like: 'A rose by any other name, is still a rose'.

I agree with you Wahine. :-)

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January 14, 2010 at 12:54:21
You are confusing a virtual interface for downward compatibility with the real thing.

DOS stands for disk operating system.

There is no dos in a NTLDR bases system because DOS does not boot the system. Ntldr does.

This confusion is further compounded with the usage of "dos" to describe CMD

Saying "there is no dos in xp" could be better stated with "you are using outdated terms that no longer apply to xp"

Don't you find it absolutely amazing that folks, ten years later, still refer to these terms like "dos" and "pdc/bdc" when discussing ntldr based OS's?

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January 14, 2010 at 14:00:21
Someone once said: "A rose by any other name, is still a rose".

What's in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell so sweet.

William Shakespeare.
Romeo and Juliet

The thing is though the DOS interface you get in Windows XP is not the same as the one you get in Windows 98. Windows 98 was dependent on DOS to boot. Windows XP isn't You could remove all the DOS components from Windows XP and it would not effect the running of XP.

It's like comparing a rose with a dandelion. They are both flowers but that is a s far as it goes.


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January 14, 2010 at 14:52:30
"when I see a bird that walks like a duck and swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, I call that bird a duck."

James Whitcomb Riley (1849–1916)

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January 14, 2010 at 16:24:43
command.com doesn't boot so no walk
command.com is virtualized so no swim
command.com isn't a disk operating system so quack

Would you call a cow a duck?

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January 14, 2010 at 16:29:10
The most silly thing is when the response is a one-liner along the lines:

"There is no DOS in XP"

Sure, we all know that, but it is usually quite obvious what the poster meant and there is a question to be answered. After all, command prompt is used in pretty well the same way as old fashioned MS-DOS.

Educating the poster as part of a helpful answer is one thing, just correcting the poster with a one-liner is arrogance.

some other bloke...

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January 14, 2010 at 16:55:55
Derek - Right on the money. I sometimes wonder how a person new to pc's, and who has possibly never used a Dos based system, feels when he/she asks a question only to be told there ain't no Dos in XP (end of advice) when he/she has opened Command.com and sees the top line advising that the thing they're lookin' at is the non-existent Microsoft Windows DOS. It looks like Dos, acts like Dos and perhaps, on a hot day, smells like Dos so Dos must be there somewhere, in some form, even if it's just the Dos emulator program.

Anyway, thank you all for your non-flaming comments/advice. I now have to go off and demonstrate that Command.com doesn't even process commands.

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