Difference Between DOS and Windows

Edited by Diffzy | Updated on: April 30, 2023


Difference Between DOS and Windows

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A computer's operating system (OS), which is first installed by a boot program, is the program that manages all other application applications. The application programs ask the operating system for services using a specific application program interface (API). In addition, users can interact with the operating system directly by utilizing a user interface, such as a command-line interface (CLI) or graphical user interface (UI) (GUI). A piece of software known as an operating system (OS) serves as a middleman. To obtain the desired result, the operating system sends the user's inputs to the system's hardware or other applications. Since the invention of computers in the early nineteenth century, operating systems have developed quickly. Among the more well-known operating systems are Unix, DOS, Linux, and Windows.

The development of software for computers benefits greatly from an operating system. Without an operating system, each program would have to contain both its user interface (UI) and the complete code required to manage all low-level computer operations, such as disk storage, network connections, and other things. This would greatly increase the size of any application and render software development difficult given the wide variety of underlying hardware available. Instead, a lot of routine operations, such as transmitting a network packet or showing text on a display or other conventional output device, can be delegated to system software, which acts as a bridge between applications and hardware. Applications can interface with the hardware in a consistent and repeatable manner without having to be aware of any specifics about the hardware thanks to the system software. Any number of apps can be supported by that system software—the operating system—as long as they all use the same resources and functions. Users may control, configure, and manage the system hardware using a standardized and intuitive interface, which drastically cuts down on the amount of effort and coding required to build and debug an application. The operating system depends on a sizable library of device drivers after installation to customize OS services to the unique hardware environment. As a result, even though every application may make the same call to a storage device, the operating system (OS) receives that call and utilizes the relevant driver to transform it into the actions (commands) required for the underlying hardware on that particular computer. Today's operating systems offer a complete platform for identifying, configuring, and managing a variety of hardware, including processors, memory devices and memory management, chipsets, storage, networking, port communication, like VGA, HDMI, and USB, and subsystem interfaces, like PCI Express (PCIe).

Operating System Functions

  • An operating system offers three key functions: a UI via a CLI or GUI; application activation and management; and identification and exposure of system hardware resources to those programs — often via a standardized API.
  • Every operating system needs a user interface (UI), which enables users and administrators to work with the OS to install, modify, and even diagnose the OS and the hardware underneath. CLI and GUI are the two main categories of UI that are offered.
  • The CLI, or terminal mode window, offers a text-based user interface where users enter certain commands, parameters, and arguments relating to particular operations using the conventional keyboard. Users interact with the GUI, or desktop, using gestures given by human interface devices like touchpads, touchscreens, and mouse devices. The GUI, or desktop, provides a visual interface based on icons and symbols.
  • End users who are interested in manipulating files and programs typically use the GUI. For example, double-clicking a file icon will open the file in the related software. The CLI is still preferred by advanced users and system administrators who routinely need to handle a range of repetitive and highly specific commands, such as building and running scripts to set up new personal computers (PCs) for staff.
  • The operating system chooses which apps should run in what order and how much time should be given to each application before giving another application a turn under a multitasking operating system, where numerous programs can run concurrently.

DOS vs. Windows

While both DOS and Windows are distinct operating systems, Windows is the more widely utilized of the two at the moment while DOS is less so. The DOS is a single-user, CLI-based operating system, which is the primary distinction between these two operating systems. The Windows versions, on the other hand, are operating systems with many users, multiple tasks, and graphical user interfaces. The differences between DOS and Windows will be covered in this article. However, we shall first learn about DOS and Windows.

The primary distinction between DOS and Windows is that the former is a lightweight operating system made for modest tasks while the latter is a multifunctional operating system made for large and numerous tasks. Additionally, DOS lacks a Graphical User Interface (GUI) and is a Command Line Interface (CLI) (GUI). Windows, on the other hand, offers both a GUI and a CLI.

Difference Between DOS and Windows in Tabular Form

Parameters of Comparison          DOS        Windows
Primary Source The commands are used by DOS to carry out any task. The keyboard is used to type these commands. Therefore, the primary input method for DOS is the keyboard Windows' default input method is the keyboard and mouse. These input methods handle the click and scroll events for non-text-related operations.
Swap and Registry System Information about the swap structure and registry is stored in a catalogue. This information is particularly prone to attacks since it is stored in a subdirectory and has a particular index. It stores registration data in a convoluted directory-based manner. This crucial information cannot be deleted due to the intricate web of the information storage system.
Security Because user roles were not supported, it was significantly less secure. With the concept of authorization, it gets around the DOS security flaw. To have full access to a computer, users must have elevated permissions.
Networking Networking was a separate DOS function. Rarely was a computer system connected to the network. This makes it challenging for computers to transfer files. Additionally, it put into place computer-integrated network connections. It provided access to shared devices like printers, scanners, and shared memory as well as shared disc storage.
Storage Volume Its disk storage capacity was low because of its 16-bit segmentation. Due to improvements in memory chips and segmentation techniques, the new Windows operating system has addressed this problem.

What is DOS?

It is known as the disk operating system. One person may use it at a time to finish one assignment. On August 12th, 1981, Microsoft first made it accessible as MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System). The DOS operating system has fewer features than operating systems that were released later because it was initially published in the past.

One user can work on one task at a time with the help of the DOS operating system, which was designed with a command-line interface (CLI). It doesn't support multitasking or user-to-user data sharing on the system. Because it is a single-user OS, the system administrator is the only user who can use it. However, it just means that other users will have to use the system administrator's ID to log in; it does not prevent them from using the same machine. An operating system was initially created by Tim Paterson, a developer at Seattle Computer Products (SCP), to evaluate Intel's 8086 CPU card. Originally known as the Quick and Dirty Operating System (QDOS), this framework was eventually made publicly available as 86-DOS. After then, Microsoft is said to have purchased 86-DOS for $50,000 and changed the name to Microsoft Disk Operating System (MS-DOS). When MS-DOS first hit the market in 1981, more than 70 companies were given permission to use it. They were given MS-DOS as a framework to help them interact with their devices. Considering how outdated it is, DOS was created to handle simple tasks.

It functions essentially as a single-user operating system. It performs several functions to make sure the system is operating properly. It handles files, allots resources, manages hardware components, authorizes program loading and execution, and loads and runs applications. In DOS, a GUI is not accessible (Graphical User Interface). It features a user interface modelled like a command line. The user's commands are interpreted on the command line to complete the necessary task. It includes the commands PRINT, DEL, ERASE, and COPY. The additional DOS command types are referred to as external commands. They are rarely used. These DOS commands are loaded into memory as needed. SYS and COMP are two instances of external commands.

What is Windows?

An operating system called Windows controls a personal computer that runs several different programs. It is a graphic operating system created by Microsoft. This provides a way to access the internet, run programs, play video games, stream videos, and access data. Microsoft was first developed in November 1985 and has undergone numerous changes as computer capacity has increased, chips have become more powerful, and, of course, the internet has been developed. Before Windows, PCs had a set of text commands. Following that, more than a dozen variations—including the most recent Windows 10 version—were made available. Probably the most popular operating system is Windows. Microsoft first offered Windows as a graphical operating system shell for MS-DOS on November 20, 1985. However, it has subsequently evolved into a multi-user, multi-tasking operating system that can complete several tasks quickly.

The main purpose of the original Windows was to give the MS-DOS operating system a graphical interface. To compete in the growing market for Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs), Microsoft released their software. On November 20, 1985, Windows was introduced, exactly one year after Mac OS. The initial release of Windows, Windows 1.0, lacked a full operating system. The software made MS-DOS more versatile. Calendar, Calculator, Clock, Control Panel, Notepad, Paint, Terminal, Write, and a few other features were featured in Windows 1.0.

Microsoft offers several "families" of its branded Windows operating systems for sale. These families are created to provide services to specific sub-sectors of the computing industry. For instance, the Windows NT operating system family has software for both servers and desktops. For running embedded electronics, an operating system called Windows IoT was developed. Other families include Windows 9x, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone. These three families were dropped for various reasons. Windows is used for multitasking, which consumes a lot of memory and energy.

Microsoft Cooperation created and developed the operating system known as Windows. One of the most widely used operating systems worldwide. The Graphical User Interface of Windows is what makes it so popular. Users can rapidly access applications thanks to it. Various iterations of Microsoft Windows are still in use today. Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 95, Windows 7, 8, and Windows 10 are a few of them. Multiple functions are available with the Windows operating system. The user can easily create folders and arrange files in them. The start button can be used by users to find the device's installed software. Additionally, users can access the control panel from the start button to get system support and assistance. It is also possible to customize the desktop by using different themes. Users can customize their desktops by adding colours, backgrounds, and screensavers. Additionally, it offers several helpful apps, including MS Word, MS PowerPoint, and MS Excel. They can create documents using MS Word. MS Excel enables the processing of financial data and the execution of calculations. Presentations can be made using MS PowerPoint. Overall, Windows has a user-friendly interface that makes doing activities quick and easy.

Difference between DOS and Windows In Points

  • User must type commands into the command line of the DOS operating system to deliver instructions. Windows, in contrast, offers the user a graphical user interface where they may quickly launch a program by recognizing icons and images.
  • Windows allows multi-tasking, multi-programming, and multi-user systems, whereas DOS only supports single-tasking, a single-user environment, and single programming.
  • Any disk-based operating system is referred to by the term DOS, which is not a registered trademark. Windows, on the other hand, is a registered trademark that belongs to Microsoft.
  • Because DOS only provides a command line interface, whereas Windows has a Graphical User Interface, DOS is more difficult to use than Windows (GUI).
  • The lack of networking and multimedia playback capabilities in DOS accounts for its current lack of popularity. Windows, on the other hand, is a well-liked platform that enables networking and multimedia.


DOS was once in use; however, it is now out of date and less frequently utilized. In contrast, new windows that could be customized with a variety of extra functions were developed. In addition to adding new capabilities like multitasking, a multi-user architecture, a graphical user interface, and multi-programming, Windows 1.0 also offered backwards DOS compatibility (it could run DOS programs). Even though there are other operating systems currently available, each with its unique set of features, they were all made possible in some manner by DOS. Although DOS was at the time the most advanced technology, it may not be the ideal operating system for contemporary equipment. You may argue that all current operating systems have their roots in DOS.

Disk Operating System is what DOS stands for in a nutshell. It is an operating system designed just with a single user and one goal in mind. In 1981, Microsoft introduced MS-DOS, the first DOS operating system. Microsoft debuted its Windows operating system in 1985. There are many users and tasks in this OS.


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"Difference Between DOS and Windows." Diffzy.com, 2023. Mon. 05 Jun. 2023. <https://www.diffzy.com/article/difference-between-dos-and-windows-887>.

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